Hotel Highlights

  • Large, decadent rooms; dramatic deco-inspired interiors
  • Great location on the Grand Canal near the Rialto bridge; arrive by private boat or gondola
  • Slick cocktail bar and super service

Overview

A converted 16th-century Venetian palazzo right on the Grand Canal, Palazzo Barbarigo blends modern boudoir glamour with Twenties deco chic. Dramatic contemporary furnishings, feathered lampshades and smoky mirrors send new blood coursing through the heart of this parquet-floored, high-ceilinged grande dame. A short stroll from the Rialto bridge, this is surely one of the sexiest stays in Venice…

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Palazzo Barbarigo with us:

A glass of prosecco or Venetian spritz (prosecco or wine with campari and sugar) each with canapés, on the first night of your stay

Facilities

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Palazzo Barbarigo hotel – Venice – Italy

Need To Know

Rooms

18, including six deluxe junior suites.

Check–out

12 noon. Check-in, from 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $301.76 (€218), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include Continental à la carte breakfast, tax and service. A minimum two-night stay applies at weekends (to include a Saturday night) and during Carnival; minimum three nights over xmas/New Year/Easter.

Also

We loved the etched mirrors in the bathrooms, and the floor-to-ceiling windows and mirrors, which throw plenty of natural light into darker corners.

At the hotel

Library, free WiFi throughout, laundry; in rooms, flatscreen satellite TV, minibar housed in a cocktail cabinet, kingsize bed, safe.

Our favourite rooms

Every room at Palazzo Barbarigo is a decent size and has a canal view, so you’re onto a winner whichever you pick – although if you’ve set your heart on Grand Canal views, you’ll want one of the lovely Junior Suites, which also have separate dressing and wardrobe areas. Suite 1 (on the ground floor) and 10 are both corner rooms that have the best of both worlds – views of both the San Polo and Grand Canal.

Packing tips

Your sexiest silk lingerie – this is an uber-seductive lovers’ hideaway.

Also

No pets. A third person can be added to a Junior suite or Grand Canal Junior Suite for €90 a night.

Children

Welcome, although this hotel has a glamorous, grown-up feel. Cots are available free for under-3s; extra beds for children aged 3–11 staying in parents’ rooms cost an additional €45–€70, depending on room type. Babysitters cost €25 an hour.

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Food & Drink

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Palazzo Barbarigo hotel – Venice – Italy

Hotel Restaurant

There’s no restaurant as such, but there is a light snack menu with a few lunch and dinner options available in the dining room between noon and 11pm. This dark jewel of a room is the same place you'll enjoy your delicious breakfast every morning (unless you choose to take it in your bedroom, of course).

Hotel Bar

The 1920s-feel lounge bar is a decidedly slinky spot to sink a few martinis or expertly mixed Barbarigo cocktails – inside, it’s all black velvet sofas, smoky mirrors and upholstered wall panels. Miaow.

Last orders

The cocktail bar shuts up shop at 11pm.

Room service

Get breakfast, drinks or light snacks delivered to your bedside from 7am till 11pm – after that, entertain yourself with your elegant cocktail cabinet.

Smith Insider

Dress code

James Bond/Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.

Top table

Pull up a sexy black velvet barstool or fight tooth and nail for the single table for two on the terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.

Local Guide

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Palazzo Barbarigo hotel – Venice – Italy
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Osteria Da Carla, at San Marco 1535 (+39 041 523 785) has a fantastic location just behind the Piazza San Marco. Leave the madding crowd behind and head to this little spot filled with locals and the inevitable (lucky) stray tourist. Sample goodies from the small menu, or eat little tapas-style tartines (such as toast with melted cheese and walnuts) at the bar. Pane Vino e San Daniele, at Calle dei Botteri, San Polo 1544 (+39 041 084 46) belongs to a chain of three enoteche which serve food. The eatery boasts cheerful service, local clientele and rustic charm, with straw-seated chairs and a small country menu. This is a good option for meals on the run – try the carbonara, thin crust pizzas and tiramisu. La Columbina at Cannaregio 1828–1831 (+39 041 522 2616) is more Pugliese than Venetian. The menu is small but marvellous in quality, not to mention quantity. Standout dishes include giant cheese-filled ravioli in a blanket of rich, tomato sauce. The fried seafood plate is superb – a gargantuan mix of battered vegetables, squid, prawns, lobster and fish. Antiche Carampane at San Polo 1911 (+39 041 524 0165) is almost impossible to find, but its succulent seafood is well worth the trek. The little paper cones filled with the most divine fried water shrimp set the tone for the evening. Be sure to book ahead.

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On the Grand Canal

Palazzo Barbarigo

2765 Sestiere San Polo, Venice, Veneto, 30125

Planes

From Venice's Marco Polo airport, approach the city by crossing the lagoon on the Alilaguna (www.alilaguna.it) to San Marco, which takes roughly an hour. It costs around €30 for the express and €13 for the other routes. From there it’s a quick change to Route 1 of the ACTV (www.actv.it) vaporetto in the direction of Piazzale Roma. Get off at San Toma. A water taxi direct from the airport to the hotel costs around €100. Alternatively, Trieste, Verona and Treviso airports are all possibilities. The first two have bus links to their main train stations, and are then a one-hour or three-hour train journey respectively; Treviso has a direct bus (www.atvo.it) link to Piazzale Roma in Venice, from where a 25-minute journey on Route 1 or 2 of the vaporetto will take you to San Toma.

