Tell us a bit about Hotel Danieli, its history and its ethos…
Hotel Danieli has a long and outstanding history. The centre palace, Palazzo Dandolo of Hotel Danieli, dates back to the late 14th century when the Dandolo family commissioned it in Calle delle Rasse overlooking Riva degli Schiavoni. At the time, its owners, the noble Dandolo family, had already given four Dogi to the city of Venice (Enrico in 1192, Giovanni in 1280, Francesco in 1329 and Andrea in 1343).
In 1498 Palazzo Dandolo was mentioned as a place for prestigious travellers to stay when the Prince of Salerno, Antonello da Sanseverino, together with his retinue of 44 people stayed at the palace. In 1629 the Proserpina Rapita by Giulio Strozzi with music by Claudio Monteverdi was performed at Hotel Danieli for the wedding of Giustiniana Mocenigo. At that time, the Palazzo Dandolo belonged to the Mocenigos and the Barnardos and was still owned by these families when the Venetian Republic fell in 1797.
A major change came on 24 October 1822 when the hotelier Giuseppe dal Niel, nicknamed “Danieli”, was able to rent a part of Palazzo Dandolo, transforming it into a hotel. He was soon in a position to buy the whole palazzo and it did not take long for the Hotel Danieli to gain the fame of being a luxury hotel for famous and illustrious guests such as King Guglielmo of Prussia, Charles Dickens, Richard Wagner, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin.
Towards the end of the 1800’s the adjoining XIX century palazzo called “Casa Nuova” was annexed to Palazzo Dandolo, and at the end of the Forties the modern “Danieli Excelsior” was built to complete the present-day “trio”.
Can you describe the hotel’s design and concept and what inspired its aesthetic?
Each palace of the “trio” has its own design resulting from the fact that they were each built in three different centuries. The interiors of Palazzo Dandolo’s public areas are an ensemble of works of art, antique furniture, Murano glass chandeliers, pink marble columns and gold-leafed ceilings. The resulting ambiance and atmosphere makes Hotel Danieli one of the most iconic hotels in the world.
The design of the suites located in Palazzo Dandolo is a declared homage to the allure of the Serenissima and to some of the most distinguished guests in the history of Hotel Danieli, such as movie stars, acclaimed artists and royals. It is the inspiration that guided French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon in the restoration of the prestigious Doge Dandolo Royal Suite and in the creation of three suites with a unique character: Signature Diva Suite, Signature Soprano Suite and Signature Princess Suite.
Palazzo Danieli Excelsior, the most recent of the three palaces that make up Hotel Danieli dates from 1947, and was the subject of a restyling by French interior designer Jacques Garcia in 2008. His design inspiration was based on the echoing of the Venetian Gothic style of the hotel’s world famous lobby, but offering a fresher and “cleaner” interpretation. The result is an enhancement of the grandeur of the heart of Hotel Danieli.
The Restaurant Terrazza Danieli was also refurbished at the same time. The key-word Garcia had in mind was seduction, and after a meticulous research of every single element, the result is a glamorous reinterpretation of the Venetian Gothic style with a touch of a refined romantic atmosphere, enhanced by the skillful artwork of lighting.
The restaurant space is divided into smaller sections to give more intimacy, though maintains the awareness of the vast magnified space around, thanks to the inclusions of mirrors on the walls and ceiling decoration. Dark red seats, green and bronze carpeting, light colour tablecloths, china and silverware enrich the play of shadows which contrast the bright day light, or breathtaking sunset views coming in from the wide windows overlooking Venice, the Doge’s Palace, its roof tops and the skyline of the lagoon islands. A sense of luxury and shared emotions emerge in every detail: in décor and ambience as well as in the unforgettable dining experience delivered.
What makes the hotel so special in your opinion and what makes the hotel stand out against others in Venice?
Hotel Danieli has an outstanding history with extraordinary details of Venetian heritage combined with a refined, comfortable atmosphere, and unmatched views of the Venice lagoon. A stay at the Hotel Danieli is to take a dive through the history of Venice itself, layered in wonder and enchantment.
The hotel’s 204 guestrooms and suites house a rich collection of precious art and antiques that play witness to the city’s history, artfully blended with contemporary comforts to indulge the wishes and fulfill the dreams of sophisticated and cultured global travellers. It has been the set of many famous film productions such as “The Tourist” and James Bond’s Moonraker.
The hotel is also famous for its love stories which started here, such as the ones between Alfred De Musset and George Sand, Aristotele Onassis and Maria Callas or Gabriele D’Annunzio and Eleonora Duse. Guests nowadays choose the hotel often for special occasions such as wedding proposals or anniversaries.
Can you tell us about your favourite highlights of the hotel, including accommodation, facilities and amenities…
Our suites and rooms overlooking the lagoon have a unique spectacular location, enjoying one of the best views in the world. Our Terrazza Danieli Restaurant has the same spectacular location that together with its delicious culinary proposals make the experience unparalleled. And we cannot forget the extraordinary beauty of the hotel lobby, a true immersion in the history of the “Serenissima”.
The hotel is located on Riva degli Schiavoni, and is close to many of Venice’s popular tourist spots, making it a big drawcard. What other activities and attractions can guests look forward to in and around the hotel?
The Riva degli Schiavoni is a very convenient location close to the main attractions of Venice, and also a departure point for the beaches of the Venice Lido or the Island of the Lagoon. Just a few steps away there are the Giardini, the main location for the Venice Biennale exhibitions. Around the hotel there are plenty of small craftsman shops, typical Venetian “Bacaro”, historical buildings, but also residential areas to be explored.
