Does a hotel in Venice set on its own private island, with an award-winning spa, Michelin starred restaurant and rooftop pool, sound too good to be true? This mythical place actually exists – in the shape of the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa.
First Impressions of the JW Marriott Venice
JW Marriott is the Marriott’s flagship luxury brand and this resort is one of its best hotels. Formerly a hospital for pulmonary illnesses, no expense has been spared on the renovation. The end result by architect Matteo Thun has a pleasing contemporary feel. This sets it apart from most of the hotels in Venice which have more traditional decor. Check out our video tour here.
Isola delle Rose means Island of the Roses and these flowers are in abundance on the island.
In the Summer, their heady scent creates an intoxicating effect. There are quite a few artworks dotted around – my favourite has to be this unusual still life.
Another unique feature is the fact that you can access the hotel directly by water taxi. It feels very James Bond! The spacious hotel lobby has been decorated in harmonious shades of blue and taupe. Formal check in desks have been eschewed in favour of low level seating, giving a much more relaxed atmosphere.
Accommodation at the JW Marriott Venice
Our 60 square metre Studio Suite was spread over 2 floors. With its own private entrance, it was located in a quiet, separate building close to Goco Spa and Dopolavoro restaurant. They all have comfy loungers, chairs and a table, Some of these suites also have their own private plunge pool – perfect in Summertime!
Inside, the decor continues the blue and taupe theme, with some very funky touches such as these wicker baskets. There’s a downstairs washroom, a walk-in closet and some tasty treats as well as tea and coffee making facilities.
We tucked into some scrumptious macarons whilst getting inspiration from the Venice books decorating our suite.
Ascending the stylish floating stairs, you come to a second wardrobe area with fluffy bathrobes laid out on hangers. The large bathroom has a toilet with a separate door, a powerful rainshower and a bath as well as Aromatherapy Associates toiletries.
The bedroom itself had the same stylish colour scheme with velvet cushions and a lovely view over the olive trees. The resort produce their own olive oil, served in the restaurants.
Dining at the JW Marriott Venice
Talking of restaurants, there’s a great selection, with Dopolavoro Dining Room being Michelin starred. Dopolavoro means after work in Italian and it used to be the place where the hopsital workers gathered for a drink after work. Unfortunately it was closed for private events when we were there but a few Venetians had sung its praises to me. We did meet the chef who grows much of the produce used in the herb garden adjacent to the restaurant. There’s also an outdoor terrace with a spectacular open roof with great views towards the lagoon.
In the hotel’s main building, there’s an informal restaurant, Cucina, where breakfast is also served.
Alternatively, you can also choose from the bar snacks menu in the lobby or head to Giardino Grill next to the main outdoor pool, open in Summertime. Dispensa Delicatessen, located just off the lobby is good for light bites and also runs a popular cooking school. Sagra Rooftop Restaurant is also a great choice by day.
Decorated in vibrant shades of blue and white, it has some fun touches like Panama hats attached to the wall. Some people choose to sit at the bar for cocktails or their whole meal.
The multilingual staff are charming, service is very efficient and the dishes are tasty.
We ate there a couple of times, it was so enjoyable.
On the second night we shared a sundae, with a lovely chocolate biscuit base.
The evening lighting can be quite bright so for an intimate ambiance, enjoy a drink before or after in Sagra’s fantastic rooftop bar next to the pool. The views towards Venice are absolutely spectacular – this is the place to be at sunrise or sunset. Their pool is heated and even in October when we visited, it felt very pleasant.
Facilities at the JW Marriott Venice
The island has a beautiful private church, constructed in the Romanesque style, that is used for private events and weddings. It’s right next to Dopolavoro, overlooking the lagoon so the food is no doubt excellent.
The old water tower also makes a striking backdrop.
There’s a jogging map and headphones available as well as bicycles for hire, so you can explore the 16 acres of grounds easily.
You might even spot some of the wildlife on the way.
Or you could sweat it out in the gym as Paul did with the Technogym equipment…
Whilst regular water boats transport you to the centre of Venice in 15 minutes. Don’t forget to check out some of our top 10 unmissable hidden gems in Venice whilst you are there!
However, if you just want to kick back and relax, GOCO Spa is the place to go. Accessible with a small supplement, its the largest spa in Venice at 1,750 square metres and one of the 50 recommended spas worldwide by Condé Nast Traveller Spa Guide 2016. There are two saunas at different temperatures, a steam room and a pool that’s half inside and half outside. Swim out through the sliding glass walls to relax on the sun loungers overlooking the lagoon. I sampled the Classic Massage and liked the fact that you can choose a gentle, medium or sports pressure. In most places you only get a choice of gentle or sports massage and I tend to find the first too soft and the latter a bit uncomfortable. This was the perfect balance and I even fell asleep. My therapist was a real expert and afterwards I felt completely relaxed and regenerated. It was a great ending to a wonderful stay.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Isola delle Rose, Laguna di San Marco, 30133 Venice VE, Italy