Splendor and Elegance in Venice: the Ego Boutique Hotel the Silk Road

Splendor and Elegance in Venice: the Ego Boutique Hotel the Silk Road

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Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water. -Frida Giannini

 

When our Alilaguna boat reached the Grand Canal and slowly moved forward along the majestic palazzos, I still couldn’t believe we were finally in Venice. Venice: the City of Masks. The City of Bridges. The City of Canals. Where Canaletto lived and painted. Where Marco Polo was born.

 

Speaking of Marco Polo. One of the reasons why I decided to squeeze in a visit to Venice in the end of the year is because 2019 was somewhat our “year of Marco Polo”. After reading Colin Thubron’s Shadow of the Silk Road while I was alone in Dublin last year, I was truly fascinated by the history of the ancient trade route which connected Europe and Asia. So, we binge-watched the Netflix show “Marco Polo”, and read the Venetian explorer’s travel memoirs.

 

And then in July 2019, we flew to China to trek along the Ancient Silk Road from Xi’an to Ürümqi. Ending our year in Venice, where Marco Polo was born and from where he departed for China in 1271 suddenly seemed to be a perfect idea. Besides, being one of the most romantic cities in Europe, Venice was a great choice for another surprise trip for Kerstin.

 

 

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We got off the water taxi once it passed through the famous Rialto Bridge. And right in front of the vaporetto station, we walked into the Ego’ Boutique Hotel The Silk Road. On the wall of the small lobby, a large fresco depicts a scene of Marco Polo’s travels. And next to a huge Christmas tree decorated with Venetian masks stood a marble bust of Marco Polo. He seemed to smile at us. Another smiling face advanced out of nowhere to greet us…

 

Oh, you must be Mei and Kerstin! Welcome to our hotel! Ekaterina, the owner of the Ego Boutique Hotel The Silk Road greeted us so warmly that we immediately felt like spending the rest of the day chatting with her.

 

The lobby of the Ego Boutique Hotel The Silk Road – Splendor and Elegance in Venice, Italy © Travelwithmk.com

 

I had contacted Ekaterina a week prior to our arrival, when I stumbled upon her hotel’s website while googling for places in Venice that are related to Marco Polo or the Silk Road. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any review or photo of the hotel on TripAdvisor. She then explained to me that their hotel was brand new. It opened only a week before Venice was hit by one of the worst acqua alta in the 20th century. Due to the high waters, they had to close down the hotel for a while. So, we were among their first customers, and she was happy to offer us a good deal!

 

Unlike in most hotels, Ekaterina didn’t even ask us for a credit card or to fill out any paper to check into the hotel. After the cordial welcome, she led us to the first floor where the breakfast room and the seven rooms of this small hotel are located. When we climbed up the stairs, I couldn’t take my eyes off the huge map that traces Marco Polo’s travels from Venice to China. Kerstin seemed to be amazed by the hotel’s elegant furniture and themed decorations.

 

 

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My heart started to pound when Ekaterina opened the door of the Imperial Suite. She had told me on the phone that their largest suite was around 50 square meters. That is larger than any of the apartments we rented in Paris!

 

We walked into the living room area of our suite, which at first looked a bit dark. I spotted a large sofa surrounded by two small replicas of the Terracotta Army that we saw in Xi’an a few months ago. When Ekaterina opened the two window shutters, the living room was filled with light. I immediately saw the tall glass cabinet standing at the corner of the room.

 

Inside, there was a coffee machine, an expresso machine and a kettle! Wow! This is perfect!! Kerstin looked delighted. One of the first questions I asked Ekaterina when we talked on the phone was whether they had a coffee machine or a kettle in their rooms. Kerstin and I are both coffee lovers. And we’re so addicted that we need to drink our first cup of coffee before even leaving our room. There were also plenty of tea bags, different types of coffee, snacks and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the cabinet and refrigerator.

 

 

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At the other corner of the living room, Kerstin was contemplating the elegant writing desk. Above the desk, a large flat-screen TV hung on the wall. Ekaterina said that we can also watch Netflix, it’s free. And there was also a second TV in our bedroom…

 

The owner of the hotel then led us through a corridor along a large wardrobe. Once we arrived in the bedroom, we both had a hard time hiding how amazed we were. The sun was shining through five tall windows, making the large Murano glass chandelier sparkle in bright light. I felt like jumping on the king size bed, which was topped with a delicate golden duvet cover. But I withheld myself since the hotel’s owner was standing next to us after all…

 

 

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Across the bed, a second flat-screen TV hung over a fireplace. While I was checking out the vanity table and the beautiful mirrors, Kerstin walked over to a small table at the corner of the room. I could feel that she would love to sit there, reading a book while enjoying a coffee.

 

Suddenly, I realized that we hadn’t even checked out the window views yet… I chose the Ego Boutique Hotel because it offers an amazing view of the Grand Canal and the imposing Venetian palazzos. And I must say that in real, the views are absolutely gorgeous! Seeing us both fascinated, Ekaterina grinned, and said that she was happy we liked the suite.

