Above: Living room in the San Clemente Suite at San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice, Italy

Thanks to its secluded location at the tip of the island of Giudecca, theBelmond Hotel Ciprianihas long offered a refuge from the teeming crowds of the Piazza San Marco and the Riva degli Schiavoni. Until now, the Cipriani has had few, if any, competitors. Its only potential rival was the San Clemente Palace, located on a 17-acre private island, farther out into the Venetian Lagoon, 15 minutes by speedboat from San Marco. I stayed there a few years ago, and overall, I came away unimpressed. Set next to the 12th-century Church of San Clemente, the main building had originally housed a community of monks. Back then, the corridors were spartan and echoing, and the gardens were not especially well-maintained. However, it was possible to see what the place could become, given sufficient investment. I was therefore very interested to learn in late 2015 that the hotel had been acquired by the Kempinski hotel group (headquartered in Geneva).

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Above: Living room in the San Clemente Suite at San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice, Italy

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