When in Venice, Daniel Craig has been spotted at the bar of the Bauer Hotel. And Sting. And Al Pacino.
If that’s not reason enough to make a booking then simply having your cocktail stirred at this hotel’s glamorous bar notches up the style. The city is romantic, glamorous and rarely inexpensive. But you’re buying into one unique place – and for every eye-wateringly expensive Bellini there’s a small gelateria offering the best ice cream in the world for just a couple of euro.
The Bauer location is unrivalled with its Grand Canal frontage. Breakfast comes with a dazzling view and a gondola at your feet.
We’d arrived after a daybreak early start after our cruise ship docked, so the terrace by the side of the hotel was an ideal place to re-charge following a little doze to the sounds of lapping waters. The hotel is worthy of a moochabout history lesson of its own. Though traditional Venetian in style outside and in the bedrooms, the feel of the public areas is a homage to the glamour of the Art Deco period.
The central staircase is dazzling and those creative cocktails and live music make the Bbar a buzzy alternative to Venice’s otherwise mellow nightlife scene.
And the property is within walking distance of Venice’s monuments and cultural highlights.
Opposite the hotel’s marble entrance are the shopping delights of Prada, Miu Miu, Armani ….the list goes on. It’s Victoria Beckham’s shopping playground.
The beauty of Venice is being able to wander the canals and never take the same route twice – tricky when you want to re-visit that lovely little hand-printed stationery shop. So buy as you see.
Off the touristy streets you’ll find little cafes and bars with loads of character and a perfectly chilled prosecco for around 3 euros.
And to rest your street-pounding feet, the Bauer’s sister hotel across the canal, Il Palladio, has full 18th-century character for a taste of Venetian palazzo living.
Chill out in smart gardens and lounge in the spa. All very grown-up. The Spa & Wellness Centre is accessible from the main building but it’s tucked away as an oasis of complete tranquility. There are eight luxury treatment rooms including a private couples ‘You and Me’ spa suite complete with a king-size jacuzzi bath, two inviting massage beds and a soothing flaming wood fire.
Then take a sip of the must-try Aperol spritz and soak up the city.
Top six Venice
Take in the fairy-tale atmosphere from a Number 1 or 2 vaporetti (or waterbus) which are a fun way to cruise the canal.
Interpreti Veneziani play mainly baroque works – including regular renditions of The Four Seasons, something of a Venetian ‘must’.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a must-visit. Her remarkable portfolio of modernist and surrealist art includes major works by Picasso, Magritte, Giacometti and Jackson Pollock. The gardens are lovely and the nice bar/café has canal views.
Go when it’s empty. If you’re staying at The Bauer, that’s easy as it’s virtually next door. Early morning and late evening, before the day-trippers arrive or after they’ve left.
Lift Me Up
For a view that includes both the basilica and the piazza, buy a ticket for the short elevator ride to the top of the Campanile, or bell-tower in front of the church.
Food markets anywhere are a good cultural barometer of a place. At the famous Rialto market see how real Venetians get their food supplies. It’s a fish market, but there’s plenty of fresh veggies and fruit for sale as well.