I usually plan our trips way in advance, but we were headed to Italy to visit our daughter who was studying in Rome and we had to wait until she arrived there and got her complete schedule so we would know exactly when we could visit. That gave me just about 6 weeks to plan the trip. I got very lucky though with all of our accommodations and loved the new hotel I found in Venice. Hotel ai Reali is located in Castello very close to the Rialto Bridge but in a small campo next to an interior canal, so tucked away and very quiet. It had just opened in Nov. 2012 but all the reviews on it were excellent. It was a perfect location easy to walk everywhere and close to the Rialto Bridge stop for the vaporetto.
The lobby as well as the rooms were decorated in the grand Venetian style with fabric wall coverings, chandeliers, and marble bathrooms.
I had booked a Classic room for my mom and dad and a Deluxe room for Stephen and I and Michael. When we arrived they said they had upgraded us both to a Junior Suite!! Our room was very nice and very large with a nice view of the canal. Probably the largest hotel room we had ever had in Europe. In addition to our king size bed they had a roll away for Michael and a couch, coffee table and round table. Unfortunately, the roll away bed was not that large and Michael who is about 5’10″ and thin, found it quite narrow. Probably best for smaller kids, not an adult or older teenager.
The closet was actually a small room so tons of space for us to keep all of our luggage.
My parents room even had a fireplace.
The wifi connection in the room and lobby was excellent and the towels were nice and soft and fluffy – probably due to the fact that the hotel was new. The hallways and landing areas were also very large and nicely decorated.
They also have a canal entrance if you are arriving/departing by water taxi.
Breakfast was served in the restaurant which was nice and the rooms had a view of the canal. It was not one large room but several smaller rooms, and we never had a problem finding a table. A nice breakfast buffet with the usual meats, cheeses, cereals and pastries but also scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and some yogurt that Stephen particularly liked. The ladies in the breakfast room were very nice and helpful.
Stephen did use the sauna and jacuzzi which is a nice addition to the hotel. He said they were both nice, however, the jacuzzi was not hot enough and they would not let you turn the jets on because apparently they make too much noise and disturb the rooms below. Too bad, because this is a welcome amenity to a hotel in Venice, and unfortunate that you can not use it the way it is intended. They also have a spa which we did not use, but they generally were offering specials each day at breakfast if you made an appointment that day.
We do not usually eat in the hotel restaurant when traveling, but we arrived in the evening and by the time we checked in and got settled, it was almost 9pm. I had read good reviews of the hotel’s restaurant, Alle Corone, so we decided to just eat there. Stephen and I shared a salad and Michael had a fish carpaccio to start. Stephen and Michael had tagliata which was excellent and cooked a perfect medium rare. I ordered the spaghetti with scampi. When it came it did not look all that exciting, but the flavor was delicious and the scampi very sweet.
The servers here were also very nice and extremely helpful in explaining things on the menu. These little treats came with our bill.
On our last night we had determined that our best meal by far was the meal at the hotel so we decided to return there and my parents joined us this time. (The first night they were exhausted and just went to sleep). Another wonderful meal – I had ordered the calf liver with apples and a side of creamy polenta. The dish was quite large and I thought I will never be able to eat that much liver but it was so good that I finished it all!
We had a fantastic stay at Hotel ai Real. I suspect next year at this time this place will be more popular so I would book further in advance!