Why This 5-Star Italian Hotel Was The Hottest Spot At Venice Cocktail Week
The super-luxe St. Regis Venice hosted a series of cool collabs and mixology mashups.
In 2019 The St. Regis Venice, a combination of “historic legacy with modern luxury in a privileged location” beside the Grand Canal and surrounded by views of Venice’s most iconic landmarks, officially opened its doors. Formerly the site of the storied Grand Hotel Brittania dating to 1895, the transformation of five historic palazzi into Venice’s most luxurious contemporary 5-star hotel was a two-year, multimillion-dollar project.
Covid intervened and it is only recently that the hotel, located steps away from the iconic St. Mark’s Square and boasting the largest water frontage in all of Venice, has been fully able to showcase its many charms. Most recently during Venice Cocktail Week, when it hosted some impeccably-curated collabs and mixology mashups.
The St. Regis Venice is home to two of the most attractive, innovative and creative cocktail bars in the legendary city—the Arts Bar, and St. Regis Bar, opening onto a gorgeous canal-side terrace—and thus was the perfect venue for the top events of Venice Cocktail Week, a “high-powered showcase bringing the world’s leading mixologists to the city’s top bars,” for its third annual edition.
The enticing events kicked off with an Arts Bar takeover by the team from Turin’s Bar Cavour, named one of the best bars in Europe, which served cocktails and aperitivos with Spain’s Nordés Gin, a premium liquor infused with Galician botanicals, and using albariño wine grapes as its base spirit.
The following day, The Dorchester London’s bar team paired up with Italy’s oldest distillery Nardini, producer of fine grappas and liqueurs, for an Arts Bar soirée. And the next saw a pop-up with Amaro Amante to celebrate the launch of a new Italian Amaro Aperitivo.
Following that, Italy’s Altamura Distilleries and Mexico City’s Handshake speakeasy—which won the No. 3 spot on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 list—presented their creations. And the week closed out with Locale Firenze from Florence (No. 46 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023) with even more exquisite Altamura spirits-based drinks, with a DJ serving up a soundtrack to match.
No doubt the accomplished bartenders ar the St. Regis Venice picked up a few new tricks over the course of the week, but they are widely considered among the most knowledgeable in a city which prides itself on impossibly stylish cocktail venues. And of course, as with every 5-star St. Regis property the world over, they observe a daily evening champagne-sabering ritual in which all guests of the hotel may partake.
Prior to Cocktail Week, the Arts Bar’s mixologists created a bespoke cocktail to celebrate the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival, as a tribute to James Bond. The iconic Bond films From Russia With Love, Moonraker, and Casino Royale all featured scenes shot on the Grand Canal essentially right in front of where the St. Regis is today. The Arts Bar’s Spy Martini features Altamura Vodka from Italy, shaken not stirred of course.
Perfect libations are only part of the draw at the posh property, which has 169 guest rooms including 39 suites which are unrivaled in the city for their blend of contemporary elegance with history and heritage. And according to Veneto Secrets, “Thanks to collaborations with the most relevant contemporary artists, from Julian Opie to Ai Weiwei, The St. Regis Venice [is] one of the most beautiful art hotels in the world.”
Many of the suites have private terraces or balconies offering majestic views of iconic Venice landmarks, including Punta della Dogana and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. “Displaying a rich tapestry of luxury, these residential spaces present an understated balance of destination and lifestyle,” the hotel notes. And its secluded, picture-perfect garden, one of the largest in Venice and boasting Grand Canal views, also sets it apart.
“Venice is one of the world’s most inimitable cities; one which has inspired royalty, artists, merchants and jet setters alike for more than fifteen centuries,” notes Candice D’ Cruz, Vice President – Luxury Brands, Europe, Middle East & Africa for Marriott International, which owns the storied St. Regis brand. “The St. Regis Venice unites the captivating spirit of the city with the timeless sophistication and service of the brand, re-interpreting Venice’s rich history through a modern lens.”
The hotel’s signature is “uncompromising glamour,” which “extends naturally to the hotel’s restaurants and bars, which offers a range of exquisite dining and beverage options for Venetians and visitors alike…. refined spaces for local tastemakers and guests to mingle.” Gio’s, the hotel’s signature restaurant with its stunning terrace, is among the city’s top draws.
Privileged guests in the top suites often move between their private terraces and their preferred tables in the garden or Gio’s terrace, which the staff know to reserve for them daily. Service at the hotel, as at all St. Regis properties, is unparalleled; and guest’s wishes are “discreetly facilitated by the personal attention” of the acclaimed St. Regis Butlers.
Throughout its storied history, The St. Regis Venice “in its various guises, has played host to a roster of illustrious guests, global influencers and tastemakers,” the hotel notes, a trend that continues today. Famous guests over the decades of the historic buildings’ history have included Sigmund Freud, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, John Singer Sargent, and Claude Monet, who painted views and light inspired by the then-Grand Hotel Brittania in some of his key works.
And if the St. Regis Venice seems familiar in some way, you might recognize it from one of the most stylish movies of all time, which was filmed at the ritzy property in a previous incarnation: The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett and Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Anthony Minghella in 1999.