Palace splendor at Hotel Antico Doge in Venice, Italy

antico doge final

A 13th century palace offers an exquisite stay

When my son, daughter and I stumbled, jet lagged, into our room at the Hotel Antico Doge in Venice, Italy,  they both proclaimed it as one of the fanciest hotels we’ve ever stayed. Perhaps, it was the exquisite chandelier that hung from the ceiling–or the richly appointed brocade draperies that framed the headboard of the king sized bed–or the brocade fabric couch that turned into a single bed for my son. Maybe it was the gleaming marble of the bathroom. It might have been the stained glass windows.

Near Ponte di Rialto

In the heart of old Venice near Ponte di Rialto

If I hadn’t booked the room myself, I would have thought we’d stumbled into someone else’s fairy tale. Normally, I don’t aim for hotels quite so glorious since glory can come with a hefty sticker price, but I booked this one upon recommendation from an Italian travel agent. She recommended Hotel Antico Doge for its history, location and charm. I decided to splurge.

Built in the 13th century, this 20 room hotel was once home to Marino Falier, a prominent Venetian politician. Restored to reflect the time period when it was built, the Hotel Antico Doge is a combination of the past’s stately elegance with the present’s modern convenience. Most of the furnishings are antiques but each room also has satellite TV, Wi-Fi, a hairdryer, air-conditioning, a minibar and a safe. Our Deluxe room’s refrigerator came in handy for keeping yoghurt, juice and cheese we bought at a grocery store in the neighborhood.

After our flight from the U.S., and fighting off sleep until later in the evening, I was thrilled with the large bathtub with its whirlpool jets.

The staff at the Hotel Antico Doge was quite helpful and friendly—and the buffet continental breakfast was excellent. Unfortunately, we missed our first day’s breakfast because we slept through it. We actually slept until almost 2 pm and probably would have slept longer if the staff hadn’t called us on our room’s phone. Happily, we were able to drag ourselves out into Venice’s beauty where our first stop was a casual eatery where scoops of Italian ice cream and slices of pizza awaited.

Rooms can overlook a courtyard or a balcony.

The Hotel Antico Doge is near Ponte di Rialto and within walking distance from St. Mark’s Square—although the square was a long walk. I loved wandering the winding streets with my kids figuring out which way to go in Venice’s maze of canals, bridges and gothic architecture.

Staying at the Hotel Antico Doge before our cruise on the MSC Musica to Greece was brilliant on my part. We hired a private boat from Ponte di Rialto to take us to the cruise ship.

The Hotel Antico Doge’s website does have deals, so compare prices.  Rates start at $220 for a deluxe room overlooking a courtyard or the canal. Book online through or Priceline.

The bathroom of our courtyard room on the 2nd floor.

The bathroom of our courtyard room on the 2nd floor.

Hotel Antico Doge
Cannaregio 5643
Venice, VE 30131

Phone – 1-866-599-6674. For reservation page. Post and outside photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writers Association. Inside photos courtesy of Hotel Antico Doge.

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