A Pleasant Surprise !
Starhotel Splendid Suisse, A Pleasant Surprise !
November 13, 2005 a Trip Advisor Non-member.
We have just returned from our trip to Italy as part of a tour. When we received our info regarding the hotels we were going to stay in, we looked up the reviews for this hotel. As you might expect from some of the reviews we were terrified as to what we might encounter, and ready to complain. We were given one of the newly renovated rooms and we were thrilled with it ! The room was bright and clean and the bathroom was sparkling with white marble and chrome. The location is perfect as it's in between the Rialto bridge and the Piazza San Marco. It appears that they are still renovating rooms and making the effort to modernize the hotel. I will agree that there are many tour groups that stay there and at times the lobby is very crowded. The staff was friendly and helpful.
This turned out to be our best hotel of our tour of Italy ! If you can deal with the large tour groups and the small lobby it's an excellent location to stay in Venice.
our favorite hotel of our two week tour
prior to our trip I remember reading some terrible reviews about the Star hotel splendid suisse and was very concerned. I called my travel agent and told him I was worried since my son had bad alergies and the last thing I wanted was for him to get sick. Our trip started in Rome and ended in Milan. We were going to cover a lot of ground on our two week Perillo Tour.
I must report that not only was our room newly renovated and spectacular in every way but our tour bus of sixty people voted it the favorite hotel of the trip. I believe there were a couple of floors that had not yet been renovated - I assume they were the ones that everyone had written in to complain about. Our room had the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. There were flat screen tvs in each room (including the bathroom), beautiful brand new elegantly decorated bathrooms, completely air conditioned, and clean as a whistle. The location was perfect - walking distance from St. Mark's Square.
I have heard that the streets can get flooded in Venice and you could be ankle deep in water. We were there in July. It was bone dry and magnificient. There were orchestras playing in the square and artists selling their artwork. Quaint shops were everywhere and during the day you can ride the gondolas and be serenaded.
Oops I'm getting carried away. But anyway, It was important that the hotel was comfortable because it was quite hot in July. The air conditioning worked great. The people that worked in the hotel were very warm and friendly and bent over backwards to please us.
When we go back to Venice, this is the hotel I will request. I give the Star Hotel five stars.
One of the least splendid hotels I've ever stayed at!
For a 4-star hotel this is truly terrible!
We were given a room on the 3rd floor, in the part of the hotel which is not yet renovated. This part of the hotel should be locked down until the renovation is completed. To call this 4 star is a disgrace!
The staff are arrogant, rude and unfriendly. Especially the desk-staff. They didn't seem interested in providing any help at all, some of them is OK, but others are just scary!
And the room.... ugh! Lets just say, that we will NEVER stay at this hotel again. Even though the location is good, we'll rather stay at a hotel that delivers what it promises. This hotel definately does not.
The trick is to stay in the new rooms!!!!
It's funny to read all these reviews now that we stayed at this hotel. We stayed there for two nights during our honeymoon. We too were expecting a lot as it's a four star hotel. We arrived and ended up in one of the "old" rooms that haven't been renovated and I agree with other reviews that it was a HORRIBLE room, especially for the price we were paying. Dirty rooms, mold in the bathroom, horrible bed, etc.
We stayed in the "old" room for one night and then the next morning asked the front desk (very nicely) if we could be upgraded to one of the newly refurbished rooms, which we were able to do. The newly renovated room was like staying in a COMPLETELY different hotel. It was a fabulous room with hardwood floors, new plush beds, a very clean and wonderful bathroom, etc. We did have to pay extra so it ended up being a very expensive stay, but it was worth it to get out of the other room.
Overall, I would give the hotel a "1" rating for the old rooms, and a "4" for the new rooms!!!
One other comment to mention: the location was PERFECT, as we were between Rialto bridge and St. Marks Square, which was awesome to hang out at each night to have wine and gelato!!!
Disappointed with the Splended Suisse
Located between the Rialto Bridge and San Marcos Plaza, this hotel was in a convenient location but the room itself did not meet the advertising on the hotel's website or on Vanere.com. The pictures advertised and boasted rooms with European charm and air conditioning. Our room was dark and the decor was generic and disappointing. The air conditioning barely worked at all, and we could not control the temperature despite the fact that there was a thermostat in the room. We would probably not stay there again.
Find somewhere else to stay!
There are two types of rooms, the deluxe and superior. The renovated rooms are superior and may be worth the stay at this hotel but the deluxe room is well worn, small and not worth half of what is charged. The carpets had holes. The room is small and the bath is postage stamp size with a 2x2 foot shower, bidet, toilet and sink. Listen to the warnings and stay elsewhere. The location is convenient but overrun with tour groups.
