We liked the same things we have liked during our previous 3 trips to the Hotel Sant'Elena - which is why we come back every year. We like the proximity to the open lagoon and the vaporetto (waterbus) stop which is only 200m from the hotel. Pity the poor travellers who have to lug heavy baggage around at the start and end of their holidays! The vaporetto runs very frequently, and gets you to St. Mark's Square in 10 minutes (*don't forget to buy your multi-day pass for the vaporetto at the airport - unlimited walk on / walk off trips*). If you feel like stretching your legs, St. Mark's is only a 20 minute stroll away along the lagoon edge, passing the Bienniale Gardens and the Arsenale / Maritime Museum (both worth a look).
The food is fine and plentiful, the cleanliness is impeccable, the rooms comfortable and air conditioned, and, being in the only green area of the island, it is fresh. A former convent, the hotel has an enclosed lawned garden which is ideal for peaceful relaxation, sunbathing and breakfast.
We are seasoned travellers and are quite demanding when it comes to service and value for money. We also believe that good service should be rewarded by recommendation, and a number of our friends have taken our advice and stayed at Sant'Elena. All have been delighted that the hotel was as good as we said it would be.
The low spot during our last stay was that we saw a mosquito there once.
If you go in 2010, we may see you there!