You can’t move into the city of Doges and golden domes and not bring your A-game… Well, Nolinski Venezia has come to slay La Serenissima with its amphitheatre of Michelin-level dining, golden penthouse pool with views all around, Bellinis with rare books in its Library Bar, and rooms and suites that transform the offices of Venice’s 1929 stock exchange into serious design dens. Plus, there’s art – lots of it, from 13th-century statuary to the city’s modern masters, restored maritime details from a fortune built on water, an in-the-know hangout and even tailored soundtracks. The catch? It’s not open till June (mea culpa), but the French team behind Nolinski Paris and Cour des Vosges sure know how to tease…
Get this when you book through us:
One €70 credit to spend on food and drink during your stay
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability at check-in. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £903.48 (€1,050), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-in.
Rates don’t include breakfast (from €55 a person).
Taking all senses into account, sound designers Jerry Bouthier and Fred Viktor have tailor-made soundtracks for each area of Nolinski Venice. Il Caffé’s is lively, in keeping with its ebullient crowd; the Library Bar’s cinematic and dreamlike; the Palais Royal’s lighthearted, in contrast to its drama; and the pool’s soothingly meditative. Rooms and suites are silent, but there’s a QR code you can scan if you want to see what yours sounds like.
The hotel will be fully opening in June.
At the hotel
Spa treatment room, Roman-style bath, lobby lounge, library, free WiFi. In rooms: curated artworks and books, HD TV, Bang & Olufsen speaker, minibar, free bottled water, and Nolinski-branded bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Parisian design studio Le Coadic & Scotto are accustomed to – shall we say – challenging buildings, after getting the Evok group’s home-turf hotels chic-shape. The mission in Venice’s 1929 former stock exchange was to make listed offices into modern hideaways while keeping their character. Italian industrial design was their saviour, with its metal-clad doors and modular shelves that attach to the ceiling, now filled with art tomes and custom Murano-glass pieces. Dusky pink velvets and grey Marmorino evoke Gothic tropes, scalloped details echo the Rialto’s arches, and lamps and lanterns take inspiration from Carnivale masks and those in the Doge’s Palace. The bed’s headboards are made of marble-effect stucco (with a Nolinski-logo mirror), and bathrooms have a gilded octopus motif in keeping with the building’s maritime leanings. So, whichever room you pick will be styled with stories, but the Junior Suites and up have a separate sitting room and bath tub – and we hear the Piatro Suite is tipped for greatness.
A rabble of terracotta rooftops stretch out in all directions in the panoptic view from the hotel’s top floor, where there’s an indoor heated Roman-style bath, given a Byzantine dusting of gold tesserae. And gold isn’t all that sparkles here, with all-round glimpses of Venetian treasures: the Campanile, Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica’s domes.
Get the serene look of Giovanni Bellini’s portrait subjects with massages and facials using luxurious Swiss La Colline products. The therapy cabin (big enough for couples) is secluded away behind a door in the Library Bar. Stars have been painted onto the roof, in homage to Ottoman style, which you could wish upon, but you’re already in the lap of luxury in Venice, so haven’t those already come true?
Slip your coolest reading glasses into your case – even if you don’t need them now, you might if tackling the Library Bar’s many books turns you cross-eyed. And, bring the larger of your monogrammed Louis Vuitton steamer trunks for lugging home your new wardrobe.
The hotel has four specially adapted rooms that are suitable for guests with mobility issues. And – while the staircase has all its very detailed original ironwork – there’s handily a lift too, a rarity in Venice’s historic buildings.
Children will be very welcome, with VIP amenities offered; and babysitters or nannies can be arranged with eight hours’ notice, plus baby monitors can be borrowed on request.
The Evok group should be applauded for giving renewed life to Venice’s 1929 stock exchange, restoring its grand façade, original ironwork and maritime detailing. And, gently updating the building, using traditional crafting techniques and local materials transported by hand and cart (a four-year job in total). It will run the place in a sustainable and welcoming fashion, working with the Ten Principles of the United Nations’ Global Compact (which they signed in 2021). There’s a focus on development and diversity in staff, creating a respectful and safe work environment – expenses are given towards dental and mental-health care, help is offered with finding rented housing and transportation is covered at night. The hotel has partnered with various initiatives over the years (Les Étoiles du Sport, to help future athletes; job-matching scheme Nos Quartiers ont du Talent, where Evok executives mentor youths; La Tablée des chefs, which offers culinary apprenticeships; NGO Bibliothèques sans Frontières, which brings cultural experiences to disadvantaged areas; and Les Déterminés, which builds hospitality skillsets). Evok also offers its hotel walls for gallery shows and holds an annual book prize. An action plan to reduce carbon emissions and waste has been put in place after an audit; this involves managing water and energy usage, and bio-waste processing; reducing plastics, papers and non-essential packaging; more natural materials and products overall; working with Les Hôtels Solidaires to build an atelier selling upcycled waste products, which employs the underprivileged; and finding sustainable seafood sources with Ethic Ocean.
We admit we enjoy the smugness of finding a secret spot for lazy dining, and the terrace with its fountain scratches that itch – it’s lovely at sundown with light glancing off the water. In the Palais Royal, watch the ‘waiter’s ballet’ from a banquette.
The Palais Royal, set in what was once a council chamber, is described as an amphitheatre of ‘gastronomic opera’, and that’s no hyperbole – there’s a ring of soaring white Colosseum-alike arches, theatre-red curtains cascading from the ceiling, rows of velvet banquettes, and a Phantom of the Opera-style chandelier dating from the 1950s (don’t worry, it’s very secure). Displayed on the walls are contemporary works by Mickael Kaul, Genève Cotté and Delphine de Lupé, alongside pedestal-set statuary and 13th-century fountainheads. Even the water glasses come from the noted Berengo studio and the wall sconces from Barovier & Toso. But what about the main event? Well, the menu’s in rehearsal at the moment, but we’ve no doubt that Michelin-star-accruing chef Philip Chronopoulos can hit those high notes with the flair he brought to Nolinski’s Paris residence and flavours from his Grecian heritage. Brava. More casual – but you know, Venice casual – is Il Caffé, whose lacquered wood benches have a gondola feel. The space – with its stone flooring, coffered ceilings, Marmorino finishes and copper panels – should be earmarked as a future hotspot, with discreet entrances and a hush-hush interior terrace, it’ll feel like the kind of place you just have to know…
Usually hotel libraries consist of perhaps a few flippable coffee-table tomes and some eruditely lined shelves for those who are in-between outings. But, Nolinski Venezia’s Library Bar has been curated with the lustiness of Casanova, by independent bookseller Anatole Desachy. There are works from famed Italian art-publishing houses (Skira, Electa, Rizzoli), vintage treasures from Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions, and an unpublished set of catalogues from Paris’s Galerie Berggruen (one showing an original woodcut by Picasso). There’s certainly enough food for thought as you sip a Bellini (by the fireplace in winter); but if that’s not enough stimuli, there’s artist Simon Buret’s ceiling fresco to gaze at and piano tunes to listen to.
We’re still finding out when the final curtain will drop on dining at the hotel.
It’s possible to dine in your room around the clock.
Nolinski Venezia rubs elbows with some very elegant neighbours, set by Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Saint Laurent and Armani along Calle Larga XXII Marzo, just a five-minute walk from St Mark’s piazza and a short stroll from the Grand Canal.
Fly into Venice’s Marco Polo airport, then you have two options. One, you could take a taxi over the Liberty Bridge that connects the mainland to the Floating City; it’ll go as far as Piazzale Roma, where cars have to park up. Then you can catch a boat down the canal or walk the rest of the way. Alternatively – in our opinion, the preferable option – ride over in a vaporetto or private speedboat (the hotel can help to arrange this) – to sweep down the Grand Canal in traditional style. Or, you can fly into Treviso, an hour’s drive/boat ride away.
Venice’s Santa Lucia station is close to the Liberty Bridge, and has direct connections to almost all major cities in Italy.
Cars are banned from the historic centre, and for good reason – its alleys are slender and most people get around by boat or over bridges.
Worth getting out of bed for
Nolinski Venezia is set on a very glamorous calle shared with Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Ferragamo – so shopping temptations run high (psst: Versace, Prada, Cartier and many more are just around the corner too…). For something more culturally edifying, Piazza San Marco – where you can get your fill of haloed portraiture, lavish frescoes and alabaster hardbodies at the Museo Correr, or travel back to Roman times at the Museo Archeologico – is less than a five-minute walk away. Ride up the Campanile for the views, order espresso at Caffè Florian (because some clichés are worth it), marvel at the exorbitant wealth on display in the Doge’s Palace, and yet again at St Mark’s Basilica’s gold lining. Venice is by no means stuck in the past though, especially when it comes to art – after all, the Biennale turns the city into a living gallery every two years (from April to November). Nearby there’s the modern-art-hung Victoria Miro and Bugno galleries, and cross into Dorsoduro for the incredible collection Peggy Guggenheim amassed over her lifetime (she’s buried here too). While you’re over that side of the Grand Canal, stop into the Gallerie dell'Accademia for another serve of masterpieces. And, for a colourful finish, take a day-trip to Burano, for pictures against a backdrop of rainbow houses.
Hold up – you’re not done yet – because art never sleeps (although it might watch you as you do, with Venetian pieces of various eras hung in your room). Curator Amélie Du Chalard has taken on Nolinski’s spaces as if they were her own gallery (Amelie Maison d’Art in Paris, FYI), adding 16th-century stone lions to welcome you by the entrance, followed by a phantasmagorical landscape by Bruno Dufourmantelle, then a blown-glass sculpture by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert here, a ceramic bas-relief by Brazilian Valéria Nascimento there… Plus a smattering of statuary, drawings and Renaissance oils, playing on themes of water and light, throughout. But wait – there’s more art yet, with more than 4,000 books on and around the subject in the Library Bar (and some in your room too).
Osteria Da Carla has a frontage bearing the name 'Pietro Panizzolo', but just ignore that – we're not ones to split hairs about names when there's the likes of red prawns with a citrus zing in creamy chicory sauce, scallops with coconut milk and lemongrass, and ricotta- and lemon-stuffed sardines with a dab of lime mayonnaise at stake. The menu changes four times a year, so with each new season comes fresh delights. Bistrot de Venise's food is as decadent as its decor – all red-and-gold flocked wallpaper, gilt-edged mirrors, swoops of heavy curtain. Alongside lashings of caviar, you might have ravioli stuffed with smoked ricotta, saffron and almonds; duck with apple, grape, onion and mustard; or orange crème brulée with rosemary ice-cream. And, the luxury train keeps chugging on at Restaurant Do Forni, in the guise of the Orient Express, whose carriages inspired the interiors. In swagged splendour, slurp down linguine in crayfish sauce, crack into cuttlefish fresh from the harbour, and finish with strawberries in balsamic vinegar or pineapple soaked in Maraschino liqueur. There’s a rich vein of restaurants to be found just beyond St Mark’s Square, say Luna Sentada, which takes inspiration from Venice’s explorer son Marco Polo in offering Italian cuisine with Eastern flavours. Try curried scallops and artichoke, duck ragu with orange-y breadcrumbs and sultanas, or fresh fish on a bed of Himalayan salt with edamame and black sesame. Trattoria alla Rivetta is denoted by the lantern bearing its name; it can be used for a cicchetti pit stop (try the creamed cod with polenta or the mussels and clams marinara) but there are more substantial eats too: crab dumplings, fish lasagne, stuffed aubergines and fried catches from the lagoon. The Met Restaurant is beautiful, with its rosy Marmorino walls and Murano-glass detailing, and its Michelin-starred cooking is equally alluring; and Quadri offers visual feasting too, with more Murano glass, beams and gilded wallpaper. And, innovative cooking means meals of paccheri stuffed with beetroot, cabbage and cauliflower with caviar in an eel sauce; tortelli with saffron and licorice; or scampi with cuttlefish livers and sea urchin.
After the pomp of Nolinsi Venezia, Birreria Forst might seem a tad humble. But, the regular Italy frequenter knows to look beyond that to the menu – here it’s awash with stacked sandwiches and fabulous meat and cheese platters. For sweeter treats, Pasticceria Rizzardini on Campiello dei Meloni is a delightful spot lined with wooden shelves holding bottles of liqueurs and glass counters with cakes, cookies, meringues and more. Close to the Rialto Bridge, Cantina Do Spade doesn't have a very long menu, but they've made what's on there count – try bigoli with sardines, creamed cod with polenta or simply fried fish. And Cantina Do Mori, also in that neck of the woods, is one of Venice's oldest bacari, where Casanova used to take his dates allegedly… Under a ceiling hung with copper pots, tasty one-bite morsels are stacked on plates – try lard-spread crostini and salty anchovies speared with cheek-puckering pickled onions.
Can you do better than George Clooney? Maybe, but why risk it? Stop into the Aman Venice – where he and Amal got hitched – for cocktails as sophisticated as the actor himself. Or, head to L’Ombra del Leone for an aperitivo – it’s set by the Grand Canal in a palazzo that’s used as the HQ for the organisation behind the Venice Film Festival and Biennales – so keep an ear open…
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this stock exchange turned seductive hideaway in the San Marco sestiere and unpacked their first editions and fashion-week finds, a full account of their Français the Italian way foray will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Nolinski Venezia in Italy…
With Venice’s gilding, frescoes, majestic artworks, and artfully crumbling palazzi, it’s hard to see how Grand Tour-ing could get any grander. Then, in waltzes Nolinski Venezia – slated to open in June lest you get too excited. And you should be excited, because the first hotel of the Evok hotel group not in France (following Nolinski Paris and Cour des Vosges) brings all the theatricality of the Carnival, the centuries of art and history held in La Serenissima, and a Louis Vuitton steamer-trunk-full of that Gallic je ne sais quois. All this is captured in Venice’s former stock exchange, a 1929 building with shells and sea monsters decorating its façade (a nod to the city’s maritime fortunes). Once you’ve conquered those and passed the pair of 16th-century lions that greet you, there’s statuary, modern-day frescoes, bas reliefs and more; a Colosseum of a dining space with a Michelin-recognised chef holding court; rooms and suites with touches of mid-century Italian industrial design, made so homey they have framed pictures of the city on the nightstand; a bar with more than 4,000 rare books to Bellini with; and a top-floor Roman bath with Byzantine-style gilding. Curators, booksellers, design pioneers and even sound designers have all shored up its riches, and shown with this future superstar that Venice is still the grandest of them all.