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September 30, 2013updated Feb 17, 2014

Bella Donna

By Chris Boyle

Redentore Terrazza Suite / Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection HotelVenice’s legendary Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel is luminous once more following an extensive 15-month, $45 million restoration.

Repeat visitors will be relieved to see the sensitive refurbishment of familiar spaces like the beloved Longhi Bar with its etched mirrored panels and three paintings by 18th-century Venetian master Pietro Longhi.

Among the 21st-century updates are the Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Spa, The Gritti Epicurean School, and technical advancements such as an underground hydraulic system that will eliminate damaging floods.

“It is a grand residence, so I approached it as if I were doing a home,” explains Chuck Chewning, creative director of Donghia Associates. Chewning also mined the archives of Donghia’s parent company, Rubelli, the famed Venetian fabric house.

Original art and antiques, including Murano chandeliers, were refreshed and repaired so each room mixes original and new pieces, preserving the romantic soul of the place.

A reduced total of 82 rooms includes 21 suites, of which ten are inspired by Venetian monuments and landmarks, festivals, and famous patrons including Ernest Hemingway and Peggy Guggenheim, who lived just across the Grand Canal.

A private elevator lifts you to the two-story Redentore Terrazza Suite (about $16,200 a night), which features a sprawling rooftop terrace with sun loungers, a mini-pool, and 360-degree views of La Serenissima.

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