FrontRunners: In The Doge House
If it is not fit for a king, Venice’s recently opened Dona Palace (+39.041.2743511, www.donapalace.it) is at least suitable for a doge, the title once given to the former city-state’s chief magistrates. In the 16th century, the building that houses the 27-room hotel was the home of Leonardo Donà, the city’s 90th doge. Unlike many Venetian establishments, Donà, which is located off of Piazza San Marco, offers a wealth of common space, including a canal-side garden patio where you can hop a gondola, and a sunny breakfast room ringed by the structure’s original columns. The most enticing of the rooms may be the executive suite; its outdoor terrace has a two-person hot tub, from which you can look across a sea of terra-cotta rooftops while listening to the bells of the Campanile chime.