The Gritti palace is not just any hotel. It is one of the most historic and sumptuously places to stay in Venice. Its restaurant ” Club del Doge” is the place to go for a Venetian meal with a view.

In many ways the weeks before Christmas are the perfect time to visit Venice. The crowds have abated, and there is no more haunting sight than the lagoon cloaked in mist, so dense when I visited last weekend that one couldn’t see the top of the campanile in St Mark’s Square.

Of course the downside is that some of the finest hotels – the Cipriani, the new JW Marriott – are closed for the winter season by now. But then both are off shore, so to speak, the latter on its own island (as the forthcoming Kempinski San Clemente Palace will be when it opens in March), a 20-minute ride away from San Marco on the hotel’s complimentary launch. Not ideal if there’s a lot you want to see.

Given that you’re unlikely to see change from €65 if you step into a water taxi (even a one-stop buy-on-board vaporetto ticket to cross a canal is €7.50), location is critical when choosing where to stay. And there aren’t many better-placed hotels than the Gritti Palace, a former doge’s home at the southern end of the Grand Canal, close to the Accademia Bridge.