Hotel Highlights

  • Philippe Starck’s first foray into Italy
  • Hidden hideaway far from the Venice crowds
  • Venetian-favoured restaurant and bar

Overview

Sitting smack-dab on the Grand Canal, Palazzina G hotel plays its location to its fullest advantage as a sensual Phillipe Starck creation with avant-garde rooms that overlook Venice's rooftops. A bar specializing in local bubbly, suites with terraces boasting views you only dream about and a playfully oversized chess set are all tucked behind the 16th-century façade.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Palazzina G with us:

A bottle of prosecco and a selection of cicchetti (Venetian appetisers) made by the chef.

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Palazzina G

'PG early booking': 10% off 'PG non-refundable': 10% off 'PG last-minute': 20% off 'Palazzina G seasonal experience'

Facilities

View Gallery
Palazzina G hotel – Venice – Italy

Need To Know

Rooms

22, including one suite and six suite apartments.

Check–out

12 noon, but flexible until 3pm if the room’s available. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $530.95 (€385), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

€352–€1,991, excluding breakfast (€25 each for Continental; €55 for PG's full American, served anywhere). Apartments, €2,500–€12,000 a night.

Also

Palazzina G guests can take a ride on the hotel's luxury mahogany boat through the canals into the lagoon. Staff can arrange a host of authentic Venetian experiences – from insider city tours to cooking classes from a countess.

At the hotel

Library, members- and residents-only Krug champagne lounge; luxury mahogany boat; private landing pier; roof terrace; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Starck fixtures and fittings, backlit mirror walls, programmable lighting, in-mirror LCD TV, iPod dock, minibar (with decent-sized bottles). There’s a giant chess set outside, by the canal.

Our favourite rooms

Junior Suite 220 has a mirrored bedhead and pink Perspex door that leads out onto a terrace overlooking the city’s rooftops. There’s an exclusive feel to the third-floor Suite: you can only get there by private elevator. Its terrace has sweeping Venice vistas, and you can get an eyeful of cityscape from the bed. Grassi’s smallest rooms, the Superiors, aren’t spacious, but the hall-of-mirrors effect gives the impression of size.

Packing tips

Mrs Smiths, free up some handbag space and leave the compacts behind: there are 286 mirrors inside this hotel.

Also

A five-night minimum stay applies during the Venice Biennale (28 May to 1 June 2013). Well-behaved dogs are welcome for €50 a ni ght. Check-in can be on-boat, in your room or in the bar.

Children

Cots are free for under-threes, but extra beds for older kids cannot be provided. A local nanny can be called upon for babysitting services (€25 an hour).

Food & Drink

View Gallery
Palazzina G hotel – Venice – Italy

Hotel Restaurant

Meals are served pretty much anywhere, but the main dining area is in PG’s, where there’s an open kitchen. Paolo Businaro is the man behind the menu, which places simplicity and the quality of ingredients above fussiness and show-off flourishes.


Hotel Bar

PG’s is a mood-lit mahogany cocktail den of exposed brick, velvet and leather. Lamps resemble gorgon heads; 15th-century pillars prop up the bars, and candles flicker in glimmering Murano-glass holders. Suite Apartment guests also get access to the Krug Lounge, a sultry, scarlet-carpeted ‘champagnerie’ with animal-shaped leather stools.

Last orders

Breakfast can be served at any time, and lunch dishes are available from midday until midnight, when the bar shuts. Dinner is 7pm until 10pm.

Room service

Anything the hotel’s kitchens can produce is available until midnight, after which a smaller, night menu kicks in. You can have food and drink brought to you anywhere you wish.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Rich, ducal fabrics: velvet, cashmere and damask.

Top table

People-watch from a perch at the bar, or sit at the long table by the show kitchen to watch the chefs at work.

