After our extremely empty flight from London City Airport (only 30 passengers) and a wonderful trip across the lagoon James Bond Style, we arrived at the beautiful Belmond Hotel Cipriani.
What a stunning hotel set on the peaceful Giudecca Island. I was truly lost for words! We were spoilt with a Junior Suite with a balcony and lagoon view, along with a welcome note and bottle of Prosecco. The Suite was spacious and airy, with a separate living area with doors to the balcony, a King Size bed in the bedroom (also with doors to the balcony), a walk-in wardrobe and a large bathroom with bath, separate shower and his and hers sinks. The room was so beautiful that we didn’t want to leave it to head out for the afternoon and stayed admiring the view on the balcony with just one more glass of Prosecco on Italian time. Having been to Venice 18 months ago we had visited a lot of the sights, so we spent our first evening meandering through the streets, soaking up the beauty that is Venice, until we found ourselves at the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal where we stopped for a photo. The wonderful thing about Venice is that you can just walk and walk until you lose yourselves in the maze of narrow streets and amongst picturesque canals and bridges. We continued walking until we found a little Trattoria tucked away on a narrow street filled with handbag shops and boutiques selling hand-made paper and notebooks, where we stopped for supper. We shared a wonderfully fresh melon and Parma ham salad, accompanied by a selection of breads, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, followed by King Prawns.
After supper we strolled back to Piazza San Marco where we soaked up the atmosphere with a post-dinner drink at the infamous Caffè Florian, one of the oldest cafes in Europe, with live music, before heading back to the hotel for a nightcap. The following morning the hotel arranged a water taxi to Murano where we visited the Bisanzio Glass Factory and experienced an interactive demonstration where I got to try my hand at turning the glass in the kiln, which is harder than it looks! We then took the factory's complimentary boat over to Burano to visit the brightly coloured fishermen's houses and lace shops. On the recommendation of a friend we had lunch at the fabulous Gatto Nero, with a table on the canal-side and a menu brimming with delicious fish dishes. Highly recommended!
After an afternoon wandering around Venice with no particular place to be, stopping for wine and coffee, we headed back to the hotel. On our last evening my lovely husband treated me to an early birthday supper in the hotel’s al fresco Cip’s Club overlooking Piazza San Marco. We had a waterside table where we could admire the view and watch the boats (and P&O Aurora) sail past. The food was delicious, the service perfectly attentive and the ambiance relaxed yet sophisticated. I finished with the Sgroppino al Limone, a Venetian vodka lemon sorbet, which was both refreshing and moreish. Two meals in one day that made it into our top ten meals of all time.
After breakfast with a view, we had to say a very reluctant goodbye to the Belmond Hotel Cipriani. We had a fabulous few days there and I would highly recommend it if you’re planning a trip to Venice. It is a wonderful oasis away from the hustle and bustle, with a large swimming pool, bar and three restaurants, yet the regular, 24-hour shuttle whisks you over to Piazza San Marco in five minutes.
A fabulous few days in Venice thanks to Belmond and the Hotel Cipriani. Now onto the second part of our adventure…the Venice Simplon Orient Express.