Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice is undoubtedly one of the best luxury hotels in the world. Once you’ve stepped inside this glamorous Narnia and sampled its stunning rooms, exquisite gardens, and perfect pool, you will find it hard to leave. This exclusive hideaway under the Mediterranean sunshine also happens to enjoy dreamy views across Venice.
What sets Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice apart from other magnificent hotels such as Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel, is the wonderfully warm staff who are clearly employed partially for their gorgeously, welcoming and kind personalities as well as the intense level of relaxation you can enjoy here. I can’t think of a more peaceful and exclusive pool area anywhere in the world.
George Clooney chose Belmond Hotel Cipriani Venice as the location for his marriage to Amal Alamuddin. When you stay, you’ll probably spot photos of him, Matt Damon, and other A-list celebrities staring out of their windows pensively or looking beautiful by the pool. But no one’s here to celebrity spot. The well-heeled clientele couldn’t be less interested in your status. If you’ve afforded a room here, you have nothing to be jealous of. You’ve already made of. If you are curious to befriend your fellow guests or want to listen in on conversations, the place to do this is from your lounger between dips in the Olympic-sized pool, and the guests, staff, and even the falconer are as friendly as you want them to be.
If you can’t decide where to stay in Venice, we compare Belmond Cipriani Vs. Aman Vs. Gritti Palace Vs. Hotel Danieli, Venezia, A Four Seasons Hotel separately to help you decide which hotel will work best for you.
Nestled on the tip of Giudecca Island, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani is just 40 minutes by water taxi from Venice airport (around €150 EUR each way) and a short boat ride across the water from St Mark’s Square. For us, Venice is largely inconsequential to our stay. The maze of iffy scented canals, tiny passageways, pushy selfie stick vendors, stifling heat, and the crazy kamikaze pigeons in St Marks Square can all be hard to bear for prolonged periods.
We might pop over to St Mark’s Square for a coffee or visit an art gallery, but we are always very quickly convinced that we were foolish to battle with the seething masses when we could be enjoying the peace and serenity of the Cipriani grounds. So it is a relief when the hotel’s shiny mahogany motorboat picks you up from the hotel’s jetty just off St Mark’s Square, whisking you back to the gated solace of the hotel. You can request this complimentary pickup at absolutely any time of the day or night by just picking up the phone on the jetty, a stylish way to escape the madness that is Venice.
Style & Character
Unlike many historic palatial hotels in Venice, Hotel Cipriani offers a more modern, classic hotel design dripping with luxury fabrics and murano glass chandeliers. The staff here, in particular, gives the hotel a unique character. They have the time to share stories of their families as they meet and get to know yours. Many regular guests here have become more like family members and are remembered and treated exceptionally well. This is a place you will return to.
A particular highlight is the falconer. This friendly Italian man and his bird appear every morning at breakfast and every evening by the bar to combat the pigeons that have escaped from St Mark’s Square. These feathered pests have a penchant for any breakfast titbits and bar nibbles and will happily land on your armrest and try to grab a bite. The Falcon and his master do a fantastic job of terrorizing the local pigeons away from the lucky guests residing at the hotel and enjoying their breakfast or the bar, and he also offers a fantastic spectacle to watch as you sip your coffee or glass of wine.
Service & Facilities
A highlight of the hotel is the Olympic size pool which is by far the best pool in Venice. It’s vast, surrounded by gardens, the waterside restaurant, and the bar open through the day and into the evening. The pool area is under the command of a diligent serving team who do their best to find an ideal spot to while away your day poolside. Loungers are arranged and set up with just the right amount of shade, and still and sparkling water along with apples are provided free of charge to keep guests hydrated. Other than the size of this saltwater pool, what is noteworthy is the space around it. Plenty of loungers are available, and you can always find a little peace and quiet if you wish. Crucially the pool and its surrounds never feel too busy, which makes it an utterly relaxing place to spend your time.
The gardens at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani are also beautiful. You can stroll underneath archways of roses and sweet-smelling white flowers, find a place on the lawns to laze, say hello to the friendly ducks in the duck pond or stroll through the kitchen garden. Tennis players can play a game or two on the secluded clay court, and parents can shuffle children off to the kids club and enjoy the Spa and Wellness center if they wish.
We love the Junior Suite Pool room (around €2,500 EUR per night in season), which is ideal for our boy as it opens up to a patio that backs straight onto our reserved loungers at the pool. Meaning we can go for a dip without the indecency of having to trawl along corridors and down lifts in dressing gowns. The room is the epitome of classic elegance, adorned with handcrafted Murano Glass features, including a handsome blue chandelier resembling a glass octopus. The marble floors are softened with Turkish silk rugs, and the bathroom is large, with a huge walk-in shower and a double basin sporting lovely-smelling designer Aqua Di Parma amenities. The whole room feels fresh, light, and airy, and it is a pleasure to call home for the duration of our stay.
Food & Drink
Once the sun starts to drop, the majority of residents amble over to the bar for beers and Bellinis. I can’t think of a more romantic bar than being served drinks overlooking the pool with the Venetian lagoon in the distance. While my husband and I munched on the generous bar nibbles (fresh olives, almonds, and amuse bouches).
Dinner on the property is at one of their three restaurants. The views from every restaurant and communal area in the hotel are completely insane. At breakfast, you sit on the edge of the water and enjoy all the gondolas and small boats ferrying people in and out of Venice (both the JW Marriott Venice shuttle and the Kempinski Venice shuttle pass right by your breakfast table). The staff here will share their local stories with you over breakfast – I learned that gondolas get towed in and out of Venice for repairs by barges, that the lagoon is so shallow that, at times, the center becomes a massive mud flat, and that lost dolphins have very occasionally found their way into the lagoon. The choice at breakfast was extensive and beautiful quality, lovely muesli, cheeses, cold meats, fresh bread and pastries, piles of fruit, and eggs however you liked them.
If you try lunch or dinner at Il Porticciolo, the main fish restaurant, you are again on the water’s edge, and you can even request a table on a pontoon hanging over the water. The food here is delicious.
Cip’s Club is everything a Venetian restaurant should be and enjoys breathtaking panoramas across St Mark’s Square and the most beautiful sunsets. The staff cares for and delivers exquisite food with panache on an alfresco pontoon-type structure that juts out into the water. The constant flow of boats chugging up and down the waterway in front of the restaurant area is something I’d never tire of watching.
Finally, Oro again borders the edge of the water, and you can dine with a Michelin Star and enjoy Chef Riccardo Canella’s amazing creations.
On our last day, we had some hours to waste following check-out. We found the famous Michael Winner’s bench in the main garden, where we sat in the dappled sunlight pondering the unfairness that such a charismatic gent with impeccable taste had to leave this mortal coil.
It’s very easy to understand why he loved the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, our stay was superb, but we inevitably had to deal with the sadness of leaving our Narnia with its wonderful characters, fantastic views, and the most relaxing pool.
I miss the toll of the church bells, the splish sploshes of the lagoon water, and the odd swimmer powering up and down the pool. I miss wandering under rose-laden archways and watching the lizards scoot into the undergrowth. I miss the joy of waking up and knowing all you have to do that day is amble over to the pool to take a cooling dip and enjoy endless refreshments. However long you stay at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, be warned, you will be heartbroken when you leave.
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