Trip Report Index:
Hotel Review: St. Regis Rome
Hotel Review: Hotel De Russie
Hotel Review: The Westin Europa & Regina
Hotel Review: St. Regis Venice San Clemente Palace (previously reviewed)
Driving around Lake Garda
Hotel Review: Hotel Sirmione
Day in Sirmione
Dinner in Sirmione
Hotel Review: Hotel Ideal
Night in Verona
Lake Maggiore and Day Trip by Train
Hotel Review: Sheraton Milan Malpensa
After walking through the winding streets of Venice I came to a quiet courtyard just 5 minutes away from St Mark’s Square. Tucked away in a corner was the Westin Europa & Regina, my home for the next few days. I’d booked the room for 204 EUR a night as a SPG Hot Escapes rate, so about $250 per night. It was a great rate for a hotel right on the Grand Canal yet away from the throngs of tourists. I would be there during the annual Regata Storica, which is the main event of the annual Voga alla Veneta in September. In one of the most popular events, 16th century style boats hold costumed gondoliers carrying the Doge, his wife and high ranking Venetian officials along the Grand Canal in a watery parade. Even though I didn’t have a ticket (cost is 60 EUR) the Westin offered the perfect vantage point to watch some of the fun for free!
The Grand Canal wasn’t quite the same back in centuries past, as a strong iron chain was strung between the two shores to defend from pirates. The Westin Europa & Regina wasn’t always a single hotel either. It started out as 5 separate palaces in the 18th and 19th centuries.
One of the palaces was originally home to the San Moisè Theatre (that later changed its name to the Minerva Theatre).
Another belonged to the Tiepolos Venetian family that included seventeenth century painter Giambattista Tiepolo. It was turned into a hotel called Hotel Barbesi in the 1860’s, and even famed painter Claude Monet stayed at the hotel and was impressed with the view. Much later in the 1930’s the hotel was renamed to the Hotel Europa & Britannia.
Off to the side of the hotel was an area used to make gondolas in the 1800’s. The area was built up into a palace and turned into the Hotel Rome & Suisse, which was sold to a company that owned the Hotel Danieli. In the 1930’s the hotel name was changed to Hotel Regina.
In 1976 the two hotels merged, were restored and became known as Hotel Europa & Regina. In 1998 the property joined SPG and became a Westin in 2000 with the name we now know it as – The Westin Europa & Regina.
The inside lobby was gorgeous, with dark woods and marble. The check-in hostesses were great, inquiring about my trip and telling me what to expect during my stay. A nice surprise was that they were able to offer a complimentary upgrade to a Luxury Suite, in recognition of SPG Platinum status.
The lobby had a table of beautiful fresh flowers that added a light summery sweet scent to the air.
There are 189 rooms at the hotel but because they are spread out in several areas it didn’t feel huge. The room did, at over 600 square feet. I never heard any noise from any of the surrounding rooms.
The sitting room was large and decorated in deep lapis lazuli colors. I had been expecting a small basic room since I had booked the Classic room, and loved the upgrade.
A desk in the corner held complimentary bottles of water and outlets for charging electronic devices.
The TV seemed out of place in such a lovely room.
There were even fresh orchids on a table near the window.
Silky drapes hung as a partition between the sitting room and bedroom.
I took my first glimpse into the bedroom, and saw it was decorated in varying shades of ivory.
There were soft velvety seats at the foot of the bed.
The walls had a silk covering and the chandeliers featured Murano glass.
Unpacking the suitcases, I found that the large armoire had more than enough room to hang everything up. I laid down on the bed, and it was extraordinarily comfortable. Since I hadn’t seen the whole room I decided to get up, but could have easily stayed there for a while.
On the way to the bathroom there was a little dressing table.
I took a peek out of the window by the table, and saw part of a courtyard.
Looking back towards the sitting room.
The bathroom had double sinks and plenty of counter space. The amenities were Westin’s signature White Tea, which seemed a bit out of place in the 18th century style suite.
There was a marble tub/shower combo, but I was glad the tub wasn’t raised. There were plenty of oversized towels.
There was a shower curtain rather than a door.
The best part of the suite was the amazing view. There were two sets of french doors in the sitting room, and both opened to a phenomenal view of the Grand Canal! I had called down to Concierge to ask if there was a cover charge to sit in the bar to watch the races. There was, an incredibly steep 100 EUR per person. I could see crowds on the opposite side of the Canal watching, but with this view I didn’t need to go anywhere.
There was a tiny balcony just outside one of the windows that was barely large enough for a few people to stand on, but I dragged two of the heavy upholstered chairs from the sitting room over and squeezed them half onto the balcony. Pleased with myself, I grabbed one of the bottles of water and sat down to watch part of one of the gondola races.
The sun was warm but not uncomfortable, so it turned out to be a great spot to enjoy some sun and watch the events without having to go downstairs. I sat there for a while, watching the boats go by. As time passed the crowds thinned and the sun started to go down. Small lights turned on and the water took on a deeper hue. I went out to dinner, turn down service had been there and our waters had been replenished. I enjoyed the fresh air out on the balcony for a bit and then turned in for the night.
The next morning, breakfast was served on the terrace of La Cusina. As a Platinum guest it was free.
The restaurant opens at 7am and I was there not long thereafter so I had my pick of seats. I chose a table right on the water with beautiful views of the Canal.
The tables had small thoughtful touches of centerpieces of roses and other flowers, which sweetly perfumed the air.
I watched as a huge cruise ship came into port.
Even though it wasn’t yet hot or overly sunny, the awning provided some shade.
Since there weren’t a lot of people out the landscape was serene, and I could hear the water lapping against the docks.
It was a calm morning, with the sun just starting to peek out over the city.
The breakfast buffet was pretty extensive. There were rolls and breads and several types of pastries.
A couple of pies were offered too.
Lots of fresh fruit, and granola.
Meats and yogurts.
The kitchen had a new recipe posted daily on their board, and today’s was Risi e Bisi – Rice and Peas. The dish is a classic Venetian one, which in years past was only served on feast days as decreed by the ruler. Today it can be made anytime but is best when fresh peas are in season.
I was delighted to find several kinds of smoothies.
Crispy potatoes with Rosemary, quiche and scrambled eggs were served in huge bowls and when those were emptied new hot options appeared.
Several tiny birds kept a watchful eye on my table, hoping for a bite or two to start their morning. I obliged, sharing a generous sprinkle of bread crumbs.
Even after breakfast was over and I was ready to go back to the room, I realized that there hadn’t been a noisy bunch of people but just a quiet trickle.
This hotel was just what I was looking for. The gorgeous views and short walk to the excitement without the overly tourist feel was outstanding. Breakfast on the Canal was romantic. I loved the suite that I had and don’t know if I would give such high marks to the stay if I had been in a standard Classic room with no view. The front desk staff was helpful and friendly, and I would stay here again.
SPG Category 6. 25,000 Starpoints for a free night.