Venissa

Mazzorbo Island, Venice, Italy Book from Book from £96 per night

Michelin-starred wine retreat on Mazzorbo, a charming untouristy island in the Venice lagoon, with a pedestrian bridge to Burano
This chic retreat serves some of the most exciting food in Italy, and has been known to outdazzle Venice’s canals, treasures and Basilicas for foodies in the know. The Michelin-starred restaurant has an utterly unique menu, making the most of creatures from the lagoon - soft-shelled crabs, baby squid and eel - alongside traditional Italian favourites remade and updated. Francesco Brutto is at its helm, named Best Italian Chef in 2016 and 2017. There's also a more casual Osteria restaurant, which is slightly more affordable and very good.

Venissa is set in an old manor house on Mazzorbo island, attached by a pedestrian bridge to Burano with its famous candy-coloured houses; staying here also means you can explore Burano when the day-trippers have left. And the hotel itself is beautifully quiet - surrounded by 2 hectares of vineyard and gardens, with only 5 guest rooms, which adds to the exclusive, intimate feel. If you're a first-timer to Venice we'd recommend a couple of nights in the city and a separate stay here to make the most of both.

Highs

  • Offers a far more tranquil experience of Venice; you're a 40-minute vaporetto ride from the centre and can zip back and forth
  • Sensational food: from local seafood delights to risotto and pasta, all paired with their incredible wines and local Prosecco
  • Chic décor, from the modernist suites to the egg-shaped lights outside the hotel. Every detail has been considered
  • The views of the lagoon from the rooms at the front are wonderful - just throw back the shutters and enjoy
  • The ambiance: it’s stylish and elegant without being pretentious or uptight

Lows

  • The Michelin-starred restaurant is only open from early April to early November, and books up far in advance, but the Osteria is open over winter
  • Food and drink is expensive, as you'd expect of such calibre
  • The Osteria restaurant only serves a tasting menu and is closed on Wednesdays. However you can walk over to Burano for authentic local restaurants (5 mins)
  • The Standard Double rooms are small, with little space for relaxing in-room

Best time to go

Venissa is open all year, though the Michelin-starred restaurant is only open March-early November. The Osteria restaurant is open all year but closed on Wednesdays. Venice itself is very busy in the summer months so this hotel would make a wonderful retreat from the crowds. In general though, spring and autumn are the best times to visit the region, for warm weather and fewer tourists.

Our top tips

Venissa's vineyard is the only one in the world to produce the Dorona grape (Golden Grape), once famed throughout the region, and almost made extinct by a terrible acqua alta. As a result, their wines are incredibly rare - only 3,000 bottles a year, sold in very high-end boutiques/restaurants - and incredibly special. If you're into your wine, be sure to taste them.

Bring your best clothes. We felt out-smarted by the food.

Great for...

Foodie
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Gastro Retreat
  • 5
  • Restaurants and bar
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Closed: 7 Jan 2019 - 31 Jan 2019
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Venissa has a mix of Suites and Standard Doubles (no twin rooms). The Suites are on the top floor, overlooking the lagoon with sloping eaves ceilings; one looks onto the gardens, restaurant and vineyard while the other has views of the lagoon. Both are impeccably furnished with kingsize beds, desks, Eames chairs, funky lighting by the likes of Fontana Arte and Driade and bright rugs.

The first-floor Standard Doubles are much smaller than the Suites. Request one with views of the lagoon - you can literally throw open the window and drink it in. Rooms on all sides of the building are quiet and peaceful.

Shower bathrooms are modern and pared back, with cheeky bird-shaped mirrors. It’s all very modern, with no frills or flounces.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Satellite TV
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Venissa's food ethos is high-quality local produce and creative new approaches to traditional dishes. Their cuisine is inspirational and award-winning, created by Francesco Brutto (Best Italian Chef 2016 and 2017) and his team of inspirational young chefs.

The Michelin-starred restaurant is open March-early November; we visited in late November so were unable to experience its fabulous flavours but it receives rave reviews from all who go. Imagine scalded shrimps with acetosella root and the powder of fermented strawberries and white karkade; guinea fowl with yuzu salad and sea artemisia oil, then smoked tiramisu with toasted nori for dessert.

