JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
Address: Isola delle Rose, Laguna di San Marco, 30133 Venice VE, Italy
Phone: +39 041 852 1300
My Rating: 78%
Price Rating: $$$$
Summary of Stay: I began my Italian vacation in Rome and ended it in Venice. Venice is a remarkable city that will certainly charm it's way into your heart and memories. However, I'm not sure the JW Marriott will do the same. Don't get me wrong—the JW Venice has all the makings of a 5 star world class hotel. What it is missing is the charm and elegance that brought you to Venice in the first place.
The only way to arrive to the private island is by boat and most likely you'll be on the JW Marriott's private shuttle boat. The journey takes about 20 minutes and it is a smooth ride. They follow their schedule like clockwork and guests are boarded first come, first seated. The boat is elegant and begins to stir anticipation of arrival at the hotel.
Upon arrival, the main hotel is a short stroll from the dock. If you have luggage, the hotel's bell staff will look after it for you. Check in was swift and very friendly. Seated in comfortable chairs, the attendants had key cards in my hands within minutes.
I was shown up to my room—which was beneficial because I later got lost. Down a long hallway and up the elevator and down another hallway, I arrived at my room. The room was fine. It was very clean and comfortable and lacking of anything that would make it memorable. The bed was enjoyable and the WiFi decent. It was about average size and at least I had a view of the gardens.
Dopolavoro is the hotel's big dining attraction. It was recently awarded a Michelin star (Venice doesn't have a large selection of Michelin starred restaurants) and the dining room and bar area are pleasing and low key. The chefs grow their own herbs and some vegetables on the island which ensures the freshness and quality of their creations. I didn't dine at the restaurant as I was more interested in exploring the scene in Venice proper.
Sagra Rooftop Restaurant is your other choice for dinner. It's not large enough to accommodate a hotel of this size and I waited 40 minutes at the bar for a table. Finally, I finished my cocktail and gave up. (I'm not the most patient person in the world). But the drink was good and the food did look and smell appealing.
The hotel also prides itself on the spa. It is in a separate building and not near the main hotel. Had the weather been a bit more cooperative, I would have been interested in getting a massage and soaking up some sun by their pool. But it wasn't meant to be on this trip.
The hotel also attracts an interesting crowd. Because it has a pool, it attracts a lot of families. It seemed popular with monied twentysomethings who prioritize WiFi over history. Also there were a lot of Russian and Korean guests when I was there. Everyone (except the families) seemed to keep to themselves and that was fine with me.
Highlight of the Hotel: To me the highlight of the hotel is the pool. After having been in stunning pools throughout the world, the JW Venice doesn't come close. However, it has a decent view and is well attended. Venice is a city that requires a lot of walking so the pool is a much needed haven after hours of hoofing it on the cobbled streets.
Highlight of the Stay: I rarely wear a hotel robe. Who knows if its been worn before or if its clean? Half the time they have the texture of sandpaper. It's just not my thing. However, the robes in the room were incredibly plush and soft and I made a habit of wearing them. Sadly, at a hotel of this calibre, I would have expected the highlight to be something a bit more substantial.
Drawbacks: There is a bit of a list here so I apologize. The hotel is on a private island and too far away from the main attractions of Venice. You are at the mercy of the hotel shuttle-boat and the last transfer from Venice to the hotel is at 12:30am. A quote for a water-taxi to the hotel was 300 euros so you don't want to miss the hotel's shuttle-boat. There were some glitches with the technology in my room. A Light-switch was crosswired and a coffee machine had an alarm on it that went off daily at 3 am. It was quickly unplugged. The hotel lacks character and after a day of exploring Venice, it is a bit disappointing to come back to this minimalist business style hotel. Finally, Venice is a logistically difficult city to travel within. If you arrive via the train station, you'll need to take the water bus and several flights of stairs up and down to get to the dock where the hotel shuttle-boat is. I had two suitcases and it was an absolute nightmare. If you are arriving at the airport, don't bother with anything besides a private water taxi. It'll cost 200 euros including tip but there really is no other sane way. On your way back to the airport, check with the concierge to see if any other guests are interested in sharing the taxi and splitting the fare.