Review: Aman Canal Grande, Venice’s ultimate luxury hotel

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (October 7, 2015): Review of Aman Venice (Italy). 
  • Location: Google Maps
  • Address: Calle Tiepolo 1364, 30125 Venezia, Italy
  • Hotel website: Aman Venice
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso

As sumptuous and romantic as the city itself, Aman Venice – located within a phenomenal 16th-century palace on the Grand Canal – is currently the most (ultra)luxurious property in the Floating City. High ceilings, spacious light-filled salons, and Aman’s signature minimalist aesthetics are joined by two outdoor private gardens and a small rooftop rarely seen in the city. With views to the hotel’s private garden or the Canal Grande, many of the 24 rooms and suites feature protected frescos and reliefs. The hotel belongs to the portfolio of Aman, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand.

Aman Canal Grande Venice features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Venice, the best Aman hotels in the world, and the most amazing city hotels in Europe.

In this review (more info below my Youtube clip & slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The ultraluxurious hotel enjoys a terrific location in the heart of the historic city, along one of the most majestic stretches of Venice’s iconic Canal Grande, just south of the world-famous Rialto Bridge. In addition, the surrounding, picturesque neighbourhood of San Polo is more quiet (and thus a welcome blessing) as compared to the unbearable masses of tourists that are present in and around the San Marco Piazza during high season.
  • The hotel’s jawdropping beauty is unprecedented. The palace in which the property is housed, Palazzo Papadopoli, was constructed in the 16th century by the architect Gian Giacomo dé Grigi, and has been lovingly restored to Aman standards with an ecclectic fusion of old and new. The impeccable colour combinations, minimalist aesthetics, and understated furnishings do not detract from the beauty of the palace and make the place feel impeccably elegant and timeless. Besides the typical Aman decor elements, there are plenty of museum-quality treasures present including Tiepolo frescoes, gilded ceilings and centuries-old leather wall coverings, which are all a feast for the eyes.
  • Make sure to book a private watertaxi transfer. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by Aman representatives, who will then escort you (by car) to the airport boathouse, where a polished wood boat (watertaxi) will whisk you to the hotel in less than 30 minutes. This private boat transfer is a sightseeing trip in itself as nothing beats your first view of the Canal Grande. The arrival at the hotel’s private dock on the Canal Grande is pure magic, with Aman staff members waiting to welcome you (with hot towel and drink) and introduce you to the property.
  • Besides the private boat pier at the front, you can also enter or leave the hotel on foot via the garden at the back (you ring a bell at the gate to re-enter the hotel).
  • The palazzo’s magnificent and opulent lobby makes a great first impression.
  • The hotel – or shall I say private palace – is a maze of gorgeous passageways and public rooms which will keep you amazed during your stay. From the lobby, a sweeping staircase rises through two levels to the ‘piano nobile’ (traditionally the grandest floor of a palazzo), where the ballroom looks out over the Canal Grande and leads to the Blue Bar and the Yellow and Red dining rooms. The former, with a magnificent fireplace and Cesare Rotta ceiling mural, overlooks the canal, while the latter features silk wall coverings and views of the hotel’s canal-side gardens. There’s also a magnificent bar, library and games room. Rising from the vestibule, there is a second staircase that leads to the fourth level, which houses the Salon (a lofty-ceilinged lounge and relaxation area) as well as a beautiful library and a meeting room.
  • One of the many highlights of the hotel is the ballroom’s balcony, from where you can witness the full spectrum of the Canal Grande’s maritime activities.
  • Aman Venice is an intimate property with only 24 rooms and suites, all of them being very large by Venice hotel standards (the smallest room is 46 square metres or 495 square feet). All rooms and suites feature the work of a number of Italy’s greatest artists, including the 16th-century architect Sansovino, and Tiepolo, the 18th-century painter. Contemporary furnishings complement authentic silk wall coverings, chandeliers, wood panelling, chinoiserie or painted ceilings. Beds are heavenly, temperature control is easy to use, and curtains allow you to sleep in real dark. During my visit, I stayed in a gorgeous “Palazzo Stanza” room type, which offered a nice view of the garden and Canal Grande.
  • Bathrooms are phenomenal and sometimes larger than the bedroom itself, with generous cupboards, walk-in shower, dressing area, and a generously sized bathtub.
  • The hotel has a beautifully manicured, front garden overlooking the Canal Grande which is a peaceful refuge from the bustling streets of Venice. The palazzo also has a second private garden (the largest garden in the whole of Venice) which provides walking access to the San Polo neighbourhood.
  • The hotel has a unique, intimate rooftop (5th floor) terrace area, offering beautiful rooftop views of Venice and the distant Alps.
  • Room rates are stellar (as is the case with most top hotels in Venice) but lots of the hotel services (minibar, laundry, WiFi) are complimentary.
  • Breakfast is done in Aman style, starting with array of juices, smoothies and a coffee, fresh fruit salad, and freshly prepared dishes from an extensive and well-designed breakfast menu, beautifully presented and executed.
  • Food, served at either the Yellow or Red dining room (see above) is of very high quality, guaranteeing a superb fine dining experience. While food prices are very high, they are still slightly cheaper as compared to Venice’s best restaurants.
  • There’s a small albeit lovely spa with gym on site.
  • The wonderful staff makes an incredible complement to this already exceptional property. The level of commitment and customer service is incredibly high and each member of staff is helpful, professional and very attentive.
  • There are many legendary hotels in Venice, but there is no other hotel that can compete with this one: Aman Canal Grande will provide you a brilliant memory of Venice at it finest. No wonder George Clooney chose this property for his marriage.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

