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The Ultimate Retreat for Romance
Orient-Express Hotels' Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Italy
A more stylish arrival could not be arranged

The famed Hotel Cipriani, romantic and magical

The décors old world opulence is alluring
The large guest suites are charming and romantic
The Canals, sights and history of Venice await guests

Story by Theresa Catena
Photography by Paul Aizaga

La Serenissima, or the Supreme Serenity as it is known, Venice, Italy, is undeniably a magical, romantic city like no other. With its tranquil waters flowing effortlessly between quaint but bustling canals and an endless display of masterful and colorful buildings hosting their very doorsteps at the water’s edge, it’s quite easy to become spellbound instantly. So it makes perfect sense that Hotel Cirpriani should reside on the tip of Guidecca, a small island just minutes removed from the lively Piazza San Marco, where the resort is a living incarnation of the molto dolce vita, embodied on a flourishing cloud of tranquility.

In this celestial realm, the easiest way to reach heaven is by launch, (speed boat). Hotel Cipriani runs a private one 24 hours a day. Upon our arrival, the serenity, seclusion and all-out luxury the retreat has to offer struck us. The Olympic-sized, heated, salt-water swimming pool is an oasis for guests who lounge by it, lunch by it and revel in its inviting waters. The resort also boasts the only tennis court around, while a private launch leaves daily for 18 holes of golf at nearby Alberoni. Further exploration led us to the Casanova Gardens. Named after the Venetian adventurer Giacomo Casanova, who used to spend time here, the patio yields a dense arch of lush plants and blooming flowers where you’ll discover the only vineyard in Venice. Planted in 2000, it produces Casanova Salso red wine, a specialty of the house. The crème de la crème of Venetian romance, the grand and sprawling three-acre resort was completed in 1958 by famed restaurateur Guiseppe Cipriani, whose celebrity clientele list reads from the world’s A-list several pages over. Individually designed with elegance and élan, the rooms and suites provide breathtaking views of the gardens, the lagoon, or St. Mark’s Square.

Our delicious suite resembled a grand Italian apartment with two balconies overlooking the lagoon, a sophisticated living room decorated with light, olive green walls and a delightful, inviting bedroom with mirrored, French doors and luxurious bed linens. The colossal bathroom, one that rivals the size of most Manhattan hotel rooms, boasted a deep, oval marble bath tub with a stately lion head spout. We found it was the perfect spot for a self-indulgent bath with a tasty sip of champagne.

For the ultimate in seclusion and secrecy, the resort acquired Palazzo Vendramin, a 15th century residence linked to the hotel through an ancient courtyard, as well as Palazzetto, a new annex offering junior suites. Both properties have astounding views of St. Mark’s Square and Doge’s Palace, where they provide private butler service. Next door, the informal Cip’s Restaurant also resides with al fresco dining available in the summer months.

World renowned for its culinary delights, there is certainly no other more romantic or memorable place to dine than at Hotel Cipriani. We enjoyed the formal San Giorgio dining room, which featured rose and white vaulted ceilings, elegant fortuny fabrics and Murano chandeliers. The first class service and refined atmosphere amplified the romantic ambiance and we relied whole-heartedly on the wait staff for their valued recommendations, where we experienced one joyous mouthful after another.

When the weather is warm and clear, the Terrace Restaurant, situated on the patio, offers the most awe-inspiring and truly romantic views of the Venetian canals at night.

With everything so incredibly perfect, what could make this blissful retreat even better? A spa of course. Coming in June 2004, the Casanova Spa will open beside the lush gardens. Only the finest, soothing massages and therapeutic facials will be available and the hotel will offer special spa packages, such as the Venetian Interlude, which will include several nights’ stays, meals and treatments. Yes, heaven is a place on earth and it can be found at Hotel Cipriani in Venice. For more information about The Hotel Cipriani visit the fabulous Orient-Express Hotels online.

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