Venice. A city of romance, art, architecture and guess what else? Perfume. I had such an incredible trip to Venice recently with The Merchant of Venice from staying at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice (which is on a private island in Venice and is surely the most beautiful place to stay in Venice) to spotting the Queen of Belgium at lunch next to the Teatro Venice to getting a 24-Carat Gold Facial. I mean let me tell you, it was an eventful few days. But let’s start at the beginning shall we?
I was invited to Venice with The Merchant of Venice which is a Venetian fragrance brand that reflects the art and culture of Venice through its exquisite perfumes. Everything from the bottles to the inspiration behind the fragrances is beautifully carried out. So needless to say I was excited to learn more about the history and culture of Venice through perfumery and art.
Our trip started on a boat, naturally. We were picked up straight from the terminal at Venice Airport by boat which was quite something – I really don’t think it’s something you can do at any other airport in the world. Taxis, buses, shuttles – basic. But a boat pick-up from the airport – now that’s special.
Our boat was taking us to San Clemente, a private island not too far from San Marco Square and the hubbub of Venice. Although San Clemente is close to the main centre of Venice, it’s also quiet and tucked-away at the same time. And that my friends, is where the Kempinski Hotel San Clemente Palace sits in all its grandeur. There’s a 12th century church on the island as well which adds to the impressive historical portfolio of San Clemente Island and the views of Venice and the water from the island are mesmerising.
As soon as the boat pulled up to the island, the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice stood before us in all of its glory. It’s a beautiful hotel, as only the Venetians can do and was once an old monastery so the hotel has a lot of history attached to it. It feels almost like a museum when you walk in, with art on the walls, high ceilings and long, grand hallways you could lose yourself in for days, literally.
My room was probably one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve stayed in, with high ceilings and exquisite attention to detail when it came to design. And I say room but it was actually a suite and almost an apartment with a separate hall entrance, walk-in closet, huge bedroom and grand sitting room. And a bathroom that could make you jump for joy, it’s so beautiful – definitely the winner for the most beautiful place to stay in Venice. The Merchant of Venice also left a thoughtful gift for me in the room – a set of their most popular travel size fragrances which certainly came in handy throughout the rest of the trip!
After admiring the room for a while it was time to get ready for dinner. Dinner was at the hotel, on the waterfront at Aquarello, the perfect setting at the most beautiful place to stay in Venice for an evening meal and we were in luck because the sun was just setting on the water. The restaurants at San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice serve incredible food and there are three restaurants on site– Acquerello, La Dolce and Insieme.
The chef uses locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible and everyone recommends to try the seafood when in Venice so…that’s what I had. My dish was the wild sea bass, roasted with the scales and marinated with caviar, topped with truffle sauce. With Italian wine and followed by a deconstructed tiramisu it was the perfect meal to end a long day of travelling.
We were joined by Marco Vidal, the owner of The Merchant of Fragrance who told us about the history of the fragrances and how the business has passed down generation to generation. The Vidal family in fact has been involved in the art of perfumery for more than a century and this is how The Merchant of Venice was created.
The fragrances are inspired by the maritime trade routes from Asia to Africa and from Europe to the rest of the world. There was a big trade industry back in the day in Venice, hence they had access to the raw materials that the rest of Italy didn’t have. New ways of making cosmetics developed and soon Venice was known as the place to get ALL the best beauty products, including fragrances of course.
Needless to say, I fell asleep dreaming of tiramisu and jasmine-scented perfume. Make sure you read the next part of my Venice Diaries in the following post. The story continues…
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*This post was part of a media trip to Venice, hosted by The Merchant of Venice (all views are my own as always)