Two minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco and with shared restaurant and bar options in a gorgeous Grand Canal-side position, the Bauer hotel complex could hardly be more central.
Plush Il Palazzo – my personal favourite – is in a Gothic palace right on the Grand Canal; its 44 rooms and 38 suites exude old-style luxury. Next door is L’Hotel (91 rooms, 18 suites), in an ugly 1940s building. It’s nothing to look at from outside but the marble-clad hall and rooms with art deco touches more than make up for this. The ten rooms and nine apartments of the Casanova annexe are a cosily luxurious alternative to the hotel. All apartments have kitchenettes; the penthouse apartment has a private roof terrace with a jaw-dropping view.
Public spaces, including the canal-side bar and restaurant terrace, the rooftop Red Bar Canale and the groundfloor B Bar are shared by all. I’ve heard that live music and clubbing in the B Bar can make some nearby rooms noisy.
Eating and drinking
Chef Giovanni Ciresa brings an Asian touch to his Italian dishes at the De Pisis restaurant on the Grand Canal terrace of Il Palazzo. This is high-class cooking with a high price tag, and though you can probably eat better for the same amount elsewhere in the city, just think of the cost as a premium for the exquisite location. You can grab one of Ciresa’s great bar snacks with a drink and the same view, at the terrace of the Bar Canale.
Il Palazzo has a fitness centre on its seventh and eighth floors, with all the usual Technogym equipment, plus a sauna, personal trainers on hand and an outdoor Jacuzzi (extra charge). Or you can opt for the group’s own Palladio spa-hotel, on the island of the Giudecca. Personally, I’m no fan of the rather more spartan Palladio (www.palladiohotelspa.com), but body-conscious massage lovers seem to approve.
Who stays there
The whole Bauer complex is perfect for a romantic get-away, but the apartments in the Casanova annexe are great for families too. Then of course, this close to the major sights, the Bauer hotels also attracts serious culture-seekers.
The Bauer group’s special offers mean that if you choose your moment well, you can get great bargains.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Pets Allowed
- Room Service
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Great views / scenery
Pros & Cons
- At the very heart of the city
- The milling crowds of gondoliers haggling with tour groups right outside the Bauer entrance might make some travellers wish for a less central location