Like so many things in Venice, finding IQs is a bit of an adventure. The only indication of its whereabouts at all is the tiniest nameplate stuck on an anonymous metal gate; walk through this and you emerge standing on a narrow bridge looking down at the boats and gondolas gliding along the canal below. So it’s hardly a surprise that, despite being just a stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco, the crowds of tourists pass by without even knowing a hotel is there. Prime hidden hideaway territory, in other words.
Inside, the sense of the unexpected continues as you enter a pretty courtyard surrounded by tall ochre pillars and then pass through into IQs’ lobby. One of the most surprising in the whole city, it opens directly out onto the waters of the Santa Maria Formosa canal.
Upstairs the four bedrooms are cosy mini-apartments, with cutting-edge contemporary design, moody lighting to accompany the general colour palette of reds and blacks, comfy leather sofas, and well-equipped kitchens. Space is at a premium here, so in the morning it’s breakfast-in-bed, served on a special tray prepared by the staff (who are on call should you want to order snacks or a bottle of the local Prosecco at any time).
- The sense of having uncovered somewhere really special and private
- The location – not far from St Mark’s but still tucked away from the tourist masses
- The brooding interiors
- A shame that guests can’t sit out in the lovely interior courtyard in summer, as it is not the hotel’s property
- The sole receptionist is friendly and helpful, but can’t compare to a classic concierge when it comes to insider tips
Need to Know: IQs
Number of rooms: 4
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm and 12noon
Room service: Yes
Swimming pool: No
Dogs welcome: Yes. If small
Eating and drinking: There’s no bar or restaurant at IQs, but it is well located for discovering neighbourhood osterie and trattorie.
Near to? The hotel is right opposite the Querini Stampalia museum, one of Venice’s hidden masterpieces, with a fabulous collection of Pietro Longhi paintings alongside the cutting-edge interiors of renowned local architect, Carlo Scarpa.
Getting there: Alilaguna, the public waterbus from Marco Polo Airport, drops you off at San Zacceria and then the staff will come and meet you – all in around 90 minutes.