In recent years, Venice has gone from having a few boutique hotels to having dozens, each with an answer to the status quo of dusty chandeliers and damask walls. This selection will help you discover the best.
Venice’s boutique hotels are a diverse bunch. Some draw inspiration from design movements such as Art Deco and contemporary minimalism, while others have taken the Venetian stereotype to the extreme, creating palatial suites and boudoirs drowning in silk and roses. Whatever your preference, you’ll find something to love with Culture Trip’s guide to the best boutique hotels in Venice.
Venice Times Hotel
The Venice Times Hotel is steps away from the Grand Canal | Courtesy of Venice Times Hotel / Hotels.com
Conveniently located next to Santa Lucia Train Station, the Venice Times Hotel is a modern take on Venetian glamour. Contemporary geometric wall panels and black-tile floors greet you in the lobby, while the rooms offer luxurious touches such as handcrafted tufted headboards and silk throws. Breakfasts feature organic, gluten-free and lactose-free products, served in a dining room decorated with subtle damask accents, crystal chandeliers and mismatched artworks. A small bar serves up cocktails in the evening; after you’ve sampled its concoctions, take a short walk from the hotel to the exquisite Ca’ d’Oro palace, one of the finest surviving examples of Venetian Gothic architecture.
Based in Dorsoduro, away from the tourist centre but facing the magnificent Grand Canal, Hotel Palazzo Stern’s location serves the best of both worlds. Though all rooms feature statement fabric walls and lush carpets from Asia, not all rooms have a canal view – enquire when booking. Originally a 15th-century Moorish palace, it was reconstructed in the early 1900s by the Stern family, who utilised the original materials and added sculptures and mosaics to create a palatial, art lover’s dream. From the church-like lobby to the thoroughly modern rooftop jacuzzi, Hotel Palazzo Stern is the epitome of distinctive design.
Welcome to the most romantic place to stay in Venice. This intimate boutique hotel has won a shower of awards for its dedication to detail – fresh roses delivered thrice weekly, heavy curtains that block out the outside world, drinks and snacks served on check-in. Each room has a theme – choose from the Moorish Room, the scarlet-and-gold Doge’s Room, or the spa-like Suite 336, with a jacuzzi at the foot of the bed. Breakfast is served until noon to accommodate those late lie-ins; you can have it served on the rooftop terrace or brought to your room.
This refreshing boutique dispenses with silk walls and overstated opulence, offering a pared-back alternative to the typical glitzy Venetian palazzi. Hotel Corte di Gabriela’s 11 rooms vary between industrial chic and rustic charm; the largest, the Suite Deluxe, is a staggering 64 square metres (689 square feet) and features a kitchenette and coffee machine. The handmade pastries are a breakfast highlight; in the summer, guests are invited to drink their morning coffee in the charming courtyard. The hotel is keen to emphasise its environmental credentials, employing a high-tech condensation system to conserve water and energy-saving home automation throughout. Although children are not allowed in the hotel itself, they are welcome in the separate hotel apartments.
Featuring five-star luxury in a boutique package, the rooms at the Sina Centurion Palace are a bold departure from the brocade-and-chandelier norm. The clean lines and chrome of the bespoke furniture contrast with period fireplaces and exposed beams, vestiges of the building’s previous life as the neo-Gothic home of the Genovese family. The chic, white-walled Antinoo’s Lounge and Restaurant overlooks the canal; reserve a canal-side table in advance to dine on its modern Venetian seafood dishes, sprinkled with edible flowers. The hotel is located on the Dorsoduro Museum Mile, stretching from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which honours Venice’s most celebrated artists.
The Hotel Al Ponte Antico’s terrace is among the most enviable settings in Venice, with views down the canal to the famous Rialto Bridge. Head here in the morning for the generous breakfast to set you up for the day, or finish your day with an evening nightcap. There’s no restaurant, but the hotel is so centrally located that you’ll have no shortage of eateries to explore. The decor honours the hotel’s previous role as a 16th-century palace; rooms take old-world Venetian glamour to extremes, with gilded headboards, Murano glass chandeliers and heaps of brocade. The owners, the Peruch family, are famously attentive, giving highly personalised service.
Minimalists can breathe a sigh of relief – this self-styled “design hotel” in Dorsoduro hasn’t so much of a hint of brocade. Charming House DD724 shocked the stuffy Venetian hotel scene when it opened in 2003, and a recent refurbishment has only emphasised its radically modern looks. Rooms are decorated in black, white and grey, which are given warmth with rich scarlet and vermillion accents. There are only nine rooms shared between the DD724 and its DD694 annexe (the names refer to the postcodes). It serves a delicious breakfast buffet, which can be enjoyed in the cosy dining room or brought to your bedroom.
Hidden in peaceful Castello is this verdant green oasis, a fabulous escape from the tourist throng. Instead of the song of gondoliers, wake up to the sound of birds outside your window in one of Venice’s largest, lushest private gardens. Hotel Sant’Antonin was once the family home of marine captain Napoleone Scarpa, and the well-appointed rooms make use of the house’s original furniture. Breakfast, a varied spread of sweet and savoury delights, is served on the outdoor patio. As the hotel is within equal walking distance from the Giardini della Biennale and the Grand Canal, it’s an ideal location if you wish to combine a Biennale visit with more traditional sightseeing.
A quintessential boutique hotel, Novecento is run by the Romanelli family, who has been in the hotel business for over 50 years. The family’s world travels inspired each individually designed room, which may feature Thai platform beds, Moroccan carpets and curtains designed by the Romanellis. There’s no waiting in the cosy honesty bar – grab a drink at any time of day. Breakfast is delightfully rustic with an emphasis on home-made items – jams, pastries and fresh fruit are all on offer. Though central, the hotel’s setting in a quiet alley makes for a peaceful stay.
Venice’s first design hotel, Ca’ Pisani was the original trailblazer, shaking up the traditional hotel scene back in 2000 with its bold Art Deco stylings. No attention to detail has been spared; bamboo floors, geometric patterns and fabric from legendary Venetian textile house Bevilacqua create a sense of refined luxury. The similarly styled La Rivista restaurant serves Italian classics; during the summer, the rooftop terrace can be reserved for a romantic dinner. Unusual for a Venetian hotel, there are two ground-floor rooms available for guests with disabilities. Ca’ Pisani is also pet-friendly and offers a free ‘pet kit’, complete with a chewing bone, blanket and bowl for your furry companion.