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The Vacation Report a venetian stay

Old-world charm meets modern luxury in this ‘floating’ Italian city. The Style Report discovers the quiet elegance of the Aman Venice.

Words by Kate Blythe.

There is no experience quite like that of cruising into Venice on the Grand Canal by boat. The old-world glamour of the majestic city built on water will have even the most experienced traveller reaching for their iPhone to capture the incredulous beauty of this magnificent place. Imagine being skippered straight up to the steps of one of the most historic late-Renaissance palazzos in Venice, that has been exquisitely transformed into a 24-suite hotel: the Aman Venice (aman.com). What the Aman group have so expertly achieved here is restoring the grandeur of the Arrivabene family’s Palazzo Papadopoli (the family still live on the top floor) while imbuing it with the sense of discreet luxury that the hotel group is known for. The sweeping staircases, opulent dining rooms and sensational reading room are all still impeccably grand, yet the service, the food and the ambience is undeniably Aman.

The Aman Venice
The Aman Venice
The Aman Venice

STAY AND RELAX

As with every Aman resort, the attention to detail is second to none. The rooms are palatial with a Venetian flavour – think frescoed ceilings and silk wall coverings – but they are decorated in cool greys and ice white for a modern, luxurious feel. The bathrooms are sensational; everything is so carefully considered that you feel like you are in the world’s most heavenly oasis. Sleep and deep relaxation are part of the experience.

DRINKS AND DINNER

Situated in the Palazzo’s original ballroom overlooking the Grand Canal is The Red Dining Room. Here, renowned Michelin-star chef Davide Oldani has developed an exquisite Italian menu featuring dishes such as locally sourced razor clams and truffle pasta made in the hotel’s kitchen. Indulge yourself with the incredible canal views as your backdrop, then order a cocktail to drink in one of the hotel’s two impressive gardens. For those that want to explore (and can face leaving the haven of the Aman), lunch should be taken at Ristorante Osteria da Fiore (dafiore.net), one of the floating city’s oldest Italian restaurants hidden down a winding alley. A jacket is required for gentlemen but you will want to wear one when feasting on Venetian classics such as bigoli with sardines while drinking copious amounts of red wine. And when in Venice, everyone must drink a Bellini at Harry’s Bar (harrysbarvenezia.com), the celebrated celebrity haunt once frequented by the likes of Orson Welles, Truman Capote and Charlie Chaplin.

The Red Room dining space at the Aman Venice
The grand staircase with its decadent frescoes at the Aman Venice
The elegant dining spaces at the Aman Venice

WHERE TO GO

After all the eating, drinking and relaxing, there is still more to do and see in Venice. Take a gondola tour along the canal for the most wonderful view of the fading palazzos (and keep an eye out for Casanova’s house). If you’re exploring on foot, spend time in one of the finest food markets in the world, the Rialto, where you will see the bustling best of Venice in action. Then finally, head back to the Aman, where the discreet spa will welcome you with open arms for a healing massage to finish your city break in the ultimate way.

Left: Venice’s Grand Canal. Right: Piazza San Marco.

PHOTOGRAPHS: ALISA AMTON/UNSPLASH, JOSHUA STANNARD/UNSPLASH, MARCO GAGGIO/@NEUMARC, PIETRO RAMPAZZO/UNSPLASH

The Style Report
The Style Report
THE STYLE REPORT