Novecento Boutique Hotel

San Marco, Venice, Italy Book from Eur130

An exotic, family-run gem hidden in plain sight, just a short walk from St Mark's Square
Tucked down a quiet little walkaway, just off the main thoroughfare to the Piazza San Marco, the Novecento is a sweet surprise. Despite its prime position near the Grand Canal, it strays from Venetian convention by being an originally-designed, oriental-inspired and relatively inexpensive little boutique hotel. Owned by the charming and enthusiastic Romanelli family, and decorated with fabrics, fittings and furniture that they discovered on their travels to Morocco, Pakistan and Asia, it’s become a haven for those seeking the ever-so-slightly bohemian side of Venice.

The unusual lamps, richly coloured designer silks and tapestries, rag-rolled walls, high, beamed ceilings and lead-paned, stained-glass windows all lend a lovely soft look to both the guest rooms and the expansive lounges, making for an intimate and homely atmosphere. That said, the team pride themselves on giving 4-star service and will bend over backwards to help you make the most of your stay in Italy's most iconic city.

Highs

  • Unique and stylish with beautiful, eclectic décor, reminiscent of Arabian souks and medieval boudoirs
  • A prime location just short walk from the famous Piazza San Marco, yet so tucked away that there's not a note of street noise
  • Lovely lounge areas where you can examine carefully selected artworks and books, and chat comfortably with other guests
  • Music and air-conditioning/temperature control system in every room
  • When we revisited in 2013, we found the friendliness, charm and helpfulness of the staff added to the hotel’s family feel
  • The huge breakfast buffet and sunny little pink-and-green courtyard garden where you can enjoy it

Lows

  • The rooms aren’t large and there are only jacket-length hanging spaces in the wardrobes
  • Some guests may find the lighting in the rooms a little dim, though the white linen lends an airy feel
  • The mosquitoes may foil the vaporizers and air-conditioning in the summer months

Best time to go

Spring and early summer are usually crowded, while August is low season: very hot and humid, and full of daytrippers. Autumn is beautiful - Venice’s ‘high season’ with attendant rates. Winter is very quiet, with no queues and easily bookable restaurants but it can be really cold, with icy winds blowing off the sea, so come prepared. We visited at the end of February (just after these events) and found the city to be relatively quiet, creating a stunning, peaceful mood.

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
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9
  • Breakfast (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Classes
Room:

Rooms

Each of the rooms has soft lighting and its own distinctive design; a mixture of multi-ethnic furniture circa 1900. Our room had a low Thai platform bed, a printed wall-hanging and a dark wood wardrobe. Walls are rag-rolled or silk-hung, cotton drapes and curtains have been made up by a local factory to the Romanelli family’s own designs, and floors are original Venetian marble with carpets collected from adventures in Morocco, Pakistan and Senegal. Some rooms have romantic four-poster beds, while others can be made up as twins; all doubles have 2 individual down duvets, saving any bedding-tugging battles.

Ensuites come in the form of compact shower bathrooms where you get Philippe Starck-designed fittings, big-headed showers, hairdryers and divine Bigelow toiletries. There’s also air-conditioning and temperature control (unusual for Venetian hotels and very welcome in high summer), as well as the option of soothing piped music from a selection that includes jazz, Arabian, classical and opera.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Music selection
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

You can request breakfast in bed, but it’s fun to choose from the big buffet laid out downstairs and then take your loot out into the sunny courtyard garden. The buffet includes: freshly squeezed orange juice, muesli, cornflakes, hard-boiled eggs, fruit salad and yoghurts, toast, Nutella and jams, croissants, Parma ham, and a wide selection of fresh fruits and cheeses.

The hotel also provides a delightful, complimentary afternoon tea of cakes and hot drinks in the ground floor breakfast area.

There’s a massive number of restaurants to choose from: you’re moments from Campo Santo Stefano, which is home to numerous restaurants. For a taste of iconic Venice, dine outdoors at Caffé Florian (Italy's oldest café) on the Piazza San Marco, or head to the famous (and outrageously expensive) Harry’s Bar for world-class Bellinis and Carpaccio - both are close by. It can be difficult to judge the quality of Venetian restaurants, so if you want to try something new we’d recommend seeking advice from whoever is on reception. We were directed to a fantastic and inconspicuous little place near the Accademia (and the team were also happy to book a table on our behalf).

Features include:

  • Afternoon tea
  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit some of the hundreds of churches, galleries and museums showcasing baroque Venetian architecture, art and history. Check out the world-famous Palazzo Ducale, the Gothic seat of Venetian power, and extraordinary little church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, ‘a jewel box of ancient marbles’
  • Wonder at all the masterpieces gathered under one roof in the Galleria dell’Academia in Dorsoduro and the marvels of San Marco's Basilica and square
  • Take a public waterbus ride down the Grand Canal - a great introduction to this floating, shimmering city - or take a lazy gondola ride through the labyrinth of canals (seeming disinterested can bring the quoted price crashing down)
  • Book tickets for one of the many evening concerts or operas on offer. The Teatro La Fenice is close by, and there are regular Vivaldi recitals at the Chiesa di San Vidal (mostly bookable on the day)
  • Take a waterbus to the nearby islands of San Michele (a huge cemetery park), Burano (fishing, lace-making and gaily coloured houses) and Torcello (7th- to 13th-century architecture, Byzantine mosaics and a tiny resident population of some 80 people)
  • Explore the labyrinth of narrow alleys and little hump-backed bridges. Dead ends aren’t marked and street names often don’t seem to match those on the map but getting lost is all part of the fun

Activities on site or nearby include:

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

Kids

As a family-run hotel Novecento happily welcomes children, though they’d ask that you let them know in advance so they can choose and set up the right room for you. All ages have stayed here; cots and babysitting services are available and there are board games on offer. Staff can also recommend family-friendly restaurants and activities.

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms have space for a baby cot, and some has space for an extra bed, too.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available on request.

Baby equipment:

Cots, strollers and baby bathrobes are available, and staff can assist with heating baby food.

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

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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