Detailed review by handsomeharry21
My Wife and I have been planning to go to Venice for several years and have just returned. We had responded to an advert on the internet and the Hotel Al Sole proved to met all our needs and more! The walk from Piazzale Roma, the Bus Station was just five minutes (with two small bridges) and led us to the Hotel which is set in a delightful part of the city. Take a no.5 bus from Marco Polo Airport - ticket 5 Euros, a fraction of the cost of the water taxis!
The Hotel Al Sole is a restored old Palace, with exposed beams and lovely traditional furniture. There are lounges on the ground floor with ones on the upper floors too. A small electric lift is also at hand. We understand that the hotel has several times been used as a film set and once you've been there, you will understand why! It is set immediately beside a small canal and a bridge and a gondola is often there just outside the hotel. There are several small restaurants and shops close by.
We were met by very friendly and courteous staff at reception who spoke excellent English. They were extremely helpful throughout our stay. Our room was very spaceous and traditional with a king size bed, and both an en-suite bathroom, and a separate en-suite toilet/shower too! A private balcony through the French doors led to a delightful view of the canal and narrow street below . The room had a wall mounted t/v in the bedroom which largely caters for the Italian audience, but CNN and BBC World News is available 24 hours a day on channels 701 and 708 respectively.
A substantial continental breakfast was as good as we've had anywhere, comprising cereals, cheeses, boiled eggs, yoghurts, fresh fruit, various croissants and bread rolls. Various teas and fresh coffee was available, supplemented by a free automated drinks machine. As we were there in February, breakfast was served indoors, however in Summer, we believe that it is served in the secluded garden overclad with vines.
The hotel staff will provide you with street maps but we do recommend that you buy one of the small guides available at bookshops before you travel which include good street maps. There are numerous back streets to explore with many small shops and attractions. We also recommend that you also buy a double dvd BBC production called "Francesco's Venice", written and narrated by Francesco Da Mosto, himself a Venitian whose family have lived there for several hundred years.
There is a whole range of water buses you can board, just like catching a bus at home - buy a three day ticket for 33 Euros and you can see most of Venice, including the islands of Murano and Burano. Just hop on and off as there are boat (bus) stops all along the main canals.
The architecture and art of Venice is quite outstanding, and set in a canal setting throughout makes it an experience one will never forget. We will definately return to Venice to enjoy its many splendours and secrets - we were there for five days, but will stay longer next time as there is just so much to see and experience. And we will stay again at the Hotel Al Sol, a perfect base for our holiday!
Martyn and Sharon Surman (mature couple)
21st February 2012