Hidden behind a door in Venice marked only by a bull’s head is a magical world of mirrors, glass sculptures, rare books and vintage objects - Philippe Starck’s first Italian hotel, and Design Hotels™ member, Palazzina Grassi. The renowned French designer was chosen by Emanuele Garosci, hotelier and former rally driver, to create an imaginative five-star hotel with 16 bedrooms and 6 apartment suites, a cosy private members-only club and a stunning restaurant. Designed to make guests feel ‘temporarily Venetian’ this 16th century former residence captures the sophisticated charm, magic and beauty of the city. Traditional Italian touches such as exposed bricks mix with dazzling contemporary design, including transparent glass wardrobes and 9 custom-made Murano glass works by the artist Aristide Najean. The result is a luxurious hotel on the Canal Grande that retains the aura and charm of an aristocratic Venetian home. The hotel is just a short walk from the main museums and art galleries, including the Guggenheim Collection and the Galleria dell’Accademia.
Emanuele Garosci, creator of Palazzina Grassi, says: “There was a need in Venice for something new, to go against the traditional way of thinking about Venice - Starck was the answer. Palazzina Grassi is more like a private club, a combination of a hotel and very unique spaces where guests can live as a Venetian.”
For an authentic Venetian experience Palazzina Grassi offers guests a pick-up service in its 1960’s Celli boat. Check-in happens on-board and guests are dropped off directly at the hotel’s private pier. Those who prefer a quieter approach by land can use the hotel’s street entrance opposite the Canal Grande. However guests choose to arrive they are welcomed with a glass of prosecco or wine from Veneto. Once inside, guests will immediately feel comfortable in the surroundings and be indulged by an attentive team of staff, on hand to help with everything from dinners at antique dealers’ homes to Venetian cookery classes. Breakfast can be served anytime and anywhere in the hotel, allowing guests to enjoy the varied interior of multicoloured hallways in bright red to acid almond green, huge rugs in vivid colours and exposed Venetian bricks salvaged from an old farmstead. Throughout the hotel visitors will find valuable books, antique pieces, mahogany and unique artworks.
Overlooking Venice’s colourful rooftops, the guest rooms offer large backlit mirrors, warm lighting, floors in Venetian wood, bathrooms using natural stone and bespoke pieces of furniture including dressing tables. In the apartment suites beds are situated in the centre of the room and are surrounded by transparent glass wardrobes, soft rugs and coffee tables made of steel and moonstone onyx. Instead of the usual directory of guest services, visitors can take inspiration from a ‘list of vices’ advising them to eat well, drink, read and surrender to their passions.
The ground floor PG’s restaurant and bar offers a masterpiece in art and design in the form of two seven-metre long monolith high dinner tables, one made of marble and the other of mirrored glass. Mahogany wood panelling on the walls, soft lighting and unique pieces of Venetian glass complete the magical environment. Diners have a view of the show kitchen and bar, a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Venetian ‘cicchetteria’ or ‘osteria’, a popular meeting place where people can gather for conversation and local fare.
The G club, overlooking the Canal Grande, contains a private intimate dining room. Its two interconnected rooms feature a bar outfitted with vibrant red, yellow and silver Murano tiles and offer a cosy space where hotel guests and their friends mix with Venetian society.