If Venice has been on your "bucket list," get ready to scratch it as "done." Hostelbookers have many chic hotels in Venice in the historic or canal-laced parts that are ready to accommodate you and your family for a very reasonable price. Finally, that dream of seeing the wonders of Venice--the Grand Canal, St. Mark's Plaza, St. Mark's Basilica, the Lido, and Doge's Palace--can come true.
Below are some hotels that are affordable and attractive options for a budgeting family vacation:
Best for Luxury on a budget
Hotel Riviera, at Piazzale S.M. Elisabetta, Gran Viale 5, is about as good a location one can find, on the shores of Lido with commanding views of the water and main port. As its name implies, the hotel is reminiscent of a grand hotel on the French Riviera, with modern, stylish decor and spacious rooms that seem to have been modelled after the chateau decor of the Ritz in Paris (think white wood furniture, chandeliers, tassels and other fine detailing) Amenities include free Wi-Fi, travel desk, breakfast and air conditioning.
If you're spending your day wandering around the Lido or choose to remain near the hotel, do try Ristorante Gran Viale, at Gran Viale 10. This has been one of Lido's most popular restaurants for 60 years, serving traditional Venetian cuisine such as tagliolini with mantis shrimp, sea bass in salt, and an excellent regional wine list.
Best for Couples
Palazzo Guardi, Dorsoduro 995, is close to Venice's new cruise terminal and is situated in Rio San Trovaso near the Academia.
Just a few yards away from the hotel is the Galleria dell'Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Zattere, and the Basilica della Salute. The infamous Piazza San Marco, the La Fenice Theatre and Rialto Bridge are also just a few minutes away.
Amenities at this historic Venice residence include breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
A delightful eatery to enjoy a romantic dinner is very nearby is Alle Zattere, at Dorsoduro 795. Go for a table outside to enjoy the gorgeous views under a retractable canopy. The classic Venetian food includes dishes such as pizza Diavola and pasta with prawns.
Best for Beach Area
Hotel le Boulevard, at Gran Viale S.M. Elisabetta 41,is on the main street of the Lido, only feet from the beach and just 10 minutes away from St. Mark's Square via a 24/7 boat service. Amenities at Hotel le Boulevard include breakfast, an in-house bar, terrace with solarium, reading and TV room and Wi-Fi.
A nice way to enjoy the sights of Lido is to enjoy lunch at the nearby La Favorita,via Francesco Duodo 33. The restaurant has a gorgeous vine-shaded pergola and serves traditional Venetian cuisine, mainly seafood, such as spaghetti ai caparossoli and scampi in saor (sweet-and-sour shrimp).
Best for Families
Hotel Ai Due Leoni, Sestiere Cannaregio 565, is right in the center of Venice, near the historic market of Saint Leonardo. Saint Lucia railway is only 8 minutes away, and St. Mark's Square can be reached via vaporetto or on foot.
All rooms have TV, minibar, direct phone, air conditioning, hairdryer and safe. Each room is named after Venetian painters, and all are individually decorated, with wood beamed ceilings, white walls, paintings and fresh flowers.
One evening during your stay, try Ristorante Pedrocci, at 278/a Sestiere Cannaregio. The "ultimate" Venetian restaurant, it sticks to tradition with spaghetti ragu, fritto misto, gnocchi and pizzas. It is on the tourist track, with a menu reflecting tourists' tastes, so be sure to ask for the "other" menu if you want to try something a bit more exotic.
Best for Old World Charm
Hotel Iris, Sestiere San Polo 2910, will make you wonder if you've accidentally walked into a museum of Venice history. The hotel building itself is a gorgeous brick with lots of white-rimmed windows, lovely gardens and landscaping, and an absolutely amazing location.
Right in the middle of Old Venice, Hotel Iris is near the Accademia di Belle Arti and the Universita Ca' Foscari, as well as the Scuola di San Rocco and the Basilica dei Frari. St. Mark's Square is only a 15-minute walk away. Amenities include canal or garden views, air conditioning/heater, safe, minibar, TV/phone and safe.
When in Rome...er...Venice, do as the Venetians do and eat a ham and cheese sandwich and have an espresso as your wake-up meal, surrounded by the attractive nautical decor and very pleasant staff.