Aman Resorts is taking Venetian hospitality to a new level. The luxury hotel group, founded by Indonesian entrepreneur Adrian Zecha, has opened a new spot in the Italian city, on the Grand Canal in the charming San Polo neighborhood.
The new high-end resort is located in Palazzo Papadopoli, a 16th-century palazzo built by architect Gian Giacomo dé Grigi for the Bergamo-based Coccina family, which sold it to Nicolò and Angelo Papadopoli Aldobrandini in 1864. The building is currently owned by Count Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, who still lives in the palazzo’s attic with his wife, Princess Bianca di Savoia Aosta, and their children Viola, Vera, Mafalda, Maddalena and Leonardo.
This story first appeared in the July 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At the entrance, facing a jetty where boats and water taxis dock, a cozy vibe welcomes guests, who are “encouraged to treat this place like home,” says Olivia Richli, Aman Canal Grande Venice’s general manager. “They must have the feeling of being at home, but better.”
The palazzo was restored by specialist company Dottor Group, and features frescoes by Rococo artist Michelangelo Guggenheim. Despite the sumptuous ambience, the atmosphere is laid-back and guests can find many places to relax and spend time with friends, including the two verdant gardens, the quiet roof terrace, the library and the living room, which has a piano.
Balancing the opulent decorations on the walls and ceilings, the different spaces feature chic and minimal wenge wood furniture, all manufactured by Italian design company B&B, except for a few pieces that were handmade by a carpenter. The resort offers 22 rooms, all decorated differently and covering at least 538 square feet, along with two suites, called Alcova Tiepolo Suite and Canal Grande Suite. The former features frescoes painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in 1750, along with hand-painted Chinese living room furniture; the latter, located in front of the palace’s main entrance, faces the Grand Canal. Rooms start from 1,000 euros, or about $1,300 at current exchange, a night for garden view rooms to 3,500 euros, or about $4,560, for the suites.
Offering Italian and Japanese cuisine, the second floor of Aman Canal Grande features a large dining area, which is open to the public and is divided into three different rooms — the Dining Room, Yellow Room and Red Room. Facilities include a beauty spa with three cabins and a gym.
The resort also offers guests the chance to take part in special activities.
“In the last three months, we worked hard to find a way to introduce Venice to our guests in an Aman way,” Richli says, listing private garden and city tours, cooking classes and picnics on the Venetian lagoon’s islands. In addition, two boats will be available for guests to get around in Venice. According to Richli, guests are expected to come from all over the world, but especially from the U.S., Europe, the U.K. and Japan.
“Aman guests are very loyal to the brand, as you can tell from their luggage,” Richli said, referring to the fact that many guests leave their suitcases covered in the colorful leather luggage tags they get at every check out in the different global Aman properties.