Review: Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel, Venissa, Venice

 Venissa is a gorgeous hideaway and the perfect place for someone who wants to visit Venice but also spend some downtime away from the tourists and craziness.  This is an off-the-beaten-track hotel which doubles up as vineyard creating a small production of a rare type of wine.  I would say the only slight drawback is working out how best to get there and the boat system is a little complicated.  You have two options that you can take directly from Marco Polo airport; a bus boat to main Venice and get off at Fondamente Nove (40 minutes) and then take the second boat from the same stop which goes to Mazzorbo (40 minutes).  This trip costs around €25.  The second option and far more appealing is to take a speedy Riva-esque taxi boat (25 minutes) but is expensive costing €170.  We took the taxi as we arrived at 9pm on a Friday night and couldn’t face the long boat ride and I must say arriving in style on that boat was a fantastic adventure.  Worth every penny!  The dinning room takes last orders at 9pm so we had missed getting dinner but they were accommodating and prepared some snacks for our arrival. 

Venissa is a gorgeous hideaway and the perfect place for someone who wants to visit Venice but also spend some downtime away from the tourists and craziness.  This is an off-the-beaten-track hotel which doubles up as vineyard creating a small production of a rare type of wine.  I would say the only slight drawback is working out how best to get there and the boat system is a little complicated.  You have two options that you can take directly from Marco Polo airport; a bus boat to main Venice and get off at Fondamente Nove (40 minutes) and then take the second boat from the same stop which goes to Mazzorbo (40 minutes).  This trip costs around €25.  The second option and far more appealing is to take a speedy Riva-esque taxi boat (25 minutes) but is expensive costing €170.  We took the taxi as we arrived at 9pm on a Friday night and couldn’t face the long boat ride and I must say arriving in style on that boat was a fantastic adventure.  Worth every penny!  The dinning room takes last orders at 9pm so we had missed getting dinner but they were accommodating and prepared some snacks for our arrival. 

 When we woke up on the Saturday it was wonderfully silent and still outside.  Immediately you feel the calm of the island and I would go as far to say that it is not a world away from a retreat.  The rooms are simple but extremely cosy and they either overlook the canal or the church tower in the garden.  Breakfast was basic with yoghurt, granola, cheese, ham, hard boiled eggs and delicious coffee.  It worked well as we were off to see some culture for the day and needed something light before an overload of seafood pasta.  After eating, I managed to sneak round the beautiful grounds where there is a large barn popular for hosting weddings and the Michelin starred restaurant in high season.  It may have been a chilly morning in mid November but it was sunny and you could easily imagine how the garden comes alive in the height of summer.  Mazzorbo is home to only 250 and a bridge joins it to a slightly bigger island called Burano that is definitely worth visiting.  There were some tempting looking trattorias in Burano that would be quite convenient for dinner if you didn’t want to head to Venice. 

When we woke up on the Saturday it was wonderfully silent and still outside.  Immediately you feel the calm of the island and I would go as far to say that it is not a world away from a retreat.  The rooms are simple but extremely cosy and they either overlook the canal or the church tower in the garden.  Breakfast was basic with yoghurt, granola, cheese, ham, hard boiled eggs and delicious coffee.  It worked well as we were off to see some culture for the day and needed something light before an overload of seafood pasta.  After eating, I managed to sneak round the beautiful grounds where there is a large barn popular for hosting weddings and the Michelin starred restaurant in high season.  It may have been a chilly morning in mid November but it was sunny and you could easily imagine how the garden comes alive in the height of summer.  Mazzorbo is home to only 250 and a bridge joins it to a slightly bigger island called Burano that is definitely worth visiting.  There were some tempting looking trattorias in Burano that would be quite convenient for dinner if you didn’t want to head to Venice. 

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The boat into Venezia from Mazzorbo is just outside the house and is free for the 40 minute ride.  We spent the day wandering round all the sights including the amazing Peggy Guggenheim museum and I highly recommend the food at Antiche Carampane and Corte Sconta for classic Venetian cuisine that is reasonably priced.  Apologies to mention the boats again but if coming back late at night to the island you don’t want to miss the last boat at around 22.30.  Anytime after that and the boats start to be irregular and often don’t turn up.  I learnt this the hard way and at 1am forked out on another fancy taxi! 

On Sunday I met the chef, Giuseppe in the kitchen to hear about the produce and their style of cooking.  Thanks to the Michelin Starred restaurant the more casual dinning room called Osteria Contemporanea offers a spectacular menu serving classic Venetian food with a modern touch.  Everything is locally sourced and picked up daily from the Rialto Market.  There is particular focus on Venetian lagoon produce which means that it makes their food scene quite unique and hard to find back at home.   I highly recommend their take on the iconic “Sarde in Soar”, chestnut macaroni with shrimp and guanciale finishing with a tiramisu. 

We devoured everything while also making room to try their signature beverage.  The vineyard is a family run business and it is at the heart of the whole establishment.  They use vines called Golden Grape that were once thought to be practically extinct with only a few plants left hidden in some vegetable gardens.   The bottles are tastefully designed by a famous glass-working artist from Murano called Giovanni Moretti and each one is slightly different using gold-leaf for the labels.  The white wine had quite a high acidity and earthiness that I liked and it suited a dessert as well as savoury dishes.  The owner’s dedication to the production is apparent at Venissa and the staff share in his love for it.  It soon becomes evident that producing drink on a small island surrounded by salt water and a low tide has its difficulties but they have prevailed. 

 I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Mazzorbo and feel you get a truly unforgettable experience staying on a wine-makers paradise with an Osteria that has a true passion for food.  If you wanted a total escape to a tranquil, slower pace of life then this is it!  It is a little effort to get to but once you have arrived you are transported to another world to switch off and of course, exciting Venice is just round the corner.   Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 3, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy   +39 041 527 2281    www.Venissa.it

I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Mazzorbo and feel you get a truly unforgettable experience staying on a wine-makers paradise with an Osteria that has a true passion for food.  If you wanted a total escape to a tranquil, slower pace of life then this is it!  It is a little effort to get to but once you have arrived you are transported to another world to switch off and of course, exciting Venice is just round the corner. 

Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 3, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy

+39 041 527 2281

www.Venissa.it

Nina ParkerComment