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Venice Hotel Reviews
Many of Venice's hotels are in renovated palaces, but space is at a premium—and comes at a high price—and rooms may feel cramped by American standards. The most exclusive hotels are indeed palatial, although they may well have some small, dowdy rooms (the main culprits are usually classified as "standard"), so it's best to verify ahead of time that yours isn't one of them. Smaller hotels may not have lounge areas, and because of preservation laws, some are not permitted to install elevators, so if these features are essential, ask ahead of time. Although the city has no cars, it does have boats plying the canals and pedestrians chattering in the streets sometimes late into the night (most likely along principal thoroughfares, in San Marco and near the Rialto), so ask for a quiet room if you're concerned about noise.
Many travelers assume that a hotel near Piazza San Marco will give them the most convenient location, but keep in mind that Venice is scaled to humans (on foot) rather than automobiles; it's difficult to find a location that's not convenient to most of the city. Areas away from San Marco may also offer the benefit of being less overrun by day-trippers.
It's essential to have detailed directions to your hotel when you arrive. Arm yourself with not only a clear map and postal address (e.g., Dorsoduro 825), but the actual street name (e.g., Fondamenta San Trovaso) and the nearest campo. Also be aware that location apps on smart phones can be highly inaccurate for Venice.
You can compare Venice hotels from A to Z at Venezia.net (www.venezia.net); it furnishes links to hotels' official websites. The website of Venezia Sì (199/173309 in Italy, 39/0415222264 abroad Mon.–Sat. 9 am–11 pm www.veneziasi.it) lists most hotels in town (with some photographs), and they offer a free reservation service over the phone. It's the public relations arm of AVA (Venetian Hoteliers Association) and has booths where you can make same-day reservations at Piazzale Roma (041/5231397 Daily 9 am–10 pm), Santa Lucia train station (041/715288 or 041/715016 Daily 8 am–9 pm), and Marco Polo Airport (041/5415133 Daily 9 am–10 pm). Be aware that if you arrive in the afternoon without a reservation, pickings will be slim, and you may be unable to find a room at all.
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