A Honeymoon Story
Two newlyweds set off on a journey by train from England to Italy, destination - Venice, the city of love. A scenic train journey from Milan takes them to Santa Lucia station in the heart of Venice, bordering the Gran Canal. As the couple step out onto the promenade, a private boat awaits to take them to their final destination, a beautiful place on the island of Guidecca called the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice.
After navigating the complex canal systems of inner Venice, the boat hits the open water and begins its crossing from Venice's main island to the island of Guidecca. Standing tall to the east of the island, the Hilton Molino Stucky is unmistakable and majestic. As the boat lands in to dock, the captain aides the couple safely off the boat and they are warmly greeted by the hotel's concierge. Now, their honeymoon in Venice can begin and as the honeymooners enter the remarkable hotel lobby, they feel the buzz of hotel guests and staff as they move through the hotel's atrium with style.
Photo by Wen Xiang
To explain the grandeur of the Hilton Molino Stucky, first, we must go back a few hundred years. This 379 room hotel was originally brought to life by impresario Giovanny Stucky in the 1880s. He came to Venice on business and chose Giudecca island to be the site for a considerable flour mill which would go on to become one of the highest yielding mills in Europe. Employing over 1500 people on a 24hr clock, the mill was an industrial powerhouse.
A thing of aesthetic beauty, the hotel now celebrates its gothic revival architecture by unifying a complex collection of buildings to convert them into a 5-star luxury hotel with just one wish in mind - for their guests to have an unforgettable experience of Venice.
From the moment we walked through the door, we knew that we had arrived somewhere special. The air of grandeur and the industrial scale of the building, where the history of the place can be felt, is subtly interwoven with the Hilton's touch of modern, luxury hospitality. After a smooth check-in, we were taken to the Molino Deluxe Room with Venice View and our bags and jaws dropped when we saw the view from our hotel window. In that moment I thought, will there be any need to leave this room, when one can just sit and stare at the view? So we did, for quite some time.
Photo by Wen Xiang
On our first day, we explored the hotel and visited the pool and the rooftop bar. The hotel's rooftop is the highest in Venice and boasts stunning views over the Gran Canal toward the main island of Venice. We were served fresh drinks from the pool bar, took a dip in the water to cool down and watched the boats go by. For other ways to relax, the hotel suggested we visit the spa and the fitness centre during our stay. In the evening, after a quick change, we headed up to for cocktails at the Skyline rooftop bar before our dinner reservation at the Aromi restaurant on the banks of the Gran Canal.
Dinner, lovingly cooked by Executive Chef Luca Nania, was a celebration of fresh fish, grilled octopus and a whole sea bream cooked in a salt crust. We were looked after by the Maitre D with the utmost attention and exchanged anecdotes as he shared his love of Venice with us. The wine served was Italian of course, and of the highest quality, thoughtfully paired by the sommelier. The dessert was our highlight, a glistening trompe-l'oeil apple with a sumptuous chocolate mousse inside. When a tiramisu came out and made its way to another guest's table, we were equally stunned!
Official Hilton Photos - Trompe-l'oeil dessert, Executive Chef Luca Nania
On our second day, it was time for a special kind of boat trip. Setting off from the island of Certosa, with its green landscape and charming harbour, we headed to Classic Boats Venice HQ and met with owner Carl Zwerenz and his right-hand man Jean-Paul. Carl lovingly converted his collection of classic boats into electric cruisers offering a sustainable alternative to the main mode of transport in Venice. He is a pioneer here, as the first person to launch electric boating in Venice, and it makes for a winning combination. He assigned us to Tre Soi, an original Venetian Sanpierota, handmade in the lagoon. Originally a fishing boat, Carl lovingly refurbished Tre Soi to her former glory and replaced her engine with a noiseless electric motor. And this is the result!
After deliberating over our itinerary, we set 'sail' with our driver Pierre-Angelo, his hand firmly on the rudder. Young Captain PA skilfully drove us from point to point - a Venetian born and bred, not only did he know how to navigate the waters in Venice, he also knew the city like the back of his hand. So we were free to pop a bottle and enjoy a romantic picnic on the foredeck which the team had included in our package. We sailed all through the afternoon until sunset and soaked in the views and the atmosphere of Venice on the water. Finally meandering through the web of Giudecca Island's canals, we returned to Hilton Venice, our final stop. It was an amazing day and a truly unique way to experience Venice, and one that comes highly recommend.
