Honeymoon in VeniceWords by Courtney Kellar
Honeymooners who have never been to Italy need to put this European classic at the top of their list. More specifically, Venice is the place to be with the one you love. It offers everything required for a romantic trip for two: mouth-watering cuisine, world-class wine and mind-blowing history. Once the flights are booked, be sure to secure a room at the 5-star JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa. Enjoy an exhilarating, 40-minute ride by water taxi from Venice Marco Polo Airport and dock directly inside the resort’s lobby – talk about making an entrance!
The resort opened in 2015 with 266 rooms and suites set on the private Isola delle Rose. This “summer resort” is open from February through October and is serenely located within the Venetian Lagoon. Previous to the JW Marriott’s opening, the island had been abandoned for 40 years – making this renovation project one for the books. What resulted were five levels of accommodations, ranging from the loft-style La Maisonette suites to the private Villa Rose, which features two bedrooms and its own pool. The hotel’s interiors are trendy with a mix of modern design and Italian rusticity. While you might not know you’re in Italy based on the décor, the island’s natural setting more than makes up for it with immaculately-kept olive groves and century-old gardens. Isola delle Rose is also one of the few islands in Venice that isn’t surrounded by walls – granting you unobstructed, 360-degree views from the Marriott’s adults-only rooftop pool.
Start your honeymoon off right by visiting the on-site GOCO Spa. It’s the largest spa in Venice and you could easily spend the entire day here with treatment rooms boasting outdoor patios and an extensive “humid area” that includes a vitality pool, hammam, sauna and biosauna. Kick back and relax on one of the spa’s heated chaises or submerged hydro chairs. Once you’ve slipped into a blissful state, hop aboard the resort’s complimentary water shuttle and enjoy a quick 15-minute ride into the heart of Venice. The JW Marriott has its own private slip right in front of the Royal Gardens, so you can step off deck and right into the hustle and bustle of Piazza San Marco.
In the era of Google Maps, you will be tempted to plan your route through the city, but resist the urge – your maps are no good here, anyway. With its ancient narrow winding streets and bridges, Venice has managed to outsmart modern technology. Having never visited before, I found myself being pulled along with the crowds. The secret to getting the most out of this beautiful city is to flee in the opposite direction of the big draws like the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal. It’s only when you find the less busy thoroughfares that you can really step back and enjoy the city’s charm. My advice is to head toward the Galleria dell’Accademia where you’ll see breathtaking portions of the Grand Canal, sans the crowds. Grab a gelato and take a seat on the canal steps to watch the graceful gondolas go by. Afterward, walk-off those calories and tour the Doge’s Palace where you can retrace the steps of the infamous Casanova and cross over the Bridge of Sighs.
Venice is loveliest in the evening; when the crowds have dissipated and the sun no longer casts harsh shadows along the narrow alleys and canals. Set sail for home and dinner at the Marriott as you ogle over the monuments shimmering in the soft glow of the setting sun. Don’t be surprised if you’re sitting alongside fashionable locals catching a lift to the resort’s Dopolavoro Dining Room. Awarded its first Michelin star only six months after opening, Dopolavoro is the place to be and you can expect a sensational meal courtesy of 2-star Michelin Chef Giancarlo Perbellini. The restaurant is known for an interactive eating style and each course comes with a bread pairing – be still my beating heart.
There are literally countless options when it comes to deciding on where to take your honeymoon, but I can’t imagine a scenario in which you would be disappointed after spending this most special of times in Venice.
Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Courtney Cox (1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th), JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 11th)
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2017 issue. You can order a copy here.
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