In a city as compact as Venice, there are hotels within a stone’s throw of most places. But, trying to find somewhere central, comfortable and at a reasonable price is tricky in a city where most places carry a Venetian price tag.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the world-famous San Marco Square, Relais Venezia sits on a quiet side street, which the hotel itself claims is one of the oldest streets in Venice, with the front door mere metres from a side canal. It’s hidden among the hustle and bustle of the city, and is everything I imagined an Italian hotel full of character to be.
Walk for a few minutes away from San Marco Square and you find yourself at the Rialto Bridge, amongst some of the many shopping areas and strolling alongside the Grand Canal. If you’d rather avoid the tourist hotspots, there are plenty of quieter side streets to take a detour along and explore Venice like a local.
We were lucky enough to have one of the rooms on the top floor. Despite the climb of 88 – yes I counted – stairs, it was well worth it. A comfortable size, with plenty of space to move around the bed, we also had a bedside table each and TV mounted on the wall. A built in wardrobe took pride of place in the corner, with a desk/sideboard running the rest of the length of the room and a chair to relax on next to the wardrobe. There were also the hotel room staples of a fridge and safe, which are two things I always look for.
The en suite bathroom was very modern, complete with a waterfall shower. While it wasn’t big enough to fit two people in it, I didn’t spend a great deal of time hanging out in there so it wasn’t a problem. There were complimentary toiletries, replenished each day regardless of how much we’d used.
A bed is a bed, right? Wrong! While the mattress doesn’t stick in my mind as a cushion of heaven-like comfort, it was definitely fit for purpose and comfy enough to let me sleep well for my stay. What does make this bed memorable for me were the views. From the side window I woke up to the red rooftops of Venice with a backdrop of the mountains in the distance, and the skylight right above the bed allowed me to go to sleep staring at the stars.
Breakfast was included in our stay, and we could opt to enjoy it in the reception area or in our room. As it’s usually a struggle for me to get out of bed and down to breakfast in time, we opted to have breakfast in our room. Each evening we told the receptionist what time we’d like breakfast and our drinks choices, and each morning pretty much on the dot there’d be a knock at the door with our breakfast.
Advertised as a ‘continental breakfast’, the croissant, yoghurt and roll certainly filled a spot to get us going. Add to that a glass of juice and a cup of coffee, I couldn’t really complain when it was brought to me in bed.
Dinner isn’t offered here as it’s such a small hotel, but there are wide range of great options the next street along, at much more reasonable prices than would be found in the main tourist traps. However, if it’s tourist traps you’re after, they’re also on offer less than 5 minutes’ walk away.
The staff at this hotel were welcoming from before we even arrived to the second we left, and although there was a slight mix up when we came to check out it was no problem and was quickly rectified. There are only a small number of rooms, and as such there’s definitely a more personal feel to your stay. From the warm welcome each time we passed reception on the way to our room, to the extra effort the staff went to to ensure we had all the information we needed to make the most out of our time in Venice, they definitely made our stay very comfortable.
Wi-Fi is included, however the signal wasn’t amazing as we were on the third floor. Once we’d picked up the signal though, it was just perfect for a quick episode of something on Netflix to relax in the evenings, or to check up on things to do in the city.
Would I recommend this hotel?
The location of this place and the personal touch made this hotel great.While it’s not the usual modern/boutique style of hotel I go for, it was comfortable, good value for money and a very enjoyable stay. If the price were right and I could have one of the top floor rooms – those views! – I’d definitely stay again.
The important stuff!
Hotel website: www.relaisvenezia.com
Official rating: 3 stars
TripAdvisor rating: 4.5 out of 5