My first Airbnb stay would be a single room in the Dorsoduro section of Venice. I needed to find two nights in Venice to complete my lodging puzzle and the Santa Margherita Guesthouse, a private B&B, seemed a perfect base to explore the city.
Dorsoduro is one of the five sections of Venice and more residential. Here you will see people walking their dogs and only a few copies of Rick Steves Italy books (tourist alert) at restaurants. Streets are filled with art galleries, restaurants with outdoor gardens, students hanging out in the large square across the bridge in Santa Margherita. With the Accademia (as well as the bridge) and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection only a 10-15 minute walk away, this was a new side of Venice for me to explore. I really liked the area as there was a daily produce boat to buy fruit, quiet canals to discover and it lacked the hoards of tourists (at least in May when I visited).
From the rail station, I boarded the number 1 (San Marco/Lido) vaporetto which is the most popular line serving the Grand Canal. Going nine stops to Ca Rezzonico, I walked to the square with the church and then walked along on the right to the end and the guesthouse is just two doors in on the left. It was easy to find, there were no bridges to cross just cobblestones to contend with as I rolled my suitcase.
Welcome to Venice
I rang the bell, knowing that I was early (it was 12:30 pm) as Maria (owner) and I agreed to just drop my bags and check in later at 3 p.m. Maria’s sister (she maintains the property and speaks a little English) let me in and told me that my room was ready and Maria would be there in ten minutes to complete the paperwork. Great news as it was raining when I arrived.
The Common Spaces
Downstairs there is a small eating/kitchen area with tables, chairs, coffee machine, sink and microwave on the left. On the right is the door to the outdoor garden with seating. In front is a stack of DVDs to play in your room as well as chairs and magazines. In the morning, breakfast would be set up in the entryway by the door.
My Guestroom (Single 3)
I had booked a single room with a twin bed which was on the 1st floor (one floor up in Europe). The room was basic as I expected but a good size for one. There is no need for high count sheets or luxury, this is a functional room with a few surprises – bottled water each day, in room coffee maker, mini refrigerator and nice sized shower.
WiFi is free and while Maria mentioned a better signal in the common area, I had a strong signal throughout without having to leave my room. She has added blackout curtains in the room which is a bonus for a good lie in if you need it.
There is a wardrobe with a safe as well as a tv with dvd. The plant is a nice touch although I moved it to the bathroom as I thought it provided a bit of color there.
Standard bathroom, bland beige but looks newly renovated, with good-sized walk in shower. The water pressure was good and toiletries were provided in packets (I wasn’t a fan of the toiletries). Three towels were provided and changed daily.
The breakfast is served between 8:30 am – 9:30 am on the table in the entryway. Cereals, yoghurt, breads, cakes and fruit are available.
The Need To Know
- Communication with Maria was easy and meeting her in person was lovely, she lives outside of Venice and takes the bus more than two hours a day to the Guesthouse each day.
- The Airbnb cover photo will catch your eye with the colorful row of houses along the canal, unfortunately, that is not accurate of the guesthouse location or color (as I realized walking to the property). Marketing is good because this caught my eye and I then looked at the guesthouse options. The photos of the property are accurate.
- Church bells ring all around Italy (even in your 5 star hotel) and as my room faced the street I could hear them as well as people going by but this didn’t bother me. If it bothers you ask for a room in back.
- The cleaning lady doesn’t speak English and knocked at 9 a.m. on the day of check-out (which is 10:30 a.m.) and then knocked two more times. I tried to explain that I had until 10:30 a.m. –this was the only annoying part of the stay.
The single room (including Airbnb fee) cost $221 for two nights in May, proving that you can be on a budget in Venice. There is a local tax that is payable in cash at check-in (my room category was €1.50 per night).
For exploring Venice you should be out and about and then crash at the end of the day. The Santa Margherita guest house is the perfect place to do that. The neighborhood is full of restaurant options as well as a fabulous pizza by the slice takeaway shop, bakery and gelato shops. You can also walk to the Dorsoduro stop to go to the cruise terminal stopping to see the gondola workshop across the canal as you enjoy your gelato from Gelati Nico.