As we wrote in our Venice travel guide, Venice may at first seem like a trip to Disneyland because it is so magically unlike anyplace else in the world, but it is a living city – filled with tourists but also with regular people going about their lives. Many tourists quickly see Venice on a day stop from a cruise ship or tour group, but you could easily spend several days or weeks here exploring all that the city has to offer or just savoring its beauty and romantic evenings. Make sure to spend at least one early morning and one late night here. When all the day trippers have gone home, and while much of the city sleeps, you are free to explore the empty streets in the light of daybreak or by the light of the moon. Make sure, though, to make reservations well in advance for where to rest your head–Venice has many overpriced hotels, but only a few worth staying at. We've rounded up a few of our favorite boutique hotels, three in the heart of Venice and one on its own private island!
Just steps away from the Rialto Bridge and minutes to San Marco Square, A La Commedia is perfectly located to explore all of Venice's sights on foot. Classic Rooms are compact, as are most in Venice, but elegantly appointed in cream with gold accents, with canopy beds, Murano glass sconces, and lovely marble bathrooms with heated towel racks, rain showers, plush towels and bathrobes. Evening turndown typically includes chocolates, always a favorite with us! Best of all is the hotel's rooftop terrace, where you can take in the views while savoring a perfectly mixed Bellini and perhaps some light snacks after a full day of exploring and before heading out for dinner. A very nice full breakfast buffet is also included in the rate, with a variety of fresh fruits, yogurt, cereals, breads, cheeses, eggs and bacon.
Wonderfully located, just 5 minutes to San Marco Square, or 5 minutes the other direction to the Rialto Bridge, the Splendid Venice has been fairly recently renovated, and is more elegantly modern than most Venice hotels you'll find in the center, which tend toward very traditional elegance.. Enjoy drinks in the hotel's bar, with its wonderful views overlooking the canal, or read up on your plans for the following day in the library. Superior Rooms are very small, at 161 square feet and best for a single guest, so we'd recommend a Deluxe Room (215 square feet), either an interior room, if you're a light sleeper, or one overlooking the canal if you don't mind a bit of noise and enjoy watching the lively world of the waterways unfold outside your window. Breakfast is included in the rate; we recommend reserving in advance to be able to dine in the lovely atrium-like internal courtyard, which is flooded in natural light during the day. In the winters, the fireplace is lit, making it perfect for a cosy and romantic lunch or dinner.
A former palace that opened as a hotel just a few years ago, the Aqua Palace has just 27 rooms and suites and a cozy boutique hotel feel. Not far from the Splendid Venice Hotel, Aqua Palace is similarly conveniently located to both San Marco Square and the Rialto Bridge. And when it's time to sleep, you'll be thankful for the hotel's hidden location overlooking one of the smaller canals–it's far more peaceful and quieter than hotels right on the Grand Canal. Standard Rooms are small, but classically and elegantly furnished, with marble bath, LCD TV, and complimentary WiFi. Enjoy a delicious complimentary buffet breakfast daily, including fresh squeezed orange juice.
Venice can get extremely crowded in the summer months, which makes it all the more enticing to retreat to San Clemente Palace, set on its own island just a short 12 minute ferry ride from Venice. Enjoy its secluded setting, in a beautifully restored 17th century monastery, with spacious and elegantly appointed high-ceilinged rooms and suites. This is the only Venice hotel where you'll be able to for a swim in the outdoor pool (open end of April through September), or play tennis. Don't miss the sumputuous buffet breakfast included in the rate, with a wonderful variety of cheeses, breads, pastries, yogurts, fruits, and hot dishes made to order. The hotel's complimentary ferry service runs every 20 minutes, so it's easy to see the sights, return to relax and freshen up, and go out to dinner in Venice before returning for the night.
Getting to Venice with miles or points
Roundtrip coach tickets to Venice can be over $1300 from the U.S., so you can save greatly by using frequent flyer miles or loyalty points. A few of our favorite budget options, and links to credit cards that enable you to earn the miles:
- Business Class on Aer Lingus Boston to Dublin: 50,000 British Airways Avios points + cheap flight to Venice
You can get 50,000 British Airways Avios points after your first use of the British Airways Visa, enough for a roundtrip in business class between Boston and Dublin. You can then buy a cheap flight, for example on Ryanair, from Dublin to Venice for about $125 roundtrip.
- Coach on Aer Lingus to Dublin: 25,000 British Airways Avios points + cheap flight to Venice
Coach is half the points of business class, so you could get 2 roundtrip coach awards on Aer Lingus Boston-Dublin after your first use of the British Airways Visa, and as in the above, buy cheap Ryanair flights Dublin-Venice.
- First Class on Lufthansa (Last Minute) or United: 135,000 United Miles
Lufthansa’s new First Class offers a fantastic experience. You’ll need to be book this last minute, as Lufthansa no longer releases first class award space in advance. See How to Deal with No More Lufthansa Advance First Class Availability. You can earn the miles from either 2 credit card applications plus credit card spend, or from 3 credit card applications. Apply for the Ink Bold plus either the United MileagePlus Explorer or the Sapphire Preferred, then either earn the additional United miles through spend. Or, in about 3 months, apply for the third credit card (the United MileagePlus Explorer if you already applied for the Sapphire Preferred, or the Sapphire Preferred if you already applied for the MileagePlus Explorer).
If you need to plan ahead, you probably won't be able to get Lufthansa First Class, but you could fly United First Class, or fly Lufthansa Business Class for 100,000 United miles. I recommend trying to save another 35,000 to fly First Class though!
Related Posts in Our Best Luxury Hotels Series:
Best Luxury Boutique Hotels in Paris
Best Boutique Hotels in Seattle
Best Luxury Hotels in Vancouver
Best Boutique Hotels in San Diego
Luxury for Less: The Top 5-Star Honolulu Hotels
Where to Stay in Maui-The Best Luxury Hotels
The Best New York Hotels with Pools
Best Luxury Hotels in Washington, DC
Las Vegas Hotels with the Best Views
Best Luxury Hotels in Hong Kong
Best Luxury Hotels in Singapore
Best Luxury Hotels in Bangkok
Best Luxury Hotels in Melbourne
Check out and apply for the Best Travel Credit Cards.
If you enjoyed this, please follow TravelSort on Twitter or like us on Facebook to be alerted to new posts.
Become a Member to find your perfect luxury or boutique hotel at up to 50% off: TravelSort Hotels