a grand Venetian palace along a canal
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Aman Venice

The Aman Venice, hidden away on the Grand Canal, is a hotel beloved by celebrities for its privacy, authenticity, magnificent art and opulence.

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hotel room with traditional venetian decor
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Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice

The world-famous Belmond Hotel Cipriani offers a resort experience in Venice on Giudecca Island, a five-minute boat ride from San Marco.

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ornate sitting area in venetian hotel
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Gritti Palace

For its 2013 reopening, the Gritti Palace -- a Venecian Grand Canal icon housed in a 15th-century building turned into a luxury hotel in 1895 -- was meticulously renovated to introduce contemporary amenities alongside Rubelli fabrics, delicate Murano glassworks and the stunning restored terrazzo floors.

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Ca Maria Adele

The boutique hotel Ca Maria Adele, located next to the Salute Church in Venice, is chic but modest, with only 12 rooms and suites. Indagare Review

Ca' di Dio Venice Hotel lobby

Ca' di Dio

The only five-star property to open in Venice in 2021, Ca’ di Dio offers a prime, less-trafficked waterfront location on the San Marco Basin lagoon, in the Castello District, which is known for its contemporary art scene—making it a fixture of the Biennale. Located within a historic mansion that was carefully restored over three years and redesigned by star Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola (behind Lake Como’s Il Sereno and the Four Seasons Milan), Ca' di Dio is now a coolly contemporary local retreat with just 66 rooms, 10 suites, two restaurants and a cocktail bar, a courtyard and a small gym and spa.

View at Evening - Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, Venice, Italy - Courtesy Randy Jay Braun

Ca’ Sagredo Hotel

This luxury palazzo hotel, which opened in 2008, boasts so many works of priceless art that some guidebooks list it as a museum. And if they are not too busy, the lovely staff will lead interested visitors to view the grand 18th-century staircase, created by Venetian architect Andrea Tirali and with stunning frescoes by Pietro Longhi, and show them the first-story salon adorned in detailed stucco work and large canvases by Andrea Urbani. Of course, if you stay at this stunning forty-two-room hotel, you can have afternoon tea within this backdrop, as well as find yourself in your own private room clad in centuries-old frescoes and artwork. (Be aware that some of the Grand Canal–facing rooms also face the Ca d’Oro vaporetto stop, which results in some boat noise in the rooms.)

Literally next door to the Ca d’Oro museum, the Ca’ Sagredo faces the Grand Canal and is a masterpiece of a renovation (which may be why it has already become the place to stay for foreigners who have bought their own palazzos or piano nobile apartments while doing their renovation work). The building dates from the 15th century and was enhanced through the centuries by many great artists. Antiques and the finest silks adorn the suites. The grandness of the place makes a stay here feel like an overnight in a museum, which will thrill some and leave others a bit cold. The hotel’s location near the Rialto Market at the top of the Grand Canal is a bit removed from the restaurants, shops and museums of San Marco and the Accademia. L’Alcova restaurant, on a lovely little terrace has an exclusive location (it’s the only restaurant terrace on this stretch of the Grand Canal), and the food gets good reviews from locals.

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Lounge at Centurion Palace, Venice, Italy

Centurion Palace

Sitting in a grand red brick building from the 19th century, this landmark was reinvented as a boutique hotel right on the canal. The buzzy hotel features modern design, punctuated with bold splashes of color. In contrast, the 50 rooms—reserve one with a water view—have a light atmosphere, with pale wood floors, pastel velvet upholstery, and large gold-leaf lined bathrooms.

It is a truth almost universally known in Venice: you want to stay close to the main attractions but not close enough that the crowds will cramp your style. That’s why the Centurion Palace’s location is also its main draw, right by the beautiful church of Santa Maria della Salute, and the boho neighborhood of Dorsodoro, but in a quiet and residential nook of the city.