Local Guide

View Gallery
Palazzina G hotel – Venice – Italy
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Three minutes away, Bacaro da Fiore (+39 041 523 5310; www.dafiore.it) is a traditional trattoria that doubles as a cicchetteria, serving up snack-size portions of fried fish and veg. It’s a 15-minute walk to low-key-but-lovely Osteria di Santa Marina (+39 041 528 5239; www.osteriadisantamarina.it). Try the turbot ravioli in shellfish broth, scallop risotto and ice-cream macaroons. Take a boat out to Mazzorbo to dine on the freshest seasonal produce at Venissa Ristorante Ostello (+39 041 527 2281; www.venissa.it). The estate makes wine for its well-stocked cellar. For excellent Venetian food off the tourist-trodden path, try Osteria l’Orto dei Mori (+39 041 524 3677; www.osteriaortodeimori.com). Head next door to the Palazzo Grassi Café (+39 041 240 1337) for lunch by the canal.


 

+ Enlarge
A stroll from San Marco

Palazzina G

San Marco 3247, Venice, Veneto, 30124

Planes

Venice’s Marco Polo Airport is 16km away. This bustling airport caters for a wide range of flights from Europe, the Middle East and USA – and it's easy to reach the city from here, approach Venice by crossing the lagoon on the Alilaguna (www.alilaguna.it) to San Marco. Alternatively, Treviso Airport (www.trevisoairport.it) is also well placed for travelling to the hotel, located just 26 km away, with a direct bus (www.atvo.it) link to Piazzale Roma in the city.

Trains

The Santa Lucia station is 2.5km from the hotel. From here, Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.it) trains go to Milan, Rome and Paris. The Celli can set sail to here, too (for €70).

Automobiles

Unless you want to lock them up on an artificial island or long-stay carpark, leave the cars at home. The hotel is in the centre of Venice, where waterways rule, not roads.

Reviews

View Gallery
Palazzina G hotel – Venice – Italy

Anonymous review

by Jack Peñate , Guitar-pop pro

Venice: the land of elaborate masks, crimson coats, gilded gondolas, and most importantly, love. Mask? Check. Red mac? Sure. Gondola? Yessir. Love? Pass. I’ve got a 6’2”, baseball-capped, bearded, tattooed friend called Gabriel along for the ride.

Adventure is clearly on its way: we catch the auspicious sight of Fabio Capello swaggering onto our plane, flaunting the ki...

Read more

Palazzina G

Anonymous review by Jack Peñate, Guitar-pop pro

Venice: the land of elaborate masks, crimson coats, gilded gondolas, and most importantly, love. Mask? Check. Red mac? Sure. Gondola? Yessir. Love? Pass. I’ve got a 6’2”, baseball-capped, bearded, tattooed friend called Gabriel along for the ride.

Adventure is clearly on its way: we catch the auspicious sight of Fabio Capello swaggering onto our plane, flaunting the kind of grace and nonchalance Italian men have finely tuned over the past two millennia. We, meanwhile, display the kind of hungover, sleepless, dirty-trousered allure the British have so faultlessly perfected.

From Venice airport, our senses are bombarded: the heat (despite predictions of rain from the BBC’s weather website), the smell (that of sea that’s graduated from finishing school) and the boats (which hook themselves into your memory banks, labelled ‘Lucky little blighters’).We approach the gondoliers as they smoke and chat, each plying their trade in signature style, and we pick one. We follow our man as he walks past a succession of marvellously crafted wooden boats until stopping at his vessel: what a beaut. Sitting on the seats in the back instantly gives us – or indeed anyone in possession of a pair of sunglasses – the look of a Fellini star.

Such an introduction to this northern city is awesome. Venice is magnificent. The ages-old architecture inspires a feeling of being suspended in a lost time, as though you are travelling through thousands of photographs of somewhere incomprehensible. A city built in the sea! There is no ‘popping across the road’ here, or ‘Let’s quickly jump on the back of the bike’, or even ‘Just wait for the green man’ – this is a watery city for the wanderer and the drifter. Which suits these flâneurs just fine.

As we float up to the steps of the Palazzina Grassi, towards a black-glass entrance crowned with a bull and a golden mask, it clicks that our adventure has only just begun. The doors pull back and we are met by an incredibly courteous and well-dressed man who magics away our bags and gently gestures us into the glossy reception of this Philippe Starck stay. The mask lives up to its symbolism, conjuring an atmosphere of secrecy yet warmth, like the burrow of a kleptomaniac rabbit. We shuffle through to Krug lounge for a glass of champagne and find a low-lit, alluring room full of objets d’art all laced with mysticism and charm. We sit back and soak it in.

