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If there were one major European city where we’d pick a hotel for its far out, rather than central, location, Venice would probably be it. La Serenissima, as everyone who’s elbowed their way through the crowds on the Riva degli Schiavoni or queued to walk across the Rialto bridge will know, is anything but calm in the touristy bits.
That’s why the San Clemente Palace – far from the madding crowd on a private island, only accessible by its own shuttle – has always sounded ideal to us. A 17th-century monastery (though island life dates back to the 1100s), it sits in the lagoon between Giudecca and the Lido – about a 12-minute boatride to San Marco on the hotel’s private shuttle.
And now it’s got a little more ideal with the news that, following an 18-month, €25m refurbishment after it ran out of money in 2012, it’s reopening as a St Regis property – mmm, butler service – on June 15. (Somehow, Starwood has won out over Four Seasons, which initially was slated to take it on.)
Yesterday in Venice, on the sands of the beach at the Lido Westin Excelsior Hotel to be more exact, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld debuted his Cruise collection for the French fashion house.
For something so elaborate as a location-specific runway show, Chanel flies in the most important magazine editors, stylist and international press, and puts them up in the best hotel rooms in the city as part of the whole spectacle. Although they took over the Excelsior's beach for the actual show, we learned from Grazia's blog that the guests were instead bedding down back on San Marco, in the Westin Europa & Regina.
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
Big thanks to HC tipster Gil who dropped a few incredible pictures in our in-box after staying at the Hotel Bauer in Venice, Italy last month. To be precise, these pictures were taken on a sunny Sunday afternoon from Room 521.
We're already big fans of Venice and its winding canals, so a hotel room with views over the city's tiny streets and another outlook where you can actually watch the gondolas floating by is almost priceless. One of Hotel Bauer's walls lies directly on a canal so you can come out the front door, turn left and hop a gondola ride right there.
They're a bit pricey, but if you can afford the Hotel Bauer with its average room rates of over $800 a night, a gondola's just a small blip in the budget.
Another pic can be found after the jump.
In a place like Venice, it's so much more fitting to renovate rather than start from scratch. The buildings that are up in this magical city already dominate the top addresses and on top of that, boast the history to go along with it.
Hilton was no fool, they grabbed an old 19th century flour mill with a prime location on Canale Giudecca and made plans for Venice's first Neo-Gothic building revival.
What that means of course is that Venezia is about to be home to a new Hiton, in mid-2007 that is. With the opening of the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice (the name playing homage to its ol' flour mill roots) comes major luxury, we're talking private landing, prime views, rooftop pool, the works. And not exactly a small project either with 380 rooms and a sort of "Hilton Village" for which they're so known:
The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice will open with five restaurants and bar venues including the Skyline Bar with dramatic views of city. The views are also a backdrop for the hotel's rooftop, outdoor swimming pool. Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is also home to a 6,400-square foot spa and Turkish bath.
With a facelift like this in the real Venice, we wonder if Vegas' Venetian will feel pressure to get some work done.
Image via Daisuke Ido/Flickr
With all this talk of bad hotel experiences in Venice, we figured we would let you in on a place, or two, where you might be able to get good service and a decent experience.
Situated on a private 5 acre island minutes from St. Mark's Square by boast, the San Clemente Palace is all about private elegance. Sure this place is gonna cost you honeymoon type money (think over $300 a night), however, the price includes taxes, breakfast, an attentive staff, and plenty of simple elegance.
Being a short water taxi ride away from Venice comes with its advantages--distance from the hustle bustle equals restful sleep.
· San Clemente Palace Venice Reviews [TripAdvisor]