We were really impressed with this hotel. We were greated by really friendly staff who seemed to speak every language under the sun. The room was small but comfortable. The breakfast was superb and we managed to sit both mornings at the window next to the canal watching boats and agondolas go by. Very romantic!!! There was a lady who walked around during breakfast and she gave us a map of Venice and told us about a number of hidden treasure churches and squares to visit. She recommended a restaurant round the corner which specialised in seafood and was excellent. I would stay here again for the superb location - you are within 4 minutes walk to the rialto and 5 mins from St Marks. Perfect for first timers in Venice.
Venice any time of year is wonderful. The flooding of Venice is really a sight to behold. In the late morning, the water will start to rise from the center of the piazza and the gurgling sound will continue for a few hours. Platforms are assembled for the pedestrian tourists to walk from place to place. The cafes, shops and restaurants will close their doors, and wait for the tide to recede. Then, they are mopped dry and opened till the next rising of the waters.
This does not stop the walking around and the thrill of seeing Venice.
"Getting ready for the flooding"
The rising of the waters... Here you can see the men setting up the walking planks which you will find throughout Venice in the areas which flood. Piazza San Marco is the lowest place in Venice therefore more planks will be found here.
Besides the ubiquitous murano glass and gondolas, there are funny hats, gondolier shirts and more sold at stands like this one in Piazza San Marco. I could not bring myself to buy any of these items, so the picture serves as a souvenir.
Just Back- 11 day Globus Tour-Rome,Florence,Venice
"GLOBUS TIPS and HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS"
My girlfriend and I just returned from an 11 day tour of Italy, which we booked through Globus/Monogram Tours. This included Hotels, tour packages, and all transfers from Hotel to Hotel, which was an invaluable service.
The Globus tour package included one day (really a partial day) of touring in each city (ROME, FLORENCE, VENICE), with a guide. These included tours generally covered the "highlights" of each city, and were very good, but again only lasted a 1/2 day. Make sure you have something planned for all your free time, although exploring all 3 cities on our own, sometimes getting lost, proved very interesting and was great fun as well. There were numerous optional tours made available through Globus, for a fee of course. Our only suggestion would be that Globus should give you the optional tour information in advance , to better allow you to plan your free time. For example, we booked the Ufizzi Gallery in advance prior to leaving for Italy, as we did not know this would be an optional tour available through Globus.
Upgraded Premium Hotel Package through Globus was worth the small difference in money. The HOTEL CICERONE in ROME was modern, clean, and spacious, very nice. We had a bad experience at the HOTEL ALBANI FIRENZE in FLORENCE. Our original room was nice enough however, the central air conditioning was not working. We were eventually moved to a much smaller room, without any of the upgraded amenities we had paid for. They insisted that no other rooms were available, which soured the stay in Florence. We stayed at the STARHOTEL SPLENDID SUISSE in VENICE, which was under renovation however, we were not at all effected by the construction. In fact the SPLENDID Suisse had the nicest amenities, and was the most spacious of the 3 hotels we had stayed at in Italy...I would highly recommend this Hotel which was centrally located (between Saint Marks and The Rialto), and right on one of the small canals.
The Concierges were neither friendly or very helpful at any of the Hotels, and provided the least amount of service possible. You must stay on them (don't be afraid to be pushy) if you want get anything accomplished. If you need a taxi, or dinner reservation, ask the Concierge for assistance.
"Invaluable Food and Restaurant Tips!!!"
As far as dining in Italy with your Tour Group, my general advise would be this...DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT book any OPTIONAL Tours which include dinner. Out of the 9 dinner meals we had in Italy, by far and away the worst meals we had were the ones which were included on the optional tours we paid for with Globus. The 2 different restaurants that we were taken to were what I would call "Typical Tourist Traps"!!! The food was mediocre at best, and it would not surprise me if most of the dishes were frozen and came out of bag. I did a great deal of research about the dining experience in Italy prior to leaving for our trip, and we were fortunate enough to find and enjoy many delicious "LOCAL" "AUTHENTIC" Italian restaurants. I understand that this is a business venture for Globus however, I was honestly offended by the food served in these restaurants. Although they gave you great quantities of food, sheer volume does not necessarily translate into quality dining. Also, stay away from any of the restaurants recommended by the Concierge, any restaurants with pictures of food, and any restaurants with the menu in several different languages these are all"TOURIST TRAPS"!!! We followed this rule and found many excellent Italian restaurants on our own. Here are our favorites in each City:
ROME - POPI POPI, Via delle Fratte di Trastevere 45, off the beaten path, mostly all locals eating there...definitely worth the taxi ride. Try the beef carpaccio over fresh arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese with olive oil, it was all so fresh, definitely a taste treat. Also surprisingly, for dessert, the Creme Brulee was the best I've ever had, anywhere! Everyone dining there was speaking Italian, and the place was packed with locals!
FLORENCE - ZIO GIGI, an Osteria on Via F. Portinari, 7/R - 501000 Firenze. Again mostly locals, we had the Beef Fillet with Porcine Mushrooms, and Veal Scallopini (nice change from all the pasta) both were excellent. We had a homemade dark chocolate cake for dessert which was wonderful. This restaurant was suggested by a local...great tip...it is located on a side street, in a local neighborhood, not too far from The Duomo.
