Venice is a sea of dreams; a swimming metropolis of architectural magnificence, with all its extraordinary grandness and historical marvels, apparently floating on water. The canals are the roads, the boats and gondolas are your cars.
When you approach Venice, best experienced by water taxi, you can't help but feel the excitement that travellers and traders have shared for countless generations. You feel a sense of romance, inspired by a desperate urge to quench a cultural thirst. There is so much to see, so much to take in as you glide towards this extraordinary city without inhaling noxious fumes or hearing the effects of congestion rage. That edgy feeling that most cities induce just doesn't exist here.
Luxury Explorer knows Venice very, very well. From its best 5-star hotels to its finest restaurants (and which ones not to bother with) we can guide you. If you are seeking a unique Venetian grand-luxe experience away from the crowds, choose The Cipriani; if the Grand Canal is calling and you are looking for a perfectly restored palazzo with outstanding canal views, pick between George Clooney's favourite Aman Canale Grande, Bauer Palazzo and aristocratic Ca' Sagredo; or if the buzz of St Mark's Square and Harry's Bar appeals, then the lovely Luna Baglioni, Venice's oldest hotel, is just steps away from all the action.
For longer stays with larger groups of family or friends, our recommended private luxury villa Palazzo Alvera is the perfect way to experience Venice as a Venetian. This gorgeous private palazzo on the Canal Grande, close to San Marco, sleeps between 8 and 15 guests.
There is always much to see and do in Venezia, from Carnevale and its masked balls in February (11th-28th), to art and architecture Biennales from May to November, regattas and fireworks over the Lagoon in July and the International Film Festival from August 30th - September 9th. Markets, museums and wonderful galleries are year-round destinations, as are the beautiful Renaissance churches, palaces and islands, such as Murano, famous for its glass.
Venice is also synonymous with seafood and fine cuisine, but it's easy to pay high prices for an indifferent culinary experience. Our hotels have fine restaurants, with the Cipriani offering Michelin-starred menus at Oro and Aman recently hiring a Michelin-starred chef, but we also have a handful of favourites local establishments. Ristorante Il Quadri in Piazza San Marco is a memorable, if expensive, Venetian institution, and the same can be said of Harry's Bar, but the best value fine cuisine is found at the tiny but splendid Il Ridotto. Da Fiori is another favourite, but try and get the window table overlooking the canal...
We want you to leave Venice a romantic
If you arrive in Venice a realist, we want you to leave a romantic. This is entirely possible, if you let us guide your circumnavigation of this unique sea of dreams.