The best spa hotels in Venice, from garden rituals to lagoon-view relaxation rooms

Please note our writers visited Venice prior to the coronavirus pandemic

Even the plushest hotels in Venice’s centro storico are constrained by limited space – not to mention strict planning rules for ancient edifices – so, with very few exceptions, spas are to be found in out-lying accommodation, on islands in the lagoon. But if you’re planning to blend appreciation of Venice’s treasures with a little restorative pampering, there’s our pick of the best spa hotels in Venice, each with its own private hotel launch shuttling back and forth between massage table and splendid sights. And relax.

Though not in the heart of Venice’s maze of tiny streets, the Belmond Cipriani’s location offers the best of both worlds from its exclusive spot at the eastern end of the Giudecca island. The hotel’s setting overlooking the lagoon towards St Mark’s Square is a calm oasis where guests enjoy privacy and peace in vibrant Venice. For complete bliss, head to the Casanova Wellness Centre, where signature treatments like the two-hour Casanova Garden Ritual, using geranium, lavender, myrtle and rosemary, will soothe tired limbs after a day wandering the canals and sights of the city.


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With such a wide choice of spa treatments and sporting activities, guests staying at this hotel may feel tempted to skip Venice altogether. Built in the 1920s as a sanatorium, the buildings of this resort are elegant seaside resort rather than classic Venetian. But the recent refurbishment – to a design by Matteo Thun – has given them a breezy sharpness outside and a cool, contemporary, minimalist feel in the 266 rooms and suites. A rooftop pool in the resort’s main building offers heart-stopping views across the lagoon and there’s a larger pool in the grounds. There’s also a well-equipped gym, and yoga and meditation sessions are held in quiet corners of the landscaped gardens.


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The San Clemente, on a private island in the middle of the Venetian lagoon, has an understated elegance and an austere tone. The main building houses the majority of rooms and suites with some more private suites dotted around the gardens. Kempinski’s beloved concierge service, The Ladies in Red, are in residence and can help guests with any manner of request. The hotel features a spa (operated by the Merchant of Venice chain), a state-of-the-art gym, a glamorous pool with sun loungers and private cabanas, a small golf range and tennis courts. The real luxury of the island is the sensation of space.


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The Palladio looks out over the lagoon, past the domes of Santa Maria della Salute towards St Mark’s from the Giudecca island – a lovely, artsy bit of Venice with a relaxed residential feel to it… but a boat ride from the city’s main sights. The Palladio’s spa offers a wide range of steam, massage and other treatments for guests both here and at the Bauer group’s other hotels. Prices are steep, but the view through the water-level window in the post-treatment relaxation room (pictured) is superb, and there are eight treatment rooms.


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Looming impressively across the Giudecca Canal, the Neo-Gothic Hilton is the largest hotel in the Venice area. Built between the 19th and 20th centuries, the imposing red-brick building was once a flour mill (it’s named after Venetian entrepreneur Giovanni Stucky). Wood-beamed ceilings and steel columns are a reminder of its industrial past. Thanks largely to its size, facilities are among the best in the city. The spa is one of the largest in Venice, though access costs extra and needs to be booked in advance. The panoramic rooftop swimming pool is one of the main draws, offering wonderful views of the city.


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The Gritti is located on a striking stretch of the Grand Canal, looking across the water to the church of Santa Maria della Salute. The former owner, a 16th-century named Doge Andrea Gritti, has given his name to this palazzo which in fact dates from 1475. It became a hotel in 1895. A multi-million revamp brought the building firmly into the 21st century, with state-of-the-art high water protection and heaps of technological gadgetry. The exquisite spa is in collaboration with Sisley of Paris and offers a vast range of treatments individually or in suites designed for couples. There are steam baths and a fitness space with Technogym equipment, too.


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Contributions by Kiki Deere, Caroline Hamilton & Jill Weinreich

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