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By: Frank – dugup46 – The Gritti Palace will always hold a special place in my heart. Not just because I stayed there one night, but because of every hotel in the world, this is the one I chose for our honeymoon. Danielle and I are fortunate enough to have enough points to stay and travel to just about any corner of the world, so picking a location to enjoy our honeymoon was an extremely difficult challenge. Do we choose the Maldives, Fiji, Switzerland, or Hawaii? Ireland? London? Paris or Iceland? After lots consideration and much debating, we landed on Italy. The romance, the scenery, the architecture, the feels. They all combine to make a romantic, and in our opinion, unforgettable experience.
Since I got into the points game, I have always held the Gritti Palace as the “if I ever actually succeed in what I do, this is where I really want to go” location. I never thought I would actually get there. I always thought it would be out of my reach. Well… the night of October 17th, 2016, our dream finally came to fruition. The staff at the Gritti Palace made it an even more memorable experience than I could have ever hoped for.
- Cash & Point Expense – Hotel costs in terms of cash, points, or both.
- Hotel Overview & Rooms – Overview of the property and room choices.
- Service & Conveniences – Service and amenities offered by the hotel.
- Restaurants & Dining – Restaurant and bar choices in the hotel.
- X-Factor – What sets this property apart from others.
Cash & Point Expense
I don’t know how to tell you this place is more than a “must-see” hotel. Rooms start out around $500 a night and are often sold out for weeks or occasionally even months. Rooms can run as high as $1,000+ a night during peak season. The most practical way to get a night in this hotel is to use 30,000 SPG points for a one night stay. Normally I would say using 30k SPG points is ludicrous; however, this is a beautiful way to use them. Sign up for the American Express SPG Personal card or the SPG Business card, each of which will get you 25,000 SPG points! You are literally taken back in time, and not a single aspect of the hotel’s recent renovation has gone overlooked.
Hotel Overview & Rooms
Dating back to the year 1475, the Gritti Palace holds true to its historic Venetian style interior. This may be more true now than ever after the hotel’s 15 month, $50 million dollar renovation in 2011. Since its inception, the hotel has been home to some of the world’s most important people and celebrities. Danielle and I arrived via the vaporetto (water taxi) at the dock just beside the Gritti Palace entrance. After walking through a small alley and around a little restaurant, we finally arrived. Upon first walking in, you’ll notice the hotel’s elegant lighting, Venetian art and decor. There is no mistaking that you have walked into a true luxury, boutique hotel.
Immediately after opening the doors, we were warmly greeted by staff who came out from behind the concierge desk to assist us with our bags. Another gentleman came from a room off the side, welcomed us to the Gritti Palace, and escorted us to the check in area. The check in area has two small desks that are more reminiscent of a beautifully designed study than an actual hotel. After checking in, you are provided your room key and assisted up to your room. The key is an actual key. A little less convenient than a traditional card, but it certainly lets you know you’re somewhere special. If you want to see me fail to open the door to our room, you can check out this link here hahaha.
As I did in the article for the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto and the Hyatt Andaz Tokyo, I decided to record a video walk-through of the hotel room. Seeing everything in a video really helps tie everything together:
Words really can’t describe the feeling you get when you walk through the door and into that room. It takes your breath away. When you finally catch your breath, you lose it again when you open the door leading to the Grand Canal overlooking the Salute. As silly as it sounds, pay close attention to the bathroom. I looked really hard for a finger print, smudge, wiping mark on that mirror… nothing. The room was just as clean as it was beautiful.
Outside of just our room, the hotel features 61 “standard” rooms and 21 incredible suites. A lot of the suites are named after famous people who have spent time in the hotel, including Ernest Hemingway himself. Not only did Ernest Hemingway stay in the Gritti Palace, but he actually lived there for a number of years. The Ernest Hemingway Presidental Suite is the exact same room that he called home, even writing many passages of “Across the River and Into the Trees,” in the room itself.
Services & Conveniences
As I have said in previous articles, this is always the toughest part of any article. Our time at these luxury hotels is usually limited, and we simply cannot afford the conveniences these hotels offer. Although we were not able to experience the spa, we were given a brief tour. All the hotel rooms also offer shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, and a couple other small toiletries from the spa itself. Although we were unable to relax with a two-hour massage, we did get a sense of what it would have been like! The spa is only for hotel guests. So if you want to experience the spa here, you’ll need to book a night.
Service – The service we experienced at the Gritti Palace was really second to none. Although the service may not be exactly on the level of care that we received in Japan, it was by and far the most personal. We felt less like guests and more like long lost, appreciated family members here. It’s really hard to explain the exact differences in the two, and it’s even more difficult to choose which style of service I enjoyed more.
The gentleman working the concierge desk during our stay was excellent. The man who checked us in to our room was more like your favorite uncle you haven’t seen in a couple years: polite, appreciative, and funny. The entire staff was exceptional during our stay and made us feel very welcomed there anytime. This isn’t always a small feat, because at some of these very high end hotels, we can feel very out of place. The staff here really made us feel welcomed.
Restaurants & Dining
Ahhh! The restaurants. What would Italy be without the food? Culinary lovers can rejoice in knowing that the Gritti Palace has not one, but two incredible restaurants on site. The first features an indoor seating area, which has served some of the world’s most famous celebrities. The second is less formal with an outdoor seating area and panoramic views of the Grand Canal. Both are pretty incredible visually, but my choice goes to the less formal dining area with the Canal View. It’s also the go-to picture to show off the hotel.
The Gritti Terrace – The terrace is the least expensive of the two restaurants, but it will still cost you a pretty penny to enjoy a dinner here. If you can’t afford three or five course meals, I still recommend going down to enjoy a nice dessert and a drink. The view absolutely cannot be beat and the atmosphere is something you’ll never forget. You can click the restaurant’s name to go directly to its website or click here to check out the entire menu.
Club del Doge – Here we go. The historic Club del Doge. One of the first things we noticed about Italy is that dinner isn’t just something you do to eat. It’s something you experience. The wait staff doesn’t rush you, but instead, insists you stay longer. Danielle and I always eat quick everywhere we go, so it was a bit tough adjusting to the change of pace.
The Club del Doge offers gourmet Venetian cuisine created by Executive Chef Daniele Turco. The decor and atmosphere really throw you back in time and resonate that royal Venetian feel. If you find yourself in the Gritti Palace, I would certainly recommend a visit to the Club del Doge restaurant.
So, for me, the x-factor is what really makes a property unique. The Gritti Palace has a few of them, but two things really stood out to me about this hotel. The location and the history are what really make the Gritti Palace special. I’ll start with the location. Sitting just off the Grand Canal the hotel gives unparalleled views of the Salute which is just a rock skip away. When you think “Venice” you think the view outside your hotel room. There is really no other way to explain it. The history of Venice is at your doorstep the moment you arrive.
The history of the Gritti Palace could really only properly be written in a book. Any building that is over half a millennium old is pretty remarkable in and of itself. Factor in that some of the most famous celebrities of our time visit here frequently, and Ernest Hemingway himself lived there for a couple years – you have one of the most famous and historical hotels in the world.
The Gritti Palace is less of a hotel and more of a living documentary. Being guests here, even for just one night, will be a memory Danielle and I will cherish forever.
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