Where to stay
Two words: Unbridled luxury. What else would one expect from Venice’s first seven star hotel? The Venice Aman is a 16th century palazzo converted into a 24-room property, incorporating much of the original art and craftsmanship with a modern twist. The name might ring familiar for the most famous wedding it hosted – when George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin celebrated their wedding reception there in 2014 in front of 100 guests.
If it’s good enough for the Clooneys, it’s good enough for me.
It can be a little tricky to find as it’s removed from the main streets behind a large fence – it offers a sense of serenity from the city’s buzzing streets and gives the feeling you’ve entered your own little world – but most notably, it boasts two outdoor private gardens.
The property itself is breathtaking: truly a once in a lifetime experience, perfect for honeymooners looking for the best of the very best to rest their newlywed heads. Its decor features a convocation of treasures including Tiepolo frescoes, gilded ceilings and centuries old leather wall coverings.
It is, without a doubt, the most spectacular property I’ve ever set foot in and I would encourage you to try. If an overnight stay isn’t an option, fret not: the bar and restaurant is available to non-guests, providing an impossibly dreamy backdrop while you dine or sip bellinis in the sunshine. Its menu concept infuses timeless Italian dishes with local ingredients, making for a rather delectable treat.
I would recommend a meal in the Yellow Room, where you can immerse yourself among the gilded surrounds and glistening chandelier, with an uncompromised view of the Grand Canal. And if you’re lucky, you might even get a celebrity sighting or two.
Rooms start at €950 per night.
See www.amanvenice.com for more.
Where to eat
Venice has a terrible reputation when it comes to food. No one goes to Venice for the food, but you can eat extraordinarily well if you do your research, which is why I’m here. Although I can’t take full credit - my boyfriend’s genuine love of food means that I often eat better than I deserve both at home and abroad.
For a vast ranging menu of seafood and meats, try Ristorante Al Covo. It’s a spot preferred by food queen Nigella Lawson and preferred by people of influence while they’re in town. The fried zucchini blossoms are a must-try!
For some cicheti bars, which are essentially Venetian tapas, here are some of the best:
La Cantina: For people watching out front if you can get a table!
Ca' d'Oro, Alla Vedova: The pork meatballs are so worth the wait.
All' Arco: Stick to the bar for quick plates of cicheti.
For some truly amazing sandwiches (that are so nice I went there twice), La Bottiglia hits the spot.
Venice is impossibly romantic thanks to its almost magical qualities - its streets are filled with couples of all ages holding hands and catching kisses. Sip glasses of local wine while enjoying the views of the canal.
Take a gondola ride: When in Venice, after all!
Enjoy some gelato: Take advantage of the seemingly endless variety of ice gelato available and now that you’ve already worn your wedding dress, you can relax the diet a bit.
A word of advice: Avoid eating or drinking at Piazza San Marco. It’s a must-see for a view of Saint Mark’s Basilica for a picture perfect backdrop, but you will be charged in excess of€ 10 for one drink and the standard of food is exactly what you would expect from a famous tourist trap.
At a glance
Best time to visit: March to June. It can get extremely hot in the summer and depending on where you’re staying, air conditioning might not be available.
Getting there: Aer Lingus flies direct to Venice from Cork and Dublin; while Ryanair flies to Venice Treviso, about a 40 minute drive to Venice city.
On arrival, you have a few options: a water taxi looks and feels amazing, but is also expensive – prepare to spend around €100 or more for a trip to central Venice. Alternatively, there’s the Vaporetto, what is essentially a water bus, which I can honestly recommend for just €1.50 each way.