Topic Wiki

Venice Overview
Venice is a gorgeous and romantic city that doesn't disappoint. It's a fantastic place to spend Shabbos because there are several points hotel options, a Chabad with several meal options, the ability to carry and because the biggest attraction of Venice - just simply walking the streets and bridges - is a perfect Shabbos activity which will keep you from just be sitting bored in a hotel room.

Trip Reports:
Dan, Avid Reader, MnM1130, ChAiM'l, aj26, Yosers1, jj1000, Hudi, Cbs, Eli, steve L, jmansour, VacationLover, Yehoshua, Mech, yg99, yls2011, ABC, AharonInIsrael, @Yehuda, shlonx

Getting there and getting around:

How long should I go for?
There really aren't too many activities to do in Venice, so a 1-2 day trip could cover the must see/do sights, but the city is so beautiful that you won't regret a longer stay! Because the sights are mostly just walking around the streets, checking out the shops, etc. many people find spending just a Shabbos/weekend in Venice is enough to get their fill. Arrive on a Friday and leave Sunday evening and you'll get your fill. (Again, a longer stay rocks too!)

Travelling around Italy/Getting to Venice
Most often, if you're making a trip from USA to Venice, you're not just going to see Venice, but rather a few cities in Italy. When visiting Italy there are a few ways to travel around - trains, rent a car, or if you're going directly from one end of Italy (let's say Rome) to the other end (let's say Milan or Venice), it could be you'll want to fly.

Air:
If Venice is your first stop in Italy, then you'll likely be coming via air. VCE is the airport code, and the airport is not actually in Venice proper (no, the planes don't land in the canals). Rather, you'll have to take a water bus or water taxi from the airport to Venice proper. The water buses to/from the airport are run by a company called Alilaguna (buses here aren't run by the city), take around an hour to get to San Marco Square (the main points hotel location) and cost 14euro. You can buy a roundtrip in advance for 25euro. Private water taxis take around 1/2 hour, but are a lot more expensive. Because people arrive at VCE from many different locations, it's not practical to discuss the different routes you can take to get here.

Train:
If your Italy trip starts in a different city in Italy, then you may want to look into travelling via rail. There are 2 main train companies in Italy - TrenItalia and Treno Italo. Rates vary on a bunch of factors and neither site is fantastically designed, so check them out and ask for some help here if you need. The express train Rome-Venice takes about 3:45 hours and the overnight takes 5.5-6.5 hours. As opposed to the airport, St. Lucia Train Station is actually in Venice proper. Once you arrive, you can take a Vaporetto to your desired location (again, likely San Marco Square). See "Getting around Venice" below for Vaporetto prices. You can also take a private water taxi, which won't have any stops, but will cost a lot more.

Car Rental:
If your Italy trip starts in a different city in Italy, then besides for taking trains, you may find that a car rental suits your needs better, especially if you plan on hitting up several cities along the way as taking a train usually means having to get a cab or bus to/from each train station from your hotel. That time/cost plus the cost of the trains may cause you to decide on a car rental instead. Since it's Europe, expect a manual car unless you pay more for an automatic. Driving in Italy may bother you if you're not super comfortable driving, but in terms of driving in Venice, don't be concerned. You'll be coming from a highway (which is just like highway driving back home), you'll get off onto normal sized/paved roads and within a few minutes, will likely be at your car rental dropoff - outside of Venice proper. There are no cars in Venice (although there is a Hertz in Venice proper that you could actually drive to and drop your car off, but rates at that location are super expensive), so you will likely drop your car off near the Venice-Mestre Train Station - not the St. Lucia station that's actually in Venice - but a second train station that's just outside Venice proper. From Mestre station, a 10 minute, 2 euro train ride will get you into St. Lucia station and from there you can follow the options listed above to get to your hotel.

