As the vaporetto stops at Palazzo Barbarigo and the glass door opens, the first impression is that of a contemporary Art Deco budoir. The colour and texture scheme is dominated by black and velvet; one wall is covered by a book-case with design books, the ceiling - between the open wood beams - by a mirror which like a surreal painting reflects the shimmering fragments of the life on the Grand Canal. The two-storey 1569 building used to be a noble Venetian family's dwelling house. Opened in the second half of 2007 as a design hotel, it seems almost like an epitome of the feel of the contemporary Venice where the past and the present are closely intertwined and inseparable. Six of the suites boast a view of the Grand Canal, the other 12 rooms open to the nearby Rio di San Polo flowing by. Intimacy and a riot of tactile delights are the two main characteristics of Palazzo Barbarigo. Walls papered with beige damask the pattern of which was inspired by the works of the Venice-based early 1900s Spanish artist and textile designer Mariano Fortuny; the voluptuously curved legs and dark shiny wood surfaces of the Art Deco-style furniture (created by the French designer Jacques Garcia who is also responsible for the Hotel Costes and Fouquet's Barriere in Paris); the cool marble of the floor, velvet drapes the colour of caffè e latte, deep red velvet ottomans with gilded fringe and silk lampshades with ostrich feathers... A black-framed mirror propped up against a wall. In the bathroom - a "rain" shower and a tiny TV screen fitted in a mirror. Walls of the upstairs bar and restaurant's dining hall are glazed concrete and the mirror on the ceiling reflects the silhouettes of the surrounding buildings and the glittering canal water. History, contemporary design and high-tech - also some pure, unadulterated Venetian mystery: to get home at night, you have to memorise the way back to the narrow and winding little street since there are no signs to help you... And so you keep walking through the maze until you find yourself in front of the red velvet carpet and the doorbell. The location of Palazzo Barbarigo is strategically perfect: a stone's throw from the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto), a three-minute walk from a gondola station and, when you have crossed the canal, another three-minute walk to Palazzo Grassi...
Rates: EUR 170 - 520
San Polo 2765
Sul Canal Grande
Keywords: Venice, hotel, hotels, art deco