Al Ponte Antico Hotel
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What a mistake!
We stayed at Al Ponte Antico at the recommendation of Locanda Orseolo, a property that has received rave reviews on this site for its charm and the warmth of its management. What a mistake. I have never experienced such hostility from a hotel manager before as I did from the "director" of Al Ponte Antico and the overall atmosphere is that of stinginess, not hospitality.
His back was immediately up because I had arrived with two friends who helped my daughter and me locate the hotel and negotiate the bridges of the Rialto area. He wasn't mollified when I assured him that only two of us were staying at the hotel and that there were indeed only two bags. When he showed us our room, he immediately told my friends they couldn't go into the room because by law only guests could step into the room. I have been to Italy five times in the past nine years and stayed in both B&Bs and high-end boutique hotels, and I had never seen such rude way of speaking and such narrow, aggressive application of that law.
In fact, I was with friends in Venice (one of whom was in the hotel industry in Italy) just the day before, and my daughter hung out with their daughters in their hotel rooms and I had used one of their bathroom to freshen up--and we received not a single nasty look. The staff there actually began to treat us as one of the party even though they knew full well we had a room elsewhere.
It became clear the next day that the problem was a lack of hospitality and not the strict application of "the law" when I brought my friends' two daughters to the hotel to rest before dinner. He flew up the stairs to eject them. It was only after I argued with him that he conceded that even though they couldn't stay in the room they would be perfectly within "the law" to stay in the public rooms, i.e. the terrace and the dining room. He could have offered that alternative from the start, and it would have made his position easier to take. As it is, I felt I was in a convent with a bullying abbess (in twisted underpants) trailing after me.
The property itself is elegant and clean and it does indeed have a directl view of the Grand Canal. Our room as well as the dining room have exquisite traditional Venetian chandeliers. But I myself would have preferred to stay in a hotel that fronted a "campo," or square. After negotiating narrow alleys to get to the hotel, I would like to come out to open space. Instead, the hotel is at the end of another dark alley (part of which was lined in the second day with garbage bags).
Our room (No. 1) was large by Venetian standards. But it overlooked the entrance and was directly above the hotel foyer, so conversation from the foyer and sounds from the street (i.e. drunken singing in the early hours) was immediately sucked up into our bedroom. There were also occasional stenches that wafted into our room. They didn't last (maybe an hour), but were unpleasant to deal with. The bed, although it had an elegant headboard and brocade spreads, was hard.
The breakfast staff was friendly and attentive. The breakfast itself was just adequate. It offered no fresh fruit, water was from the tap, and the bread selection was limited. We had just come from four days in Rome where our B&B offered a table laden with fruits, several kinds of breads, and gratis bottled water. Be aware, too, that work is being done on the building right next door, so you may have construction sounds accompanying you for breakfast.
The front desk (the "director" included) also didn't seem interested in giving correct information and said what was at the top of their head. I had asked how much the water taxi that the hotel arranged to take me and my daughter to the airport would cost and was told "about 50 euros." The taxi driver asked for 90 euros. Good thing I had checked with the concierge at my friends' hotel as well. He told me 85 euros, so I had the money ready. I had asked the weather forecast for the day and was told it's going to be cold all day. I didn't get the impression that he had checked the paper or looked the information up on the Web. I go to my friends' hotel where you can look up the weather report on the hotel computer, and got the forecast that it was going to be sunny, which turned out to be true.
If you want the buzz of being able to stand on a terrace and wave at passing boats on the Grand Canal, then this might be the place for you. But if you want to enjoy yourself and feel welcome (and for pricees over $300 a night you deserve to), go somewhere else.
A real gem!
This hotel is a real find. Situated by the grand canal yet quiet, beautifully decorated in the Venetian style with period furniture and exquisite attention to detail in the rooms which are styled indidually as suites. The chandeliers in the rooms are to die for! The hotel is spotlessly clean. Our room did not have a canal view but this did not matter as we could sit on the terrace at the end of the breakfast room and watch the world go by. The breakfast service was immaculate, served by a very friendly lady and her assistant. Nothing is too much trouble. We were fogbound at the airport and had to stay at the hotel an extra two nights (a pleasure!) we were treated like old friends. We have stayed at hotels all over Italy and this is by far the best - cannot understand why it is classed as a 3 star - it should be 4* or above.
Huge and comfortable room with a view.
Great location if you are happy to be in centre and next to Rialto Bridge. Venice needs traffic lights for pedestrians - incredibly crowded. Great to venture afar and explore other districts such as the Ghetto. This was fascinating and much quieter than Rialto - nice change.
Stayed in room 109 which was lovely but would have been better with a bath, as shower gave what can only be described as a constant dribble.
Breakfast was simple with just a few rolls and ham and cheese etc. We did as a reviewer suggested and ordered breakfast in our room by leaving requeat on door overnight. By 10am, no breakfast, so I looked outside to see that breakfast card had not been taken. I phoned to ask for room service and receptionist apologised, but we still had to wait until 10.30am for breakfast - an hour after our original request!
