When we first decided on a trip to Venice our original plan was a ‘christmas market’ city break. My boyfriend and I always plan a little trip in the lead up to Christmas, it’s become tradition. That magical feeling of jetting off four days before Christmas and arriving home on Christmas Eve, only to have one more sleep before the big day makes it so much more exciting!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, Venice isn’t a traditional christmas market city… And you are right! When googling ‘christmas market cities’ Venice doesn’t usually feature but somehow we veered off the beaten track and found several recommendations for a Venetian Christmas break. In fact, the beauty of Venice I believe, is far more enjoyable when the herds of people that congregate over the summer months aren’t there!
Many people suggested going at this time because you can stroll around more freely as there are far less tourists, the total cost is about a third of the price it is in the summer and Venice looks beautiful no matter what season you travel.
We stayed in the 4* Hotel Ai Cavalieri di Venezia. We wanted a hotel that was typically Venetian in decor and we were not disappointed! On arrival at the hotel it was clear to see Murano glass chandeliers everywhere and ornate Venetian furniture and antiques featuring also.
Much to my delight the (street) entrance to the hotel was grand, perfectly red and christmassy!
This hotel also has its own canal drop off point so naturally we had to make use of it and arrive in style… so we booked a water taxi to take us straight to the hotel! We chose to pay for a private water taxi and booked through Venice Link. We actually didn’t find the private water taxi that expensive. Although, this could be because we messed up our booking and they kindly and quickly refunded us a lot of money we didn’t need to spend. So, a previously expensive experience became a lot cheaper! In addition, the opulence of speeding through the grand canal and admiring some of the main sites all in our own open top boat was totally worth the money anyway!
We paid for a Deluxe Double/Twin Room and the room was everything we hoped for and more! I had (very naturally of me) specifically requested a room with a view of the canals – when in Venice and all that! We were shown to room 301 and found we’d been assigned the most beautiful balcony, crafted amongst autumnal leaves, overlooking Venice with Saint Marks Campanile perfectly poised in the distance. From our balcony you could see the canals below, Venetians going about their daily lives and there were plenty of other residential balcony’s around us with people perched on. It was also secluded enough to escape any potential onlookers. It was perfect!
The only flaw to having this amazing balcony was that it was the dead of winter and absolutely freezing – despite how gloriously warm and sunny it looks in the picture. We toyed with the idea of buying a full-bodied red, putting on every piece of clothing in our suitcase and sitting out under the stars one night but we soon learned that most glasses of wine and aperol spritz came in at a very reasonable price of €3-3.50 in the bacaro’s. So we quickly favoured the warmth of a bar and cheap drinks! If we were to travel back in the summer though I would definitely request the same room and make full use of the balcony!
Our hotel was on the edge of the Castello region, which is slightly further away from the touristy attractions. This suited us because we like having the ‘local’ experience. This isn’t to say that we didn’t do all the touristy stuff too. We had a good mix of both worlds. Saying that, it’s only a 6 minute walk to St Mark’s Square – the hub of all tourists! Rialto Bridge is just around the corner and a charming little library named Acqua Alta Liberia is literally just over the bridge next to this hotel.
The only disappointing part about this hotel was the breakfast. It wasn’t particularly exciting or extensive but we weren’t that bothered because we had plenty of places planned throughout our days in Venice to eat at! Don’t get me wrong, it was reasonable enough to fill a hole until the next meal so I wouldn’t let that put you off at all. See my other posts from our time in Venice if you need any suggestions on what to do and where to go whilst in Venice!
We went to Venice at Christmas time but as previously mentioned, it’s great in whichever month and this is a great hotel to kick back and relax after a long day of sightseeing!