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As always, I’m on the hunt for places where one can still feel the sense of bygone eras. When I think of Venice, there’s a bit of dolce vita, the gondolas, and a touch of Hollywood, not least because of the Venice Film Festival. Photographed in Venice, Italy.

Hotels with charm and history seem to be becoming fewer in recent years. But between the Venetian Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, there is one remaining example that still holds the glory of past decades: the HOTEL EXCELSIOR VENICE LIDO RESORT. A five star resort which opened in July 1908 and even found mention in Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice (1911). So the hotel got its iconic status already very early.
The structure was the idea of local entrepreneur Nicolò Spada and the commissioned architect Giovanni Sardi (a graduate of the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts). Together they created a Venetian palace-inspired hotel.

Born from the desire to create the most luxurious hotel in the world as a destination for the European elite who were looking for the beach and the sun—without being too far from the historic center of Venice. A reputation that was quickly established so that in 1932 the first ever Venice Film Festival was held at the hotel: on the terrace with a lavish ocean-front view. From then on it became an all-time favorite destination for the international Jet Set.

Reassembling an opulent Venetian palace, the resort features numerous historical influences, including elaborate Moorish designs as well as domes and skylights. Among the most famous features is the Sala degli Stucchi in Louis XVI style, with arabesque influences. Part of the interior was designed by Mariano Fortuny, who was particularly known for his use of fabrics such as silk and brocade. The glass works are made by the artist Umberto Bellotto, who created the chandeliers, the quay door and two lanterns at the entrance. The result is a place of oriental interpretation with Venetian-Byzantine roots and techniques, which is expressed through the exterior brick walls of the hotel, the curved triple and mullioned windows, the mosaics of gold on the floor and the sphinx statues that adorn the exterior.

Today it is still a place for guests looking for an idyllic retreat from busy Venice and still want to feel a bit of the elegance of the Golden Age. The hotel offers the largest suites in Venice and also features two restaurants, two bars, and an outdoor pool. Situated fifteen minutes by boat from St. Mark’s Square one enjoys tranquility and the view of the ocean here. The Lido is the only island in Venice that is also accessible by car and has a private landing pad for helicopters. And if it should get too quiet, a private boat service of the hotel will take guests to the historic center of Venice in no time.

“The waves beat against the walls of the narrow canal which runs through the island to the Hotel Excelsior.”

— Death in Venice (1911)  

in partnership with HOTEL EXCELSIOR
shot on location in VENICE, ITALY