Just steps from Piazza San Marco and alongside the famed Grand Canal in breathtaking Venice, Italy, sits the Gritti Palace, a 14th-century Venetian Gothic palazzo turned hotel, which reopened earlier this year following a 15-month update.

“It’s a restoration, not a renovation,” assured Paolo Lorenzoni, the hotel’s manager, to Town & Country Magazine, before signing-off on the 35-million facelift as part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Luxury Collection.

Landmark_Grand_Canal_RoomTo retain the character and storied Gritti atmosphere, refurbished antiques and over 200 Rubelli silk wall coverings and textiles grace the interior; so you’ll have no trouble imagining Ernest Hemingway—one of the hotel’s first guests— settling into his suite and finishing Across the River and Into the Trees.

The hotel made Travel+Leisure’s “It List” this year for The Best New Hotels. Fewer yet more spacious rooms (down from 100 to 82) are enriched with rich terrazzo flooring and extravagant cladding in marble from five regions of Italy.ThePuntadellaDoganaSuitedetails Another addition includes a collection of 21 specialty suites, 10 of which are inspired after famous past guests such as Somerset, Ruskin, and Peggy Guggenheim. Or choose to stay in the ravishing Redentore Terrazza, a two-story suite on the uppermost floor of the palazzo, where you’ll basque atop the rooftop terrace and plunge pool overlooking Santa Maria della Salute Basilica.

Spend time pampering at the new Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Spa featuring Turkish baths and a boutique selling the most exclusive Acqua di Parma products. The Bar Longhi, described as a fabulous jewel box with an antiqued mirrored bar and whimsical pink and blue Murano sconces, is where guests like to mingle with espresso by morning or cocktails by night. However, you may prefer putting those Dolce & Cabbana sunglasses to use while dining at the waterfront Club del Doge restaurant beside the Grand Canal.

Grand_Canal_Entrance_LobbyIt’s interesting to note that prior to the extensive restoration process, the ground floor of the Gritti Palace would flood everytime Venice flooded. Now, thanks to an impenetrable concrete raft that encloses the entire ground floor, The Gritti can claim to be the most waterproof hotel in town. Take a virtual tour or simply enjoy videos of the hotel here.

August through November is a great time to visit and take advantage of one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world, the Venice Biennale, which takes place once every two years at venues in and around Venice. Consider attending the 70th Venice International Film festival (August 18 – September 7), the 55th International Art Exhibition (June 1 – November 24th) or the Theater Festival (August 1 – August 11).

The Gritti Palace, Campo Santa Maria del Giglio. Venice, Italy. +39 041 794611 in United States call 1-800-325-3589.