Restoring any historic property in Venice is not for the faint of heart. However, when the property is a 15th century palazzo that was once a private residence for Andrea Gritti (a grain merchant turned Dodge) and then a hotel (starting in 1895), the task to restore its past was daunting. Sure, it takes time (15-months to be exact), but the restoration of The Gritti Palace to its original grandeur can and has been done – at the tune of 50 million dollars, that is.
The hotel, beloved by Hollywood celebrities for over a century, re-opened its doors just over a year ago in May 2013 with a complete face-lift.
The Gritti Palace
When the Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts (part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts) announced their plans to renovate and restore the hotel, we knew something special was in the works. It went beyond preventing frequent flooding on the ground floor (annoying for both guests and staff), to the pain-staking restoration of antique artwork, furniture and even sourcing rare reproductions of Rubelli Venetian archival fabrics. The hotel has reduced the number of rooms from 91 to 82, allowing guests to enjoy more spacious accommodations. 21 of these rooms are suites that come with impressive canal and Santa Maria della Salute Basilica views. To ensure the interiors would be restored to Venetian perfection, Starwood brought American designer and celebrated Donghia Creative Director Chuck Chewning on board. Thanks to Chewning, guests can admire grand Venetian tapestries, take selfies under dimly lit Murano glass chandeliers and rest their tired legs on long Rococo couches. Each design element transports you to another time — you may actually start believing you are the reincarnated Doge of Venice! Each suite has a story, from the Peggy Guggenheim 50’s-style suite (honoring the legendary art collector who frequented the hotel) to the Ernest Hemingway Palazzo Presidential Suite. Hemingway famously wrote about The Gritti Palace in his novel Across the River and Into the Trees, and like a few other literary legacies, he once considered the hotel his home. The author’s novels can also be found in the Explorer’s Library (a new addition to the hotel) alongside travel curiosities and rare books. The suite pictured below is an homage to the writer. While there are many rooms at various price points to choose from, one of our favorite suites (and most unique) includes the Redentore Terrazza. It comes with its own circular staircase, rooftop terrace, and yes, even a plunge pool. The two-story suite is a new addition to the hotel and sits on the top floor of the palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal and the famous Basilica. In need for some privacy? No problem. There’s a private elevator that takes you directly from the lobby to the suite.
Because the views of the Grand Canal in Venice rarely get tiring, there’s the 60-seater Club del Doge restaurant offering Mediterranean meals on the terrace (weather permitting). A formal jacket is required in the evening so you can enjoy your risotto in style and get carried away with the views. Before (or after) dinner head for drinks at the Bar Longhi and be sure to take note of the paintings on the wall; they were created by the 18th century Ventian artist Pietro Longhi, the bar’s namesake. For those wanting to take their culinary expertise to the next level there’s the Gritti Epicurean School that offers wine tastings and cooking workshops for guests. The space is also available for private events and celebrations, so whether it’s your half birthday or a passed anniversary, find an excuse to visit this place. While some of us may not have the patience (or the time for that matter) to renovate our own kitchens, let alone our entire house, we salute and appreciate the massive undertaking it took to restore The Gritti Palace to make it a refined version of its iconic past. This Starwood property has quickly made it to the 2014 The Ultimate Ten – the shining stars in the Starwood hotel portfolio as voted by SPG members. Double rooms start at 415 euros and go way up! Thankfully for those of us accumulating those Starwood points, Gritti Palace can now be yours for one free night for 35,000 Starpoints. Check here for details. For those looking for a little R&R, there’s a current 2-night promotion to get pampered in the Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo SPA (also a new addition to the hotel) starting at 535 euros per night and includes a welcome basket, breakfast at Club del Doge Restaurant, 60-minute spa treatment of your choice and late check-out.
Hotel Gritti Palace
Campo Santa Maria del Giglio,
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