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Trip Report Hotel report: Rome and Venice

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Recently back from an excellent trip to Rome and Venice (London, too, but una cosa alla volta), and I can wholeheartedly recommend two terrific places to stay.

In Rome, I stayed at the Hotel Indigo St George. Indigo is a brand of the IMG chain (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, etc), but this is not at all a big hotel -- it's got only 64 rooms. It's also got a spa, but best of all is the terrific rooftop terrace where you can relax with a drink after a day of cruising Rome. The staff are fantastic -- every staff member that I encountered was helpful, which isn't always the case in Rome -- and even the hotel restaurant, tucked away in a courtyard, was surprisingly good and reasonably priced. Maybe best of all is the location on the Via Giulia: it's in a real neighborhood filled with interesting shops and places for either a serious meal or a quick bite, an easy walk to Campo di Fiori, Piazza Navonna, Castel St Angelo, and St Peter's Square. I much prefer this location to the area filled with hotels near the Spanish Steps. (Comparing to Paris, this location would be similar to staying in the rue du Cherche-Midi as opposed to the Champs-Elysées.)

In Venice, where I was paying real money instead of credit-card accumulated points, my B&B was both a serious bargain and an excellent place to stay: the Corte 1321 in San Polo(www.corte1321.com/). The Corte 1321 has only 4 rooms; mine was the "Studio," which was very much like staying in an apartment. It's extremely large (especially for Venice), with a kitchenette and sitting area in addition to the bed area. Plus, the Studio is on the ground floor (in a very secure building) with access to a cheerful courtyard where breakfast is served. Not only is the price extremely reasonable (even less if you pay in cash, and even less still if you sign up on a site called nozio.com ), but everything is pulled together by the excellent manager, Vanessa. This place is really a jewel. But with only 4 rooms (I don't know if others have a kitchenette, and none of the other rooms are on the ground floor), you would usually have to book well in advance.

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