What a wonderful experience, staying at the Palazzo Stern in the Dorsoduro area of Venice. It is hard to decide what I liked the most about the place: The elegant, old-fashioned decor (including priceless Murano chandeliers, even in our room), the way everyone who works there is eager to help you and make your stay a pleasant one, the beautiful piazza on the front of the hotel where the water of the Grand Canal laps gently against the side, the convenience of having breakfast right at the hotel, the fact that the vaporetto stops maybe 20 feet from the front door.... Then, there is the small campo behind the hotel (right down the alley to the left of the side door) with cute shops (stop and see the friendly, friendly man at the FIAT/Vespa store--cute bags and unique souvenirs) delicious gelato at GROM (dark chocolate...omg), Oniga's gnocchi, and the beautiful Murano glass jewelry shop next to GROM. On the way there, the T-shirt shop on the right side of the alley has some unique things, and will make you any color/size/combo you desire.
No review of the Palazzo Stern would be complete without mentioning Denis from Venice, the bartender. I read many reviews prior to going that mentioned him. What a great guy! We discovered that he works 3 jobs and commutes an hour to the Palazzo Stern. In spite of this grueling schedule, he will enthusiastically tell you about the history of Venice, bring you tasty drinks that he conjured up himself with the freshest ingredients, and even gave us some delicious biscotti to nibble. He never gave any indication that he was looking for a tip--none of the employees at the Palazzo did--but he really deserves one. As do the maids, whom we never saw--but they left our room spotless every day, whether we slept in or got up early.
I had to talk my Mom into spending a little bit more on the Palazzo Stern (she asked me, "Isn't there a Best Western?" lol), but I feel it was well worth it. It is a beautiful, restful place, great location, superb service, and gives you a real flavor of Venice. Highly recommended.