Indagare Tip: Don’t miss breakfast or cocktails on the terrace overlooking Saint Mark’s, and, despite the added cost, splurge for a canal vista, which have double height ceilings and idyllic views.

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Junior suite at Boscolo Venezia, Venice, Italy

Grand Hotel Dei Dogi Venezia

Situated in a palazzo that was formerly an embassy, this hotel boasts a true rarity in this city: a luxurious green garden stretching out to the lagoon.

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Lounge at Hidden Valley Inn, Belize

Hilton Molino Stucky

A few years ago the Hilton group undertook the transformation of this industrial space into one of their most upscale properties, and the results have been extremely successful. While not an intimate hotel by any means, the property has the kind of amenities that are particularly welcomed by families, namely a pool that has panoramic views of the city, free shuttle transfers to sights like Saint Mark’s. It also has a price tag that’s very affordable in a city where things can be vastly inflated.  The service is efficient, and rooms, while rather generic in design, are comfortable, with large bathrooms.

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Hotel Bauer (currently closed)

Built in the 1940s, the 119-room Bauer Hotel perfectly blends its Art Deco roots with the traditional Venetian style of the 18th-century annex Il Palazzo. With an ideal location in the heart of the city’s most fashionable shopping street and a stone’s throw from San Marco Square, Bauer Hotel is an urban retreat, perfect for couples and families looking for a contemporary twist on the Bauer’s iconic grandeur. Deco furniture and embellishments meet classic Rubelli and Bevilacqua fabrics (the same are also on view in Il Palazzo), and most rooms have views over the city. My favorite accommodations were adjoining Deluxe Rooms on the fifth floor with a yellow and purple color scheme and a shared 200-square-foot terrace.

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Copyright 2011 Matthew  Shaw. See licence supplied with this image for full terms & conditions. Copy available at: www.matthewshaw.co.uk/copyright.html
Not for use by architects, interior designers or other hotel suppliers without permission from Matthew Shaw.

Hotel Danieli

The Danieli is one of Venice’s most historic hotels. It’s comprised of three palazzi, the original of which belonged to the noble Dandolo family. Four of the Dandolos served as Doges of Venice; most famously Enrico, who returned from conquering Constantinople in 1204 and eventually incorporated some of the artful bounty he brought back into the interiors of the palazzo.

Today’s Danieli (it’s been a hotel since the 1820s) is located next to the fabled Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs. Film buffs will recognize the interiors as those featured in many movies, including The Tourist, with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.

A special highlight are four suites that were designed by acclaimed Pierre-Yves Rochon and were unveiled in Palazzo Dandolo in 2012. Few places in Venice can match the splendor of the views, which encompass the Riva degli Schiavoni, Grand Canal and the lagoon’s islands. Not to be missed is Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, one of the city’s most romantic dining gems on the rooftop of the hotel.

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Lounge at  Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal

The Benetton Group bought the classic Monaco as well as an adjacent 17th-century palazzo in 1992 and linked the two in a lengthy renovation that was completed in 2003. The Sala del Ridotto, the centerpiece of the project, which now houses several lounge areas, was painstakingly restored, its ceiling frescoes, marble columns and gorgeous mosaic floors and stucco returned to their Baroque grandeur. People like to rent the Ridotto for special events: a wedding reception or birthday celebration in this historic building is wonderfully atmospheric. As the guest rooms in the refurbished palazzo can be on the small side and have mediocre views, it’s best to splurge on one of the elegantly decorated suites facing the Grand Canal.

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pool in italian hill town seen from above

Hotel Villa Cipriani

The Hotel Villa Cipriani in its current form dates back to the 18th-century, and was owned for a period of time by English poet Robert Browning. But it wasn’t until the Guinness family purchased it in 1962 and hired Giuseppe Cipriani—inventor of the bellini and then-owner of the Hotel Cipriani on Venice’s Giudecca Island—to transform it into a hotel. Many of his touches remain, and like the Cipriani in Venice, the gardens are absolutely magical, filled with pomegranate trees and an enormous peach tree (for bellinis, of course). Everything cascades down to an infinity pool overlooking the Veneto region, where prosecco comes from.

