a surprise in Venice

I have since heard that the idea of a surprise fills many with dread. Luckily, as it turns out, I am not one of them.   As soon as I had whiff that He was up to something, I honestly didn’t try to sniff it out too much. Secretly delighted not to be doing the organising and there isn’t really anything more flattering than someone going to all that trouble …

Any readers following my social feeds last weekend would be only too aware that I spent 3 nights in Venice celebrating 15 years of marriage to Him.  In fact, they would also know that until I walked to the airport gate at Gatwick, I had literally no idea where I was going.

Only delivered instructions to palm off the Smalls, a cryptic packing list and a strict demand to leave my laptop at home – it appeared we were off on a glorious mini-moon.

Life of Yablon Venice surprise

Of course, He totally pulled it off. Met by a super-speedy water taxi, we powered off in search of Venice’s latest addition private island hotel to open in its Adriatic sea lagoon.

JW Marriott Venice

JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa

Having never been to Venice, I knew relatively little about the 100 or so islands surrounding the city.   So I was fascinated to learn about the weapons stores, prisons, asylums and leper confinements which were conveniently housed on these islands during Venice’s history.

One of the larger islands, Isola Delle Rose, is made from sand and soil dug out during the construction of the city’s commercial port. A hospital for those with pulmonary disorders was built there so that patients could leave the congestion and humidity of Venice for this leafy, oxygen-rich sanctuary. Anyway, this hospital shut down some 40 odd years ago and Isola Delle Rose lay abandoned for decades.

the hotel's water tower on a stormy night

the hotel’s water tower on a stormy night

That is, until now.

JW Marriott has created a truly refreshingly contemporary fully-functioning 5 star hotel and spa for anyone keen to visit Venice but not spend too much time amongst the main land crowds.

Life of Yablon in Venice

20 minutes by (very regular) hotel transfer to St Mark’s Square, the additional time on the water gives you the perspective of Venice, its breathtaking architecture and those salt marshes.

the view from our table at Cip's

the view from our table at Cip’s

The first night (our actual anniversary) we ate at Cip’s. Ultra cool, definitely iconic and yet brilliantly casual.  Before I had finished my first bellini I was completely intoxicated by the view, my over excitement and of course the organiser of our trip!


On Friday we visited the main sites (Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Square, Bridge of Sighs, Rialto Bridge) before hurrying back to our 16 hectares of landscaped gardens, 1000 year old olive groves, infinity pools and spacious room with private garden overlooking the calm lagoon for an afternoon of sheer (kid-free) happiness.

Life of Yablon Venice

Life of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon VeniceLife of Yablon Venice

The rooftop bar was more happening by day than during the evening but we still enjoyed a less hectic, informal evening only accompanied by swarms of mosquitos.

I Scream Daddio by Sarah Lucas at La Biennale di Venezia

I Scream Daddio by Sarah Lucas at La Biennale di Venezia

A glimpse of All the World’s Futures at a mighty impressive Biennales on Saturday morning was followed by recommended (delicious) lunch at Corte Sconta.

Life of Yablon in Venice

walking back from Giardini to the centre

I won’t bore you with every meal, coffee and lap of the pool. But do get in touch if you’re planning a trip to this romantic city and I’ll share all our findings. Oh and if you’re planning a surprise for someone, even the most diarizing-devil you know, you’ll find the after-effects just as pleasing as their initial screams of delight. I still keep pinching myself…

Life of Yablon in Venice

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