- Joanne Herd
My 6 favorite hotels in Venice
Venice is full of beautiful hotels. From ancient, ornate palazzos along the canals, to small guest houses in the more residential areas of town, to luxury hotels on their own islands, there are options to suit every guest and budget.
One thing to think of as you’re selecting your hotel that is unique in Venice is whether you want to take a boat to get from the hotel into the main part of the city. If you want to be able to step out of your front door into the streets of the main island you’ll want to make sure to select a hotel within the heart of the city.
But if you’re looking for a quieter experience you may want to consider something on one of the other islands. Many offer their own shuttles into the main part of the city, often stopping around Piazza San Marco. That means you may find it easier and faster to get to the main sites of the city from a hotel on another island than you would from a hotel where you have to walk 20-30 minutes through the city to get to where you want to be.
The “best” hotel or resort for you won’t necessarily be the best for someone else. Everyone has a different budget and different tastes. That’s why I always take lists of the “best” or “must stay” hotels with a grain of salt. But I still love looking at them, and I’ve found some of my favorite hotels that way!
With that in mind, here’s my list of my favorite hotels in Venice, Italy.
The Aman Venice is set in the Palazzo Papadopoli, one of the eight monumental palazzos on the Grand Canal. Built in the 16th century, a stay at the Aman Venice is like spending the night in a museum.
The hotel has just 25 individually designed rooms and suites, some of which are covered in frescoes and reliefs, complemented by contemporary furniture and amenities.
Your Venetian experience starts before you arrive, with a trip down the Grand Canal to the Aman’s private dock and water door. Enter into the dramatic reception hall, which opens into the hotel’s private gardens (a rare amenity in Venice).
Enjoy a meal in the Yellow Dining Room, or if you prefer something more private arrangements can be made in one of the palazzo’s hidden rooms.
If you’ve always dreamed of being a gondolier, try your hand at rowing with Row Venice. Aman has created a partnership Row Venice so guests can try their hand at the traditional Venetian style of gondola rowing, “voga alla veneta”.
For one of the best dinner views in Venice, book a table at the Bauer Palazzo’s “Seventh Heaven” restaurant. It’s the highest terrace in Venice, providing breathtaking views from the Grand Canal to the Alps.
The hotel is close to Piazza San Marco, making it easy to get around the city while seeming a world away from the tourist crowds that can fill the piazza.
A combination of traditional Venetian fabrics and colors, gold leaf and tapestry walls with more contemporary furnishings give the rooms a timeless, but not stuffy quality. The service is top rate, the restaurants exquisite, and the experience is timeless.
Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel
Founded by Guiseppe Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar and the inventor of the Bellini cocktail, the Cipriani has welcomed glamorous guests into its rooms since 1958.
The hotel is on Giudecca island, just 5 minutes from San Marco on the hotel’s private courtesy launch. Surrounded by lush gardens and a peaceful setting away from the crowds, the Cipriani also boasts the only Olympic-size swimming pool in Venice.
The decor captures the essence of Venice, with Murano glass, antique mirrors, and fabrics by Fortuny and Rubelli.
For one of the most sought-after dining experiences in Venice, enjoy some time on the wooden terrace of the Cip’s Club restaurant facing the Doge’s Palace. You can also experience the artistic tasting menu at Michelin-starred Oro Restaurant.
If you’re looking for a special meal, have the chef put together a picnic in a traditional wicker basket. You can take it into the gardens, or have the concierge arrange a private motor launch and enjoy a private meal on the waters of the lagoon.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
Located on a private island in the Venetian lagoon, the Isola delle Rose, the JW Marriott Venice is a tranquil retreat for its guests.
With its unique location, the JW Marriott is able to grow a variety of produce that is used in its restaurants, including the only olive oil harvested and pressed on the islands of Venice. Enjoy views over the lagoon during a meal at one of their many restaurants, take a walk through the gardens of the 40-acre island, indulge in a spa experience, or relax in one of their two pools.
When it’s time to experience the city you can take their complimentary shuttle launch into San Marco before returning to your island oasis.
San Clemente Palace Kempinski
Lush gardens, courtyards, and the historic church of San Clemente are hallmarks of the private island home of the San Clemente Palace Kempinski.
The hotel's 196 rooms and suites overlook either the lagoon or the centuries-old park. The 900-year-old property is made up of monastery buildings, a 12th-century chapel, and 15 acres of ancient gardens and courtyards.
Only 10 minutes from San Marco, it is easy to reach the city via the hotel’s courtesy launch. Or you can choose to stay on the island, indulge in a meal at one of their three restaurants, and enjoy the pool and spa.
While you’re there make sure to indulge in a spa treatment at the award-winning Merchant of Venice spa. If you enjoy running, the hotel’s 1.5 km jogging path, an unusual amenity in Venice, winds through the island’s lush gardens and parks.
The Gritti Palace
One of Venice’s most celebrated hotels, The Gritti Palace is an icon on the Grand Canal.
The palazzo itself dates from 1475 and is the former private residence of Andrea Gritti, the Doge of Venice. It was turned into a hotel in the 19th century, and has been welcoming the world’s most discerning travelers ever since.
A recent refurbishment of the property saw every painting, objet d’art, and chandelier painstakingly restored by Venetian artisans. The velvet, damask and silk wall coverings have all been replaced using archival patterns, creating a space that is both historic and fresh.
For one of the best water-side experiences in Venice, enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, or a cocktail on their terrace that overlooks the Grand Canal.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking for a classic Venetian Palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal or a secluded sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the main islands, Venice has hotels to suit every taste and budget.
If you’re planning a trip to Venice, or anywhere in Italy for that matter, please reach out and I can help you plan an amazing trip.