The Riviera is exactly the kind of hotel that we love - laden with character and slightly frayed around the edges. Add to this the views stretching across the lagoon from one of the nicest rooms we've stayed in, and the Riviera was a highlight of our trip.
To be fair, we were extremely lucky with the price and the room. I managed to fluke a deal through the hotel's website for a lagoon view room for two nights for 65 euros per night - this in September, when most places were charging well into the hundreds of euros for a similar thing - and put in a request with my booking for a balcony (I thought it was worth a try!). To our delight, we were given a corner "junior suite" (as it was described on the back of the door), with French doors opening to a wraparound balcony and views across the water to San Marco. Couldn't have been better.
The furnishings were comfortable and old-fashioned in a good way; we even had an overstuffed armchair that caught the sun and which I would have loved to have stashed into my suitcase and lugged home. The bed was a little on the firm side, but not enough to make sleeping an issue. The busy intersection outside didn't bother us either. We spent a lot of time on the balcony, watching the cruise ships and people and buses and smaller boats come and go.
The bathroom was large and clean, with a shower over a bath - the only thing was that there was no shower curtain or screen so, despite our best efforts to prevent it, water tended to flood the floor in front of the basin. Always mopped up and dry when we returned to the room after sightseeing, though.
Breakfast was plentiful and served on classic crockery, complete with the hotel logo on it (silly I know, but I'm a sucker for this kind of thing). There were pleasant places to sit if we had wanted to do so, but we had such a great room that we stayed in it whenever we were at the hotel. Public areas were generally a little florid in their decoration, but that's what we liked about the place - at times we felt like we'd stepped into a 1950s film set, it had such a sense of nostalgia about it.
There have been some comments about the unfriendliness of staff and I have to admit that we had a mixed bag there. The Sunday/Monday receptionist was kind and helpful - we couldn't fault him - as were the breakfast ladies; the Tuesday morning receptionist was, well, rude and arrogant. No other words for him, really. But that didn't ruin our stay.
We've been to Venice numerous times but had never stayed on the Lido before and we found that we enjoyed the location. It wouldn't be for everyone, what with the trek out and back on the vaporetto to the main sights, but it suited us as being a change from our usual Dorsoduro/San Polo routine. As someone else has said, the hop across the lagoon provided a leisurely start and end to the day, time to enjoy the cool breeze and collect our thoughts. We live in deeply rural surroundings, so a trip on a boat is a welcome diversion!
If I were a first-time visitor to Venice, I would probably rather stay closer in, but for repeat travellers, it makes for a pleasant enough change. The only thing I would say is that dining options on the Lido are pretty ordinary, with run-of-the-mill places serving even more uninspiring and overpriced food than we've usually found in Venice (which is saying something). We caught a bus way down to the southern end of the island and there seemed to be some better options there - most of them shut on a Monday night, as we discovered when we tried to head back there for dinner the next day. Not really an issue though - we just jumped on to a vaporetto and headed back into central Venice to eat.
I can understand that the Riviera is not everyone's type of hotel and that others have had less than desirable stays there; I imagine that a lot hinges on the room that you get and the price that you pay (and we certainly hit the jackpot on both counts). But it was lovely for us - a charming and traditional hotel experience, exactly what we wanted, and we enjoyed it immensely.
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- Also Known As:
- Riviera Hotel Venice
- Riviera Hotel Province Of Venice, Italy