Venice, a magical floating city, immersed in its historic landscape, transforms into the globe’s ultimate contemporary art destination during La Biennale di Venezia. Celebrating its 58th year, the six-month-long exhibition entitled, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” invited patrons to reflect and be open to new perspectives.

With 79 international artists, 90 national pavilions, more than 20 pop-up events around the city, and inundation of Venetian tourists, it can be a little overwhelming trying to navigate what to do, much less where to stay to make the very best of the Biennale experience.

The perfect locale to immerse visitors in both the art and architecture of this iconic city is the private island resort of the San Clemente Palace Kempinski.

The Venetian luxury resort uniquely located on its private island just ten minutes away from St. Mark’s Square possesses an impressive heritage shaped by centuries of Venetian history.

Garden-Bar at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice
Garden-Bar at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

First settled in 1131, Venetian merchant Pietro Gattilesso funded the construction of a church and hospice for pilgrims and soldiers making their way to the Holy Land. Until the 15th century, San Clemente Island was run by Augustine canon when thanks to the donations by wealthy Venetians, the monastery was enlarged, and the church restored. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the property became known as the “gateway to Venice,” and it became the standard practice that the Doge’s ceremonial barge would sail to the island to meet distinguished and official guests. One of the most exciting bits of information about the island is that from 1873-1992 it housed a hospital that closed its doors in 1992.

dining at Spa at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

Today the former monastery is managed by the Kempinski Group, which reopened the hotel as San Clemente Palace Kempinski in March 2016. The five-star luxury resort and member of Leading Hotels of the World have 190 guest rooms and suites, three restaurants, three bars, an outdoor swimming pool, a spa, and a tennis court, all set within a centuries-old park, antique courtyards, church and monastery buildings.

Created in 1897, the Kempinski Group is one of Europe’s oldest luxury hotel groups. Now it comprises a portfolio of 78 five-star hotels and residences in 34 countries, consistently adding new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Impressively, each Kempinski property embraces the heritage of their locality.

The San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

As guests arrive at the island and disembark their private water taxi, they are instantly transported into a state of relaxation, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city center. There is also one other striking element that speaks volumes to the uniqueness of this exceptional property. It is the juxtaposition of contemporary art displayed against a timeless backdrop. During the Biennale Art Exhibition, the San Clemente Palace Kempinski magically transforms into an open-air museum showcasing artworks by world-renown artists, Joana Vasconcelos and Tony Cragg. Tony Craggs sculptures are showcased close to the main pier, and all pieces of art will remain on the island until the end of this year Biennale Arte.

A sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos

The hotel features dramatic, high ceilings, lavish furnishings, and long corridors, which all reference back to its illustrious origins. The most luxurious room is the San Clemente Suite. The contemporary designed suite features a separate bedroom, lounge, and kitchen, and it’s very own pier!

the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

The property offers 3 bars and three restaurants. Often, guests begin their day with a sumptuous breakfast buffet at Insieme; the Garden Bar is the perfect spot to sip on a classic Italian aperitif while watching a breathtaking sunset over the lagoon, La Dolce Bar and Restaurant have a relaxing vibe located steps away from the pool and L’Acquarello is the gourmet, fine-dining restaurant under the leadership of  Chef Giorgio Schifferegger.

Breakfast at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

The Executive Chef  Giorgio Schifferegger, who joined the team in August 2017, has been described as having an Italian soul and a French mind. Graduating in 2001, he moved to Paris, where he spent the next six years in the birthplace of high culinary art apprenticing with Michelin-starred chefs, Jean Christophe Lebascle and Guy Savoy.— His French Mind.

In 2007 he decided to move back to Italy, and Venice welcomed him back with open arms- His Italian Soul

the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

The San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice has been the recipient of so many awards; it’s most recent, including “Italy’s Best Hotel Spa 2019”, “Europe’s Leading Luxury Wedding Resort 2019″ and” Europe’s Best Hotel Spa 2019″ by the World Spa Awards.

Spa at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski in Venice

The Merchant of Venice Spa is an oasis of luxurious indulgence where guests can indulge in and experience profound relaxation and pamper all senses with a selection of unique services.

Thanks to its incredible history and unique location, the San Clemente Palace Kempinski will continue to stand the test of time while guiding travelers into a unique world rich in Venetian culture and hospitality.