If you’ve had the fortune to visit Venice, Italy, then this quote likely strikes you in the way it did me. Venice is the most visually, spiritually, and emotionally moving city I’ve ever visited. It defies comparison, and inspires those fortunate enough to witness its magic, to soak in every image, experience, and moment – lest you forget an instant.
On a recent visit, I had the grand fortune of visiting the city’s first and only seven (yes, seven) star hotel – the impeccable and inimitable Aman Venice.
I’ve resisted for the entirety of the writing of these blog posts in declaring that any property has been the “best” or my “favorite.” I loathe the banality of Top 10 Lists and the like, though I understand the appeal to the reader.
All that said, I’m compelled to state that the Aman Venice is unquestionably a unique luxury property without peer, and the finest luxury resort I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
A New Luxury Property in Venice
I learned of the Aman Venice in the same way most of the world learned of the property when news leaked that George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin would be celebrating their September 2014 wedding reception at the newly famous luxury property, and enjoying a stay.
The Aman Venice opened in June 2013, following the efforts of Aman founder Adrian Zecha to transform the iconic 16th Century Palazzo Papodopoli on the Grande Canal into a luxury hotel. The original owners of the property reside on the top floor of the Palazzo, and the remainder of the Palazzo stunningly serves as the Aman Venice. For more of the history of the Palazzo, and the collaboration of Aman and the property owners, Click Here.
Location and Entry
As one quickly surmises, and unsurprisingly, there is nothing ordinary about the Aman Venice – beginning with the journey and entry to the property. After exiting the airport gates, a finely dressed gentleman holding a sign with my name on it waited elegantly for our arrival. He expertly escorted us to a Mercedes sedan, and whisked us a short distance to a row of docks where our private classic-wooden speedboat idled, waiting for our arrival.
Our boat sped into the darkness, the Venice skyline illuminated in the distance, and we were soon rushing through the Grande Canal. The antique homes, hotels, restaurants, and shops glistened and cast bright reflections onto the Canal’s black waters. The famous Rialto Bridge loomed largely ahead, and you can Click Here to see us pass under it.
We arrived to an elegant private pier on the Grande Canal at the property’s main entrance. The darkness does not do the image justice, but you can still see the ornate design work and Renaissance-inspired appointments.
Here are much better representations of the entry and private pier. Photo credits to Aman.
It is apparent from the lack of discernible branding or other standard hotel features such as a reception desk, that the Aman Venice is designed to impart upon the guest the true sense and experience of visiting the Palazzo as a special guest of the owner; as a guest would have been greeted hundreds of years ago. There are precious few modern trappings, as the main entry is lit in original – and quite extravagant – lighting fixtures.
The Palazzo was painstakingly and expertly restored by restoration specialists the Dottor Group. The Palazzo is luxurious yet comfortable, a perfected blend of Renaissance and contemporary elegance. The property features twenty-two rooms and two suites, the Alcolva Tiepolo Suite and Canal Grande Suite. The Alcolva Tiepolo features frescoes painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and hand-painted Chinese furniture. The Canal Grande features an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the Grande Canal. Here are images of the Alcolva Tiepolo Suite, photo credits to Aman.
A smartly – yet not overly so – attired Aman host guides us toward a Trompe-l’oeil staircase, passing under another dazzling chandelier and breathtaking frescoes. At the top of the staircase, a grand piano rests upon a delicate patterned rug. Beyond the piano, a remarkable space unfolds featuring what I consider to be the property’s most luxurious and sumptuous room – the Mirror Lounge, overlooking the Grande Canal – Murano chandeliers, oversized mirrors, frescos, gild, and panoramic windows. The space is overwhelmingly beautiful. Photo credits to Aman.
Through the Mirror Lounge, off to the left is the entry to a lovely and cozy lounge, dripping in lush wood and elegant appointments. Bartenders expertly craft cocktails, anticipating the desires of the guests, and never dropping a check unless specifically requested.
Each of the twenty-two rooms and two suites are decorated in distinctly different styles, appointments, and furnishings. Our room, a two-story masterpiece, was bathed in white – floor-to-ceiling drapes that pooled across the wooden floor, and soft linen bedding – yet accented with custom-crafted espresso colored appointments and furniture, including a grand and expansive clothing cabinet.
The Aman Venice features two vast and verdant gardens, one to the left of the property if facing the property from the Grande Canal, and the other on the opposite side of the Palazzo toward the city. The garden facing the Grande Canal is a reflection and manifestation of the property’s understated opulence. The Grande Canal is awash in commercial and residential structures on what is some of the most desirable and valuable real estate in the world. Yet, the Palazzo showcases a naturally ascetic expanse of grass, trees and unobstructed views – punctuated by a dramatic Dining Terrace. Photo credits to Aman.
The Spa and Dining
Aman Venice features a three suite Spa, and a fitness facility. In terms of dining, one of my favorite aspects of the property is that the dining is open to the public, who will experience Italian and Japanese cuisine on the second floor – in the Dining Room, the Yellow Room, or the Red Room. The Spa Photo Credit to Aman.
The Aman Venice features an authentic and charming Altana, which is Italian for “Balcony” or “Rooftop Terrace.” The Altanta offers dramatic views of Venice and San Polo, and is the ideal location for a morning mediation or late afternoon cocktail. Here are some images of the Altana:
I am a firm believer in the power of gratitude. I am grateful everyday that I’ve enjoyed the types of experiences that have changed me in ways that I can scarcely comprehend, but entirely appreciate.
More than any other travel experience, visiting Venice revealed the special gift of learning about yourself through the exploration of new parts of the world, and sharing those moments with people you love.
When you visit Venice to experience this gift for yourself, I urge you to visit the Aman Venice, if only for a drink or a meal. I promise that you will awaken sleeping parts of yourself that you will never understand how you’ve lived without their constant companionship.
The Aman Venice – Location and Social
To view a short video of the Aman Venice by Conde’ Nast, Click Here.
Thank you so very much to Karime, Giuliana, Alessia, Giulia, and everyone at the Aman Venice. This was unquestionably the experience of a lifetime, and we can’t thank you enough for all of your kindness and generosity during our visit.
Please take note that the Aman Venice welcomed me as a special media guest, but that as always, my opinions are my own.
Thank you also to Aman for the use of the high resolution images!
Thank you so very much for reading this article! Happy Traveling!