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Ca' San Giorgio B&B review

Atmospheric setting for a good-value stay

Courtyard, Ca' San Giorgio

Ca' San Giorgio is a smart and romantic little B&B in the centre of Venice with a 'boutique hotel' atmosphere. I stayed for six nights in the quiet season immediately after the Carnival in February. This is a great time to visit Venice, as accommodation is cheap and the city is fairly quiet. The hotel's prices are reasonable for Venice and there are different room types with the simplest ground-floor rooms being significantly cheaper than the larger upper-floor bedrooms.
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Arrival

Ca' San Giorgio is located on a quiet lane which opens onto the Grand Canal. I walked from the airport bus stop at Piazzale Roma; a short walk with only four bridges to climb; one of these has a ramp, so it's not too hard to walk with luggage. I rang the bell and was greeted by the friendly receptionist, who came out into the hotel's courtyard to welcome me. Newcomers to Venice should study a map carefully first (or read about 'location' below).

The B&B must charm all its visitors on arrival. The external door opens onto a particularly lovely example of a little Venetian courtyard: Gothic atmosphere, a stone well-head and a staircase climbing to the first-floor entrance. On the ground floor off the courtyard is a little lounge area - not that common in accommodation of this type, and a nice touch.

After registering at the first-floor reception desk, I was shown to a ground-floor bedroom. This 'economy double room' was, as advertised, perfectly decent but small in size, with nowhere to sit other than the small double bed, and no desk. The bathroom was also small, but well-equipped. Because of its position, the room was a bit gloomy and I didn't get a phone signal. I judged it OK for guests who want to save money and sleep. If you have money to spare and want to spend more time in the hotel, I'd suggest choosing a pricier room type. I had no complaints, as the room was as I expected. But as I settled in, I checked the bed, and found it hadn't been made up with sheets. Luckily the receptionist hadn't gone home. She was very apologetic over the cleaner's mix-up, and arranged to move me upstairs to an upgraded room.

Bedroom and facilities

Bedroom

My second room - which would have been worth paying extra for - was on the first floor, just off reception, with a large double bed and a little balcony overlooking the lane with views up to the Grand Canal.

The room was a decent size, with fairly typical Venetian hotel décor. Unlike the cheaper room, this one provided a table and chair, as well as the possibility (had it not been February) of sitting outside on the balcony. There were some issues with layout in the room, probably inevitable due to the constraints of the historic building: the wardrobe doors couldn't open fully due to the proximity of the bed and bedside table, I banged my arm on the tv as I walked past the bed, and there was nowhere really practical to put a suitcase where it wouldn't be in the way. The standard of décor and furnishing was generally very good, though.

Furnishings included two bedside tables with drawers, a minibar with a bit of useful space, a couple of different lighting options, the wardrobe, a table and chair and a shelf for useful extra storage. I'd have appreciated a full-length mirror. Very important at this time of year, the carpeted room had good heating (self-adjusted), as well as air-conditioning for summer. It's a common issue in hotels, but I found there weren't enough power sockets: there were bedside sockets, but I had to unplug a lamp to charge my phone overnight, and for any device I wanted to use I had to unplug some piece of equipment. The room was generally quiet but the noise of boats on Grand Canal was loud at times during the night and woke me (there was also some noise from a construction raft moored nearby during my visit). As the room, alongside another, is just off reception, and doors aren't soundproof, there's a certain lack of privacy knowing the receptionist is outside most of the day.

My ensuite bathroom was small but quite reasonable, with a very good shower (a steady, controllable temperature). Toiletries, tissues and slippers were provided. The bathroom had one strange feature (other than the odd glittery floor): the window was covered only with a thin net curtain. So, although the window is not particularly overlooked, I was uncomfortable using the bathroom and showering after dark, as I assumed the curtain would become transparent. I actually found myself turning off the light and showering by the light of a street lamp outside. Of course, this may not bother everyone, and I think this was the only bathroom in this position.

The B&B

Ca' San Giorgio isn't a full-service hotel, but it offers good customer service. There was always a staff member around till 7pm and to greet guests on arrival. The receptionists spoke English and were very helpful explaining local travel and attractions to visitors. Once you're registered you have your own keys for the room and for the external door. Breakfast was served in a room on an upper floor, up a flight of steep stairs from the reception, and was a fairly good, and typical, Italian buffet. The ground-floor lounge contained a shelf of books including recent guidebooks, along with a kettle for guests' use, with a choice of tea, instant coffee, little packaged biscuits and occasionally croissants. There was another little tea-making corner in a corner of the breakfast room. Note the hotel doesn't have a lift and the rooms are distributed over several floors.

Bedroom

Ca' San Giorgio location

The B&B is located a few yards from the Grand Canal between the vaporetto stops Riva de Biasio and San Stae. If you don't know Venice, look at a map. Although it's not on a major thoroughfare, the hotel is across the alley from the Museum of Natural History which is the most signposted museum in Venice. You can pick up the signs to the museum from Riva de Biasio and from surrounding lanes and squares. The location suited me as it's very near two good restaurants, Venice's nicest little campo and public transport. It's very handy that Piazzale Roma is a short walk away; the Rialto bridge is also easily walkable in the other direction. I'd recommend eating at La Zucca and Da Mocenigo (book ahead, especially for evenings/weekends). One ferry stop away, across the canal, is San Marcuola, close to the Jewish Ghetto, the bars and restaurants of Fondamenta de la Misericordia, and the shops of Strada Nova (plus Luca e Fred for Venetian cicheti).

Recommendation

Ca' San Giorgio is a small and extremely welcoming B&B, in a fairly atmospheric building. The location is quiet apart from occasional boat noise and I appreciated the position, off the beaten track but close to a useful thoroughfare, two boats stops and a couple of my favourite restaurants. As you can use the vaporetto to cross the Grand Canal, a big central swathe of Venice is in easy reach. It's in comfortable walking distance of the railway station and Piazzale Roma, so arrival/departure and rail day trips are all easy. Although not a full-service hotel, this is a very convenient place to stay for sightseeing or relaxing in Venice. The friendliness and helpfulness of staff, and the extra little touches like tea-making and snacks, give it an advantage over competitors. As there are only a few rooms, try to book well ahead of your travel dates. It's somewhere I would happily return, and I think it's worth considering paying extra for one of the best rooms; my balcony was a lovely feature.

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Review and photographs by Italy Heaven editor.

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