Travel: The best of Venice


It’s a great time to visit the City of Canals – the weather should be pleasantly warm and still dry, and with the summer crowds gone, the waterways will be quieter


Set on the Grand Canal, this five-star hotel, part of boutique hospitality group Relegance Collection, is just a short walk from the main sights. The 16th century façade contrasts playfully with Philippe Starck’s design-led interiors. Bold, eclecticism is the order of the day here – the designer has created a magical world that juxtaposes the original features of this former aristocratic home with quirky modern furnishings, extravagant lighting and Murano glass sculptures. Twenty-five rooms and suite apartments are spread across two adjoining buildings, offering views across the colourful Venice rooftops or the Grand Canal. With white walls and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, all the accommodation is dazzlingly light, bright and welcoming. Don’t miss the latest addition to the Relegance portfolio, a dining, art and design destination on Murano – with a concept store dedicated to art and design and Vetri, a restaurant celebrating the scents and flavours of the Venetian lagoon, it’s not to be missed.


This five-star Patricia Urquiola-designed hotel is located in the Arsenale area, making it perfectly placed for Venice’s famous Biennales. It is set in a fascinating building that dates back to 1272, and has seen incarnations as a hospice, refuge and old people’s home over the years – in renovating it, the designer wanted to honour “the human stories of a place that has always been full of life”. The result feels intimate and charming despite its size – there are 57 suites and nine deluxe rooms here. Two internal courtyards are home to the hotel’s Alchemia bar and Essentia courtyard and the indoor-outdoor VERO restaurant looks onto the lagoon. The stylish reading room is ideal for a moment’s peace after a day spent sightseeing, and the Pura City Spa offers an array of spoiling treatments. Be sure to book the fascinating Botanical Experience, a special tour of the lagoons accompanied by botanist Gabriele Bisetto that has been designed to reflect the property’s strong commitment to supporting local communities, preserving Venetian heritage, and practicing sustainable hospitality.


Set in a magnificent 12th century palazzo that is reputed to have housed the Knights Templar, this is Venice’s oldest hotel, and the closest to St. Mark’s Square. It reopened last summer after an extensive redesign led by architecture and interior design studio Spagnulo & Partners. Traditional features abound – think ornate stucco walls, Murano chandeliers, watercolour paintings and gold fixtures. Indeed, history is everywhere you look here – the ceiling frescos in the breath-taking Marco Polo ballroom (now the hotel’s grand dining room) were painted by pupils of Tiepolo, the renowned 18th century Venetian painter. Fear not, the culinary offerings more than live up to the rare artworks – Canova Restaurant, headed up by the famed Michelin starred chef, Claudio Sadler, serves excellent food in an intimate setting. Rooms are decorated in a lavish Venetian style, with silk brocade wall coverings, gilded period furniture and extravagantly draped soft furnishings. The highlight is the famed San Giorgio Terrace Suite, with its own 100 sq m terrace offering some of the best views in Venice, overlooking St Mark’s and the San Giorgio isle. Make time to visit the lavish new spa with its Turkish bath, treatment rooms and relaxation area.