Venice is timeless. But if you want to experience what it must have been like before it was taken over by the world's tourists, you will find it at Hotel San Cassiano.
This small hotel sits on the Grand Canal. You can approach the hotel's tiny private dock / deck from the water, if you take a private water taxi from the airport. It costs more - 100 euros, one way, or 190 euros, return- but if you are 4 or more people traveling together, this is your best option. The cheaper way is to take a water bus called Actv from the airport, which costs only 16 euros per person, but it drops you at San Stai, the nearest public water-bus stop. But do this only if you are willing to walk a short distance, through a labyrinth of lanes, up and down two bridges,hauling your luggage. You will probably get lost ( we did, twice), but you will eventually reach the hotel through a small sunny walled court yard, where seasonal flowers are in bloom.
The reception is on the ground floor, and is full of character- tapestry hung from the walls, framed pictures and paintings, and a long dark-wood counter behind which stand the smiling, dignified gentlemen receptionists. They speak excellent English, and are most helpful with maps and directions to nearest eating places. We were even pointed to a couple of neighbouring cafes (reviewed separately) which gave 10% discount if you showed them the hotel's visiting card. Although the staff will help you with maps and directions, for all their good intentions, you are still going to be lost in the quaint lanes and canals quite a few times. But then, that's what Venice is all about.
The hotel itself is housed in a largish private home that dates back to the 14th Century. Although it has all the usual facilities, the feeling that you are in an old-world house, is very present. The hotel was once home to prominent Venetian families, and was finally the home of the Venetian painter Giacomo Favretto (after whom it is named), until it was transformed into a pension in the late 19th Century.
The ground floor also has a bar, and a computer room.You have 1 hour free internet each day, and the wire-free works even in the rooms.
We had a canal facing room. You have to ask for it at the time of booking, and they charge a little extra for those rooms, but they are worth it. You can see the Grand Canal, and lying in bed, you can watch the reflection of the light off the water dancing on the walls and ceiling.The extra charge is worth it.
Our room was large, bright, with terrazzo marble walls. The headboard and the bedside tables were hand gilded in gold paint. The bathroom, like most bathrooms in old European hotels, was tiny. There was a half-tub, more like a hip bath, the likes of which I had seen in a hotel in Athens, Greece. Despite the tiny space, they still fitted in a bidet, an un-eliminatable European toilet fixture. There was a welcome hair dryer, but the TV in the room had only a pay per view facility. The mini-bar was not overpriced, and the food and drinks in it generally cost the same as outside.
Breakfast is served in a long, bright room on the second floor, which has two tables in its balcony overlooking the Grand Canal. So if you aren't a large group, and get there early enough, you can sit out and eat a leisurely breakfast looking at the happenings on the Grand Canal.The breakfast is excellent. Apart from the usual cereals, breads and juices, there are scrambled eggs, bacon and cut up sausages, fresh fruit, yogurt and pastries. Tea comes from a selection of tea bags, and fresh coffee is on the brew.
The best part of the hotel was its boat deck. For me the highpoint of each day was when we sat out on the small wooden deck, sipping a glass of wine or downing a beer, looking at the boats, and listening to the lapping water, as evening fell. All that remained was the last drink of the evening, and a walk to the nearby plaza for a dinner under the stars.
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- Also Known As:
- San Cassiano Residenza d`Epoca Ca` Favretto Hotel Venice
- Hotel San Cassiano Venice
- San Cassiano Ca Favretto Hotel