Tell us more about Venice through your eyes – it is already a popular tourist destination, but what are the truly special (possibly undiscovered) aspects of the city that make it a must-visit destination?
Everybody knows and visits Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge and Ponte dei Sospiri, all of which are very close to the hotel. What I like about Venice are the hidden small “Calli” – the typical narrow Venice streets, with their ancient buildings, immersed in a quiet timeless atmosphere, even better if close to a “Rio” – the small water canals crossed by the thousands of picturesque bridges.
Let’s not forget the Venetian lagoon is made up of a myriad of Venetian islands, some famous destinations in themselves such as Murano for glass making, Burano for its heritage of lace making and charming coloured houses, and Torcello, where the origins of Venice lie. There are also spiritual islands to discover, the city’s vegetable gardens, fishing islets, nature reserves and much more. Not far away on the hinterland are some of the regions finest wine growing areas, Palladian villas, and the Dolomite alps, all well worth a visit.
COVID-19 has had a big impact on everyone’s lives, and is sure to effect the way travellers select their destination and accommodation. What steps has the hotel taken to ensure the utmost safety for guests?
The safety and security of our guests and associates is our highest priority. We have implemented the recommendations provided by the local health authorities, including: social distancing, the adoption of facemasks, the regular washing of hands with soap and water or with alcoholic gel. We’ve also reduced paper collateral to a minimum, and implemented QR codes at the restaurant, bar and for room service.
In addition to following local authority guidance we have our own high standards of hotel cleanliness with well-established cleaning processes and training in place. These cleaning processes are more important than ever in today’s world and we have implemented a multi- pronged platform to elevate our cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviours to meet the new health and safety requirements presented by the current pandemic environment. Some of the steps we are taking to combat the virus include:
- Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high traffic areas and regularly touched surfaces. e.g. front desk counter, elevators, public bathrooms, room keys and gym equipment
- Increased frequency cleaning in back of house, where hotel employees work behind the scenes
- Increased hotel employee training on COVID-19 and hand hygiene protocols
- Social distancing efforts such as floor graphics/signage in lobbies and dining areas to remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols and removing or re-arranging furniture
For an industry that thrives on empathy and human connection the impact of cleaning protocols and social distancing measures in our hotels is significant – for both us as hoteliers and our guests. Interaction and engagement are one of the key elements of a travel experience. However, the ‘new normal’ means health and hygiene will be at the forefront of our customers’ minds, and as hoteliers we are having to reimagine how we can deliver the customer experience in a hygienic yet human way.
Above health and safety measures, what else do you think is the most important to guests when they book accommodation and how do you factor this into the Hotel Danieli experience?
It is important to maintain the highest level of attention for safety and hygiene measures, this goes beyond the emergency for COVID-19, it is an everlasting basic expectation and responsibility from our side. At the same time our guests, more than before, should feel that the so called “social distancing” does not mean lack of personal interaction and service excellence. What we try to provide at the Hotel Danieli is a luxury experience delivered with our usual attitude to personal care and attention to details.
The hotel is defined as a luxury hotel – what does luxury mean to you and how is this put across to guests visiting the hotel?
Luxury is defined by a unique experience, the privilege of being able to live out of the ordinary. Besides the service and the aim to respond proactively to all our guests’ demands, Hotel Danieli offers something that cannot be replicated elsewhere: the opportunity to live a true Venetian Experience in one of its most celebrated Palaces. Our team works hard to keep the tradition alive while adapting to the ever-changing guests expectations.
Tell us about the iconic Restaurant Terrazza Danieli and the hotel’s other culinary offerings – what can guests expect and what are some of the culinary delights?
Located on the rooftop of the Palazzo Danieli Excelsior, Restaurant Terrazza Danieli proposes a culinary offer that is strongly rooted in the Triveneto. The origins of Executive Chef Alberto Fol are in Treviso, near the Dolomiti, characterizing a cuisine attentive to Venetian sea tradition and reinvented with pure mountain notes thanks to a knowledgeable use of spices and Dolomite herbs that are part of both the city’s and the chef’s culinary heritage. The magical and romantic atmosphere of the restaurant and terrace are enhanced by enviable views of the “Serenissima.”
Do you have many returning guests and if so, what do you think it is about Hotel Danieli that makes guests come back time after time?
We have several guests that return every year or even more times in the same year. They return mainly because of the personal relation that has been established over time with our team members, they feel recognized and they know they will be welcomed with their preferences. It is very common that those guests describe the Hotel Danieli as their second home, and that makes us proud.
What do you think will leave the biggest impression on guests who visit Hotel Danieli?
The feeling of being suspended in time, living in a magnificent Venetian Palace with a great history behind it and more still to come.
The hotel is a magnificent venue for events, tell us about more about this…
We have great spaces in the Danieli Excelsior Palace for meetings and events. Also our noble floors in the Palazzo Dandolo are excellent locations for events and celebrations and of course the Terrazza Danieli with its unparalleled views that can be booked for exclusive use.
Any special offers or events coming up that we should know about?
Venice is preparing for the anniversary celebrations of 1600 years since its foundation with a rich calendar of events for the occasion. After the challenges of the last months, it is a great opportunity to extend the invitation to all visitors that will travel to the city. Hotel Danieli has several proposals and unique experiences specially curated to welcome our guests, facilitate their arrival and their visit to the city, all of which may be reserved on hoteldanieli.com.
To book and find out more, contact the hotel using these details:
Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice
Riva degli Schiavoni 4196
+39 041 5226480
+39 041 5200208
Images © Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice