At a Glance
situated behind an unmarked doorway and surrounded by a private garden, Venice’s former Palazzo Papadopoli has been transformed into an Aman hideaway with 24 rooms that showcase the brand’s minimalist aesthetic, with open floor plans, a subdued color scheme and dark-wood furnishings envisioned by Jean-Michel Gathy. The hotel is one of the city’s most discreet, but it’s the museum-worthy common spaces that remain in every guest’s imagination: the sitting room occupies a former ballroom, with soaring ceilings and gargantuan mirrors, chandeliers, a Cesare Rotta fresco and marmorino stucco, thick as freshly swirled frosting. Somehow, the historic opulence blends stylishly with the Aman’s contemporary touches, smooth service and signature amenities, including the spa. And pleasures, like breakfast in the garden overlooking the Grand Canal (a rarity in the floating city), are simply timeless.**The Standout:** The five Signature Suites with restored palazzo details, including the sprawling Alcova Tiepolo Suite, crowned by an original Tiepolo fresco above the bed **Don’t Miss:** The Cook the Lagoon program, a unique tasting experience focused on sustainability and local ingredients, inspired by Aman Venice consultant chef Norbert Niederkofler
- The five Signature Suites with restored details from this 16th-century palazzo
- Having a drink in the the museum-worthy salons where you dress to impress
- Sunset lagoon cruising by private boat with cicchetti prepared by the chef
- The special-access art, architecture and artisan tours on offer
The Singapore-based Aman hotel group debuted its first European urban hotel in Venice in 2013, choosing perhaps the most logistically challenging of the continent’s cities. Housed in a glorious 16th-century palazzo, the Aman Venice is located in the San Polo sestiere, a seven-minute boat ride and 15-minute walk from Piazza San Marco. Although it is located on the Grand Canal, it is a genuine hideaway as compared to its other five-star competitors; the Aman is an exclusive retreat where guests can enjoy the pleasures of Venice away from its touristy core.
Your Riva docks and you’re led into a hallowed white reception hall. A 16th-century battleship lantern hangs 30 feet above, a vestige left by the Coccina family, wealthy traders who, with the help of architect Giangiacomo Dei Grigi, built the palazzo in 1550. Shiny marble busts of the estate’s most recent proprietors surround you on all sides, a veritable who’s who of the powerful Papadopolis, Corfu natives who married into Venetian nobility in the mid-1800s.
One floor up, an ornate vestibule leads to the piano nobile. Gilded in gargantuan gold mirrors, Cesare Rotta frescoes and original chandeliers, the living room is decorator Michaelangelo Guggenheim’s ode to the Rococo style, while the Italian and Thai dining rooms have original 18th-century Tiepolo-painted ceilings. (The Tiepolo family bought the palazzo from the Coccinas in 1718). The fourth-floor Salon offers even more of Tiepolo’s works and a Neo-Baroque library with an ancient chandelier and lacquered leather wallpaper from Córdoba, Spain. Yet amidst the opulence, Aman’s contemporary aesthetic pervades throughout with sleek furnishings like chairs, tables and couches set in neutral tones and metallics. Somehow, it works.
The property’s 24 guest accommodations continue the dichotomy, offering a blend between the palazzo’s historic bones and contemporary accoutrements (picture white leather wingback beds and chrome side tables). Rooms with garden views come with original details such as painted ceilings or antiques, while suites offer stunning views of the Grand Canal, but with fewer historic pieces.
The hotel’s five signature suites are worth the splurge, being most true to their original form, with 16th-, 18th- and 19th- century art, architectural details and furnishings throughout. And in true Aman fashion, bathrooms are nearly as large as bedrooms with separated double vanities, freestanding oval tubs and rainfall showers. Bath amenities are scented amber and lavender and serve a cause: women rehabilitating in a local prison make them exclusively for the hotel.
The palazzo has two gardens–a rarity in the city–with one directly facing the Grand Canal, home to the hotel’s Italian restaurant. A tranquil three-treatment-room spa center is hidden on the mid-level third floor, while a small, but perfectly adequate gym can be found on the fourth. Finally, the roof terrace offers the ideal location for an aperitivo overlooking the city at sunset.
**Spotlight: Artisans Tour**Venice excels in artisanal shops, whose wares—hand-blown glass, velvety fabrics the color of the lagoon, marbled paper, butter-soft leather, papier-mâché masks—have a long history in the city. Aman’s Venice of the Artisans tour takes guests on a guided discovery of two of the most fabled ateliers: Bevilacqua and Orsoni. The roots of the Bevilacqua family in the textile world date back to 1499 and during a private tour, guests can watch the weavers produce refined Soprarizzo velvet using ancient techniques. The tour will also visit legendary glassmaker Orsoni, whose mysterious alchemies have been handed down through four generations, since 1888. Watch as they produce 24-karat gold leaf mosaics, as well as colored gold and Venetian *smalti*in more than 3,500 colors.
Who Should Stay
Stylish couples who enjoy being off-the beaten path in an intimate, historic palazzo (and appreciate the tucked-away, secret-garden setting) and don’t mind the shuttle to and from San Marco
Written by Simone Girner