Magical Venice is high on most people’s bucket list of places to visit. We were lucky enough to have visited recently and stayed in the finest hotel on the island, Gritti Palace. Original plans were to experience this luxury establishment for one night, where countless celebrities, politicians, and sportsmen have stayed. However, we pushed the budget out to stay there for the whole trip, as this is one hotel where every pound you pay is worth spending with the effortless luxury they offer.
This Palace has been home to nobility since the 15th century and has been a luxury hotel since 1895. Normally I find pictures of famous people on establishment walls quite distasteful but this is one exception to the norm. The breadth of guests across the worlds of politics and celebrity is testimony to the enduring popularity of the hotel. Where else would you find Margaret Thatcher and Angelina Jolie on the same walls?
Their suites are inspired by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham, and John Ruskin. We stayed at their Sestiere 1 Bedroom suite with a sumptuous King-sized bed. The ornate 19th-century style of the room is certainly beguiling. Wherever you look, there is captivating decor from the stunning Murano glass chandelier to the exquisite archival fabrics designed by Rubelli Group. Their fully-marbled bathroom is particularly spacious and you are supplied with luxury Acqua di Parma bathroom toiletries. We enjoyed very peaceful views of the small ‘Rio delle Ostreghe’ side canal. If you upgrade to the higher category suites like Patron, Royal, and Redentore, you will have views of the grand canal, with the latter suite having its own plunge pool.
Dining at their Club del Doge restaurant is a must, even if it’s simply to admire the most magnificent restaurant view in town, especially if you are on their grand canal-facing terrace in the shadow of the majestic Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Our breakfast buffet was a royal feast with a cold buffet available including the finest charcuterie board and hot dishes á la carte. If you have a spare half-a-day at least, make sure you check out The Gritti Epicurean School to pick up some cookery tips from their chefs. The cookery school has been running without fail since 1975.
Whether you are looking for an apéritif or digestif, Bar Longhi is the place to be with its elegant and sophisticated décor. Their freshly made bellinis are widely reputed to be the best in Venice and that’s quite the compliment considering the iconic Harry’s Bar is just around the corner. When we visited, peaches were not in season, so they weren’t offering the cocktail. Instead, I opted for a smooth-tasting Rossini cocktail. The bar is decorated with marvellous paintings belonging to the school of the renowned 18th-century Venetian artist Pietro Longhi. There is also the stunning Murano glassware to admire along with the polychromatic marble. On our next visit, we’ll also have to try their indulgent afternoon tea selection.
Spa facilities are immaculate as you would expect from a 5-star establishment. Treatments and products are all from the famous Sisley Paris brand. However, if you prefer to be out and about, you can book a private Riva speedboat and explore the picturesque Venetian lagoon. The area in which the hotel is based is also a short walk to numerous luxury boutique shops, so you won’t be short of options on the activity front.
One thing to note, maybe it was the time of year I was visiting, I did see a lot of flooding throughout the city when the tide was high. Venice isn’t a city you should put off visiting on your bucket list. And if you do decide to visit, make sure you are staying at the very best: Gritti Palace Hotel.