Venice Tourist Trap Tips by breughel
Venice Tourist Traps: 256 reviews and 266 photos
Gritti Palace hotel
Venice counts a number of Palace 5* Luxe Hotels. Some are famous because located on the Grand Canal like the Gritti, Europa & Regina, Bauer or the Danieli on the basin of San Marco. When looking at their terraces with restaurants on the Grand Canal one might be tempted to dream or to plan a stay (after winning at the Lotto) in one of them.
I fancied the Palazzo Gritti from the 16th c (photo 1) which belonged to a doge but felt from my chair when I read the comments on Trip Advisor:
141 comments of which 10 "terrible", 21 "poor", 18 "average", 25 "very good" and 66 "excellent". How is it possible that a prestigious hotel like the Gritti gets 22% bad critics when guests pay between 500 and 900 €/night and only 62% of the guests recommend this hotel!
Continuing on the Grand Canal I saw the Westin Europa & Regina (photo 2). Here the score is less bad: on 420 comments are 20 "terrible", 34 "poor" that is 13% bad critics and 79% recommend. Prices are somewhat lower from 400 till 800 €/night.
Just a bit further facing the Salute stand the Palazzo Bauer. The score is better: on 359 comments 12 are "terrible", 19 "poor" that is 9% bad critics; 86% recommend. Prices between 500 and 1000 € (this is for the Palazzo on the Grand Canal, there are lower prices for the building in the back called Bauer hotel).
Further on the quay at an hundred meters from the Doges Palace stand the 3 buildings of the most famous Danieli (photo 4). The ochre one in the middle has the monumental hall and staircase. The Danieli has no terrace on the water but on the roof. The entrance is on the very crowded quay with souvenir shops for tourists (photo 5). On 383 critics 29 are "terrible", 34 "poor" that is a total of 16% bad critics; 73% recommend. Price between 400 and 700€/night. Can you imagine 16% bad critics for this legend among luxe hotels!
The prices I mention are from Expedia, Westin and Bauer for the period of May 2011.
The lowest are for standard rooms (no view) the higher ones for de luxe rooms but not necessarily with a Canal or Lagoon view. The rooms with good views are generally suites with prices between 1000 and 2000 €/night.
What I find terrible is that these famous 5* Luxe hotels in Venice are unable to obtain a minimum of 95% satisfaction from customers who pay such high prices. What is even more terrible when you read the critics of their guests on TripAdvisor are the many complaints about bad service!
Pay 1000 €/night for bad service, no thanks!
Unique Suggestions: Reads the critics before booking.
Works at the Accademia, Grand Canal
During a previous journey in 1995, I had been able to observe the state of decay of numerous buildings situated on the Grand Canal. Walls eaten away by the water threatened ruin.
Since then, on the occasion of the millennium of Venice, numerous renovations were made. Some are still in progress as at the Accademia. The crane of these works can be seen from far away. Others works might be next or in front of your hotel!
There are also works on the "molo" at the feet of the Palazzo Ducale as well as at the beginning of the Riva degli Schiavoni. Pile planks, floating crane, spoil the sight at the "Piazzetta".
In 2010 the works at the "molo" were finished but the Ponte de Sospiri - Bridge of Sighs was looking quite miserable between two walls of bleu panels topped by a publicity panel for watches. The right side of the Palazzo Ducale is covered with a blue publicity sheet to hide the restoration works and the façade of the Bibliotheca Marciano on the Piazzetta is also covered with a sheet.
The Piazza San Marco near the Campanile is occupied by works. The clients of the café Florian have their view cut off by the works palisade. Furthermore the left side of the Basilica is covered with a sheet.
On the Grand Canal the Accademia is still undergoing works (photo 1).
Unique Suggestions: Before booking a room with view on the canal or Laguna for more than 1000 € / night, get informed if the sight is as romantic as you expect and will pay for.
Empty - Vide
The terraces on the Piazzetta have even a better view than Florian and nevertheless are so empty.
But why? Too much sun or too high prices?
Any "homo economicus" will think: what is the interest of having high prices but no customers.
Florian is doing somewhat better. One can always say "I was at Florian", I saw the table of Marcel Proust, Goethe or Byron (depending on one's cultural interests).
Like mentioned on Venezia.net : "The place where Venice and the world come to meet and where you could sit close to some renewed characters and cinema stars."
I also succumbed to this snobbery, but 25 years ago when the Italian lira was particularly weak and I avoided the musical hour.
Les terrasses à la Piazzetta ont une vue magnifique, sur le palais ducal, sur la lagune et elles sont vides.
Pourquoi? Trop de soleil ou prix trop élevés?
Quel est l'intérêt économique de pratiquer des prix astronomiques si personne ne les paye.
Le Florian est un peu moins vide. Il est vrai que pouvoir dire j'étais chez Florian, j'ai vu la table de Marcel Proust, Rousseau, Stravinsky ou Casanova se paye au prix fort.
Je reconnais avoir moi aussi succombé à ce snobisme, mais il y a 25 ans lorsque la Lire Italienne était particulièrement faible et en évitant l'heure musicale.
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