Getting around Venice
If you're staying in the Jewish Ghetto or near San Marco Square (we'll get to where to stay soon), you'll be within walking distance (max 1/2 hour) of all the main sites in Venice. Even still, many people like to take a public water bus, known as a Vaporetto, to travel down the canals. You can buy tickets at many Vaparetto stops. An individual one way ride costs 7 euro, but there are also 24/48/72 hour passes that cost 20/30/40 euro, respectively. If you're between the ages of 14-29, you can buy a 72 hour Youth Pass for just 20 euro. It's possible that you may need to first purchase a "Rolling Venice" guidebook (should be available at the ticket counter) for 4 euro before they'll let you buy the Youth pass, but you can find that out at the ticket counter and even 24 euro is a great deal. There's also a special roundtrip beach ticket to Lido that costs 10 euro. Do some math to see what kind of pass will work best for you.


Where to stay:

There are 2 main areas where people normally stay: 1) The Jewish Ghetto, which is where the Shuls/restaurants are, as well as some Kosher hotels, but no points hotels and 2) San Marco Square, about a 1/2 hour walk from the Ghetto, but where most of the points hotels are. The walk is very nice, and helps you accomplish the "activity" of seeing the streets while on the way to your destination. The 30 minute walk may hinder your desire to make it to Shul for all Tefillos. YMMV ;)

Here are some places that are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Pardes RimonimJewish GhettoWebsiteKosher hotel
Carnival Place<10 minute walk to the GhettoWebsiteNicest hotel near the Ghetto
Locanda Del GhettoJewish GhettoWebsiteKosher hotel
Westin Europa and ReginaSan Marco SquareWebsiteSPG Cat. 6; 20-25K/night. Beautiful hotel with marble lobby and a luxurious feel.
Comfort Hotel DianaSan Marco SquareWebsite10K Choice/night. Definitely dated, but kinda rustic in that regard. Cheapest points hotel option in the points hotel-lacking city of Venice.
Boscolo Venezia, Autograph Collection<10 minute walk to the GhettoWebsite45K Marriott/night.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & SpaNOT able to walk to the Ghetto, But Free ShuttleWebsite40K Marriott/night.
"Get your own place"AnywhereAirBNB, VRBO, HomeAwayRenting an apartment can be a great option in Venice especially if your family is large enough that you would otherwise have to get a few hotel rooms. You can find apartments near the Ghetto, and with meals at Chabad, this can definitely be a cheaper option than a hotel.

There are 2 other SPG properties, Hotel Danieli and The Gritti Palace, but there are some downsides to them. Both are SPG Cat. 7 which means you'll be paying a premium to stay there. Danieli is in the Square, but in Dan's TR you'll see that he pointed out there's no manual door, which poses an issue on Shabbos. Dan also writes that Gritti is 10 minutes away from the Square. Both are supposedly stunning, but seemingly impractical due to cost, distance and/or Shabbos issues.


What to do:

As said a few times so far, the highlight of a trip to Venice is walking the streets/canals and checking out the boundless shops that line the streets. But, there are of course some actual activities that one can do, although it's hard to say that any are "must-do"s.

Attractions & Activities
NameMore InfoComments
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Doge's PalaceWebsiteYou can get a classic tour of the palace, or you can opt for the Secret Itineraries tour, which will take you down to the dungeons where the prison was and up to the top floors to see offices, a torture chamber, and a court room while listening to the story of Casanova's supposed escape. The Secret Itineraries tour does not cover the main rooms in the palace, but you are free to walk around afterwards on your own.
Jewish Museum/ Ghetto TourWebsiteThe Jewish Museum offers tours of the museum and Ghetto. While the tours of the Ghetto in Rome are highly recommended by DDFers (and many would say a trip to Rome without a tour is nuts), there is not too much talk on DDF about the tours of the Venice Ghetto. Take that as you will. The tour is closer to an hour and costs 10 euro. Without the tour, you can't get in to see the nice Shuls that are not open that season.
Gondola RideN/AYou'll see gondolas everywhere you look. There are a few places where can get one that will take you on a 5 minute ride just going across the width of the canal for a couple of euro (called a "Traghetto"). There are options to get a private, 45-60 minute ride that usually costs around 90 euro. And finally, there's an in between option where you'll be in your own gondola among a group of others that are in their own gondolas. Some companies offer music and a serenade. Do some Googling to see different prices. A gondola ride will give you an additional "real feel" of Venice, but passing on it to save some money isn't a crazy idea. Walking the canals yourself is quite amazing.
San Marco SquareN/AWhether your hotel is in this area or not, this is a nice stop on your walks. A huge, open square with restaurants and shops overlooked by the large church and clock tower. During the day, you'll see people feeding pigeons, and at night, you'll see plenty of street vendors trying to get you to buy a rose for DW or a light up flying saucer. You can go up the bell tower for 8 euro for a beautiful view and you can get the very interesting audio guide for an additional 4 euro.
Lido BeachN/AIf you're in Venice for a few days, perhaps you'll enjoy a quick Vaporetto ride to Lido, where a 10 minute walk will get you onto a free public beach. Warning: Remember that this is a European beach.