Bubbles sipped, we follow the concierge to a mirrored lift, to be escorted to our room. He opens the door to 623, where another surprise awaits. The clandestine mood of the reception area has been swapped for a white brilliance that rivals a set from Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. Our boudoir is seemingly a heavenly mirage: bed, carpets and walls are all white, the table, cupboards and television mirrored and the windows tinted a warm, light pink. There is a powerful sense of calm.

We turn to each other and laugh. We open cabinets, switch on the TV and marvel at its disappearance when we turn it back off; we listen to music through invisible speakers hidden throughout. Finally, we pull up the blinds to find our own balcony, with tables, deckchairs and huge chess pawns, as well as a fantastic view of Venice’s windows and rooftops. After an hour of circling our room and picture-taking, we decide, reluctantly, it is time to roam.

The hotel is positioned on a distinctly Venetian passageway that leads onto a cobbled main street. From here you can easily trail signs to all the main sights. We are never further than a 10-minute walk from the tick-off-the-list landmarks. Our first ramble through the city quickly deposits us at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, where our breath is stolen by works by Duchamp, Picasso and Mondrian. Then we amble to St Mark’s Square, which is just how I had visualised it. Correttos sipped at Caffè Florian, live renditions of Italian folk songs listened to, and spaghetti slurped on the Grand Canal, we settle back to watch boats of the glitterati and Cincinnati persuasion pass by.

Over the weekend, our hotel becomes our home, and a wonderful place to pitstop for a shot or two of absinthe before heading back out again into what we’ve dubbed ‘the land of the Minotaur’. At night, we head to PG’s, the hotel’s restaurant, for dinner and find it transformed from its daytime serenity into an exciting, bustling, sceney spot.

Surveying the Venetians and tourists happily drinking and eating within PG’s sultry nightclubby clutches, it is easy to see why Johnny Depp took such a liking to this special place. After incredible Mediterranean cooking delivered with Asian precision, care of Luigi Frascella, we while away our evenings drinking in the bar.

Waking up on the morning of our departure, there is a feeling of disbelief that this Venetian weekend has even happened at all. As we close the door on our white wonderland and tiptoe into the ornate splendour of Palazzina Grassi’s lobby for the last time, I know we are saying farewell to an extraordinary hotel in a unique city. Gabriel and I agreed we’ll be back – next time with our Mrs Smiths.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Palazzina G from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 13 Sep 2013

We loved

The hotel was outside of the usual tourist areas, so getting there and back meant that you didn't have to fight your way through crowds. The vaporetto stop was right next to it as well. It was perfectly situated for the Rialto and San Marco. Rooms were large by Venice standards. Staff were polite and very helpful with directions, reservations, etc. I would definitely return.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 20 Apr 2013

We loved

Hotel staff are amazingly attentive. Room service breakfast is amazingly quick service for those who need their caffeine immediately upon waking! Pallazina G hosts the best club parties in Venice: all of Venice high society and super stylish 30–40-somethings show up to drink, dance and show off their fashions. We were lucky enough to be there for the Who Are You event and I believe our heads hit the sheets at 6 am. The hotel is usually quiet and romantic, but three or four times a year these parties light up the city. Perfect for a girlie get away! The Krug room, located on the ground floor of the Palazzina G apartments, is a fantastic spot right on the canal. Those interested in a gastronomic adventure should not miss the opportunity to meet up with Enrica Rocco for a tour of Venice's best bacari and the fish market. We thoroughly enjoyed eating and drinking our way through the day with her and her little pup, Soy. She has such a quick wit and is so knowledgeable about the history of Venetian food and way of life. You never know if she will suddenly pull you into a hotel lobby to gaze at a fresco or decide an espresso is required before the next glass of prosecco. An amazingly fun time! Rooms in the apartments are best. Choose 204 for a more spacious area with an elevated dining table and two verandas for the price of a regular room.

Don’t expect

Room lighting, room lighting, room lighting… Electrical issues abound. Lights mysteriously turn off and on, but the positives outweigh this negative; everything works… sort of!

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 18 May 2012

A lovely hotel. We would go back in a heartbeat. The staff are amazing and the hotel is truly one of a kind. Our stay was very comfortable and the location is hard to beat too.

Rating: 8/10 stars