First time to Italy, I thought I’ll try to check out some interesting hotels in the cities that I was going to visit.
When I was researching for a hotel in Venice, it turned out that most of the major chains’ properties are not on the islands itself, but situated on mainland. I eventually found MGallery Hotel Papadopoli, which was located in Venice itself, but close enough to the train station so that heavy suitcases will not be a problem.
The hotel has a pretty interesting history, based on one account I found online:
The history of the Hotel Papadopoli Venezia – MGallery by Sofitel is one cast in romance. When the entrepreneurial Count Spiridione Papadopoli purchased the building during the early 19th century, he transformed it into a beautiful palace for his young wife, Teresa Mosconi… The Count eventually sold the building to city officials during the early 20th century, including the stunning gardens adjacent to the building. The Venetian city government later demolished much of the historic garden to build the Rio Novo Canal in 1933, while the palace was converted into a school. At the same time, hoteliers constructed a hotel on what remained of the garden, continuing the legacy of Count Papadopoli and his wife. Several years later, the brilliant landscape architect, Pietro Porcinai, designed a new, marvelous garden within the hotel grounds. Prociani’s masterpiece became the hotel’s lovely Winter Garden.Historic Hotels Worldwide
Whether or not this was true, the hotel was as captivating as the vicinity it serves: Venice.
Hotel Papadopoli Venezia is an Accor MGallery collection hotel, housed in a single six-storey building property, complete with a beautiful winter garden. With 96 rooms, the beautiful property is in every aspect a boutique hotel. There was no gym nor a swimming pool, but in Venice there’s really no need for either of that, as I soon found out.
While unassuming from the outside, the hotel is decorated in a very classic Venetian style. Pompous chandeliers, grandiose mirror and bed frames are just some of the consistent styles you find across the hotel, from the lobby through to the rooms.
The hotel only has four room types and two suite types, namely: superior double, superior triple, deluxe double, deluxe triple, suite and executive suite.
What’s an MGallery hotel
MGallery is one of the (too) many brands owned by Accor, and this is one bespoke collection of rather eclectic of boutique hotels. Positioned as high-end options, the hotels are usually unique and styled according to the local culture and heritage.
According to Accor themselves:
MGallery is a Collection of high-end hotels all around the world. Each hotel of the Collection stages with talent a unique personality and story, experienced by guests through its architecture, interior design and services. Each hotel is inspired by one of the three typical atmospheres of the Collection. Some hotels present ”Heritage” origins, places filled with history; others reflect an aesthetic universe, a style, the “Signature” of a personality that contributed to their creation or decoration; still others promise a relaxing time, “Serenity” in a natural or urban retreat. All hotels of the Collection invite guests to experience “Memorable Moments”.AccorHotels.com
The hotel is located on the islands of Venice itself, and is very close to the Grand Canal and Constitution Bridge. The property is about a 10-minute walk to Piazzale Roma and the train station. In terms of walking distance to other attractions within Venice, you are looking at about 20 minutes walking time to Rialto Bridge, or a half hour walk to St Mark’s Square.
Note that public vehicles are not allowed within Venice, so this hotel is arguably one of the closest hotels by road to the main drop-off point at Piazzale Roma where all buses, trams and cars must stop at. Venice is about a 20-minute car ride away from Marco Polo Airport, so from the time I took my luggage, I was checking into the hotel in less than an hour.
The hotel can arrange for transfer options for you, which include either a private car service from the airport to the public drop-off point at Piazzale Roma for 50 euros, or a 40-minute boat transfer right to the door-step of the hotel for 180 euros from the airport. If you are adventurous and want to try the public bus, it’s 8 euros per person and takes close to an hour.
Check-in was very fuss free. When I arrived, there was no one at all waiting to check in, which is usually the case for small, boutique properties. My check-in formalities were completed fairly quickly, as I have prepaid my reservation. Note that Italy imposes a city tax per person per night, which needs to be collected on arrival.
Very quickly, a porter showed us to the room and arranged for our very heavy bags to be brought to the room.
As an Accor Live Limitless (they have renamed their loyalty programme) Silver member, I was also given a welcome drink voucher, valid for all three of us in the room.
Welcome drinks can be redeemed either at the bar or the restaurant during the stay, for any drink of your choice except champagnes, vintage wines or spirits. While you can’t get a gin & tonic, you can still either indulge in a prosecco or a good glass of Italian wine.
I had two friends with me, so I booked myself into a Superior Triple room, that had a pair of twin beds and a sofa bed.
The room size isn’t specified on its website, but I estimate it to be about 25 square metres. If you take a look at the floor plans, you may notice that the room sizes very possibility vary a little from room to room, given the unique layout of the property.
Regardless, some guests may find the room rather tiny, but we found sufficient space to open up three large suitcases with relative ease to move around. I would reckon that the room is fairly spacious if it only has to hold two people, with a spare couch on the side for you to lounge on.
The room had a window overlooking the courtyard and doesn’t have its own balcony, so smokers will need to trek down outside the lobby to take their puff.
Despite the small room size, the bathroom was rather generous in space and amenities. For one, I was rather glad that the shower stall was larger than I expected it to be. Apart from a toilet, bidet and a large wash basin, there was still sufficient room for a cushioned stool in the bathroom, good enough for you to place clothes, towels and even a magazine that you want to read on the throne.
The hotel uses C.O. Bigelow amenities, a New York brand founded in 1838. C.O. Bigelow is one of America’s oldest pharmacies, and carries a line of very affordable products. The good thing about the products is that the scent isn’t very strong, so that’s good for people who may be sensitive to scented toiletries.
While the room didn’t come with any fancy coffee machine, there was complimentary tea and coffee along with a kettle for in-room use. There were also three bottles of Aqua Panna water for us, which were replenished daily.
As part of a welcome gift, the hotel also left a box of butter cookies for us. I hastily opened the box, ripped open the plastic packaging and took a bite of the cookie, which was very buttery albeit a little on the hard side, so people with weak teeth beware.
Dining & Drinking
Hotel Papadopoli Venezia has an on-site bar and a restaurant at the lobby.
The hotel restaurant, Giardino D’inverno, or Winter Garden, is a beautiful restaurant in the middle of the lobby, set with an elaborate gardenscape to look as though you are dining in the wild.
I didn’t have breakfast booked with my reservation (breakfast was 10 euros per pax per night if booked together with the room, and 26 euros per pax per day if you walk in), so I didn’t have the chance to review the fare.
I took a quick look saw that the restaurant offers all-day dining featuring Italian fare. The restaurant menu can be found here, and is priced on the higher side; expect to spend at least 50 euros on food alone.
The lounge bar, La Terrazza, sits on the other side of the lobby beside the restaurant. It’s a pretty cosy lounge with ample seating for at least 30 people, including the two large couches in the lobby.
Prices for drinks at the hotel bar are predictably more expensive than other restaurants (mostly trattorias) in the area, with coffee going at 5 euros, and a glass of wine starting from 9 euros. If you prefer to dine at the bar (but why?), the restaurant will be happy to serve you there as well.
I really liked the hotel. Despite the relatively high price point, the hotel worked for me in a few ways. First, the location is perfect; people often underestimate the toil of a heavy suitcase, and given the unique restrictions of Venice, having a hotel on the islands and steps away from the main vehicular drop-off point is the most ideal best of both worlds.
Second, the comfort of the hotel. Everything in the hotel works: the layout of the room, the bathroom and the gorgeous decor. You don’t need a large room to be comfortable, you just need everything to work the way it should be and this hotel is just that way. You might argue that this is pretty much a no-frills hotel, but in a city like Venice, why would you be cooped up in the hotel rather than out there exploring the islands?