Al Ponte Antico $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Al Ponte Antico has taken the traditional Venetian hotel design idiom and run with it to create a baroque extravaganza. From the padded gold reception desk to the ornate banquettes in the high-ceilinged, rose-pink salon where breakfast is eaten and drinks and snacks served throughout the day, to the brocade-overload bedrooms, this property is old-school Venice at its most playful. There's a delightful little terrace from which to survey the Rialto bridge and the boats, waterbuses, and gondolas plying the Grand Canal. You'll need to book well ahead to secure one of the seven rooms or suites in this extremely popular hotel, especially the deluxe room and junior suite with their Grand Canal views. It's not only the dramatic decor but also the exceptionally warm reception from the Peruch family that makes this place a winner: You'll be greeted by name as you arrive, and cared for and coddled through your stay (so steer clear if you prefer aloofness and anonymity).—Lee Marshall
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