Oh, the palaces of Venice!!! They are incredible mixtures of architecture, art and science! A few years ago, we were fortunate enough to stay in one of these beautiful palaces which, as many others, has now been converted into a hotel. This particular hotel is now known as the Hotel Danieli. Being that we are Starwood members, and this hotel is part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, we cashed out some Starpoints to stay here!! This made our stay so much more affordable! And what an experience it was! Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted in the posh lobby by a very polished concierge.
As per my modus operandi, I asked if there were any available upgrades. He informed me that we were booked into an interior room, but he also had other rooms available with better views. He graciously brought us to both rooms so that we could choose. The rooms with the “better views” were absolutely divine! They had the typical Moorish windows that looked out onto the Grand Canal!
Who wouldn’t want to stay in these rooms? It was as if we were stepping back in time to the aristocratic ways of the Venetian nobility! Yeah, it was bit noisy in the morning when all the city workers were about doing their jobs, but it was an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world!
My friend, the concierge, was a true Venetian and I knew because of the tell-tale sing song in his voice! Being that I understand the Venetian dialect, and find it all too pleasant, I asked him to speak to me in “Venezian”. Oh my goodness, he was SO content! I quickly became the belle of the hotel!!! We were showered with a bottle of wine and two boxes of exquisite chocolates “for our enjoyment”! The next morning when my husband went down to the lobby, Mr. Concierge asked him how “la signora” was doing! What fun I was having! I felt like I was a princess for a few days 🙂 But, after thinking about it, this type of hotel probably treats ALL their guests like this! And that is why they are as successful as they are – every patron is treated like royalty! But I don’t care – I will take being treated like a princess any day!
The Hotel Danieli is actually a conglomeration of three old palazzi which have been connected to form one hotel. This is very common in Italy, and I’ve seen it from Milan to Rome! The palazzi date back as far as the 14th century and they were once home to a very influential Venetian family, the Dandolos. This family boasted having four doges in its lineage. The Palazzo Dandolo was one of the most intricately designed palaces in all of Venice, and many high society events took place here. In the XVI century, the buildings were split amongst family members and sold to new aristrocratic owners in the XVII century. These families hired famous musicians and artists into their homes, and many musical masterpieces were debuted here. One such piece was Proserpina Rapita by Giulio Strozzi with music by Monteverdi.
After the fall of the Venetian Republic, the palazzos fell into disrepair. In 1824, a hotel innkeeper from Friuli bought the palazzos and converted them into a posh hotel after extensive and authentic restorations were done on the buildings. Further restorations and improvements were done over the years…with the very impressive result being the current and beautiful Hotel Danieli.