Four more in venice . . .
Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal
San Marco 1325, Calle Valleresso; 800/457-4000, fax 39-041/520-0501; doubles from $334. English art historians and American gallery owners love this 50-room gem for its unforced Venetian vibe, old-world understatement, location across the calle from Harry's Bar, value (a five-star establishment, almost, at four-star prices), and no-groups policy. The restaurant doesn't just serve the best hotel food in Venice; it serves some of the best food in the city.
Grand Hotel dei Dogi
Fondamenta Madonna dell'Orto 3500; 39-041/220-8111, fax 39-041/722-278; doubles from $281. Before this blissfully removed palazzo opened in 1998, travelers were out of luck if they wanted luxury accommodations away from the percolating atmosphere around Piazza San Marco. The Dogi is tucked in the northern part of the city and - unlike every other Venetian hotel of note - looks across the lagoon to the mainland. Home to the French embassy in the 18th century, the hotel also has a landmark garden. The 68 guest rooms are a bit over the top, but then, why not?
II Palazzo at the Bauer
San Marco 1459, Campo San Moisé; 800/223-6800, fax 39-041/520-7557; doubles from $557. Visionary Francesca Bortolotto Possati altered the hotel landscape in Venice last year after spending $38 million to create a separate boutique property within the workaday Bauer. A church-and-state policy gives the two hotels separate entrances, reception areas, and concierges. Planted on the Grand Canal, Il Palazzo was coaxed out of an 18th-century residence with a dazzling Gothic faÁade. But while certainly comfortable, the underaccessorized guest rooms fall just short of the mark. Pensione Accademia "Villa Maravege" Dorsoduro 1058, Fondamenta Bolliani; 39-041/521-0188, fax 39-041/523-9152; doubles from $150. If every pensione in Venice was as beautiful and well-run as this, there'd be no need for hotels. How do you improve on a 17th-century palazzo (which once housed the Russian embassy), 30 spick-and-span rooms, a right-on-the-Grand Canal location, and a vast garden?At these prices, you can't afford not to see Venice.