Venice is a city that never fails to capture one’s imagination; this former city republic is a dreamy destination of renaissance towers and domes, a magical city that seems to float upon the lagoon. To feel connected to both to the history of Venice and the modern life of the city, few places can compare to Il Palazzo Experimental writes Andrew Forbes (The Luxury Editor).
On Trend Lifestyle Hotel
Staying at this property immerses you in the vibrant life of modern Venice; an on-trend property that’s as much a part of the lives of the locals of Dorsoduro as it is for guests, attracted by the restaurant’s contemporary lagoon-to-table cuisine (directed by the London Italian Supper Club), and the craft cocktails & cicchetti ‘afterwork’ vibe, enjoyed in the private, canal-side garden.
Yet Il Palazzo also connects you with the city’s past, since this new hotel is found within the iconic Adriatica building, once home to one of most important shipping companies of Venice – after all, this city is all about its location, the water and its once global trading might.
The striking façade of the palatial Adriatica building has been sensitively restored, and looks out over the broad Giudecca canal, affording expansive views and a wonderful feeling of space and light.
The building gives its name to the hotel’s restaurant, Adriatica, with cuisine that showcases local and Slow Food products. The friendly and knowledgeable Food & Beverage manager Guillaume Pinault will help navigate you through the abundant menu choices including seafood from the lagoon and Adriatic Sea, vegetables from Sant’Erasmo island, as well as cheese and meat from the Venetian mainland and nearby mountains.
The wine list, as you might imagine is extensive, and Guillaume might well guide you towards biodynamic winemakers, and choices such as the refreshing Bardolino Chiaretto 2018 Monte dei Roari rosé wine from the Veneto region, or the Nosiola 2018 Foradori white wine that is from Trentino, not so far away, at the foothills of the Dolomites.
French group Experimental made their name bringing the contemporary craft cocktail scene to Paris and have since branched out into stylish, design hotels. The 28-room Il Palazzo captures the sophistication, and relaxed style of the essential Experimental experience and fuses it with the Venetian love of life and good food.
Little wonder then, that Il Palazzo Experimental has become a favourite for locals to enjoy an afterwork cocktail or two. The delightful secret garden that runs down to a quiet canal (where you can hop onto a water taxi or gondola) is a truly special place to enjoy evening drinks. I tried ‘Lo Sheriffo’; an intoxicating mix of sloe gin, whisky, hibiscus, mint, as well as Lustau’s Amontillado sherry – a very European concoction.
There are many tempting signature Experimental cocktails, including contemporary twists of the classics even the Venetian spritz. Of course, this being Venice one must order a few cicchetti to accompany these delicious cocktails – I particularly liked the stuffed courgette flowers, chickpea fritters, melon with parma ham and the meatballs too!
Design For Playful Living
Il Palazzo Experimental has its own unique style and of course, the Venice property has interiors by French designer Dorothée Meilichzon. She was given a clean canvas from which to start, since the Adriatica building, being offices was pretty much gutted, allowing a fresh start and a new life for the building. Now there’s an Art Deco feel combined with recurring motifs from arches to stripes that remind you that you are in Venice.
Whilst the ground floor public spaces are chic and elegant brought to life with the vibrant Experimental cocktail bar and popular restaurant; the guestrooms have a more pared back aesthetic. They feel classic with lots of Italian style and attention to detail, from the terrazzo floors to the bijou bathrooms that are a delight. Expect lots of playful touches too like the candy coloured sofa and also bold stripes that frame the guest room doorways – making you feel you are enjoying an Adriatic Lido holiday. Although the door knocker, in the shape of an anchor might just be a step too far in the direction of pastiche, it certainly shows the hotel does not take itself too seriously. The Do Not Disturb sign plays with the notion of the Venice mask – this is a place to have fun.
Suites overlooking the canal are flooded with light and enjoy double ceilings. Rooms overlooking the garden convey a more traditional Venice vibe, looking over the rooftops of the historic district – so evocative!
Breakfast is served in the garden or in one’s room.
Designer Meilichzon has then balanced the humour in the design with wall colours of blues and greens that reflect the lagoon, contrasting with reds, pale pinks and buttery yellows that mirror the patina of neighbourhood houses.
Art & Culture
Thanks to Il Palazzo Experimental’s location in the artsy Dorsoduro district of the Venice, you can escape the throngs of tourists around San Marco and instead enjoy some of the finest galleries in town, including The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and Galleria dell’Accademie. Also, for that classic perspective of the Grand Canal, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to the Accademia Bridge, offering probably the most captured view of this lagoon city.
For a great view out over the Giudecca canal, as the hotel to take you up to the roof terrace.
Now is a remarkable time to take a fresh perspective of Venice. Not for decades as the city felt so authentic and so romantic. So, take the opportunity to explore the pearl of the Adriatic and check in at the Il Palazzo Experimental.
Il Palazzo Experimental
Address: Fondamenta Zattere Al Ponte Lungo
Dorsoduro 1410, 1411, 1412
30123, Venice, Italy
Tel: +39 041 0980200