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Aman Venice

First Look – Aman Venice: Primo Palazzo
May 15, 2013
By , Contributor

Venice may technically be sinking, but when it comes to grandeur, it’s on very solid ground. This is, after all, the city that brought us the Bellini, Murano glass, and Casanova. Clearly, competition is fierce, so when we heard that a new luxury hotel was opening on a piece of prime waterfront real estate, we took note. Introducing Aman Canal Grande, a 16th-century Neo-Renaissance and Rococo-style palazzo with its own dock – because, really, in Venice, there’s only one way to arrive in style.

Aman’s canal perch is in the district of San Polo, the smallest and one of the oldest of Venice’s six districts. Once you step out of the gondola and into the hotel’s reception hall – where you’ll be greeted by soaring frescoed ceilings – we suggest you continue straight through to the private gardens. Seemingly a rarity in Venice, the palazzo’s 19th-century owners were clever enough to make way for green spaces by demolishing the two neighboring buildings. Just call them early pioneers of the environmental movement.

The hotel’s 24 suites have high ceilings, wood paneling, and canal views, and offer a simple decor that accentuates the original frescoes and reliefs that adorn each room. In cases such as this, there’s no need to gild the lily. And if you’re really into period art, the bedroom ceiling in the stunning Alcove Tiepolo Suite was painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. He’s only been hailed as the “greatest decorative painter of 18th-century Europe.” No big deal.

The main dining room is housed in an ornate ballroom with mirrors, frescoes and original chandeliers. It has a canal view, obviously, and serves both Italian and Asian cuisine. Adjacent dining rooms, lavishly referred to as “red” and “yellow” for their color schemes, are just as ornate (Tiepolo may have had a hand in their ceilings as well) but more intimate. But be sure to head up to the regal fourth-floor salon for after-dinner drinks, an expansive view and some live music via the grand piano. For the best views, though, the quaint Roof Terrace offers a nice vantage point for city panoramas. You may even have a view of the Alps on a clear day. And the low-lit, three-room spa, accessible only by a small stairwell, feels like a secret sanctuary. Because like anyone well-bred, Aman knows when less is more.