Back in June of this year, I took my parents on a trip of a lifetime to Italy and the Adriatic for two weeks using points and miles to offset almost 95% of the cost. You can see a breakdown of my costs and how I earned the points by clicking this link.
- Getting there
- Venice and the JW Marriott
- Exploring Rome
- Boscolo Venezia
- Embarking on the Norwegian Jade
- Port day in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Port day in Piraeus, Greece
- Port day in Kusadasi, Turkey
- Port day in Split, Croatia
- Getting home
After a hectic couple of days exploring Rome and Vatican City, my parents, brother, and I hopped on a high speed train and headed back north to Venice. Although the scenery between Rome and Venice is generally nothing too special, the 3-hour ride went by quickly and was pretty enjoyable. I paid for the train tickets using my Barclaycard Arrival Plus and offset the $95 total cost completely with 9,500 miles.
To get from Venice’s Santa Lucia station to our hotel, the Boscolo Venezia, we had two options: 1) take a water taxi that skirted the outside of the island but docked just a short ways from the hotel entrance or 2) walk. Walking took a more direct route but required us to climb up and over four bridges along the way. Since we were carrying two weeks worth of luggage, my parents opted to take the water taxi. But my brother and I are avid walkers, so we helped our parents get on the right water taxi and hit the streets.
The walk to the hotel took less than 10 minutes. By some miracle, we didn’t get lost or take a wrong turn once despite Venice’s confusing, narrow roads. As we got further away from the train station and closer to the hotel, the streets became quieter and quieter, with the last couple of alleyways being completely vacant. If you’ve been to Venice, you know how much of a rarity this is.
Crossing the fourth bridge, we spotted the entrance to the hotel down a quiet canal. A red awning with a simple “B” covered the front door and spiraled posts formed the dock in the canal out front.
We were welcomed immediately upon entering the hotel and were checked in quickly. An employee escorted us through the hotel to our room and gave us a tour of the features, which was a nice touch. Our parents hadn’t yet arrived as far as we knew, so after settling in we decided to head back down to the lobby and check out what the hotel had to offer.
The hotel was built as a luxury estate in the late 1600’s and later housed the French Embassy. Because of the historic past, the layout was less hotel-like and more palatial. Every floor was unique in terms of layout and style, the lobby being no exception. The open, two-story lobby was decorated in traditional Venetian style, with bright colors and ornate details. Throughout the building there were several chandeliers and windows made of colorful glass form the nearby Morano island.
I had booked a Deluxe Room and a Superior Room (only because they sold out of Deluxe) using 57,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to offset what would have otherwise been a $948 cost for the two rooms. The Boscolo properties are Marriott-owned, so I did look into using Marriott Rewards to book the rooms. This property, being a Category 9, would have cost 45,000 points per night, per room, totaling 90,000 points for the stay. Crunching the numbers, it made much more sense to used the 57,000 Ultimate Rewards points rather than 90,000 Marriott points.
One of the surprise highlights of the hotel was the large, secret garden out back. Just beyond the lobby’s back doors, two pathways wound through wooded gardens surrounded by high stone walls. The paths had benches along the way and small nooks to explore.
Beyond the wooded area, the paths let out into an open lawn for sunbathers with a private dock just beyond. The gardens were such a pleasant and serene surprise. Who would think you’d find something like this on the congested island of Venice?
In the morning, breakfast was served in a tented area in the gardens, just outside the lobby of the hotel. Full made-to-order breakfast was included in the rates with both of our rooms. A buffet breakfast was also available.
As if the hotel decor and grounds weren’t enough to win me over, the location was just perfect. I love Venice. I mean, I really LOVE Venice. But it’s hard to not get a little annoyed with the crowds and touristy aspects every now and then. So I was pretty thrilled with the quiet neighborhoods off the beaten track that surrounded the Boscolo Venezia. It was just a short 15 minute walk or so to get to the heart of the city, but the immediate streets were quiet and residential; the perfect place to get away from the hustle.
We only had one night at the Boscolo Venezia and it definitely left me wanting for more. Next time I return to Venice, this is where I’ll be staying.
Up next: Time to set sail! Embarking on the Norwegian Jade