Hilton Molino Stucky – a luxury Venice hotel review with a foodie twist

Looking for the perfect hotel for your next trip to Venice? Sally FitzGerald explores the Hilton Molino Stucky, a luxury Venice hotel with a rich history and incredible food and drinks.

When you’re planning a trip to Venice, your accommodation can sometimes be a bit of an afterthought.

Your mind is consumed with ideas of wandering the canals, exploring the islands, and soaking up the grandeur of St Mark’s Square. A nice place to lay your head is simply a bonus, surely?

I would disagree.

Venice is one of the most magical cities on Earth, but it can also be one of the most crowded. After hours of dodging fellow travellers, standing in queues and generally having your senses overwhelmed, the right hotel can be a much needed sanctuary.

This summer, Hilton’s Molino Stucky hotel became that sanctuary for me.

Located at the end of Giudecca, it’s not only a lot quieter and more relaxing in this area of Venice, but it really feels like you’re getting to experience life alongside the locals rather than just the tourist hub.

The Hilton Molino Stucky is a majestic hotel. Photo © Sally FitzGerald

Changing fates for the Hilton Molino Stucky

The Hilton Molino Stucky has become something of a Venice icon, not just because of its size and stature, but its fascinating story too. It started life as a flour mill, built in 1884 by Giovanni Stucky, a Venetian entrepreneur.

In its heyday, the mill employed 1500 people, and Stucky was a well-respected figure in Venice, helping to reclaim the marshlands in the south of the Veneto region to transform into agricultural areas, and being ahead of his time in promoting the Biennale.

His death in 1910 came as something of a shock, particularly as rumour has it that he was murdered on the steps of the train station by one of his workers – who also happened to be the jealous husband of Stucky’s lover.

Statue of Giovanni Stucky in the grounds of the Hilton Molino Stucky hotel. Photo © Sally FitzGerald

The mill passed to Stucky’s son, but in 1955, due to the aftermath of war and tough economic conditions, the company faced bankruptcy. The mill, which had often been referred to as one of the most beautiful flour mills in Europe thanks to its striking red bricks and princess tower, was abandoned.

For the next 50 years it remained unloved. The windows lost their glass and ivy crept up the walls to conceal the building’s former glory.

Thankfully, at the end of the 1990’s, Hilton Hotels recognised the potential in the disintegrating building, and eventually it reopened in 2007 as Venice’s largest hotel and conference centre, after a thorough but respectful renovation. The Hilton team honoured the history of the building, preserving as many original features as possible, such as the wooden ceilings and iron pillars.

The colour scheme of the 379 rooms embraces a muted palette of creams, beiges, whites and browns to reflect the colours of the flour originally produced in the mill. Handpainted decorations pay tribute to the seafaring history of Venice, while beautiful examples of Murano glass celebrate the traditional crafts of the area.

And if you choose a room with a view, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Waking up to the sight of the canal flowing in front of the majestic palazzos opposite, you’ll feel like the luckiest person on Earth.

Who wouldn’t love to stay in a room with views like this? Photo © Sally FitzGerald

A pool with a view

At this point, I have a confession to make.

We arrived in Venice on a very hot Saturday afternoon in June and I was delighted to find that the Alilaguna blue line took us straight from the airport to the Giudecca Stucky dock, located right outside the hotel.

Once I had walked through the hotel doors into the cooling embrace of the air conditioning and welcoming front of house staff, I didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t face the crowds of weekend tourists ticking off the main sights in the intense heat. So we didn’t.

For the rest of the day we simply enjoyed the hotel. And I didn’t regret my decision for a second.

After a leisurely exploration of the hotel grounds to orientate ourselves, it was time to visit the rooftop pool.

To make sure the pool is never overcrowded, 2-hour slots are available to book. It’s worth it for the 360 degree views of Venice alone. Forget queuing for the Campanile, here you get to view Venice from a really unique perspective.

Add to that the cool water that brings your body temperature back down to something resembling normal and revives your aching muscles and your two hours fly by before you know it.

Experiencing Hilton Molino Stucky’s Skyline Rooftop Bar

After a quick shower, we made our way back up to the Skyline Rooftop Bar.

Located next to the pool, this bar is often recommended in guidebooks for its unrivaled views across Venice, and while that attracts the tourists, it’s the cocktails that have locals reserving their tables.

