Aman Canale Grande Hotel, Venice, Italy

published in: Travel, Interiors By Guest, 20 August 2013

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Grand stairway, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

text by Katerina Katopis for Yatzer.com

On a warm summer evening, the sun was setting, casting a golden glow all over the Floating City. The hordes of tourists had all left and romance was in the air as my  water taxi gently bobbed up and down along the meandering Grand Canal, when suddenly the two roof top obelisks of the Palazzo Papadopoli, the home of the new Amanresort in Venice, appeared on my right. From afar, it appeared grand, imposing and gleaming – after all it is one the eight palazzo monumentali left in Venice; but as soon as I stepped onto the landing deck and was then guided into the Palazzo’s reception hall, I felt like entering a private house which simply exuded the elegance of a bygone era.

Exterior view of the Aman Canal Grande Hotel, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

In classic Aman style, no reception or concierge desk was to be seen: Instead, Olivia Richli, the legendary Aman GM I first met at Amangalla in Sri Lanka, waited to great and escort me on a brief tour of the property. Gian Giacomo de Grigi, she explains, was commissioned in the 16th century to build the Palazzo for the prominent Coccina family of Bergamao, who later sold it on to the wealthy Venetian merchants, the Papadopoli family. Soaring ceilings, well preserved historic frescoes and reliefs take center stage and I can’t help but admire the craftsmanship and attention to detail. I feel like I have stepped back in time as I enter the Palazzo’s ballroom, all gilded in mirrors, more frescoes and shiny chandeliers - I close my eyes and try to imagine the grand occasions, intrigues and games that must have unravelled on many a night in here centuries ago. Right next to it the two dining rooms with sweeping views over the Canal feature stunning Tiepolo painted ceilings. The brothers’ impeccable taste is evident, they also very much knew what they wanted: along with the Palazzo they also  bought two adjacent buildings which they demolished in order to build a garden, a lush oasis of green ideal for relaxation - very unusual in Venice.  Today, some of the 24 rooms look over those very gardens – as does the Spa – but most of them (another unusual feature) look over the actual Grand Canal. Comfortable and spacious, each room is different with its own distinctive features: high ceilings, frescoes, wood panelling and fireplaces; all add that special touch that makes you think that this could actually be a home and not a hotel.

Private Pier, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Reception, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

An integral part though of why this exclusive hotel feels like a home, is that its owners, Gilberto and Bianca Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga still live here along with their children on the top floor. Their personal belongings adorn the rooms and corridors, including books and artwork, a grand piano and the original Murano chandeliers commissioned by the Papadopoli brothers back in the early 19th century. Very often they take guests around on tours or invite them for a coffee in their private quarters.

Interestingly, from the moment Gilberto and Bianca met through a common friend with Adrian Zecha of Amanresorts, it took a mere nine years to turn a classical Venetian palazzo into a functional 21st century luxury hotel. This was no easy transformation: Amanresorts are known for resort rather than city hotels. They are also known for their minimal aesthetics – a far cry from the splendor and ornate character of Venetian architecture. So Jean Michel Gathy of Denniston Architects, a veteran Aman collaborator, was called in to lead the restoration effort and turn this perfect example of Neo-Renaissance and Rococo into a contemporary haven which however, pays due homage to its ‘heavy’ heritage.  Gathy has combined silk wall coverings and painted friezes with stark white walls, grey upholstery, B&B furniture and silk curtains which blend in beautifully with the fresco embellished walls and ceilings, and the large windows with their sweeping vistas over the Canal’s historic buildings.

Alcova Tiepolo Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

During my few days there I couldn’t help but sit for hours looking out at the ever moving water, the passing gondolas and the surrounding buildings changing colors – all while enjoying the impeccable Aman hospitality. I walked around and did the classic rounds of the Rialto Bridge, the Piazza San Marco and the tiny alleys filled with stylish shops. I couldn’t resist an excursion organized by the Aman which took me to the Doge’s Palace after hours and to an off the beaten track ‘water’ tour of the City. Even though there’s always something new to discover here in Venice, regardless of how many times you have visited before, for the first time, I didn’t want to discover anything new. I was happy to gaze out at the city from sumptuous suite and enjoy my own private Tiepolo painted ceiling and simply feel what life must have been like in the 16th century.