Rooms can be a great value, especially in the shoulder seasons and compared to the astronomical rates on the Amalfi Coast and other parts of Italy. The keys to the rooms are heavy; you leave them with the front desk before exploring. Though modest and without frills, the room was charming, filled with furniture you might have inherited from a relative, like cozy floral armchairs and wood dressers with gold keyholes. There was no iPad operating the lights—just switches to flick on and off. (How retro, and simple.) The beautiful, hand-painted tiles in the bathroom are a highlight. And open windows revealed panoramic views of the valley, vineyards and villas of Asolo. Each of the 28 rooms is different, ranging from smaller classics to the Grand Terrace Junior Suite.

Many guests dress up for a multi-course dinner in the main restaurant, though you can also order a la carte in the American Bar. In the morning, there is a charming breakfast buffet where you can take your plate outside and inhale the fragrance of the gardens.

A stylish interior at Violino dOro in Venice

Hotel Violino D'Oro

The Violino d’Oro is the latest passion project in Collezione Em, the small-but-growing Italian hotel brand powered by a Florentine family, in particular Sara Maestrelli and her aunt, Elena. The family has a long history in hospitality and in art, as evidenced across the portfolio, which also includes the Grand Hotel Minerva, in Florence’s Piazza di Santa Maria Novella and Villa Roma Imperiale in Forte dei Marmi.

Elena and Sara had long dreamed of a hotel project in Venice, a city Sara describes as a place of wanderers and a logical extension of the brand’s other destinations. “We want to create homes in places we love and are deeply connected to,” she says. “Venice, like Florence, is a small city that fills your heart with art and beauty, and your tummy with some of the best food and wine in the country.”

The Violino d’Oro had an earlier life as a place to stay – its name references the original clientele, i.e. visitors of the nearby La Fenice opera house. But after a multi-year-long renovation, the three interconnected, 17th- century palazzi have emerged as a jewel of a boutique hotel that feels like a private home and also, a showcase for Italian art and craftsmanship.

There are the expected names: sumptuous Rubelli fabrics, glowing Venini chandeliers and custom Ginori ceramics. But Sara and Elena also selected the works of more contemporary tastemakers, including wall paintings by Tuscany-based artist Assia Pallavicino, sleek coffee tables in brushed brass designed by Giorgio Cattelan, and handmade stucco by the immensely creative team of forme in arte, who envisioned a veritable fairy forest for the walls of Il Piccolo restaurant.

A lobby lounge encompasses check-in, a slender bar and chic sitting areas with low couches and bookcases with splashy titles on Venice, art and Italian culture. A second salotto feels even more like the sumptuous home of an art lover, with dark-red velvet chaises and gorgeous terrazzo floors – so unmistakably Venetian, like confetti was gently tossed and then scattered by long gowns en route to Carnevale. (The latter are courtesy of the Asin brothers, of one of the oldest and most revered crafts families in Venice still laying this kind of flooring by hand.)

Everything at Violino d’Oro feels intimate and personal – this is not the hotel for travelers looking to slip in and out of an anonymous lobby unseen – and thanks to the fact that these are three interconnected buildings, the 32 rooms and suites are all unique in layout (suffice it to say, there are seven room categories). Uncluttered and sleek, the rooms are exceedingly comfortable, with king-sized beds, walk-in closets and bathrooms with rain-showers (some also have freestanding bathtubs) and Ortigia beauty products. In most rooms, the high ceilings add a heightened sense of space, and some come with internal terraces or narrow balconies facing the Rio di San Moise (there are no Grand Canal views). A color scheme heavy on gold and ecru gives the brain of an overstimulated Venice traveler a place to rest — overall, the Violino d’Oro is a tastefully designed enclave in which withdraw and recharge from Venice’s often overwhelming, oversaturated impressions.

