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Review: San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice


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Venice has only two luxury hotels with a great, resort-style pool area. San Clemente Palace Kempinski and Belmond Hotel Cipriani. San Clemente Palace Kempinski is located on the private island of San Clemente, minutes away from Piazza San Marco by complimentary boat.

Venice’s magical winding waterways are famous worldwide, with tens of millions of tourists traveling to the UNESCO world heritage site every year. Visitors can discover the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the 11th-century St Mark’s Basilica while navigating the 42 kilometers of canals on elegant gondolas.

The luxury San Clemente Palace Kempinski offers an escape from the madness of central Venice. If you stay here, you will enjoy a palatial getaway with a Venetian ambiance, surrounded by gorgeous gardens.

It’s worth mentioning that the vast lawns are perfect for sunbathing but also offer an impressive wedding venue. This Kempinski not only sets up weddings in their gardens, but this island also offers an ancient church for ceremonies.

Book a room at any Kempinski via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free breakfast, upgrades, and other complimentary VIP benefits at luxury hotels like Four Seasons, Belmond, Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Aman, InterContinental, and more at no extra cost.

Location Of San Clemente Palace Kempinski

San Clemente Palace Kempinski is located on a little island off the main city of Venice. It’s around 40 minutes from Venice airport, and we picked up a water taxi from the airport straight to the hotel for €150. What a way to arrive! Our arrival was doubly dramatic, with thunder and lightning flashing in the sky in the distance as dusk fell across Venice.

Style & Character

When we arrived at the Kempinski pontoon, we were greeted by the extremely attentive and stylish staff. They guided us off the pontoon, up the red carpet (yes, there really is a red carpet), and across the cobbled square that forms the landing stage for the hotel.

This square offers views out towards Venice, with the silhouette of St. Mark’s bell tower in the distance. In the evening, the sunsets are fabulous from this vantage point, and the gorgeous red and white twisted poles which form the boundary of the pier make this spot massively instagramable.

To one side of this ancient square is San Clemente Church, a beautiful venue with an illustrious past dating back to 1131. Venetians funded the construction of a chapel inside the church to fulfill a vow made during the plague in 1630. Modeled on the Santa Casa di Loreto, this addition occupies the place of the main altar, creating a church-within-a-church which remains one of the structure’s most intriguing features. The church also contains a 12th-century sacristy- one of Venice’s oldest places of worship and an inspired setting for intimate events.

The main restaurant has tables sitting next to the water’s edge bordered by the church, and behind these tables sits the alfresco part of the hotel bar. This decked area has comfy sofas and is the perfect place to enjoy a drink or a light bite as the sun goes down. This whole area enjoys tinkling music and service from the most conscientious bar and restaurant staff.

Once inside, the hotel is palatial. Halls are decked in marble with pillars and stunning chandeliers. Grand staircases lead up to rooms, and ceilings are meters high.

Service & Facilities

Outside, this 75 acre island is large enough for a decent stroll or jog (apparently, the jogging path is 1.5km long), and the setting is magical, right on the water’s edge.

As outlined above, the only luxury hotels in Venice with a great resort-style pool area are San Clemente Palace Kempinski and Belmond Hotel Cipriani. There are other hotels with pools in Venice which include the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, which has a small rooftop pool, and JW Marriott, which has a rooftop and a family pool, but none of these pools are very big, nor is it possible to do laps in these pools. For a decent, resort-style pool area, you really only have two choices.

The outdoor pool at the Kempinski is stunning and is a big reason to choose this resort. It is surrounded by more than enough comfy loungers and lawns beyond, with more loungers laid out. Next to the pool is Buddha-Bar Beach that play funky music and serves lunch dishes and evening drinks. This poolside restaurant and bar area are completely surrounded by lush greenery and exotic palm trees.


Rooms at San Clemente Palace Kempinski are palatial, with hugely high ceilings, Murano glass chandeliers, gold-hued fabric wallpaper, and gold-trimmed furnishings. You feel like you have stepped back in time when you enter them, and although they are not modern, they definitely feel Venetian. The bathrooms are large, with a bath and separate shower. I am also pleased to report that the beds are huge and comfortable, and our room was beautifully cool and quiet, with the merest hint of a water taxi in the distance to remind us that we were in Venice. Nice touches include complimentary bottled sparkling and still water in the evenings, a free minibar with soft drinks, and lovely-smelling Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries.

Food & Drink

Insieme Restaurant is where you take breakfast. It has both an indoor and an outdoor seating area. The outdoor area is in an atmospheric Venetian inner courtyard. The spread is extensive and generous, with a hot and cold buffet, wonderful fruit, Italian pastries, cakes, and more generic eggs, sausages, smoked salmon, and cold meats. The only thing missing is an egg chef, but I’m hoping this will be re-introduced in the future, as I know hotels in Venice are finding it tough to recruit staff this year.

For an alfresco daytime eating experience by the pool, The Buddha-Bar Beach at San Clemente Palace Kempinski is particularly good and features a unique culinary experience that combines the signature dishes of the famous Buddha-Bar with unique local Italian and Mediterranean dishes and flavors.

The Clemente Bar is a stylish American Bar, perfect for a coffee or a cocktail when you need air-conditioning or if the weather is not good enough to sit outside, but if the weather is good, the Sunset Bar is the place to be while watching a breath-taking sunset over the lagoon and the city of Venice.

One evening during our stay, we enjoyed a meal at Acquerello Restaurant under the parasols on the cobbled square. The food was Italian, with tasty fresh pasta dishes and delicious fresh fish mains, all delivered with great care.


The San Clemente Palace Kempinski offers a Venetian ambiance on a private island with one of the best hotel pools in Venice. The complimentary boat trip into St Mark’s Square is fun. The sunset bar is wonderfully memorable.

Note: Benefits & upgrades subject to availability. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing. Terms & conditions apply. Enquire for more information. Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.