|Photo by Freeimages.com/Constantin Hudici|
by Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, June 15, 2016
One of two signature suites in one of Venice ’s most storied hotels, the Belmond Cipriani ’s Palladio Suite offers a perfect combination of elegant luxury, celebrity-approved privacy and achingly good lagoon views.
The details: Opened in 1958 by the founder of Harry’s Bar and inventor of the Bellini Giuseppe Cipriani, the hotel has welcomed the rich and famous for almost 60 years. Few of those lucky enough to have stayed in the Palladio Suite (among them George Clooney, who stayed in the suite shortly after marrying Amal Alamuddin in Venice in 2014) can have left disappointed. Inside it’s a sprawling, sumptuous riot of marble, oil paintings, Murano-glass chandeliers and antique furniture, which, coupled with a shaded, jasmine-scented terrace with private plunge pool, provides welcome tranquility in what tends to be a rather hectic city.
The suite’s position, on a pedestal at the southern tip of the property, permits 180-degree views that stretch from the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Andrea Palladio and from which the suite gets its name; the monastery and island of San Clemente; and an expanse of the Venetian lagoon stretching all the way to the Lido. Those views can even be enjoyed from bed, thanks to full-length windows.
At 970sq ft (90sq metres), the Palladio isn’t huge by Dream Suite standards, but it is swamped in natural light, making it feel larger. A small entrance leads on to a colonnaded dining area (this sort of classic opulence can be hard to get used to – I kept stubbing my toes on the columns); beyond orchids borne by colossal wooden vases lies the living room, whose crowning glory is a trompe l'oeil ceiling painting of a blue sky (lest the weather spoil your chances of seeing the real thing). It’s far from the only spot of artistic flair – other walls are adorned with eye-catching, mural-like watercolours depicting mountains, cypress trees and characters in traditional dress.
There’s also a small dressing room, while the main bathroom features an enormous round tub, a hoard of Bulgari toiletries, and enough mirrors to satisfy even the vainest traveller.
The style: Firmly traditional and packed to the rafters with antiques. The exquisite dressing table in the bedroom is a Louis XVI, the collection of angel statues date from the same period; even the wooden Chinese chest on which the television rests dates back to the 18th century. The curtains come from renowned Venetian firm Rubelli. The lamps and chandeliers are all – of course – from Murano.
The only modern conveniences are the aforementioned TV and a Nespresso machine (Clooney would approve).
Standout feature: Whole weekends, particularly during hot weather when the small plunge pool comes into its own, could be lost lounging on the suite’s beautifully concealed terrace, listening to the chiming of the church bells, birdsong, and the puttering of passing motor boats. Special mention too for the incredibly detailed miniature chocolate handbag presented to us as a fun treat from the kitchen.
Not so keen: There was little to keep us occupied in the evening, bar a few niche coffee table books (Floors of Venice, anyone?). A few DVDs or board games and a radio would have been nice. We also had an issue with ants finding their way into the bathroom but, the hotel assures us, this problem has been resolved.
The hotel: Leaving the suite is like stumbling into a country club. Be sure to explore the manicured gardens, home to sculptures, a duck pond, herb garden and small vineyard. Need a proper swim? The heated, seawater pool is Olympic-sized; be sure to get Walter Bolzonella, the Cipriani’s head barman for more than 35 years, to whip up a mojito while you do a couple of laps.
The Adam D. Tihany-designed, Michelin-starred Oro offers innovative fine dining, while the more informal Cip’s Club has views across the Guidecca Canal towards the Santa Maria della Salute.
On warm evenings, guests gather at Cip's Club for informal Venetian cuisine and exceptional city views
Location: On Guidecca island. It suits those who want away from the bustle, but is just a complimentary, five-minute private boat transfer from St Mark’s. The Palladio Suite has its own private launch.
The details: The Palladio Suite costs from €8,470 (£6,500) per night, including breakfast. Standard doubles start at €965 (£740). To book visit the Belmond Cipriani website or call call +39 041 240 801.
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This article was written by Oliver Smith from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.