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Inflight Magazine of Brussels Airlines

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Guy Dittrich searches Brussels Airlines’ destinations for the best places to lay your head. This month: Venice and Berlin

Palazzina Grassi

VENICE
San Marco 3247, tel. +39 041 528 4644, www.designhotels.com

Palazzina Grassi is everything you could want from a boutique hotel. There’s discretion, with no sign at either the private pier on the Grand Canal or the entrance from the narrow calle (alleyway) leading from Campo San Samuele and the Palazzo Grassi art gallery. There are only 25 rooms. There’s no reception desk; guests are welcomed with a drink in the intimacy of the restaurant/lounge. There are interiors by Philippe Starck, and – here’s the best bit – they’re liveable and comfortable.

There are some ‘Starckisms’, of course (lots of white curtain, impossibly impractical basins and games with perspective) but none of the oversized furnishing gimmicks of past projects. The stone-columned framework of the restaurant/lounge has a modesty of wood-panelling and leather upholstery, softened by mohair blankets draped across comfy sofas and delicate wooden-framed chairs that gently rock. Either side are the bar – under an array of Murano glass chandeliers – and the galley show-kitchen manned by chef Luigi, whose experience includes London’s Zuma and Locanda Locatelli restaurants. There are a few surprises, too – notably the incredible glass artwork and the ‘party animal’ leather stools that lead to the Krug Lounge and its views of the canal. A bigger contrast awaits upstairs amid the bright and breezy femininity of the guestrooms, where back-lit mirrors, beautifully cut and etched, adorn almost every wall in a homage to the glass-making heritage of the city.

The Palazzina Grassi offers something strikingly different from the antiqued interiors of most Venice hotels, and this is attracting the locals. This, and the unusually late opening hours of the bar and restaurant. Double room with breakfast from €350.

Casa Camper

BERLIN
1 Weinmeisterstrasse, tel. +49 (0)30 2000 3410, www.casacamper.com

Launched by Mallorcan shoe company Camper, Casa Camper’s style is as subtle as its atmosphere is laid-back – in line with the Camper slogan ‘Walk, don’t run’.

In Mitte, very near the landmark TV tower, the hotel is ideally positioned for Berlin’s fashion shopping. And it fits in well, with a pleasing deep red and grey colour scheme across the 51 rooms, which have back-to- front layouts with the bright bathrooms set at the external glazed wall. The design is an appealing mix of old and new, contrasting Bakelite switches with iPod docks.

Included in the price is a 24-hour quality buffet in the top-floor Tentempié lounge, where breakfast is also served until 2pm. While there’s always someone around to help, self-service is de rigueur and alcoholic drinks are available from the adjacent honesty bar. The ground-floor Dos Palillos restaurant, meanwhile, offers fine dining that combines interiors by the prolific Bouroullec brothers with an Asian tapas menu. In an open kitchen the chefs perform – and it really is an art form – a precisely prepared menu under the guidance of Albert Raurich. Don’t be put off by the fixed menus with many courses; each plate is so delicately proportioned and flavour-packed that you’ll be asking for seconds. Double room with breakfast from €185.

NEWS

Want to stay ahead of the hotel crowd? Turn to page 42 and discover the hottest new openings of next year, including a shimmering glass beauty in the middle of London’s West End and a taste of New York living in Berlin. Better start packing that suitcase…

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