Gothic and grand, this 18th-century former nobleman’s home stands proudly on the banks of the Grand Canal in the San Marco district. Venetian-born owner and interior designer (among her many talents) Francesca Possati has restored this historic home to its regal glory. She has worked with local artists to breathe new life into original woodwork, ornate trompe l’oeil ceilings, and silk wall hangings, resulting in a once-again polished and posh palazzo. The distinctly Venetian rooms—many with canal views—are styled with rich fabrics, bold wall coverings, and pristine period antiques and illuminated by Murano glass chandeliers. Of course, they’ve been updated with the latest modern perks (like Italian marble and whirlpool tubs in the bathroom).
Stroll the art-filled hallways, splurge for a tasting menu at the elegant restaurant, and watch the gondolas float by from the red-awninged terrace. La dolce vita, indeed.
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San Marco is the cultural and social heart of Venice’s six districts (sestieri), and St. Mark’s Square, a wide, 12th-century piazza, is one of Italy’s most iconic gathering spots. Pose with flocks of pigeons, tour the fresco-faced and mosaic-filled Basilica of St. Mark, and get a bird’s-eye view (pigeon’s, even) of the lagoon and ancient city below from St. Mark’s Bell Tower (campanile).
Need to Know
Rooms: 191 rooms, 56 suites. From $285. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Dress for dinner at the very upscale Bauer de Pisis Restaurant. Japanese-born chef Hiraki Masakazu puts an Asian accent on classic Mediterranean dishes such as salt cod Venetian style, squid risotto in squid ink, and Piemonte beef tartare. Don’t miss a chance to dine beneath the stars on the canal-facing stone terrace. Then greet the day with a cappuccino at Settimo Cielo (seventh heaven), the hotel’s rooftop terrace, and wind down with a specialty cocktail at celebrity hot spot B Bar with a DJ known for turning things up on weekends. Spa and gym details: There is no on-site spa, but you can arrange for a boat ride to the spa at sister property Bauer’s Palladio Hotel on nearby Giudecca Island for a massage in the garden, milk and rose bath, or volcanic clay massage.
Who's it for: Luxury travelers looking for a classic Venetian vacation. Our favorite rooms: It’s hard to decide which is more enticing in the Junior Suite with Canal View: the custom wallpaper or the watery vistas right from the bed. Okay, it’s probably the view, but the attention to detail—antique furniture, dark wood millwork—is difficult to overlook. Customize your plans: Even if staunchly DIY, guests should check in with the Golden Key concierge, who specializes in creating tailor-made itineraries for guests.