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San Marco: Hotel Flora

www.hotelflora.it

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Reviewed by: buckthorn from WI, review #3292

When: May 2013

Really nice hotel with a staff to match.

Judging by the previous review here (from almost 10 years ago), the Flora has come a long way. Our room was spacious and comfortable. The breakfast was very, very good. Scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, croissants, and plenty more. Cheerful and helpful breakfast staff will happily bring you cappuccinos to your heart's content as you enjoy the breakfast on the outdoor patio.

The rest of the hotel staff was superb. They gave us a warm welcome and happily got us last-second skip-the-line tickets to St. Mark's basilica on what otherwise would have been a hectic last morning. Even though it is located only a few minutes' walk from St. Mark's piazza and the vaporetto stop, the Flora is still tucked away in a quiet corner.

In short, we were really glad we picked the Flora, and if you want to be this centrally located, it is a great choice. It's certainly not "cheap" or a budget hotel, but this is Venice, after all.


Reviewed by: Amelia2004 from IL, review #647

When: June 2004

Small, quaint hotel with great staff and beautiful garden in a convenient location near the Grand Canal. {3 star}

Hotel Flora has several things to recommend it: great location on a quiet side street not far from the Grand Canal and St. Mark's, beautiful garden where breakfast is served, and very helpful staff. It is not a luxury hotel, but its charm more than makes up for the cramped quarters. I've been to Venice 3 times and Hotel Flora was by far the best placed I've stayed.

Rooms are small but charming - - My mother's room was incredibly tiny but she loved it. Our first room was small but had a garden view; our second room was much larger but had no view (we knew in advance that we'd need to change rooms). Frankly, the garden view wasn't worth it. The furnishings were not cookie-cutter and, while not luxurious, were clean, quaint and comfortable.

Bathrooms are tiny and not-so-charming - - For an American, bathrooms in Italy are always a surprise. Hotel Flora was no exception. Our bathrooms were Lilliputian in size and had unenclosed showers which can make for a mess if you aren't careful. (An unenclosed shower means there is no enclosure of any kind, not even a tub. Thus the only thing separating the water from every other surface in the bathroom is the shower curtain.)

Beautiful garden offers a peaceful oasis - - One very special feature is the enclosed garden hidden behind the front desk. Away from the bustle and noise of Venice's streets, you can unwind before dinner or enjoy your breakfast. Weather permitting, breakfast is served here. You can also have drinks from the bar served in the garden.

Breakfast is mediocre - Buffet-style offerings consisted of hard boiled eggs, bread/pastries, cheese, yogurt and juice. There was no fresh fruit and if you wanted water, you had to purchase a bottle. For a fee, you could order other items from a menu. They were expensive, so we made do with what was offered. There were a lot of guests when we visited, so the staff really had to hustle to bus the tables, get coffee, answer questions and replenish the buffet. Unfortunately, the frenetic pace of the waitstaff detracted from the otherwise serene garden setting. The indoor breakfast room is dark and a little claustrophobic.

Pleasant staff at the desk and behind the scenes are very helpful. The front desk staff speak excellent English and can offer insights and ideas on where to go, how to get there and what to do. They made dinner reservations for us, arranged water taxis, offered suggestions on places to dine, and effortlessly jumped from one guest's request to another. The staff also helped us get our luggage to the dock and loaded on the water taxi. They were also very gracious with us when we wanted to practice our Italian language skills.

Location couldn't be better. Hotel Flora is about a 5 minute walk from Basilica di San Marco and the Doges Palace and perhaps 10 minutes from the Rialto Bridge, the Accademia or La Fenice. It is on a tiny side street (akin to an alley) off a main shopping street. There's a major vaporetto stop nearby, so we were able to easily navigate our way (with luggage) from the train station to the hotel.

Price - During high season, we paid 180 euros a night for a single room and 230 for a double room. Based on the research I did, this seemed reasonable for Venice.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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