Luxury Launch's Venice Guide nice list of different things to do in Venice


Shuls/Shabbos:

NameMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jewish Community of VeniceWebsiteIn the Ghetto, there are 2 community Shuls - one used during the summer and the other during the winter - that are both right next to each other. There are daily Minyanim.
ChabadWebsiteIn the Ghetto, Chabad has their own Shul/Beis Medrash that acts as the Yeshiva for the Chabad students as well as a Shul during daily Minyanim. They also own a storefront that acts as the Chabad house. Chabad owns the fleishig restaurant, Gam Gam, as well as the pizza shop, Gam Gam Goodies, that are described below. On Shabbos, Chabad hosts several meal options. First of all, you could order takeout in advance and pick it up or have it delivered to your hotel. But where's the fun in that? For meals at Chabad, the options have changed as of June 1, 2015:

1) A Meal is offered after Davening both on Friday night and Shabbos day Kiddush - no reservations necessary. This is similar to the previous "free meals" that Chabad used to offer. The meal takes place in the Shul after davening. The meal provides the opportunity to sit at a big meal with Jews from all over the world with all different types of backgrounds, which many found to be an awesome experience. Please note that the "free meals" may be a little more limited in terms of options and quantities of food.

*Pre-reserved meals*
In the old system, there was only 1 way to reserve your own table, but now there are 2 ways. Meals can not be divided between the two locations and are served at any time you want after Davening. Reservations for both options can be made by emailing info@jewishvenice.org and including the calendar date of the Shabbos you will be there and the names/emails of each attendee, as well as choosing one of the below options:

2) Shabbos in the Gallery - This option existed under the old system. Three meals at a private table in a storefront near Gam Gam that normally functions as an art gallery. 75 euro per person, 37.50 euro for children under 12.

3) Luxury1 Shabbos at Gam Gam Restaurant - Three meals at your private table, with more of a luxury atmosphere & meal, including more food choices, than the Gallery. Minimum donation is 100 euro per person.


Food:

NameMore InfoComments
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Gam GamWebsiteA nice fleishig restaurant, owned by the Chabad Rabbi. Some food is better than others, the service is pretty classic, and the prices are a bit above reasonable. But hey, it's Kosher food in Venice! You can eat outside literally at the edge of the canal, which is pretty sweet unless it's cold at night. Reservations are recommended as it can get crowded.
Gam Gam GoodiesN/ALocated just a few steps from Gam Gam, this is a small storefront that serves as a pizza shop (no seating unfortunately, but you can find benches further along in the Ghetto and are welcome to sit in the Chabad house storefront to eat). You might also find other foods like falafel, chocolates, packaged deli and fresh baked goods, which can be great for breakfast (and deli and rolls can be great for a cheaper dinner or to take food with you to your next destination that might not have Kosher food). Pizza is priced fairly and is tasty.
Volpe BakeryWebsiteRight across the alley from Gam Gam Goodies is a bakery serving fresh breads and pastries. According to the link, it's under supervision from the Chief Rabbi of Venice (not the Chabad Rabbi), however, DDFers question the Kashrus here. As of July 2014, the Chazzan at the Italian Shul said he goes into the bakery to light the fire every morning and therefore you can eat there. The place is open on Shabbos, but it must be owned by a non-Jew (or else how could it get a hashgacha?) So, there are some concerns and you may want to check into the Kashrus before you go, but the locals sure make it seem like it's fine.
FrulalaWebsiteFresh fruit smoothies that the locals will tell you are Kosher as long as you get the water-based versions. There are 2 locations - a storefront and a kiosk - that are both on the main walk from San Marco Square to the Ghetto. The drinks are tasty and refreshing, while being reasonably priced. They also offer free shotglass-sized samples, which are a great way to get a quick thirst quencher while walking!
Ghimel GardenTheir FB pageFrom Hershelsdeals Gimmal Garden is a real restaurant, Gam Gam goodies doesn't even have chairs, and is officially a bakery, not a restaurant. so you can't even compare. GamGam goodies opens at 7AM and sells breakfast, Gimmal Garden only opens at 10AM and closes 10PM
Gimmal Garden also offers Shabbos meals, Friday night is meat and Shabbos day is dairy.The food at Gimmal is excellent, they have Pizza, Fish dishes, Pasta, salads, Falafel  ETC....

