Where to stay - Venice & Rome

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Small Law Survivor
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Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Small Law Survivor » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:41 am

My wife and a cousin are traveling to Venice and Rome for pleasure in late March.

i'd appreciate any suggestions of hotels, bed and breakfasts or Airbnbs that they could stay at. They are traveling BH-style - trying to budget around $150-$170/night for a double.

They are both mid-60s, so carrying their luggage up five flights of stairs is probably not optimal. Looking at hotels in Venice on Tripadvisor I see that experience mentioned quite often :happy

Any other thoughts about these locations to make traveling easier would be appreciated - they are both first-timers in Italy, speak no Italian and don't have any friends/relatives to guide them. True Innocents Abroad.

Thanks in advance!

ResearchMed
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:56 am

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:41 am
My wife and a cousin are traveling to Venice and Rome for pleasure in late March.

i'd appreciate any suggestions of hotels, bed and breakfasts or Airbnbs that they could stay at. They are traveling BH-style - trying to budget around $150-$170/night for a double.

They are both mid-60s, so carrying their luggage up five flights of stairs is probably not optimal. Looking at hotels in Venice on Tripadvisor I see that experience mentioned quite often :happy

Any other thoughts about these locations to make traveling easier would be appreciated - they are both first-timers in Italy, speak no Italian and don't have any friends/relatives to guide them. True Innocents Abroad.

Thanks in advance!
In Venice, also be careful of the location. There could be multiple bridges over the canals to get to the hotel from <wherever starting> and each of those could have multiple steps up, and then down again.
That could become a problem after a few bridges.

Check TripAdvisor or www.CruiseCritic.com (look under Ports of Call, and then Italy) for suggestions based specifically on this.
There are some recommended hotels near the Piazza where taxis can drop one off, or buses, etc., without need to cross any canals until one wanders out later, after checking in at hotel.

If they have time/interest, they might want to read the Donna Leon mysteries.
If they get the paper copies, there is usually a map in the front, showing locales mentioned.
The books were fun, light reading, and give somewhat a feel for the Venice.
And the maps... those really did help. When we went, I actually felt somewhat oriented, which was a nice surprise, given how the canals twist and turn, etc.

We loved it in both cities (two different trips).

RM
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tacster
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by tacster » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:39 pm

Okay, I'll toss out a recommendation for a specific hotel in Rome: Hotel Fori Imperiali Cavalieri. I stayed there five nights during a four week trip to Italy last Spring. The hotel is located on a quiet little side street a short walk from the Coliseum and Forum. Does have an elevator. Good Italian style breakfast included. Very professional and nice staff speaking fluent English. At check in they gave me a free upgrade to a larger room. Price should be well within your limit.

Obviously there are hundreds of hotels to choose from in Rome, I just wanted to give these guys a shout out for the great stay I had with them.
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Watty
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Watty » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:22 pm

In Venice be sure to print out very good directions to the hotel. We had a hard time finding ours even though we were within a hundred yards of it. It turned out that you had to go down a narrow ally to get to it. That is common in Venice and part of the charm of the city.

Avoid the areas around San Marco Square the Rialto Bridge since the areas are packed with tourists and a zoo to avoid. A ten minute walk away it can be pretty quite and nearly empty.

Only speaking English will not be a problem since almost everyone in the tourist areas will speak enough English to handle simple situations. English is pretty much the defacto standard in Europe and I have seen situations like where someone from Germany was talking to a Greek salesperson in English because they both spoke a bit of English and that is real common. I try to not dress like an American tourist when I am traveling but often sales people will address me in English before I say anything just because I don't look like a local and that is likely the language we have in common even if I was French or German.

Do be sure to learn some basic phrases in the local language since that is just being polite and will be appreciated even if you badly mispronounce them.

See the Rick Steves books for hotel recommendations.
Small Law Survivor wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:41 am
trying to budget around $150-$170/night for a double
You should not have problems with finding nice hotels in that price range and you could likely spend a bit less if they wanted to extend their trip some for the same budget.

