VAPORETTO SAN BASILO or CA REZZONICO.
I booked this accommodation for 4 nights, Christmas 2009 through Venere.com, specifically for its cheap rates - 20 Euros per night, which is very cheap for Venice. I wasn't expecting too much, after reading some of the reviews, but all I needed was somewhere to sleep.
I found this accommodation quite easily - it was recommended to get the Vaporetto to Ca Rezzonica- Instead I headed for S. Basilio, as I had a better idea of where I was heading from here. Just as I was heading for this accommodation, I remembered on an earlier visit to Venice, taking a photograph of some writing on a wall, that I'd guessed was Armenian- I wondered if this was going to be where I was staying - it was!
The staff on reception were quite friendly and helpful, and my check in went smoothly- I was upgraded from a room with shared bathroom to an en suite for the same price- I had the choice of rooms 201 and 202 - I opted for 202 as it had 2 windows looking over 2 different views - one being over the garden.
I was advised by the staff to go and buy some rubber boots, as the Aqua Alta was expected that night (for the 3rd night in a row) and was expected to be around 1.5 or more metres. I was advised also that 10 Euros would be a good price. To emphasise the severity of the flooding, he showed me where the water had risen to the previous night- up to the 3rd step.
There is a canal running in front of this building. Later that night, the Aqua Alta warning siren sounded (like an Air Raid Siren!) followed by 4 warning sounds-indicating 140 cm or higher was expected. As it happened, by the time I was ready to go out next morning-the waters had subsided. I never got to wear my wellies- I managed to take them back to the shop and was allowed to exchange them (no refund) -I chose a hat instead.
To get to my room, I had to climb 50 steps, then cross through a classroom like room, onto a long dark corridor, across the piano nobile (with views onto the Ballroom below) then onto another long corridor, which was quite dark, and with every footstep, the dark wooden furniture rattled. At night this was a bit spooky! One night I'd left my room and was walking along the dark corridor as a young couple approached. The girl suddenly stopped still. As I got nearer she suddenly gasped- I was wearing a long black coat- she thought she'd seen a ghost! I had a fit of giggles over this for quite a while after.
My room was quite spacious - a double and a single bed, wardrobe, 2 tables, writing desk, and chair and bedside tables. The bathroom had a shower, wash basin, WC, electric razor point. Soap and towels provided (Hairdryer available on request)
It was clean but basic- although there was an attractive Murano glass light in the room.
Marble flooring- with no rugs, so quite cold.
As I'd read in other reviews, the walls are tissue paper thin- which I realised, when I could hear every sound from my neighbour!
Another noise that might bother some, is the church bells - From around 0700 they ring on the hour and half hour until around 22.00 hours. This doesn't bother me - but I'm probably one of the few people who likes being woken by the 'call to prayer' from mosques in Islamic countries!
I think 4 nights was enough to stay here - there are no areas to relax away from your room. Although in the summer time, the gardens would be a pleasant place to relax. (Apparently there is a high mossie count in warmer weather though). No food served, but there are Osterias, cafes etc nearby
There is a curfew- around 0100hrs. As it was quite cold and raining some days during my visit, this wasn't too much of a problem this time.
For 80 Euros total price for 4 nights en suite, this was quite a bargain, and if you just want somewhere to sleep and shower, in one of Venices scenic areas - this would take some beating.
Yes, it needs renovating/repairing and upgrading - but this would be at a cost, which would be reflected in the accommodation price too.
I was hoping to visit the Island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, to learn more about the Armenians in Venice - apparently there are only about 5 families living in Venice now. Vaporetto No 20 leaves San Zaccariah at 15.10 each day for the island, where there is a guided tour by one of the multi lingual monks - Free, but donation expected. I got distracted with my wanderings, so didn't make the trip. However, I did find the Armenian church in San Marco sestiere- only open Sundays for Mass at 11.00 - I hung around until the service had finished, then had a quick look around the heavily incense scented church.
Unique Quality: The Ballroom is worth seeing.
Good location - less than 5 minutes from Vaporetta stop.
Quiet location-away from Tourist trails
Between Chiesa dei Carmini and Chiesa dell' Arcangelo (Angelo Raffaelle)
This building was originally built between 1690-1700 as the Palazzo Zenobio. In the 19th Century, the Palace was acquired by the Armenian Mekhitarist Fathers of Venice, where it has been used as a college for Armenian studies, an Armenian Cultural centre, exhibition and concert venue etc.
I'll cover more of this later in A Things to Do or Off The Beaten Track tip.......
Directions: VAPORETTO - Ca Rezzonico (Grand Canal) or S. Basilio (Zattere)