The young and plugged-in team here can help with recommendations that take guests off the beaten path, and are also happy to reserve at recommended spas or a gym (neither of which the Violino d’Oro has in-house). Some of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants are within easy walking distance, but guests should also make a reservation for diner at Piccolo restaurant, helmed by chef Stefano Santo, who hails from Tuscany but who has a passion for Venetian cuisine as well as for sustainability, a concept critically important in a city where every last ingredient arrives via boat.

In design, philosophy and myriad details, the Violino d’Oro is a reinterpretation of Venice — richly artful, stylish and personal. For Venice connoisseurs who have done the “see-and-be-seen” and the Grand Canal view, this marvel is not to be missed.

hotel entrance l'orologio venice


L'Orologio on the Grand Canal, right near the Rialto market and bridge, is a winning four-star hotel in Venice with a contemporary design scheme.

Suite at La Calcina, Venice, Italy

La Calcina

Calcina means Lime House and before there was a hotel on this spot, a lime house stood here in the 17th century. The first La Calcina inn that occupied the site during the 1800s hosted (among others) art critic John Ruskin, who purportedly began his famous The Stones of Venice during his stay. Today the family-owned pensione is slightly larger and has been updated with conveniences like WiFi in the rooms.

However, it retains a real bed-and-breakfast atmosphere—undoubtedly due to the fact that the owners have lived here for three generations and take their roles as hosts seriously. Furnished simply with antiques and heirlooms, the twenty-nine rooms are hardly fancy; in fact, some don’t even have their own bathrooms. (Request a water-facing one with bath.) The prices are hard to beat, and the location on the quay facing Giudeccaand only a few blocks from the Accademia bridge is ideal for quiet seekers.

Other bonuses: the hotel’s restaurant, La Calcina serves delicious food and views on a floating terrace where the city’s last swimming club sat until the 1960s. The family also offers four apartments with hotel service in an adjacent building for those who would like a bit more privacy. Three are one bedrooms. The Dalia suite, situated on the ground floor of a private house, was designed by the famous architect Carlo Scarpa in an unusual maritime style. It has its own entrance directly on the street and offers views over the GiudeccaCanal. Giglio, the largest of the apartment suites, accommodates up to four people. Like the Dalia, it is located separately from the main pensione at about 500 feet away.

Suite at Luna Hotel Baglioni, Venice, Italy

Luna Hotel Baglioni

Like many hotels along the Grand Canal, the palazzo that houses the Luna Baglioni has a colorful — and long — history. It is reported to be the the oldest lodging in Venice, dating to 1118 when it served as a convent. After Napoleon occupied Venice in 1796, when the building was destroyed, it was rebuilt and transformed into an elaborately decorated palace for an aristocratic family. Some of their original chandeliers, furniture and painted frescoes are preserved throughout the hotel today.

The hotel manages a successful balance between honoring its long history while also updating interiors to be comfortable to the modern-day traveler. There are 108 rooms and suites, all of which range in layout and style. But all have a refined, updated elegance thanks to a neutral toned palette, with romantic gilded chairs and headboards.

To mark the hotel’s 40th anniversary, Luna Baglioni renovated the two-bedroom San Giorgio Terrace Suite with expansive interiors and a 1,100 square-foot private terrace overlooking St. Mark’s basin and San Giorgio Island. Located on the third floor, it is perfectly appointed for families with a small, state-of-the-art kitchen off of the living room area.

The hotel's location is another big draw for travelers who like staying in midst of the action: it's a few doors down from the Bellini-inventing Harry’s Bar and surrounded by upscale boutiques.

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A terrace at the Nolinski Venice

Nolinski Venezia

Historic building turned designer hotel, French flair, great bar

Suite at Palazzina G, Venice, Italy

Palazzina G

Venice isn’t known for cutting-edge interior design, so the opening of Palazzina G, in 2009, was big news. Created by French designer extraordinaire Philippe Starck (his first Italy hotel), the property is located in a 19th-century palazzo whose interiors have been envisioned in 21st-centry style. Art lovers will take note of the unique glasswork by Murano-based Aristide Najean, while the beautiful crowd will appreciate the nearly 300 back-lit mirrors throughout.

