Orient Express, the legendary travel brand, owned by the Accor group, and the Italian group Arsenale SpA, active in the luxury hotel industry, today signed a partnership formalizing the opening of the first Orient Express hotel in Venice, within the walls of the fabulous Palazzo Donà Giovannelli. Together, they chose the architect and interior designer Aline Asmar from Amman and her studio Culture in Architecture to enhance the decor of the place.
Mythical stopover of the legendary Orient Express train – opened in 1919 thanks to the drilling of the Simplon tunnel linking Switzerland and Italy -, Venice, which then joined the ancient Constantinople, at the gates of the Orient, will mark the opening of the second Orient Express hotel in Italy, after Rome. The opening is scheduled for early 2024.
Located about ten minutes from Venice Santa Lucia Station, next to the Cannaregio shopping district, anchored in the origins of the City of the Doges, the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli is a palace-treasure built in 1400 by the architect Filippo Calendario, famous signature of the Doge’s Palace. Former residence of the Duke of Urbino, a patron in the history of art, it has been renovated twice, notably in 1800 by the architect Gian Battista Meduna. Once an art gallery housing the famous painting La Tempesta by Giorgione, it was successively owned by the Donà and Giovannelli families.
Marked by its Venetian heritage, inspired by the cultures and eras that have gone through its history, the Orient Express Venice hotel will offer 45 rooms and suites, all overlooking the gardens and canals of Venice. The hotel bar will invite itself into the former ballroom with the piano nobile, the noble floor of the building. A unique restaurant will make you discover the flavors of Italian gastronomy. A few hidden terraces on the roofs will offer the most beautiful views of the wonders of the Serenissima.
As soon as the hotel opens, travelers on the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train will disembark directly at Venice Santa Lucia Station and walk or take a boat to the Orient Express Venice hotel.
Orient Express Venice, between East and West
The Orient Express Venice hotel embodies this unique encounter between two legends, the legendary luxury brand and the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli. A place of architecture at the crossroads of cultures, a link between East and West, anchored in eternity and ready to come back to life around a theatrical and contemporary art of living, imbued with a very great elegance. said, Aline Asmar from Amman.
Born in Lebanon, Aline Asmar from Amman imagines with her Culture in Architecture studio projects where past and future connect, where culture symbolizes a bridge between continents. Convinced that beauty contributes to the poetic soul of the world, she creates here and elsewhere the interior architecture of numerous private residences, luxury hotels like the Hôtel de Crillon, emblematic restaurants such as the Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower and collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld around the creation of sets and a collection of marble objects and furniture. Last April, she also signed the architecture of the Pavilion of Lebanon at the Venice art biennial.
Journey to discover the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli with Aline Asmar
From the main entrance and its garden which can be reached from the station, via Strada Nova, or the neo-Gothic and multi-arched facades which can be admired by boat from the Rio de Noal, the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli imposes beauty and vastness. An island within an island, where doors and windows anchored in the sea seem to dialogue with the sky.
One foot inside this Palace, and the feeling of enchantment is total. We enter here as we leaf through the pages of the book of time. A dive into an ageless romanticism, where the heritage of stone is lived in a moment of eternity. From the marbled garden courtyard, its stone walls in faded pink mosaics, faces a masterful octagonal staircase in the neo-Gothic style designed by the architect Meduna. Up there, its celestial vault calls for light and theatricality.
In the main floor, or piano nobile, with its many lounges and ballroom, opens up 800 years of history. A journey through the ages, the mixture of Baroque, neo-classical, Gothic styles, the splendor of the fantasized Orient, the exoticism of all possibilities. Rooms decorated with patterns, mosaics, stuccoes, paintings, frescoes tinted with forgotten colors and marvelous cherubs. Everything is there, between these walls which are full of enigmas not to be elucidated.
Stephen Alden, Managing Director Raffles and Orient Express, Accor announced:
The arrival of the Orient Express hotel in Venice resonates naturally with the history of the brand. A return to the sources of the legend which finds its ultimate expression in the Palazzo Donà Giovannelli. Driven by her multicultural background, her passion for Venice and her unique poetic language, Aline Asmar d’Amman will sublimate the design of a palace recognized as one of the most charismatic in the world.
Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale SpA added:
The strategy of union between Venice and the new Orient Express hotel represents a significant new step in our partnership with Orient Express and contributes to the revival of luxury tourism which highlights the incredible cultural and artistic heritage of our Italian peninsula. The Palazzo Donà Giovannelli will become a historical monument in Venice, enhanced both by the exceptional design and the history of the city. The eclectic experience and talents of Aline Asmar from Amman will shed new light on the immense beauty of the Palace, an invitation to excellence which we hope will seduce the whole world.
Artisan of travel since 1883, Orient Express sublimates the Art of Travel around its luxury trains, its unique experiences and its collections of rare objects. And soon its first hotels around the world. The Orient Express Venice hotel, which will open its doors in 2024, is the result of a partnership between Accor and the Italian group specializing in luxury hotels, Arsenale SpA
About Arsenale SpA
Founded in 2020 under the initiative of Annabel Holding and Paolo Barletta, Arsenale is an Italian company active in the world of luxury hotels. The main objective is the enhancement of the Italian tourism sector, through two main divisions: Hospitality Hotel and Resort, focused on the development and management of hotel facilities in synergy with the most renowned luxury brands in the world, and Itinerary of Hospitality travel with Orient Express La Dolce Vita, the first sustainable rail tourism project in collaboration with Orient Express, Trenitalia-Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato and Fondazione FS.