luxe - Hotel Excelsior, Venice
Written by Ayesha Khan
The Lido of Venice is a strip of land that separates the famous lagoon from the azure Adriatic Sea. This unique beachside location, coupled with stunning architecture, is what makes the Excelsior one of the city’s most iconic hotels.
The 197-room Excelsior was envisioned by architect Nicolo Spada, and opened its doors with much pomp and circumstance in 1908. Suddenly, the Lido became the centre of all the action in Venice, and the Excelsior became its anchor. Ever since its opening, this beachside resort has hosted the likes of Winston Churchill, the Duke of Windsor and the American financier JP Morgan, who joked “In America, those who have visited Europe talk more of the Excelsior Palace than they do of the Doge’s Palace.” The Excelsior is also the hotel of choice for the international glitterati during the celebrated Venice Film Festival, making it the ultimate place to people-watch.
By contrast with the typical Renaissance palaces of the city, most of which were inevitably converted into hotels, the Excelsior boasts a Moorish-inspired design. This makes its rooms and suites, all of which just have recently undergone a massive renovation, a most memorable combination of East and West. Dining options include the Tropicana Restaurant and Terrace, the beachside La Taverna (which is open from June to September) and La Terrazza for a romantic candlelit dinner. There are bars by the pool and beach, and the resort’s Blue Bar features live music in the evening.
Apart from being one of the world’s most romantic cities, Venice is also a veritable art capital to which a visit will be especially fruitful in September. The Venice Film Festival will be held until September 8, and the Architecture Biennale is ongoing throughout the month. Those who have a passion for collecting antiques will definitely want to check out the Market of Miracles, or the small side streets of Venice’s San Samuele neighbourhood.
Of course, no trip to Venice will be complete without visits to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection located in the celebrated art patron’s former home Palazzo Venier dei Leoni; the Palazzo Grassi Museum of Modern Art; and the famed Murano Glass Factory.