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3247 San Marco
Tel: 39 041 5284644
An aristocratic fifteenth-century palazzo on the Grand Canal is the canvas for Philippe Starck's first Italian design hotel and this month's "Room with a View," a 26-room bijou that combines a twenty-first-century vision with Venice's colorful past. Next door to the Palazzo Grassi, now home to François Pinault's extraordinary contemporary art collection, the Palazzina is set to become the Algonquin of the lagoon city's contemporary art scene. Very discreet, the hotel has no sign beyond the stylized Murano glass bull's heads on its private Grand Canal dock or its Calle Grassi back entrance, and guests are greeted by massive glass sculptures by French artist Aristide Najean. The opulent and intimate bar/restauranta large mahogany-covered room furnished with an eclectic mix of couches and Starck chairsoccupies the ground floor. Luminous guest rooms have comfortable beds and white-leather furniture, and Starck Flos reading lamps. But the true star here is the mirrors, which are everywhere: Even the flat-screen TV is encased in a mirrored cabinet that incorporates both a well-stocked bar and a wardrobe. Staff are professional yet friendly and refreshingly free of by-the-book protocol. Check-in is done wherever you like, and the delightful breakfast is served whenever you're ready for it.
Which room to book: You can see the canal from your bed in the Grand Canal Suite, but the four junior suites all share a terrace overlooking the quintessentially Venetian antique-tiled roofs and altane, or wooden rooftop terraces.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.