Three of the Best Venetian Retreats

Photo by Huidici

by Francesca Syz, The Daily Telegraph, May 9, 2016

There is an inimitable glamour to arriving anywhere by speedboat, but especially Venice. In no time, we are hopping off our Riva-esque water taxi and on to the jetty of the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa.

JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa Isola delle Rose

On its own private island, the resort, which opened a year ago, is a 12-minute complimentary shuttle-boat ride from Piazza San Marco, a journey that whisks you past both the legendary Cipriani on Giudecca and the San Clemente Palace Kempinski. The pretty Isola delle Rose, once the site of a hospital for respiratory illnesses run by Cappuchin monks, then derelict for 30 years, is now a sleek resort and spa set within beautifully landscaped parkland. 

The property inhabits 21 of the island’s original buildings, including a church, many dating back to the 1900s. There are rooms to suit everyone – from couples wanting privacy to multigenerational groups (there is a heated family pool in a tucked-away corner of the gardens, a friendly kids’ club, and a deli for takeaway sandwiches, ideal for picnics). The interior design feels part-art deco, part-modernist, and is seasoned with dusky velvet cushions and rustic woven baskets. 

Stay in the main hotel building and you are no more than a minute from a fantastic buffet breakfast in the light, airy ground-floor Cucina restaurant (best enjoyed prosecco in hand, if you have the slightest inclination), and the cookery school, which offers trips to local food markets followed by a class and lunch. You are equally close to the Sagra rooftop restaurant, the perfect spot for a relaxed Italian supper. Its menu is loaded with delicious local ingredients, from buttery scallops with Parmesan and black truffle to gnocchi with sweet Gorgonzola and walnuts. Just beyond the restaurant are an outdoor bar and an infinity-edged heated rooftop pool, with views of Piazza San Marco’s campanile, Palladio’s Redentore church and Santa Maria della Salute. 

Elsewhere on the island – which you can stroll around in about half an hour or shoot across on one of the hotel bicycles – there are rooms with leafy terraces, maisonettes with plunge pools and gardens sweeping down to the lagoon, all just a short stroll from the Michelin-starred restaurant Dopolavoro. 

Book a treatment at GOCO spa, which is set within its own gardens and offers excellent organic facials by German skincare brand Amala. There are few nicer spots than one of the vast daybeds next to its lagoon-side indoor-outdoor pool.

Deluxe doubles from £270 
(0039 041 852 1300; )

Cima Rosa, Santa CroceCima Rosa Santa Croce

In a converted 15th-century palazzo right on the Grand Canal, Venetian Daniele Vallot and his American wife, Brittany, opened this three-suite B&B in 2012. Each elegant, antique-filled bedroom feels cosy, with wonky beams and mullioned windows, and there is a leafy courtyard for breakfast on warm days. A real local’s neighbourhood, Santa Croce is packed with authentic restaurants.

Doubles from £140
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Bernini, Dorsoduro Bernini Dorsoduro 

Located opposite the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the canal-facing two-bedroom Bernini apartment has industrial-chic style. It feels like a real home because it is – the owners come here on holiday as often as possible – and there is a well-equipped kitchen. While the main bedroom is off the living room, the second is on a mezzanine level, with a relaxation area.

One-week stays from £775
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This article was written by Francesca Syz from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.