Nick Trend, The Daily Telegraph, September 26, 2014
The Aman Canal Grande opened just a year ago and has the huge advantage of being the only hotel in Venice which feels more like a private palazzo than a hotel. And that is because, essentially, it still is.
The original building dates back to the 16th century, but it was acquired by the Papadopoli family and has been their home for 200 years. Though they have sold an interest to Aman, they still retain apartments on the top floor. Meanwhile, the rest of the palace has been immaculately restored.
The building fronts directly onto the Grand Canal, so George Clooney and his guests can expect to arrive by private water taxi at the private landing stage. It’s the proper way to arrive - nearly all Venetian palazzo were built to be entered in this way because any family of note would travel around the city by gondola. From via the ‘porta d’acqua’, guests progress across the classic chequered floor of pink and white marble and up the main staircase, to the piano nobile.
Another essential architectural feature of a Venetian palazzo, this is the main reception hall and party space - the cielings are double height and lit by a glittering Murano chandelier and the walls are lined with silk wall hangings.
From here, the main balcony looks directly out over the Grand Canal, while down the side of the building is the ballroom, gilded and decorated with mirrors, frescos and the original chandeliers.
Next to this are Yellow Dining Room and the Red Dining Room which have 18th-century ceiling frescos by Tiepolo. On the floor above, there is yet more room for the party to expand - the Salon, which has a grand piano. also overlooks the Grand Canal and there are three more reception rooms adjoining it.
In short, the Aman is about as opulent as it gets - and life is not so different to how it used to be for the grand Venetian families of the 15th-18th centuries; all about ease, elegance and the display of enormous wealth.
As for the bedrooms, because of the very high prices the hotel commands (about £1,000 a night upwards), the palazzo’s rooms have not been divided up to increase the number of guests who can stay, as they have in nearly every other Venice hotel. In fact, it’s the opposite - the ensuite bathrooms are often as big as the bedrooms they serve.
Most of the 24 bedrooms are actually in the 19th century wing which is linked the main palazzo, but several have spectacular views across the hotel garden and over the water. However, the most likely “wedding night suite” is the £3,130-a-night Alcova Tiepolo suite: a cascade of decorative stucco surrounds the bed, and there is a fresco by Tiepolo on the ceiling above; original chinoiserie fabrics adorn the walls in the living room. Another huge bonus are the Aman’s gardens - especially the formal lawn at the front of the buidling. It is unique among Venetian hotels, and extremely rare among any of the palazzi, in having such a space overlooking the Canal. In fact, it’s hard to think of a more private, and idyllically situated outdoor space anywhere else in Venice. (A big bonus when the weather forecast for this weekend is virtually unbroken sunshine with a top temperature of 23C).
If the Clooneys do use the Aman for their wedding reception or wedding night, the papparazzi will also have a hard time snooping. The only land entrance to the hotel is via a tiny alley way in San Polo, and there are no public quays or spaces nearby or on the opposite side of the Grand Canal - although, conveniently, the grand Palazzo Cavalli, is just across the Canal from the Aman - and it is here that civic wedding ceremonies are held in Venice. So should they marry here, it will be a very short gondola ride back to the reception indeed.
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This article was written by Nick Trend from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.