Enchanting elegance

The magnificence and splendour of Hotel Excelsior was born out of a desire to create the most luxurious hotel in the world.

Visionary entrepreneur Nicolo Spada and world-class architect Giovanni Sardi combined forces to transform the Venice Lido into a glorious destination for the rich and famous.

The dream was to create a hotel unmistakably Venetian in feel yet cosmopolitan enough to impress jet-setting clientele from all over the world.

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Then begun the 18-month process of building the fairytale hotel in a typical Belle Époque style (which means Beautiful Age), borrowing elements of historic influences, including the elaborate Moorish designs as well as large domes and skylights made possible by new engineering techniques.

And so, on July 21st 1908, Hotel Excelsior opened amid great fanfare with a party for more than 3,000 guests from across the globe.

The Lido landmark, designed to reassemble a Venetian Renaissance palace, quickly became the destination for the rich and famous, film stars and royalty.

Notable guests over the years have included Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Hutton, John Steinbeck, Ingrid Bergman and the Aga Khan.

In 1932 Hotel Excelsior was launched into the magical world of movies when the first ever Venice Film Festival was held on its terrace.

Since then it has become an integral part of the world famous festival, which, in recent years has attracted red-carpet stars such as Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

Today, more than 100 years since that glorious opening night, Hotel Excelsior still exudes a palatial splendour of a by-gone era, but with a modern five-star finish.

The story continues..