Deciding where to stay in Venice depends on what you’re visiting this extraordinary city for. If you’re determined to take in as many of the main tourist sites, you might want to make San Marco your base; if you're in town for the Biennale you’re best staying in Castello; and if you’re travelling with young ones then one of the lagoon’s islands should offer everything you need. To assist with your choice, this list of the best hotels in Venice should help you get it right.
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Venice's best hotels
This classic, elegant hotel on the banks of San Marco Basin is as luxurious as they come, with antique furniture, bespoke silk textiles and unique carpets (inspired by Venetian wrought iron railings), crystal and gold chandeliers commissioned from Murano, original art, and in many cases, balconies and views of San Giorgio Maggiore across the water. Some rooms have balconies too; if yours doesn’t, head for the roof terrace for your sundowner or a spot of sunbathing. Modern Venetian food is served in the Do Leoni restaurant, which has a terrace on the riva where breakfast is served in good weather.
With its antique rugs and furniture, frescoed ceilings, opulent chandeliers and ornately framed paintings, staying at this sixteenth-century Cannaregio palazzo feels like you’ve wandered into an aristocrat’s private residence. A magnificent double staircase takes you up to the rooms, which are lavishly decorated with beamed ceilings, brocade walls and richly coloured fabrics. There’s a pleasant garden area for taking breakfast in good weather, with wifi, air conditioning and minibar all included.
This charming small B&B is just a five-minute stroll from Piazza San Marco. There are only six rooms, each decorated in classic-contemporary style. Dark wood furniture, cream carpets and wooden beamed ceilings give a very classic, distinctly Venetian feel that’s balanced with all the mod-cons including wifi, air conditioning and a free minibar. There’s a bight and comfortable dining mezzanine area where a buffet breakfast is served each morning, or complimentary tea and coffee later in the afternoon.
Undoubtedly one for fans of 'Death in Venice', being set in a villa once owned by Gustav Mahler’s widow, this stylish yet homely little hotel will pass muster with other guests too if they like a luxe, contemporary style that makes the most of classical architecture but brightens spaces up with lots of white and neutral shades, wooden floors and a nice mix of contemporary and antique pieces. All rooms come with robes, slippers, free wifi, a minibar, and tea and coffee making facilities; in summer, breakfast is served in the garden.
Locanda Orseole is one of the standout hotels in the San Marco area. Beautiful rooms with painted wood panelling, ornate windows and stunning use of colour are spread over three floors. There’s a great complimentary breakfast served overlooking the canal and all rooms come equipped with wifi, minibar, air conditioning and those all important slippers and robes to make you feel really special when you step out the shower. Canal-view rooms can be a little on the noisy side, but those overlooking the square are quieter.
Located a a few steps from the Rialto market and Grand Canal, this elegant boutique hotel has beautifully decorated, tastefully themed rooms and stunning views across the rooftops of Venice. The majority of the rooms are decorated in classic Venetian style with traditional tiled flooring, gentle pastels, antique furniture and lush fabrics, while one suite takes a Chinese theme directly from Gozzi’s fairytale. Every room is different, which only adds to the charm and character of the place, but all come with tea-making facilities, kimonos, air conditioning, minibar and a complimentary breakfast.
There’s something special about this little boutique hotel in the San Marco sesteria. It’s partly about the reading and sitting and rooms (the latter featuring an honesty bar), and the sweet little garden in which breakfast is served if the weather’s good, but mostly it’s about the decor. Nine individual rooms are filled with unique features – an oriental rug here, ethnic textile there – as well as Indonesian furniture, wooden or terrazzo floors and lots of art (exhibitions are mounted regularly in the public areas). More modern amenities include free wifi, AC and a minibar.
For the classic, opulent Venetian hotel experience, this beautiful hotel housed in a fifteenth-century Grand Canal palazzo deserves serious consideration. With panelled walls, elegant chandeliers, leaded windows and even a few frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo (including one in the enormous rococo ballroom), it’s what most people have in mind when they think of a classic Venice hotel. The rooms are bright and elegant, decorated in lavish, luxurious Venetian style. The rates aren’t cheap, but the best things in life never are.
From its beautifully presented Venetian-style rooms to the charming column-lined courtyard, pretty little marble bridge and seriously relaxing Turkish bath, this hotel is a real treat. The stylish, spacious rooms are decorated in typically Venetian style with soft pastels and punchy colours, hand-painted antique doors and richly woven textiles. There’s a separate annexe around the corner for when things get busy, and free breakfast and wifi are also included.
This island haven is a newcomer to the Kempinski family, and as you’d expect, it’s a beauty. Set on the island of San Clemente, where the Doges once welcomed esteemed visitors to Venice, it’s pure luxe-Venetian in style, with huge corridors and equally expansive rooms, all featuring brocaded walls, Murano glassware and other examples of beautiful craftsmanship. A waterside restaurant, pool and sunbathing area make it very tempting to forget visits to Venice all together, but if you do want to leave, half-hourly free shuttles run until 11.30pm.