The night of July 21st 1908 still represents an unforgettable moment for the luxury hotel business: over three thousand invited guests, personalities who had travelled especially for the occasion from all over the world, and over 30.000 Venetian citizens, reached the Lido to attend the hotel’s opening night.
The construction of this new attraction was commissioned from the famous entrepreneur Nicolo’ Spada to the great architect Giovanni Sardi. According to Spada’s vision, Venice Lido was to be transformed from little more than a long sandbank barrier between the lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, into the ideal completion of the adjacent magnificent and glorious Venice.
The atmosphere of the Belle Epoque was the perfect background to celebrate this as a new destination of international lifestyle
Quickly the Lido became a luxury destination, a perfect alternative to the traditional vacation in the countryside: the elegant beaches facing the Adriatic Sea, surrounded by a lush park, and its vicinity to Venice, enhanced the awareness and made Lido a favorite destination among the international jet-set and bon vivant.
In the following years many villas, residences and luxury hotels were built on the Lido, thanks also to the promotion of the destination by the recently born CIGA Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi; first on a European level, then worldwide, Lido became one of the world’s prime quality tourist venues, being accompanied by thermal center, body marine therapies and wellbeing sites.
In June 1914 the unique Sala Stucchi was built: an impressive hall “Luis XV” style located in the area of the terrace in the first floor of the building.
In the Thirties the value and the importance of the Excelsior was enhanced by the inauguration of the Venice Film Festival and the opening of the Venice Casino, which became leading in the entertainment of the city.
Ever since the day of its inauguration, the Excelsior has always been the focal point of the Lido, to the point where the American financier Pierpont Morgan was able with some justification to quip in 1912 that “In America, those who have visited Europe talk more of the Excelsior Palace than they do of the Doge’s Palace”.
Over the years innumerable distinguished guests have stayed at the Excelsior, from Barbara Hutton to Paola and Albert of Liège, from Erroll Flynn to the Duke of Windsor, from Don Carlos of Bestegui to Winston Churchill, and no star in the starsystem would dream of opting to stay anywhere else during the Venice Film Festival.
Very important was the building of the Congress Hall, one of the first of this kind in a luxury hotel.
In 1992 the hotel was refurbished: guest accommodations were reoriented from the street side to the more quite internal part of the building. Now these rooms face the relaxing “Corte Moresca”, the internal court recalling architectures from Cordova and Granada, with its fountains and water plays, trees, flowers, jasmine scents, arches and romantic fading lights.
The latest renovation dates winter 2012/2013, during which the majority of guest accommodations have been refurbished: from tapestries to spacious showers, aimed to the best of comfort and in compliance with the traditional unique Moorish style of the Hotel Excelsior.