VENICE - I saved the best for last...in Venice don't miss Osteria AnlicoDolo, Ruga Rialto 772, Venezia...a small local restaurant with the most AMAZING food, not far from the Rialto Bridge. We had a Vegetable Antipasto for starters, all fresh grilled vegetables in olive oil... eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, egg quiche etc...the flavor was amazing. My main entree was Tagliatelle (Thin flat pasta) with Zucchini Blossoms and "Prawns" all done Scampi style. This dish was ADDICTING!!! The best pasta dish I've ever had (sorry to my Italian friends and family back home). There was one woman doing the cooking and serving, and she was most helpful explaining the dishes, which were all superb!!! The Tirramisu was an excellent way to top off our meal as well!
For lunch, stick to either pizza (which is different than what we are accustomed to here in NY) or Pannini, toasted sandwiches with different variations of cheese, meats, lettuce, tomato, etc.. For variation, the Caprese Salad (Tomato with Mozzarella) or Prosciutto with Melon, was a nice change of pace. While in Florence make sure you try the Papa Al Pomodoro Soup,a tomato bread soup,local to the area and delicious.
Of course, you will be eating Gellato almost everywhere Don't feel guilty about the extra calories, you will walk it off, we walked at least 8 hours every day!
"General Advice...Good Info on Each City in Italy"
General tips... bring at least one very good pair of walking shoes, you will be walking and on your feet constantly, on hot, crowded, cobblestone streets. Don't worry about style, comfort is optimum for all the walking you will be doing. I went to a specialty store beforehand (The Walking Company). They will fit you with a walking shoe suited for your foot shape...considering the amount of walking we did, it was worth every penny. Although the Gypsy/pickpocket situation has improved from years ago (so I'm told), do not let your guard down as it still exists... hidden pockets, money belts, etc. are your safest bet for your money and credit cards. You must drink lots of bottled water in the summer, ask for "aqua minerale narurale" which is non sparkling water. If you can, find a supermarket and buy your water there, it is much cheaper than from the vendors on the street. If you do not want to eat or get charged for bread at the restaurants, tell the waiter "No Pane", of course there is still a cover charge for sitting at a table. We were there from 7/28/06 to 8/8/06, and it was extremely hot in Rome, a little more comfortable in Florence, the weather was beautiful in Venice. Dress for comfort...most of the women were either in shorts or Capri's, with tee shirts or sleeveless tops, also skirts and sundresses. The teenagers wore everything and anything, including jeans. The men wore either shorts, or light casual slacks with tee shirts or sport shirts. You do not have to dress up...neat and casual is fine.
Best sights - EVERYTING in ROME, from The Colosseum to The Vatican (The gift shop was overpriced, but they will have your purchases blessed and delivered to your Hotel), The Spanish Steps, The Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon...and so much more...just amazing sightseeing!!! Push yourself to see it all...it's well worth it!!!
FLORENCE is definitely for the art lover. The Accademia Gallery, seeing David...The Ufizzi Gallery with it's many-many works of art was overwhelming. Honestly, after looking at masterpieces in 34 rooms (and there were more)after 3 hours we had our fill. The Pontevecchio Bridge was interesting, with a beautiful scenic view, but the crowds of people, and the "overpriced" gold, detracted from the scenery. We took a side trip to the Pitti Palace, which also had some fantastic artwork...it was amazing to see how the Royal Families once lived. We also ventured out to the Boboli Gardens...the awesome scenery made the climb worthwhile.
VENICE was my favorite City...it was amazing to see the old world charm, the old buildings, The Duomo,the canals, the gondolas, ...up close...it was very surreal. Speaking of which, splurge for a Gondola ride...they are overpriced, but it's a once in a lifetime experience. We also splurged one night and sat at one of the restaurants right on Saint Marks Square...there were 4 bands on the Square playing at the different restaurants. Each band would play 4 or 5 songs (show-tunes, classics, etc. )and take turns playing...it was a wonderful memory. Of course in addition to the price of our dessert and wine, there was a cover charge for MUSIC...still worth every penny!
New Years in Venice
My wife and I have a trip planned for Italy during the Christmas and New Years holidays this year. It's our first trip to Italy. It is an independent Monogram tour through Globus. We arrive in Rome for 3 days on 12/23 then transfer via Eurorail to Florence on 12/27 for 3 days. We finish up in Venice from 12/30 thru 01/02. What can we expect the weather to be like in Venice at New Years? Will most places be open on New Years Day? We are staying at the Starhotel Splendid Suisse on San Marco Mercerie. Does anyone know what it is like? It seems to be convenient to most sights. We are not into the party scene, so we would appreciate any comments on good places to visit or restaurants to try. Any general advice or tips for our visit is also appreciated.