 

 

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The lady of the hotel added that there was another small room in this suite that we might like to see. Kerstin and I thought that Ekaterina was talking about the bathroom. But when we arrived at the second small corridor between the bedroom and the living room area, we stood open-mouthed in front of a huge jacuzzi.

 

Oh my god, are you kidding me? Kerstin was completely stupefied. Since Venice was a surprise trip, she didn’t know which hotel I had chosen. Let alone that I had booked a suite with a jacuzzi. I, myself, had entirely forgotten about the jacuzzi when we landed in Venice… Ekaterina showed us how the double jacuzzi bath worked, and explained that it was also equipped with chromotherapy features.

 

Oh, I almost forgot to show you the bathroom. The hotel’s owner crossed the living room and pushed open a semitransparent glass door. When I was browsing through hotels in Venice, I had read that most accommodations have a small bathroom. Many of them are old, have molds or a leaking bathtub. So, when we entered the bathroom at the Ego Boutique Hotel, I was happy to discover that it was large and spotless clean.

 

Jacuzzi in the Imperial Suite at the Ego Boutique Hotel The Silk Road – Splendor and Elegance in Venice, Italy © Travelwithmk.com

 

The walk-in shower was so vast that we could shower together, and the water pressure was perfect. But because water leaked a little bit from the shower door, and also because we wanted to enjoy the luxury of our suite, we preferred the jacuzzi, which we ended up using every evening during our stay at the Ego Boutique Hotel !

 

Kerstin, who uses a perfume from Hermes immediately noticed that the bathroom amenities were from that brand. But to be eco-friendlier, we chose to use the shampoo, shower gel and body lotion available at our private jacuzzi. Those are large refillable bottles and the fragrance was as good-smelling as the products from the travel-sized bottles of Hermes.

 

The signature bathrobes and soft slippers were something that we really appreciated very much too. In fact, all the amenities in our suite were so great that we almost preferred staying inside instead of exploring Venice!

 

 

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Before we left our suite’s bathroom, we asked Ekaterina about the large fresco on one of the bathroom walls. It reminded us of the landscapes we saw in Guilin, China. The lady of the house explained that it pictures the last episode of Marco Polo’s travels to China. This shows what the Venetian merchant must have seen when he arrived at his destination… And the other episodes of Marco Polo’s travels, she added, can be seen in other rooms of this hotel, such as in the breakfast room.

 

Since there are only 7 rooms/suites in this boutique hotel, the breakfast room never got too crowded. On our first morning, we thought that we had to figure out by ourselves how to use the sophisticated coffee machine in the breakfast room. But a very polite and friendly lady soon showed us our table and said she would serve us any kind of coffee we desired.

 

 

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The view from the breakfast room was the same as the one from our suite. But it was still nice to sit by the arched window overlooking the Grand Canal while enjoying the first meal of the day. We had cappuccinos, lattes, expressos, ristrettos and “normal” milk coffee… we were in Italy, so all the coffees were delicious! Orange juice was freshly squeezed, and there was also apple and pear juice.

 

The buffet table was a bit small, but the choice was large enough, and most importantly fresh and delicious. We both loved their fresh fruits, raw salmon and a selection of Italian cheese. There were also different types of bread and croissants. So every day we ended up spending over an hour at breakfast table!

 

The decor of the breakfast room was so exquisite that we even returned in the evening after exploring Venice for hours. In fact, in the afternoon and evening, the breakfast room serves as a resting area. On our last night at the Ego Boutique Hotel, we sat down in this elegant room, chatted with Ekaterina and her daughter, while listening to the ongoing classical music.

 

 

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Ekaterina told us about the background and concept of the hotel. Why they chose to open a hotel with Marco Polo and the Silk Road as the main theme. How her husband designed all the little details of the hotel, up to the doorknobs of the cabinets. And also, the types of special events she would like to organize in the future to offer to their hotel guests.

 

After our three nights stay at this boutique hotel, Kerstin and I were both sad to leave Venice and this exceptional hotel. Never had we stayed in such a graceful place before. Tastefully decorated, combining Venetian’s timeless elegance and the spirit of a mysterious Ancient China, the Ego Boutique Hotel the Silk Road excels in everything. We’re so glad to have discovered this gem right when it opened and on our first visit to Venice. When we think of Venice now, we think of this elegant hotel, where time stands still and where the past meets the present, where Europe meets Asia. To us, Venice is not just the City of Masks, the City of Bridges, and the City of Canals. Venice is also the City of the Silk Road.

Disclosure: if you click on the hotel link in this post, we may receive a small compensation at NO extra cost to you.

