This five-star behemoth with a prime location on the water is part luxury hotel, part eclectic art museum, with antiques, Asian art works and exhibits of ancient fans, corkscrews and tapestries dotted throughout. It’s no dusty grand dame, however; on the contrary, owner Gloria Beggiato has transformed the hotel into a chic boutique with rooms furnished with a classic Oriental theme. The building has an incredible history, beginning life in the Middle Ages as the Ospedale della Pietà, serving as a charitable institution for orphans and abandoned girls, and later a music school (Vivaldi taught violin here in the early 18th c.). Converted into a hotel in 1895, Sigmund Freud was an early guest along with Thomas Mann in 1900, who allegedly wrote parts of “Death in Venice” here.