Words by John Brunton
ith lots of black, lots of velveteen and lots of luxe, Palazzo Barbarigo is moody and magnificent. It hasn’t cast off its traditional palazzo persona completely, though – if the interiors are sleek and modern, the façade is picture-postcard Venice and its Grand Canal location is as grand as any.
Hotel San Cassiano Ca’Favretto
Venice is rarely cheap. But out of high season, prices at Hotel San Cassiano Ca’Favretto can drop below the 100 euro mark – making it one of the more affordable palazzos in Venice. In Room 37 it also has one of the most remarkable rooms in the city. Rather than sweeping Canaletto-esque vistas of the Grand Canal, you’re right down at water level and can watch the boats bob past from your window. A special experience.
The ‘palazzo that Starck built’ was never likely to fall into the more twiddly excesses of Venetian architecture. Sure enough, Palazzina Grassi is a pretty stripped back affair with white-on-white rooms, and just the odd Baroque flourish in the lobby to liven things up. Since it opened in February 2010 it’s been the palatial residence of choice for an army of celebrities – most notably Johnny Depp, who stayed at the hotel during the shooting of The Tourist.
Compared to the sleek, luxurious Palazzo Barbarigo and the full-on Starck fest that is Palazzina Grassi, Palazzo Abadesa very much falls into the ‘traditional’ category. But it doesn’t lack for original features – from the high, beamed ceilings and the antique-filled rooms, to the marble double staircase and the lovely statue-studded garden – and the owner, Maria Luisa, is a true Venetian personality.
Ca Maria Adele
You enter Ca Maria Adele in the most romantic way imaginable: stepping off a water taxi from a narrow canal directly into reception. Once on dry land, the Baroque swirls of the 16th-century Venetian palazzo have been lavishly supplemented with a mixture of sparking glass and crystal and sumptuous soft furnishings. At night, you can retreat up to the terrace and, glass of Prosecco in hand, watch the vaporettos and gondolas glide by on the canal.
Venice palazzos a bit grand and lavish for your taste? For something completely different, check out of our pick of the best chic shacks around the world.