City of Water, City of Bridges, City of Gondole – Venice on the banks of the Adriatic in Northeastern Italy is as heady as it’s mesmerizing. The cluster of 118 islands is peppered with lots of canals, epic grandeur and architecture, an artful lifestyle, and succulent, delectable cuisine. You’d also find it surprising that LGBTQ history in Venice is as convoluted as its labyrinthine canal system. While there was a thriving gay scene in the city in the 16th century, today, Venice’s gay scene is nowhere near what it used to be. Despite that, the number of gay friendly hotels in Venice, Italy, has only grown over the years. Luxurious palaces might be commonplace, but you’ll also find LGBTQ friendly boutique hotels and B&Bs that feel like they’re from another era. Whether you want an indulgent vacation or a truly Venetian one, the city has you covered.
Given its complicated tryst with LGBTQ rights, Venice lacks a thriving gay scene like its other Italian peers like the gay friendly Florence. However, there are a few fabulous gay bars and saunas, with the rest of the places being very gay friendly. Moreover, Venice is an absolute pleasure to explore by day. After all, it’s one of the most beautiful canal cities in the world. There are lots of museums, heritage structures, and markets, including the 13th-century Fondaco Dei Tedeschi, one of the most amazing shopping malls in the world. What’s more, the city explodes in a heady riot of colors during the Carnival of Venice, one of the best carnivals in the world.
Venice might not be a top LGBTQ destination, but it surely is an extremely romantic gay Italian destination. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Venice, Italy.
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Ca’ Del Nobile
Best heritage. If you want to stay in a characterful place in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Venice’s city center, then the Ca’ Del Nobile is perfect. It’s one of the most budget-friendly yet beguiling gay friendly hotels in Venice, Italy. Despite sitting a few steps off the tourist-packed Calle Dei Fabbri, the place is surprisingly quiet. What’s more, it’s rife with interesting details – it’s one of the city’s lowest points. So, during the acqua alta or Venice flooding, you can even see water bubbling up the cobblestones from the windows! The best part? The eclectic LGBTQ bar, Bra’s, is a five-minute walk.
An air of hushed civility permeates this quaint little hotel, right from the rooms to the high-ceilinged breakfast room/lobby. In fact, the latter even features a great guidebook selection for you to peruse. The owner-hosts are attentive and charming and are ready to cater to every whim and help with any travel advice. What’s more, a lovely breakfast of tea, cappuccino, and freshly baked pastries is waiting for you. Despite being a real budget place, the hotel even features Wi-Fi.
You can choose from six different-sized rooms, of which the largest is quite spacious given its city center location. Moreover, they’re both contemporarily elegant and innately Venetian at the same time, sans all the brocade and ornateness. Plus, the ensuite bathrooms are immaculate.
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Baglioni Hotel Luna
Located just steps from St. Mark’s Square, the gay friendly Baglioni Hotel Luna is one of the best hotels in Venice, Italy. And it’s easy to see why. To begin with, it’s tastefully done up in gorgeous Venetian fabrics and colors. Secondly, it dishes out expect lagoon luxury at wallet-friendly prices. And finally, you cannot get any closer to the gorgeous historic center of Venice while staying here.
The hotel is the most ‘Venetian’ hotel you’ll find in Venice, complete with lashings of chandeliers and brocade without making it look over the-top. Despite being one of the larger hotels in the area, it oozes the most homely vibes, thanks to the knowledgeable and welcoming staff. Tuck into a lavish buffet breakfast in the historic salon featuring 18th-century frescoes. In the evening, sip on an aperitive at Caffè Baglioni before heading out to explore Venice’s lively alleyways.
The rooms at Luna are luxuriously Venetian; think moody lamps, plush window drapes, and silk brocade wall lining. If you can splurge, go for the rooms and suites with views over the lagoon or the Giardinetti Reali park.
