Ever since I saw The Tourist I have wanted to go to Venice. There is something appealing about a city built entirely of islands separated by winding canals yet linked together by footbridges.
What I didn’t envisage for our day trip to the floating city was that a marathon would be on. That meant no public transport, expensive taxis, and an unfortunate incident on the ferry (note: always ask where to validate your ferry ticket, regardless if you’re told to just ‘hop on the boat’). Nevertheless, after an eventful morning, we dropped our luggage at the hotel and headed into San Marco to a festive crowd, sweaty runners, and bountiful gondoliers willing to negotiate their price for a ride.
We wound our way through the masses, over footbridges, and into a number of shops with offerings of glass blown figurines and venetian masks. Some of the masks were so delicate that you’d be better posting one home than risking it in your suitcase. We did try a thick slice of amazing caramel nougat, whilst fending off the nearby pigeons. Those things are relentless!
I was advised by a number of friends to simply ‘get lost’ in Venice. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy being lost. However, I took their advice onboard, and we wandered aimlessly. Venice is laid out similar to the Yin and Yang symbol, with San Polo the ‘yin’ and San Marco the ‘yang’. The Grand Canal runs through the middle of them, with the Rialto Bridge being the main crossing from one side to the other. Once you have this picture in mind, then it’s not too hard to determine your position if keeping close to the Grand Canal.
After watching the last leg of the marathon for a bit, we decided to head back to our accommodation – the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, located on Giudecca. This place oozes service before you even check in. For starters, they were kind enough to hold our luggage whilst we explored Venice in the morning. They offer a complimentary shuttle boat for hotel guests to/from St. Marks Square (San Zaccaria) and to/from “Zattere” – this was extremely helpful and we made use of the service a few times. Once we arrived, doors were held open to greet us and our bags were brought to our room at no additional charge. It’s these small things that make your time just that little bit more special.
We had been travelling for three weeks by the time we reached Venice, so were desperately seeking a massage to erase the long flight and foreign beds. Hilton Molino Stucky just so happened to have a spa onsite, and lucky for us, had a special offer for 2 hours complimentary use of the sauna, steam room, and spa, along with your massage…. ahhh, pure bliss. Sometimes, it is very worthwhile having an incredible hotel – the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice was one of those times.
There was nothing that I could fault at this hotel – everything from the spacious bathroom to the ridiculously comfortable bed, the homely lounge area to the gourmet breakfast the next morning. Not only would I recommend staying at the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, but I would choose to stay there again myself. Our last evening in Venice proved memorable as night fell with Venetian lights dancing over the Grand Canal as we sipped on cocktails. Perhaps it was a little movie-like after all.
Images by Ms Chevron and Hilton Molino Stucky Venice