Hotel review

Hotel Review: Ca’ Di Dio, Venice in Italy

Lyrics by Paul Tierney

The great and late Truman Capote once said that “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs all at once”, and he wasn’t entirely wrong. This delicious-looking city rarely fails to find the right place, but there’s spirit beyond the fondant.

Of course, Venice is a city on water, and there’s no better way to approach the main hub than by vaporetto or, if you’re feeling comfortable, a sleek, polished water taxi. . The dome of St. Mark’s Basilica punctuates one of the world’s grandest skylines, and cruising the Grand Canal, lined with alluring palaces, is pure bliss. For the uninitiated, spending your entire stay strolling on this isola di fantasia without a car is a dream that will soon be fully realized.

Venice is the ultimate place to get lost. Forget traditional navigation – put your phone in your pocket and follow your nose. A watery maze of narrow lanes and toy town bridges, there’s mystery and beauty around every turn.


A Venetian palace hideaway located in the heart of the floating city, Ca’ di Dio combines history with luxurious modernity.

Ca’ Di Dio translates to “House of God,” and this impressive addition to Venice’s five-star hotel scene is imbued with an almost serene spirituality. Built in 1274, the building has served many purposes over the past 1,000 years – from a Catholic convent to a women’s refuge to a retirement home – and remains a welcoming space.

High ceilings, forced-perspective hallways and interior courtyards all bear witness to its past, now modernized to exacting standards by designer Patricia Urquiola. His intention was to maintain a strong link with Venice, both in public spaces and in rooms, through materials, colors and finishes that truly reflect the city. You enter through a large main atrium, once the building’s chapel, where preserved frescoes, cool marble and Istrian stone surround an impressive central chandelier, made from 14,000 Murano glass tiles.

The palette is understated and soft – sage green, burnt umber and dove gray – a subtle reflection of the water seen through each window. It’s a mix of traditional and modern, which is no small feat, but looks effortless. Urquiola imbues the venue with artisanal design touches and has created a calm, meditative atmosphere that is never overbearing. It’s a calming retreat from the hectic pace of out-of-town tourism, where a chic reading room, spa, and large interior courtyard (unusual in Venice) provide welcome respite.


Ca' Di Dio Junior Suite
Every detail of its rooms and suites highlights Italian design, from the vibrantly colored Murano glass lamps, to the exquisite locally made fabrics and the marble bathrooms.

There are 66 rooms, 11 of which are deluxe standard, but only 13 that overlook the water. A generous upgrade to a Junior Suite gives me a view of the lagoon, where the Benedictine Church of San Giorgio Maggiore rises above the waterscape. Smaller rooms may have side aspects with less interesting canal views, so the front of the hotel, with that clear, definitive image is the goal. For the ultimate view, there are two ‘Altana’ suites with a walk-in wooden terrace, where, raised to a considerable height, you see a huge strip of the city’s rooftops – a patchwork of terracotta tiles, dream arrows and the magic of the Adriatic.

In my suite, the undertone is masculine but never aggressive. Ambiguous leather straps wrap around an upholstered headboard, flanked by Murano glass pendant lights. The textured wallpaper echoes the shimmering water almost within reach outside, and the clean colors – aubergine, tobacco and burgundy – envelop the senses to great effect. Most importantly, the bed – a vast ship of dreams, is one of the best you’ll ever sleep on. It’s almost rude not to fall asleep at any time of the day or night. And you go.

The bathrooms resist pomp in favor of brown marbles and brass fittings that are pleasantly uncluttered. The products are courtesy of The Merchant of Venice and smell divine.

Food and drink

Food at VERO
Take in views as mouth-watering as the food at VERO Restaurant, a supremely elegant space overlooking the lagoon

Breakfast is served in one of the hotel’s two restaurants, but best taken in the outdoor courtyard, where tall palm trees and manicured lawns are a rare treat, and the scent of magnolia and mimosa lingers throughout. the air. The usual fare is sugar-heavy, but the hotel will cook whatever you want and nothing is too much trouble. A quirky touch are the Italian pulp-fiction paperbacks, scattered around Venetian pastries like cheeky but sweet desserts.

The afternoon is for aperitivo, preferably a spritz, mixed in the glittering Alchemia bar, or outside on the Riva promenade. Forget the common Aperol, opt for the Venetian Select alternative, or better yet order a gin and tonic created with the hotel’s own blend.

Dinner at VERO (Venetian Roots) aspires to Michelin Star standards and does not disappoint. An engaging maitre is keen to explain the seasonality of each ingredient, all sourced from regional suppliers, and underscores the hotel’s obsession with keeping things local. Obviously, fish is a mainstay, but lamb is a must, all washed down with cloudy, unfiltered Prosecco. The hotel’s herb garden offers just the right amount of flavor, and while rich in concept, the food is never too heavy.


Doge's Palace
The Doge’s Palace in Venice is a Gothic structure that housed the government of the Republic of Venice. Image credit: johannes86/

For first-timers, there are a handful of must-sees – the inimitable Piazza San Marco, the Doge’s Palace and the Rialto Bridge – all within 10 minutes. Another admirable but less crowded spot is the Peggy Guggenheim Art Collection, nestled between breathtaking palaces on the Grand Canal.

Closer to home (and the hotel really feels like it), the eastern neighborhood of Castello has non-touristy places to eat (Al Covo, Corte Sconta, CoVino), drink (the effervescent Osteria alla Rampa is a must), and shop like a local. Every two years, the venues of the Art and Architecture Biennials – the Giardini Park and the former Arsenale shipyard – are both within walking distance.

In a word

Hall Ca' Di Dio
Located on the eponymous bank and overlooking one of the canals that characterize Venice, Ca’ di Dio is close to the heart of the city

Its prime location, expansive art-filled atrium, and laid-back Venetian hospitality take a hit. It’s not the velvet and antique hotel you associate with the city, and all the better for that. In peak season, Venice bakes in the Italian sun, so this chilly bolthole is chilled in more than one way. Service, as you’d expect, is impeccable, and a small team of handsome, uniformed staff are on hand to cater to your every whim.


Rooms can be booked from £460 per night based on two people sharing a bed and breakfast room.

Address: Riva Ca’ di Dio, 2183, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
Call: +39 041 098 0238
E-mail: [email protected]

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