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Axel Hotel Venezia
Most gay-friendly. Axel Hotel Venezia is hands down the best gay friendly hotel in Venice, Italy. In fact, it’s aimed squarely at the LGBTQ+ public and bills itself as straight-friendly! The adults-only hotel is the perfect base in Venice, whether you’re a couple, a ground of friends, or single and looking to mingle. Located in the serene streets of Dorsoduro, the hotel is close to all of Venice’s major attractions and cute bars, cafes, and nightlife. Even though it’s a budget hotel, the place does have a bar and restaurant. the restaurant serves a delicious local Italian breakfast every day. Plus, the bar is perfect for enjoying a sundowner before beginning your night’s revelry in the town. With a 24-hour reception, the staff is ready to help you with anything and everything.
The best part about the Axel chain is the rooms. Modern to boot, they’re equipped with all creature comforts like contemporary bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and even coffee/tea-making facilities. Four-poster beds, fresh flowers, and exposed brick walls lend a touch of romance. the best part? All rooms feature a “Casanova Kit by Axel amenities,” which will make your night with your partner one to remember.
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Ca’ Pisani Hotel
Most contemporary. If you’re looking for a non-traditional design Venetian hotel in Centro Storico, then there’s no better hotel than Ca’ Pisani. The hotel is a welcome departure from the traditional chandeliers and brocade and adopts a rather charming Art Deco look. It sits in the pretty Dorsoduro district, which is a mere 15-minute stroll to the main historic sights in the town.
Ca’ Pisani broke the mold of tired and jaded Venice hotels with its sleek art-deco design, including some striking soft furnishings and fantastic original pieces. The hotel is as chic as it’s charming, with super-friendly staff who can lend any tips and advice you might want. The restaurant on-site serves a superb breakfast, while the wine bar is a great place to sip on some wine and dig into some cold cuts. Finally, there’s even a steam room/hammam on-site that’s perfect for unwinding.
The 29 rooms and suites might not be palatial, given Venetian standards, but they’re all beautifully individualistic. In fact, all of them feature wonderful 1920s-40s period furniture that blends with striking contemporary glass-and-metal fixtures. Moreover, the bathrooms are modern, and some even have bathtubs.
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Best value for money. There’s no better gay friendly hotel in Venice, Italy, than the ‘chain hostel’ Generator. The funky and hip hostel lies on the island of Giudecca across from Venice proper and oozes an industrial-chic aesthetic. So, you’re close enough to the action but also well away from the crowds clogging the city center. The industrial-chic feel continues, with exposed beams, pipes, and bare brick walls. Bohemian interiors feature a mix of leaf wallpaper, burgundy drapes, velvet armchairs, and the like. Eclectic bric-a-brac makes its way within; think vintage apothecary cabinets, ceramic lamps, etc.
There’s an unending roster of events – weekly DJ sets, karaoke sessions, and film screenings. Plus, the hostel can organize everything from gondolas to canoeing trips. The common lounge, with board games and a pool table, is the perfect place to break the ice with fellow travelers. Albeit paid, the buffet breakfast of bread, ham, cheese, and cereals is great, complemented by light meals served by the all-day café. Also, the bar is one lively socializing spot, along with happy hour to invigorate patrons. Are you a late riser? Check-out time is until 1 p.m.
The rooms are color-coded across yellow, blue, and purple floors and are divided into dorms and private rooms. Dorm beds have lockers, reading lamps, sockets, and spotless shared bathrooms. For its price point, the private rooms are very attractive, with leather armchairs and city views in many of them.
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Starhotels Splendid Venice
Starhotels Splendid has the most enviable location in town – it’s a mere two minutes from the famed Piazza San Marco, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Plus, it’s tucked between scenic canals and lies a leisurely stroll from most of Venice’s main attractions. A larger hotel with a distinct boutique feel, staying here makes sightseeing in Venice as effortless as can be.
The hotel sits around a private internal courtyard, with minimum noise from the street. On the inside, it boasts a cozy and intimate vibe despite being a large hotel. Relax in one of the lounge areas, all of which overlook the gondola-filled canal. The piece de resistance is the splendid multi-level rooftop terrace with incredible views of Venice’s rooftops. You can also relax in the lounge, the cozy library, and the lobby bar that flanks the glassed-over interior courtyard. The on-site restaurant serving Venetian classics is a favorite with locals too. Moreover, the hotel serves a lip-smacking breakfast in the courtyard, complete with canal views. Finally, you can even arrive at the hotel by water taxi through the dedicated water entrance.
