What We Love
- Sipping champagne at the exclusive Krug Terrace looking out over the Grand Canal
- Watching chef Paolo Businaro theatrically preparing fabulous dishes in his open kitchen
- Johnny Depp camped out for three months in the JD Suite while filming The Tourist
What To Know
- A city tax of approximately $7 per person, per night will be collected by the hotel at check out
- This is a hip party hotel. The upside is that hotel guests often get invited to on-site events; the downside is that the music can go on late and loud
- The location is perfect for art lovers, just next door to the Palazzo Grassi museum
- There's no pool or spa on-site
- Free WiFi
Philippe Starck is the man behind Palazzina G, and it’s a visual tour de force, from the surreal furniture he has specially created — low wooden tables, vast mirrors and swirling armchairs — to amazing chandeliers that reimagine Murano glass. The atrium entrance of the palazzo has been transformed into a sexy all-in-one lobby/lounge/bar/restaurant, the stylish heart of the hotel, where guests mix and mingle from morning cappuccino through after-dinner grappa.
Bed and Bath
In comparison to the extravagant entrance, the guestrooms are minimalist, very white and relatively small despite the use of mirrors everywhere, but small rooms is par for the course in Venice. Fab carnival-inspired lamps by Starck contrast with the traditional Venetian cool marble floors, delicate linen bedsheets and fluffy bathrobes. Suites feature a transparent glass wardrobe, and some have their own private rooftop terrace; it is definitely worth splashing out for one of the rooms with a view of the Grand Canal.
Grab a seat at the long cocktail bar and try the barman’s signature tipple, the Silver Moon Martini, made using Crystal Head vodka, or the lethal Campari-based Spritz al Bitter, a favorite Venetian aperitif. The chef at the hip PG’s restaurant is a star, but rather than eating at one of the cramped tables, sit at the kitchen counter and watch Paolo Businaro prepare tempting dishes such as delicate courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta, pecorino cheese and crispy apple. Also worth checking out is his cooking course, which includes a tour of the spectacular Rialto market — paradise for foodies.
In the Area
Across the Accademia Bridge are the stunning Tintoretto and Titian paintings at the Accademia Museum, while the avant-garde collection of Francois Pinault in the nearby Punta della Dogana includes works by the Chapman Brothers. A short walk from the hotel takes you to the buzzing Campo Santo Stefano; en route check out the surprising wooden sculptures of local artist Livio de Marchi and irresistible hand-printed silk and velvet fashions by Emma Gaggio. In the campo itself, hang out on the terrace of Caffe Paolin for people watching and some delicious gelato, and if you get hungry try A Beccafico for light Mediterranean cuisine from the Amalfi region.
How to Get There
I really loved the hotel. It was stylish, modern and the location was perfect. I would have had a wonderful time but some staff members (not all) had ruined the experience. On the first day (out of two) me my family had decided to get food from the bar (my son had fallen severely ill and vomited several times throughout the night therefore we couldn’t go out on that day) but had to wait about 25 minutes before a waiter even came to give us the menus! Worried about our son who was left upstairs we asked the waiter to tell the chef to be a little quick with our orders so that we could quickly go back to look after him, he said okay but when he turned around to walk away he muttered a sting of Italian curse words directed at us, (i studied Italian in college so i knew what he was saying). Afterwards we had to wait 40 minutes for our food to arrive! When the waiter had finally came with our food he had a smug expression on his face, i didn’t know whether it was because he purposely delayed our food or because of something else but he sure looked happy when he saw our annoyed faces.
If the staff had been more pleasant and understanding i would have definitely given this hotel a 5 star review. Alas now when i look back at my experience in Venice my first thought won't be about how amazing the hotel itself was, but rather how rudely the staff had treated us. This hotel definitely has some potential though.
The hotel is absolutely beautiful; it is stylish, modern and luxurious, every detail has been thought of and the location is great. However the area which seems to have had absolutely no thought is the staff (not all, there are a couple of standout but they are fighting a losing battle), on the whole they were condescending, exceptionally slow and rude.
Two out of the four evenings we sat at the bar in the hotel (Venice had flooded, we didn’t go the second time out of choice). The first evening the service was so slow we complained we had been left waiting for 20minutes, to two members of staff, when eventually our waiter reappeared his response was to mutter his apparent disgust under his breath (sadly he didn’t realise we can speak Italian); he wasn’t complimentary. Our second experience at the bar I unfortunately cut my knee on the (albeit beautiful) mirrored bar countertop, picture attached. The staff found it to be an inconvenience, no care or concern was shown. The more upset we became about the situation the more defensive they became, ultimately ending in a shouting match. Following this we were in the hotel for another two nights, I was never asked how I was and nothing was done to the bar to insure this didn’t happen again.
