Disembark the vaperetto at Piazza San Marco, dodge the tourists and pigeons as you make your way out of the square (to the soundtrack of the live orchestra) and into Calle Largo. Cross over the canal where rows of gondolas are awaiting customers. Turn left into the tiny alley by the Bulgari store, and you’ll find one of my favorite hotels in all of Europe: the charming Hotel Flora.
The view of the garden through the glass doors of the lobby is intriguing…a wonderland where dainty tables and chairs are perched around a fountain, all surrounded by ivy-covered walls and flowering trees.
Through the garden and up the stairs, past ornate mirrors and porcelain urns atop pedestals, I open the door to my room with the heavy brass key. There’s just enough space to get in the door, but moving around is a bit challenging…and, frankly, downright humorous. In a larger room, the bed would look like it was miniature, but it is perfectly to scale here. Sinking down onto the plush duvet, I look up to the delicate Murano chandelier above my head, and reach out to touch the walls, which are upholstered in creamy damask. The room is like the inside of an exquisite jewel box.
A door in the damask wall opens to a diminutive bathroom, tiled in vintage green and white. The door frame is painted gold, and edged with decorative trim. Even the white porcelain knob is decorated, with a pastel bouquet of flowers.
There’s a painted cupboard that serves as a closet tucked into a corner…it stops the door into the room from opening all the way, but that’s okay. Lacy curtains cover the window that overlooks the courtyard through a frame of ivy. A carved wood panel in the wall turns out to be lit from behind, illuminating a pair of ancient fishermen.
As much as I loved the tranquility of my lovely room, I couldn’t wait to start each day in the elegant rosy breakfast room, where Victorian sitting room meets Hollywood glamour.
The end of the day is spent in the garden courtyard, sipping Prosecco, and eating homemade pasta made by the engaging bartender/waiter/chef. When night falls, candles are lit…and the setting becomes even more magical.
Venice is a captivating city of light and color and music, in which Hotel Flora is a serene hidden oasis. I did not want to leave and I cannot wait to return.