In Rome there are lots of good reasonably priced places to stay if you look for them and reserve early. Pretty much everything in Venice is expensive and many get poor reviews. You don't need to get anything real fancy but in some places, like Venice, it pays to bit the bullet and pay a bit extra for a place that does not have marginal reviews. My strategy would be to find a nice lower priced hotel in Rome and then spend a bit extra in Venice to be sure to get a nice place. That way you could easy keep the average nightly cost within your price range.

One of the great things about Europe is that many of the budget priced hotels are very nice family owned hotels with a dozen rooms and you will actually feel like you are in Europe instead of the Cleveland Hilton. Do try to avoid the big chains just to get the local feel.

If they are taking a train between Venice and Rome then then they should consider stopping in Florence which in many ways I liked better than Rome once you got past the must see hghlights.

See the Rick Steves book to find out which attractions to make reservations for now. In particular they should get reservations for the Vatcan tours as soon as their dates are firm. They may already have difficulty in getting these in March, but the Rick Steve's book will explain how they can still get them.

Did I mention that they should get the Rick Steves Italy book? :D
Last edited by Watty on Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:24 pm

Here is another hotel recommendation for Rome. We have twice stayed at the Hotel Madrid Roma, which is near the Spanish Steps. The staff speaks English and they have an elevator. It will fit into your price range. It is within a 15 minute walk of most of the major Roman sites. We did walk to the Vatican from there, but took an Uber on the way back. Once you go through the Vatican Museum and St. Peters, your feet will be ready for a rest, so be sure to take comfortable shoes.

Don't worry about not speaking Italian. Everyplace we went in Rome had English speaking employees.

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Watty
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Watty » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:35 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:41 am
My wife and a cousin are traveling to Venice and Rome for pleasure in late March.
One more thought. Easter is April 1st which could impact their travel plans since things might be closed or very busy especially around the Vatican since in addition Easter Sunday there will be a lot of other special events and many Italians may be traveling that week. I would make reservations soon. If so inclined they may also be able to find some Easter services or other events to attend.

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eye.surgeon
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by eye.surgeon » Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:52 pm

I stayed at the Hotel Saturnia in Venice and it was typical of higher end hotels in Italy, which is to say somewhat charming in a run-down, out of date way if you find that charming. If you don't, you won't enjoy italy. Keep in mind tourists aren't nearly as welcome in Venice or Italy as a whole as they once were.
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Raybo » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:52 pm

Are they interested in cooking their own food? If so, do what we did, rent an apartment (VRBO, AirB&B, etc) and then shop at street vendors and nearby supermarkets in Rome. While the food in Italy is grand, how many times in a row can you eat pasta and pizza? The local baker, just around the corner, had the tastiest bread we found. We bought some fresh every day.

As for Venice, it is hard to get to a hotel there without negotiating some stairs and bridges along the way. Two suggestions: 1) pack very lightly so that carrying the bag up and over bridges isn't a major problem. 2) check to see where the hotel is and, maybe, try to get one with an entrance on a (major?) canal.
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DarthSage
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by DarthSage » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:21 pm

I don't have specific recommendations--when we went this past summer, we did a tour, and went a little higher budget than you plan. But I wanted to mention a few thoughts:

In Venice, you'll want to stay IN Venice--NOT "just off", which is actually where you need to take a train to get to Venice proper. We stayed at the Boscolo Bellini, but there are probably cheaper choices. It was just off the Grand Canal, some distance from Saint Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge. These days, the main bridges have ramps as well as stairs, if that helps you. You can take water taxis to get to the hotspots.

In Rome, you're better off staying closer to old Rome, versus by the airport. The airport-area hotels are more American, with American amenities, but are a long way (like, a 20-30-minute taxi ride) to the areas with the Spanish Steps, the Vatican, Colesseum, Trevi Fountain, and so forth. We stayed in the Romanico Palace Hotel, which was on a small street, walking distance to the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and several other things. But again--probably pricier than you want to go.

A few other thoughts about Italian hotels--they aren't like American ones. Most rooms sleep two, in twin beds (which they'll put together for you, if you like). In most places, a hotel "floor" would meander, and it was common to have a small flight of steps to get to your room from the (teeny, tiny) elevator. Completely avoiding stairs, not to mention cobblestones in Rome, is impossible.

