Money no object? You’ve come to the right place. Home to palazzos and private island resorts, Venice does opulence like nowhere else.
The choice of luxury accommodation in Venice is dazzling. You can swan through the former home of a Venetian aristocrat, savour Michelin-star food constructed with tweezers, or be covered with volcanic clay in a 16th-century Palladian convent. Have it all – and more – with Culture Trip’s pick of the best upscale places to stay.
Palazzo Venart may be young (it opened in 2016), but this five-star stunner in Santa Croce is serious competition for its older, more established counterparts. With just 18 rooms occupying a sensitively restored 16th-century palazzo, it has a boutique vibe. Each room has been individually decorated, from the Carnival Room that pairs original painted ceiling beams with brightly coloured Venetian masks to the 50sqm (538sqft) Grand Canal Suite that features a gilded lounge with parquet floors and, of course, canal views. The Michelin-star Glam restaurant reimagines classic Venetian cuisine as high art.
Located on a private island in a southern lagoon, the JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa was originally a 1920s sanatorium, but these days, it serves as a relaxing and luxurious retreat away from the tourist crush. There’s a full roster of experiences on offer, including Venetian-cookery lessons at the in-house Sapori Cooking Academy, yoga classes, wine tastings, a fully-equipped spa and three swimming pools. Venice is 20 minutes away via a complimentary shuttle service – but with all of the resort’s perks, you probably won’t want to leave.
Stepping into the Belmond Hotel Cipriani is like walking into the lifestyle of the rich and famous, where an Olympic-size pool, private butlers, fine wines and tennis courts await. The luxurious spa looks onto the intimate Casanova Gardens where, it is said, the legendary lothario courted his lovers. The Michelin-star restaurant, Oro, has a 1,000-strong wine list and seafood dishes so delicate, they’re assembled using tweezers. The edible flowers and herbs that adorn your plate are all harvested from the hotel garden. You’re some distance from the centre here, but a complimentary ferry ride will whizz you there in just five minutes. The Belmond Hotel Cipriani is Venice at its most opulent.
This 16th-century convent designed, by the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and now part of the Bauer hotel group, retains a tranquillity bolstered by its setting away from central Venice, on the island of Giudecca. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on wellness, with an extensive spa set over two floors and eight rooms. Every treatment imaginable is available, including exfoliation, volcanic clay body masks, steam detoxification and a variety of massages. It’s even possible to have a massage in the lush garden, one of the largest private green spaces in the city.
Just a couple of streets from Piazza San Marco, the 18th-century, Venetian Gothic Bauer Palazzo brings together the best of Venice in its sumptuous decoration – Murano glass chandeliers, period furniture and silk textiles by Rubelli and Bevilacqua. The rooftop restaurant, Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven), has the highest terrace in Venice, with unrivalled views of the Campanile di San Marco. There’s also a lovely canal-side bar perfect for evening cocktails. Though the Bauer Palazzo lacks a spa of its own, it does provide a free shuttle service to the nearby Bauer Palladio.
Once the home of the aristocratic Sagredo family, the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel is for art lovers. Every inch of this 15th-century palazzo is brimming with fine details, making a stay here akin to sleeping in a museum. The canal-facing Library Suite retains the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that once held the collection of Zaccaria Sagredo, an 18th-century patron of the arts, and the Art Suite is a masterpiece of 18th-century stucco. The hotel gained international attention as the site of Lorenzo Quinn’s Support sculpture, a giant pair of hands that became a defining image of the 2017 Venice Biennale.
Sheree Hooker contributed additional reporting to this article