Of all the hotels in Venice, maybe the world, I always wanted to stay at the iconic Hotel Danieli. Seriously…I don’t know why.
Careful planning (and saving!) allowed me to have two nights in Venice before I had to leave by train to Basel, Switzerland. I wanted my visit to Venice, once a city of extravagant and intriguing carnivals, resplendent opera houses and ornate Italian Renaissance palazzi (palaces), to be embraced in a manner that befit the city’s enigmatic glory. The famous Hotel Danieli fit the bill.
If you’ve ever dreamed about staying at the Danieli Hotel in Venice, or just curious, read on for my comprehensive review and photos of Hotel Danieli, a centuries-old Venice landmark.
Venice is mysterious yet inviting, an oddity among cities. There are no streets, no cars and no honking taxis. Only sidewalks, pedestrian bridges and miles of pencil-thin canals that flow into the expansive, murky lagoon.
At night, pervasive stillness is interrupted only by hushed voices and the sound of water lapping against centuries-old stone walls.
Hotel Danieli Review and Photos
A Little Background Info
Hotel Danieli has grown from one palace, built in the 14th century, to three adjoining palaces all connected by bridges. The original structure, Palazzo Dandolo, was owned by the aristocratic Venetian Dondolo family.
In the 19th century, the second palazzo, Casa Nuova, was adjoined to the main building. A third connecting building, Palazzo Danieli Excelsior, is now part of the complex of 215 richly furnished rooms. It is the longest continuously operating hotel in Venice.
All three buildings are elegantly styled to reflect Venetian, Baroque or Italian Empire beauty. Oozing with history and art, plus a prime location on the Grand Canal, I couldn’t wait to check-in at Hotel Danieli.
Getting to Hotel Danieli from Santa Lucia Train Station
My arrival into Venice began when I emerged from the Santa Lucia train station into the daylight, after my uneventful overnight train ride from Paris.
I reserved a hostess-assisted transfer and private water taxi from Santa Lucia train station to the hotel. As I exited my train car, I spotted a woman with a lollypop sign with my name. She helped with my luggage and escorted me to the correct private water taxi.
Within seconds of boarding my water taxi, we sped away towards the Danieli.
It’s busy on the canals and my boat driver slowed down to maneuver between bobbing gondolas and other motorboats. Though expensive, about $120 USD, the 25 minute boat ride also provided a tour through several canals, helping me to get my bearings.
As soon as we pulled up to the red carpet, the doorman appeared, hoisted my luggage (of which I had too much) and escorted me into the hotel.
Grand Lobby Was Beyond My Comprehension
The railings above the reception area reminded me of an M.C. Escher drawing, only far more glamorous. The scent of fresh-cut flowers filled the air.
While waiting for my room to be ready, a visit to the Lobby Bar was in order.
Early morning arrivals (9:30a.m.), could mean that your room might not be ready. While I waited, a steamy cappuccino would be perfect. Within an hour, I was escorted to my room.
My room was in the Palazzo Casa Nuova building. I expected to see a tiny single room. This one exceeded expectations.
As a solo traveler in Europe, I’m used to single rooms that are usually the size of a broom closet, with just a twin bed. Not this time!
Even the view from my window was better than expected. So far, the Danieli was batting 100.
Familiar Italian songs from the passing gondoliers drew me to the window. At night, I could hear the soothing sound of water flowing past my window.
Unpacked and refreshed, it was time for lunch at the rooftop Restaurant Terrazza Danieli.
You won’t see large cruise ships in the Venetian Lagoon. The city has banned them for the environmental and structural damage they cause to the city.
And finally, lunch…
A trifecta! Cuisine. Service. View. All excellent. A look to the right from the restaurant and there’s the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica.
The location of Hotel Danieli is a stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco, a variety of artisan shops, outdoor cafes, gondolas and water taxis.
Hotel Danieli Escorted Tour
On with our Hotel Danieli tour. As I mentioned earlier, the Hotel Danieli consists of three buildings: 14th Century Palazzo Dandolo (Gothic style), Palazzo Casa Nuova (Baroque) and Palazzo Danieli Excelsior, modern.
This is a single guest room in the Palazzo Dandolo, the oldest building. Do you think this is nicer than my room? It definitely has more daylight.
Six levels of double rooms range from the Deluxe Double to the Luxury Lagoon View Double with Balcony.
Doge Dandolo Royal Suite
There are plenty of suites. Six levels of beyond-luxury accommodations to be exact. But the most opulent of all is the Doge Dandolo Royal Suite.
The suite features antique furnishings, original frescoes, rich fabrics, and gleaming Murano chandeliers.
The Doge Dandolo Royal Suite living room. The bedroom entrance is at the far end of the photo.
Just like at home, right?
Back to the Lobby for one more look…
Time to Catch My Train to Milan and Onto Basel, Switzerland
My two nights at the Hotel Danieli passed by in a blink. Despite being one of the most preeminent hotels in the world, the staff was warm and welcoming.
I would highly recommend this hotel for anyone who wants to spend a few nights in the lap of luxury, whether in a “simple” Deluxe Double room or one of the over-the-top magnificent suites.
Budget-conscience travelers should consider an off-season visit, November through March, for the best rates.
While I enjoyed the extensive breakfast buffet and à la carte lunch at the Restaurant Terrazzo, it was nice to try a few of the less expensive outdoor cafes and restaurants throughout Venice.
To me, venturing out to try local cuisine is part of the travel experience.
Insider Tip: If you go to any cafés for a meal, ask if there’s a local menu. The tourist menu is usually higher priced.
Disclosure: While the staff at the hotel knew I was a journalist, I made my reservation online and paid my own way to stay here. There were no “freebies” during my stay at the Hotel Danieli, only a tour. All opinions are my own.
Note: After a month-long closure, on Feb 14, 2023 Hotel Danieli re-opens under new management, with its new name Hotel Danieli Venezia. In 2025, the transition from a Marriott property to a Four Seasons hotel will be complete.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.