Often said to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice immediately conjures up images of fairy tale romance. I always imagined that I would be whisked to Venice on an enchanting romantic break, but back to real life and in the absence of a Mr Amanda, I decided not to wait a moment longer to explore this unique city. I am delighted I did, what a truly fascinating and enchanting place. It has inspired many a creative genius, Byron called it "the greenest island of my imagination" and it is incredibly easy for your imagination to run wild in this bewitching city.
My trip started with the finest airport transfer I have ever experienced. A short car journey took me to the pier, where a stylish private water taxi was waiting to transport me on a journey along the canals that cross the city, to the newly opened JW Venice Isola delle Rose resort. You can't help but feel like a movie star, even if it is just for a moment!
The entrance to the hotel is spectacular. As you leave the water taxi you step onto a secluded private island, which spans 40 acres. The resort benefits from a gentle sea breeze and enjoys a special microclimate which allows plants rare in Venice to grow, including 1000 year old olive trees. Because of this, at the beginning of the 20th century, a clinic for respiratory diseases was set up on the island. The original buildings have since been renovated in a stunning contemporary style by award winning Matteo Thun, whilst still protecting the unique heritage.
With a stunning rooftop pool and a complimentary boat shuttle service that takes you to St Marks Square in 15 minutes, this hotel allows you to combine the relaxing feeling of a resort style haven with a bustling city break, a rare but sought after travel combination.
The resort has 266 guest rooms, including 32 suites and one villa. We stayed in La Maisonette in a suite which was set over 2 floors with its own private patio and garden. The design of the room looked effortless, but was spectacular in its simplicity. Clean contemporary lines, light fabrics and crafted Venetian materials have been used to stunning effect. The in room products are from luxury Italian brand Bvlgari.
Italy is famous for its cuisine, it is no coincidence that in the film Eat, Love, Pray, the 'eat' was focused around Julia Robert's Italian experience. The food certainly lives up to expectations and the resort has 4 fabulous restaurants to experience.
Nourish is the resort's relaxed breakfast dining area and with a large choice of international cuisine has something to please every taste.
The Giardino grill, the summer restaurant, is very family friendly and is set in an outdoor setting by the pool.
La Sagra, which is set on the rooftop of the hotel, provides a chic setting and serves traditional Italian cuisine, in both indoor and outdoor dining rooms.
The Dopolavoro (Italian for after work) is the resort's gourmet dining room and after only 6 months has been awarded a Michelin Star, a credit to Chefs Giancarlo Perbellini and Federico Belluco. Dining here isn't a quick bite to eat, it's a culinary experience to be savoured. The food served is a work of art. I make no profession to be a wine expert but the Cresasso Corvina Veronese 2010, recommended by the Sommelier, was the most divine red wine I have ever tasted.
The GOCO spa is the largest in Venice. Set in an elegant 20th century building it has been lovingly restored to create a state of the art spa with incredible views of the iconic Venice skyline. Each of the 8 treatment rooms and the spa suite have an outside terrace.
Spa facilities include a sauna, bio-sauna, a gym, air and water massage stations, experience showers and a superb heated indoor swimming pool that extends outdoors in a splendid sequence of sliding glass walls. The spa offers use 100% natural brand Amala from Germany, and QMS Medicosmetics, whose advanced skincare formulations are founded firmly in scientific research. The staff, led by Georgia the Spa Director, were extremely warm and incredibly professional.
I spent 2 hours in the spa prior to my treatment, relaxing under the gorgeous gazebos draped in beautiful white fabrics whilst soaking up the view, sipping on refreshing teas, lounging and enjoying the massage stations in the pool. Bliss! I sampled the Classic Massage, which was personalised. Using techniques from Swedish massage, combined with gentle stretching, the massage is designed to relieve aching muscles, relax tightened joints and relieve stress. Experiencing this treatment on the outdoor terrace with the gentle breeze and the sound of the lagoon made it feel even more exceptional.
The 70-minute organic Intensive Brighten Facial by organic German brand Amala is designed to leave the complexion radiant.
There is a €25 charge to use the spa facilities if you are not having a treatment.
A range of half and full day wellness programmes are available. A spa experience means different things to different people and packages focus on Restoration, Wellness, Beauty, Vitality and Detoxifying, depending on what you are looking for.
Private and group yoga classes are also available.
The Sapori Cooking Academy
Chef Micki's passion, flair and humour make him the perfect host. This authentic Venice class starts with a guided tour to the colourful Rialto market, where you select your preferred ingredients, before learning how to create delicious dishes which are consumed for lunch. You can also sign up for a shorter two hour course, which offers a choice of cuisine to master. You can select from Cicchetti (Venetian style tapas), Pizza and Foccacia, Sweet and Savory Pastry, Vegetarian dishes or Pasta with various sauces.
Warning: After eating our pizza, we were unable to manage dinner, so avoid any restaurant reservations close to the class - we had to cancel ours!
Hire a bicycle to explore the natural beauty of the island.
There is a complimentary kids club for children from 4 to 12, which is open from 10-6pm, leaving you plenty of time for rooftop sunbathing at the adults only pool.
Save enough space in your suitcase to pick up some treats from the hotel deli.
Double De Luxe rooms start from €334 / £270 (based on two sharing).
Nearest Airport - Venice Marco Polo Airport
Private Transfers - €215 per way for up to 4 people with 6 pieces of luggage. This includes a representative meeting the guest at baggage claim/customs, a car transfer to Piazzale Roma terminal with luggage assistance and private boat connection to the Hotel (The journey takes approximately 35/40 minutes. Please be advised that between 8.00 pm and 8.00 am there is a fixed supplement of 20%.)
Private Water Taxi - Includes a private water taxi from the pier (10 minutes' walk from the terminal) to the Hotel. €130 per way, up to 4 people with 4 pieces of luggage. (Please be advised that between 10.00 pm and 07.00 am there is a fixed supplement of €15).