Back at the hotel, we fell comfortably on our bed and noticed that there was a bottle of cava on ice waiting for us. The team at Hilton Venice love to spoil honeymooners and everyday, we would come back from our adventures to a delicious treat, or a fresh beverage to make our stay truly special. These kinds of personal touches are what makes the Hilton experience so unforgettable; the care and thought they put into celebrating with their guests is undeniable. We popped the bottle, glanced over the in-house room service menu and placed a quick order. Pasta per due per favore?
Our adventure continued on Day 3 with some highly prized tickets to the Venice Film Festival, part of the world-famous Venice Biennale. We jumped on Hilton's private transfer to the mainland and took a connection to Lido island, home to the festival every year. It was such a memorable moment, as we walked down the tree-lined boulevard and through the entrance towards the Palazzo del Cinema. Our eyes darted around hopeful we might spot some Hollywood A-listers - we were even tipped off by the box office that we might encounter some famous faces over at Hotel Excelsior, or Terrazza Danieli. If only a few days sooner, we might have crossed paths with George & Amal Clooney, but on the last day of the festival, they had all but gone. A good excuse to come back to Venice next year, we thought! We quickly recovered from our disappointment, over the last screening of the entire festival - a fantastic Argentinian film called Dusk Stone.
On our final day, we spent time walking through the streets of Venice, getting to know San Marcos, the Jewish Quarter and Canaregio. There is so much to see we could spend an eternity getting to know the real Venice, so with the time we had, we decided to hire a tour guide to impart his tales and share the rich history of this ancient city with us. It was fantastic to spend a few hours with a true Venetian, it gave us a real taste for the culture and identity of the Venetian people. As we parted, we asked him the all important question - What are your top food recommendations? He began furiously scribbling on the map, starring places across the entire city. We've only got one day left we thought, but we didn't want to offend the passionate Venetian. Little black book in hand, we headed to Alla Vedova on Calle el Pistor, a 'bacaro' - a Venetian bar serving wine and snacks, famed for its meatballs. The queue was a testament to its meatballs, with hungry locals and tourists alike, waiting eagerly for a taste.
Editor's own photos
Next, just a stones throw away from the famous Rialto Bridge, we visited one of the oldest and most prestigious buildings in Venice, now home to a luxury department store -T Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Originally a merchant house dating back to the 12th century, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi had many lives before it was expertly restored to its former glory by Benetton family appointed architect Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. Now open to the public for shopping and leisure, private tours are offered free of charge by the Fondaco itself and they welcome Hilton guests. We took this wonderful opportunity to learn about the rich history of this merchant house and jumped on a tour with Michela Furlanetto, the head of Marketing at the Fondaco. As we stepped into the grand inner courtyard, the view of the floors above immediately reminded us of Liberty's London, with its open galleries and luminous glass roof. As we were led through the many modern galleries of the building, we were given a taste of the personal shopping experience with a colour matching seance in the womenswear collection and a VIP fitting in the private lounge. To end our guided experience, we ascended the glamorous escalators up to the rooftop to witness one of the most special views of Venice.
Official T Fondaco dei Tedeschi Photos
Above & below, Editor's own photos
As our last evening was coming to a close, we felt we had captured the best of Venice during our stay at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice. As we returned to the hotel our hearts full, it was time to pack our bags and begin the next part of our adventure in Lake Como. Check out complete, we were sent off in a private water taxi, just in time for our train back to Milan.
Arrivadeci Venezia, we will be back!
Hilton Molino Stucky Venice Gallery
Rates start from €180 per night based on double occupancy with breakfast included
Giudecca, 810, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy
By train - Day 1 Eurostar London - Paris , Day 2 TGV Paris - Milan, Italia Rail Milan - Venice
For train travel around Europe, an Interrail pass can be a good solution. Seat 61 is a great resource providing up to date info on train travel around Europe. From Milan it is also possible to reach Lake Como in less than 1 hour and the Cinque Terre in 2.5hrs.
By plane - Fly into Venice Marco Polo airport.
Venice Film Festival - 31 August to 10 September 2022 on Lido