Perhaps you have heard in your travel dreams that somewhere in this world exists a city built upon water, a bastion of Italian art, culture and food. Welcome to a mystical destination of century-old grandeur that can only be found in a group of 117 small islands that are separated by canals and linked bridges. Yes, ladies, I am talking about the one and only Venice, Italy.
With numerous luxury hotels, I engaged in extensive research with crucial factors to consider – location, location and location. Being such a bustling city with water surrounding everything, I wanted to be in a luxurious and charming home-base that would most importantly keep me connected to it all.
Starwood Hotels now features ultra high-end accommodations in their “Luxury Collection” brand of hotels. While these specialty hotels are scattered throughout the globe, one of their crème de la crème assets is located right in the heart of Venice, Italy – The Gritti Palace.
Offering traditional Venetian style and elegance located along the heart of the enchanting Grand Canal, this hotel had everything I was looking for – including the perfect location factor. Built in 1525, the Gritti Palace was originally home to the Doge of Venice, Andrea Gritti. Although remodeled over time, the space has been preserved to the utmost standards of maintaining the architecture, charm and character it had back in the 15th century. For you interior design gals, this place is oozing with Venetian antiques, specialty rugs and spectacular glass light fixtures hand made from the nearby island of Murano.
Aside from the obvious glitz and glamour this luxury accommodation offers, the central location cannot be beat. The hotel is a 3-minute walk from the Giglio vaporetto stop, an 8-minute walk from Piazza San Marco and a 10-minute walk from the Bridge of Sighs, so in terms of location, it couldn’t get any better than this. Follow along below for personal insider glimpses of the Peggy Guggenheim Suite. If you wish to skip the details and photos, slide on down to the bottom of this post for a recap and quick tips in planning your next stay with the Gritti.
Welcome to Venice, Ragazza Americana
We arrived by train to Venice, having traveled from Florence. In an easy two hours and five minutes (and for a mere $20), our journey to Venice could not have been easier via Italia Rail. When you arrive at either the major airport or train station in Venice, be prepared, as you will be surrounded by water in every direction you look. With that said, getting around is a bit more difficult than your typical metropolitan city. That’s right, ladies, you can’t rely on your uber driver or the simple hailing of a taxi cab here. Nearly all transportation in Venice is by way of water taxis, the ferry system, or private boat. Plan ahead. Obviously the cheapest way around town is via the ferry shuttles which are easy to navigate and will take you to all the major docks. Private taxi boats need to be arranged in advance, and will be more expensive than the ferry, but much faster if you don’t care to waste any time.
Once checked into the hotel, I couldn’t help myself… Excited to show off my new shoes (rockstud Valentino’s purchased while in Florence), I headed straight for the patio bar to enjoy a sweet grapefruit martini. A gondola ride later (whistled down right from the hotel’s dock) I found myself out exploring the bustling neighborhoods of the city. It was during my random post-cocktail wandering (gondola riding around town) where I discovered an adorable bistro and delicious lunch spot, Chat Qui Rit. I recommend trying whatever the waiter suggests or any of the daily special pastas, but you can’t go wrong with that creamy burrata!
Returning to our room after a hearty lunch, I was pleasantly surprised to find the treats waiting for us – a vibrant flower arrangement, champagne, fresh fruits and a pot of molten chocolate for dipping. To stay in the Peggy Guggenheim Suite is to experience the ultimate vacation in Italy. As fascinating and beautiful the entire city of Venice is, I could have spent every minute of my stay just enjoying this glorious hotel suite described and photographed below.
The Peggy Guggenheim Suite
The Peggy Guggenheim Suite, named after the legendary art collector whose museum is visible across the Grand Canal, is perfect for those inspired by philanthropy and creativity. Boasting majestic views of the Grand Canal and the lively piazza, this suite’s exquisite 1930s-inspired furnishings include a luxurious platinum-hued sofa and matching armchairs, an antique writing bureau and an elegant dining table, plus a large bookcase filled with coffee table volumes on modern art. To be inside this suite, is to be alive inside your very own private art museum. The artwork covering every inch of wall space is exquisite and engaging. I barely slept while staying in this suite because each night I found myself up until the crack of dawn gazing at her favorite pieces carefully picked to decorate the space.
Features of the Patron Canal Suites include:
- Rich silks, velvets, and embroidered damask drapes
- An elegant dining table that seats 4 people
- Polished heritage terrazzo veneziano flooring in the living room
- Oak parquet flooring in the bedroom
- 46″ Bang & Olufsen BeoVision 10 TV in the living room, 40″ in bedroom
- Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Docking Station
- BeoLab Speakers in the Donghia and Peggy Guggenheim Patron Canal Suites
- Wine cabinet in the Punta della Dogana Patron Canal Suite
- Signature Luxury Collection beds
- Individual climate control
- Luxurious marble bathroom with double vanity and separate shower
- Acqua di Parma bathroom amenities
- May be combined with Landmark Grand Canal Rooms to form two-bedroom suites
The Best View in Venice
Aside from the magnificent marble bathrooms and artwork fit for a queen (Thanks Lady Guggenheim), this room offers the finest canal views in all of Venice. Seriously. We would stand on the private terrace each evening listening to the loud clang of church bells singing across Venice skies while observing the colors of the canal constantly change in anticipation of the sun setting. It was glorious and a moment in time I will never forget – to stand in time overlooking the bustling activity of an ancient canal breathing boats to life and making Venice everything it is and always will be… Ah, the magic of traveling, ladies and gentlemen!
LADYHATTAN TIPS ON THE GRITTI PALACE:
- Location: Fly to the Marco Polo Airport or take a speed train from the other Italian cities (Rome, Pisa, Florence) to the Venezia Santa Lucia Station. Make sure to plan ahead and decide whether you will take the ferry boats or arrange a private water taxi to reach the hotel.
- Price: Yes, ladies, the Gritti Palace does cost a pretty penny (as do all hotels in Venice), but I can assure you it is well worth the splurge. Standard rooms are roughly $1000+, with suites costing $4,000+. Another way to save on cash and best utilize the points system, is to look into using your Starwood Points for a room instead of cash. Consider this hotel for a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon trip to justify the costs.
- Restaurants/Bar: Be sure to make a reservation for the scrumptious breakfast buffet offered daily in the main dining room of the hotel. Enjoy a martini as I did on the main outdoor patio of Restaurant Club Del Doge, where you will not only get a nice little Venetian buzz, but also a front row seat to the best Grand Canal viewing in all of the city!
- Instagram: Proud to say that one of my all-time favorite Ladyhattan “grams” came to life on the terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Suite at the Gritti Palace. I snapped a photograph of my champagne glass at sunset and soon realized that it captures a magical travel moment one can ony experience at the Gritti! Connect with other travelers in Venice and lovers of the Gritti Palace by following @thegrittipalace.