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Ca Maria Adele

Ca Maria Adele hotel review

Romantic and luxurious boutique design hotel in Venice

Ca Maria AdeleCa Maria Adele is one of the most luxurious and stylish places to stay in Venice. It is a boutique design hotel with just 12 bedrooms, next to the Church of the Salute and a few yards from the Grand Canal. I found a "Deluxe double room" at 198 online at short notice in February 2011 - a very good deal compared with peak-season prices, and considerably cheaper than Venice's five-star hotels. Room rates vary tremendously according to season, and during the summer or Carnival the cost can double. As soon as I'd confirmed my booking, I received a courteous email from the hotel welcoming me and offering any transport assistance required.

> More information/make a booking
> See my photos of Ca Maria Adele

Arrival and first impressions

Ca Maria Adele is situated on one of my favourite Venetian walking routes, and so I walk past this hotel often and have wondered if it's really as good as reports suggest. Even a newcomer to Venice shouldn't have any trouble finding their way here - the handsome historic building is right by the Salute church and vaporetto stop. This is a very attractive location, towards the narrow 'tip' of the Dorsoduro district at the end of the Grand Canal. St. Mark's is over the water, just one stop away on the vaporetto. The hotel is beside a stone bridge, with a small canal alongside.

Arriving in the smart reception area overlooking the canal, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist who was fluent in English. A uniformed member of staff showed me up two staircases to my room - without offering to carry my baggage - turned on the lights and TV and left me to enjoy the luxury of my bedroom.

Bedroom and public lounge

My bedroom, Ca Maria Adele

My bedroom, number 332, was a 'Deluxe double' - the cheapest of the hotel's three room-types. I reached it up a couple of staircases, but felt the climb was worth it for the views. The room wasn't huge, but it was a good size by Italian standards, and was a lovely space with an airy feel, thanks to its position in the corner of the building. I had three windows in two walls, with views of the Grand Canal (over a low rooftop) and the Salute church. Leaning out, I could also see a cruise ship heading along the Giudecca Canal, the other side of this little promontory. Day and night, the view was wonderful, and could even be enjoyed from the bed.

The room was entered through a little entrance foyer which helped to give it the private, intimate feel that characterised the hotel. I couldn't hear any sound from other guests. The television was pre-programmed to show a webcam view from the building over the Grand Canal, while playing a classical music soundtrack that was absolutely perfect for the moment. As I explored the bedroom and gazed from the windows, I was accompanied by the strains of Puccini and Mozart. (This music, incidentally, was played throughout the public areas of the building and at breakfast... I liked it, but some may find it rather repetitive during a longer stay).

'Design' hotels sometimes opt for style over practicality, but Ca Maria Adele had done an excellent job of combining stylish decor with hospitality. My bedroom was a thoughtfully-designed hotel room as well as a romantic refuge. The look was lavish without being too heavy, with rich fabric-covered walls in a light green colour, a sloping wooden ceiling, traditional Venetian terrazzo flooring and artistic touches like a tropical orchid in a pot, and a row of arty vases displayed on a high shelf. I wasn't completely sure about the throws resembling dead animals which were arranged over the armchairs, but everything else was lavish yet tasteful. There was pleasant muted (adjustable) lighting from a number of lamps. Practical features included two bedside tables, a sizeable curtained wardrobe space in the entrance foyer, with a laptop-sized safe, a full-length mirror on the back of the door, a corner desk/table with space for two to sit and work, and a seating area by the windows, with two leather armchairs and a coffee table. The room had autonomous air-conditioning and heating, and was very cosy on a cold February night. The bed was high and extremely long and wide, with a comfortable firm mattress. The feather-filled duvet and the rest of the bedding was all good quality and very comfortable. The flat screen TV offered international news channels, though it was a more appealing option to keep it tuned to the hotel's Grand Canal webcam/classical soundtrack combination.

The hotel's general approach to hospitality was as lavish as the decor. The soft drinks in the bedroom mini-bar were included in the room-rate, along with mineral water, a selection of nuts which made nice and healthy late-night nibbles and - a generous gesture - a bottle of local red wine. Ribbon-trimmed slippers and bathrobes were provided, as were tissues, a notepad and pencil. In addition to the free mini-bar, there was a drinks list which wasn't extortionately priced: a glass of wine cost from 4, with a bottle from 20. A limited selecton of food was also available.

My bathroom boasted more fine views - I could look at the Grand Canal while showering, and the Salute Church at other moments. Fittings were all the high quality you'd expect. The bathtub had jacuzzi jets, and a shower overhead. There was a large mirror and an additional double-sided make-up/shaving mirror with a terrifying degree of magnification. The hairdryer was a proper one, not a fixed-on-the-wall version. The Gilchrist and Soames toiletries were good quality and lavish, with pretty much everything you'd need - dental, beauty and shaving kits, shampoo and conditioner, shower gel, bath salts, body lotion and even lip balm.

I'm rarely completely satisfied with any hotel room, but I really did love this one. The only faults I could find were the fixed clothes hangers (I find them irritating) and the curious lack of a bathmat in the bathroom. The whole set-up was lavish and I'll admit I found the luxury and setting quite thrilling.

