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Venice’s Cipriani Hotel

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© Courtesy Hotel Cipriani

For some, there is simply no other hotel than the Cipriani in Venice. Here, the secrets to its success.

Palazzo Vendramin

The Cipriani’s main building sits amid the pool and gardens; we especially love the five junior suites, like 133, with two bathrooms. For those who prefer more privacy, the 16-room Palazzo Vendramin is just steps from the hotel, with apartment-like accommodations, such as La Dogaressa—a two-bedroom with a living room and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lagoon. Rooms start at $1,185. At 10 Giudecca; hotelcipriani.com.

Cip’s Club

During the Venice Film Festival, moviegoers leave a screening at the Lido and head straight to Cip’s restaurant for its deck seating right on the water, its views of Piazza San Marco and its risotto with spring peas. The hotel has two other restaurants, including the more formal Fortuny, but there’s nothing quite like dinner outside at Cip’s on the right Venice summer night.

The Pool

“Bauer in the winter, Cipriani in the summer. Basta!” says one Venetian, whose declaration is undoubtedly inspired by the Cipriani’s legendary heated saltwater pool. It’s one of the very few in Venice and open only to hotel guests and the 30 Venetian citizens with season passes.

Gigi

The hotel staff is warm, efficient—and loyal. Head concierge Gigi Raccanelli has been behind his desk for 43 years. If he doesn’t know a Venice address, it doesn’t exist.

The Boat

The hotel is on the island of Giudecca, just across the lagoon from mainland Venice. Guests are jetted back and forth to Piazza San Marco on the Cipriani’s vintage boat. It leaves every 10 minutes and operates 24 hours a day. The charming Roberto is there to greet guests as they arrive.

Casanova Gardens

Yes, that Casanova. Legend has it that he had a rendezvous with one Caterina Capretta on the lush grounds surrounding the Cipriani. Today they are the site of less scandalous affairs—like picnics hosted for children staying at the hotel, part of the Cipriani’s new and impressive program that includes Venetian-mask painting and cooking classes, boating expeditions in the lagoon and guided shopping trips to the Rialto market.

The Drink

The Gabbiano Bar’s Bellinis are famous, of course (and always made with fresh peaches), but guest George Clooney worked with bartender Walter Bolzonella to concoct the Buona Notte. It’s named after Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck and made with cranberry juice, vodka, lime and bitters. Clooney’s handwritten makeshift recipe is on display.

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