An Italian city break that’s a combination of buzzing culture and complete serenity
Spread across 118 small islands, the car-free Italian city of Venice promises to transport anyone to a land of art, historic buildings dating back to 1260, and gondolas galore.
After exploring the canals, bask in art, sculptures and gorgeous gardens at the Peggy Guggenheim collection on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice before escaping the crowds for a Campari spritz (or two) at Cannaregio, the former Jewish quarter, which is now home to some of the city’s favourite hidden gems.
And over in Isola del Rosse (an island founded in the Venetian lagoon back in 1870), just a 10 minute boat ride away from San Marco, lies a 266 room, 13,000m² hotel conjured up by Italian architect Matteo Thun.
Built in 1860, the island was originally a respiratory disease clinic. Today, these early twentieth century buildings have been transformed into a hotel that makes use of all the original pre-war Italian rationalist features (think wide corridors, glass doors and terraces), as well as the century old olive grove, whilst also incorporating luxe modern touches like a rooftop restaurant and an infinity pool.
In order to protect the historic character – and style – of all the buildings, Matteo Thun restored them using a ‘box in a box’ concept to ensure he was building inside the old walls in line with heritage conservation guidelines. Thanks to its rustic, ancient facade and nods to traditional Venetian alleys, the JW Marriott today offers an authentic Venetian experience in an unheard of oasis of calm just off the city.
The spa, housed in a former stable, still has features of the original wooden pitched roof, as well as touches made from locally available materials of brick, tiles, glass and mirrors, which overlook the geometric gardens.
The interior style? “Luxury through subtraction,” says architect Mateo whose vision was built around the Venetian lagoonscape – and around creating zero waste. And the decor is as discerning as you’d expect: neutral tones, light colours and contemporary shapes
Plus, the Murano glass statement light fittings all around the hotel will have you water taxi-ing to the Venetian island stat to pick up some of your own handmade glassware – after dining at the Michelin-starred Dopolavoro Dining Room, overseen by chef Giancarlo Perbellini, of course.
For your own escape to an Island just a boat ride away from Venice, check out JW Marriott.