Venice is like Paris when you’re looking for a place to stay. There are so many lodging choices to select from it’s difficult to know where to begin searching. But sometimes circumstances make it easier to choose. That’s how I ended up at Hotel (Albergo) Galleria in Venice. It was one that happened to have a room available at a) a very busy time b) in a great location c) on fairly short notice and d) at an affordable price.
Converted from an 18th century Venetian mansion, Hotel Galleria is located within touching distance (practically) of the Grand Canal, alongside the Accademia Bridge, and a 10-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square. It’s also just a short distance (easy walk) to the boat shuttle that takes you to the airport.
Once you step through its etched glass and arched doorway, you’re in a tiny foyer—then it’s a walk up the narrow stairway (hopefully you’re not lugging several pieces of oversize luggage; remember, this is a one star hotel, so there is no elevator). At the top of the stairs, you’re in the more spacious, and charmingly European reception area. I loved the oversized brass bell set on the counter (if staff are not at the desk, you ring it for help).
It almost feels as if you are in a Venetian home, not a hotel. Framed artwork hangs on ruby red wallpapered walls, and dark wood beams are overhead. In the hallway to the rooms, glass shelves showcase Venetian masks, while a Murano glass vase with glass flowers sits atop a small table, and a beautiful Murano glass chandelier hangs above to illuminate it all. You are in Venice and it feels like you are in Venice. Check in was pleasant and easy (staff speak English). Before I arrived, an email was sent to me with explicit and helpful directions to the hotel (from the airport and train station).
My room was smallish but delightful, with a comfortable bed, ceiling fan (there’s no AC), more framed artwork on the rich maroon wallpaper, and a window that looked out on the Accademia bridge– with a smidge view of the Grand Canal. Hotel Galleria’s best rooms with direct views overlooking the Grand Canal are numbers 7, 8, and 9. But those rooms are extremely popular (especially at this hotel’s price) and must be booked much earlier than I booked mine. While my room was not directly on the Grand Canal, it was also a bit quieter. Guests who like to sleep in should be aware that especially in early mornings, the Grand Canal gets quite noisy with the passing parade of watercraft.
There is no fridge in any of the rooms (nor tvs or phones); but in the hallway, a nice touch includes a small fridge with complementary bottles of water for all guests.
I had a sink in my room but I shared a bathroom down the hall. (Other rooms have private bathrooms).
However, I never saw anyone else in the hallway– so again, it almost felt as if I were staying at someone’s home; and walking to the bathroom took me by more gorgeous personal displays of Venetian art and ceramics.
Best of all, in the early morning, the hallway was filled with the scent of croissants baking that wafted up the stairs from the kitchen below.
Breakfast is included in the price and was a most delightful experience. There is no separate breakfast room, so a tray is delivered to your room, complete with silver coffee pot, juice, yogurt– and those warm fresh-from-the-oven croissants. Set on my little table by the window, it tasted divine, especially accompanied as it was with my slice of a tiny view on beautiful Venice. Room rates vary according to the season. In October when I was there, a single was $105, my standard double with shared bath was $167 and the largest room with four beds was $386. For more information, check the website. You can also compare rates and book on Priceline.
Photos and review by Donna Tabbert Long