The Gritti Palace: Splendor In Venice

Ana B. Remos

"There are few things in life more pleasant than to sit on the terrace of the Gritti when the sun about to set." Somerset Maugham

The Gritti Palace is located on a privileged stretch of Venice’s Grand Canal, across the water from the majestic church Santa Maria della Salute, and just steps away from St. Mark’s square and the Fenice Theatre. The iconic Gothic building dates back to the times of the Pisani family in 1475. The building later became the private residence of Andrea Gritti, Doge of Venice, in 1525. Other illustrious Italians have owned this piece of prime real estate, until it became a luxurious hotel in 1895. The Luxury Collection is the current owner and administrator of the Gritti Palace.

The hotel is arguably the most lavish in the City of Water or Serenissima, as locals call Venice. It reopened its legendary doors on February 1, 2013, after 15 months of meticulous restoration. At a cost of more than $55 million, the renovation works brought back the original grandeur and mystique of a palace that has captivated guests through the centuries.

This Venetian icon enters a new phase, or cycle, with a modern infrastructure, while keeping its historic elegance and distinctive personality. A contingent of expert craftsmen, artists, architects, stone masons and local cultural institutions took on the challenges of preserving the building’s architectural details, and giving it all the comforts of the 21st century. A new state-of-the-art hydraulic system protects the building during high tide and allows it to maintain operations as usual.

The hotel maintains a feel of discreet luxury, with interiors inspired by its historical roles as a private residence, center of festivities and cultural institution. A selection of Venetian antiques, sumptuous carpets, exceptional tapestries, and hand crafted crystal chandeliers from the nearby island of Murano, complemented with modern furnishings, aim to enhance the feeling of Venetian elegance and timeless luxury.

The Gritti Palace emerged from the renovations with 61 luxurious rooms and 21 sumptuous suites, many with stunning views of the canal. The suites are inspired by the illustrious characters who visited the hotel through the years, including Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham and Peggy Guggenheim, who left their indelible mark on the hotel and the city. The exclusive two-story Redentore Terrazza suite takes over 818 sq. ft. and comes with an intimate reception room, large bedroom, living room with dining area and a spectacular terrace measuring 2,691 square feet, with pool, spa, entertaining spaces and stunning panoramic views of the lagoon and the city. The refurbished rooms and suites showcase local design elements such as tapestries and Venetian velvets, rococo armchairs, Girandole mirrors, hand-made crystal chandeliers, and exquisite reproductions of rare, antique Rubelli fabrics.

The palace’s famous terrace, overlooking the Grand Canal, continues to be the social center of Venice. Its design reminds us of the elegant wooden decks of Italian yachts from the 1930s, with polished wood and gleaming stainless steel finishes.

Inside the hotel, the Club of Doge restaurant celebrates traditional Venetian cuisine, and offers regional specialties such as pasta e fasoi (pasta and beans with Trevisano radicchio and olive oil from Garda), bisato sull’ara (slow cooked eel with bay leaves) and bigoli con l’arna (pasta with duck meat in orange sauce). The totally revamped Longhi Bar boasts hand sculpted mirrors, Murano glass lamps and a carved polychromatic marble counter, and serves some of the best cocktails in Venice, alongside an outstanding soufflé menu that deliver the perfect Venetian experience.

The Gritti Epicurean School is an open Venetian kitchen that has greeted the international elite since 1975. It has been preserved at the Epicurean Room and continues to host wine-tastings, workshops and other celebratory events, highlighting the culinary traditions of the Veneto.

Also on site, the new Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Spa, decorated with a natural and relaxing palette of delicate gold accents, mixes Old World charm with contemporary touches, such as elaborate Orsoni smalti, opulent Murano crystals, exquisite Venetian floors and elegant Wenge wood, created with characteristic Italian craftsmanship.

As part of the renewed experience, the Gritti offers its guests the Explorer Library, which pays homage to the rich literary tradition of the place, with unusual travel anecdotes; antique, rare monographs, as well as classic books written by the famous writers who lived in the hotel during the last century.

The Gritti, more than a hotel, is a place where history meets contemporary sophistication to offer the traveler an unforgettable experience in the most romantic and beautiful city in the world.

© | 2019