Venice Hotel Guidebooks
We occasionally receive e-mail from readers who want hotel recommendations for Venice. We usually reply by warning them not to rely on one person's opinions, but to consult several guidebooks. The reasons for this are simple:
Which guidebooks should you consult? All of the major guides are reliable enough, but you'll get more detailed information from two excellent guidebooks that focus on accommodations in Venice and Italy. Here they are:
This British guide describes "150 captivating small hotels, pensioni, bed-and-breakfasts, and self-catering palazzi" in Venice, the Veneto, Lombardia, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
The first part of the book is devoted to general information maps with call-outs that point to individual hotel locations. Each of the next 85 pages has a photo, several paragraphs of text, and practical information (such as prices) on a specific hotel or rental accommodation. The rest of the book is divided into half-page descriptions of properties that didn't make it into the main section.
The descriptions are refreshingly opinionated and even blunt. For example, the authors don't hesitate to mention that the Cipriani is "astonishingly overpriced" or that an inspector found some of the employees "churlish" at the otherwise charming Pensione Accademia.
Note: Charming Small Hotel Guides: Italy is available for travelers who venture beyond the Northeastern region, and the series includes volumes for other European countries. Each is slightly smaller than a Michelin Green Guide, for easy carrying in a handbag or coat pocket.
Sleeps in Italy
Sandra Gustafson's Cheap Sleeps series is the standard by which other budget guidebooks should be judged, and that standard is very high indeed. Ms. Gustafson's descriptions are as colorful as they are honest, as when she writes:
Not all hotels in the book are low-end. Ms. Gustafson includes listings for two- and three-star hotels such as the Paganelli, Ala, and Kette. Student accommodations and campgrounds are also described.
As the title implies, Cheap Sleeps in Italy isn't just about Venice. The book also has extensive listings for Florence and Rome, for a total of nearly 150 hotels. And while it's a bit heavy for carrying around with you, it's perfect for selecting hotels in Italy's three most popular tourist cities before you leave home.
Note: Sandra A. Gustafson's companion volume, Cheap Eats in Italy, is also a valuable guidebook for travelers.