If there is one place you don’t mind getting lost in, it has to be Venice. It’s half the fun. Doing away with the sightseeing map and compass is incredibly liberating and a much better way of walking over some 378 bridges which sit above in excess of 150 canals. And once you’ve been exhausted, there’s an even a more inviting way to get lost – in the spa at the Bauers L’Hotel.
Located just two minutes from St Mark’s Square, it’s right in the hub of the cultural and shopping scene so the spa makes for a great form of escapism when you need it.
The Bauers L’Hotel is an intricate patchwork of four architectural buildings – Bauers and Il Palazzo are adjoined while their sister property The Palladio Hotel, and Spa and Villa F are situated across the canal on nearby Giudecca Island. Getting there is a mini adventure in itself via a 5 minute private water taxi ride. Designed in the 16th century, this rare jewel in Venice has a warm and welcoming décor with a waft of woody spices which you notice that perfume the air.
As with most spas of this calibre, it offers an extensive menu of treatments but the one that caught my eye was the Dr Vitalis Oxygenating and Restorative body treatment. I couldn’t get into my bathrobe quick enough.
This treatment involves a three way therapy system designed to restore the body to its natural bliss using Philip Martin’s organic and non-toxic chemical products. My therapist applied a thick layer of mask all over my body before asking me to lay down on the massage table cradled by a cocoon. Hot vapours beneath the bed helped to open up the pores while I received a thorough facial. The therapist used various circular motions and tapping techniques as she worked through a number of pleasant smelling products finished off with a few spritz of fragrance from a distance that left a tingling sensation. The result? A glowing complexion and a thoroughly relaxed pampered body.
Downtime can continue either lying horizontal on the lounges in the relaxation area or by walking around the gardens. Open in the summer season, the three gardens which were once vineyards and orchards, have been beautifully secured. You can catch a few rays while being secluded from the bustling streets in the main touristy areas.
Back at Bauers and it’s a totally different but equally delightful setting. Behind the revolving entrance door lies a perfect example of 1940’s architecture and is the more contemporary of the two sites with art deco inspired interiors and an urban vibe. Unmistakingly Venetian, the hotel is famed for it’s exceptionally large rooms and fine furnishings. Hand-woven fabrics are still crafted by Venetian artisans and modern sculptures by local and international can be admired throughout.
We stayed at the Il Palazzo which is housed in the original Venetian house from the 18th century. The rooms, like the rest of the five star luxury boutique hotel, are surrounded by Chinese vases and antique tapestries. The real gems are the ceilings. You can admire the decorative inlaid ceilings for hours as you relax on your bed.
Breakfast on the seventh floor Settimo Cielo terrace is another must. Guests can sip their morning coffee either indoors or on the outdoor terrace, admiring the spectacular backdrop of Venice’s Grand Canal. The views are so beautiful that you can almost forgive the seagulls trying to steal your food.
Dining is obviously a lavish affair, keeping in line with the rest of the establishment. The Bauers gourmet restaurant ‘De Pisis’ is elaborately furnished in a style reminiscent of Venice’s years gone by. As for the food, the executive chef remains true to his Japanese roots whilst using Mediterranean essences and a dash of Asian influence. And experimentation is key to their dishes. Who would think Terriyaki Duck with popcorn and corn cream would go so well? And that’s before you tuck into a chocolate bar with ‘adzuki’ beans and raspberry ice cream.
For more information on Bauer l’Hotel, visit www.bauervenezia.com.