I have been in George Clooney’s hotel room, the one where he stayed while filming ‘Tomorrowland’ in Valencia, and I even dipped my foot into the Jacuzzi where he languished, and like most of what the Westin has to offer, it is impressive.
Built as part of the Expo of 1909, The Westin forms part of a collection of buildings that Valencia didn’t quite know what to do with when all the tourists went home back in ‘09. It’s been a textile factory, a Fire Brigade HQ and I can still remember when it stabled the National Police horses not so many decades ago.
But now the straw and dung has long been swept out and since 2007 it has been one of Valencia’s most popular hotels, combining quality and character, thanks largely to the efforts of Valencian architect José María Tomás Llavador.
Without a doubt Santiago Calatrava is Valencia’s best known architect and has conferred deserved prestige upon a city that has one of the best Faculties of Architecture in the world. Nevertheless, Valencian architecture is not limited to Calatrava, and has many equally imaginative, talented architects such as Jose Maria, who unlike Zurich-based Calatrava, actually lives and works in Valencia itself.
He undertook the transformation of the old police stables into an emblematic 5-star hotel, with 135 spacious rooms, 90 of which are Deluxe (including George’s of course).
There is also a Royal Suite for the really choosy guests, apparently the biggest hotel suite in the entire Valencian Community.
And of course a series of elegant but functional conference rooms are a must right in the centre of Valencia.
Among the hotel’s many relaxation options is the extensive 850 square metre Caroli Health Club, which encompasses the WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio, a therapeutic indoor salt-water ionized swimming pool, sauna, Turkish hamman and 8 inviting treatment rooms, where your body can be pummelled by the house masseuse into glorious submission.
George isn’t the only film star to feel at home at The Westin; in fact the hotel appeared in ‘Di Di Hollywood’, a feature film starring Elsa Patakay and Peter Coyote (he of the jangling keys in ET).
The rooms and suites at The Westin Valencia are designed to revive the senses and ensure guests feel rested; sated even, whether their stay is for work or pleasure. The signature Westin Heavenly Bed® aims to ensure a restful night’s slumber, leaving its guests feeling at their best the following morning, whether they shared the bed with dreamy George or not.
The bed is part of an 18 million dollar research project by the Starwood chain which encourages guests to sleep well, and to move, feel, work and eat well too.
Among those who find the hotel a good place to relax before an important event are the players of Valencia FC, who use the hotel as their pre-match base, as have many national and international teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
On entering the foyer you are greeted by the elegant marble lobby with its impressive multi-tiered Swarovski crystal chandelier and can immediately see the hotel’s beautiful Mediterranean garden.
The surrounding restaurants and bars all have open-air terraces in true Valencian Arabic stle, on the fringes of this green oasis, providing multiple opportunities for dining.
The Rosmarino Restaurant is the place to start the day with a delicious breakfast buffet, while the elegant Komori offers Japanese delicacies with a modern touch. Guests can dine and unwind in the El Jardí Bar, orvisit the h-club Va lencia to enjoy a glass of Champagne, a cocktail or a mixed drink; all of this surrounding a large central garden in an open patio of 1,800m² of Mediterranean flora, an oasis of palm trees and peace in the middle of a noisy city, and with the original façade that has been lovingly preserved.
You might not find George lounging around the bar when you stay at the Westin, although you might find him in the exclusive art gallery, and co-star and co-guest Hugh Laurie has also left the house. What you will find is a memorable experience; friendly Valencian elegance with a smile.
All photos courtesy of Mark Sicon.