The lobby is tiny and spills right into the groovy restaurant-lounge-bar area, which is open all day and makes a particularly good spot for an afternoon break, especially during colder months (the dim lighting and dark materials imbue a cozy vibe). While the common spaces are clad in dark wood, exposed brick and dramatic chandeliers, the sixteen rooms and six apartment suites are studies in minimalist chic. The rooms feature a mostly white-on-white color scheme, with oversized mirrors, striking glass wardrobes, smooth leather couches, cool light fixtures and all the techie requirements (iPod docks, WiFi and flatscreen televisions, some of which are built into the mirrors). The best rooms are those that overlook the Grand Canal, though the ones with a view of the surrounding rooftops are romantic as well.

Perhaps the biggest perk about staying at Palazzina G is access to the rooftop lounge, which must be one of Venice’s most exclusive spots for aperitifs. And of course, the location can’t be beat: in walking distance to the major sites and museums, but tucked away from the major tourist drags.

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bedroom view suite 1 palazzo cristo

Palazzo Cristo

Palazzo Cristo offers convenient, beautifully designed rental apartments for stylish, independent travelers who wish to feel like they are living in Venice.

Interiors - Pensione Accademia, Venice, Italy

Pensione Accademia

In a 17th-century villa in the Dorsoduro district near the Accademia Bridge is a treasure of a pensione, or bed-and-breakfast, that has pretty gardens, twenty-five comfortable antiques-filled rooms and warm service. It’s no wonder that most of its guests are repeaters. The villa on the Grand Canal, once the Russian embassy, was transformed into a hotel in the 1950s. The Salsamo family, who also own the Ala hotel and now rent some apartments, have filled its rooms with antiques and treasures from the region.

Suite at San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice, Italy

San Clemente Palace Kempinski

As Venice becomes more and more crowded during the high season, especially the summertime, a sense of space and cooler temperatures are coveted amenities, and this is precisely what the San Clemente Palace offers. The 190-room resort occupies its own 15-acre island. Yes, the trade-off is not being able to step outside into the middle of Venice’s dining, shopping and sights—for San Clemente's island is a 15-minute water shuttle away from San Marco—but, especially for families, the expansive grounds and resort activities are a great draw.

Guests arrive at a private pier and, walking up to the massive pink-colored palazzo, they are immediately transported into a world of lush vegetation, large trees and bird song (so different from Venice’s own distinctive sights and sounds). San Clemente has a long history in the Laguna: its first settlement dates back to the early 1300s, when the Church of San Clemente was built here ; this wonderfully atmospheric building remains on the property and, today, hosts weddings. The property has also served as a monastery, a hospital and an asylum, though the only details that remind of the latter two are the wide hallways and double-height ceilings, both of which ensure that the sense of expansiveness on the outside also continues within.

Kempinski took over managing the hotel San Clemente in 2016, focusing its design energies first on the common spaces and creating wonderfully varied dining options outside, along the lagoon. Nothing beats returning from a busy day of sightseeing to the property's beautiful gardens, where guests can sip cocktails with a view of Venice as it slowly lights up in the distant evening (Note: There are two other big hotels on nearby islands, the JW Marriott and the Hilton Molino Stucky, which can also be seen from San Clemente).

Plans to renovate the 190 rooms in phases are in the works, though the interiors left over from the pervious hotel company (St. Regis) are perfectly comfortable. The design scheme is classically Venetian, with beautiful, fabric-covered walls, Murano chandeliers, deeply hued curtains and, in some cases, original tile floors. All have large windows, and there isn’t a bad view here—you’re looking at the lagoon, at the gardens or both. Where the resort’s age shows is in the yellow-marble bathrooms, although some of them have already been redone with double-vanities and white marble; further renovations are already in the works.

