Seriously, some days I have to pinch myself to realize how lucky I am to have the best job in the world – writing and traveling. Add to that the chance to wake up in Venice, on the Grand Canal on your birthday, and you have the makings of an amazing luxury travel escape.
The Hotel Monaco (Calle Vallaresso, San Marco 1332, Venice) is perfectly situated on the Grand Canal just where the gondolas dock to squire people, to and fro, around this city of canals. Lucky for me, the Monaco has its own dock and just like a scene from a James Bond movie, my water taxi speedboat ushered me from Marco Polo Airport straight to the hotel’s watery front door.
The ultra modern lobby belies the traditional decor of the rooms above and while the room itself was on the small side, the view was spectacular. I tossed open the shutters and there was the Grand Canal. Gondolas bobbed in the water, as the gondolieri shouted out greetings to each other. The Church of Santa Maria della Salute stood watch majestically from its base across the canal. The beautiful pink Murano glass chandeliers and sconces were just the girly frosting on this Venetian delight.
Since everything in Venice needs to be brought in by small boat, dining out is obscenely overpriced. So, I opted not to eat in the Monaco’s restaurant, where breakfast costs way more than the pastry and cappuccino I grabbed at a local coffee bar. Overall, the Hotel Monaco Grand Canal offers travel luxury in the north of Italy where the view is simply priceless.