Choose from 165 classic-contemporary rooms and suites with comfy chairs and writing desks as mainstays everywhere. All rooms face either the smaller surrounding streets or the sun-kissed internal courtyard, which keeps the noise at bay. Besides marble bathrooms, the well-stocked minibar is a real pleasure.
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Ca Maria Adele
The Ca Maria Adele is, without a doubt, one of the most luxurious gay friendly hotels in Venice, Italy. The Venetian Baroque hotel is nestled behind a church in the tranquil streets of Dorsoduro and boasts its own water entrance. With just five statement rooms, as well as plush Deluxe rooms and top-floor Suites, staying here makes you feel like Venetian royalty.
There’s a welcoming hush to this stylish and extremely intimate place, along with oodles of relaxed charm. The effortless charm of the hosts and the staff set the tone for the hotel, who ensure everything to make your holiday a dream. Moreover, you can order breakfast off an unending à la carte menu every evening and even choose to enjoy it in the comfort of your room. Or, you can enjoy it on the terrace while taking in incredible morning views of Venice and its canals. Rounding up the amenities is an honesty bar in the reception.
The rooms are spread across three floors (no lift), with the five concept rooms taking Venetian themes to baroque extremes. Think scarlet brocades, black Murano glass chandeliers, and the like. The Deluxe rooms are equally delightful, with marble bathrooms and subtle hues. The zenith of luxury is the top-floor suites with once-in-a-lifetime views over Venice’s rooftops.
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Staying in Venice’s Centro Storico (city center) is one expensive affair, which is why the wisteria-ensconced Locanda Fiorita is such a fantastic choice. One of the prettiest gay friendly hotels around, the budget hotel is impeccably maintained with a classic Venetian feel to it. The best part? It’s close to almost all the top things to do in Venice.
Fiorita translates to ‘flowers’ in Italian, and Locanda lives up to its name with flowers and blossoming shrubs just about everywhere. The décor is simple Venetian yet elegant; think lovely fabrics and antique furniture sans being ostentatious. However, the hallmark here is the excellent service and advice that the wonderfully friendly staff dished out. For a budget hotel, the presence of the outside seating and the gorgeous roof terrace is an absolute delight. In warmer weather, enjoy a fresh breakfast on the alfresco campo. During winter, you can enjoy it in the comfort of your room.
All 10 rooms are airy and bright and done up in Venetian-style pastels. The best of the lot are the bedrooms that open onto the leafy balconies upstairs, but room no. 10 has a separate private terrace. Despite being compact, the bathrooms are modern and stylish to boot.
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Hotel Antico Doge
What’s staying in Venice without a little bit of old-world luxury? And what better place to stay than at Hotel Antico Doge, a gay friendly hotel in Venice, Italy? The lovingly restored 13th-century palace is the former residence of Doge Marino Falier and is steeped in history. Moreover, its central location in Centro Storico makes the entire Old City walkable.
Stepping into the hotel is like stepping back in time, as shimmering Venetian chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and layers of brocades and silk are everywhere. Here, it’s the warmth of the staff that sets the place apart. So, you’ll see a constant flurry of activity at the front desk, right from people booking tours to chatting with the staff about hidden gems. The Grand Salon is where a cheerful and hearty breakfast is served, complete with the dulcet tones of classical music. You have the most decadent spread in front of you; think brewed coffee, fresh fruit, yogurt, made-to-order options, cakes, and more.
However, the rooms stand out here with every modern comfort while featuring original antique pieces. What’s more, you’ll even find parts of the original pavements in the rooms, which are enveloped in rich golds, greens, yellows, and reds. Moody lighting and gorgeous mosaic showers in the bathrooms complete the rooms, of which four overlook the canal.
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Residenza De L’Osmarin
Ditch the ostentatious Venetian luxury and stay at the gay friendly Residenza De L’Osmarin, one of the cutest hotels you’ll find anywhere. The place, which is actually a bed and breakfast, will win you over with its city center location, wonderfully warm and welcoming hosts, and simple yet elegant décor. The owner and her staff go out of their way to make this a superb Venetian homely experience for you. The three-storied B&B has a striking terrace, a blessing during the summer months. You can hang around in the cozy communal living room when the weather gets cold. When it comes to breakfast, the owner’s homemade cakes are something of a local favorite, along with cereals and fresh fruit. What’s more, breakfast is a wonderful affair in the cozy canal-facing room or on the terrace during sun-kissed mornings.
