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Hotel Monaco

Hotel Monaco interior

San Marco, Venice, Italy
Take a punt on the world's most romantic city and you'll enjoy a Venetian blinder, discovers John Racine and Jemma Vickery.

first impressions
One thing's guaranteed with this luxurious and stylish riverside hotel – it really will float your boat. Nestled on the edge of the the city's magnificent Grand Canal, the Hotel Monaco has its foundations in Venetian history – literally. Dating back to the 16th century, much of the original stonework is still in place. Yet this four-star hideaway is far from outdated: its owners spent the best part of a decade painstakingly restoring it and bringing it into the 21st century. The fruits of their labour are sweet – tasteful additions include the Palazzo Selvadego, a new complex with 34 apartments and a private entrance just a few steps from the main hotel.

But it's not just the building that makes the Hotel Monaco so special – it's the superb location, with St Mark's Square and other spectacular landmarks only a few paces away.

Lovers, couples and honeymooners take note: one night at this romantic hotel and you'll be back – wanting amore.

bedrooms
Each of the hotel's 98 bedrooms are large, spacious and elegantly outfitted with all the mod cons you'd expect from a hotel of this standard. Sleep comes easy on Queen sized beds, while high ceilings and multiple windows make each bedroom a light-filled haven for rest and relaxation.

Hotel Monaco apartment

In addition to the 34 apartments in the Palazzo Selvadego, the hotel boasts six corner suites overlooking the Grand Canal, each with varnished wooden floorboards throughout. These also come furnished with comfatable arm chairs, bespoke coffee tables and hand-made matching furniture.

People watchers might try the luxurious terrace suite, which offers outstanding panoramic views of the canal and city – and unbeatable value for money.

Bathrooms are simple, stylish and decorated with porcelain tiles throughout. They also come with a huge mirror – perfect for dressing (or for keeping an eye on the kids). With deep tubs and power showers, they also come stocked with a selection of complimentary goodies including shampoo, bath foam, body wash, shower caps, beauty sets and shoe polish.

food and drink
If the way to a man's heart really is through his stomach, then the dishes on offer here are a sure-fire recipe for love.

As you may guess from its name, the Grand Canal Restaurant overlooks the waterways, and has gained a reputation as one of the finest eateries around. Fine dining is the order of the day, with mouthwatering a la carte and traditional menus prepared by the talented head chef Sandro Traini. His menu is eclectic and delightfully eccentric, with a selection of authentic pastas, fish dishes and meats. Do try: Duck Breast with Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Crunchy vegetables, or thinly sliced cured beef from Valtellina. Don't try: these at home (we've tried and it failed ... miserably!).

Savour a cocktail or three at the hotel's bar before heading back to the bedroom for something naughty – room service sweets, that is.

service with a smile?
Not a smile – a broad grin. Staff are professional, polite and proud – three vital ingredients for any top class hotel. Thanks to its owners, the Benetton Group – which bought the property in 1992 – the hotel interior ticks all the right boxes. On arrival guests can kick back on large, white sofas in the glass-walled foyer while concierge whisk their bags away to the room. Marble floors, high ceilings, and exquisite glass frescos adorn the walls, many crafted by hand by local Venetian glassblowers.

Here's a little known fact: the hotel's conference rooms once housed the world's very first casino. Odds are they've become the best venue for business meeetings in the city.

local attractions
A WAG famously said Venice was the only place in the world where it was possible to get seasick just from crossing the road. And she was probably right. No trip here would be complete without taking a gondola down the Grand Canal. The canal divides the city and plays an integral part to the city's economy. A gondolier doesn't come cheap, but splashing out is worth every penny. Concierge staff can arrage gondola trips and water taxis from outside of the hotel entrance.

But it's not just the canals that make Venice so incredible – its architecture and history are second-to-none. And thanks to the hotel's position, all the famous sites are under your nose. Be sure to take in an opera in St Mark's Square, and explore the Gothic interior of the Basilica, the city's beautiful 14th century Franciscan church.

Hotel Monaco lounge

will it break the bank?
Absolutely not – but the gondalas might.

Prices at the Hotel Monaco start from 100 euros for a single and 120 euros for a double, per person, per night. The Palazzo Selvadego costs from 90 euros for a single to 230 euros for a doubler superior.

Romantic packages are also available at both the Hotel Monaco and the Palazzo Selvadego. Prices range from between 300 and 660 euros for a three-night stay.

details
Hotel Monaco
San Marco, 1332
30124 Venice (VE)
Italy
Web: www.hotelmonaco.it

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