- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
A frequent visitor to Venice, I had actually never set foot inside the Bauer before. And looking at the hotel’s website and images prior to my trip, I knew why. For the website is, simply put, dismal. But don’t let the uninspired approach to cyber marketing put you off as it did me, for in no way does it do justice to what is a splendid establishment.
The Bauer Palazzo is the flagship of a collection of four properties in Venice, privately owned by Francesca Bortolotto Possati. Located directly on the Grand Canal where it meets St Mark’s Bay, the Palazzo’s location is both perfect and timeless.
The variety of room styles and sizes is also a nice change from more modern builds where all rooms are as standard. This is not cookie-cutter style; it pays homage to Ms Possati’s interior design background and her passion for creating a uniquely Venetian experience. What is quite an unexpected surprise are the junior and one bedroom suites which, while not huge in size, are huge in design, with the Grand Canal view suites taking first prize.
The Bauer Palazzo will delight. It’s not a hotel that immediately ‘wows’ you the moment you walk in the door, but it’s a hotel that works its magic at a gentle pace. In the words of Francesca herself, “Venice is a city that requires knowledge, love and time.” The same applies to her hotels and if you take her advice, you will be rewarded with a gracious, elegant and truly personalised stay in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Getting to any of Venice’s stunning palazzos along the Grand Canal must always be by water: there’s no other way. And even on the rather grey and rainy day that I arrived, the approach is the stuff dreams are made of.
Venice works her beguiling magic on me every time; I ignored the raindrops as I alighted the little boat at the steps of the Bauer Palazzo. A staff member was there waiting to assist me at the dock and he extended the warmest of welcomes.
The lobby uses Venetian marble and Murano glass resplendently, with a clear nod to modernism. It is a large space, not cluttered with furniture, or people for that matter. And even as I approached the reception, the staff proffered genuinely warm and friendly smiles, extending the elegant service Italy is renowned for.
Check-in was entirely professional and gracious. It set the scene for what was to be a delightful stay.
Rooms and suites
The trick to Venice is a very simple one: choose the right room. This is not a city where one implements fiscal restraint; it’s no Athens after all. Whatever you do, simply dish out the lolly and stay in a room with a Grand Canal view, whether it is a side view or full frontal, so to speak. You will not regret it and in fact, you will regret it if you don’t.
My Deluxe Room with a view was a stunner. It featured a wall of beautiful windows with an angled vista across the Grand Canal, directly onto the famous Santa Maria della Salute church. I admired the scene time and again.
Equally stunning was the interior of the room. The bedroom tells the story of how beautiful life was for wealthy Venetians in the past. It featured a small entrance area graced with a beautiful antique mirror, a wall table and a walk-in wardrobe. Walls are covered in precious fabrics by Rubelli along with stunning Murano glass chandeliers. It was dotted with pieces of antique furniture and a high level of attention to detail.
In-room technology poses no threat to NASA. Room controls are very simple and easy to use, however the television is underwhelming and dated, as is the choice of channels. In an otherwise overwhelming room, this is anything but.
Internet speeds aren’t brilliant, but adequate for emails and general web browsing and the signal doesn’t drop out, a rarity in historic buildings.
The bathroom is huge and runs the length of the room. A riot of beautiful Italian Carrera marble and mother-of-pearl coloured Bisazza tiles are highlighted with shiny, brass fittings. A beautiful room, there is a dressing table herein, a full-size spa tub and a walk-in shower.
Toiletries are exclusive to the Bauer Palazzo, the Santa Maria degli Angeli brand. No ordinary toiletries, they are made from custom-blended, naturally grown, local herbs and ingredients. Ms Possati, in a wonderful contribution to the community, has started a program to help women incarcerated in a local prison. I felt a sense of goodwill when using them.
It was a Monday evening when I headed off to the hotel’s signature restaurant, De Pisis. As it turned out, I was the sole diner that evening. This is something that makes me nervous as in my experience, even the best restaurants don’t tend to deliver great food or service when they are so quiet. On this occasion I was wrong about the service but, sadly, right about the food.
I decided to go with the Venetian squid as a first course and a dish of paccheri pasta with duck ragu as my mains. The squid was served warm and was perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. Unfortunately the pasta was disappointing, dry and tasteless (a crime in Italy?), with the ‘duck ragu’ being nothing more than some under-seasoned, shredded duck breast. All rather uninspiring, I barely touched my plate.
Service was excellent, but as I was the only diner, I expected nothing less.
Breakfast on the other hand was a delight, generally the case in Italy’s luxury hotels. Choices were select and elegant, presented and treated with the same respect as any other meal: uniquely Italian.
Staff and service
Service was truly gracious, professional and wonderfully friendly without being overly informal or stuffy.
Given that it was winter in Venice, the hotel was not busy. There seemed to be mostly British guests and a smattering of Europeans, along with a few Asian guests. Surprisingly, there was not an American accent to be heard.
Fast, professional and very friendly, I was off around the corner in no time.
How to get here
30 minutes by water taxi from Venice Marco Polo Airport
72 rooms & suites