The best luxury hotels in Venice

For an unforgettable trip to the Italian city of love, these are the most covetable hotels to book now.

Harper's Bazaar India

Italy has many swoon-eliciting cities but queen of them all is La Serenissima (better known as Venice)—and if you’re planning a trip to the Floating City, we've compiled an edit of the very best luxury hotels.

Yes, the Amalfi Coast offers the beachside glamour and romance, and Capri is a favourite island of the A-list, but when it comes to a classic city break, nowhere beats the unique beauty of this city.

From the Biennale to the art district Dorsoduro, Venice has serious high-culture credentials. Don’t miss the Doge’s Palace, right on the edge of the lagoon. You may normally prefer to avoid overdone touristy activities, but in Venice they’re a must, from a Bellini at Harry’s Bar to an eye-wateringly expensive espresso at Caffè Florian on St Mark’s Square.

As befits such a popular city, there are plenty of luxurious places to stay – over the lagoon on the island of Giudecca, Hotel Cipriani, part of the Belmond group, was opened 65 years ago by the same person who brought you Harry’s Bar.

If you’re travelling as a couple, Ca Maria Adele is impossibly romantic, even by Venice’s super-high starry-eyed standards.

Or, for more of a party atmosphere, check in to Palazzina Grassi, the jet-set’s favourite Venice spot and Philippe Starck’s only hotel in Italy.

Here’s the Bazaar edit of the best hotels in Venice…

Hotel Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel

best hotels in venice

One of Venice’s true grande dame hotels, the Cipriani is legendary for a reason. It was opened in 1958 by Giuseppe Cipriani, who also founded the equally iconic Harry’s Bar, birthplace of Venice's obligatory cocktail, the Bellini. Across the lagoon from St Mark’s Square on the island of Giudecca, it's gloriously secluded from the crowds. The hotel has an olympic-size pool that’s just perfect for lounging beside with a peach-purée-enhanced glass of fizz in hand. The luxury Venetian hotel is also home to expansive private gardens, rumoured to be where Casanova used to meet his latest flame.

As befits such a grand stay, the dining on offer is exquisite, especially if you book a table at the Michelin-starred Oro. During the day, light bites are served poolside at Il Porticciolo.

Ca Maria Adele

best hotels in venice

Even the name of this hotel in Dorsoduro, Venice’s artsy university district, sounds romantic. Ca Maria Adele is right beside the neighbourhood’s most famous sight: the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. You’ll also be close to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia bridge.

There are just 12 rooms, with opulent interiors starring elaborate chandeliers, velvet chairs, textured wallpaper and a whole lot of brocade, not to mention smiling cherubs, plenty of gilt and one suite that is almost entirely red. There’s no restaurant, but some of the city’s best bacari are on your doorstep in Dorsoduro, ready for a stylish Italian take on a bar crawl—the neighbourhood, which has a more local feel than many other parts of Venice, is the perfect place to become versed in the Venetian art of cicchetti.

Palazzina Grassi

best hotels in venice

Palazzina Grassi may have a 16th-century façade, but the interiors have been eased into modernity by legendary designer Philippe Starck, with playful touches such as oversized mirrors, Fornasetti lamps, a liberal use of the hotel’s Carnival-referencing mask logo and desks with rocking chairs. For an unforgettable stay with a mesmerising view of Venice, book one of the rooms overlooking the Grand Canal. The hotel is the interiors maestro's only Italian creation, so if you’re a fan of his irreverent decor, this is the Venice hotel for you.

This jet-set favourite has earned a reputation as a party palace. The best nights begin with aperitivo adrift on board a bragozzo—between spring and autumn, hotel staff can arrange for a traditional sailboat to take up to 10 guests on a tour of the lagoon.

Baglioni Hotel Luna

best hotels in venice

La Serenissima dazzles at every turn, but things get especially spectacular at Baglioni Hotel Luna, which has a fresco by the Rococo painter Tiepolo in its grand breakfast room to admire alongside your cornetti and cappuccino. It also has its own gallery (as if the city’s many museums and churches weren’t enough to get your fine-art fix) and rooms with balconies overlooking the Venetian lagoon. The hotel group has outposts all over Italy, as well as in London and the Maldives.

Harry’s Bar is your neighbour, so you're never far from a Bellini. The palazzo, which dates all the way back to 1118, is also set just steps from St Mark’s Square, which may be crowded, but a visit here is a must. Assisting especially glamorous arrivals is the hotel’s private jetty, where water-taxis from the airport can dock.

