Many will recall this hotel as the one where George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin. Indeed, it was amidst the 16th-century frescoes of this greatly revered Venetian palazzo that Amal said ‘I do.’ Located in the San Polo district, a short walk from the Rialto Bridge and the Traghetto San Tomà for quick access to San Marco (St Mark’s Square), the Aman Venice is distinct for its history as well as its impeccable service. Titled Palazzo Papadopoli after the Greek family who owned the building in the 19th-century, guests can arrive by boat at the ‘porta d’acqua’ (water door) on the Grand Canal. From there you will enter a mesmerising reception area ﬁlled with colourful frescos, glistening chandeliers and marble chequered ﬂooring. A sumptuous treat, while the historical backdrop of the palazzo is unlike other Aman Hotels – the high-end luxury hotel chain known for its serenity and wellness aspect – there is a calmness that pervades the building. Head up the trompel’oeil grand staircase and arrive on the piano nobile (ﬁrst ﬂoor) and a rococo ballroom replete with Murano chandeliers, gilt mirrors as well as stunning frescos. Take a pause here with an espresso and book in hand and watch in tranquility at the gondolas on the Grand Canal.
The grand reception area with frescoes aligning each wall
In the dining room, bar and salon lavish Rubelli silk wall coverings offer a heightened sense of grandeur in addition to oil paintings and carved stoned ﬁreplaces. For a splendid view at sunset, venture up onto the ﬁfth ﬂoor where there is the altana wooden deck roof terrace.
Rooms, while retaining aspects of the building Venetian heritage, are decked largely with minimalistic contemporary furnishings. The hotel has just 24 rooms, many of which overlook the Grand Canal. They fall into four categories. The least expensive are the palazzo bedrooms which offer views of the hotel’s charming back garden and are slightly smaller in size although include the same furnishings and amenities as the larger stanza rooms and palazzo chambers. There are ﬁve ‘signature’ rooms, including the Papadopoli stanza offering views of the canal and the garden terrace as well as one of the hotel’s foremost rooms, but with no views: the Alcova Tiepolo suite with ceiling reliefs painted by the 18th-century Venetian painter, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
Offering a reﬁned reprieve in the heart of Venice, the hotel also has an intimate spa area on the third storey that is home to three treatment rooms incorporating Aman products in a range of therapies. While the city of Venice has many restaurants to try, it’s worth a meal at the Aman where you can sit on low tables in the grand ‘Red’ dining room and indulge in classic Venetian dishes as well as Thai, if you fancy something more exotic. This is a hotel that will make you feel like nobility. Palazzo Bedroom from Dhs6,100 aman.com
Rebecca travelled to Venice with Lightfoot Travel, a luxury tour operator with offices in Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore, specialising in tailor-made family holidays, honeymoons, private villas and corporate travel to countries spanning seven continents. Visit Lightfoottravel.com or call +971 4455 8788 for more details.
Located in sestiere (district) of Cannareggio in the northern part of Venice away from the more concentrated tourist areas, the ﬁve-star Boscolo Hotel is housed in a former sixteenth-century palazzo and is known for its “secret garden” – the only Venetian hotel with a private green area of more than 2,000 square metres. Here guests can delight in the sinuous paths, the charming fountains to be found amidst false ruins, manicured bushes and ﬂowers. Wind your way along the path after a succulent dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and arrive at the dock whereby you can view the expansive waters of the lagoon as well as the serene island of San Michele – Venice’s cemetery – as well as Murano and Burano.
A Junior Suite at the Boscolo in Venice
Built by the Patarol family, the palazzo was inherited by the noble Rizzo family, extinct in 1833. Thereafter, the property hosted a monastery as well as the embassies of France and Savoy. Featuring the architectural structure of a typical Venetian house, at Boscolo you will ﬁnd sumptuous decorations, wooden carvings, brocades, multi-coloured marbled, elaborate stuccos and authentic chandeliers made from Murano’s master glass blowers.
The quintessential Venetian style continues in each room. Offering 72 rooms with high ceilings and period furnishings, in the Junior Suite you will ﬁnd oriental rugs and elegant armoires whisking you back to several centuries ago. Some suites face the garden while others peer directly onto the lagoon. For a special occasion, request a ﬁrst ﬂoor suite that opens to a noble salon and is ideal for hosting receptions and small banquets. The Presidential Suite, on the other hand, is located at the end of the hotel’s garden where it is possible to relish in a stunning sunset over the lagoon. Modern additions include an intimate spa ideal for a calming repose after a long day of walking Venetian streets. Junior Suite from Dhs 1,945. boscolohotels.com
Ca’ Cerchieri Loredan
Walk over the Ponte dell’Accademia (Accademia Bridge) and wind through the many calle (alley ways) of Dorsoduro until you reach the Ca’ Cerchieri Loredan, a palazzo brimming with Venetian history. While the building does have its own private jetty, arriving on foot is more enchanting. When you push open the large wooden gate you will behold a charming green courtyard – a grassy sanctum in the midst of watery Venice.
A decadent reception area overlooking the Grand Canal
The piano nobile of this palazzo dates back to the 14th century and was the birthplace of two ancient doges of Venice: Leonardo and Francesco Loredan. Inside is a décor that lives up to history. Reﬁned and classic furnishings coupled with Murano glass chandeliers, period objects, 17th-19th century antiques and rich Fortuny fabrics make this abode an exquisite reminder of old Venice. These are paired intelligently with modern decorative features, many of which were specially designed for the palazzo by the renowned Florentine company Archﬂorence. There is also a host of Asian objet d’arts set out tastefully in many of the rooms. There are four bedrooms all of which have canopied beds as well as Zoffany and Brunschwig wallpapers. Among the piano nobile’s most attractive features are its stunning Venetian Gothic windows that open onto a long marble balcony overlooking the Grand Canal.
Guests of the piano nobile (it can accommodate up to nine) can dine in the main dining room offering a fairy tale vision of Venetian glamour. The formal table is dressed in custom-made Chiarastella Cattana lines complemented by the deep red walls decorated with gilded candleholders and carved wooden Roman churches collected during family vacations in Marrakech. Situated just a stone’s throw from Ca’ Rezzonico, the collection of 18th-century treasures and opposite Francois Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi museum of modern art, Ca’ Cerchieri Loredan presents a fairy tale abode in one of Venice’s most charming sestieri. From Dhs7,165. viewsonvenice.com