The three rooms, which are relatively large for Venice, are simple yet beautifully furnished and immaculately maintained. Moreover, they all enjoy views over the rooftops to St Mark’s as well as the nearby canals. The second-floor suite has its own courtyard-facing balcony, while the top-floor suite has its own roof terrace.
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Hotel Sant’Antonin is one of the most romantic gay friendly hotels in Venice, Italy. Tranquility abounds in its front courtyard and the most luscious and stunning private gardens. They’re the perfect place to enjoy quiet, intimate moments after a long day exploring the equally romantic Venice. What’s more, it’s close to St. Mark’s Square while being tucked away beside a quaint canal. So, it makes for the perfect home-away-from-home ambiance to enjoy and explore Venice.
The private residence-turned-boutique hotel features many original elements that meld marvelously with the modern additions. The magnificent foliage-filled garden is the crown jewel, and you’ll want to spend all your time here. Moreover, there’s even a lovely shaded entrance courtyard, where you can wait for your day trip rides or mingle with other guests. Breakfast is a grand affair on the ground-floor covered patio, with the fountains and gardens just beyond. Dig into a dizzying array of savory selections, fruits, bread, and pastries as you take in the morning sights of the historic center.
All elegant rooms look out to the front courtyard or the back garden, except for those with private terraces and canal views. Luxurious Venetian fabrics, spacious bathrooms, and original terrazzo floors make living here an absolute pleasure.
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Here is a smaller, more specialized list of the best gay Venice hotels according to their best attributes:
- Best value for money: Generator Venice
- Best heritage: Ca’ Del Nobile
- Most contemporary: Ca’ Pisani Hotel
- Most gay-friendly: Axel Hotel Venezia
Get Some Culture in Venice:
Despite Venice being a liberal city towards LGBTQ people, it doesn’t have a Pride parade or any other LGBT event either. In spite of lots to offer on the cultural scene, LGBT events in Venice are still far off.
That being said, homosexuality is legal in the country. In fact, Arcigay, the national LGBTQ+ organization, not only hosts but also advertises gay-friendly events throughout Italy. So, gay travelers visiting Venice can plan their itineraries around these events. Arcigay has held and still hosts pride marches in various Italian cities every year, but the last one they ever held in Venice was in 2014.
What’s more, Venice might not have any clearly defined gay neighborhoods or areas, but that’s because the gay scene is well integrated into the soul of the city. No matter where you go, you’ll certainly find a gay-friendly hotel or bar or such establishment. Head over to Padova/Padua neighborhood to relax in the world-famous saunas, hop around the local bars, or enjoy a night out at one of the clubs.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Venice:
- Bra’s Cocktail Bar – With a slew of sexy bras hanging from the ceiling, this LGBTQ friendly bar’s one for women in Venice.
- JuiceBerry – One of the biggest gay cruising clubs in Venice, JuiceBerry attracts men from all over northern Italy. It features dark rooms, play areas, showers, and a bar.
- Ristoteca Oniga: This amazing wine bar and restaurant might be away from the touristy spots but is a great and rather popular meeting point for the LGBTQ community, especially for dates. While the outdoor seating is amazing for conversations and people-watching, the interior is also welcoming. And while their specialty seems to be seafood, they even have a special vegetarian menu.
- Trash & Chic: This might be the only real gay dance club in Venice and lies outside the center across the Liberty Bridge in Mestre. It opens on Saturdays and usually has a host of fun-themed parties. The music ranges from house to pop and usually welcomes local celebrities, professional dancers, and guest DJs.
Best Gay Saunas in Venice:
- Metrò Venezia Club – This gay sauna and recreation club has everything from an XXX video room and maze to a Finnish sauna and a darkroom. In fact, they also offer massage services. And while they require an ANDDOS membership, the sauna is just 10 minutes from Piazzale Roma.