We had much less of a language issue that I thought we would. It would be helpful to learn a few phrases before you leave, but you should be fine. I really liked Rick Steves' pocket guide to Italy.

This was more of an issue in Pompeii and Capri, but you'd think, if a restroom charges you 50 cents to use a toilet, that it would include a seat. You'd think.

While we had several fancy meals included, we found that we really preferred street food--panini and pizza are wonderful, pretty much in every little shop. The food at the rest stops along the highway was amazing--seriously. Made to order, even the pasta. I think we ate our weight in gelato! My only "rule" (I was travelling with my daughters, younger is 14) was, try a different flavor each time. It was a sacrifice! Down south (Pompeii, Capri), I highly recommend the granita--we had orange juice poured over lemon ice, super refreshing and delicious.

Good luck on your journey, we had a marvelous time.

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:42 pm

My wife and I loved Pensione Accademia in Venice - http://www.pensioneaccademia.it/en/ . It was years ago, but current reviews are still good (for example, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Revie ... eneto.html ) and the location could not be better. I think the price on at least some of the rooms will be in their ballpark since it's out of season.

If you don't get a specific recommendation that works for you in Rome. I've had good luck in large cities by choosing the area I wanted to stay and then seeing what kind of deals are available on Expedia, Travelocity, etc. There will be plenty of current reviews to help you avoid the clunkers.

knick17
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by knick17 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:49 pm

Hard to think about not carrying suitcase if u go to Venice. Some hotels offer pick up from station and at that budget shouldn't be a problem.
Same thing in Rome. At that price it shouldn't be a problem finding good hotels.

Bill Bernstein
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by Bill Bernstein » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:58 pm

If you're there in the off season, the Aventino Hotel group in Rome,

http://www.aventinohotels.com/en/

offers very nice bargains. They are a group of 4 hotels, the Aventino being the fanciest, and the San Pio being the cheapest. All have a fantastic breakfast included, and it's easy to find rooms in the 100 euro range Oct-March. In high season, they're much more expensive. You also can't beat the location, in a quiet upscale residential neighborhood off the beaten track on Aventino Hill, south of the Circus Maximus.

If you can book your Rome-Venice train trip 3-4 months in advance, you can get some incredible bargains--for April, for example, I see fares as low as 20 euros in second class, which is just fine for the high speed trains, a 4 hour trip.

Buono viaggio!

Bill

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by mbres60 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:35 pm

In Rome we stayed at the Hotel Lancelot. It was two blocks from the Colosseum. We paid a little more (May 2017) than you wanted but I would recommend it. Breakfast included. They spoke English and it had an elevator. Had good reviews on Trip Advisor.

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by mouses » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:47 pm

DarthSage wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:21 pm

This was more of an issue in Pompeii and Capri, but you'd think, if a restroom charges you 50 cents to use a toilet, that it would include a seat. You'd think.
Are you saying these are Middle Eastern style toilets, i.e. holes in the ground, or regular toilets but no seats? What's with that?

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by mouses » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:48 pm

eye.surgeon wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 3:52 pm
Keep in mind tourists aren't nearly as welcome in Venice or Italy as a whole as they once were.
Because there are too many?

reisner
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by reisner » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:41 pm

In Venice, I woud stay in the Giudecca, the island across the Grand Canal from St. Mark's. It is cheaper, quieter, and with more local hangouts than the more touristy parts. Until sunset you can catch a draghetto, a retired gondola propelled by an apprentice gondolier, from near St. Mark's to Santa Maria alla Salute on the other side for less than a euro--the best public transportation in the world.

