With its Murano chandeliers, flock wallpaper and heavy damask fabrics, the Ca Maria Adele is absolutely Venetian, but its African wood, polished concrete and laid-back, bohemian atmosphere mean it is also undeniably modern. Located right opposite the Salute, it is in the heart of Venice's most tranquil area, the art quarter, and the only other tourists you are likely to come across are lost ones.
Wonderful location on the Grand Canal
Incredibly romantic, utterly decadent
Sexy, stylish bedrooms
A bottle of Valpolicella
In the know
Also need to know:
There’s a two-night minimum stay in high season (four nights during the Venice Biennale (28 May to 1 June 2013). Pets are welcome on request. The hotel organises tailored tours around the city and you can take a gondola ride across to the Grand Canal to view the Royal Palace.
Comfortable shoes; mosquito repellent in summer.
Ducal and decadent.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
I’m lying in a Jacuzzi bath, bubbles up to my ears, glass of champagne in hand, gazing out of the window, blinking into the setting Italian sun. Just beneath my window I can hear the canal lapping at the walls of the hotel, as the bells of Santa Maria della Salute chime the hour. I know that there is a man in a striped shirt, boater and jaunty necktie pushing a gondola along the canal below, because I can hear his pole dip in and out of the water, along with his voice echoing up the walls of the narrow waterway. Really, all that’s missing is the ice-cream.
The thing about Venice is this: all the clichés are true. It really is that beautiful; it really is that romantic; it really does take your breath away. And there is nowhere else like it on earth – unless you count the fake one they built in Las Vegas, but as someone who’s experienced its swimming-pool waterways, fake foliage, piped synthesised Vivaldi, plastic bridges and wipe-clean surfaces, let’s just say it doesn’t have quite the same charm.
Hotel-wise, what you want in such an architectural museum of a city is something chic, sophisticated and as far from the madding crowds as possible (and the crowds can be quite something, especially in summer). With its huge Murano chandeliers, flock wallpaper and heavy damask fabrics, the Ca Maria Adele is absolutely Venetian, but its African wood, polished concrete and laid-back, bohemian atmosphere mean it is also undeniably modern and sexy. Located right opposite the Salute, it is in the heart of Venice’s most tranquil area, the art quarter, (the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are both nearby), and the only tourists you are likely to come across are lost ones.
The galleries, jewellery shops and bars nearby all serve locals; forget the hotels of the masses around Piazza San Marco – the Adele is infinitely cooler. So, what I really need to make my bliss complete is a handsome Mr Smith at the other end of the bath. But I don’t have one; instead, I have a very platonic Mrs Smith, and 15 years of friendship are enough for her to know she really doesn’t want to share a bath with me.
Strangely, as the weekend unfolds, we realise this is not a problem. Our lover becomes Venice, which, at every twist of mediaeval passageway, every turn of canal and every step of ancient flagstone, causes sharp intakes of breath and ripples of pleasure. And there’s Nicola, the ravishing owner of the hotel (fantasising about running off with him on a gondola – who, me?), who performs all the necessary duties of a dominant male: hailing watertaxis, booking restaurants, bringing us coffee/champagne/heart-melting smiles.
Indeed, the gentlemen of Venice couldn’t be more delighted to find two girls wandering their city unsquired, and we ended up on a tour of Venice that you won’t find in any guidebook – except, of course, this one. After dinner, our speedboat driver felt unable to let two ladies disappear off into the night on their own.
Instead, he led us through the back streets of the city to Bar Centrale, which must be Venice’s only hip and happening cocktail joint. They make a mean mojito, framed by blue lighting and brushed concrete and steel, and the DJ plays some surprisingly funky tunes. Then our escort recommended Piccolo’s, a nightclub that throbbed into the early hours of the morning. It seemed that all Venice’s gilded youth were there and, my, weren’t the boys handsome? And didn’t they dance well? And weren’t they persuasive?
Our stumbling into the hotel at 05h didn’t seem to worry Nicola at all (although Mrs Smith was convinced that he looked jealous), and the big double bed with 300-threadcount sheets ensured that, by midday, we both felt much better than we deserved. The Adele serves breakfast (coffee, pastries, eggs – in a room with gorgeously ornate floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the canal), but for serious eating in La Serenissima, you have to get out and about. The Cipriani experience was mouthwateringly expensive, but when the food is that good it seems worth it. Much more affordable is the (again, local) Locanda Montin, a legendary artists’ and poets’ haunt that has a beautiful terrace covered with vines, where delicious antipasti, fish and meat are served. That Lord Byron died fat from Venetian pasta is no wonder when you discover he used to eat at the Montin.
At this point, you really must take an espresso in the Piazza San Marco, and gaze at the gold-mosaic façade of the Basilica; and you really must let one of those charming gondoliers push you about the canals, so you can lie back and gaze up at centuries’ worth of architecture. And I tell you this because, if Venice is not your principal lover for the weekend, you are probably going to spend most of it flat on your back on one of the Adele’s sumptuous beds, twisting the sheets around each other as the Salute chimes through the hours. And, I’m afraid, then you really would be missing out.
111 Dorsoduro, Venice, Venice 30123
0.4 mi / 0.6 km from city centre
- Internet services
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Only breakfast is served. Italian-style afternoon tea is available on the terrace, weather permitting.
Find a spot on the ponyskin sofas in the cosy living room, and take your tea there. You’re almost at water level, so the fascinating view of the nearby bridge and church is unlike any you’ll see from the upper floors.
A light, limited menu of salads, snacks and tasting plates is available from 11am until 11pm.
You can order evening drinks anywhere in the hotel. We suggest the breakfast room or the Moroccan Terrace on the second floor; in summer, you can have a tipple brought to you outside. After 9pm, there’s an honesty bar, stocked with prosecco, spirits and a selection of soft drinks.