When Johnny Depp filmed The Tourist in Venice, he chose Palazzina Grassi as his home from home for three months and it’s not hard to see why.
The 25-room hotel is a highly seductive party pad, a multiple award-winning favourite with several A-list celebrities. Independently owned by an Italian, designed by French designer Philippe Starck — his only five-star hotel in Italy — and with a pitch-perfect location, the 16th Century palace makes a dreamy five-star base in the water-bound city.
Fly into Venice airport, book a private water taxi transfer and just like Johnny, you too can step directly into a unique piece of Venetian history.
The location is stellar, a top ticket in an especially art-focused area of Venice. Palazzina Grassi has its main entrance directly on the Grand Canal, the picture-perfect epicentre of Venetian life. It’s ten minutes to Piazza San Marco or the Dorsoduro waterfront, six to Accademia Bridge and three to the restaurants in Campo San Stefano. Next-door is leading arts venue Palazzo Grassi, a larger palazzo originally built by the Grassi family when they decided to upsize from the Palazzina.
The hotel’s emblem is a black mask, reflecting the history and mystique of the city and the mix throughout is an atmospheric blend of exquisite 16th Century architecture and modern day design. Philippe Starck has added drama and intrigue, wrapping rooms in billowing white linens and covering walls with acres of etched glass mirrors from Murano alongside dark mahogany floors, marble columns and moody black and white photography. Bedrooms are white and bright, bathrooms are a blaze of gorgeous travertine marble and the overall impact is sleek, sexy and original.
Want to party in Europe’s most unique city? The decks on show in Palazzina Grassi tell the story: the hotel hosts regular DJ sets from well-known names from the Ibiza club scene – Frenchman Bob Sinclair, for example. It’s also a favourite place to hire out for private parties, with previous revellers including Angelina Jolie, Nicolas Cage, Madonna, Al Pacino and Penelope Cruz.
Guests come to be immersed in Venice and the best of the city is directly outside. Palazzina Grassi lays on several private ‘experiences’ for guests. Dine aboard a private motor launch, visit the Rialto Market with the chef to choose your own lunch, tour the bacari, traditional Venetian bars for a spritz and cicchetti, small side dishes, island hop in the lagoon, visiting the glass factories of Murano as well as Torcello and Burano or discover the artisan craftsmanship or perfumeries of Venice.
Food & Drink
The restaurant, with its Murano glass and open kitchen, serves breakfast until 12 (ideal for those guests who have partied into the early hours) lunch and dinner. The a la carte dinner is especially good, with a menu of Venetian and Italian classics including blue lobster tagliolini, risotto with lagoon fish and pork cheek with truffle. In summer, guests can eat on the rooftop terrace or, for intimate drinks, there’s a private lounge overlooking the Grand Canal palazzos.
The 20 rooms and 5 suites offer a wide choice with even the smallest, Superior, offering generous space. The JD suite, named for Johnny Depp, their first celebrity guest who checked in in 2010, has two double bedrooms and a view over the Grand Canal. For some precious outside space, a deluxe room on the second floor has its own terrace.
Couples who want to experience the seduction of Venice in an intimate setting. Everything from arriving by boat on the Grand Canal to the dramatic design and the highly personable warm welcome (with a glass of chilled fizz) is designed to give a stay at Palazzina Grassi impact.
Rooms start from €450 including continental breakfast, palazzinagrassi.com