“A small, stylish, tranquil hotel in off-beat San Polo, with art-filled bedrooms and a secret garden”
The hotel's bedrooms are spread over 3 floors. All are tastefully and individually furnished, with paintings and portraits from the family's personal collection, an eclectic mix of restored furniture and brightly coloured bedspreads. Excellent ensuite bathrooms are stocked with Bulgari products and lots of fluffy white towels. There are LCD TVs and the emphasis is on comfort and quality rather than designer cool. All the rooms can be double or twin-bedded, and all (except the Ivory Double Room) can accommodate a third person or a couple of children.
We stayed in the Green Suite next to the hotel entrance. It's on the ground-floor and is the only room with door to it's own secluded patch of the garden. It has a separate sitting room with a double sofabed. The bathroom has both a bath and shower, and if you have any mobility problems then this is the room for you. It's also the best room if you have small children, as there are no stairs to negotiate and they have direct access to the garden (which is securely walled around).
On the first floor is the Turquoise Suite, again with a separate sitting room and a double sofabed, as well as a huge bathroom with a bath and shower. On the same floor are the 2 Double Rooms: Cacao has a double bed, a single sofabed and a bathroom; the Ivory Room is the smallest, with just a double bed. Minimal and neutral décor makes them feel fairly spacious, and they enjoy the same garden or canal views as the Suites (albeit through fewer windows).
On the top floor, sitting amongst the eaves with the best canal views, are the Junior Suites, Blue and Grey.
In an annex just steps from the main building are 2 newer suites: the Aubergine Junior Suite and the Ecru Canal Suite. These rooms were designed by the same interior designer, AZA. Aubergine has an antique chimney and 2 windows that directly face the canal; Ecru is great for families as it has a large drawing room and can be adjoined to a bedroom with twin beds.
Not everyone falls in love with Venice at first bite, and often it's the cost that puts people off. Happily, the area of San Polo has several low-key, high-quality restaurants where you can tuck in without splashing out. Lorenzo recommended one of his favourite haunts, Antiche Carampane, which is just a 5-minute walk away (although ask for directions as it can be tricky to find). It’s a friendly, family-run establishment with incredibly delicious food (the best of our trip) sourced fresh from the Rialto Market daily. We feasted on tagliolini in a spider crab sauce and John Dory fillet with broccoli pesto and clams. This excellence hasn’t gone unnoticed so ask someone at the hotel to help with booking a table.
At lunchtime, grab a bite at one of the city’s barcari - small bars with even smaller dishes called cicheti (mini sandwiches, salads, cured hams and cheeses). They’re fast paced and often filled with locals; we sat next to a gondolier on his lunch break.
At the hotel itself, a charmingly presented breakfast is on offer. It's a sociable affair in the communal lounge, or out in the garden as late in the year as November. There's ham and cheese, croissants, bread, fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereals, juice, tea and coffee, plus some delicious cakes and pastries for those of you with a sweet tooth.
Kids will find Venice completely fascinating with its macabre history, ancient buildings sinking into water, maze of alleyways, boat rides and houses on stilts. This is a great place to come if you have children - families are made to feel very welcome and the walled garden is lovely. There's no charge for cots, and extra beds can be added to all rooms except the Ivory Room.
The Green Suite on the ground floor is highly recommended as it has a sitting room with a double sofabed, plus direct access to the garden. The Ecru Suite has a drawing room and can connect to a twin room
Babysitting is available on request. It's best to provide some advanced warning to avoid disappointment. Lorenzo can recommend 2 English speaking women whom he knows and trusts
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking