VENICE, Italy--May. 7, 2013 -- The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), today celebrates the grand opening of The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice. The renowned hotel recently re-opened its legendary doors following a meticulous 35 million Euros restoration, bringing the historic building back to its original grandeur. The 15-month restoration of The Gritti Palace is part of a larger strategy to invest over 150 million Euros in the restoration of Starwood’s most celebrated Luxury Collection hotels in Europe, including Hotel Alfonso XIII, Seville and Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastian which re-opened last year, as well as Prince de Galles in Paris which will re-open later this month.
“There is a mystique about The Gritti Palace that has enchanted its guests for generations, so it was essential that we involved local artisans, architects, craftsmen and cultural institutions to preserve its authentic elegance and distinct personality, while bringing the landmark hotel into the 21st century,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis and W Hotels Worldwide. “The renaissance of this Venetian icon marks a momentous occasion for The Luxury Collection as the birthplace of the brand, now 85 hotels around the world, which has come full circle to restore its roots on the Grand Canal.”
“As part of Starwood’s strategy to further strengthen The Luxury Collection brand portfolio, we have made major investments to restore some of our most iconic hotels,” comments Roeland Vos, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “The restoration of the majestic Gritti Palace reinforces our commitment to providing global explorers the chance to discover this incredible destination with the exceptional service and style they have come to expect from The Luxury Collection.”
Facing the majestic Santa Maria della Salute and steps from Piazza San Marco and La Fenice Theatre, The Gritti Palace was transformed into its current Gothic shape by the Pisani family in 1475 and became the private residence of the Doge of Venice, Andrea Gritti, in 1525. In the centuries that followed, it was home to other noble families and illustrious visitors before being converted into a luxury hotel in 1895. In 1947, The Gritti Palace was bought by CIGA (Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi), to which The Luxury Collection brand traces its roots.
A Refined Version of Its Iconic Self
The Gritti Palace is renowned for its discreet residential luxury and unparalleled service, and is the place in the heart of Venice where generations of global travellers and influencers have gathered to experience the city’s social and cultural scene.The design of the hotel’s restored interiors was inspired by its historical role as a private residence, a centre for celebration, and a patron of the arts.
With exquisite interior design by Donghia Associates, part of the iconic Venetian fabric house Rubelli, the protected landmark building’s architectural restorations were led by Italian engineering firm Veniceplan Ingegneria Srl with the Regional Board of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Environmental Conservation of Venice and Lagoon. The finest architects and local artisans were engaged to painstakingly restore the prestigious hotel, including the incorporation of modern hydraulic engineering to protect the building during high tides, allowing the hotel to maintain its usual operations. The restoration included environmentally-friendly measures such as the use of LED lighting throughout the hotel’s public areas and guest rooms, the recycling of waste water and the replacement of windows to improve thermal and acoustic insulation.
“By carefully restoring precious antique furniture and artwork, and complementing them with a selection of newly handcrafted furnishings, we aimed to enhance the exclusive residential ambience that has kept The Gritti Palace so unique and personal to its loyal guests through the years,” says Chuck Chewning, Design Director, Donghia Associates. “We have seamlessly integrated Donghia’s and Rubelli’s signature sophistication with the hotel’s history and heritage, giving it a sense of Venetian elegance and timeless luxury.”
Following the complete restoration, The Gritti Palace features 61 luxurious guest rooms and 21 sumptuous suites, including suites with impressive canal views. The interior design of signature suites is inspired by renowned personalities – such as Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham and Peggy Guggenheim, who have left their indelible mark on the hotel and the city, or references to emblematic locations such as Punta della Dogana which represent the cultural and artistic roots of Venice and the Gritti Palace. The unique two-story Redentore Terrazza Suite spans 76 square meters with an intimate reception room, a spacious bedroom, a living room with dining area, and a spectacular rooftop terrace measuring 250 square metres, featuring a spa pool, relaxed entertaining spaces and extraordinary panoramic views of the lagoon and the city.
Cloaked in rich period colours, the restored rooms and suites feature local design elements including Venetian tapestries and velvets, unique pieces of furniture such as long Rococo couches, handcrafted Girandole mirrors, Murano glass chandeliers, as well as exquisite reproductions of rare Rubelli archival fabrics. Local and historical artwork is also showcased at The Gritti Palace with treasured antiques, exuding a distinctive and enveloping Venetian atmosphere.
Epicurean Experiences and Luxury Facilities
Set on the Grand Canal, The Gritti Palace’s famous terrace continues to be the social hub of Venice, designed to bring back the elegant wooden decks of Italian yachts in the 1930s, with polished wood and gleaming stainless steel accents. The famous Club del Doge Restaurant celebrates Venetian culinary traditions and features regional specialties such as pasta e fasoi (pasta and beans with Treviso radicchio and olive oil from Garda), el bisatosull-ara (slow-cooked eel in laurel leaves) and bigoli con l’arna (pasta with orange-flavoured duck meat sauce). The splendid Bar Longhi, with its exquisite etched Venetian mirror walls, features some of the best cocktails in Venice, an outstanding soufflé menu, as well as a Venetian Cicchetti experience, ideal for sharing and late-night lounging.
Set within the Sala Epicurea, The Gritti Epicurean School is a Venetian open kitchen that since 1975 has hosted the social elite of Venice and international guests for wine tastings, cooking workshops and celebrations. The cooking school continues to be a place to learn, taste and celebrate, offering a journey into indigenous culinary experiences.
The Gritti Palace introduces Blu Mediterraneo Spa, a new and exclusive spa concept by Acqua di Parma, a brand emblematic of the most refined Italian style. An intimate wellness haven, the spa offers complete relaxation, indulgent massages and pampering beauty treatments after a day of exploring la Serenissima. Set in natural, soothing tones with delicate gold accents, the spa features contemporary touches such as intricate Orsoni mosaics, opulent Murano glasses, exquisite Venetian floors and elegant wenge wood that draw from ancient Italian craftsmanship.
As part of the renewed arrival experience, the Explorer’s Library pays homage to The Gritti Palace’s rich literary legacy, featuring travel curiosities, antiques and rare books as well as classics by renowned writers, such as Ernest Hemingway and Somerset Maugham, who have resided at the hotel over the years.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Italy
Starwood currently operates 27 hotels and resorts throughout Italy under six of its nine distinct lifestyle brands. In addition to The Gritti Palace, these hotels include the historic Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel – also in Venice, the luxurious St. Regis Florence and the acclaimed St. Regis Rome, and the venerable Westin Excelsior Florence with its panoramic rooftop SE.STO restaurant. Starwood also operates the three remarkable Luxury Collection resorts in Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, including the Romazzino and Pitrizza where seven new villas will be added later this year.
For more information about The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice, please visit www.luxurycollection.com/gritti
About The Luxury Collection Hotels & Resorts
The Luxury Collection® is an ensemble of hotels and resorts offering unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories. For the global explorer, The Luxury Collection offers a gateway to the world's most exciting and desirable destinations. Each hotel and resort is a unique and cherished expression of its location; a portal to the destination's indigenous charms and treasures. Magnificent decor, spectacular settings, impeccable service and the latest modern conveniences combine to provide a uniquely enriching experience. Originated in 1906 under the CIGA brand as a collection of Europe's most celebrated and iconic properties, today The Luxury Collection brand is a glittering ensemble of more than 85 of the world's finest hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries in bustling cities and spectacular destinations around the world. The Luxury Collection includes award-winning properties that continuously exceed guest expectations by offering unparalleled service, style and class while celebrating each hotel's distinctive heritage and unique character. All of these hotels, many of them centuries old, are internationally recognized as being among the world's finest. For more information, please visit www.luxurycollection.com