Sunday, February 27, 2011

Venice, Italy - Hotel Cipriani

Day 6 of Italy week here at Destinations Perfected brings us to the magical island of Venice, and how apropos: just last night 80,000 people descended upon St. Mark's Square for the annual Flight of the Angel. A magnificently costume clad 'angel' swings from the St. Mark's bell tower offering homage to the Doge and thus officially kicks off the week-long celebration known as Carnevale.
(Photo ©
Venice is, indeed, the most unique city in the world. A mind-dizzying maze of footbridge covered canals, secret alleyways, dead ends, a spoken dialect all their own, gondolas, typical venetian cicchetti and wine bars, acqua alta (that's serious floods in english!) and some of the most magnificent private homes or palazzi in the world, not to mention museums such as the Guggenheim, I challenge you to find a more novel working city than Venice.

The only downside to Venice is that, because it is so remarkable, everyone wants to see it. The crowds in high season can overshadow the brilliance of the city, and with such narrow passageways, can be downright annoying. My favorite remedy for this is a visit to the idyllic Hotel Cipriani on its own island just across the Grand Canal. Even if you are not staying at the Hotel Cipriani (though I can't imagine why) you can board their complimentary shuttle service to and from the hotel, and enjoy the scenery of Venice from the water. Once at the hotel, you can relax with one of their spa treatments, have a drink at the bar or even dine in their restaurant, then have a walk around the grounds and return back by boat to the 'mainland.'
St. Mark's Square, this is where the Hotel Cipriani private shuttle departs from
When gondola rides cost upwards of $100 and local vaporetti (water buses) are packed like sardines with people, the shuttle to the Cipriani is free of charge for guests and never seats more than eight people. Now you have a chance to get out on the Grand Canal and feel as if you are in your own private motorboat. To catch the boat, look for the sign that reads 'Cipriani' on the dock that is located right where St. Mark's Square spits out onto the Grand Canal (more or less the photo shown above).
St. Mark's bell tower as seen from the Grand Canal
It is so refreshing to leave the crowds behind, see the monuments from afar, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of boat activity that takes place on the Grand Canal itself. Here I am enjoying the sunshine on the Cipriani motorboat on the ride over to the hotel:
Enjoying the ride over to the Hotel Cipriani on their complimentary shuttle service
The Quantum of Solace yacht docked on the Grand Canal
I was in Venice this past July for the annual Redentore fireworks celebration over the Grand Canal and took the opportunity to go have a drink (or two!) in the shade with my friends by the beautiful pool, surrounded by lovely greenery, at the Cipriani. We all had wonderfully frothy rum punch concoctions and finally caught a breeze, as the heatwave was stifling. Later on in the evening, I joined them aboard their yacht for the amazing fireworks show.
Drinks by the pool with my friends: the crew of the mega-yacht Quantum of Solace, shown above
The hotel and surrounding grounds are impeccably landscaped and you should certainly take a walk around and explore the gardens. The property provides a true peaceful retreat from the hectic pace of everyday life. 
Drinks by the beautiful pool
A frothy rum punch
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  1. What a fabulous trip! I haven't been to Venice in a decade, but I definitely want to return for Carnevale one year.

  2. Venice, city of love, who would doubt it!

  3. Cipriani is a marvelous place to book in and enjoy great services and nice comfort rates.