and frescoes, and a small but exquisite spa.
Leoni, home to the Guggenheim Museum. On the land side, the hotel occupies a peaceful campo (small square) away from the bustle but still just moments from Calle Largo XXII Marzo, one of the main thoroughfares in this part of the city – this will take you to St Mark’s in five minutes and the Gallerie dell’Accademia in eight. Water taxis can deliver you directly to the hotel’s jetty, but there is also a Vaporetto (water bus) stop, Giglio, close by (service 1).
The hotel occupies a palace that dates from 1475 and was later owned by Andrea Gritti, doge of Venice from 1523 to 1538. It emerged from a 15-month restoration on February 2013, that revamped the entire building, including the rooms, restored all of the hotel’s hundreds of precious paintings and other artifacts, and added a small (two double treatment rooms) but exquisite Acqua di Parma spa.
Technology has been thoroughly updated but the palace’s intimate and historic character and appearance have been retained: digital alarm-radios and televisions are the only things that spoil the illusion you are staying not in a hotel but in a 15th-century Venetian palazzo.
The Gritti’s intimacy and relatively small size mean that the courteous and charming staff have plenty of time for you, whether you’re checking in using the efficient, state-of-the-art technology at the dedicated desk; quizzing the concierge for restaurant recommendations or tickets for the opera; ordering 24-hour room service; or asking head barman Cristiano Luciano to prepare a balsamic Martini or Dama Bianca coffee (with cream and absinthe) in the bar.
The marble-clad bathrooms are relatively small, thanks to laws that restrict the structural changes that can be made to Italy’s most historic building, but, assuming your taste is for Venetian period splendor, this is about the worst you can say about the sumptuous and completely refurbished 61 rooms and 21 suites.
All are different but all are filled with precious antiques, paintings, frescoes, objets d’art and beautiful fabrics. Best of the eight Grand Canal-view suites and rooms (notably numbers 111, 211, 212, 214, 215, 311, 312, 314 and 315) are the Hemingway, Pisani and Somerset Maugham. Courtyard rooms are the least appealing, view-wise; other price categories involve rooms that face the campo or small Rio Delle Ostreghe canal on the palace’s west flank. The Club de
Located on the ground floor, it looks out over the Grand Canal, with the option in summer of eating on an outdoor terrace on the Canal itself.
A fine breakfast buffet is served in the same dining room and the hotel offers intimate cookery classes in a charming open kitchen off the restaurant.
The hotel is very expensive indeed, and not all the rooms have the added wow factor that comes from Grand Canal views, but if you want to see Venice in the most perfect and romantic way possible, the Gritti is the place to stay and treat yourself. Double rooms from £425, including breakfast.
Yes: during the restoration, the hotel worked around the regulations concerning alterations to historic buildings to create six rooms adapted for those with disabilities. Room 320, in the 1575 part of the palace, with a small view of the Grand Canal, is the most appealing.