So no, we didn’t stay at the Hotel Danieli, even though Gwyneth stays there and people worldwide wax poetic about it’s sensual allure.  And being the intrepid tourists that we are, and snobs of all things including, but not limited to food and interiors, we had to check it out.  I’m going to say right now that the pictures I have seen of the Danieli lobby and its intricate staircase make it seem larger than life.

In reality, it is beautiful in a shabby chic kind of way, with plush overstuffed chairs, enormous Murano chandeliers and waitstaff right out of the pages of a novel.  It is nowhere near as large as I had imagined, but it is grand in its own way.  Several of my favorite things about it were the tremendous painting (museum worthy) of Venice, as well as the ‘walls’ of fresh orchids scattered around the various seating areas.

As we are not ones to gawk and leave, we settled in for an afternoon pick-me-up.  I, with an espresso, and my sister with an unusual concoction called a ‘Laguna Sunset’ which incorporated aperol (the Campari-like bitter liquor), Cynar (the artichoke liquor), Stoli and finished with a rather large orange peel and a lovely cluster of fresh currants.  In addition, my espresso came with assorted italian cookies, and my sister’s with salty snacks.  Here is our memorable repast:

And a close-up of the Laguna Sunset…

And a few pics of the interior…

And there’s my sister busy sketching the food (she got all the talent, I just yack!).  The best part about the whole visit was when I asked for ‘il conto’, the waiter asked if I would like to put it on my room…touche’ Gwyneth!