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November 16, 2009

The Palazzina Grassi Opens In Venice

Palazzina_Grassi_Venice
The restaurant at the new Palazzina Grassi hotel in Venice is bound to be a hotspot.

by Ondine Cohane

Just back from Venice, where the big news is the opening of the Palazzina Grassi hotel this week. The place wasn't quite finished yet when I took the grand tour, but it was already clear that the property is going to a stylish and intimate addition to the city's hotel scene. The project marks designer Philippe Starck's first foray into Italy, and although there are plenty of modern, playful touches (like his signature oversize lamps and furniture), he used lots of local materials, too. You'll find handmade Murano glass and mirrors (there are about 298 on site, so you better like looking at yourself), Venetian plaster walls in reds and greens, and traditional terrazzo floors throughout the property's 24 rooms. (Those rooms are set out between two buildings dating from the 19th and 16th centuries, but the kick-ass suites are in the older structure overlooking the Grand Canal). In addition to a restaurant and bar that are open to the public, there will be a second bar area downstairs that's reserved for hotel guests only. Supposedly VIP Venetians will be invited there, too, as part of a members-only club--I bet it will become celeb central during the Film Festival and the Biennale.

One of the best aspects to the property is its neighborhood. Near Campo Santo Stefano, the hotel is also nestled behind the Palazzo Grassi, one of the city's best new contemporary art museums, and only a short walk to must-stops like San Marco, the Accademia, and the funky neighborhood of Dorsoduro.

Looking for somewhere to eat nearby? Grab a plate of delicious cicchetti, Venice's answer to tapas, and great wine by the glass at Bacaro da Fiore on Calle delle Botteghe.

Further reading:
* Show Stopper: An insider's Venice (CNT, December 2008)
* Word of Mouth: The buzz worldwide

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