The on-island offerings include three restaurants, a tennis court and a pool which, at 65 feet in length, does not quite boast the extravaganza of the Cipriani, but is still nicely sized. There are also jogging paths that are particularly lovely at dawn, when the Laguna rises out of the mist like a J.M.W Turner painting. The fact that San Clemente is particularly popular with families is seen in the complimentary Kid’s Club, where treasure hunts, Italian classes and Venetian mask making are on the schedule. The Club runs until 10pm, giving parents a chance to have a lagoon-side dinner.

On a map, the hotel appears to sit at quite a distance from San Marco, but, in fact, it is only a 15-minute water taxi ride away. The hotel operates complimentary shuttles that run from 9am until 1am every 20 minutes. Especially during the hot summer months, many guests choose to actually stay on-island, relaxing by the pool or booking a spa appointment, before catching the shuttle over to San Marco in the early evening for aperitivo and dinner.

**Good to Know: **The San Clemente has extensive conference facilities, which are removed from the main hotel. It also hosts a fair amount of weddings, especially during the high season. The grounds are large enough for groups to disperse, but couples looking for an intimate ambience might find the size off-putting.  The resort closes seasonally from early November until the end of March.

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view out window to venice grand canal and its cathedrals

The St. Regis Venice

St. Regis Venice is one of the city’s freshest and most comfortable—if slightly corporate—offerings, right along the Grand Canal.

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Food at Venissa, Venice, Italy


Independent-minded travelers looking for value and authenticity will love Venissa, a small B&B located on the island of Mazzorbo, close to Burano. They can also feel good about staying here and supporting a local project designed to celebrate Venice’s lagoon and nature. The Bisol family who spearheads this unique concept is committed to a light touch in a fragile setting, running the estate that includes a six-guestroom ostello, an acclaimed restaurant and a vineyard and vegetable garden. The rooms are basic, with exposed ceiling beams and colorful fabrics and throws. The most spacious, Certosa and Burano, have lovely views of the lagoon and vineyard. The restaurant is a great spot for lunch when touring the nearby islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello, and guests of the hotel can relax into dinner, featuring an often-changing menu of regional specialties. Venissa also makes its own wine.

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Lounge  at Villa F, Venice, Italy

Villa F (currently closed)

In 2011, Francesca Bortolotto Possati, the pioneering hotelier behind Bauer Il Palazzo and the Bauer Palladio, opened Venice’s most exclusive new property. The Villa F is located on the Guidecca, a few doors down from the Bauer Palladio, in a 16th-century Renaissance palazzo that was painstakingly and beautifully restored. With eleven palatial one- and two-bedroom residences, the Villa F feels like a private estate, where guests can move in for weeks at a time. With this project, Possati has upgraded the hotel landscape in Venice by providing well-heeled travelers with the ability to experience the city as a local without sacrificing the Bauer’s well-oiled hotel service.

As with all of Possati’s projects, the details of the sumptuous apartments are pitch-perfect, and each are impeccably styled in a contemporary twist on old-world Venetian grandeur. Guests will find original frescoes, Terrazzo floors and Rubelli, Donghia & Jesurum fabrics beside wrought-iron headboards, vintage mirroring and leather furniture. Each apartment is unique and guests have the luxury of selecting theirs in advance. While second-floor units showcase a funky farmhouse aesthetic (picture metallic walls and accents, exposed wooden beams and abstract art); first-floor apartments, categorized as “Venetian Imperial”, feature twenty-plus-foot ceilings, hand-painted murals and living spaces larger than the Villa’s own entrance foyer.

Each residence also comes with butler service; while chefs, nannies and personal concierges are available upon request. Finally, Villa F guests have access to resort amenities at all of the Bauer properties, including a beautifully appointed spa at the Bauer Palladio.

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