Images: Ca’ Bonfadini is Venice’s Plushest New Boutique Hotel

While Venice’s exalted art world Biennale is still a year away, the city’s celeb-magnet Film Festival is actually fast approaching, scheduled as it as for September 1 – 11 of this year. Assuming that they will indeed manage to make it happen, all those famous and fabulous persons who populate the island for those eleven photo-op heavy days will, as ever, need somewhere remarkable to stay. And while the Clooneys and Kidmans are generally to be found wandering the glittering hallways of the Cipriani or the Gritti, a new generation would tend to seek out somewhere newer, cooler and less formal.

One such place is the exceedingly plush new Ca’ Bonfadini, a five-star-but-not-stuffy stunner recently opened in an elegant 16th Century building along the Cannaregio Canal, considerably away from the usual throngs of San Marco tourists. Though the vibe is contemporary, the striking interior design plays utterly and unabashedly to the city’s glorious neoclassical period (late 18th to early 19th Centuries); and as is typical in Venice boutique hotels, there are just 20 rooms – but these come complete with elaborate ceiling frescoes, intricately pattered flooring, evocative artworks, and lots of unabashedly anti-minimalist, gilt-flaunting furnishings. Some do have views of the aforementioned canal – though we would contend that almost any view in Venice is a good one.

Unusual for a hotel in this neighborhood (Canareggio is a once working class, now grown trendier residential district), there is actually a sleek, contemporary restaurant on site, Il Vivante, with cool modern pendant lamps dangling above white tablecloths, and a handsome brick arch dividing the spaces. Under the direction of chef Clelia Perlo (who comes from the seaside Diana Grand Hotel in Alassio), it serves creative takes on Venetian cuisine, culled from local and regional ingredients and products.

The property is notably part of the Tablet Hotels group, and members booking through the well-curated collection’s site enjoy room upgrades, late check out times, access to the on-site sauna, and complimentary prosecco and Venetian cicchetti on arrival. The hotel has also implemented enhanced safety and cleaning measures, as part of the Tablet Recovery Pledge.

Venice of course is in the harrowing predicament of having been grappling with the civic impact of over-tourism, only to be devastated by the pandemic shutdowns – with the New York Times last summer positing that the city’s visitor numbers might never return to previous levels. So once the travel restrictions are lifted, a visit to La Serenissima is a good way to show support as it struggles back – and Ca’ Bonfadini is perfectly situated for enjoying the city minus those oh-so-bothersome crowds.

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