Hotel Review: Hotel Ala Venice, Italy
Venice quickly became the favorite city of both Marina and myself last week when we were lucky enough to visit for Carnevale. I have never been to a city so magical, mysterious, quant and downright beautiful. From the second we excited the train and saw the Grand Canal, we were speechless. Quickly on a boat taxi and headed down the canal, we couldn’t wait to explore and get settle in our hotel, the Hotel Ala, a Best Western location in one of the best sections of the city.
As we exited the boat taxi at Giglio, we proceeded to walk down the narrowest ally we had ever seen and when we emerged into the gorgeous square at the end, the Hotel Ala greeted us right on square, lion statues in front of the door proudly wearing their own carnevale masks and capes.
Hotel Ala feels as old as Venice, and the mediaeval architecture, decorations and feeling of the lobby transport you back hundreds of years. Our check is was smooth and simple (make sure to ask for your free wifi codes, one code per device, more later) when you check in. We were given our awesome, huge and heavy rooms keys and were escorted to our room, a gorgeous old room overlooking a beautifully small canal complete with gondola’s adorned with Italian opera being sung. We felt like we were in a cartoon and couldn’t stop smiling.
Yes, the room is old, the decor outdated but it does not detract from the experience. With carnevale in full swing we did not turn on the tv as we were not in the room much, but everything else was completely up to date, including the towel warmer in the bathroom, a real plus. The bathtub even had jets in it, great after a long day walking around the city.
The only frustrating part of our room was the lack of outlets by the beds, something that anyone with an iPhone will appreciate. How am I supposed to play Candy Crush for 3 hours before I fall asleep without plugging my phone in?!
Normally, we prefer hotels right in the middle of the action, but being a 10 minute walk away from Venice’ main attraction, St. Marks Square, was actually one of the best parts of our stay. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed walking through Venice at all times of the night and day. There is something so amazing about the feel of the city, and walking around, getting lost, stopping for a bite, is all part of the experience and a hotel right in the middle of town might not force you to explore much.
There is a great little bar attached to the Hotel Ala, and while the prices are standard hotel price, it is a nice place to meet friends or grab a quick drink and the bartenders are beyond helpful.
The internet…. ahh yes the internet in Italy. We have experienced rather slow internet connections in Italy, but Venice really took this to another level of frustration. Hotel Ala offers free internet for each guest, which is wonderful, but the speeds are infuriating. I imagine if you were trying to stream a movie you would rip your hair out. In addition, they print out a small receipt with a code for only 24 hours of use, something which is quite frustrating when you are staying for a couple days and need to visit the front desk each day for a new code…right in the middle of sending an email.
We would happily stay in the Hotel Ala again as we simply fell in love with the whole mood of our stay. Waking up to birds chirping, the soft sound of gondolas floating by your window and the fresh smell of bread wafting in your window, simply magical.
Overall Rating: 4
Room: 4 (outdated but comfortable)
Internet: 4 (has personality, but works good)
Location: 5 (wonderful to walk around)
Price: 4 (starting at 89 euros)
.H . Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll respond super fast!