Aman Canal Grande is a phenomenal hotel, that comes with all the deep, historic character of Venice but adds a polished sheen of impeccable service, food and accommodation unmatched by anything else in this ravishing city. The hotel has no real cons, but you may want to know the following nonetheless: 

  • The hotel offers a mind-blowing experience, but what would make the unforgetable experience even more exceptional, would be the addition of a floating lounge deck on the Canal Grande and the installment of a pool in the inner garden. I hope the owners of Aman Venice are reading this review.
  • If you are a light sleeper, then you should know that due to architectural restrictions and wooden floors, you can hear footsteps of other guests and staff easily. In addition, when staying in a Canal front room, you will hear passing boats on the waterway. But let that not put you off since it’s part of the grandeur and charm of this incredible palazzo and Venice!
  • Yes, the hotel is very expensive but this is an Aman hotel after all, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand. You should know that going into it. The most important thing is that we you will not be disappointed at all with the unique Venetian experience that you will be provided for the price. It’s a place you will never forget.
  • Be prepared to become an Aman junkie as this will raise the bar for your future trips.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 10/10
  • Design: 10/10
  • Rooms: 10/10
  • Food: 10/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9,8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Aman Canal Grande Venice (and/or receive many free perks). You will never find lower rates for Aman Canal Grande Venice – and Aman resorts in general – than those listed on the official hotel page.
  • Save money: I recommend to book through a Virtuoso travel agent, which will cost you the same as booking on the official Aman website, but has the benefit of complimentary VIP perks (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, one a la carte lunch, early check-in, and late check-out).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT VENICE

Late spring and early summer are the best times to visit Venice as far as weather is concerned. But the city during these beautiful warm days is packed with tourists, meaning that there can be long waits to enter museums and sights. Also during this peak time, finding accommodations – budget or otherwise – can be a challenge. In summer, the city can be oppressively hot, the canals ripe with odor, and the inevitable mosquitoes are bothersome. Venice’s location, in northern Italy on the Adriatic Sea, means that the city has colder, longer winters. While winter can be a great time of year to visit, especially in terms of getting a bargain and avoiding crowds, it can be harsh (the winds that whip off the Adriatic and down the alleyways are bone-chilling).


HOW TO GET THERE

Venice is served by 2 airports and this Tripadvisor explains you how to get from the airport to the city center.

  • Venice Marco Polo Airport is located 8 km north of the city and it served by most European full-service carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites) as well as by some non-European airlines. Check the Wikipedia page of Venice Marco Polo Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Venice.
  • Treviso Airport is located 20 km from the Venice city center and is served by some European low-cost carriers (click here for a direct link to their websites). Check the Wikipedia page of Treviso Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Treviso.

WATERTAXI FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL
WATERTAXI FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL
WATERTAXI FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL
WATERTAXI FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR
HOTEL EXTERIOR: PRIVATE BOAT DECK
HOTEL EXTERIOR: PRIVATE BOAT DECK
HOTEL EXTERIOR: MAIN ENTRANCE
HOTEL EXTERIOR: MAIN ENTRANCE
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
MAIN STAIRCASE
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
BALLROOM
VIEW FROM THE BALLROOM BALCONY ON THE CANAL GRANDE
VIEW FROM THE BALLROOM BALCONY ON THE CANAL GRANDE
VIEW FROM THE BALLROOM BALCONY ON THE CANAL GRANDE
VIEW FROM THE BALLROOM BALCONY ON THE CANAL GRANDE
VIEW FROM THE BALLROOM BALCONY ON THE CANAL GRANDE
VIEW FROM THE BALLROOM BALCONY ON THE CANAL GRANDE
BLUE BAR
BLUE BAR
RED DINING ROOM
RED DINING ROOM
RED DINING ROOM
RED DINING ROOM
RED DINING ROOM
RED DINING ROOM
RED DINING ROOM AT NIGHT
RED DINING ROOM AT NIGHT
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
YELLOW DINING ROOM
HOTEL CORRIDOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: ENTRANCE
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: ENTRANCE
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: COMPLIMENTARY SNACKS
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: COMPLIMENTARY SNACKS
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: COMPLIMENTARY SNACKS
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: COMPLIMENTARY SNACKS
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: COMPLIMENTARY MINIBAR
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: COMPLIMENTARY MINIBAR
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: VIEW
ROOM PALAZZO STANZA: VIEW
COURTYARD GARDEN
COURTYARD GARDEN
GARDEN COURTYARD
GARDEN COURTYARD
COURTYARD GARDEN
COURTYARD GARDEN
COURTYARD GARDEN
COURTYARD GARDEN
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE
ROOFTOP TERRACE: VIEW ON BACKSIDE ENTRANCE OF HOTEL
ROOFTOP TERRACE: VIEW ON BACKSIDE ENTRANCE OF HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
BACKSIDE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL
SECOND STAIRCASE
SECOND STAIRCASE
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
LOUNGE AREA
THE SALON AT DUSK
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON
THE SALON AT DUSK
THE SALON AT DUSK
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
RELAXATION AREA
MEETING ROOM
MEETING ROOM
MEETING ROOM
MEETING ROOM
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LIBRARY
LUNCH
LUNCH
LUNCH
LUNCH
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER
DINNER

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