Snug on the Canal Grande—with a landscape of gondolas, vaporettis (water buses), and historic buildings—the 24-room resort is tucked into a former private residence dating back to the 16th Century. Guests are whisked to the property by boat. In what was once Palazzo Papadopoli is today a collection of buildings with two private gardens that feel more like a vacation home than a hotel.
In the three dining rooms, spread across a ballroom and two more intimate spaces, is an array of dishes spanning Italian and Asian influences, and with seating in the Yellow Dining Room (naturally, the walls are a cheery yellow) that overlooks the Grand Canal. (A bar also boasts canal views.) Ceilings were painted during the 18th century by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and make it worth bringing your camera to mealtime to capture their beauty. Other spaces at the resort include a salon (with a grand piano), library, and the rooftop terrace (on a clear day you can spot the Alps; otherwise, it's the best view of Venice's other rooftops).
Layers of art and architecture interplay inside each of the 24 rooms, which are thoughtfully decorated with table lamps for a soft glow at night, a docking station to plug in handheld devices, a personal bar stowed inside an armoire, a writing desk, and a king-size bed with a separate living area. Depending on the room, there is a view of either the canal or gardens. Five signature suites take luxury to the next level, including the Alcova Tiepolo suite with its sitting room and bedroom ceiling painted by Tiepolo, who also painted the dining rooms' ceilings.
Staff can coordinate excursions away from the hotel that are as easy as sussing out the best cappuccino or as complex as trips to Venice's historic churches, Venice Film Festival, Venice Biennale, or the Carnival of Venice. Back at Aman Canal Grande is a boutique specializing in Venetian glassware, ideal for scoring high-class souvenirs to bring back home.
Rates start at € 1,000 per night.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Aman Resorts