< ITALY | VENICE: Hotel Danieli
Synonymous with the splendour of Venice, the Hotel Danieli is considered one of the most famous hotels in the world. Its remarkable history begins in the 14th century, when the hotel’s main building, the Palazzo Dandolo, was commissioned by the noble Venetian family Dandolo. Of the four Dandolos that served as the Doge of Venice, Enrico garnered the greatest fame when he conquered Constantinople in 1204 and returned to the city with a bounty of gold, marble and Byzantine artwork, some of which was later incorporated into the Palazzo Dandolo’s interiors.
For its proud Gothic architecture and privileged location overlooking the lagoon, the completed palazzo was described as “the most noble palace in Venice.” As early as 1498, the Prince of Salerno took
up rooms with his retinue, establishing it as a preferred venue for visiting noblemen. Records indicate that in 1525, a comedy was performed there for a prominent audience that included the Ambassador
of Mantua and a cousin of the King of England.
Several centuries later, in 1822, Giuseppe Dal Niel rented part of the palazzo and converted it into a hotel, renaming it after his nickname “Danieli”. Little by little he bought all the floors and finally became sole owner. It was in the winter of 1833, that the scandalous love affair between George Sand and Alfred de Musset unfolded in Room 10.
In 1895, Mr. Genovesi and the Campi Bozzi & C. become the new owners of the hotel. They completed expensive renovations, adding electrical power, vapour radiators, and elevators to further the hotel’s reputation for luxurious accommodation. At this time, the hotel was also connected via bridge to the Casa Nuova Palace—the former seat of the Customs office—located across the Rio del Vin.
In 1906, Count Giuseppe Volpi founded the renowned CIGA hotels — “Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi,” and acquired the Royal Hotel Danieli. The hotel underwent its final structural change in 1948, when the buildings separating Palazzo Dandolo and Palazzo delle Prigioni were demolished and a new building, known as the Danielino (today’s Palazzo Danieli Excelsior), was erected. This final addition was restyled by famed hotel architect Jacques Garcia in 2008.
With its gilded furniture, the Doge’s Royal Suite is the most lavish and most luxurious in the Hotel Danieli. Boasting several balconies with 180° panoramic views of the lagoon, the sweeping 150-square-metre Suite offers a taste of regal life. On the ceiling of the bedroom a beautiful fresco of Iacopo Guarana (1720 - 1808) was found during some restorations. The romantic corner room no. 10 which witnessed the love story between George Sand and Alfred de Musset is still requested today for a romantic stay at the Hotel Danieli.
Over the course of its colourful history, Hotel Danieli has been favoured by many illustrious guests, including foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and film and music celebrities: Charles Dickens, Richard Wagner, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, George Sand & Alfred de Musset, Henry Kissinger, François Mitterrand, Helmut Kohl Duca e Duchessa d’Alba, Gerald Ford, Re Hussein di Giordania, Giovanni Agnelli, Romano Prodi, Sergio Pininfarina, Silvio Berlusconi, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Leonard Bernstein, Federico Fellini, Franco Zeffirelli, Fred Astaire, Katia Ricciarelli, Liza Minnelli, Carla Fracci, Sofia Loren, Severino Gazzelloni, Gina Lollobrigida, Andreas Segovia, Burt Lancaster, Renato Guttuso, Anthony Queen, Paul McCartney, Robert Mitchum, Yoko Ono, Jean Paul Belmondo, David Bowie, Charlton Heston, Diana Ross, Sean Connery, Richard Gere, Martin Scorsese, Raymond Burr, Roger Moore, Paolo Villaggio, Joan Crawford, Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford, Robert Wagner, Christopher Plummer, Jerry Lewis, Steven Spielberg and many more.