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by RRAAYY3 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:44 pm

Rome sucks don’t spend more than 3 Days there

See the “must sees” and leave - went all over Italy and by far the lamest city (the must sees are truly breath taking ... but see and leave ASAP Italy has so much more to offer)

DarthSage
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by DarthSage » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:33 am

mouses wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:47 pm
DarthSage wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:21 pm

This was more of an issue in Pompeii and Capri, but you'd think, if a restroom charges you 50 cents to use a toilet, that it would include a seat. You'd think.
Are you saying these are Middle Eastern style toilets, i.e. holes in the ground, or regular toilets but no seats? What's with that?
The former in a diner-type place in Florence, the latter in Pompeii. And to be fair, the diner place didn't charge, although you had to buy something to use the facilities. Not every place in Italy is like this, but I was kind of surprised. Especially about the rest stops--the food was truly amazing, and their "minimart" is so much nicer and well-stocked than what you would find in the US. But then you go to use the bathroom, and it's like you're in the 19th century.

mageedge
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by mageedge » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:21 am

For Venice I agree with the comment that staying in city is better than a place in Mestre on the mainland side of the causeway, although there are less costly options in the Mestre area. That said there are many options on the islands themselves. Visited in October, we were very happy with the air bnb listed below. About $110 per night, 1-bedroom ground floor, 50 metres from the San Toma vaporetto (canal bus) stop on the Grand Canal, small grocery store right there.
You can catch the vaporetto from the train station to San Toma or walk about 15 minutes, including 1 major bridge. I noted many other rental options on Airbnb/VRBO - just decide what location works best for you.
One recommendation - buy a multi-day vaporetto pass, prices vary from based on number of days. Single 1 way rides are 7 euros, 3 day pass was 40 euros. We averaged 4 rides a day - easy math! The main city is compact and easily walkable - and getting lost in the maze of alleys and side canals is part of the charm - but the vaporetto is necessary for any of the other islands and it's also nice to hop on to get home after a long day of exploring.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15036710

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by tigermilk » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:12 am

In Venice, we stayed at Hotel Abazzia. The hotel is a former monastery and it still has some of the features from its past life. While the rooms were somewhat small compared to home (but much bigger than what we get in Japan) it was clean, quaint, and with excellent included breakfast. For a location, perhaps it isn't as ideal as a plush St Marks Square location, but the positive is that it's right around the corner from the train station. We were arriving by train, and it was just a couple of minutes from station to door. No bridges to cross, and more importantly no noise fro . The station. In fact the only sounds heard from outside were morning church bells.

We would stay there again.

http://www.abbaziahotel.com/index.html

msk
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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by msk » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:31 am

IMHO, hotels in both Rome and Venice (and Paris and London and...) are expensive compared to similar-sized cities in the US, so a bit of realism to moderate expectations somewhat will be sensible. Apart from that get your buddies to learn how to use Google Maps on their smart phones. Turned out super useful when walking around and getting disoriented in the narrow streets of Venice. You can download on wifi and store the local map before leaving the hotel.

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Re: Where to stay - Venice & Rome

Post by LookingForward » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:39 am

I'm posting mainly to agree with some of the prior posts.

Rome is a big city, and as such we didn't enjoy it that much. Part of that might have been the high-90s temperature when we went, but the more we travel, the more we find we enjoy smaller cities and towns.

Having said that, there are a lot of wonderful things to see in Rome. I recommend taking one's time and not wearing oneself out. We especially enjoyed the Borghese Gallery and gardens.

Like one of the previous posters, we stayed at the Hotel Lancelot (roughly pronounced Launch-a-lot by our cab driver, which surprised me, but shouldn't have), right down a side street from the Colosseum. It has an elevator, English-speaking managers, and nice rooms.

Also as recommended by one of the previous posters, if your friends are traveling from Rome to Venice, it might be worth stopping in Florence, which has amazing art, architecture, and food. It's much smaller and more manageable than Rome, and probably won't be too packed in March.

Venice is wonderful, but as others have pointed out, there is a fair amount of stairs up and down each canal bridge. The stairs are generally low and easy and probably won't be an issue, except with heavy luggage if your friends have some.

When we visited Venice, we splurged a little and stayed at the Monaco and Grand Canal, which is right next to a vaporetto stop near Piazza de San Marco. I don't think the room had any windows, which made it quiet and less expensive. We didn't mind, since after sleeping well we just had to walk outside the hotel for the most amazing views of Venice.

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