We’d never been to Venice before but had relatively high expectations having heard friends and relatives recite their experiences. Leaving the airport will be the start of your adventure via a water bus or taxi to the special Island that is Venice. We advise you pre book your transport tickets if you are looking to make a saving and want to avoid the long tiresome queues. However, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a James Bond then you may opt for a private water taxi (£100ish one way).
After an hour or so on the water bus you will arrive in Central Venice and be amazed at what you first see. Cobbled streets bustling with a myriad of tourists, windy water ways, bridges, gondoliers, hotel porters and market stalls, there really is no place like this. It is easy to get swept away in the romance and charm, which you will not find anywhere else on the planet. Summed up by ‘chic grandeur’, you can understand why Venice has gained its reputation among pleasure seekers who are not shy of spending a little more than average for an even higher than average experience.
Our destination was the exclusive Bauers Hotel, an exquisite piece of architecture with a luxury palatial feel. The Bauers hotel group comprises 4 stunning properties; Bauers Il Palazzo, Bauer L’hotel, Villa F and Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa, which was to be our residence for the night. The Palladio Hotel & Spa is actually situated on Venice’s Giudecca Island overlooking the Doge’s Palace in St. Marks Square. It’s a speedy boat ride 5 minutes away from the main island and the shuttle service is provided by the hotel’s very own private speedboat.
The hotel itself has been in the same family for three generations and it is clear that the same level of love for every aspect of the business has been passed down. Although the vision changed somewhat in 1999 when Francesca Bortolotto Possati shared her plan to divide the massive structure into two very different properties. Her ambitious project certainly paid off and today Venice can boast two incredible hotels!
The hotel itself is situated on the waterfront, a short walk from Zitelle water bus stop. The property has 21 spacious suites and junior suites and 58 elegant guest rooms. This historical building dates back to the 16th Century and typically appeals to a visitor that appreciates the finer things in life. There is a beautiful three acre garden to explore with an array of fauna to admire and an in house spa which we were lucky enough to experience.
The Spa & Wellness Centre is accessible from the main building but it’s 100% tucked away providing complete serenity and tranquility. There are eight luxury treatment rooms including a private couples ‘You and Me’ spa suite complete with a king size jacuzzi bath, two inviting massage beds and a soothing flaming wood fire.
The initial consultations are carried out in the relaxation area with stunning views of St. Marks Square. Once changed into your gown and slippers you can relax and enjoy a refreshment here before your treatment. I was expecting a massage but instead was invited to experience Dr Vitalis’ Oxygenating & Restorative Body Treatment. I laid over a bath on top of a mesh-like bed and was lathered in an orange, lavender, lemon and flowers balm, which would later be absorbed through the steam bathing process. I was covered in a full body muslin cloth and a curved wooden structure made like three arches was erected on top to create a cocoon shape. Overlapped towels and a warm fleece blanket were placed on top to retain the heat. Whilst my body relaxed inside the cocoon my beauty therapist performed a rejuvenating facial and head massage, and this lasted for around 30 mins. Once the treatment was complete I then had a warm shower to wash off the balm and at this point my skin felt gorgeously soft. The only complaint I have is that it didn’t last for longer! Guests can choose to have this treatment on its own (as I did) or before a body massage, as it’s an excellent way to relax the muscles. The Spa offers an extensive variety of treatments for the entire body and for each individual – you won’t be disappointed.
The accommodation is as you may expect, grand and not short of character. We stayed in a sizeable guest room overlooking the pretty patio and garden, which was absolutely beautiful – we noticed the garden was a stunning sun trap for guests to enjoy relaxing and reading on the loungers. In addition we had a large walk-in wardrobe and dressing area that led into a grand Italian marble bathroom with a separate bathtub, walk-in shower and a double sink for each of us. The space was wonderful.
The hotel has a restaurant which you may class as fine dining Venetian style and you can choose to dine inside or out on the patio (dependent upon the weather of course). The service is incredibly attentive and friendly, allow your waiter to guide you through the menu to help you choose from the tempting dishes. Dining in Italy typically incorporates 4 courses so make sure you pace yourself. We started with a cold mixed seafood platter, which included scallops, monk fish, octopus and prawns – the sun dried tomatoes and tapenade were also a tasty treat! For the first course we opted for the prawn and broccoli pasta (al dente), full of flavour and delicious for such a simple dish. We never made it to the desert choices but got as far as the fillet of beef (cooked to perfection) in a fine delicate mushroom sauce and delicious dauphinoise potatoes – an excellent combination. All in all a satisfying meal and some of the best food we experienced in Venice.
After a good nights sleep on a full belly we woke for breakfast, which was served in the banquet sized breakfast room. A luxury buffet style breakfast awaits with heaps of choice. One word, satisfied! If you’ve got a full day ahead of sightseeing then the breakfast will definitely keep the hunger pangs at bay.
To sum up, The Palladio Hotel & Spa is exceptional in every way. A highly recommended hotel if you are planning a trip to this extraordinary place. Thank you to all the staff and owner for all their efforts in making our stay so special.
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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