« Last edited by shimino1 on July 07, 2017, 04:33:01 AM »

Author Topic: Venice Master Thread  (Read 209343 times)

Offline captivate18

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2610 on: April 19, 2017, 03:21:21 PM »
Greetings all. I'm a long-time DD fan but first time DDF poster.  I've looked around for these topics and have had no luck, so I apologize in advance if this is redundant, and appreciate any info/links to relevant material. I've read Dan's awesome Venice post (http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/7877) and looked at various DDF threads and have also studied http://www.jewishvenice.org/ (JV):

I am considering a surprise anniversary trip for my wife to Venice (and possibly another Italian/European city) this summer, for 3-6 nights (depending partially on the 2nd city decision) with a Shabbos stay. I wish to maximize points usage (of which I have a variety and lots of UR + CSR hybrid option).

1-Which properties are recommend (in general and/or specifically for Shabbos) that would be points (and Shabbos) friendly and best value?
2-Do you agree that this is the best path instead of the "Shabbos friendly" properties listed on JV?
3-If doing longer stay in Venice, is it better to split stay between a Shabbos hotel and a weekday hotel?
4-Is more than 3-4 nights "too much" in Venice in general and If looking for a take-it-easy trip/relaxing?
5-Which city options are the best if taking an overnight train from Venice?
6-Website for booking train out of Venice and approx rates for private room on train?
7-Is the best value to book flights/hotel/train now or wait (or is the risk too high if I need very specific dates)?
8-Generally speaking, would UR booking via CSR 1.5 be better value for flight/hotel or using native points?

Many thanks in advance and again, apologies for the DDF newbie posture.
-Capt

Offline Emkay

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2611 on: April 19, 2017, 04:26:18 PM »

1-Which properties are recommend (in general and/or specifically for Shabbos) that would be points (and Shabbos) friendly and best value
2-Do you agree that this is the best path instead of the "Shabbos friendly" properties listed on JV?
By now I would assume that most if not all hotels in the ghetto area will be familiar with Shabbos issues although having experienced every type of accommodation there I would still stick with the Jewish/Kosher hotel next door to Chabad. There arent really and points friendly hotels on a budget besides for Hotel Dianna and the Marriott. 
Quote
-If doing longer stay in Venice, is it better to split stay between a Shabbos hotel and a weekday hotel?
Just stick with one unless you really are there for a week and plan on relaxing most of the time.
Quote
4-Is more than 3-4 nights "too much" in Venice in general and If looking for a take-it-easy trip/relaxing?
While there is what to do, 3 days is prob perfect.
Quote
5-Which city options are the best if taking an overnight train from Venice?
Switzerland is prob your best bet if not interested in other cities in Italy. The train from Venice to switzerland via the Bernina pass is likely from the most scenic rides in europe. Maybe not the simplest option though.
Quote
6-Website for booking train out of Venice and approx rates for private room on train?
Seat61.com
Quote
7-Is the best value to book flights/hotel/train now or wait (or is the risk too high if I need very specific dates)?
Depends if booking revenue or award. If booking award then book whenever saver is open. Trains book right away, they dont sell out of seats but they only sell a limited amount of cheaper fares.
Quote
8-Generally speaking, would UR booking via CSR 1.5 be better value for flight/hotel or using native points?
If booking Economy then usually CSR, If booking Business then airline miles. Hotels usually would be Hotel points but in this particular case you dont have many options for that.
Quote
Many thanks in advance and again, apologies for the DDF newbie posture.
Nothing to apologize for. My pleasure.