It would have been nice to have tea making available in room. In the afternoon, we returned after walking for hours and asked for a pot of tea. The man at the desk snapped that the bar closed an hour ago and reluctantly got up and made the pot as asked. The other staff were much nicer, but hard to find.
Local restaurants served fairly mediocre food. Apparently, it's best to go further into centre of Venice for good food, but v hard to navigate around the labyrinth of streets. I should have bought a more detailed street map - next time...
Romantic Venice "find"
We found this hotel on laterooms just before we set off for our honeymoon. Our room was small but otherwise perfect - no canal view but quiet and private, sumptiously furnished, Venetial glass chandelier, chic and modern spa shower room, effective air-con!. The terrace overlooking the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal has to be this hotel's main selling point though. It was the perfect vantage point for breakfasting while watching this waterborne city come to life, or sipping champagne by evening candle-light, smiling in romantic conspiracy with the gondola passengers below.
Easy access to the Vaporetto (water bus) and the hotel has a landing for the water taxi if you wish to arrive/leave by private boat.
Staff friendly and helpful.
Off season bargain!
After trying (and failing) to negotiate our way through Venice to a couple of hotels we'd planned to look at, a friend and I wandered into the nearest hotel to ask the rate - expecting it to be way out of our budgets (being students and all). We're not sure whether it was the backpack my friend had, our age, or our Aussie charm, but we ended up with a double room, breakfast included, for 70 euros per night! No canal view but fantastic location, lovely service and great room/bathroom. We were amazed and somewhat disbelieving until we'd paid and checked out 3 nights later.
My only issue was that my head skimmed the roof when I was in the shower, and I'm only 5'9". Although anyone taller could happily soak themselves in a spa bath instead, and the ceiling in the bedroom was twice the height with the chandelier that others have mentioned. Recommended 100%, especially if you can get it at our price!
Too expensive to be a Holiday Inn but definitely not nice enough to permit the $450+/night room cost (jr. suite). maybe the rack rate rooms offer a better cost per service/ambiance ratio. Tiny tiny bathroom, room smelled horribly of carpet cleaner, no robes, cheap towels, plastic cups in bathroom (come on, even our agritourismo in piemonte had real glasses in the bathroom). And the service was non-existent. Go elsewhere - splurge on the Bauer or something similar or spend less than $200/night for an equally unappealing hotel. The only saving grace was the close proximity to Bancogiro ciccetti bar across the canal and La Cantina on Strada Nova.
Oh, and the grand canal is basically a highway of tourist bus boats and motor boats cruising by all night. Not a quiet, pretty, or relaxing sight at all... not sure what the appeal is to have a room above the diesel fuel polluted, noisy canal.
Excellent place to stay in Venice
My partner and I stayed here for 3 nights in February 2005. We had a vast room (Junior Suite) overlooking the Grand Canal; marvellous fabrics, Venetian glass chandelier, a pleasant seating area with large sofa and chairs, a desk supplied with beautiful note paper, an extremely comfortable and expansive bed, adequate bathroom with shower and WC, nice little touches, such as an antique telephone by the bed. The staff could not have been more obliging and pleasant. We had tea brought to our room both first thing in the morning and when we came in in the afternoon: it came on a silver tray with elegant cups and napkins. Italians do not make much of breakfast as a rule, but the fresh rolls and pastries with orange juice and excellent coffee in the lovely hallway on the piano nobile with the cassetted wooden ceiling made a very good start to the day. The hotel is close to the Rialto, so convenient for the vaporetto, and just a few steps from the Teatro Malibran for opera-lovers. Generally, the positioning is good, right in the heart of things, with the Strada Nuove and the Piazza San Marco within walking distance on the hotel side of the canal and the fish market (a sight to be seen!) just a step across the Rialto bridge on the other side. Good value hotel for this kind of quality and service.
We just stayed in this hotel on May 21 at the end of our cruise. All the furnishings, etc. are new. We did not get a room with a view because none were available. Our room was beautiful with a Venetian glass chandelier. We had a jacuzzi tub and towel warmers. The breakfast terrace is just as it is on the website. It was very cute. The staff was very nice and very helpful. We paid 200 Euros. I also loved the location, close to the Rialto bridge and vaporetto stops.
I highly recommend this hotel for location, cleanliness and beautiful, elegant rooms. It is what you want your hotel room to be in Venice.
Views from Hotel Al Ponte Antico are priceless!
We stayed at the Al Ponte in Room 109 (Junior Suite) 5-7th March 2004 for our 25th Wedding Anniversart. The view from the 3 windows is specatular just a few Meters from the Rialto Bridge. The room is Huge! amazing for Venice. Breakfast is very basic a few rolls and crossant, so don't bother going to the breakfast room have it delivered to the room and enjoy watching the world go by, Gondolas, Buses and the daily life on the Grand Canal, also great for sipping champagne ! I would not stay anywhere else checkout great rates from ratestogo we paid 200 euro's per night for the room. Check out the website for the Al Ponte, the details & photo's are 100% acruate.
TripAdvisor Reviews Al Ponte Antico Hotel Venice
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