Our team are often out and about exploring the different properties on our portfolio to give them first-hand experience and a better understanding when it comes to recommendations for your holidays. This month Jess was fortunate enough to visit Venice on a three-day trip which covered some incredible hotels as well as a little sightseeing. Read on to see what she got up to and hear some of her top tips for visiting the city.
What I got up to?
I had a jam-packed itinerary over the three days that enabled me to see a lot of Venice in a short time. I took a guided walking tour around some of the secret gardens of the city and saw small, tranquil gardens at the back of palazzos in the middle of the busy city centre – such a contrast compared to the busy streets! I visited a traditional Squero (gondola workshop) to see how they are made and repaired. I went on a Bragozzo (boat experience) over to the islands of Murano and Burano to see a different side to Venice away from the city centre. Murano is famous for its glass blowing and making, whilst Burano is known for its waterways and little coloured houses.
If it’s your first time in Venice, you must include a visit to San Marco square and all its landmarks, including Doge’s Palace and San Marco Basilica and Campanile (bell tower), as well as take a gondola along the grand canal to see the city from the water. I would recommend staying close to San Marco for your first visit so you can walk around and do all your sightseeing on foot – but prepare for it to be a busy trip! If you’ve been to Venice before, you might want to consider staying in either the Dorsoduro or Cannaregio districts for a more local feel away from the tourist areas, but still within walking distance (20-30 mins) of the city’s main attractions.
Where to stay?
I saw seven hotels during my trip, in various parts of Venice, some right in the busy centre at San Marco square and others dotted around opposite ends of the island to experience some of the quieter parts. It was good to see a mixture of small boutique hotels and large big-name hotels as well as to explore the surrounding areas that they were in.
Il Palazzo Experimental, Dorsoduro District
Recently opened in summer 2019, this quirky hotel features an amazing art deco design with modern touches in addition to traditional Venetian interiors to reflect its history. Almost every room offers stunning views over the Giudecca Canal opposite and there are beautiful gardens to relax in too.
Top tip: Ask a member of staff to accompany you up to the roof terrace for spectacular 360-degree views of Venice below.
Hotel Heureka, Cannaregio District
This luxury boutique hotel has just ten bedrooms, each with its own unique style and decor. The hotel has beautiful gardens to the rear which are so peaceful and make it feel as if you are a world away from busy Venice.
Top tip: Take a water taxi from the hotel to San Marco square for a special experience that will get you to the heart of the city in style.
Gritti Palace, San Marco District
One of the most renowned hotels in Venice, in a huge converted palazzo dating back to the 14th century, Gritti Palace has retained its charm and authentic Venetian feel whilst offering five-star luxury at its best, in an excellent location right on the Grand Canal.
Top tip: For something extra special, book the two storey Redentore Suite complete with rooftop terrace, bar and small plunge pool offering one of the best views in Venice.
Hotel Danieli, San Marco District
Located in the heart of San Marco, right next to the Bridge of Sighs and overlooking the lagoon, this hotel is set over three palazzo's all joined together, dating back to the 14th, 17th and 19th centuries. Throughout the buildings you’ll find traditional Venetian décor which hasn’t changed much in style but is strikingly beautiful and well looked after.
Top tip: Dine at rooftop restaurant Terrazza Danieli for spectacular 180 degree views over to the lagoon and islands opposite.
Bauer Hotel, San Marco District
Just steps away from San Marco square, Bauer Hotel is in a fantastic location for exploring all that Venice has to offer. The hotel is adorned with traditional Venetian décor but with a slightly modern spin throughout, and some of the impressive suites overlook the Grand Canal from their private terraces or balconies.
Top tip: Head up to the seventh floor to enjoy breakfast on the highest terrace in Venice and admire beautiful panoramic views as you start your day off in style.
Aman Venice, San Polo District
Located close to the famous Rialto Bridge, Aman Venice is set in the 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli, away from the crowds of San Marco. The only palazzo in Venice to have two gardens, the hotel is peaceful and private whilst still being right on the Grand Canal.
Top tip: Head up to the secret mezzanine level, tucked away from the main staircase, to discover the Aman Spa for a truly special wellness experience that’ll leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed after a busy day of sightseeing.
Belmond Cipriani, Giudecca District
Just 5 minutes from San Marco, this hotel is located on Giudecca island but can be reached 24 hours a day by private water shuttle service. There are lots of dining options including the Michelin starred Oro Restaurant and the iconic Cip’s Club with panoramic lagoon views over to San Marco.
Top tip: Take a dip in the only swimming pool in central Venice (heated and seawater) and enjoy spectacular views over to San Marco whilst you swim.
If you are ready to start planning a city break in Venice, contact us today.