Started our Venetian holiday with 3 nights at a very expensive hotel & continued with 3 nights at the Ala. I had stayed here in 2008 & knew its location to be excellent. If you arrive by vaperetto you can get off at S.M. del Giglio & it is a very short walk down a rather narrow alley way to the campo (square) that the Ala sits on. Book purely for this convenience if nothing else!! (which is what I did last time). This time we caught a water taxi (E70!! - min price it seems) from the other hotel to the Ala as i knew they had a water entrance on a very narrow canal. Unfortunately the canal was blocked by many boats so the taxi dropped us opposite the hotel so we had to cart our luggage up and over a bridge & along cobbled streets....exactly what I paid all that money to avoid!!! Oh well.
This time our room was on the 2nd level & accessed via the lift on the ground floor. On exiting the lifts we had to walk up 2 or 3 small steps to get to the level the rooms were on. Previous stay saw us climbing the stair case then down a corrider before entering a lift to take us to our 4th level room. All the rooms vary....a lot!!! Some of this will come down to the price you pay. We booked (& pre paid) for a double deluxe room & requested a canal view. We got our view, but sadly the view out the window was straight into the building opposite & the canal could only be seen by sticking your head out the window & looking down! Not great. We asked to be swapped to a room overlooking the campo. This was much nicer & gave us a feel of more spaciousness.
Breakfast is great....can be crowded as the area where the food is is rather small. Staff in breakfast room were disinterested. Reception staff were mixed....some friendly, others couldn't care less. It is difficult when you don't speak the language, but we always make an effort.
There is a computer & printer that guests can use (in lobby) to print boarding passes. We had internet in our room & it worked well.
The room decor is very old fashioned, but it is probably traditional. Some of the rooms on the website look very glamorous!!! Never seen one of these. The (total) of 3 rooms I've been in are very average. Deluxe rooms are larger (& a fair size), but bathroom still very small.
There is a lovely sitting room on the ground level with wonderful glass chandliers & displays of suits armour & old pistols etc which are very interesting.
The hotel organized a free water taxi to take us to Morano (glass factory). The taxi collected us from the vaporettto stop & we caught a ferry to bring us back. It's worth putting up with the 30 min or so being led around the glass shop (& not buying anything because it is very expensive!!!) just to have the experience of going on the water taxi if you've never been on one! Once you lave the glass factory you are free to wander about Morano & even catch a ferry to the other islands like we did.
If you can get a good deal, this is generally a very well priced hotel (for Venice) & a wonderful location for access & walking (San Marco less than 5 mins on foot).
Footnote: Gondoler ride - there is a group of gondoliers near the Ala; walk straight out the door & down the 'street' opposite. The first brigde you cross will have a little cafe & a restaurant on the other side. The gondoliers there will give you a very fair, fixed price ride. They will show you a map of where you go & you can choose 3 different lenth rides. The longer ride (50 or 60 min) starts in small quiet canals, goes out to the Grand Canal, under the Rialto, back into small canals then under the Bridge of Sighs, out to the Grand Canal, past San Marco & back to the start. Sorry I can't remember the exact cost but my husband thinks it was about E80 (Sept 2012). Much better than we had expected t pay after reading so many reviews of haggling over prices. Very good ride!!! Very romantic thing to do in Venice!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.