The latest luxury hotel to open in Venice is a true hidden gem housed in the beautifully restored, former, Stock Exchange, which dates back to 1929.
Where is it?
Well located on Calle Larga XXII Marzo, one of Venice’s main arteries that runs between St. Mark’s Square and the Accademia Gallery. Elegant shops line the street with the Baroque St. Moses Church standing proud at one end. St. Mark’s is a five-minute stroll.
Spread over five floors, the hotel’s ornate exterior is matched with interiors which charm with carnivalesque fantasy. Beautifully restored terrazzo doors and stucco marmorino walls reflect Venice’s long admired craftsmanship, as do the blown-glass lanterns and stucco marbro headboards. To add to this, French-Italian designer duo Lecoadic-Scotto have drawn on rich materials – think red velvet, mirrors, Murano glass chandeliers, gold mosaics octopuses in the bathrooms and swirling, vibrant murals in amongst the cosy, book-lined bar. The result is warm and welcoming, just like the staff.
Food & Drink
There are two restaurants here. The courtyard-based Il Caffè and from January, the gastronomic Palais Royal Restaurant. Both are overseen by Chef Philip Chronopoulos, whose Palais Royal Restaurant in Paris has two Michelin stars. At Il Caffè try the cicchetti or the artichoke salad with parmesan or the vitella tonnato and then the gnocchi with cacio e pepe. But stop at the wood-panelled Bar for a cocktail first and a dip into their curated library of over 4,000 books. They do the best French 75 I have ever had.
They do the best French 75 I have ever had
Breakfast is another pleasure. It is served in the restaurant upstairs, sun dappling the pink interiors (see if you can spot the Picasso). Order the poached eggs fried with parmesan or boiled eggs with a topping of caviar to start your day off right.
At the top of the building there is a small, indoor, swimming pool, lined with gold mosaics and offering a view over Venice’s unforgettable skyline of domes and bell towers. It neighbours the spa.
With Venice on your doorstep, everything is possible. Tick off the sights from St. Marks Basilica to the Doge’s Palace, from San Giorgio to the Rialto Bridge. From the Peggy Guggenheim Museum to the Accademia Gallery. But leave time to lose yourself in the warren of narrow alleyways; so, you can hear the rhythmic slap of water on old stone and the distant sound of footsteps echoing in the empty streets. It is then that you feel the magic of Venice. Or at night, when walking past fading palazzos where music seeps from the only lit window, tucked high up under the roof, and the whole city seems wrapped in mystery, with only dimly lit canals to guide you home.
They are all lovely, even the smallest have charm. But if you can, splash out on a suite with a terrace, which gives you not only a bathtub as well as a walk-in shower in your bathroom but also a sitting room – filled with art books, a bar cart with bottles of spirits and Murano glass ware – and best of all, a view onto Venice’s rooftops. The terraces vary in size, the largest you can eat out on, but to curl up on a chair in the sunlight and read a book to the background of church bells under a blue sky is a real pleasure indeed.
Lovers of history, lovers of literature, lovers of art and of course, lovers. Venice remains the ultimate romantic city and Nolinski Venezia echoes this in its rich and sensuous décor, its glinting mirrors, and its unbridled luxury.
Doubles from €850 per night. Nolinski Venezia; nolinskivenezia.com