With its unique location, secreted away at the tip of the Giudecca Island and commanding magnificent views over the Doge’s Palace and the shimmering waters of the lagoon, Hotel Cipriani stands out from any other luxury hotel in Venice.
This is one of those timeless hotels that just oozes old-fashioned glamour and style. The experience begins before you even check in, as the hotel’s speedboat picks up new guests outside the Piazza San Marco and whisks them across the water to the hotel. As you step off the boat, you’re greeted by the world’s smoothest ‘doorman’ Roberto Senigaglia – who treats every guest like a Hollywood star.
The lobby is surprisingly muted and underwhelming, but all that changes as you are taken to your room, which along with the jaw-dropping views, is stuffed with every luxury product imaginable. The Cipriani is not one of those grande dame hotels that sits on its laurels, though, as there have been many changes recently: aside from an upgrade to many of the rooms, a new (and very luxurious) spa has been opened, while there’s also an exclusive boutique arcade with couture fashion, jewellery, and Venetian specialities like Murano glass, silk and satin accessories and delicate handmade lace.
The Cipriani is not to be confused with Harry’s Bar (which is owned by Mr Cipriani, but has no link today with the hotel), but it very much shares the same sense of being an ultra-glam and utterly iconic Venice address. To confirm the point, if you go for a walk along the quayside outside the hotel, you pass the private palazzo of the hotel’s next-door neighbour, Elton John.
- Sitting out on the waterside terrace of Cip’s club, watching the sun set over the Serenissima
- Zipping back and forth to San Marco on the hotel’s private speedboat
- Asking Walter Bonzanella, the head barman, to shake you a ‘Buona Notte’ cocktail (which was invented by George Clooney when he stayed at the hotel)
- Lazing by the pool and hearing the loudhailer of passing tourists boats pointing out the Cipriani as Princess Diana’s favourite hotel
Need to Know: Hotel Cipriani
Number of rooms: 95
Check-in/check-out times: 3pm and 12noon
Room service: Yes
Swimming pool: Yes
Spa: Yes (Thai treatments, Personalised Cipriani treatments)
Dogs welcome: Yes (if small)
Eating and drinking: Fortuny Restaurant is the hotel’s signature dining spot – it’s chic and formal, so expect to dress up to the nines if you come here in the evening. The menu is traditional Venetian cuisine, complemented by international comfort food; there’s an excellent cheese selection and an outstanding (but expensive) wine list. On the other hand, situated at the back of the hotel on a wooden terrace over the water with fabulous views over San Marco, Cip’s club is a more relaxed place for lunch and dinner. During the day, if you can drag yourself away from the loungers, there’s casual poolside dining with a fun barbecue ambience.
Near to? Miles away from all the crowds – which is the whole point of staying in one of the world’s most exclusive hotel, after all. The sights and boutiques of San Marco and the rest of Venice are still just four minutes away on the Cipriani’s boat.
Getting there: From Marco Polo airport the hotel is around 45 minutes by Alilaguna boat to San Zaccaria – where the Cipriani’s private launch will ferry you over the water. Most guests, though, take a private water taxi from the airport, which takes around 30 minutes door to door.