Gritti Palace

best hotels in venice

Overlooking the Grand Canal, Gritti Palace, now a part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, was built as a private residence in 1475. Don't be fooled by the name—there’s absolutely nothing gritty about it. Rather, it’s absurdly opulent, with a Sisley spa, an ornate restaurant that was restored by local artisans, a vast terrace facing Santa Maria della Salute and the Punta della Dogana, and its own Riva for stylish sailing trips around the lagoon. You'll also be able to spy the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.

Fans of maximalism will appreciate the fact that no corner of the palace is left unadorned—don't forget to look up, since many of the ceilings are gilded, panelled or frescoed. It's also a hotspot for gourmands, who should pay a visit to the Gritti Epicurean School, which has been providing cookery classes, wine tastings and guided trips to the Rialto market since 1975.

Ca’ di Dio

best hotels in Venice

Set in Venice’s Arsenale district, where the Biennale is held, Ca’ di Dio seamlessly blends its 13th-century heritage with more modern additions. It's an excellent Venice hotel if want to be close to all of the exhibition action. Original features preserved during the restoration include various door frames, flooring, frescoes and statuary, along with the ancient magnolia and mimosa trees in the garden.

The decor of the boutique hotel, which is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection, pays homage to the city and great Italian design generally, with glass lamps crafted over in Murano and locally made fabrics, but it’s the views of San Giorgio Maggiore island and the lagoon from the private terraces that really steal the show.

Palazzo Venart

best hotels in venice

Palazzo Venart is a little removed from the more touristy parts of the city—it is set in Sestiere Santa Croce (one of the six districts of Venice), 10 minutes from the Rialto. In a city that takes its food seriously, it’s high praise indeed that its restaurant is one of the only fine-dining establishments in Venice with two Michelin stars (the other, in case you’re wondering or planning a dining pilgrimage, is Antica Osteria Cera).

There are 17 rooms and suites to choose from at this characterful boutique hotel. The refined residence has retained much of its historic charm, with all of the high ceilings, brocade upholstery and gilt-edged mirrors you could hope for—nowhere does chintz all well as the Italians.

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

best hotels in venice

Slightly away from the action, but all the more peaceful and private for it, Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is on the island of Giudecca (officially part of the sestiere of Dorsoduro) in the Venetian lagoon. The listed building was once a flour mill, but is now home to the highest bar in the city, with the views you’d expect from such a setting. Even better are the panoramas on offer at the presidential suite, which has direct access to the rooftop terrace.

Between June and September, the outdoor pool on the eighth floor is open to guests only, for cooling swims with an expansive view of Venice. If you can bear to leave, the concierge can arrange glass-blowing workshops on Murano and private tours of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. To San Marco, it's just a five-minute vaporetto ride.

Il Palazzo Experimental

best of the venice

Before it turned its sights on rejuvenating Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds, the Experimental Group expanded into Italy in 2019 with this stylish palazzo in Dorsoduro. It brought with it one of its sought-after cocktail clubs, newer editions of which can be found in Verbier and at Cowley Manor. Like its London sibling on Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, Il Palazzo Experimental has a restaurant that was created in partnership with the founders of the Italian Supper Club: at Il Ristorante Adriatica, you can enjoy seafood sourced from all over Italy (including, naturally, the Veneto),

For anyone in search of the best Venetian bacari (or cicchetti bars), all you need to do is enlist the help of the concierge who’ll arrange a tour of the finest ones.

Palazzo Cristo

best hotels of venice

Venice is full of historic palazzi that have been converted into luxurious hotels. Another fine example is Palazzo Cristo, in a 13th-century building overlooking the Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the Scuola Grande di San Marco. The restoration used only the finest Italian marble, travertine and wood to create apartment-style suites that are perfect for anyone planning to stay a while in La Serenissima (the rest of us can dream).

There are just four apartments to choose from, including a three-bedroom split-level residence, one-bedroom suites and, for the ultimate Venetian crash pad, a duplex apartment with a rooftop terrace and majestic views of the neighbouring landmarks. For breakfast, simply head out to Rosa Salva, the oldest bakery in Venice. Also within strolling distance are the Rialto and St Mark's Square.


Feature Image Credit: Courtesy of Ca Maria Adele

This article originally appeared in Harpers Bazaar/UK in April 2024

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