Venice Lodging Planner
What neighborhood to stay in?
"Only a stone’s throw from Saint Mark’s square" is the standard hotel claim. Whether or not that’s the case, it’s not necessarily an advantage. In Venice, you can't go terribly wrong in terms of "good" areas in which to stay, and once you get your bearings, you’ll find you’re never far from anything.
The area in and around San Marco will always be the most crowded and touristy and almost always more expensive: even two- and three-star hotels cost more here than they do in other parts of town. If you want to stay in less trafficked surroundings, consider still convenient but more tranquil locations in Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, and east Cannaregio (though hotels near the train station in Cannaregio can have their own crowd issues), or even Castello in the area beyond the Pietà church. A stay on the Lido in shoulder season offers serenity and beaches for the kids, but it also includes about a half-hour boat ride to the historic center, and in summer it’s crowded with beachgoers.
Venice is saturated with lodging options, but it is also one of the most popular destinations on earth—so book your lodging as far in advance as possible. Planning your trip four to five months (or even farther) ahead will give you a much greater selection. Double-booking is not uncommon, unfortunately, so make sure you take your reservation confirmation along with you, including any special requests you've made (tub or shower, first or top floor, and so on). Almost all hotels can be booked online, either via email or using the booking system on the individual hotel's website—where they often guarantee the lowest rates and even discounts for longer stays or last-minute requests. You can also try larger booking portals such as venere.com or veniceby.com.
Venezia Sì (041/5222264 , Daily 9 am–11 pm www.veneziasi.it, [email protected]), the public relations arm of AVA (Venetian Hoteliers Association), also offers online booking for almost all hotels in town, and you can make reservations through them by phone or email. If you're in Venice without a room booked, try making same-day reservations at one of the AVA booths, which are at Piazzale Roma (Daily 9 am–10 pm), Santa Lucia train station (Daily 8 am–9 pm), and Marco Polo Airport (Daily 9 am–10 pm).
They also have counters at the San Marco and A.S.M. Parking Garages in Piazzale Roma.
Finding Your Hotel
It is essential to have detailed arrival directions along with the address, including the sestiere and preferably a nearby landmark; conveniently, most hotels include maps on their websites. Even if you choose a pricey water taxi, you may still have a walk, depending on where the boat leaves you. Nothing is obvious on Venice's streets (even if you have GPS); turn-by-turn directions can help you avoid wandering back and forth along side streets and across bridges, luggage in tow.