The Top Hotels in Venice

Canal views, that golden Venetian light, and old-world service await you in this magical watery kingdom. Find a hotel that offers the best experience of Venice, whether you’re in the mood for a small boutique option or a full-blown grande dame.

Highlights
Calle Tiepolo Baiamonte, 1364, Palazzo Papadopoli, 30125 Sestiere San Polo, Venezia VE, Italy
Aman hotels recently opened a 25-suite resort along Venice‘s Grand Canal in the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli, one of the city’s most stunning waterfront palaces. What’s great about this destination is that, unlike many of the resorts in Aman’s portfolio, you can come here for dinner and drinks even if you’re not a guest. I recommend visiting just before dusk and pre-booking a table in the hotel’s adjacent garden. But it’s also nice to visit for lunch, (the hotel has one of the city’s only Thai-themed restaurant menus) and spend the afternoon sipping cold mojito’s on their cozy garden chairs next to the Grand Canal.
Piscina S. Moise, 1459, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
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.
Hotels
Giudecca, 10, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
Secreted away on Giudecca Island is the glamorous, lagoon-facing Belmond Hotel Cipriani, originally opened in 1958 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the infamous Harry’s Bar and the creator of that ubiquitous brunch cocktail, the Bellini. The peach-hued 15th-century palazzo is styled with Murano glass chandeliers and Fortuny and Rubelli fabrics and has a Michelin-starred chef in house and several knockout restaurants all set on manicured grounds. The hotel is kept safe from the prying eyes of paparazzi behind a castlelike wall. No wonder it’s the luxury hideout of choice for celebrities (Mick Jagger is a fan) and the jet set.

If guests do feel like venturing out, the hotel offers one-of-a-kind outings with expert local guides such as a nighttime photography stroll, a visit to area wineries and farms via boat, and a kayak paddle on the lagoon.
Hotels
Rio Terrà Foscarini, 979A, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy
Overlooking a postcard-perfect Venetian street (a former canal, now paved over) in the artistic Dorsoduro district, this 500-year-old merchant’s townhouse has been revamped as the boutique hotel Ca’Pisani. Behind the traditional exterior lies a modern den with clean lines and sharp, geometric forms that’s enhanced by original work from one of Italy’s most notable Futurist artists, Fortunato Depero. Architects Roberto Luigi Canovaro and Pierluigi Pescolderung balanced original design elements—exposed beam ceilings, brickwork—with 1930s touches, including one-of-a-kind inlay door designs and custom masonry and marble work.

Gaze out at the city’s rooftops from the hotel’s roof terrace, or mingle with locals over wine or an espresso at the street-level café. With the Peggy Guggenheim collection and the Gallerie dell’Accademia gallery just a stroll away, you’ll be able to journey from 16th-century Venice to the 20th century all in a few famous paintings.
Giudecca, 810, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
Hilton Molino Stucky on Giudecca Island is a zippy five-minute boat ride (free for guests) away from bustling Piazza San Marco, and ideally located for those craving a tad more tranquility without missing out on any of those sweeping Venetian vistas. Once a working flourmill, this brick, industrial-era fortress has been reimagined as a luxury hotel with all of the modern bells and whistles. Take a break from museum hopping with a day spent surveying the city below from the city’s only rooftop pool (followed by quality time spent in the spa). Of course, with several dining options just steps from your room, you could happily spend most of your time right here.

If mixing business with pleasure, this hotel—with Executive Suites, a ballroom for events, several conference rooms, and a business center—makes for a superbly scenic day at the office.
Castello 4196, Venice
Housed in a trio of historic buildings spanning the 14th to the 20th centuries, the Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, overlooks Venice’s lively Riva degli Schiavoni waterfront promenade in San Marco—a prime people-watching spot. The noble family who lived in the original Byzantine-style palazzo had four doges in their line. Its second act as a hotel began in 1822, and it has continued to host notable guests, from Charles Dickens to Charlie Chaplin. The gilded lobby, with its Murano glass chandeliers, pink marble columns, and stained-glass windows, sets the opulent tone throughout.

Rooms are styled with Italian antiques, original artwork, and Murano glass mirrors or chandeliers, and many have gorgeous lagoon views. Mingle with guests over martinis at the award-winning bar, or watch the sunset from the terrazza.
Hotels
Calle dei Bergamaschi, 2283, 30124 San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy
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.
Hotels
Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Built in 1525 as the family home of Doge Andrea Gritti, this antique-stocked palazzo has rooms with mosaic floors, hand-painted furniture, and panoramic views of the Grand Canal. Murano glass chandeliers and sconces light up the hotel that Ernest Hemingway called “the best hotel in a city of great hotels.” Hotel Gritti Palace, Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, Venice, 39/041-794611. From $519. luxurycollection.com/gritti. This story appeared in the July/August 2011 issue.
Hotels
San Marco, 1243, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
An understated, private landing stage for gondolas and water taxis on a side canal of the lagoon marks the entrance to the lovely Baglioni Hotel Luna in San Marco. Steeped in history, the palazzo, with lagoon-facing windows and charming Juliet balconettes, dates to the 12th century and is said to have given refuge to the Crusade-era Knights Templar. Interiors are more in keeping with noble 18th-century fashions. There’s a sleek marble lobby, sparkling crystal chandeliers, antique furnishings, and a healthy showing of brocade fabrics. The standout room is the pristinely preserved Salone Marco Polo, filled with18th-century frescoes painted by pupils of influential Venetian painter and printmaker Giambattista Tiepolo.

Conveniently located just steps from bustling and culture-packed St. Mark’s Square, this hotel, with its award-winning restaurant, relaxed lounge, and rooms full of delightful period details, makes for an elegant home base in Venice.
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