At Easter this year, Head Mixologist Sebastian and his team joined forces with the chef to come up with a cocktail menu with a difference. They experimented with techniques and ingredients to create some unique flavour combinations and unusually, they paid just as much attention to the non-alcoholic mocktails as they did to the alcoholic cocktails, so it’s genuinely hard to decide which one to try.

For example, ‘Diva’ combines Vodka Absolut Elyx with St Germain liquor, Bitter Chinato Nardini, Champagne Pommery and rosolio liqueur, while ‘Prodigio’ pairs 0 per cent gin with amaretti non-alcoholic distillate, wildflower honey from the lagoon, lemon juice, chamomile and star anise infusion.

The Smokey Old Fashion is particularly impressive as it arrives at your table under a glass dome which is then lifted to let the cloud of smoke escape, and your drink is served alongside chunks of dark chocolate and apple slices so you can alter the flavour with each sip.

The Skyline Rooftop Bar is renowned for its amazing views and creative cocktails. Photo © Sally FitzGerald

Why foodies will love Hilton Molino Stucky’s restaurants

Drinks leisurely savoured, to conclude our perfect first day in Venice we headed to the Aromi restaurant.

The hotel has three restaurants. The Rialto is open all day and features international cuisine in a relaxed setting. Aromi is a space for fine dining with an Italian/Asian fusion, and Bacaromi celebrates classic Venetian cuisine, including cicchetti.

Aromi captured our attention thanks to its signature four course tasting menu. It’s the mastermind of Chef Ivan Fargnoli, who joined the hotel as Executive Chef in April this year. Born just outside Milan, Chef Ivan started cooking alongside his father at the age of 12, learning traditional Italian dishes. At 20, he moved to China to refine his skills, where he learned his trade from French chefs. He remained in China for almost 20 years, before returning to Italy this year to join Hilton Molino Stucky.

The result of the many influences on his culinary career is his ability to perfectly balance a fusion of flavours as Asian ingredients creep into classic Italian dishes to add a beautiful depth of flavour or a twist to the classic texture.

Not all restaurants can offer a great view as well as amazing food. Photo © Sally FitzGerald

The menus change seasonally, but you can always expect a taste sensation.

Think thinly cut slices of goose breast where the richness of the meat is cut through by the slightly bitter crunch of a cacao nib.

Imagine handmade pasta adorned with a red pesto sauce where the sharpness of sun-dried tomatoes is toned down by creamy mascarpone, creating a korma-like flavour.

Finally envisage a dessert where black garlic ice cream is paired with fresh soft cheese, rhubarb and puffed rice, in an indulgent take on a deconstructed cheesecake. Every single ingredient is carefully considered and knows the role it has to play in the dish.

With an amuse bouche and petit fours to top and tail the dinner, Chef Ivan presents you with just the right portion sizes to fully satisfy without leaving you feeling overindulged.

Experience this at a table on the terrace, alongside the tasting menu of wines to match every course, and you have yourself an evening that feels like you’re celebrating a very special occasion, even if you don’t quite know what it is.

A foodie paradise all day long

In fact, the Hilton Molino Stucky is a food-lover’s paradise at any time of the day. The breakfast buffet is unbelievable, offering everything from vegan peach croissants to freshly made pancakes, fruit, cheese, pastries, doughnuts, Stucky pudding and ‘full English’. There’s even a honeycomb you can collect your fresh honey from!

It’s not often you can collect your own honey for breakfast! Photo © Sally FitzGerald

The hotel has its own gelato cart in the Rialto bar where you can indulge in a choice of gelato whenever the urge takes you, and if you’re enthusiastic about cooking, the hotel also offers a Burano cookie baking class with the hotel pastry chef.

After our wonderfully relaxing first day at the hotel and a very comfortable and restorative sleep, we were finally ready to face the masses at San Marco. With the hotel’s private boat travelling to San Marco and back every 30 minutes or so (costing just €15 for your entire stay), plus a vaporetto stop just a 5 minute walk from the hotel, exploring Venice is incredibly easy from here. Another reason it makes the perfect base.

As room prices start from just €200 a night, this hotel offers a really affordable and perfectly placed taste of luxury in one of the most beautiful cities on Earth.

So next time you’re considering a trip to Venice, don’t give your accommodation a second though, just head straight to Hilton Molino Stucky. It’s certainly where you’ll find me.

Looking for more inspiration for how to enjoy authentic Venetian cuisine? Learn how to do a foodie tour of Venice