The Locanda Vivaldi Hotel in Venice epitomizes the vision of romance. Even if you are accompanied by your family and it’s not a getaway for two…you are surrounded with an aura that sprinkles a little of the magic of its past grandeur on today’s reality.
The hotel (it was once a residence of the 18th century composer Antonio Vivaldi) consists of two buildings alongside each other. The second contains a meeting room for those with business agendas. Venice itself evokes an atmosphere of the mystical as you wander the maze of small streets and alleyways as the legendary Casanova did.
Speaking of Casanova, this is the last view of normal life he saw from the Bridge of Sighs as he was led to prison to serve his sentence. Last year, in 2011, we stayed at the Colombina Hotel which is just a bridge further up the canal (the canal that the Bridge of Sighs crosses over).
While exploring we
discovered the Locanda Vivaldi quietly visible in plain sight on the waterfront. After briefly stepping into the lobby and
feeling its understated charm, we decided we would book this hotel for a future
stay and experience it first-hand. It was a wise decision.
The Locanda Vivaldi Hotel is shown on the left of the photo above. The two buildings that comprise the hotel are right next door to the Church of Santa Maria della Pieta where Vivaldi was a priest. In the beginning, his concertos were heard in the Pieta.
On the right side you can see the Metropole Hotel which was formerly the original church and hospice where Vivaldi worked at intermittent times during his life. Just yards away from the hotel is the main landing area of vaporettos, Venetian public transportation, which makes trips from the hotel relatively simple. Plus, just outside the door are gondolas for hire.
When the owners decided to restore this historic building in 1999,
they decorated according to the Venetian tradition of utilizing precious
fabrics and draperies. They refurbished
the gildings, marbles and antique furniture along with the Murano glass
chandeliers to recreate an atmosphere of past glories and splendor without
overdoing it. Plus, another welcome update is free Wi-Fi that works well at good speeds.
The bed is firm but yielding so we enjoyed a good night's sleep. Many of the 27 rooms have been updated with Jacuzzi and/or shower facilities so you simply make your request when booking online. They have a good selection of Vivaldi themed complimentary toiletries available for use and they are replenished daily. Other amenities include satellite TV, air conditioning, central heating, mini bar and safe.
A pleasant surprise awaiting us was a chilled bottle of champagne to celebrate our arrival at the Locanda Vivaldi. It was a perfect fit...to sit and look outside for a few minutes surveying the fabulous panoramic views from the many windows.
The front two windows of Room 206 gave a full view of the islands of San Giorgio and Guidecca poised across the San Marcos Basin. At various times during the day you could watch huge cruise ships leaving Venice, towed by tugs, so their engines didn't do environmental harm.
A welcome enhancement to this building are the electric louvered blinds. When lowered and closed they cut out all the light and noise which is a godsend with the swarms of tourists that frequent the waterfront both early and late.
However, we did find that after 8 p.m. the numbers walking outside dropped significantly. They could also remain closed but with the louvers open to let in a little light but prevent the heat of the day from entering.
The two side windows looked towards St. Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace. The church showing at the top of the page is where the Grand Canal starts. Between the Locanda Vivaldi and St. Mark's Square there are numerous outdoor cafes where you can simply have a refreshing soda or a glass of wine if you aren't ready for a full meal. Souvenir stalls also line the waterfront if you want to browse some items while you walk.
There is a beautiful terrace restaurant and bar on the 3rd floor that has an incredible view of the lagoon and both the islands of San Giorgio and Giudecca. This terrace area is for hotel guests only. They serve both lunch and dinner from April to October and the bar opens at 4 p.m. In the winter months there is an indoor restaurant that replaces the terrace and a lower floor bar, Bar Gritta, that is a few steps across an interior courtyard.
This is the type of sunset we saw at night from the room. I highly recommend (and plan to return to) Room 206. However, this luxury hotel also offers junior suites and suites such as a 650 sq. ft. suite and 850 sq. ft. apartment for those that need more room. Although those will not have both side and front windows, they have magnificent full frontal views of the lagoon leading to the canals so Room 302 is also an excellent choice.
The staff were superb at this hotel. Courteous and helpful was their mantra. From the waiter on the terrace to the breakfast room helper, from the reception staff to the bellman, EXCELLENT!
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By Carolynne Woods, © Copyright 2010-2014. International Travel Writers.com All rights reserved images and text