The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice
What We Love
- Prime location near San Marco at the mouth of the Grand Canal, with views of the lagoon, the iconic Salute church and the Punta della Dogana museum
- The decor, entirely redone in high Venetian style, dripping with Rubelli silks and damasks and Murano glass chandeliers
What To Know
- The Baroque opulence may not appeal to those with a more modern aesthetic
- On-site gym is small
- The hotel is pet-friendly, though fees may apply
- Free WiFi
- Room Service
High Venetian Baroque. Designer extraordinaire Chuck Chewning (creative director of the Italian furniture and textile house Donghia) respun the 15th-century palazzo’s storied past, refurbishing and repurposing its invaluable collection of art and antiques everywhere, from the spacious canal-side lobby and reception areas to the dining room, library and iconic Bar Longhi. The result is a space that doubles as a curated art museum fronting the Grand Canal, with rich colors and textures such as silk, marble and glass, and overstuffed Old World furniture.
Bed and Bath
From the upholstered walls to the plush kingsize beds and shimmering draperies, all 82 guestrooms are sheathed in custom-made Rubelli silks. Designer Chuck Chewning selected different pieces from the hotel’s extensive art and antiques holdings to embellish the rooms, which have Murano glass light fixtures, high ceilings, oak parquet and original terrazzo floors and oil paintings and — perhaps the best feature — canal views. Opulent bathrooms are clad in marble, and those looking for a touch of the contemporary will appreciate free high-speed Internet access and 40-inch Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs.
The hotel’s ground-floor Bar Longhi, which takes its name from the paintings by 18th-century Venetian master Pietro Longhi that hang within, and its adjacent restaurant, Club del Doge, have been glam gathering places for decades, not just for their cuisine and cocktails but for their Grand Canal views and chic clientele. Since the redo, these public areas have been augmented with a living room and library space with books and curiosities curated by jewelry designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia. There’s also a cooking school that brings back to life the hotel’s famed epicurean academy of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a small Acqua di Parma spa done up in blue, white and yellow mosaic glass tiles.
In the Area
The Piazza San Marco, which is home to the eponymous basilica, the adjacent Campanile bell tower and the Doge’s Palace, is less than a 10-minute walk from the Gritti Palace. Take a gondola across the Grand Canal to see the Santa Maria della Salute church, the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi contemporary art museums, as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Modern Art. And if you’re looking for some retail therapy, high-end shopping is ubiquitous, with international brands and artisanal crafts boutiques everywhere you turn.
How to Get There
The location, on the Grand Canal and a five-minute walk from St. Mark's Square, is great. The room was large, ornately decorated and very clean. The bathroom was again large, all-marble with separate bathtub and shower. The staff (including reception) treated us like VIPs the entire time. The concierge, Umberto, was most helpful in planning our trip and arranging a guide. The breakfasts on the terrace overlooking the canal were a wonderful way to start the day. We were able to take a water taxi directly from the Cruise Terminal directly to the hotel's private dock and later from the dock to the airport. There is a traghetto adjacent to the hotel and the Giglio vaporetto stop is around the corner. If we are lucky enough to return to Venice, we would not consider staying anywhere else.
The Gritti Palace is absolutely gorgeous. The bar and restaurant there are both fantastic and the rooms are perfectly appointed. That said, we did have one pretty unfortunate experience with staff. Upon arriving we let a gentlemen at the reception desk (balding, wearing glasses-did not think to get his name) know that we only had the afternoon and evening in Venice and were wondering what highlights he thought we should see. He immediately advised that we MUST go to Murano and walk around and that there was a free shuttle from the hotel. We were jet lagged and weary so we did not ask very many questions and took his advice. A boat quickly arrived to pick us up. The boat ride to Murano is 20 or so minutes one way. Upon arriving a nice gentleman named Ricardo immediately greeted us from a Murano glass company, advised he had been told we were coming and quickly shuttled us inside a showroom where he tried to sell us a glass set for $1500 and was pushy about making a deal. It was clear that we were set up by the guy at the reception desk. There is not much to do or see in Murano comparative to Venice. Either way, reception, the boat drivers who took us to and from and the glass company seemed to all be in on it. I would not have minded as much if we had more time to see Venice... but this attempt at a forced sale of expensive glassware we expressed no interest in seeing took over an hour and a half, precious time that could have been spent seeing Venice landmarks. I would also note that similar glassware was seen other places in Venice for significantly less in comparison to the prices Ricardo quoted us. Hopefully this post will help other travelers from making the same mistake. We otherwise loved our time at The Gritti Palace.
Some rooms in the lower categories are small with compact bathrooms and lack the wow factor (and views). LTI recommends you only consider the Giglio Prestige category upwards (and request a large room in this category as they significantly vary in size).
Any of the nine themed suites are very strong contenders – we particularly like the Hemingway Suite, with its unique atmosphere and views on to the Grand Canal and the Ruskin. Our absolute favourite is the loft-style Redentore Terrazza Suite, which has a one-of-a-kind 250m roof terrace with a small pool and superb views over Venice. More detail can be found in our Venice Report.