Captivating Croatia: Part 5 – A Night in Venice – Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

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I’ve wanted to go to Croatia for the last several years.  I heard wonderful things about the country and how beautiful (and relatively affordable) it was compared to the rest of Europe.  It’s located in Eastern Europe and is just a few hours from Italy.

Last year, my friends and I organized a group trip to visit Rovinj, a small coastal town on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia.  It’s a gorgeous town full of romance.  Everything is stunning there, from the streets to the houses.  The food is also excellent.

We went for a kizomba dance festival.  Later in the trip report series, I will introduce you to kizomba and describe what an incredible dance it is!  The dance festival was amazing and Croatia is definitely a place I want to return and spend more time exploring!  The trip’s retail cost was ~$17,000 but I paid ~$900.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

Grabbing a Quick Cocktail at the Gritti Palace’s Elegant Bar

Captivating Croatia Trip Report Index:

Gritti Palace Hotel

We had a 1 night stopover in Venice before we continued our journey to Rovinj, Croatia.  I stayed at the Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel using 30,000 Starwood points.

It was a beautiful hotel in an excellent location!  The hotel was originally commissioned as a palace in 1475, and has gone through many incarnations.  It was most recently renovated in 2013.

Daraius and I have a lot of Starwood points from the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest personal and small business cards, and using them for 1 evening at this hotel made sense.

The hotel was located in the heart of the city, and was within walking distance to many historical sites.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

Like Stepping Back in Time!  The Gritti Palace Was Originally Commissioned in 1475

The lobby was small, yet sumptuously decorated.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

It’s a Terrific Spot If You Want to Spoil Yourself With All-Out Luxury

There was a beautiful bar with lots of room to sit and enjoy a drink.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

The Lighting and Artwork Added to the Ambiance in the Hotel Bar

The bar had Murano glass and many 17th century paintings.  It was like stepping into a museum.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

Many Famous Guests Have Stayed Here – I Wonder If They Sat at This Very Bar!

There was more seating outside.  It was the perfect place to relax and take in the beautiful and lively canal.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

The Canal-Side Patio at the Gritti Palace Is a Perfect Spot to People (and Gondola) Watch!

There was so much to look at inside the hotel.  I liked that there were so many places to sit and relax.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

There’s No Shortage of Spots to Take in the Luxurious Decor and Beautiful Artwork

Directly outside of the hotel, there is a traghetto (gondola ferry) stop that will take you across the canal.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

Can’t Swim?  No Worries!  Take a Traghetto (Gondola Ferry) Across the Canal for Cheap!

Riding the traghetto costs 2 euros (~$2) per ride across.  I loved exploring the other side of the town.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

Hopping on a Traghetto Was an Easy and Fast Way to Get Out Exploring

It was much quieter than the touristy side near St. Mark’s Square, but there was still so much to see and explore.

A Night In Venice - Gritti Palace Hotel Overview

Like a Postcard!  There Are Terrific Views at Every Turn Near the Gritti Palace

Hotels

You can use hotel points to stay in Venice for a fraction of the cost!  On a previous trip, Daraius and I stayed at the Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel.  This trip, I stayed at a Starwood hotel that was in the heart of the city.

1.   Hilton Points

It costs 50,000 to 70,000 Hilton points for a standard room (depending on the season) at the Hilton Molino Stucky in Venice.  The regular price for a room varies from ~$300 to ~$500, so this is a great use of Hilton points!

You can earn Hilton points directly from 4 credit cards:

American Express Hilton HHonors Card

The American Express Hilton HHonors card currently earns you 70,000 Hilton points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  And it has no annual fee!  Check out my review.

American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass Card

You can earn 85,000 Hilton points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months with the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass.  This is the highest bonus I’ve seen for the card.  Here’s a full review.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

You’ll earn 2 weekend nights at almost any Hilton after spending $2,500 on purchases in the 1st 4 months with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve.  Here’s my full review of the card.

Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

For a limited time, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature has a sign-up bonus of 75,000 Hilton points after spending $2,000 within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  That’s a terrific deal for a card with no annual fee.

Remember, you can also transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Hawaiian Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic to Hilton.

Need More Hilton Points? Transfer From AMEX Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Hawaiian Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic

Check out my post on all the ways to earn Hilton points!

2.   Starwood Points

It costs 30,000 Starwood points for 1 night at the Gritti Palace Hotel.  That may seem like a lot of points, but regular rooms go for ~$1,000 per night!!

Though I had a much smaller room, I preferred the Gritti Palace Hotel because of the location and lavish decor.

Now is a great time to earn lots of Starwood points.  That’s because the sign-up bonuses on the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest personal and small business cards have been increased to 35,000 Starwood points after meeting minimum spending requirements until March 30, 2016.

These are the highest bonuses ever offered for these cards!  And they won’t likely return, because Starwood is being bought.

Of course, there are lots of other options for free or cheap stays in Venice.  To find hotels that can be booked with points, I like using Hotel Hustle (which even shows you if rooms are actually available!) or AwardMapper.

Or consider Airbnb to save money, especially for longer stays or for folks who prefer a more local feel.  Here are some tips on how to negotiate a better Airbnb price.  And how to find a safe and comfortable Airbnb.

In the next post, I’ll review my room at the Gritti Palace Hotel.

Bottom Line

The location and elegant rooms of the Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel made it a great 1-night award stay.  I would happily visit this hotel if I’m ever in Venice again!

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