Jackie’s Classic Collection Trip to Venice

Classic Collection – VENICE  26th November – 28th November 2013

Little did I know that when I checked in at Gatwick I was about to take part in the most enjoyable Educational I have had in a while!  Although this was the busiest couple of days ever. Venice is just the most magical city with its sounds, smells, the food and of course the atmosphere. Just to walk from hotel to hotel, over the bridges, ambling through the quaint little alleys where you will find an Aladdin’s Cave of tiny shops, you will find an array of Venice Glass and Deli’s filled with mouth watering delights. Authentic Venetian Masks,  and pastas of every variety. With the gorgeous aromas of coffees and pastries coming from the tiny little cafe’s that entice you to stop and part with your hard earned money.

After a late arrival (we had been diverted to Bologna) (Don’t Ask!), we arrived at The Metropole Hotel by private water Taxi. This hotel immediately exudes a warm cosy atmosphere. The foyer had many baskets filled with Cinnamon, Star Anise and Cloves, expelling a strong Christmas fragrance, which added to the cosiness already being experienced, this hotel is one of the first you will reach when you leave the Lagoon to enter the Grand Canal, It was one of my favourites, and is at the beginning of the Grand Canal where you can walk to St Marks Square within minutes. Also, being on the Grand Canal you can make use of the very convenient  Vaporettors, (Water Buses). Our Guide did give us a good tip: to Travel on the Vaporettor its entire route as this gives you an idea of where things are. Also a great opportunity to take photos. But back to the Metropole, the food is fabulous and I loved the small intimate dining room. With 67 rooms, it is quite small but the hotel rooms are fairly large and extremely comfortable, all are furnished in deep rich colours adding to the Venetian feel. All the Staff are very approachable and very helpful.  The bar is very relaxing. Also there is a very opulent lounge where tea and cakes can be served, if required.

Onward to the Locanda Vivaldi Hotel, this hotel was all about the view, if you can request the room that overlooks the Basin of St Mark you will have space and a great view. This quaint little hotel only has 27 rooms but it has a lot of Venetian Character. It boasts a restaurant that provides an array of Venetian Cuisine .But I must admit the Decor in the restaurant was not to my taste, but location of the hotel was good: and I loved the Panoramic Terrace, I think if I had viewed this property in the Summer I would have had a different opinion. The manager was lovely, He makes a great Cocktail. He loved to point out all the various pieces of Murano glass and their value . Every room is different in this hotel !. So make sure to request one with a view.

Next Hotel Luna Baglioni one of the Oldest Hotels in Venice which dates back to the 12th Century: But this hotel has a really lovely feel to it, rich silk wall coverings in the rooms, Location  is central and near to everything. This hotel actually has the most impressive Frescoed walls in the breakfast room, which was originally The Ballroom. We had a great dinner here in the Canova Restaurant. The hotel Is beautiful and is all about food and comfort, therefore, the hotel does not provide facilities such as Spas and activities, but with Venice outside your door, who wants to spend the day inside the hotel: Luna Baglioni  has a total of 104 Rooms and Suites.

Next Day we ventured beyond the Rialto Bridge to the Palazzo Giovannelli Hotel, which is located right next to a Vaporetto stop. So you can really get about as It is a busy area. The hotel has a more modern feel to it, although the ceilings still feature classic Venetian architecture. I quite liked this hotel.

Hotel Al Reali, on viewing this property, It immediately springs to mind that this would be ideal for clients wanting a touch of Luxury. This hotel is very small and only has 31 rooms, but it is a small Luxury Hotel of the world and  provides a bevvy of goodies such as indoor pool, treatment room, sauna, steam room and Spa. All in all out of the hotels we viewed this one provided the Spas that are lacking in Venice. It seemed a good idea to sightsee, come back and have a massage.

Next Stop the Westin Europa & Regina, we had lunch at this Hotel and loved it. With beautiful areas for outside dining, and a very nice location near the artistic & Theatre Districts this would suit the keen shopper.  Where the building had once been 5 Palaces in its’ Original form, the hotel that now stands, is divided into different areas, but is very good for the Boutiques and shopping area. There are a total of 185 Bedrooms and Suites spread around the 5 palace areas of the hotel.

The Gritti Palace: this is one of my favourite hotels, which has a cooking school for all you culinary wizards. The hotel has not long been open after a total refurbishment where the whole building has been stripped back and then lovingly restored to a very high standard. I loved the upmarket cosy atmosphere that this hotel offers. I would definitely return to this hotel in a heartbeat. The hotel has 82 Bedrooms and suites.

On to the Palazzo Stern:  This Hotel I found unique in its design of the communal areas It had a partly Monastic feel to it. It would suit those clients who like history and museums and also  those who do not mind walking as it has quite a lot of steps. It has 24 rooms so is one of the smaller properties. It was not one of my favourites.

Ca’Sagredo:  Another peculiar hotel that would not suit all. It seems to have the feel of a Museum in parts, and the rooms felt a bit spooky. We had dinner at this hotel which had an outstanding Menu the wines were also very impressive: This hotel has 41 Bedrooms and is very Historic in feel.

Hotel Danieli. I Loved this hotel! Very classic with rich furnishing that really plunges you back in time, As the manager walked us round this hotel, the information that was given regarding its history made you love the property even more. The restaurant on the roof (La Terrazza) has stunning panoramic views of the Gran Canal. It is worth visiting this hotel to see the foyer, as it takes your breath away, and It transports you to a different space and time. The Danieli has 215 bedrooms, each room seems to be different but all are light and airy. The whole group had a great dinner here which was made more special by the staff and waiters who are really great and made us very welcome, I felt I could drop a carrot on the tablecloth without causing shock and horror …

Last stop the Centurion Hotel, this hotel is such a shock to your senses, you enter a very impressive building expecting more of the same but the inside is a complete shock with its rooms in such colours as Lime Greens and Terracotta Red. It is so upbeat and modern on the  inside, but so Gothic and Venetian on the outside. The small touches they have included like the aromatic essences and decorations which all add to a very pleasing experience.This hotel has 50 spacious rooms, but the public areas seemed to have suffered because of this. The Breakfast room seemed quite small.

After a whirlwind tour of Venice courtesy  of Classic Collection. I must admit, Venice now  is a must to go back to, I thought it was such a special Magical place, and totally a place you have to do once in your life:  I must Thank Classic Collection for a very successful Introduction to Venice: I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it.