The Lido of Venice began to be a destination for seaside tourism starting from the second half of the nineteenth century, a time of important urbanization interventions that transformed the town inhabited by a few hundred people into a summer resort for the aristocracy, becoming an inspiring muse also for foreign authors from Johann Wolfgang Goethe to Lord Byron to Percy Bysshe Shelley to Thomas Mann (in the twentieth century).
However, the greatest economic development took place in the first decade of the twentieth century with the construction, in 1900, of the first large luxury hotel - the Hotel Des Bains - and subsequently in 1908 of the second, the Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort: it is said that on 21 July more than 30,000 Venetians and over 3,000 guests from all over the world attended the inauguration of the Excelsior.
Overlooking the beach of Lido di Venezia, this resort represents a masterpiece of Venetian art from the early twentieth century, whose architecture is reminiscent of Arab-Gothic structures. The manufacture was commissioned by the entrepreneur Nicolò Spada, President of the Italian Grand Hotel Company (C.I.G.A), who entrusted the work to the Venetian architect Giovanni Sardi who finished the work in seventeen years.
The beauty of the luxurious residence, with its 197 rooms and suites, event spaces and exclusive private beaches of fine golden sand and characteristic huts, attracted numerous illustrious people, of whom they remember: the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill , The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, actress Marlene Dietrich, heiress and philanthropist Barbara Hutton, writer John Steinbeck, actress Ingrid Bergman.
In 1932 - at the elegant terrace of the Hotel Excelsior - the first International Film Art Exhibition took place, projecting the place into the magical world of Cinema; even today, during the Film Festival, the resort hosts some collateral events in its spaces, also favoring the participation of international artists of the caliber of Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
It is also curious to think that in the early twentieth century the Lido beach experienced some important moments of Italian aviation, becoming a landing strip for pilots; on the Excelsior beach, on 19 September 1911 the Venetian Achille Dal Mistro transported the first air mail to Italy.
The first Lido meteorological observation station was installed at the Hotel Excelsior in 1912, which was then moved to the Ospizio Marino area around 1920, where it remained until its transformation in 1939 into a Bioclimatological Observatory, setting up the area of the Sea Hospital.
In April 2014, during renovations, a small portion of the Excelsior hotel roof caught fire, damaging a small part of the large copper dome.
In December 2016 the hotel passed under the management of London & Regional Properties Group, implementing a recapitalization plan in partnership with Coima SGR. These are implementing a series of renovations to the Excelsior and De Bains to bring them back to their former glory, with the completion of the works between 2020 and 2022.