Destination: Italy: Venice
Part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, the Danieli is one of the world’s most famous hotels. It is comprised of three striking palazzi, the original of which belonged to the noble Dandolo family. Four of the Dandolos served as Doges of Venice; most famously Enrico, who returned from conquering Constantinople in 1204 and eventually incorporated some of the artful bounty he brought back into the interiors of the palazzo. Today’s Danieli (it’s been a hotel since the 1820s) is located next to the fabled Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs. Film buffs will recognize the interiors as those featured in The Tourist, with Angelina Jolie).
A special highlight are four exquisite new suites that were designed by acclaimed Pierre-Yves Rochon and were unveiled in Palazzo Dandolo in November 2012. Few places in Venice can match the splendor of the views, which encompass the Riva degli Schiavoni, Grand Canal and the lagoon’s islands. Not to be missed is Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, one of the city’s most romantic dining gems on the rooftop of the hotel.
Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal
If you want to be centrally based and Il Palazzo is booked, this 100-room hotel near Piazza San Marco (the entrance is just across the street from Harry’s Bar) is a good alternative. The Benetton Group bought the classic Monaco as well as an adjacent 17th-century palazzo in 1992 and linked the two in a lengthy renovation that was completed in 2003. The Sala del Ridotto, the centerpiece of the project, which now houses several lounge areas, was painstakingly restored, its ceiling frescoes, marble columns and gorgeous mosaic floors and stucco returned to their Baroque grandeur. Since I stayed at the Monaco in 2004, I’ve heard that people now like to rent the Ridotto for special events: a wedding reception or birthday celebration in this historic space would be wonderfully atmospheric. As the guest rooms in the refurbished palazzo can be on the small side and have mediocre views, it’s best to splurge on one of the elegantly decorated suites facing the Grand Canal. Rooms from $540.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Families should consider staying at the Palazzo Selvadego, the Monaco’s sister property, also owned by the Benetton Group. Housed in a 16th-century building a five-minute walk from the Monaco, the Selvadego has forty rooms with kitchenettes, a stylish decor in warm colors and terraces on the upper floors. You forgo close-up views of the Grand Canal, but for families this property is a good value, and the location can’t be beat. ~SIMONE GIRNER
See also: Bauer Il Palazzo, Boutique
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