The wide lagoon-facing Riva degli Schiavoni plays host to many of Venice’s classic hotels, including the Metropole which stares straight across the water to Palladio’s magnificent church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It’s a short walk from here to St Mark’s, and vaporettos tie up very close by at the San Zaccaria stop.
Most standard rooms overlook the internal courtyard (this can make them a little dark, but quiet) or the narrow rio della Pietà canal (again, relatively quiet). Then again, if you’re staying on the Riva, splashing out on a view across the lagoon makes sense: for utter luxury, go for the Damasco suite (325) with its magnificent mosaic-tiled hamman-bath. Rather less painful on the wallet, room 209 has a charming balcony allowing views along the rio della Pietà to the lagoon.
I find the luscious fabrics and fascinating details of the Metropole’s ground-floor spaces particularly inviting: half boudoir, half opium den, the rich colours and comfortable sofas set this hotel apart from many of the city’s other more predictably decorated luxury hotels.
Eating and drinking
At the two-Michelin-star Met restaurant (see [node:167767]), chef Corrado Fasolato creates arguably the lagoon’s most extraordinary food. You can experience a snacky version of the taste sensation with a lower price tag at the Oriental Bar, which also offers a tea ceremony each afternoon, evening aperitivi and a DJ playing lounge music on Friday evenings.
I have experienced some off-hand treatment from some of the front desk staff, though others have been charming.
Who stays there
Gourmets wanting to stick close to the Met restaurant will book into this hotel. But it’s great for travellers seeking something just a touch different in a classic location. Illustrious visitors include Grace Jones, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Annie Lennox.
- Business Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Great views / scenery
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- The view across the lagoon is spectacular
- Lagoon-side rooms are light-filled
- The busy Riva isn’t to everyone’s taste
- Some of the less expensive rooms are rather pokey at this price