With many acclaimed hotel designs already to his name, the French style guru Philippe Starck has made his debut in Venice with the astonishing and opulent hotel in a 16th-century Canal Grande house.
Designed to make guests feel ‘temporarily Venetian’, housed in a 2,800 sq m 16th-century aristocratic house Palazzina Grassi, the PalazzinaG brings a long-overdue contemporary edge to Italy’s floating city.
Low-key at first glance
With no exterior nameplate nor any traditional front desk or concierge, the general atmosphere is somewhat like a private aristocratic Venetian home rather than a top hotel.
This low-key appearance disappears in the lobby, with a long mirrored glass bar on one side and the open kitchen of PG’s restaurant on the other. With its seductive low lighting, mahogany paneled walls and plush armchairs it is a great place to come for cocktails, live music, and local fare.
The interiors distill the essence of Venice, contrasting and harmonizing tradition and modernity.
Throughout, there are floor-to-ceiling Venetian mirrors, multi-colored hallways in bright red to acid almond green, huge rugs in vivid colors, vintage and rare books, antique pieces, mahogany, and unique artworks, with Starck’s design signature all over it.
While the lobby is dark and romantic, the French designer has gone for a total contrast of bright white interiors in the bedrooms.
The über-contemporary suites are white from the furniture to the walls and floors, while the tiny masked symbols here and there display typical playful touches from Starck.
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ThePalazzina Grassi experience starts with a vintage mahogany 1962 Celli speedboat, which can be arranged to collect guests from the airport (check-in taking place onboard). Dropped off directly at the hotel’s private jetty, guests get the impression of arriving in a private luxury property.
No wonder A-listers choose to call it home when they’re in town—Johnny Depp took over the best suite for three months while filming The Tourist, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are said to be fans too.