VENICE- Luxury Hotels

VENEZIA

There is no place like Venice. Of all the regions in Italy I can’t wait to get to Venice time and again. I make sure that I visit at least twice a year and try to plan that one of those times during the off season. ( November- Late January before Carnival), the crowds are smaller and you can actually see in the windows of the chic shops as you pass by. My next trip will be February, and I can’t wait.

One of my favorite five star luxury hotels in Venice  are Bauer Il Palazzo http://www.ilpalazzovenezia.com/ If you like being on the Grand Canale, in old world luxury and near the chic shops, then Bauer Il Palazzo is for you. Now do not be confused. The Bauer also has Bauer     L’ Hotel ( which is not my favorite and is attached to street side and feels more commercial and contemporary). But if you are looking for plush, lush, deep burgundy reds, and polished silver, heavy gold corded tassels, then try The Bauer, the right location. For a ultimate villa experience in Venice, the Bauer also owns the Villa F across the canale in sleepy Giudeca.  Villa F can host you and twenty friends in an intimate and eloquent private venue complete with staff and private boat. http://www.villafvenezia.com/

Cipriani- The ultimate in refined hospitality and style.  How can one go to Venice and not discuss the iconic family of hotelliers Arrigo Cipriani? http://www.hotelcipriani.com/web/ocip/hotel_cipriani.jsp Dod you require a swimming pool and grounds? Then Cipriani is for you.   When last there, they had preserved a wing, in 50’s style exactly as it was.......50 years ago. Kitch.   The remainder of the rooms have been renovated.  The property lovely and the service.... well he wrote the book on service not servitude didn’t he?

As far as dining at Harry’s bar... well I would say pass.  If you must go, then go because it is an icon and not for the food.   The decor is great though, the bill was not. http://www.harrysbarvenezia.com/ I am sure if you were there in 1962 it was "the spot".   Go and drink,  order  a Bellini! But dine with Diane and Cesare  at AL Covo http://www.ristorantealcovo.com/ divine and dining.   Better to  reserve ahead.

Back to hotels in the five star category,   though lovely, I have trouble with booking Hotel Daniele http://www.danielihotelvenice.com/ or Palazzina Grassi http://www.palazzinag.com/roomssuites/?lang=en not that I do not like them, they are both wonderful. I was at the opening of Palazzina Grazzi when Philip Stark and entourage were there for the preliminary opening. Had I known I was going,  I would have change clothes.  It is cozy and hip and colorful with wonderful decorate touches  to  enhance the room into an intimate space.   But to stay there, I would not, rooms were small, and it is tucked away though nicely reachable by boat.

THE TOURIST ZONE- The majority of  tourists visit and stay in  the  area between St Marks and Rialto Bridge.  These two areas  are the most crowded,  and do not reflect the true temperment of the city. My advice is to walk and visit Castello,  San Polo and Dorsoduro.   One of my favorite sestiere is Dorsoduro. It is only a 15 minute walk to Piazza San Marco, and begins by crossing  the Accademia bridge.

TRAGHETTI- A piece of Venetian History

One can  also travel like a venetian and take a traghetto ( Gondola crossing ) at various points around the city for a few cents.   What ever you do, do not insult the gondoliere and leave more money than the required .70 centisimi. They will be insulted. The traghetti  appointment,  is a time honored tradition, and well respected.    The Traghetti short cuts that take you across water serve an important purpose.   Look for traghetti crossing points as you wander  around the city.


Back to Dorsoduro, in this area you will find the following important museums:  Guggenheim, Ca Rezzonico and Dogana museums.  On south side of Dorsoduro;Fondamenta Zattere e lo Spirito Santo is a lovely place to walk , stroll or jog, away from the masses.    Zattere valporetto stop is a quick way to get back to other parts of the city. On Dorsoduro you find the Centurion Palace. http://centurionpalacevenezia.com/ which is located on the Grand Canale. If you can afford it reserve a junior suite furnished in orange  and ask for the suite on the north east corner with a view facing the Salute church. Stay away from the standard rooms as they are to small. If you are looking for a gourmet dinner Linea d’Ombra is near the Dogana museum and is located right on the water. http://www.ristorantelineadombra.com/index_language.htm

WHY GO?

2013 will be the next  Biennale year for Contemporary Art. The Venice Biennale, is  the Guggenheim initiated exihibitian which began in the late 1800’s and features contemporary artists from all over the world.http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/ It is a wonderful time to visit the city.   The show begins early June and the show runs through end of October.  Plan to spend at least four  days in Venice when teh Biennale is on, so you have time to  look at the installations of the Biennale in addition to allowing time for the general tourists activities.   The show is located primarily at the “Giardini” pavillions and at the Arsenale ( ship building area 15th C) but  is presented at various venues all over the city, such as  deconsecrated churches, in the water, or in palazzi.  Look for the beet colored “Biennale” banner hanging around town to find hidden exhibitians . Well worth the visit.

Check out Joyce Falcone The Italian Concierge’s comments on CNN Travel section on Venice. http://www.cnn.com/2011/TRAVEL/07/22/opulent.venice/index.html

And if you like what you’ve been reading, like us on Conde Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists List, where I’ve appeared for the last five years straight.

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