The Hotel Bonvecchiati in Venice
Each year, several million people stay over nicht in Venice. Accordingly, there are a big number of hotels in the city. But this does not mean at all that it is easy to get an accommodation in Venice, as many times, the city is completely booked. During the times of carnival, it is even impossible to get spontanically a free room in the city. Also, during the warm months of spring and summer, there are many times shortages.
Where is the best place to stay over in Venice? Of course it is an advantage to live in the city centre; one saves long trips into the city, have only short trips to make within the city and can enjoy the city in the evenings until the lights go down. But the hotels in the city centre partly have such astronomical prices that it is better to stay over night outside the city centre and get by bus/ship into the centre. On the other hand, in the evenings, one is limited to get back earlier to the hotel if one wants to go out.
There are hotels starting from the cheap 1-star-dosshouse up to the dream luxury palace, from the emergency accommodation up to the luxury room. But the most simple rooms are already so expensive that leaves you speechless. In the early summer 2004, we spontanically did a short vacation in Venice, the city was so overbooked that we only found a very expensive hotel in which we could stay over in the city centre,but more about this in the next chapters.
But one thing is to be said to everybody: it might be difficult to find a free hotel room. But really much more difficult is to find one's booked hotel in the city, as in Venice there are not simply some streets that are easy to walk on with ascending house-numbers; one rather only knows beforehand the approximate situation of the hotel and somehow has to muddle through the small alleyways and bridges with the luggage. Often, it only helps to aks in small shops, the gondoliers or the street police. It is easier if one asks the hotel to give one an exact description of the situation where also the small channels, small streets and bridges are included.
Another tip for the hotel search in Venice: Most of the visitors of the lagoon city stay only one night; the hotel prices are calculated respectively. Those who want to stay several nights have a good argument to ask the hotel for a rebate. Thus, first one has to get an offer and after that one should start to negotiate.
The Situation of the Hotel
When the whole Venice is practically booked up, one often still finds some free rooms in the Hotel Bonvecchiati in all hotel-booking systems on the internet. The reason for this might be that the room prices are extremely high. The price for a double room starts at more than 300 300 €, if one negotiates a good price and goes up to more than 500 €.
The hotel is located at the vey centre of the district San Marco, at approximately 100 m distance from the Piazza San Marco. The situation of an hotel cannot be better. The situation also resulted to be a big advantage for the city viewing. We started in the mornings and were already two minutes later in the middle of the action; we could go at noon time back to the hotel in order to have a short break and had no limits in the evenings for going out. We could also walk comfortably to most of the sightseeings; this was really comfortable.
But our "friendship" with the hotel did not have a good start at all. After our reservation, we got promised to get a booking confirmation within some few minutes. We had to insist several times until we were informed that the respective employees were already gone home. We did not get one single of the promised ringbacks. I never expected such a bad service in an hotel of such a price category; this was disappointing. But finally everything worked well with our reservation.
Even if our hotel was at a distance of only 100 m to the Piazza San Marco, it was very difficult for us to find it as we could not do anything with the four-digit house number and we did not get a detailed location plan from the hotel. Thus, we found the hotel more or less by chance behind the Piazza San Marco after straying around for some time.
The Hotel Rooms
In the Hotel Bonvechiati there are rooms with and without a view to the channel. A room with a view to the bypassing channel costs approximately 50 € more. Who wonders as in any hotel that is located at the beach, a room with view to the sea is also clearly more expensive as a room with a view to the backyard or to the street. We had such a room with a view to the channel but the surcharge was really for nothing. Only by leaning angulary out of the window we could see a tiny piece of the channel road; this was nothing worth. We allowed ourselves one or two views in order not to force oneselves again to crick at the window. This was a big swindle, we paid there a lot of money for a worthless "view"; I can only disadvise this.
Our room was very nicely arranged in the old style of Venice. The ceiling height whas of approximately 3 m, the high windows that were adorned with beautiful curtains let enter a lot of light into the interior. We had a beautiful and comfortable bed and enough seats and cupboards to keep our things. This was pleasant.
Also the bathroom was arranged in the old style, whereby not only the style was old but also the armatures and the other facilities. Under these circumstances, a modern and working shower would have been much better than what we had. It was rather not possible to have a real shower, as I could not find any possibility to adjust properly the right temperatures. By mixing cold and hot water, the armature did not produce a pleasant warm water but a waterjet that continuously switched from cold to hot water. That was not acceptable and completely unable.
What was eligible was that a minibar was available in which we also could put our own drinks in, the complete bathing equipment with bathrobes, flip-flops, shampoo, tooth brushes etc., the free-of-charge-use of a built-in minisafe that could be closed and opened with a number that could be arbitrary chosen.
The multi functional TV was also noticeable, it contained from a simple TV to radio up to internet everything integrated, but the way to handle had first to be investigated. Unfortunately, we had only one German channel; this was weak; I never slept in a four star hotel and got one single channel in German language. Therewith, the multi-function device was rather worthless than useful.
Another disadvantage was the air conditioner of the room that actually should be an advantage, as during the summer months it can get very hot in Venice and the temperatures barely decrease at nights. I give the bad point due to the reason that the air conditioner was centrally operated; thus, I could not adjust the temperature I desired as it was firmly prescribed. Therefore, we could let the air conditioner on while we were dinig out, so that by coming back we found our room with a pleasant room temperature.
The Breakfast in the Hotel
In the mornings at 07.00 a.m. a breakfast buffet was offered in the restaurant owned by the hotel. According to the price we had to pay for our room, I actually expected the hugest breakfast buffet one can dream of. But far away from this.
The breakfast buffet was neither abundant nor varied nor lovingly arranged. We rather found a small mingle-mangle of loose plates on some tables that were moved together. Neither the warm scrambled eggs or the fried bacon nor the plate of cold meats or the fruit bowls were appetizing. Coffee and orange juice were only available by self-service at a machinne, I did not like both at all. Individually prepared food was also not available.
According to my taste, concerning breakfast this hotel was lower middle class. This is why we sparely had breakfast and looked forward to a good lunch meal somewhere in the city.
Service and Personnel of the Hotel
I already mentioned above the bad experience we had with the booking personnel. It simply was a pity that we did not get any information for our booking, neither a telephone call as we required several times.
But we were very friendly and nicely treated in the hotel. What was really pleasant is that the reception was open the whole night through so that we could freely go out at nights in the core of the city without any limitation.
We got twice a day a service to our room. In the mornings, the bed was done and the bathroom cleaned and in the evenings, our room was made "ready for sleeping", thus the bed was opened, the blinds were losed, the dust-bins were emptied again and we got fresh towels in case we had a bath or a shower before going to dinner. This was really a good service as known from 5-stars hotels.
We really only booked this hotel due to the reason that we could not find any other accommodation in the city centre of Venice. What we got for this exhorbitant price was far from an upper class service but rather an average service. Thus, we only paid the top-situation of the hotel and I accentuate it again, as living at 100 m from the Piazza San Marco is nearly the best what can happen to one in Venice.
As a final tip I can only pass over that a Venice trip should be planned and booked in time. Those who book a few months in advance have nearly a free choice among the cheaper hotels and can save a lot of money.
And another tip to bring to a close: it is much more cheaper for those who have a short sea vacation at one of the beaches in the proximity and make use of one of the many offered boat excursions in order to visit one or two times Venice and to explore the city. One has not necessarily to stay over in Venice to know the city.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz