Hotel Luna Baglioni, seen from the across the Grand Canal.
There’s no place on earth like the Hotel Luna Baglioni. A perfect combination for the luxury traveller: heritage building and location, world-class cuisine, opulent lodgings, ultra-pro team, and the private jetty for your arrival by water taxi. More like a welcoming home than a hotel.
I hadn’t been back for a while, so what a pleasure to begin with one of those long, lingering Venetian lunches at the Canova restaurant, and sample the latest culinary delights from Chef Cosimo. His genius combined with the flawless food and beverage service made my day. The mixed seafood appetizer which started the feast featured a cinematic panorama of succulent lobster, scallops, schie (those tiny sweet shrimps from the lagoon), and a shrimp with delicate breading to die for. But the real surprise followed: risotto with pumpkin and scampi, a seasonal offering you can order only through December. While everything the chef sent out was simply exceptional, this dish could only be called spectacular—a subtle layering of tastes that paired perfectly with a glass of 2010 Jermynn chardonnay from the Veneto. Also tried medallions of tuna, highly recommended. I remembered that Cosimo began his career as a pastry chef, which explains why the mousse of three chocolates which rounded out the lunch proved a lyrical delight. As travel editor I felt an obligation to invade the kitchen, and chef obliged with a short course in radicchio di treviso, and why he favours it for his cuisine (it’s grown in ‘good well water’).
Top Hotel Luna Baglioni GM Gianmatteo Zampieri, Stanley Moss and the inestimable Antonella. Seen in the lobby following breakfast in the Marco Polo room. Centre row, left F&B Manager Sante Malizia and Stanley Moss in the Marco Polo room. Centre row, right and above Stanley Moss with chef Cosimo in the Canova restaurant.
Typical breakfast pastry from the Veneto.
Three chocolates mousse.
Traditional biscuits, chocolate-covered strawberries, mini fruit tarts—perfect after dinner.
Mixed seafood appetizer. Smoked salmon carpaccio, shrimp in fine pastry, lobster, scallops, schie (small lagoon shrimp), olives and garnishes. Amazing.
Above left Pumpkin and scampi risotto Carnaroli with truffle flavour. If you only have one dish, try this one! Above right Radicchio di Treviso, as shown in Cosimo’s kitchen. It costs six times as much as normal market radicchio. Natural well water makes all the difference, and the chef uses this delicacy in his creations.
The breakfast buffet in the Marco Polo room.
The Luna’s high-end suites have a lot to offer after the frantic and crowded lanes of la Serenissima. It was still high season on the Friday I visited, so Luna’s Giorgione suite, with its two airy levels, a fine sitting room off the fifth floor elevator, and an upper boudoir with glorious rooftop views was the perfect respite. Attached to the upper level is the ultimate Venetian luxury, an alcana, a private wood terrace, and this is a handsome one ringed by manicured rosemary shrubs, with room enough for two tables and two rataan lounges, perfect for an afternoon snooze.
I can also report to you that the Luna’s breakfast is blissfully intact, with all the luxury and style that only the people of Venezia could dream up. It’s delectable, bountiful, filled with local delicacies like those little bocconcini mozzarella orbs dribbled in aromatic olive oil, delicate smoked salmon, anchored by Cosimo’s vast pastry selection, not to mention any permutation of breakfast coffee you could ask for. The Marco Polo Room with its Tiepolo frescoes is one of those venues you don’t want to leave. Under the watchful eye of Antonella, you’re obliged to try the local cream-filled crescent moon pastry dusted with powdered sugar. Don’t look away, or you will find she has fetched you a second one, which taunts you longingly from its elegant china service.
Venezia isn’t as empty as it was 20 years ago. It was only connected to the mainland 70 years ago. The population currently stands at 60,000, down from 120,000 at its heyday in the sixteenth century. In recent days the top name shops have spread across the old neighbourhoods (even Disney—imagine!), displacing traditional shops which plied their intricate crafts. But you can’t easily eradicate a past like this one. The island city remains its own peculiar time machine with enough sensory stimuli for a lifetime. Thanks to the team at the Hotel Luna Baglioni you receive a host of reminders of what Venezia is all about: history, courtliness, hospitality, and an indefatigable love of life. •
Opulent Giorgione suite headboard.
In the Giorgone suite: welcome procsecco and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Above Rooftops, seen through the fog from the Giorgione Suite alcana.
A typical Venezia passagio.
Kayla Newhouse napping on the alcana in the afternoon.
Detail from the Giorgione suite alcana.
I can also report to you that the Luna’s breakfast is blissfully intact, with all the luxury and style that only the people of Venezia could dream up. It’s delectable, bountiful, filled with local delicacies like those little bocconcini mozzarella orbs dribbled in aromatic olive oil, delicate smoked salmon, anchored by Cosimo’s vast pastry selection, not to mention any permutation of breakfast coffee you could ask for
Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.
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