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Traveler - Storyteller

Mei is a 30-something Archaeologist, born and raised in Luxembourg. Besides traveling, she loves eating sushi and stinky cheese (although not at the same time), as well as listening to Kerstin's funny stories while driving on long road trips. She's afraid of heights, but adores panoramic views. Her favorite places are those she chose to live in: Paris, Greece, San Francisco.

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19 Responses

  1. Molly O'Rourke
    | Reply

    What a cool hotel! The pictures are beautiful! I would love to travel there for sure. I really don’t know as much about marco polo as I should and I would love to go there and learn more!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      There are a lot of books about Marco Polo at the Ego Boutique Hotel. So if you stay there, you can read about him while ennjoying the wonderful views of the Grand Canal! 🙂

  2. Lara Dunning
    | Reply

    What a gorgeous hotel. The decor is very elegant (it would be tempting to stay in the room and just look at everything) and what a view! I’m fascinated by Marco Polo as well and its so cool they’ve embraced his adventures and made it part of the hotel. It totally ticks off everything I’d need to say, “Yes, I am totally splurging on this!”

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes, the Ego Boutique Gotel’s decor is really elegant. And the service was more than perfect. You will love it!

  3. uoprincess
    | Reply

    Sounds like you found the perfect hotel. I love how much inspiration for travel you have gotten from the one book. I definitely am adding it to my reading list.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes, the Ego Boutique Hotel was simply perfect! Let us know what you think of Marco Polo’s travel memoirs!

  4. Delphine Mignon
    | Reply

    During the lockdown I really wanted to be in Venice and experience it with no crowds… I wonder what’s it’s like now, tourists are slowly coming back and I hope it will never be what it was, with massive unruly crowds! This hotel is beautiful and certainly a step up from the Jesuit convent I stayed at when I went there…

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes, let’s hope that Venice will not become as crowded as before. But you know: the crowds in Venice usually come from the huge cruise ships. We hope that cruise ships, which also pollute a lot by the way, will stop halting at the Venetian port. Most tourists from cruise ships do not spend a lot onsite since they usually eat and drink onboard, so this type of tourism doesn’t even contribute to the economy of local tourism…

  5. diapersinparadise
    | Reply

    I love hearing the stories of why people are inspired to travel to certain places, and it really sounds like you were meant to end up at this hotel! The connection with the murals depicting Marco Polo is so cool. And, okay – that jacuzzi is to die for!! And the view over the grand canal?! This place looks incredible, and to have the amazing service on top of it? This is definitely on my short list of hotels to visit.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes, this was so meant to be! And we hope you’ll get to stay at and experience the awesome service and comfort offered by the Ego Boutique Hotel someday!

  6. Annick
    | Reply

    The Ego Boutique Hotel in Venice was a brilliant find! It really did fit in perfectly with your Marco Polo themed year. What a great surprise for Kerstin. That suite was HUGE! And a double jacuzzi plus a view of the Grand Canal? I love hotels with just a handful of rooms because it makes the experience so much more pleasant. Ekaterina sounds like she was the perfect host and attentive to every detail, from the decor to the Hermès bath products. What a great way to spend three days in Venice!

  7. Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions
    | Reply

    Everything about the The Ego Boutique Hotel, from the artwork inside to that amazing view right from your window, is on point. It’s always nice when a hotel has a cohesive and original theme, and it must’ve been that much better to have it relate so closely to an adventure that was so personal for you guys! As someone who’s never been, I do wonder how touristy Venice is, but I think going during Twixmas is a great idea. With or without the crowds, that view of the Grand Canal just can’t be beat.

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Yes, Twixmas was the perfect moment to visit Venice. But like you said, that view from the Ego Boutique Hotel was so wonderful that even if Venice had been more crowded it still would’ve been worth it! 😉

  8. uoprincess
    | Reply

    You finding this hotel was meant to be. Your year has inspired me. I want to watch Marco Polo too!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Let us know how you like the Marco Polo Netflix show! Some of our friends don’t like it, but we loved it.

  9. cynthiagraner
    | Reply

    Amazing! First off, I don’t think I’ve ever been greeted by name before upon entering a hotel. But secondly, how beautiful is that suite!? I could spend an entire vacation just admiring the hotel decor, I would also find the murals especially mesmerizing. Their attention to detail shows this is definitely a passion project for them. I was actually thinking earlier of looking for a space for a solo writing retreat – maybe this would be a good place for one!

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      Never had we been greeted like this before! I talked to Ekaterina a few days before our arrival, but still… other hotel managers would have forgotten our names, which makes this hotel so unique and special! And yes, the Ego Boutique Hotel would certainly be a perfect place for a solo writing retreat!

  10. Carol Colborn
    | Reply

    Wow, what a great hotel you found! It gives meaning to your whole Silk Road adventure. But I wonder how expensive this stay was? A suite in Venice with a view of the Grand Canal?

    • Mei and Kerstin
      | Reply

      It was low season (Twixmas is probably the lowest season in the year in Venice!), so we got a very good discount.

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