Defined by its extraordinary location which is in the heart of a city and yet quite separate from it. the Cipriani is directly across from St Mark’s Square with its palaces, campanile, cathedral and thousands of visitors and yet there is a water’s breadth between them. You can look, but you cannot touch until you take your liveried launch across. It is a hotel that offers the best of both worlds – being there, and not being there. how wonderful it is after a day’s sightseeing, shopping, savouring delicacies and sipping Bellinis to retire from the madding crowd and return to the cool elegant environs of the Cip, as it is known to aficionados.
Here, bathed in the golden light of sunset, or escaping from the heat of the day, guests can relax by the pool or in the Casanova Spa before preparing for lunch or dinner at any of the hotel’s three restaurants. Small potentates and princesses repair to the Smile Club @ the Cip where they will be amused while their parents relax. Those looking for a little extra seclusion can head through the gardens to the suites of the Palazzo Vendramin where butlers await to cater for their every whim. If super-luxury has a name it is Cipriani.
Drama, mystery, romance
The best way to see Venice is from the water so take your own private cruise through the canals. Do it in the early morning as Venice wakes and ask the concierge to organise the hotel’s boat for you. Return to the smell of great coffee and breakfast on the terrace.
Make a little romance and kiss under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset. Piazza San Macro, the swish of pigeons taking flight, a gondolier serenading lovers glides gently by … just heaven.
Once in your lifetime you must experience Claudio Ponzio serving you a Bellini in Harry’s Bar – he’s been pouring them for over 30 years. Book a corner table downstairs as did Ernest Hemingway, who set scenes in this very bar in his books ‘Across the River’ and ‘Into the Trees’. Make your own romantic scene and continue the legend.
On the island of Torcello a humble wine and oil shop became what is now Locanda Cipriani. Go by private speedboat for lunch on the terrace. The place is run by Bonifacio Brass, nephew of Harry Cipriani. Perfect dining and hospitality definitely runs in the family. Savour Carla’s version of John Dory or the herb risotto, and gaze at the 11th-century Cathedral. Unforgettable.
After dinner wander down to theÂ Hotel Gritti Palace and get a grip on some grappa. A 16th century palazzo with the most enchanting view overlooking the Grand Canal. The romance of it all will melt your heart as you sit where royalty and other illustrious visitors have sat and been mesmerized too.
If you love vegetarian food you’ll cross the world to dine at Osteria La Zucca. The potato cake is spud heaven. Or order the pumpkin flan, which is so utterly delicious it leaves pumpkin pie in its gondola wake. Save some room for the dark seduction of their chocolate mousse or the zing of the mint semi-freddo.