Offline captivate18

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2612 on: April 19, 2017, 05:13:55 PM »
By now I would assume that most if not all hotels in the ghetto area will be familiar with Shabbos issues although having experienced every type of accommodation there I would still stick with the Jewish/Kosher hotel next door to Chabad. There arent really and points friendly hotels on a budget besides for Hotel Dianna and the Marriott.  Just stick with one unless you really are there for a week and plan on relaxing most of the time.While there is what to do, 3 days is prob perfect.Switzerland is prob your best bet if not interested in other cities in Italy. The train from Venice to switzerland via the Bernina pass is likely from the most scenic rides in europe. Maybe not the simplest option though.Seat61.com Depends if booking revenue or award. If booking award then book whenever saver is open. Trains book right away, they dont sell out of seats but they only sell a limited amount of cheaper fares. If booking Economy then usually CSR, If booking Business then airline miles. Hotels usually would be Hotel points but in this particular case you dont have many options for that.Nothing to apologize for. My pleasure.

@Emkay thx much for the quick & comprehensive response, but now you're in trouble, since I'll be annoying you with another million questions :).  A few to start with:

-So would you wouldn't even recommend Hotel Dianna or the Marriott? I'm assuming that Dianna is a non-points option, but the Marriott will be points, but does it make sense re Shabbos friendly, distance to ghetto, etc. (or do you mean the JW Marriott which is on an isolated island)?
-Do you know if any of the hotels near Chabad (what's the name of the one you recommend) are bookable via Chase UR/CSR travel?  Or any other ideas not to be paying cash for these recommended hotels?
-"Three days is perfect", but if Shabbos is one of them, would you recommend 4 days instead?
-Train view sounds awesome but was thinking overnight train to save time and also sounds like a very unique experience. Would overnight train to Switzerland make sense? Perhaps it's wiser to stay in Italy (also for simpler kashrus) -- so what about another city in Italy via overnight train (but max 6 nights total trip)?
-"Depends if booking revenue or award. If booking award then book whenever saver is open." Please clarify to a real newbie, as I'm not sure that this means. Saver, you mean a special saver rate directly on hotel site? Revenue? Thx much.
-Hotel rewards: Was thinking to grab a Hyatt card with free 2 nights in any category. So are there no "price is no object" Hyatt-based properties that would be Shabbos/ghetto friendly?

Once more, thank you VERY much -- your guidance really means a lot!

Offline Emkay

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2613 on: April 19, 2017, 05:41:49 PM »

Quote
-So would you wouldn't even recommend Hotel Dianna or the Marriott? I'm assuming that Dianna is a non-points option, but the Marriott will be points, but does it make sense re Shabbos friendly, distance to ghetto, etc. (or do you mean the JW Marriott which is on an isolated island)?
Marriott is the Boscolo for 45k per night which is around a 10 minute walk to Chabad and Dianna Was A choice hotel. Now that you mention it, I recall now that they left the choice program. Was a great value with the ability to be booked with 3K Chase points when transfered via Amtrak. Well thats gone now. Thats the only points hotel on the island that is worth it IMO.
Quote
-Do you know if any of the hotels near Chabad (what's the name of the one you recommend) are bookable via Chase UR/CSR travel?  Or any other ideas not to be paying cash for these recommended hotels?
No idea, I never use UR travel. The Kosher one is called Kosher House Giardino dei Melograni.
Quote
-"Three days is perfect", but if Shabbos is one of them, would you recommend 4 days instead?
Not necceserily as one of the main attraction is strolling around and getting lost which can be done on Shabbos. Not saying you wont enjoy it for longer, I personally have likely been there more individual times than most here and I still love it.
Quote

-"Depends if booking revenue or award. If booking award then book whenever saver is open." Please clarify to a real newbie, as I'm not sure that this means. Saver, you mean a special saver rate directly on hotel site? Revenue? Thx much.
"Saver rate" was referring to booking the flights with points for the lowest amount that the airline offers it. "Revenue" meant if you are booking it with actual money.
-Hotel rewards: Was thinking to grab a Hyatt card with free 2 nights in any category. So are there no "price is no object" Hyatt-based properties that would be Shabbos/ghetto friendly?
Hyatt properties are very limited in Europe, there are none in Italy besides the PH in Milan. Here is a map of all Hyatt hotels if that interest you.

