by Anne Hanley, The Telegraph, May 10, 2019
There’s no other city in the world that boasts quite such an impressive main drag as Venice and its Grand Canal. You’ll travel down it in your vaporetto or water taxi, you’ll observe the bustling boats from magnificent bridges. But there’s nothing quite like having a front-row seat at the Grand Canal spectacle from your hotel – or, even better, from your hotel room. Five-star grandes dames cluster along the waterway, but there are less exhorbitant accommodation options there too. Just make sure you’re very clear indeed that you want that view when you book.
Al Ponte Antico
A joyful pastiche of Venetian style both in its bedrooms (think lots of velvet and brocade) and in the central living room which gives on to a delightful balcony with a view over the Grand Canal and bridge. The friendly owner and staff make for a wonderfully welcoming vibe. Rooms are large by Venetian standards and some have lovely views over the canal. Breakfast is very generous and owner Matteo Peruch whips up delicious eggs to order. There’s no restaurant, but the terrace is a fantastic place to enjoy a romantic drink while gazing at the Rialto.
Read the full review: Al Ponte Antico
Bauers L'Hotel & Il Palazzo
The hotel consists of two adjoining, but distinctly different, palazzo: L’Hotel offers timeless classic luxury with a 1950s twist, while the Grand Canal-facing Il Palazzo has all the trappings of a historic, aristocratic Venetian palace. Guests can enjoy breakfast with a spectacular view on the Grand Canal-side terrace of the De Pisis restaurant, which has an Asian-fusion menu for lunch and dinner. Many guests arrive by water taxi at the hotels’ own Grand Canal jetty but the Giglio and San Marco vaporetto stops are no distance away, and many of the major sites are an easy walk from here.
Read the full review: Bauers L'Hotel & Il Palazzo
Aman Canal Grande
The Clooneys opted to spend their wedding night in this 16th-century Grand Canal-side palazzo, which says it all. Guests can arrive by boat to enter by the formal porta d’acquainto a vast, beamed reception with marble chequered flooring and original frescos. A trompe-l’oeil grand staircase leads up to the piano nobile and rococo ballroom with gilt mirrors, frescos, Murano chandeliers, terrazzo floor and windows overlooking the Canal. In the grand 'Red’ dining room, the menu alternates between Thai and classic Venetian. There are just 24 luxurious suites, many of which overlook the canal.
Read the full review: Aman Canal Grande
This 15th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal is a stone’s throw away from Strada Nova, one of the main arteries of the city – and officially declared a National Monument because of its sumptuous interiors. Masterpieces by Venetian painters including Nicolò Bambini and Giambattista Tiepolo decorate the walls and ceilings. The magnificent 18th-century Scalone dei Giganti staircase is entirely surrounded by frescoes, while a ceiling painting by Tiepolo embellishes the breakfast room. Head to L’Alcova Restaurant for Venetian specialities in a delightful setting on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.
Read the full review: Ca’ Sagredo
Hotel Palazzo Stern
Most hotels with Grand Canal-side terraces come with five-star price tags. Palazzo Stern is the exception, mixing boutique charm with a superb location. As well as a gorgeous terrace on the canal, there’s a roof terrace complete with whirlpool tub and a superb view of the Dolomites; you can book this for private trysts. The 24 rooms are individually decorated with antiques, parquet floors, lovely fabrics and comfortable beds. Superior rooms and suites have Grand Canal views. In warmer months, breakfast is a joy as you can watch the water traffic chugging by from the terrace.
Read the full review: Hotel Palazzo Stern
This 15th-century palazzo occupies one of the loveliest spots on the Grand Canal, looking across to the magnificent Salute church, and has equally sumptuous interiors to match. The Gritti’s intimacy and relatively small size mean that the courteous and charming staff have plenty of time for you, whether you’re quizzing the concierge for restaurant recommendations or tickets for the opera; ordering 24-hour room service; or asking head barman Cristiano Luciano to prepare a balsamic Martini or Dama Bianca coffee (with cream and absinthe) in the bar.
Read the full review: Gritti Palace
The five-star Centurion Palace, Gothic outside, contemporary inside, looks across the Grand Canal towards San Marco from the quieter, artsy Dorsoduro district. The 50 rooms and suites combine antique features with contemporary design – striking colours, huge mirrors and bathrooms in burnished gold leaf. Not all of them face the Grand Canal, so make sure you specify what you want when booking. The breakfast buffet is very generous, and the calmly minimalist Antinoo restaurant has canal views, and serves a pan-Italian gourmet menu.
Read the full review: Centurion Palace
Hotel Palazzo Barocci
The location is a major selling point of this four-star hotel – on the Grand Canal, within easy walking distance of both St Mark’s and the Accademia. On sunny days, you may find it difficult to tear yourself away from the Grand Canal-side walk outside. A smart courtyard-garden giving on to the campo out the back is a pleasant place for breakfast in warmer weather or for an aperitivo after a long day’s sightseeing. Rooms are light and bright. If you want one with a canal view, then specify when booking. Room 303 has a private terrace with breathtaking views along the Grand Canal to the Rialto.
Read the full review: Hotel Palazzo Barocci
On the left bank of the Grand Canal, facing across to the Ca’ d’Oro gallery, the Hotel L’Orologio occupies a fairly tranquil spot not far from the wonderful Rialto produce market. Designed by architects Baciocchi&Associati, all the rooms are minimalist-retro-chic, with dark wooden fittings highlighted by furniture and walls in strong shades of red, orange and yellow. Not all rooms overlook the Grand Canal: specify when booking if you want a water view. The two-level Premium Suite has Grand Canal views and a wonderful Giò Ponti bedhead. The chic, vintage-feel Bar L’O is located at canal level.
Read the full review: Hotel L’Orologio
Palazzo Sant'Angelo sul Canal Grande
As locations go, this is pretty perfect. The hotel has a waterside façade right on the Grand Canal, and there’s a vaporetto stop (Sant’Angelo) at the front door. A private landing jetty on the Grand Canal means guests who opt for the luxury of water-taxi travel can make film-star entrances and exits. What it lacks in cutting-edge design touches it makes up for in well-maintained, if slightly predictable, elegance, with lots of polished wood furniture, curtain flounces and brocade-covered walls. The leadlight windows of the hotel’s ground-floor bar overlook the Grand Canal: a marvellous place to soak in Venetian ambience with a spritz.
Read the full review: Palazzo Sant'Angelo sul Canal Grande
Palazzina G's unsigned entrance belies a sanctum of quirky décor. Interiors are designed by French architect Philippe Starck so expect to see bold designs and eclectic furnishings in every corner. Starck cleverly juxtaposes traditional Venetian features with contemporary furnishings; think faux-cowhide seating and quirky, bold-coloured ornaments that verge on the surreal, against original pillars from when the building was a Roman spa, several centuries ago. Rooms and suites are spread across two buildings; splurge for a Signature Grand Canal Suite for views of the water.
Read the full review: Palazzina G
Contributions by Kiki Deere, Anne Hanley, Tim Jepson, Charlotte Johnstone, Oliver Smith & Jill Weinreich