Palazzina Grassi, Venice, Italy

Palazzina Grassi, Venice, Italy

a taste of contemporary Venetian glamour, Philippe Starck’s
Palazzina Grassi, located in
Venice’s San Marco district, delivers.

As sultry as you’d expect of a Philippe Starck-designed hotel,
Palazzina Grassi is decadence personified. In fact, its glamorous
reputation and cult celebrity following precedes it – Johnny Depp
stayed here for a month stint while filming The Tourist (his
third-level suite with resplendent views of the Grand Canal would
sway us towards an extended stay too).

Located in Venice‘s
San Marco district, Palazzina Grassi reflects the glitz inferred by
its neighbourhood. Ensure your bags are loaded with a host of
Italian fashions – think Florence‘s
Gucci, Milan‘s
Prada and Trivero’s Ermenegildo Zegna – and head for home (which
for the next few days is Ramo Grassi, 3247, 30124 Venezia).


Philippe Starck’s small bedrooms are his trademark – a feature
of his work which rarely rallies potential bookers. While Palazzina
Grassi’s smallest rooms – the superiors – aren’t exactly spacious,
clever design components alter your impression of room size. Pale
walls and rooms split over two levels create an airiness, enhanced
further by Starck’s backlit mirrored walls and white draping. While
all rooms are more or less the same in design, with renovations
across the board last year meaning premium bathrooms at every room
spec, there are some with a little added joosh. The third-floor
suite (where Mr Depp stayed) is accessible only by private elevator
and is kitted out with a hamam (all the more covetable considering
the hotel has no spa) – plus its terrace has sweeping Venice

What’s for breakfast?

A continental breakfast is included in your room rate with
choice of coffee, fresh juices (choose from orange, lemon or
grapefruit), yoghurt served two ways – either with fresh fruit or
granola – and a roll call of breads and pastries, including vanilla
crème doughnuts and honey-filled croissants. Go à la carte for a
large selection of egg-based breakfasts – the eggs benedict with
lobster steals the show. For something sweeter, flip to the back
pages from which you’ll find it hard to choose between pancakes
topped with banana and maple syrup and the equally carbolicious
mezza con panna (brioche with coffee slush and whipped cream).

How about lunch and dinner?

The main dining area, The Restaurant, boasts an open kitchen and
is the kind of place where damask furlane slippers and velvet
cloaks are practically considered uniform. Cowhide couches and
buttery-leather chairs give the dining room a ritzy feel, which
lends well to parties hosted in the central space throughout the
year. Back to the party in your mouth…

Try the soft shell crab (known as moeche) from the lagoon served
on a bed of polenta – a traditional Venetian dish and a tantalising
starter. For mains, the al dente
with red prawns from Sicily
and cod fish bottarga is top notch. Round things off with a glass
of sourgal moscato d’asti and mille-feuille laced with chantilly
cream and fresh berries. Toast to the chef with a shot of homemade
limoncello and then (if you’re still standing between the generous
portions sizes and the lashings of wine) move on to the first
bolthole on your list.

Is there a bar?

Start the weekend in style with a bottle of bubbly at the
members- and residents-only Krug Champagne Lounge – a sultry
champagnerie befitting of this district. Alternatively, pull up a
stool at the long bar in the central lobby and people-watch until
dusk. The long table by the show kitchen offers the best viewing
point for entrances, exits and chefs at work.


Skip the gondola ride and avail of the hotel’s luxury mahogany
boat (available from €300) and set out for a day of exploring,
pulling off from the private pier.

Things you should know

Check out is noon and the hotel charges an additional local city
tax of €5 per person per night on departure. Speaking of which,
catch the Alilaguna airport water bus from S Angelo (a five-minute
walk from the hotel) direct to the airport. The linea arancio
(orange line) service runs every 30 minutes.

Within a short walk you’ll find

Palazzo Grassi has been transformed into a contemporary
exhibition space by Kering billionaire François-Henri Pinault. It’s
right next door to the hotel, so you can pop in to see Pinault’s
extraordinary private collection which is partially housed

Discover More
City Guide: Venice, Italy