We ate in the chic grey Osteria, where there's a daily changing degustation menu (4 courses). To start, we enjoyed breaded sardines from the lagoon with a raspberry and red onion jam, and warm sourdough bread. The second course was a chestnut rigatoni with prawns and bacon, which was pleasingly rich but slightly bland. Cuttlefish with a pumpkin cream and black squid ink was absolutely divine, and we liked their take on tiramisu, a foamy creation in a glass.

Each course was paired with local wines (we loved a complex Chardonnay Muscat blend, served with course 2), and our dessert was accompanied by Venissa's own pudding wine, which was utterly delicious; it smelt like the lagoon yet was bursting with apricot and apple flavours. A truly memorably meal.

The wine bar, Via Della Vigna, serves a simplified version of the Osteria's menu (both lunch and dinner are on offer), as well as delicious Venetian wine in a relaxed setting.

Breakfast the next morning is rather pared back in comparison; a simple buffet of cereals, tinned peaches, boiled eggs, slices of cheese and a lone charcuterie offering. We were slightly disappointed (especially by the carton juice) but enjoyed the homemade pastries brought to our table: chocolate muffins, little croissants and a slab of warm orange cake. It would've been nice to have some homemade bread and try Venissa's strawberry and vanilla jam, on sale at the hotel.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander across the wooden bridge to Burano, an authentic Venetian fishing village. We loved its pretty candy-coloured houses, traditional lace shops and watching the boats come and go on the canals and lagoon

  • Take a pre-dinner stroll around Mazzorbo. It’s completely untouristy, without a single shop, but the views are sensational as the sun goes down on the lagoon

  • Vaporetto boats go from Mazzorbo to Murano, famed for its tourist-friendly glass workshops, as well as Torcello and Venice itself

  • You could easily spend a day in the centre of Venice and return here for dinner. We’d recommend being focused and visiting 1 or 2 sights or galleries before heading back - the tourist crush can be overwhelming

  • Arrange a boat tour at reception and go fishing for soft-shelled crabs on the lagoon with local fishermen, or visit otherwise unvisitable islands

  • Make the most of the wine knowledge at Venissa and take a tour of the Prosecco vineyards. It takes about an hour to reach them by boat and then car but you’ll have unparalleled guides (they own the best vineyard in Prosecco, after all!)

  • If you’re particularly fond of golf, the golf course on the Lido is considered the best in Italy. It’s easily reachable by vaporetto from Mazzorbo

  • Just hang out at the hotel - read a book or magazine on the terrace and drink delicious wine all afternoon!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional crafts
  • Wine tasting

Kids

This is a peaceful grown-up gastro retreat, which doesn’t feel compatible with children. However, we took our baby and it was great. The management are open to children staying and say the restaurant in summer is great for families - kids can play on the lawn in full view of their parents dining in the restaurant.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Each room can fit 1 baby cot (free), and the Suites can each fit a rollaway bed (supplement cost).

Kid Friendly:

Location

Venissa is on the island of Mazzorbo in the north lagoon of Venice, 40 minutes by vaporetto from central Venice.

By Air:
There are 2 airports serving Venice; Marco Polo, which is a short boat trip from the city centre and served by international flights and a selection of budget airlines, and Treviso airport. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
Marco Polo is connected to the city by bus and waterbus; to reach the city from Treviso, you have to take a bus (40 minutes) or a taxi through the suburbs. From the centre of Venice, you need to find the Fondamente Nuovo stop to get the vaporetto to Mazzorbo. It’s the same bus you would take to reach Murano, a big tourist hotspot, and Burano, an island attached to Mazzorbo, and is easy to find.

By Train:
Venice’s Mestre station is the closest to the city. From here you can take a bus or taxi into Piazza Roma, the terminus for all wheeled vehicles, and will then need to take 2 water buses or vaporetto to reach Mazzorbo (taking about 1 hour).

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Venice and getting around

Airports:

  • Venice Marco Polo 49.0 km VCE
  • Treviso 35.0 km TSF

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We loved our stay at Venissa.

10/10,

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