Returning to Venice this year was one of the best travel experiences I have had in a long time. Not only was the city more magical and romantic than ever, the trip also afforded me the opportunity to discover new parts of the lagoon, including San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice on the private island of San Clemente, writes Andrew Forbes (The Luxury Editor).
Once one of the most visited cities in the world, this year Venice has not been inundated with mass tourism.
I was able to experience the architectural splendour of Saint Mark’s Square in comfort, joined by other couples and families taking in the sights and sounds of this most iconic of destinations. Reduced tourist numbers are a challenge of course for the hospitality and retail sectors, but for the visitor it translates into a remarkable experience of uncrowded piazzas, and tranquil canals.
San Clemente Island
We ended our memorable visit to Venice on a neighbouring island – the private retreat of San Clemente, once a monastery and now the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice.
…experience a completely different view of Venice
There’s a free shuttle boat that collects you from a pier at San Marco. You can just go for lunch or dinner and experience a completely different view of Venice – looking back at the spires and domes with the Dolomite mountains behind. It really is spectacular!
This is a remarkable place. As soon as you step upon the pier and walk up the red carpet to the hotel entrance one is captivated by the renaissance setting. The private island affords guests unprecedented privacy, seclusion, and the perfect environment to enjoy a Venetian break without any concerns about social distancing.
Contemporary health and safely protocols are in place. In fact, the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice had one of the most sophisticated and effective contactless check-in procedures I have experienced this year – using a digital document reader with interactive screen.
Yet socially distanced doesn’t have to mean clinical. The Kempinski General Manager Richard Appelbaum and his team conveyed a warm welcome; especially Stefano Ballarin, Guest Experience Manager who shared the charm and beauty of this very special hotel. You can be confident of a safe and clean environment and also enjoy signature Kempinski hospitality.
The property really gives you a feeling of space – such a luxury these days. Enjoy tranquil walks in the grounds or take advantage of the jogging route; or simply sit on the benches by the water’s edge and take in the unforgettable views of Venice across the lagoon.
The main buildings are airy and light with double height ceilings, and wide. Dining is offered in the elegant salon or al fresco, including a delightful garden bar.
Spa & Wellness
Since the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice is on a private island it can offer exclusive resort facilities that are rare amongst Venice hotels, including a Tennis Court, Pitch & Putting Green, Outdoor Pool, Kids Club, Business and Conference Centre, and an award-winning Spa.
In the age of COVID spa and gym experiences have changed of course. Here the gym weights have been moved outside into the summer gardens, overlooking the remodelled pool; whilst the Merchant of Venice Spa treatments are available in one’s guest room, or in the pool cabanas. The ancient gardens of the monastery are still home to rare roses, the essence from which is used in the Kempinski signature treatments.
With 196 rooms, there’s a wide selection, with 5 rooms types and 5 suite categories, reflecting the unique architecture and style of the property.
By combining suites and guest rooms it is possible to create private guest areas for groups and multi-generational families. For example, combining two Lagoon Suites with four adjacent rooms, an entire guest building can be turned into a private Venetian palazzo that accommodates up to 14 adults, making it the ideal venue for extra-special trips.
For even more privacy, the San Clemente Suite can be extended by the five adjoining Navigante Junior Suites, the Navigante Suite, and the Marco Polo Suite. As a result, this wing of the hotel can be booked to form an eight-bedroom palazzo which provides complete independence from the hotel.
The Lido Residence can also be combined with the San Clemente Suite, located one floor above, for guests who appreciate a private concierge service with a dedicated Lady in Red.
Guest rooms have lots of natural light, high ceilings and the signature Kempinski style. Expect the impeccable attention to detail from crisp, flawless bed linens to thoughtful amenities. The windows open to the gardens or the Venice lagoon and invite in the fresh air from the Adriatic.
The Church of this historic former monastery dates to 1131 and has priceless frescoes and paintings. The island’s owner is working hard to repatriate works of art to the estate that have been taken to international museums. It makes for a meditative space and a special venue for weddings. There is also a beautiful private dining area in the church.
Even if you don’t check-in for some Kempinski luxury, then I recommend you certainly head to San Clemente for a delectable lunch or dinner.
We had a splendid lunch at the signature Acquerello Restaurant (by sous Chef Matia Galesso with service by the talented Kelton Nogu) served on the terrace overlooking the lagoon, Venice, and the Dolomites!
We started with aperitifs of Aperol spritz and a Campari, accompanying a pre starter of scallop with sea fennel/samphire.
Then a beautifully presented beef carpaccio; sharing a lagoon seafood risotto (with Amalfi coast lemon), and also mixed fish, finishing with tiramisu puddings. What a meal!
Depending on the season when you visit you can expect Insieme Restaurant (breakfast restaurant) and La Dolce Restaurant (pizza and Italian cuisine).
Address: San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, Isola di San Clemente 1, 30124 Venice, Italy