Residence hotels in Venice

Vacation Rental Best Windows Venice
Best Windows Venice is a spectacular all-suite hotel in Venice located right on Piazza San Marco with an entrance under the famous clock tower and apartments that overlook the facade of the Basilica of St. Marks, the Doge's Palace, and the lagoon beyond—and prices start at just €119 in the off-season (from about €230 in summer). Wow.

Setting up housekeeping—without the housekeeping—serviced apartments, suite hotels, and residential townhouse hotels in Venice

A "residence" or residenza—sometimes called an "ApartHotel" or "serviced apartment" or an "all-suite hotel"—is a cross between an apartment building and a traditional hotel.

It's an apartment available for short-term rentals, usually with a hotel-like front desk and some level of housekeeping service—kind of like the all-suites hotels in America beloved by business travelers (and savvy traveling families).

How to book residence hotels in Venice

PartnerBooking.com (www.booking.com) - This top booking engine is one of the few which actually lists residence hotels, under the Guesthouses category, which has 824 entries in total. Even if this weren't our partner site, I'd suggest it as the best one-stop shopping for residence hotels.

PartnerVenere.com (www.venere.com) - Another rare booking engine is one of the few to list residences—lumped in alongside other apartments under "Vacation Home / Condo rentals"—including some three dozen in Rome.

Biz-stay.com (www.biz-stay.com) - Keeps (farily well) updated lists of links to serviced apartment chains. The page that covers the world a bit better is at this link.

What is an Italian residence hotel like?

Accommodations are at least studios with kitchenette, if not full-blown mini-apartments, and might sleep anywhere for one to six people.

They are usually rented by the week or month, and they are usually cleaned weekly (sometimes more frequently).

Essentially, it's a bit like getting a time share just for the week or month—only without the whole annoying sales pitch.

They are often used by folks in town on business for an extended period. (In fact, when I studied abroad in Italy in college, a "residence" near the school served as student housing for the program.)

That does not mean lesiure travelers can't shack up in a residence as well. You just have to plan to stick around town for a bit longer than the average tourist.

Is there a minimum stay in Italian residence hotels?

Usually, residence hotels are an option for longer stays (often a week minimum, though plenty have three-night or even nightly rates), and they work a bit like having your own efficiency apartment in a doorman building.

How is a residence hotel different from a rental apartment?

The reason this page is separate from that on apartments is because I consider apartment rentals to be where you are getting a private apartment in a building surrounded by flats inhabited by actual local residents, whereas in one of these "residence" hotels, most everyone is a visitor from out of town.

Not that this is a bad thing. For about three months back in 1993, I lived Rome's Residence Medaglie d'Oro, a serviceable, if otherwise unforgettable, place in the un-touristy, middle-class Prati neighborhood north of the Vatican.

First day there, I was leaning over the railing of my balcony and happened to look up. Two floors above me, a young woman was also leaning on her balcony rail, so I called up, "Buongiorno!" She looked down and replied, "I don't speak Italian." Turns out she was from, of all places, Tampa, Florida.

Reader, I married her. I can't wait to bring our sons to Rome one day and show them the residence where Mommy and Daddy met.

Tips & links

Lodging links
Lodging tips
  • If you're looking for a hotel near a particular sight, just go to that sight's page and, in the sidebar on the right, you'll see a list of all the nearby hotels (with "Reid Recommends" choices preceded by a little RR icon: Reid Recommends).
  • The Venice hotel tax: As of 2011, Venice began charging a Visitor Tax. This is the city's doing, and it is not a scam (just annoying). All charges are per person, per night, for all guests over the age of 10, and the tax is charged for stays of up to 10 days. (There are discounts: Dec-Jan, 30%; Kids aged 10-16, 50%; Stays on the Lido or other outer islands, 20%; Stays in Mestre or elsewhere on the mainland, 20%.)

    The cost breakdown is insanely complicated (varies with official clasification and rating cateogry), but general as of 2014:

    • Hotels: €1 pppn (per person per night) per star rating. (So a couple [2 people] staying three nights [2 x 3 = 6] in a four-star hotel [6 x €4 = €24] would pay an extra €24.
    • B&Bs: €3 pppn flat
    • Apartments, residences, rental rooms: €1.50–€2.50 pppn
    • Hostels/religious housing and agriturismi: €2 pppn
    • Camping: €0.10–€0.40 pppn

    Some hotels have folded the fee into their quoted rates; most properties tack it on as an extra when you check out. Just be prepared.

  • Book ahead in summer and during Carnevale: Venice is way more popular than the number of beds it has, so while in the dead of winter you can often show up and find a good place to crash easily, the best rooms (and the best-value hotels) are booked well in advance for the summer months and the two weeks prior to Ash Wednesday (when Venice breaks out the fancy dress and masks for its famed Carnevale celebrations).

    Same goes (though less so, and more at the chic and high end hotels) during the Venice Biennale art festival and the Venice Film Festival.
  • Pay extra for A/C in summer: No matter what kind of lodging you pick, if it's summer (a) try to get a room with air-conditioning and (b) even if you can't (or you can but have a hankering for some fresh air) resist the urge to open the windows to your room.

    Venice is, I believe, the primary breeding ground for the mosquito population of Southern Europe, and precious few Italian hoteliers have discovered that newfangled invention called window screens. Keep the windows shut, or prepare to be bitten.

    (Also, carry some bug spray for those romantic canalside dinners outside. Trust me.)
  • Avoid Mestre: Any hotels with an address in "Venezia-Mestre" is actually in the dull, modern, industrial suburb at the mainland end of the bridge over to the real, ancient Venice you came all this way to see. Do not stay in Mestre! You'll spend more time and money commuting each day in an out of Venice proper than you will save.
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