Venice's floating hotel

Here's yet another reason to fall in love with the City of Water.

JG Links, in his delightful book Venice for Pleasure, remarked that he envied the imagination of anyone capable of being disappointed by Italy's famed floating city. And it would take a powerful imagination indeed to be let down by the latest hotel in the Aman stable, Aman Canal Grande Venice, situated on the San Polo side of the Grand Canal, a short walk from the Rialto Bridge. The meticulously restored 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli is an excursion into neo-Renaissance and Rococo excess. The palazzo was named after the Papadopoli brothers, Nicolò and Angelo, who bought it in the second half of the 19th century and hired then-preferred designer Michelangelo Guggenheim to give it a Versailles-like makeover. And the palazzo is still home to nobility - owners Count and Countess Arrivabene live on the fifth floor with their five children.

Aman's designer Jean-Michel Gathy has balanced the Rococo opulence with a sleek, modern aesthetic, juxtaposing contemporary Italian furnishings and glassware against the palazzo's ornate stucco and silk wall coverings, antique tapestries, Murano chandeliers and murals by Tiepolo and Rotta. Elegance prevails in the hotel's 24 rooms, many with views of the canal: the colour scheme is serene and subdued, the modern bathrooms featuring delicate white mosaic tiles. Two private gardens - thanks to the Papadopolis' demolition of the buildings next door - make the Aman an oasis of calm in tourist-trampled Venice.

In short, there's very little to be disappointed about, other than the €1000 per night starting rate. But then, sampling the life of Venetian nobility couldn't possibly come cheap. Aman Canal Grande Venice, Palazzo Papadopoli, Calle Tiepolo 1364, Sestiere San Polo, Venezia, +39 041 270 7333


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