Every year in Venice, a celebration of masks, costumes, dancing and enjoyment takes place, drawing up to 3 million visitors per year. As a freshly new expat relocating to Italy from America, it was my mission to scope out the best location to people-watch, snap photos, take in and be at the epicenter of the festivities. Londra Palace Venezia was the perfect spot. Unveiling a new design and illuminated by 100 iconic windows overlooking the San Marco Basin, I would draw the curtains of my Victorian-age inspired room to find I had been transported to a fairytale time of the past. Dressing up for Carnival dates back to 1162, when the gap between the rich and the poor was very large. During this time, when everyone wore masks and celebrated together, it was difficult to distinguish who was who in the chain of command, and that is the entire point, no matter king or peasant.
The lagoon’s only Relais & Châteaux hotel was the perfect backdrop for the historical setting and celebration of Venetian cultural heritage. Boasting an unobstructed view of the San Marco Basin and steps from San Marco Square, the hotel first opened in 1853, and officially became HOTEL LONDRA PALACE in 1973. With 52 completely different rooms, the magical vibes are extremely imminent from the plush furniture and Fortuny chandeliers to the detailed Murano decor – made by local master craftsmen. The silks and velvets are typical elements inspired by the careful study of details found in historic Venetian residences.
While at the lounge, a Venetian sitting room gleaming with Murano chandeliers and d’antan mirrors, I experienced a chocolate party with visitors from Paris, dressed in full costume reminiscent of the Victorian age, sipping tea and dining on delicious desserts.
I stayed in a junior suite, and 2 of the suites are signatures: the Suite Verne and the Suite Borges, paying tribute to French writer Jules Verne and poet and scholar Jorge Luis Borges, some of the most illustrious minds who have stayed at the hotel. I was easily able to take in the Carnival scenes, while drinking Prosecco from the large iconic windows. The upholstered walls boasted Victorian prints in lavender and grey, with soft walnut brown wood floors.
I also experienced an elegant dinner, led by Executive Chef, Daniele Galliazzo, at LPV Ristorante. Exploring traditional Venetian flavors and using seasonal products – I sampled a sea bass tartare as well as a poached egg in black truffle cream and a sweet finish of savory strawberries.
The roof terrace – the highest in Venice gave me a 360 striking view that stretches as far as the eye can see, from the lagoon’s islands all the way to the Dolomites.
Needless to say, the experience was absolutely magical and magnificent. I got asked to dance in the square by a masked local, absorbed traditional Venetian culture, and dined as if I were a part of history, thanks to Londra Palace Venezia.
For more information, please visit https://www.londrapalace.com/