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My good friend, Katy, has a three year old daughter (featured here), and their family loves traveling the world as much as mine. Since (sadly) I can’t visit every location or hotel, she is going to share some of her experience traveling using miles and points at some locations I haven’t yet had the chance to visit. Here is her post about a recent stay The Gritti Palace on SPG points in Venice.
In May, my husband and I were lucky enough to get to take some time off from his crazy work schedule to visit Europe. We went to Venice and stayed at two properties on points. One was the Hilton Molino Stucky, and the second was a Category 7 Starwood Preferred Guest property called The Gritti Palace.
We did not have our three year old daughter with us, but like most parents while traveling I always think, “Is this hotel a place I would bring my whole family?” The Hilton was big and for the most part seemed pretty family friendly, but the Gritti Palace did not scream kid-friendly to me at all. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful hotel, a wonderful location, and we enjoyed our stay there, but I would not have been as comfortable at this luxury SPG property with a toddler.
We were able to stay at the Gritti Palace for 30,000 SPG points for the night. This sounds crazy, but prices for the hotel are often north of 500 euros per night. Considering both the very high price of many hotels and Venice, and the fact that this is a “luxury hotel”, I was okay spending the points. However, SPG points are very valuable and somewhat hard to come by, so I am not sure I could have stomached spending 30k per night for multiple nights.
The hotel is located in a great area just steps away from gondola rides, and right around the corner from a taxi stop called S. Maria del Giglio. We were able to walk the two minutes to the taxi stop and go right from there to the airport when it was time to leave. It was only .3 miles away from Saint Mark’s Square.
The hotel is pretty small, but we had also just come from the Hilton which was a large old mill converted to a hotel and situated on an island by itself. The size of the Gritti was very much the standard for Venice. It was beautifully decorated inside with the quintessential Venetian flair that most of the hotels in that area seem to have.
When you walk into the hotel you definitely feel like it is a luxurious hotel as it has a very elegant look about it. The guests seemed to be dressed up a bit and move at a more leisurely pace than the typical constant picture taking, exhausted from walking around Venice, tourist contingent. So that means that I was completely out of place with my outfit that I had worn two days in a row and my sneakers. It did feel a little awkward since I realized I probably had no proper attire to wear to a nice dinner in their “reservations only” restaurant, Club del Doge. I had packed a pair of sneakers and a pair of Toms, and my husband definitely did not have a dress jacket with him. Given our wardrobe limitations we did not take in a meal at the restaurant, although I believe lunchtime would have been fine. During lunch they offer the choice of the ‘Regional Menu: tradition in the kitchen’ which is made up of regional cuisines. It contains starters, entrees and desert. It costs 65 euros per person. Good thing our stay at the hotel was on points, not euros….
The view itself might be worth the visit. You walk through a door right onto an outside porch and dock area.
The porch is right on the water and is beautifully decorated and extremely relaxing. A private taxi does drive right up to the dock to let you off, but I believe the assisted transfer fee to use that service was over $100 USD.
If you want lighter fare there is a piano type bar called Bar Longhi right off the lobby.
We did order room service which was a bit pricey but worth it. I wanted a lighter meal, so I ordered the pasta fagioli soup and a caprese salad. When I visited Italy a few years ago I became obsessed with the caprese salad (and yes, pronouncing it correctly is part of the fun!), so I tried to get it with every meal while I was there. It may be a simple salad but the Italians know how to do it perfectly. My husband chose a shrimp salad with watercress and also an angel hair pasta with prosciutto. He enjoyed his quite a bit so we feel the room service passed the test with flying colors! It was all fresh and tasty. It might have been nice to sit out on the porch with the beautiful view that overlooks the grand canal and enjoy our wonderfully cooked meals, but again our tired feet and comfy room won out.
We were also pleasantly surprised to receive a complimentary bottle of red wine from the hotel as a thanks for staying. We have received this many times before with hotels that we had status with, but never with a hotel brand that we rarely visited. By the time I finished my first glass I already felt like I was drinking the SPG kool-aid. I guess my loyalty can be bought with a bottle of wine.
The room key they give you is literally a key with a tassel and your room number on it. I thought it was a cute touch, but was also happy to find out you don’t carry it around town with you. When you leave the hotel you hand the concierge your key and in return you receive a slip of paper that allows you to retrieve your key upon return.
Just like at the Hilton, the elevators are extremely small. We barely fit with our two bags, so we would have had to make multiple trips if we were a larger family traveling with all of our stuff. We have no status with SPG other than having their co-branded SPG Amex, so we were not expecting any perks… and other than the wine we did not get any. Our room was beautiful though, and we enjoyed the decor. The hostess who helped us to our room informed us that the hotel had just undergone a huge renovation and all the rooms had been updated.
The bathroom was a little too much marble for our taste, but obviously not a huge deal. Our one major complaint was that the shower is so cramped and extremely difficult to get in and out of. Water would often get everywhere, and there was no easy way to put a towel down to step on when you got out, nor was there anywhere nearby to put a towel for you to use when you get out. I normally don’t judge showers too closely, but this one was by the far the worst I have experienced in terms of design and convenience.
All in all the Gritti Palace was a beautiful hotel, and worked well for one of our nights in Venice. If we had packed nicer clothes, then we may have felt less uncomfortable. There was a spa located at the hotel, but we didn’t try it out on our one night stay. The big pro of this hotel is location. After being at the Hilton, it was nice to be closer to everything. There were some great restaurants nearby and convenient water taxi locations.
The downside of this hotel is that it did not seem particularly geared toward family travelers, which is probably an upside for some, but a downside for many Mommy Points readers. According to their website, children 12 and under are considered children and stay for free in the existing bedding of a room shared with a paying adult. The use of in-room sofa beds is considered additional bedding and will incur an additional fee. Rollaways, child rollaways, and cribs may also incur extra charges. The basic room (named Deluxe room) can hold two adults and one child.
Thanks to my friend, Katy, for sharing her experience at the Gritti Palace Venice – I hope to visit Venice myself at some point! If you have any questions about that hotel, she will be happy to address them in the comments section.