Secreted away on Giudecca Island is the glamorous, lagoon-facing Belmond Hotel Cipriani, originally opened in 1958 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the infamous Harry’s Bar and the creator of that ubiquitous brunch cocktail, the Bellini. The peach-hued 15th-century palazzo is styled with Murano glass chandeliers and Fortuny and Rubelli fabrics and has a Michelin-starred chef in house and several knockout restaurants all set on manicured grounds. The hotel is kept safe from the prying eyes of paparazzi behind a castlelike wall. No wonder it’s the luxury hideout of choice for celebrities (Mick Jagger is a fan) and the jet set.
If guests do feel like venturing out, the hotel offers one-of-a-kind outings with expert local guides such as a nighttime photography stroll, a visit to area wineries and farms via boat, and a kayak paddle on the lagoon.
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Take a closer look on a map, and you’ll see that Giudecca Island is a patchwork of several smaller islands connected by canals and bridges. Dotted with historic homes and a few hotels, this largely residential island is a toned-down alternative to bustling St. Mark’s Square, but still just a five-minute boat ride (by private shuttle, available 24 hours for guests) away from that social piazza.
Need to Know
Rooms: 43 rooms, 52 suites. From $1,300. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: There are five restaurants and bars at the hotel, the standout being Oro, a golden-domed, fine-dining destination with Michelin-starred chef Davide Bisetto in charge. Adorned with original artwork inside—and picturesque views and a terrace outside—Cips Club also has a Mediterranean menu but is less formal. Savory cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and wines from around the world are on the menu at charming enoteca La Via Della Sete. Gabbiano Bar is a favorite for a cocktail at sunset, and lunch at the Porticciolo Pool Restaurant bordered by the iconic red-and-white-swirled gondola poles is not to be missed in warmer months. Spa and gym details: The Casanova Wellness Centre, set in the garden, has an extensive menu of revitalizing facials, massages, and signature treatments. Keep up with workout routines in the garden-facing state-of-the-art gym, in the saltwater Olympic-size pool, or on the red-clay tennis courts.
Who's it for: Food-savvy luxury travelers. Our favorite rooms: With frescoed ceilings, antique furnishings, lagoon-facing floor-to-ceiling windows framed by ornate curtains, and ornate marble bathrooms and floors, the Palladio suite is fit for royalty. The terrace, with a sitting area and private plunge pool set in a garden, make this suite beautiful inside and out. On the lagoon: The hotel has partnered with the storied Venetian rowing club to offer guests private gondola tours, complete with wine and cicchetti, on board the banana-yellow boats.