Villa Patriarca Boutique Hotel - Venice's secret hideaway
About 15 miles north west of Venice is the quaint town of Mirano, Italy (pronounced Mii-rano - don't say Mur-ano or Mer-ano, you'll end up on a small island - which is famous and definitely worth a visit, but not where you'll find this place). While the lure to stay on one of the Venice islands is strong, and if you book early and have the money and I'm sure it's amazing, however if you're looking to spend a bit less, and want some peace and tranquility for your holiday, I strongly recommend Mirano, and not just the town, but Villa Patriarca Boutique Hotel specifically.
A few months ago we did an all inclusive trip to Cyprus. While sitting by the pool and reading was our only goal, I found it lacking in any other activities should your eyes become tired of reading. Also, while it was the middle of their winter, there was a distinct lack of any external places to eat/visit/ have a drink - plus we'd already paid so much for full board it seemed pointless.
For this trip to Italy, the time frame wasn't optional, so we had to book during their busy season. Freaking out as I do and preparing for the worst, I finally found what seemed to be a "too good to be true" deal on LastMinute.com's top secret hotels.
The Villa HP turned out to be everything it promised - and more. Not only did it benefit from the friendliest staff and locals we had met, but the prices were also much more reasonable than Venice and the food - amazing.
My mornings consisted of a swim at 9am in their 25 yard pool. Followed by coffee & wifi connecting (free wifi!) to keep up to date with my digital life. Then back to spending a few hours in the pool before lunch and heading into Venice around 4pm - which in the summer, is perfect timing. Even during the busiest seasons, we weren't overwhelmed by tourists and could enjoy a meal as the sun sets - and what better time to see Venice than that.
I could write a whole post on tips to save money or travel to Venice on a budget - but I'll leave that to the pro's. I was with my mom, so I'm sure the final amount spent was somewhat skewed by her and my fathers generosity. I will share a few top tips (apart form Mirano!) with you:
If you are a blue eyed female, take off your sunglasses when ordering Gelato (or speaking to men)!
Make friends - find another group of people to take a Gondola ride with you, then you can go for a drink - or part ways. At €80 a ride (about 30mins), it's much cheaper with six!
Buy a three day pass
Use the bus boats (€1.50 per ride) to get a tour of the entire island - the main canal & from the outside.
They will tell you it's €5 to take your luggage on a bus - but that never happened to us, so don't get overly scared and pay €50 for a taxi
Prosecco on tap! Enjoy!
You can see more of the hotel and all of my pictures from Venice on Flickr here.