before it becomes a cult fave | nolinski venezia

To travel back in time, one can jump on a plane (or if you’re somewhere in Europe, catch a train), and get themselves to Venice. Thanks to modern-day travel, the city which was once upon a time challenging to get to, is now much more accessible to visit, which has led to an oversaturation oflet’s face itcliche travel guides of things to do and see in Venice. We know what to do (visit the Doge’s Palace), what to look at (marvel at St Mark’s Basilica), and where to be seen (Caffe Florian). So, the question turns from: “what can we do in Venice?” to “where should we stay in Venice?”

Nestled within the hustle and bustle of Venice’s most infamous shopping district Calle Larga XXII Marzo—which houses the likes of Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton—Nolinski Venezia is easy to miss. Opened in mid-June of this year, the entrance to this new hotel is known only to a select few. Super discreet and quiet, it’s the latest secret in Venice that has yet to be uncovered. 

The latest offering from EVOK, who owns many properties within France (the guys responsible for Sinner and a Nolinski hotel in Paris), Nolinski Venezia is EVOK’s first destination outside of France. A former Stock Exchange Building dating back to 1929, this unique building possesses a gorgeous and elaborate stone façade adorned with mythical creatures and the daughters of Poseidon. It’s hard to imagine that this majestic building once housed listed offices. However, fiercely protected by Venice’s strict Historic Monuments laws, the challenge to transform this chunk of Venetian history fell to the French-Italian design studio duo LeCoadic-Scotto. 

As a result, the unique building’s wrought-iron structure has remained completely untouched, which results in a plethora of quirky rooms (43, to be exact, including 13 suites) that vary in size and layout, making it as fun and unique as the city’s labyrinthine streets. The grand staircase with its ornamental ironwork, still remains the same, and evokes a mystery and historical charm that leads guests throughout the hotel’s five floors.

With LeCoadic-Scotto’s touches of Art Nouveau, Stile Liberty and Modernism, there’s something very Wes Anderson meets The Shining about the hotel. It’s charming and sexy, with corridors painted rich, deep red and giant black metal-clad bedroom doors juxtaposed with the light and bright bedrooms that are decorated with fun artwork and furnishings of dusky pink velvet curtains and sofas. Italian industrial design is much celebrated, as within each room traditional Venetian materials and decorative techniques have been used. From the stucco marble headboards to the Italian Art Deco–style furniture to the blown glass lanterns that take inspiration from Carnival masks and those in the Doge’s Palace. Rooms are elegant and arty but feel very homely and ‘lived in’ with shelves filled with gorgeous booksfrom Assouline travel books to Missoni cookbooksand fun homely decor touches that adorn the shelves such as framed photos of Venice and dozens of colourful Murano glass figurines. 

The interior and energy of the hotel move with the cityduring the day the lobby and corridors are bright and cheerful but when evening arrives, the lights are turned low and the vibe transforms into something dark and mysterious. Location-wise it’s unbeatable as the Piazza San Marco is literally a two-minute walk away. But despite its central location, there’s something very intimate and secretive about Nolinski Veneziaa little ‘if you know, you know’ vibes. A place for book lovers, art admirers and those nostalgic to live in history for just a moment, Nolinski Venezia promises to appeal to those who flock to Venice for all these things.

Food-wise there are two restaurants at Nolinski helmed by two-Michelin-starred Chef Philip Chronopoulos: the opulent Palais Royal Restaurant Venezia (which will be opening early 2024) and the more chilled-out Il Caffè, which has a lovely courtyard and a good, solid menu that features traditional Italian dishes using 100% Italian ingredients with a contemporary twist, including crudo, the Venetian signature snack of Cicchetti, and fresh pasta. Schön! recommends: the raw tuna with tomato and capers, the cherry sorbet and Nolinski Venezia’s most popular cocktailthe belliniwhich some claim to be ‘the best bellini they’ve tasted’. Breakfast is served within the former council chamber’s auditorium—a stunning testament and tribute to old Venetian architecture with the curving walls and original marble pillars still intact.

Our absolute favourite corner of the hotel is, without a doubt, The Library Bar, which houses a staggering 4,000 books as well as serving an oeuvre of unique cocktails and classic drinks. Look up and you’ll find a gorgeously dreamy ceiling fresco by artist Simon Buret which you find yourself getting lost in as live music softly plays from the piano tucked into a corner of the bar.

Schön! recommends: packing a bathing suit to take advantage of the Ottoman-inspired indoor golden mosaic pool that occupies the top floor of Nolinski Venezia. With an insane 360-degree view of Venice, this jewelled little hideaway is a bit of unique magic. A testament to art and design and a piece of Venetian history itself, Nolinski Venezia is the perfect addition to the inimitable Venice—a city that is the epitome of art, culture and history.

Let’s just try to keep this one a secret, okay?

Visit the Nolinski Venezia now.

words. J. Bibi Cooper

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