12 March 2016

New Venice Apartments, Venice - Italy Heaven review

I booked one of the New Venice Apartments off-peak this week, at only one day's notice. Three nights in a four-bed apartment cost just €180 (around £46 per night at current exchange rates). City tax was added to this at €2.50 per person per night. Prices will vary throughout the year; I was lucky to find such a good deal - even for a solo traveller the cost of the flat was a bargain.

The walk from Piazzale Roma only takes a few minutes and crosses three bridges, one with a ramp, so arrival is quick and easy by Venetian standards. I followed a rather secret locals' route; if you're new to Venice, the route recommended by the apartments - with your booking confirmation - is fairly straightforward and only a little longer. I followed the emailed instructions to reach the apartments and enter through the outer gate of the property. The flat was in a little complex with several holiday apartments in a couple  of low buildings like converted outbuildings, in a courtyard area between taller, older buildings. English-speaking Rocky, who manages the flats, came to meet me at once, showed me my apartment, explained things, answered questions and took my payment. It was a friendly and helpful welcome, and everything in the flat seemed straightforward, though I think it would have been nice to have a bit of printed information and a map in the flat for first-time visitors.

The apartment I chose sleeps four, and would be fine for a family who don't need much privacy. For one or two people it's spacious and comfortable. The front door opens into a living area with a sofa, dining table, a TV (Italian channels) and some storage. A small kitchen leads off the living room, with a fridge-freezer, microwave and electric kettle (the only place to plug this in was on top of the fridge). It was minimally equipped, with only washing-up liquid supplied, but with enough pots, pans and dishes to to make tea or cook a simple meal on the four-ring hob.

A flight of steep wooden steps leads up to a sleeping platform with twin beds, a chair and a low table. A wardrobe down by the front door would serve the 'upstairs' guests. With sloping eaves but reasonable head clearance and good balustrades, the loft would be a perfectly acceptable place to sleep. The lack of privacy comes from the fact that the loft is open to the living room - there's also an open space leading down from the loft to the flat's double bedroom below. This bedroom boasts a large double bed (made of two singles) with bedside tables, lamps and convenient electricity sockets, a desk/dressing table and chair, suitcase stand, and wardrobe.

The bathroom, next to the bedroom, is small and decent, with a shower and a good amount of shelf and storage space around the washbasin. Towels, soap and a good hairdryer were provided. Venice was cold at night when I visited; the heating in the flat could be controlled easily, and worked well. However, due to its position on the ground floor in a damp city, with tiled floors, the rooms seemed quite resistant to warming up on my first evening in particular (I guessed the building had been empty and cold for a few days). I'd recommend bringing thick-soled shoes or slippers if you visit in winter, as insulation.

The flat had effective wireless internet. I think it was well-equipped in general, though you might discover shortcomings if you did a lot of cooking. The only feature I noticed was lacking was a full-length mirror. It was completely silent at night and in the morning, with only the faintest of sounds from the fridge and the radiators. (If the neighbouring flats were occupied there might be possibly more noise.) I appreciated the chance to sleep without earplugs and lie in without disturbance - usually impossible even in traffic-free Venice.

In the same little complex there are other flats including 'studios' for two people. I looked at one of these: it had a pleasant living area with a small kitchen opening off it, and a nice double bedroom and bathroom. The location is a few yards from Rio Marin, one of Venice's prettiest canals, under an alley entrance so low you have to duck your head. There's a supermarket just a minute away, on the canal, which is open until 9.30pm.

I appreciated the flat very much; the location is convenient for arriving in Venice, for the vaporetto and for getting around, and a supermarket so close is ideal for self-catering. The standard of decoration, furnishing and cleanliness was good. The only possible drawback is that the flats I visited were on the ground floor; there's no 'Venetian' outlook and on the ground floor you tend to get the worst of the wintry damp/cold and the mosquitoes (I'd keep the windows closed and turn on the air-conditioning if you visit in summer). I didn't have a problem with this (when I lived in Venice I was on the ground floor), and I thought the flat was a comfortable and safe refuge after a busy day in the city, offering very welcome peace and quiet.

I was actually uncertain whether to publicise and recommend these flats, as I can foresee myself returning in future and don't want to find them fully booked. But in the interests of other visitors: here's the link for availability and booking:

New Venice apartments

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