Public spaces and service

With the afternoon sun on the canal and the palaces on the far side, the huge comfortable bed, the smart leather armchairs, and O mio babbino caro filling the air, it was hard to tear myself away from my luxurious bedroom to head downstairs for the promised welcome drink. I enjoyed this in the hotel's little lounge, an intimate dark-walled room with very 'designer' decor - textured black walls, a smart (closed up) fireplace, fur-trimmed lamps held by sleeved arms protruding from the wall, muted lighting from candles and standard lamps, a carriage clock and flowers, a low beamed ceiling, pictures of doges, two beautiful soft armchairs and horsehair-upholstered sofas piled with cushions. There was a selection of international newspapers and a stack of coffee table books. Sitting with my complimentary Prosecco and biscotti, I used the hotel's free wifi connection.

This is a small palazzo without large public spaces, but nevertheless there was a choice of venues for a drink or for breakfast. In addition to the little lounge, there was also an attractive outdoor roof terrace which must be very inviting in warmer months, and a breakfast hall.

While I was out at dinner there was a thorough turn-down service: bins emptied, towels changed, and rose petals and fancy facial spray placed on the bed, along with a weather forecast and a menu card for ordering breakfast. The staff had even put a little paper 'hat' on the glass of water I'd left uncovered.

The breakfast menu had a huge list of choices to tick, including Prosecco, fresh fruit, three types of honey (acacia, lime and lavender), bacon, fried eggs, eggs boiled to your requirements, omelette, cheese, croissants, three types of bread and a space for more requests should this range of options still not satisfy you. The only trouble was the dilemma it caused - how much to order? How greedy would I feel come morning? You could also select your time and location for breakfast - between 8am and noon, in the breakfast room, lounge, on the terrace (not in February, but it would be lovely in the summer) or in your room, where you could select whether you wanted the staff to knock and enter or knock and wait for you to answer the door.

Breakfast

Having made my extensive selections from the breakfast menu, I turned up at my chosen hour in the opulent breakfast room on the first floor - the palace's piano nobile - where sunshine reflected off the canal below onto damask walls. This was another seriously stylish room, with eccentric silver-backed chairs ornamented with rams' heads, a big glass chandelier and a piano beneath a 1950s image of a Murano chandelier. The food brought to my table was a wonderful spread. I wished I'd been staying longer to sample more of the options. I indulged in a cheese omelette, fresh fruit salad, tea in silken bags, acacia honey, a walnut bread roll, freshly-squeezed orange juice, strawberry yoghurt and another glass of Prosecco.

Room types

My room was a 'Deluxe double' and must have boasted the best views in the building. This is the hotel's most affordable category of room. Before leaving I looked around two other bedrooms. The Sale del Doge, one of the hotel's more expensive Junior Suites or 'Concept Rooms,' was richly furnished in red and gold with a portrait of a doge on the wall. The rooms in this category all have different themes and are more extravagant than the deluxe rooms. Whether they'd be more romantic (or sexy) would depend on your tastes. I also visited a top floor suite, which was furnished in the lighter style of my deluxe room, and featured a separate sitting room and a private outdoor terrace with views of Venetian buildings.

Ca Maria Adele

Location and directions

To get there: Ca Maria Adele is right alongside the Salute church, and only a few yards from the vaporetto stop. It has a water entrance for those choosing to arrive by water taxi. From the vaporetto stop, just walk forwards, along the side of the church, and cross the second bridge on your right. The hotel is the building on the corner, looking over the small canal.

On a Sunday in February this area was very quiet and the nearest restaurants were closed. Walking for around ten minutes, up past the Accademia Bridge, or catching a vaporetto over to the busier San Marco area will bring you to a choice of bars and restaurants. Apart from the occasional ringing of church bells, this is a quiet and charming location. Its position by the church out towards the end of the Dorsoduro district means it is geographically secluded, while at the same time being only a short walk or boat ride from livelier areas. The stroll along the nearby Zattere waterfront is one of the nicest Venice activities.

Recommendation

I really thought that staying at Ca Maria Adele was as good as a holiday in itself. If you want your hotel to be an important part of your Venice experience, with a romantic atmosphere to remember, this is the ideal place to stay. Venice has several grand five-star hotels, which are long-established and very expensive. They also have many more rooms than Ca Maria Adele, and aren't likely to offer the same special atmosphere or intimacy of this charming boutique hotel. To me, this is true luxury. The hotel had everything I could want and some things I didn't know I wanted. The service was excellent and unobtrusive. The room and views were marvellous. Toiletries, drinks and extras were all generous and good quality. It was very private and romantic. I've stayed in quite a few Venetian hotels (as well as living here) and I really don't think you could find a more perfect place to spend your honeymoon. Or a romantic holiday. Or even an indulgent few nights on your own.

Since there are only twelve rooms, I'd strongly advise booking well in advance. Prices vary significantly throughout the year, so for the best-value luxury, consider visiting away from peak season. Unfortunately the nature of the building means that there are a lot of steps, and so the hotel wouldn't be suitable for guests with restricted mobility.

> More information/make a booking

> See my photos of Ca Maria Adele
> Guide to design hotels in Venice

Review by Italy Heaven editor. All the photos are my own and reflect the hotel as I found it.



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