I really want to recommend this hotel but ultimately it is flawed operationally.
We stayed in Palazzina G for 1 night last weekend. We only booked 1 night due to availability but we were both glad that we didn't stay longer. The hotel is very pricey and really not worth it. Despite the decor and social areas being lovely, and the initial greeting being very welcoming the hotel really does not live upto expectation for the price. The rooms are not comfortable, very small, hard bed, neither of us slept particularly well. We were also awoken by some drilling at 8am! The toiletries and amenities in the room however are excellent, you could travel without anything and be ok. However there is little light, its all ambient so doing make-up is challenging in the evening
The food was nice (breakfast) but very pricey, 7 euros for a coffee and 8 euros for an orange juice!
On the positive, the location is great, very close to St Marks square but not noisy and busy, you can easy walk in but not be in the noisy hustle and bustle, however the other side of the acadamia bridge in Dorsodora is a much nicer place to stay. More relaxed, less touristy but still walkable to all of the main sites.
I just returned from a 10 day trip to Europe (Italy, Austria, England) that included a one-night stay at the Palazzina G. I'm honestly still reeling - both from how poorly I was treated on-site at the property, and how it was handled by Customer Service over the phone and via social media as I tried to reach out in various methods and resolve the situation with the time difference and limited phone capability. In 10+ years of loyalty to Marriott (I understand that this is technically a SPG/Design Hotel property but we are in a post-merger world now...), I have never had a hotel stay like this one. And I don't mean that in a positive way.
A few things to keep in mind - because this is going to be a long story - one, I booked this stay on points. And two, my reservation was for two people (my mom and myself) but my sister ended up staying with us as well (she lives about an hour away). Both of these items - staying on points and having an extra person - seemed to create huge problems for the staff and escalated what was supposed to be a dream stay to treat my mom and sister into a total nightmare scenario.
We arrived at the property early (11:30ish?) and our room wasn't ready, which I was totally prepared for - early transatlantic flight, etc. We dropped off luggage off with the porter and headed out to find some lunch. Upon coming back to the hotel, the FD asked if I had three people instead of two. When I replied yes and asked if that was a problem, I was told absolutely it was a problem and that they would try to find a solution. And this was not presented in a happy, helpful way, but in a way that made it clear that I was scum of the earth, and I had ruined everyone's day. Um, okay. An extra person in a room is a problem? I should have known better, because I've stayed in European hotels often, and they get weird about things like this. So the "solution" that was ultimately presented to us - after an hour of waiting in the hotel restaurant - was that we pay for a second room, or we pay a FIVE HUNDRED EURO "supplement" to upgrade to a suite. Neither of these options was really an option at all, but in the interest of keeping my sister with us, I opted for the ridiculous five hundred euro supplement to the "Attic Suite". If you visit the Palazzina website or look at their hotel on any of the Marriott/SPG apps or branding, the Attic Suite is the one that comes up - it has Grand Canal views, a huge couch, tons of lamps, very atmospheric, etc. Okay - fine. It's a once-in-a-lifetime stay in a once-in-a-lifetime place, I'll play ball and pay your fee for the chance to stay in a room like that and treat my guests to an experience of that magnitude.
We finally get up to our room - mind you, this is after an hour and a half of the FD hemming and hawing, giving us the run around on our "solution", etc - an hour and a half that could have been spent, I don't know, enjoying Venice? - and it's beautiful. It's gorgeous, it has the canal views, big wooden beams, etc. It's great. Sure, I just blew $600 that I was planning on spending, but my Mom and sister are living in luxury, everyone's happy, life is good, yay!
Did you think the story ended happily there? Spoiler alert, it didn't. As I'm sitting on the pale pink couch, overlooking the Grand Canal, my sister says, "uhhh guys? There's MOLD in here." Meaning, the bedroom. I'm thinking, mold, water, Venice, okay - it kind of makes sense? What kind of mold? A little bit of mold in the corner? Nope. I go into the bedroom to look and see the following (see photo upload).
Literally a GIANT swatch of black mold on the bedroom wall above a large mirror. Not like, mold in the shower corner, oops, someone didn't put enough elbow grease in on that last clean, but a HUGE patch of mold. I don't know how 1) they had had guests in and out of this room, and 2) they had had people cleaning this room on a regular basis. How had paying guests and/or housekeeping missed something like this? Not only was it absolutely disgusting to look at, it was absolutely a health hazard. It obviously made the room completely uninhabitable.
So. Knowing that the FD is already sick of us - because we were staying on points and had the gall to have an extra person - we file back downstairs after taking the above picture - and let them know that the room is lovely but we can't stay in it because it has MOLD. They didn't seem too alarmed but said that they would talk to "management" and see what could be done. I was pleasant but told them that this was absolutely a health hazard and that we needed to be moved to another room, no matter what the size (going back to the three person thing - we were told that this suite was the only room in the hotel that would fit three people which is why I had to pay the uncharge, etc). I also told them that based on the inconvenience we had already been through at this point, I didn't see any reason why we should pay a "supplement" for another room at this point.
Time was ticking at this point on our Venice stay and we had dinner reservations so we decided to go out to dinner, and come back and see what had been decided. Although it had been 2.5 hours we were away at dinner with the obvious mold issue - there still was not a room ready. But what was decided was that we had two choices. One, we could be moved to an even bigger suite and still pay the supplement. Two, we could stay in the room WITH THE MOLD and not pay the supplement. (This is the point where I should have found another room for us at another property, but TBH, I was tired and jet lagged and still trying to make it work, in retrospect, I don't know why.)
We spent another two hours in the lobby (grand total at this point of time spent on hotel issues and NOT spent enjoying Venice: approximately 3.5 hours), dealing with the FD person and trying to unsuccessfully resolve the situation, both with the FD, with "management" (who were either not there in person or refused to come out of their office, it was unclear), and ultimately with Marriott directly. Due to the time change, it was difficult to get through on the Customer Service line. After about three tries, I finally got through to someone who seemed like he could help me. He listened to my concerns, opened a customer service case file, and called the hotel directly (I was told). He came back on the line and told me that the issue had been resolved directly with the FD and that we were to be put up in the new room and NOT be charged the supplement. I wanted to cry, I was so relieved. The CS rep told me to stay on the line and confirm with the FD that our new room was ready for us, which I did. We were able to get into the new room, and get some sleep.
Oh wait. Did you think the story ended happily there? Spoiler alert, it didn't.
When we went to check out the next morning, I was told we would still have to pay the supplement, which was not the understanding from the previous night. We dealt with a new FD clerk, who was about as inclined to help as the FD clerk from the night before (read: not very). We were told that "management" had decided that we had to still pay the supplement despite the conversation with Marriott CS, etc. I asked to speak to the manager on duty and the FD clerk disappeared for about five minutes and came back with a small card ... with the email address of the manager. I guess she (he?) did not want to emerge from their office to actually speak to me face to face.
At this point, I had no other choice than to sign the bill - although I did sign it with an asterisk noting "under duress". It was just the most unbelievable culmination of events and the way we were treated, from beginning to end, was absolutely incredible.
I said at the very beginning of this that we were staying on a rate booked on points (I blew 60,000 points on this "dream" stay - can you believe that??) and I think it's important to note that because of how shoddily we were treated. I think that we would have been treated that way anyways, but I think the fact that we were staying on points did not help. When I first checked in and asked about breakfast (I did not realize that Design Hotels do not offer benefits to MR members), the FD clerk smirked and told me that I did not get breakfast because I was staying on points. The way he said it, you might have well said that I had been out clubbing baby seals or something. And then reading the story above about the scene in the lounge/lobby with the breakfast incident - I can 100% see that happening at this place. It's just sad, and disheartening. I wouldn't have 60,000 points to spend on your property - and 10x that in my account overall! - if I didn't have an extreme amount of loyalty to this brand. A level of loyalty that is rapidly dwindling day by day, rest assured. I've experienced shoddy treatment when I've stayed on points before, and it NEVER makes sense to me. But I've never been treated this poorly.
Well, that's about all. Now I am in follow up mode with Marriott because despite following up with them after checking out (approximately two weeks ago) to let them know what was going on and to try and determine what was going to be done to resolve this situation, I have heard NOTHING back. Zero. Zip. Nada. I finally connected with an SPG representative on - of all things - Facebook Messenger - only to be told that my "concerns" had been sent to the hotel management (ha!) and that they had three to five business days to respond to me. I'll give you a million dollars if you can guess who hasn't responded to me...
Review summary if you don't like reading - stay far, far away from the Palazzina G, unless you are some kind of hotel masochist.
It’s difficult to be more stylish than the Italians especially in Italy but staying at the lavishly appointed Palazzina makes you feel a little less left out. This is a wonderful use of space in tightly packed Venice and offers style, sophistication and luxury with the Starck signature. The staff are wonderful. Friendly, accommodating, always with a smile, they make the experience even more pleasurable. I highly recommend this very unique venue. Arrive by water taxi and be swept into a world of opulence and pleasure. If you’re going to do Venice, do Venice by Starck.