Ca' Pisani

Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy
Book from GBP Book from £114 per night

Ca' Pisani

Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy

Eye-catching Art Deco design in a medieval palazzo right next to the Accademia

Eye-catching Art Deco design in a medieval palazzo right next to the Accademia

Venice is a city in a time warp - no cars, no supermarkets, no modern flash. That’s part of its incredible charm. But many of its hotels are also stuck in a time warp - tired décor, medieval plumbing, poor insulation. One hotel which breaks this mould - and in some style - is Ca Pisani, a four-storey 'designer palazzo' (apparently Venice's first design hotel) just near the Grand Canal and the Guggenheim collection.

Behind its 16th-century façade - with the classic ochre plaster and marble-framed windows - the Serandrei family have refitted it in dazzling and indulgent style. We’re talking sleek glass surfaces, bamboo-parquet floors, steel stairs, walnut bedframes, optic-fibre spotlights, Mies van der Rohe chairs, and a smattering of futuristic artworks. Most pieces are from the 1930’s and 40’s, others are specially commissioned for the hotel, including the gadget-laden bathrooms and the remotely operated, double-glazed windows. It may sound OTT but it’s very easy on the eye (and the body) after an exhausting day of sightseeing or shopping. The hotel also has a steam room, a ground floor restaurant which spills onto the lane in fine weather, and a pretty roof terrace for romantic private dinners. Overall this is a calm, contemporary haven in a swarming sea of history.

Highs

  • Great location next to the Accademia Gallery and vaporetto stop (3 mins from the Zattere quays, 15 mins from San Marco)
  • Extremely well-appointed bedrooms: great air-conditioning and soundproofing, superb beds, robes and turndowns
  • We loved the luxurious bathrooms - bathtubs are a rare treat in Venice, so the huge Jacuzzi tub went down a storm
  • The on-site wine and cheese bar - with outdoor tables, too - is handy if you're too tired to dine out
  • The altana terrace has princely views of Venetian rooftops and domes

Lows

  • No canal views - though that can be a blessing
  • We found the button-operated lighting, air-con and curtains a little baffling at first
  • When we last stayed, we felt the service - though always efficient and polite - lacked warmth at times

Best time to go

May, June, September and October are the busiest in Venice; July and August are very hot and humid, and full of day-trippers. March and early April are perhaps the best times to go, with cool clear weather. November - mid February (excluding New Year) are very quiet, with no queues and easily-bookable restaurants. In early November you can still enjoy blue skies and al fresco lunches; after that, expect some cold and clouds. If you plan to visit during peak seasons, be sure to book well in advance.

Our top tips

Venice is great for shopping - the streets leading to St Mark's Square are lined with exclusive designer stores, the Dorsoduro area is full of independent galleries, and San Polo has the Rialto market as well as great artisan masks and furnishings

Great for...

City Style
Eco
Romantic
  • Design Hotel
  • 29 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Slide your wooden 'fish' in front of your hieroglyphic room number, and the heavy soundproofed buzzes open to reveal a calm study of cream, beige and brown. Floors are mostly polished parquet or bamboo; a few boast Venetian terrazzo (mosaic-effect stone). Translucent blinds reveal double-glazed windows which open two ways - or not at all, if you prefer air-conditioning. There’s not much of a view, except from third floor rooms.

Beds are curved, super-comfy Deco pieces in dark, smooth walnut wood, with plentiful pillows atop linen sheets. You’ll find switches for lights, curtains, blinds and radio dotted about the place - we advise figuring out how they work before drifting off to sleep!

All rooms have some form of sitting area, with orange armchairs or Mies van der Rohe pieces, and a silver-leafed cabinet that cleverly conceals a TV, minibar, safe and writing shelf. In the Junior Suites these are separated by a sliding door (in walnut, of course); while Lofts have a sitting room and bathroom downstairs, and fan-shaped glass-and-steel stairs winding up to a sleeping platform.

Pride of place goes to the decadent bathrooms: ours had no fewer than 9 buttons and 12 levers to operate water pressure, temperature, spray mode etc. Entry-level Comfort Experience rooms have a shower or bathtub, rather than both. Upgrade to get a swanky shower (rainshower with 4 lateral jets) plus a separate Jacuzzi tub. Our bathroom walls sparkled with a specially commissioned marble-glass-resin mixture, shaded purple or white - very glitzy.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

On the ground floor, and spilling onto the pedestrian street outside, you’ll find La Rivista: an intimate concept restaurant which takes its stylistic cue from the futurist Fortunato Depero painting on show inside. Graze on ciccheti (tapas) and tramezzini (Venetian mini-sandwiches), or tuck into fish and meat mains, salads and vegetarian dishes, and classic Italian dolce. Prices are reasonable by Venetian hotel standards. You can sit inside or out, depending on the weather - the latter makes for great people-watching.

If you prefer to dine out - and you should on at least one evening, for the flair and finesse of some Venetian restaurants - there are some great options around the Accademia. Or head to Piazza San Marco to dine outdoors at Caffé Florian (Italy's oldest café), or visit the famous (and outrageously expensive) Harry’s Bar for world-class Bellinis and Carpaccio.

As for breakfast, the buffet here is pretty good. We loved the beautifully presented fresh fruit (from papayas to pineapples), alongside plenty of cereals, yoghurts and pastries, plus scrambled eggs and bacon on the hotplate. In summer there are parasol-shaded tables on the street; or you can be decadent and have a tray brought to your room for a charge.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Kids' meals
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Step outside your hotel and into the famous Accademia art gallery: a former convent, it now holds a world-class collection of pre-19th century art
  • A little further into Dorsoduro you’ll find Peggy Guggenheim’s famous modern art collection displayed in her impressive home overlooking the Grand Canal. Works on display include those by Pollock, Picasso and Peggy’s ex-husband, Max Ernst
  • At the very tip of Dorsoduro, where the Grand Canal meets open water, sits Punta della Dogana. This previously abandoned warehouse now hosts the contemporary art collection of billionaire Francois Pinault
  • Don't miss the Palazzo Ducale in the square of San Marco; the little church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, 'a jewel box of ancient marbles'; or the Palazzo Grimani, built by a Venetian doge in the 1520s
  • Book tickets for an evening concert or opera - maybe a Vivaldi recital in the Chiesa di San Vidal, where Renaissance masterpieces adorn the church’s walls
  • Take to the water! The vaporetti (waterbuses) are a cost-effective and practical way to see the city, while the gondolas offer a quintessential (if pricey) Venetian experience. For something in between, hop on one of the traghetti, which commuters use to cross the Grand Canal
  • Take a waterbus to the nearby islands of San Michele (a huge cemetery park), Murano (glass-blowing), Burano (fishing, lace-making and bright houses) or Torcello; or head to the Lido to swim in the sea
  • Explore the labyrinth of narrow alleys and little hump-backed bridges - getting lost is all part of the fun here

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are welcome here, and babysitting can be arranged upon request. Venice is great with older children - no car traffic, a genuinely warm welcome, and plenty to see; but not good for strollers (due to stepped bridges) or with young children (due to the omnipresence of canals, often without railings).

Family friendly accommodation:

Most Deluxe and Junior Suites can take an extra bed, almost all rooms can fit a cot, and some rooms interconnect.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

La Rivista can prepare child-friendly options.

Families Should Know:

Most canal fronts lack railings. Stepped bridges are a pain with buggies or strollers.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The hotel is located alongside the Accademia gallery, near the Accademia bridge (and vaporetto stop) in Dorsoduro. It’s a 15-minute walk to Piazza San Marco.

By Air
Fly into Venice Marco Polo (13km) or nearby Treviso Airport (35km), both have regular flights and offer easy access to central Venice.

From the Airport
Visitors arriving in Marco Polo Airport can either take a private water taxi or the Alilaguna shared taxi-boat straight from the airport to the Accademia stop. It's also possible to take a bus/taxi to Piazzale Roma and walk or take a vaporetto (waterbus) from there. There are regular bus services from Treviso Airport (approx 40-minute drive). From here, catch a vaporetto down the Grand Canal (towards San Marco) and get off at the Accademia stop. The hotel is 2 minutes' walk from the stop, so there's no risk of getting lost.

By Train
If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can reach Venice quite easily with the Eurostar from London, changing in Paris.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Venice 13.0 km VCE
  • Treviso 35.0 km TSF

Other:

  • Beach 3.5 km
  • Shops 0.3 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

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