The Westin Europa & Regina Hotel is a picturesque hotel with a prime location. As a guest, you’ll pay for that prime location and you’ll pay dearly. Granted, everything in Venice is more expensive, but you never really realize how expensive until you experience it firsthand. Of course, you shouldn’t let this affect your experience in a place, such as this amazing hotel.
The Westin is located right on the Grand Canal, just a short walk from Piazza San Marco. When you arrive at Marco Polo Airport, you’ll have to take an hour long boat ride to the hotel if you take the public transportation, which runs €13 per person. If you take a private water taxi, you’ll have to pay €100, but you’ll get to the hotel much faster and they’ll drop you off at the private dock of the hotel. If you take the public transportation, you’ll have to walk a bit to the hotel from the San Marco. Just turn left and stay left until you see “signs” that say “Europa” on them. You’ll then walk through a series of alleyways that will eventually bring you to the back door of the hotel, which also happens to be the main entrance you’ll use during your stay.
The lobby of this hotel is everything you’ve expected and then some, particularly if you spend some time on the hotel’s website. It features rich woods, marble floors and gold trim with plenty of seating areas. The hotel is actually several buildings connected to each other and you can somewhat tell this as you walk through the halls.
When you check in, you’ll use a neat little tablet to sign in at the hotel and then you’ll receive your room key. It’s a digital key, not a card, and it’s on a neat tassle. You’re not going to forget this key and it’s easy to find in your purse or pocket because the tassle is so large. The desk person will then walk you to the elevator, which can be a bit tricky to locate and they’ll direct you to your room. They might even take you right to the door. Be aware that the elevator is rather small, but remember that these buildings are very old as well.
We are Starwood Preferred Guest members and we had this trip planned for several months. We also upgraded to a suite under the assumption that it would have a balcony, because that was what the customer service representative told us. Unfortunately, she was mistaken because we received an email about a week before our trip telling us that we could upgrade to a room with a unique Grand Canal view and balcony for €550. Needless to say, this was a bit alarming and we immediately got on the phone with Starwood.
It turned out that they don’t really provide the customer service people with much information on which rooms have balconies and ours didn’t. After numerous phone calls and eventually talking to someone who could make a difference, we ended up with one of the best rooms in the place – a king with a terrace right across from the Baroque Santa Maria del Salute church with a full, amazing view of the Grand Canal. It was the ideal room for a stay in Venice.
The bathroom featured marble floors, vanity and tub. The shower was unique with a half glass door. Murano glass light fixtures illuminated the most luxurious bathroom I’ve been in to date. Even the complimentary toiletries were great and featured the usual shampoo, conditioner and lotion, as well as bath salts and bubble bath.
The room itself had high ceilings with two patio doors. The king was actually two twins pushed together, but that’s to be expected in most European hotels. The floors were hardwood and the furniture was of a classical European style. The TV stand also held a small fridge and mini bar. By the way, the mini bar prices were insane. I know most are high, but this was really high. We’re talking €9 for a mini can of Pringles.
Anyhow, the whole room was beautiful. The only complaint was that the Westin “Heavenly Bed” was not heavenly. It was downright hard. We were shocked. I was really shocked because the last Heavenly Bed I had slept in was amazingly comfortable. This was not the same bed. As much as we loved this room, the bed really blew it for us. It was just so uncomfortable.
Dining & Bar
When we first arrived at the hotel, our room wasn’t ready and they asked if we could come back in a couple of hours. We were fine with this, as we were itching to see some of more of this beautiful city and to see what was near the hotel. When we did come back though, the room still wasn’t ready and they needed another hour. Because of this, the front desk gave us a €100 credit at the hotel bar. She sat us at a prime table on the terrazzo and we ordered a cappuccino, a tiramisu and a bottle of prosecco. They had cappuccinos that were to die for. If you buy one yourself, they’re €9.
Our last day, we had to check out at noon and we had a really late flight. We weren’t sure what we were going to do, so we walked around a bit and finally decided to just eat lunch at the hotel. We hadn’t tried any of their actual meals up to this point. Like many restaurants, the hotel had a daily menu. The menu consisted of 4 courses, desert, wine and bread. We sat down and found that the cost of this menu is €125 per person. Yes, you read that right. We did have the option to pay a €10 cover charge and order from the bar or appetizers, but we went ahead and got the menu so we could really try the food.
The final verdict, that while the food was good, it certainly is not worth the price. If you’re doing research on the hotel for your own trip, you’ll probably read something about the breakfast buffet being €50 per person, and although we didn’t have it ourselves, it’s likely true. The menu price was ridiculously high. I believe that you would be able to eat cheaper in the evening for dinner, but stay away at lunch. There’s a ton of sandwich and pizza shops around the hotel that have much better prices and although it’s not a 5 course meal, they’re quite tasty.
Overall, we loved Venice. It’s riddled with tourists, but it’s most definitely a must see city at some point in your life. Just be prepared to pay the price. This hotel is amazing and has great customer service, but we would avoid dining here if at all possible – and don’t expect the bed to be comfortable.