Aqua Palace Hotel

We visited the Aqua Palace Hotel at the end of a sailing cruise around Italy and Croatia aboard the Royal Clipper From the port of Venice, we took a vaporetto (waterbus) for 6 Euros to the Rialto stop, a very scenic trip through the heart of Venice. There was a porter waiting at the Rialto stop, so we hired him for 20 Euros to take our bags and lead us to the Aqua Palace Hotel. After a short 5-minute walk through the twisting streets and narrow alleyways of Venice, we arrived at the Aqua Palace.

The Aqua Palace sits at a curve of a small canal, so it has water views on 2 sides of the building. The building, also known as the Scalfarotto Palace, most recently housed the telephone company offices. Several years ago, the property was acquired by the Caputo family, who began the monumental task of completely transforming a 16th century building into a 21st century luxury hotel.

The restoration now complete, the Aqua Palace is without a doubt the finest small boutique hotel in Venice. With 30 rooms and suites on 4 floors, the ambiance is one of quiet elegance, using a palate of rich dark colors. Our room (#304 – a Junior Suite) was a gorgeous corner room with 3 large windows overlooking the 2 canals and a small bridge. It was decorated in a modern classic style with a touch of Venetian elegance, with sumptuous chocolate and gold brocade covering the walls. The room also had all of the modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi service and a flat screen TV mounted on the wall.

The bathroom featured floor to ceiling white and grey marble, a huge shower with 2 shower-heads, a bidet and a monogrammed toiletry bag filled with goodies. It was one of the most luxurious and functional bathrooms we have ever seen in a hotel, which was all the more remarkable because this is a 16th century building.

The lobby and public areas of the hotel are clad in fine marble and wood with huge wooden beams supporting the high ceilings and herringbone wood festooning the floors. Rich velvet drapes line the upstairs hallways near the huge French doors, opening out to a romantic balcony, overlooking the canals – a perfect place to enjoy a glass of champagne.

We arrived fairly early and were happy to find our room ready and waiting for us. The hotel staff was extremely helpful and suggested the nearby Osteria Ae Sconte for lunch. After telling the restaurant we had come from the Aqua Palace, we were treated like royalty and given complementary champagne before we dined on some of the best food in Venice.

One of the best things to do in Venice is to wander and explore the streets and alleys of the city. The Aqua Palace has one of the best locations in Venice, midway between the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco, a fascinating 5-minute walk to either. Located on a small canal in the Castello quarter of the city, the Aqua Palace is not only conveniently located, but is in a quiet part of the city away from the crowds.

The bilingual staff at the front desk was very helpful suggesting and arranging activities for our stay. They scheduled tickets for a wonderful Vivaldi concert at the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro, arranged a free pick up and tour of Murano and made reservations for us at some outstanding restaurants (one of our favorites was L’Osteria di Santa Marina). The hotel has an entrance on the canal and is a good place to embark on a gondola ride through the small canals of the city.

Even though the hotel was beautiful, the service outstanding and the location perfect, I think the best thing about the Aqua Palace was the breakfast. The breakfast is served in a small, intimate dining room off the lobby. A buffet of scrambled eggs, hot sausages, cheeses and meats, fresh fruit and yogurt, assorted cereals and muesli is artfully arranged next to a selection of fresh breads, croissants and pastries. A delightful hostess serves hot coffee, cappuccino and tea at your table. I have seldom looked forward to a hotel breakfast as much as at the Aqua Palace and I would go back there for no other reason than the delicious chocolate croissants.

Our stay at the Aqua Palace was as close to perfect as a hotel can be. If you want a small and intimate hotel located in the center of Venice, with old-world ambience and modern facilities, with a friendly and helpful staff, a great breakfast and reasonable price, you could do no better than the Aqua Palace.

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