Thalasso Hotel El Palasiet is not an ordinary hotel. Hidden away, yet perfectly positioned to overlook the long sweep of Benacassim beach only 50 metres away, you enter through delightfully wild foliage and a wrought iron gate. You feel like you are entering a secret garden.
The outside areas are the hotel’s strongest feature (not including the piece de resistance, but I’ll get to that). A large terrace complete with shady spots, radiant suntraps and discrete rows of loungers wraps around the infinity pool presiding over an expansive view of the bay. A long, sheltered veranda flanks the length of the building, with plenty of cushioned nooks for a lazy game of cards or afternoon tea.
The hotel’s décor is unusual, with Greek style friezes sitting shoulder to shoulder with religious iconography and traditional oil paintings. Although the main part of the building is a reasonably new addition (circa 2002) the laid-back and somewhat retro vibe very much derives from the original elements of the hotel which were built in 1945. Meals are served in a vast conservatory, lengthy 4 course affairs presided over by a maître d’ and waitresses clad in traditional uniforms.
There is a sort of faded glamour to this hotel. The view is more reminiscent of the French Riviera than the Spanish coast. The wide beach is flanked by a palm-fringed promenade, popular with cyclists and almost deserted in the warm autumn months. Grand but crumbling and abandoned properties line the tiled walkway. It’s like the rich and decadent left at some point mid-last century and only left an echo of their glamour behind.
On to the ‘piece de resistance’. The Thalassotherapy centre (or ‘warm sea-water spa’) resides in the 1940s glass-roofed conservatory, complete with 2 indoor and an outdoor sea-water pool and a wide range of therapy rooms. The main pool is glorious, filtered and heated to 36 degrees, enhanced with jets, fountains, Jacuzzis and delightfully buoyant water that eases aches, pains and troubles away.
Many visitors come here from France where the health and restorative properties of these mineral rich waters are well-known. There is a resident doctor on hand to advise on treatment plans based on individual conditions with the emphasis more on the clinical than the simple pampering you might usually expect from a spa. Not that you won’t feel pampered after an hour being pummelled by jets, soothed by bubbles and floated on mineral rich waters, followed by a steam inside the Turkish Bath and a luxurious massage!