Trains

Venice’s main station is Venezia Santa Lucia; see Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) for information on trains in Italy. Take the vaporetto down the Grand Canal from Santa Lucia to San Toma (roughly 20 minutes on Route 1 or 2). You can also take a water taxi; the hotel is on the Grand Canal.

Automobiles

Venice is not made for cars and does not allow them into the city, so if you have driven from another part of Italy or the airport, you will need to leave your vehicle either on the mainland, which is easier, cheaper and avoids the sometimes colossal traffic jams, or at the edge of the city centre. If you park on the mainland in Mestre, you can choose between the rail station (and then proceed by trainl) or the San Giuliano parking lot (and proceed by boat).

Reviews

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Palazzo Barbarigo hotel – Venice – Italy

Anonymous review

by Daven Wu , Epicurean word-slinger

I’d always wanted to arrive in Venice the way they do in the movies. You know – one minute you’re in a chic restaurant in New York talking to Audrey Hepburn about meeting so-and-so in Venice – the next, you somehow magically appear on the Grand Canal gently bobbing along in a gondola. Or if you’re James Bond, a speed-boat accompanied by a John Barry soundtrack, an ...

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Palazzo Barbarigo

Anonymous review by Daven Wu, Epicurean word-slinger

I’d always wanted to arrive in Venice the way they do in the movies. You know – one minute you’re in a chic restaurant in New York talking to Audrey Hepburn about meeting so-and-so in Venice – the next, you somehow magically appear on the Grand Canal gently bobbing along in a gondola. Or if you’re James Bond, a speed-boat accompanied by a John Barry soundtrack, an adoring supermodel at your side.

Which just goes to show that Oprah was right all along about the power of manifestation. Because our arrival at the Palazzo Barbarigo might as well have been a scene straight out of Hollywood: a celluloid moment captured the instant I stepped off the water taxi onto the small marble-clad landing of the hotel. As the boat pulled away, I cast a look behind me, squinting through the dazzle of the shimmering sparkles on the Grand Canal. Bathed in liquid light that spilled off the terracotta rooftops like a benediction, Venice was looking its best. Lined up along both sides of the canal was the breathtaking procession of wonderfully aged palazzos built in every major architectural style since the 12th century: Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. And over this picture-perfect tableau was a dome of blue sky the colour of crushed sapphires.

Stepping into the intimately lit reception lined with glossy black floors, an entire wall of art and photography books, and oversized oval mirrors, I could swear I heard Shirley Bassey in the wings crooning the opening bars of the love theme to this movie in which I was, unexpectedly, the leading man. According to the very genial bartender who poured us killer martinis that evening (‘It’s like mainlining alcohol,’ my partner murmured), the 18-room, two-storey Palazzo Barbarigo was renovated about two years ago by its Contessa owner. ‘This is only a minor annexe of the main palazzo that’s behind us,’ he said, as he brought the drinks out onto the tiny balcony just in time for the twilight to gather up the fading light over the Grand Canal.

Really? Because it doesn’t feel like a minor annexe. From the wide black marbled corridors and deep seated, very comfy chairs in the bar, to the bathroom lined with dark grey stone and enormous four-poster bed in the rooms, everything feels so generously proportioned. Grand and luxurious, but without being stuffy or stiff in any way. There is not an inch of chintz in sight. Instead, the vibe is a seductive mix of art deco meets Baroque meets Moulin Rouge – but in a good way in case you’re envisaging Versace’s palace on acid. Like an old-moneyed Venetian woman in her prime, the Palazzo Barbarigo fairly shimmers with its very own brand of classy yet modern sexiness. It’s voluptuous. You can imagine Monica Belluci staying here.

The walls – edged with gold braids and swathed in a textured, velvety, burgundy hued wallpaper with a delicate floral pattern that I saw again the next day on the walls of the Doge’s Palace – absorb any echo. Massive smoky ceiling mirrors draw light in from the canal so that, despite the darker colour palette, the whole space feels incredibly sensual. Kind of like the feeling you get when you stretch out on a bed that’s sheathed in silky white linen. Only, this time you get that feeling even when you’re in the vertical position.

Clearly, nothing has been left to chance and I half suspect that a Type A control freak was in charge of the renovations and fit-out. How else do you explain the acres of mocha-hued drapes that so completely envelop the windows that not a single ray of sunshine creeps into the room to disturb your sleep? Forgot to pack bedroom slippers? There are two pairs of fluffy red numbers with the same floral pattern as the walls. Does your partner have a habit of hogging the duvets? Fret not. The bed is made up with two single duvets. Need to watch TV in the bathroom? Press a button and a small TV screen that’s literally embedded into the vanity mirror comes on. And, this is where the Type A personality comment comes in, because the screen never fogs over, even from the steam from the rainshower. In a decade of hotel reviewing, I’ve never been in a hotel where a little bottle quietly labelled ‘Intimate cleanser’ is placed discreetly next to the bidet. It’s a little touch, but it speaks volumes. (About the hotel you understand, not me.)

The next morning, the musical sound of gently lapping water floating in through the open window woke me. The Contessa obviously doesn’t believe in rushing about because there is no clock in the entire hotel; but the fact that breakfast hours are from 8am to noon means that it doesn’t really matter much what time you decide to stumble into the bijou dining room. Which is just as well, as I was delayed for some time at my bedroom window watching an immaculately dressed elderly man slowly climb out of the water taxi in the canal below me. Once he’d found his footing, he turned to extend a shaking hand to the grand old dame, dressed to the nines, swaying about in the boat. Then, arm in arm, they slowly tottered across the cobbled courtyard and disappeared into the palazzo. Visconti could not have framed the moment more delicately.

‘Only in Venice,’ I thought, as I headed to breakfast hoping I’d bump into either the Contessa or, at the very least, Monica Belluci. There’s no menu – but eggs done any way are a matter of course for the kitchen. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice appeared followed by a platter of cut fruit, warm pastries and hot brewed coffee. ‘Just like home, really,’ I Tweeted grandly while marvelling at the quality of the light bouncing in from the Grand Canal off the ceiling mirror.

But like home, you have to leave it eventually. And like everything in Venice, the memories of the Barbarigo – that stolen moment watching the elderly couple in the canal below the bedroom window, the crisp tang of the apricot jam at breakfast, the deep cocoon-like sleep on the huge double bed – all are immediately tinted with a wonderful nostalgia. And even as you step out into the extravagant sunshine and hear, in the distance, pealing church bells, you try to hold on to the moment. You can’t, of course. But it’s why you keep coming back.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Palazzo Barbarigo's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on 8 Apr 2014

We loved

I liked the excellent location and great service. The view from the terrace was sensational and the staff were friendly and attentive. The location meant you were away from the main tourist sites but close enough to dip in and out of them with ease should you wish.

Don’t expect

My only single criticism was a slow and intermittent internet connection.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 19 Dec 2013

We loved

The room was magnificent: dark, romantic and moody. It was a perfect complement to the mystery and theatre of Venice. The staff was welcoming and helpful and I was torn between exploring the city or hanging out in the stylish surrounds of the hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 29 Nov 2013

We loved

It's on the Grand Canal, but is still very relaxed with excellent staff.

Don’t expect

The rooms are a bit dark.

Rating: 8/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on 4 Jul 2013

We loved

I liked the wonderful views of the Grand Canal from the Junior Suites. You must arrive by water taxi – it is very special and worth the money to sweep up in style. Breakfast on the small balcony from the bar is reserved for Suite 10; other guests can use it at all other times but it is wonderful to be able to have breakfast there.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 21 Jun 2013

We loved

The location is lovely central but peaceful. Our room on the ground floor was sumptuous and the huge window opened straight onto the canal. The restaurant gave great dinner recommendations.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 27 May 2013

We loved

We stayed at this lovely hotel for our honeymoon and it fully met our expectations. We chose to arrive by water taxi (as recommended by other reviewers) and it was really great to arrive in style at the entrance of this beautiful building. The location of the hotel was perfect in terms of being on the Grand Canal and an ideal base for exploring Venice. We stayed in the Junior Grand Canal Suite on the first floor, with great views of both the main and side canals. The room was spacious, stylish and comfortable, with plenty of storage space. The ensuite bathroom has a great shower. We enjoyed breakfast on the balcony each morning and, although it wasn't a cooked breakfast, it was plentiful. From the moment we arrived we found the staff to be friendly, approachable and helpful, and we enjoyed chatting with the charming hotel manager.

Don’t expect

We really couldn't fault this hotel; my only slight disappointment was that there is no bath but that's very much a personal preference. We also would have liked to have tea- and coffee-making facilities in the room.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 24 Sep 2012

We loved

Palazzo Barbarigo is a small designer hotel right on the Grand Canal with a rich, opulent decor. It has a very friendly (female) receptionist and provides a great breakfast. It would be ideal for a romantic trip to Venice.

Don’t expect

They should have a sign from the main street, to remind you which alley to turn into if you are walking there. (The Vaporetto stop is quite close, so although you will undoubtedly first arrive at the hotel by water taxi you are likely to use this during your stay).

Rating: 7/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 22 Sep 2012

We loved

Ivan on reception became our friend even prior to our arrival with tips on restaurants, websites and bookings. Arrived by water taxi from the Cruise Terminal which was a wonderful experience. Quiet very 'design'-type room which was more spacious than we may have expected for Italy. Also, breakfast was more extensive than we expected.

Don’t expect

As in Italy, lighting levels can be low. Bit hard to see how you really looked in the Palazzo bathroom mirror. Maybe that is the Mystery of Venice!

Rating: 10/10 stars