Stupendous yet cozy, imposing yet inviting, the Aman Canale Grande is Venice, in style, at its very best.

Alcova Tiepolo Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Canal Grande Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Canal Grande Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Canal Grande Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Piano Nobile Lounge, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Piano Nobile Lounge, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Piano Nobile Dining Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Piano Nobile Dining Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Del Tiepolo Game Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Del Gurana Meeting Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Del Gurana Meeting Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Yellow Dining Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Red Dining Room, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Palazzo Chamber (Bathroom), photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Sansovino Stanza Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Sansovino Stanza Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Alcova Tiepolo Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

 Maddalena Stanza Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

 Maddalena Stanza Suite, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Library, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Exterior view of the Aman Canal Grande Hotel, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Garden Terrace, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

Interior Garden Terrace, photo © Aman Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Amanresorts.

sources:

Amanresorts
Aman Canale Grande Hotel:
Pallazo Papadopoli, Calle Tiepolo 1364, Sestiere San Polo, Venezia 30125, Italy.

  • friend
    hanna | 2013-08-20 22:32:03

    not the most tasteful choice of furniture, i must say.

  • friend
    kora sevier | 2013-08-23 07:41:16

    Hanna,Do you find the furniture too modern? I find it very complementary to its surroundings and prevents it from appearing musty.

  • friend
    Leo | 2013-08-23 15:12:45

    I actually think the furniture is not modern enough! A shell like that allows to do so!

  • friend
    Edward | 2013-08-30 18:54:09

    If you make a cheap comment, at least avail us with what is "tasteful"(the quotes are because the word "tasteful" has no real meaning among intelligent people).

  • friend
    GS | 2013-08-21 16:28:31

    IS THIS AN AMAN OR A B&B ITALIA SHOWROOM?

  • friend
    kora sevier | 2013-08-23 07:37:09

    Just gorgeous. Thanks for all the great photos. It's so wonderful to see architecture where the interior isn't painted all white!

  • friend
    Steven Crotch | 2013-08-27 08:43:03

    Absolutely stunning (and fantastic pictures!) ... the balance between contemporary and traditional is perfect ! I can't wait to try it along w/ Aman's new resort in Vietnam. The best hotel group in the world ... !

  • friend
    zain | 2013-08-28 12:50:41

    eye catching pics of furniture

  • friend
    Nancy A. Morris | 2013-08-30 18:03:58

    Got to love the ceiling frescos in bedroom and in the just as huge restroom. Totally striking, despite the fact that without the views, is the Alcova Tiepolo suite with a Chinese painted parlor and fancy room top side reliefs painted by eighteenth-century Venetian painter this surely makes with-in the to 10 of my bucket list.

  • friend
    Adam P. | 2013-09-11 16:02:54

    Each room is different and unique in its own way, I love that about hotels with history! You just feel the past among those walls. And I think it´s a good thing they chose rather simple pieces of furniture for the interior instead of the antique ones. That would be quite an overwhelming combination. This way the space breathes and still maintains its glamor.

  • friend
    Ana | 2013-11-03 18:45:51

    Thank you for this beautiful article, beautiful pictures!!! I enjoy it so much!!! Thank you!!!Classy, elegant, loved so antique mood mixed with modern furniture and decorative objects.The beautiful And relaxing And quiet Garden so appeal To stay there for hours enjoying the surroundings.Again thank you.

  • friend
    LLI Design | 2014-01-26 20:05:10

    I think they've got the furniture spot on, does any one know who the designer was here ? The muted tones of the modern furniture prevent it from clashing with the decor but at the same time they seem to complement each other nicely. The rooms have SO much presence just by themselves, you could imagine if they would have gone with period furniture the rooms would have felt heavy and stuffed, plus i don't think any reproduction period furniture could have done it justice.

  • friend
    CN | 2014-02-12 06:45:37

    What a missed opportunity to make something truly special... I do like B&B, but the interiors really do just look like a B&B Italia showroom... absolutely bereft of imagination.

  • friend
    jinny | 2014-07-22 11:53:37

    what a beautiful hotel! thank you for the great article and pictures.

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