Valencia: Explore beautiful beaches and the charming city from the luxurious Hotel Balneario Las Arenas
The Sloaney Travel Team has visited many places in Spain. From the marvellous Madrid, which is a foodie’s paradise, to the delightfully sophisticated Seville and the glamour of Marbella. We have fallen in love with this country, time and time again. Despite having visited several areas on a number of occasions, there remains much to be explored through different adventures.
One city that had remained undiscovered until recently was Valencia. Valencia is Spain’s third largest city and it hosts the second biggest port in the country. With a beautiful Old Town that is complemented by fabulous long sandy beaches, Valencia is a city that gets the balance between urban living and an outdoor lifestyle just right.
Valencia is authentic, traditional and wonderfully Spanish. It benefits from a friendly local culture, where tourists are very much welcomed. However, they certainly don’t dominate the area, which means that the city has retained its original charm.
While a short visit suffices in allowing you to discover some incredible parts of the city, we left feeling as though we had only touched the surface and that a return trip is essential.
For the luxury traveller, Hotel Balneario Las Arenas is certainly the place to stay. This Leading Hotels of the World property offers a fabulous five-star experience. It is steeped in history and sits proudly on the beachfront, towards the port end of the city. The hotel is known as offering the best luxury facilities and it is suitable for couples, business travellers or families alike.
It has a fabulous spa. Founded in 1898, the buildings still preserve the architectural beauty of the historical Las Arenas Spa. The destination is elegant, impressive and provides guests with the finest spa experience, as well as top class dining and accommodation.
There are lots of different room options available. Some of the suites have glorious views of the beach and you can request interconnecting family rooms, which is particularly helpful if you are travelling with children. The interior design is beautiful and the rooms are light and airy.
This is teamed with other outstanding facilities, such as the spectacular swimming pool. The excellent location of the property makes day trips to the beach incredibly easy. Furthermore, many of Valencia’s highlights are within easy reach when using the excellent taxi service that is readily available throughout the city.
If you love the beach, but also enjoy having the amenities of a big city on your doorstep, Valencia is a brilliant European destination to visit. The long sandy coastline is only a few steps away from the Hotel Balneario Las Arenas. The sea is incredibly warm, particularly during the late summer months and into the autumn, which makes swimming a complete joy. Furthermore, the beach is incredibly well policed and this means that the rate of crime is very low and you generally feel really safe.
The beach is clean, social and a place where locals and tourists gather in harmony to enjoy the atmosphere and outdoor lifestyle. As the sun begins to cool off in the late afternoon, volleyball nets appear and you can watch people play whilst enjoying a drink at one of the beachside bars, or dining at one of the many restaurants that are situated right next to the sand.
Particular favourites of ours during the visit were El Trompo Restaurante and L’Alegria de l’Horta. Both of these dining destinations offered excellent dishes that included paella and catch of the day, which is often a choice between Dorada or Sea Bass. Crucially, tables are right on the beachfront and the sea view is outstanding.
In terms of dining out with a young family, children are made to feel very welcome in Valencia. From a family perspective, it is also an added benefit that you can sit right next to the sand. This means that young children can build sandcastles and run races on the beach, while adults enjoy some relaxation time.
As regular readers of our travel pages will know, The Sloaney Travel Team often explore a place by hiring a boat. This experience adds a whole new dimension to a travel feature and it means that you can see the city from the water and discover other aspects of a certain destination that you may not otherwise see.
In Valencia, it is easy to hire a boat for the day and you can book one online. Our captain took us on an adventure that introduced us to an area that is known locally as Little Venice. Port Saplaya is one of the most beautiful places that we have ever visited. It is a residential area that offers impressive sandy beaches, beautiful houses, a stunning harbour and some outstanding restaurants. This is a real hidden gem and it is essential to visit Port Saplaya if you are planning a trip to Valencia. You can either access it by boat, jet ski or taxi and a day trip is well worth your while.
The boat trip was an excellent way to see some of the other surrounding areas too and our captain was very family-friendly. He easily accommodated children, who were enthralled by the large waves when we initially sped across the ocean.
We stopped to swim in the sea, where it was calmer and it was incredibly warm, even when we were a considerable distance from the shore. We also went to some of the port areas that are more difficult to see if you are travelling on foot.
Away from the sea and back on land, Valencia has a beautiful Old Town to explore. As dusk arrives, this vibrant city is brimming with young people and families alike. It welcomes all generations and there are plenty of tapas bars to enjoy. Beluga is a good place to stop for those looking to try some of the local wine and croquettes – it is also within walking distance of the quaint shops and several of the historical landmarks.
Back at Hotel Balneario Las Arenas, there is a live pianist most nights who entertains those who wish to enjoy a glass of Mumm Champagne at the bar (€10 a glass). There is also an excellent restaurant. Brasserie Sorolla offers an enticing menu, which is accompanied by a good wine list. The traditional cuisine can be enjoyed with guest singers serenading diners when darkness falls.
The pool bar offers excellent food during the day and particularly at lunch time. We were also extremely impressed with the breakfast at Hotel Las Arenas. In fact, it is probably one of the best breakfast meals that we have experienced and offers a fantastic variety of food. The sweet dishes are simply divine, but the fruit, meats and cooked options are also very good.
Many of the rooms offer panoramic sea views, which is a welcome reminder of the diversity that Valencia has to offer. Watching the sunrise on the horizon is beautiful and it tempts you down towards the sandy beaches for the day, but when the sun begins to set in the city behind, you are enticed to explore the nightlife in this atmospheric city.
With wineries located a short drive away, the allure of Albufera National Park, where you can experience nature in its purest form, as well as a number of highly regarded golf courses in the proximity of the city, Valencia is a destination that we have only just begun to discover. We will definitely be back soon to explore more of this area for The Sloaney’s Travel pages.
The Sloaney Junior Verdict
In their own words…
“The hotel was really nice and the views of the beach from the balcony were great. I loved it when we watched a thunderstorm at night – it was very exciting to see the lightening at sea and by the morning it had all gone and the sun came out. The beach was really fun and the sea felt nice and warm. It was also shallow for a long way and I could swim safely.
I loved the piano in the hotel and the fact that we could dance in the garden area in the evening. The pool was also good because it has a small pool for children but also a really big one that I could go in with my mum. I liked eating next to the beach and also my day on the boat was amazing. The boat ride was really fun because the waves were massive!” – Rose, aged 5
“I liked swimming in the sea with my float suit on when we were on the boat ride. I also liked playing in the sand during the evening after my dinner. Walking back to the hotel was fun at night because there were people playing volleyball and also outdoor dance classes.” – Michael, aged 2
Book a stay at Hotel Balneario Las Arenas online: Hotel Balneario Las Arenas Valencia ***** | Official Website | Best Price Guarantee (hotelvalencialasarenas.com)
You can fly directly to Valencia from London Heathrow with British Airways, as well as from a number of different airports in the UK.
Reporting: Laura Toogood | Photography and photo sourcing: Gilles | Videography: Sarah Bacon