The Hotel Flora is an ivy-clad 17th-century palazzo tucked down a narrow alleyway in San Marco. It’s hidden from the crowds, but still an easy stroll to the buzz of San Marco Palazzo and the Grand Canal. Like all grand Venetian homes, it’s had its share of interesting inhabitants over the years, including a School of Painting, a salon for well-known local artists. Continuing the artistic legacy, the Romanelli family—photographers, writers, and antique collectors among them—has owned the hotel for the last 50 years.
In the classic manner of a pension, the hotel is intimate and the staff welcoming and friendly. Rooms are cozy and decorated with traditional antique furnishings, heavy drapes, and bold brocade wallpaper in some. Pop down to the Victorian-styled bar for an aperitif, or linger over an espresso with a good read in the hushed garden.
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Venture out of the hotel for meals other than breakfast. You’ll have plenty of options in San Marco, the cultural and social heart of Venice’s six districts (sestieri). Try traditional local dishes at the laid-back Taverna dei Dogi, or its more upscale counterpart directly next door. When visiting Italy, sampling gelato from the source is a must. Stop into Gelato Fantasy and then stroll with your creamy treat though St. Mark’s Square, a wide, 12th-century piazza that’s one of Italy’s most iconic gathering spots.
Need to Know
Rooms: 40 rooms, 7 suites. From $200. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: There is no proper restaurant, but a continental breakfast with fresh-baked pastries, fruit, juices, coffee, and tea is available every morning. Sip wine or an after-dinner whiskey in the clublike bar indoors or in the lush garden. Spa and gym details: There is no spa or gym.
Who's it for: Traditional Europhile travelers and families looking for a home away from home. Our favorite rooms: The rooms are all very similar in decor, and most are on the smaller side, but do try to book any of the garden-facing rooms for a glimpse into that hushed, private oasis—rare in Venice. If bringing tots: This family-run hotel is also very family friendly. They offer family rooms and suites, plus strollers to borrow and babysitting services to book.