Offline Tzfas

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2614 on: April 26, 2017, 01:35:25 PM »
Anyone with a recent update regarding Shabbos meals and the difference or lack of difference between the gallery and Gam Gam?
Reading through this thread I'm thinking of just doing the gallery, but I want to be sure we are making the right choice.

Online maxie m

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2615 on: April 26, 2017, 02:53:36 PM »
Anyone with a recent update regarding Shabbos meals and the difference or lack of difference between the gallery and Gam Gam?
Reading through this thread I'm thinking of just doing the gallery, but I want to be sure we are making the right choice.
i did the gallery when i was the there after succos,enjoyed it very much,don't think you're making a bad decision at all.
Dumb people learn from their own mistakes,smart people,from the mistakes of others

Online nescafe

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2616 on: April 26, 2017, 07:52:00 PM »
Anyone with a recent update regarding Shabbos meals and the difference or lack of difference between the gallery and Gam Gam?
Reading through this thread I'm thinking of just doing the gallery, but I want to be sure we are making the right choice.

When we were there last summer, people eating in the restaurant were complaining that it was extremely hot in there. We ate in the gallery and were very satisfied

Offline Tzfas

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2617 on: April 26, 2017, 09:47:21 PM »
Thanks all for your response. I will update after my trip.

Offline Blimy

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2618 on: April 27, 2017, 12:17:20 AM »
Hi
I'm planning to go from London England to Venice from Monday/Tuesday to Thursday .Can anyone recommend a nice decent hotel that's not overpriced? I don't mind not bring in the Jewish area. Also should I rather do Venice one day and go somewhere else for another 1-2 days ? Any recommendations? Tiy

Offline Baglach

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2619 on: April 27, 2017, 04:37:14 AM »
Anyone with a recent update regarding Shabbos meals and the difference or lack of difference between the gallery and Gam Gam?
Reading through this thread I'm thinking of just doing the gallery, but I want to be sure we are making the right choice.

Was just there before pessach no difference in the food at all just GAM GAM is more of a restaurant setting and the gallery they have plastic cups and the waiters are not wearing a white shirt

Online @Yehuda

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2620 on: April 27, 2017, 08:14:58 PM »
Hi
I'm planning to go from London England to Venice from Monday/Tuesday to Thursday .Can anyone recommend a nice decent hotel that's not overpriced? I don't mind not bring in the Jewish area. Also should I rather do Venice one day and go somewhere else for another 1-2 days ? Any recommendations? Tiy
Do you have points to use?

Offline Blimy

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2621 on: April 28, 2017, 11:03:17 AM »
Do you have points to use?

Have some spg points . but don't know if wortgto use them here or not

Online @Yehuda

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2622 on: April 28, 2017, 11:53:08 AM »
Have some spg points . but don't know if wortgto use them here or not
The Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli are supposed to be gorgeous. The Westin is very nice as well.

Offline captivate18

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2623 on: April 28, 2017, 12:28:50 PM »
Do you have points to use?

What are the recommendations/tricks/tips if wanting to use points? Chase hybrid, SPG, Mariott, Hilton?

Thank you!

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #2624 on: April 28, 2017, 12:35:48 PM »
What are the recommendations/tricks/tips if wanting to use points? Chase hybrid, SPG, Mariott, Hilton?

Thank you!
If I were to go back to Venice and use points, I would stay at the Boscolo Venezia (Marriott property) for its proximity to the Ghetto. Not that making the walk from St. Marks Square (where most of the hotels are) was bad, but it would be convenient to be so much closer. See wiki for list of other hotel options.