First of all, a word of warning to all train travellers in Italy. If you don't get your train ticket stamped / franked before you board a train you could be in for a nasty surprise. You need to slide your newly purchased train ticket into a bright yellow stamping machine at/near the platform. This prints a date/time stamp on your ticket. No matter how short the journey or how cheap your ticket, you could br fined over £70 per ticket if you don't stamp. On a recent trip to Milan, my brother and his wife were caught out by this after having caught the train from the airport. The conductor didn't care that my brother had just come from a foreign country and didnt speak Italian or understood the rules of the railway service. She man-handled the couple off the train at the next stop and forced my brother to take out €140 from the ATM to pay the fine and threatened calling the police. The money went straight into the conductor's personal wallet and no receipt was provided. Keep your wits about you, don't sit in first class unless you have a first class ticket, and always get a conductor in the train to confirm that you are allowed to board the service. We boarded the express Rome train at Venice railway station to take us back to Mestre and were told by the conductor that we shouldn't really have gotten on the express service. She let us off with a warning because there was a rail strike that day and there was a skeleton staff working on the trains. After that scare we made sure the conductor confirmed before we boarded the Venice-to-mestre service.
At the airport:
Getting to Mestre from the airport was very straight forward. Near the airport exit after baggage reclaim you will see the clearly signposted kiosk which reads 'bus service to Mestre'. We were on a budget so were happy to take the transfer bus rather than the more expensive water taxis. It cost less than €10 per ticket. The bus service is regular and you catch it outside the airport - the platform number is clearly marked. Do remember to stamp your ticket before boarding the bus.
The bus stop at mestre is a very short walk from the plaza hotel. The hotel is directly across the road from the train station that you use to travel into Venice for a single euro per trip.
During the day there's plenty of commuters and the place is generally pleasant enough. It's a different story at night. The area is quite diverse with a cultural mix of people of different ethnic backgrounds. It seems like quite a poor area around the plaza and you see some odd characters huddled in groups in the nearby park area. We didn't stay out to long after seeing the gang and also seeing the other groups of youths making their way into town via the road adjacent to the plaza. I don't want to make it sound like a bigger deal than it was. If you are comfortable coming back from Venice at a reasonable time and then sticking to the hotel restaurant for evening meal/snack (or the chinese restaurant just around the side of the plaza) then there's no problem whatsoever.
We made the mistake in Mestre of checking out the coach stop terminal at night and were followed by a drunk vagrant who took a lot of interest in us when we looked like we were about to take out a wallet to pay for tickets at the machine. I'm sure he would have tried something if he'd seem a wallet or purse.
On the upside, you are not going to get a hotel like this, with modern, spacious rooms, for this price, in Venice itself. You are literally a ten min train ride out of Venice itself. The trains run very regularly.
We went for the club room - slightly dearer but lovely. High floor so no traffic noise. Everything was clean and tidy, good maid service. No milk cartons/tubs with the complimentary daily tea/coffee. I had to ask at reception for milk and they sent me to the attached restaurant for a jar of milk (which I stuck in the minibar fridge. There's a complimentary key-combination safe in the room. There's also free wifi. You just need to get a fresh userid/password every third day from reception. Comfortable bed. Nice breakfast if you like ham/bacon. The scrambled eggs seemed to be cold no matter what time we went for breakfast. Croissants were tasty and there was a basic selection of cereals. Fruit was ok. Tea and fruit juice also available.
Reception staff were friendly and spoke good English. Maid was also friendly and obliging. I think reception staff take pride in their high satisfaction score on trip advisor and it is mentioned in the hotel literature.
The hotel staff can provide you with a map of Venice. My advice is to ask for 2 copies as Venice is not the easiest city to navigate around. I managed to lose the map just when I needed it most and a backup map would have come in very handy.
Venice is an enchanting place and great to visit, but do keep your wits about you. Take precautions so you don't get pick-pocketed and be prepared to get lost on a regular basis as street signs are very confusing. It's also a very very expensive place to visit the a visit to a public loo coming in at €1.50.
Vaparetto is a good way to see Venice from the water. A one hour ticket is worth the money.
St Marks Square is where it's all happening. If you can afford it, drop by Harry's Bar near St Marks (home of the belini) for a cocktail - very atmospheric.
Gondola ride priced are hard to barter. Expect €150 for two people to have a 1 hour trip. Bridge of sighs was being renovated while I was there, but overall this is one of the most photogenic places in the world.
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- Also Known As:
- Plaza Hotel Mestre
- Hotel Plaza Province Of Venice/Mestre, Italy