Where to stay in Venice – Grand Hotel Dei Dogi
The city of Venice receives millions of tourists each year. Therefore the offer of hotels to stay in can be overwhelming. Looking where to stay in Venice? Read all about my stay at the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi in the local neighbourhood of Cannaregio. A must for those looking for a bit more peace and quiet with a hint of local spice mixed in.
The neighbourhood of Cannaregio
Before reaching the hotel, your first step on Venice proper – we won’t consider the busy thoroughfare of Piazzale Roma real Venice, will we? – will be on Cannaregio, the north most sestiere (neighbourhood) of Venice. Standing at a 15-minutes’ walk from the bustling San Marco Area, you might think it won’t fit the thirst for arts and beauty that brought you to Venice. You couldn’t be more mistaken.
The area has a distinct local feeling, being the most populated of the 6 sestieri of Venezia, which provides a great respite from the touristic centre. The local feeling is heightened by the great amount of Bacari (bars) where you can taste traditional cicchetti (tapas-style sandwiches) and the ever-present Aperol Spritz, surrounded by more local accents than the foreign languages more commonly heard in the central part of Venice.
Two last curiosities about my new favourite neighbourhood: For a long time, it was the only cultivated land area in Venice, a fact you can clearly see in the many gardens tucked among back-alleys houses. Cannaregio is also home to Venetian Ghetto, its 5 synagogues as well as the Jewish Museum of Venice, a must see for those interested in Jewish history.
Grand Hotel Dei Dogi Building
After having arrived by Vaporetto in Madonna dell’Orto – you weren’t thinking you’d hop on a yellow cab in Venice, were you? – and walked 3 minutes besides little Calli (roads) you will reach the hotel, hosted in the stunning 17th century Palazzo Rizzo Patarol.
The palace itself is rich in history: Built as residence for the noble house Patarol, it was then inherited by the equally blue-blooded Rizzos, before housing a monastery and then the embassies of France and Savoy.
This glorious past is immediately perceived by the grandeur of the main hall, a stunning rose-tinted room where your feet walk on Venetian marble and your eyes dart left and right, unsure whether to fixate on the frescos on the wall or the incredible Murano’s candelabra hanging from the roof. At the other end of the hall there is the Palazzo’s garden, the largest private garden in Venice with an area of over 3000 square meters, but let’s keep that for later, you still have to check-in.
The Grand Hotel Dei Dogi Staff
At the reception you are welcome by the friendliest staff I have encountered in a long while. Having seen my fair share of the world, I can recall only a handful of occasions in which I was this impressed by the level of service and courtesy. From tips to where to eat, to activities and hidden secrets, we had enough information to fill up a week – I wish I had so much time in Venice!
The room in the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi
The room we stayed in was as good as you would expect from a 5-star luxury hotel: Plush bed and pillows, all the amenities you might wish for in the bathroom and a great rain shower. What sets it apart where the (not-so) little details: An outstanding chaise longue, the imperial-style desk and the high ceilings with original stuccos. Not something you find modern hotels. Special mention to the view: Our two windows faced respectively the garden and the canals of Cannaregio, from which we were graced with glorious sunsets.
The food in the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi
We did not take advantage of the hotel’s restaurant, but we did enjoy every day the sumptuous breakfast which is served in the hotel’s beautiful garden. Let me dig into it: You can choose between 3 different combinations, ranging from the more classical continental formula to a vegetarian and a detox one. Plus, because the staff is so lovely, you can really pick and mix whatever you like from each of the three. Special mention on coffee: My Italian travel companion swears on their Espresso, so take his word for it. (please note we visited during the COVID pandemics: Breakfast is normally served in a buffet)
For those who do not dislike a drink or two, the hotel also offers a classy bar where Cicchetti and cocktails are masterfully prepared. Do not miss their amazing Aperol Spritz or my new favourites: Bellini and Rossini, two prosecco-based cocktails, respectively with peach and strawberry.
Garden of the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi
No description of the Grand Hotel dei Dogi could be completed without talking about the grand garden. Located at the back of the palace, it is a unique space dating back to early 18th century, when the noble Lorenzo Patarol created a botanical garden which hosted plants from all over the world. Today it provides a highly-needed respite from the hot Venetian summer and it is home to a delightful Romantic bridge and an ice-house, where the palace residents used to keep the ice brought from the Dolomites. At the very end of the garden – under a neoclassic Loggia – there is a private pier that guests can use to call a boat or to board to the daily activities that the hotel offers, such as visiting the renowned glass-maker in the adjacent island of Murano.
The Grand Hotel dei Dogi is the perfect place to spend your time in Venice: A wonderful historical palace that will make you feel like you steeped back to the time when Venice ruled the Mediterranean Sea, but at the same time it will immediately give you the feeling you are home, surrounded by friends that are there for you. You will love it the moment your eyes will set on the red-and-white poles in front of the entrance and will be sad when you’ll have to bid them goodbye. But do not worry: Palazzo Rizzo Patarol will be there waiting to see you again.
If you are interested to book, click here