Palazzo Vendramin and Palazzetto Nani Barbaro
As delightful as the Cipriani may be, it has one shortcoming: It's open only from mid-April until the beginning of November. Fortunately, guests with deep pockets and a penchant for privacy can still enjoy the Cipriani's location and service by staying at the hotel's year-round annexes: the Palazzo Vendramin and the Palazzetto Nani Barbaro.
The Palazzo Vendramin is a 15th Century palace and is linked to the Hotel Cipriani via the hotel courtyard and a flowered loggia. It connects to the more recently acquired Palazzetto, which served as Venice's Accademia di filosofia (Academy of Philosophy) before falling into ruins in the 1600s.
The Palazzo Vendramin offers three double rooms with whirlpool bath, two junior suites, and five suites--some with private terraces or gardens. The suites have kitchenettes and bars.
Next door, the Palazzetto has four junior suites and one mansard-style junior suite with views of San Marco. It also houses Cip's pizzeria and grill.
All suites include butler service, and guests can congregate in a private living room when they feel like socializing. The Cipriani's decorator, Gérard Gallet of Paris, has created an atmosphere of what the hotel calls "relaxed elegance and refined simplicity," which translates into the generous use of pastel colors, traditional furniture, and fabrics by the Fortuny and Rubelli.
Suggestion: If you decide to stay in the Palazzo Vendramin or the Palazzetto Nani Barbaro, insist on a suite with a waterfront view. The suite that we visited faced a courtyard, and--though it was pleasant enough--the view of the gardens wasn't nearly as dramatic as a view of the Campanile di San Marco, the Doge's Palace, and water traffic (including the occasional cruise ship) in St. Mark's Basin.
Next page: Celebrity guests
Photos: Hotel Cipriani.
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