Back at the Palazzo

Choosing a Palace in Venice

Westin Hotel Europa & Regina in Venice

The view from the terrace at the Westin Hotel Europa & Regina in Venice
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Surely, no one visits Venice for the modern conveniences. It’s that carless, truckless past and present that we lust for, the soothing water, the mysterious alleys, the ability to walk wherever we need to go, or possibly to take a boat there. Luck brings me to the Hotel Europa & Regina on a rainy night; I have the address and my map of Venice but after a long day and a vaporetto ride that leaves me at San Marco, I am not entirely sure beyond a vague general direction where I am going. Crossing the bridge by San Moise and looking quizzically at my map, rolling my luggage, scrutinizing each passageway, I am only beginning to realize I might just be lost when two tourists approach: “Staying at the Europa & Regina?” they ask.

Look carefully for signs to the Westin Hotel Europa & Regina. Photo credit: M. Ciaardini

Look carefully for signs to the Westin Hotel Europa & Regina. Photo credit: M. Ciaardini

Indeed I am. And thanks to their directions, I get there more quickly than I otherwise would.

I love the mystery of Venice and the dark narrow alleys and the likelihood that I might get to wherever I am going in a roundabout way after discovering one more church, one more pastry shop, one more store full of luxurious goods, but sometimes I am just grateful to get there.

Sometimes good surprises wait in dark alleys. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Sometimes good surprises wait in dark alleys.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The Europa & Regina is a palace (actually, several) with a past, a place where Claude Monet stayed, and one that features in the creation of Harry’s Bar. Giuseppe Cipriani bartended at the Hotel Europa, where he met Harry Pickering, a patron. Cipriani loaned Pickering a bit of money, which was eventually repaid, plus a little extra, allowing the establishment of Harry’s Bar just a bit around a corner or two.

The Westin Hotel Europa & Regina in Venice Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The Westin Hotel Europa & Regina in Venice
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Europa & Regina remains very much a place with a past, a very fine restaurant, an impressive bar of its own. It’s a palace with a view, on the water, a palace welcoming rain-soaked tourists, fresh off vaporettos, rolling their luggage down the alleys in search of it. This one is worth seeking, and finding.

—Lori Tripoli

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