Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2507: Rent a Flat, Palazzo Benzon
2bed/1bath apartment in San Marco, Venice
Aug 25 - 28, 2006, 3 nights
Great location right on the Grand Canal in the San Marco area. The views were wonderful and the area was great. It was very quiet at night, only heard the gondoliers and opera singers!
Close to everything. Five minute walk to Rialto Market, St. Marks Square (if you don't get lost on the way!) The vaporetto stop, Campo Sant'Angelo and San Stefano, restaurants, cafes and gelateria all within a couple minute walk in just about any direction.
Palazzo Benzon is historical building once owned by the Querini family, who entertained many of the great literati 18th and 19th century. Lord Byron slept there! The mezzanine and first floor have a few separate apartments now, I think at least four, and the top floor is still used for art exhibitions and other Venetian gala events.
We were in one of the mezzanine apartments. It was very large and reasonably well laid out. Two bedrooms, one off the living room, the other off the hall, but the bathroom was in the middle of the two and could only be accessed through the bedrooms.
You can view the apartment directly: Palazzo Benzon.
The little balconies were great. The views and activities on the canal were fun to watch. There was a great view in both directions, the Rialto bridge one way and all the other grand palazzi the other.
There was a dock just outside our door also that we sat on and enjoyed a glass or wine or two.
The living room was quite big with two double-door windows that opened onto very tiny Juliet-type balconies right onto the Grand Canal; you had to actually step up onto it, but one person could sit on the balcony quite comfortably. You could stand on them, but the railing was only knee high, so probably not a good idea. There was a TV with Italian channels only. A rather old, but comfortable sofa and love seat and a few chairs and tables. There were some lovely antiques also, but not terribly well looked after, some were in need of repair.
The apartment was generally pretty clean. It was very old so sometimes it's hard to tell what is really just old versus in need of a good cleaning. The bathroom and kitchen were very clean (except maybe the bathroom carpet, not stained or spotted, but hard to tell with carpet). A bit of a musty smell, but once we had the windows open for an hour or so it disappeared. Some dust on the living room furniture, but we didn't have a problem with that. All the bedding and towels smelled very fresh.
One bedroom had a queen size bed and was quite lovely, the other had two single beds and was decorated okay. All the beds were comfortable. Quite a bit of closet and drawer space in both. Both also had fairly large windows. The doors between the bedrooms and bathroom did not close properly, so we had to use shoes as door stoppers! We were provided one bath towel and hand towel each. The bathroom had a shower/tub combo and also had a large window, but had carpeting (ick!) on the floor.
There was a good size dining room in the centre of the apartment. The kitchen was a little small and very poorly equipped. There was a wooden kitchen table in there that four people could sit around. Full size fridge, four-burner gas stove and a dishwasher that sort of worked. No coffee maker of any sort, there was a kettle though, a couple of very old (no longer nonstick) frying pans and one large pot and one small pot, only one reasonably sharp (not very big) knife and a couple of big stirring or serving spoons. There were no tea towels or dishcloths, but we did find some cloth napkins in a cupboard which we used in their place. In hindsight, we probably should have just bought some of the touristy Venice tea towels and dishcloths that we could have used while there and then taken home as mementos. There were enough dinner plates/dishes in the kitchen and in the hallway cabinet, but very few cups/mugs (really only three that were good for tea or regular coffee). There was enough cutlery, but quite a mishmash of it.
Problems or Bonuses
No surprises really. It was pretty much as shown on the website. I checked a couple of different agency websites that offered this apartment and found the pictures and description was pretty well the same on all of them. We did know it was old so where expecting some not so level wood floors and stairs and ill fitting doors etc.
The only really negative thing would have been the kitchen being rather poorly equipped. We did make do with what we had and managed to have a couple of great dinners. And I guess the bathroom carpet (ick, ick!)
Agency and Representatives (and price)
There was a mix up on our arrival date. Our friends were to be met at the Sant'Angelo vaporetto stop by the representative, but she wasn't there at noon, the agreed upon time. We did manage to contact her, by cell phone using the number we had, and get everything sorted out, but she was not in Venice (she was on vacation and just driving back to Venice!) The cleaning lady was sent to let them in around 3:30. The poor cleaning lady didn't speak English and our friends didn't speak Italian. So they were all a bit frazzled (and jet lagged!) Not the best start to the holiday for them.
We paid €190 per night. It is a bit less if you stay for an entire week, but I'm not sure how much. It was the best price we found for only staying three nights in August and right on the Grand Canal.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay there again in a second. Poorly equipped kitchen, non-closing doors, dust and all.
Being in that location and being right on the canal made up for anything that was wrong with the apartment.
If staying there again, I would confirm with them not only a week before as we did (we did this because we were leaving the next day to start our holiday), but perhaps the day before too if possible. She did say she was very sorry and that she had never mixed up the dates before!
All the above said, next time if I had more money in my budget, I would upgrade a bit to something still on the canal, but maybe a little nicer or a little more cared for.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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