Hotel Flora

Hotel Flora

If you are looking for a boutique hotel with cutting-edge design features, flat-screen TVs and rainforest showers, then you won’t find it at Hotel Flora in Venice‘s San Marco district. What you will find is a charming family-run hotel with lots of character that makes you feel like you are stepping back in time. The hotel has been in the same family – the Romanelli family – for 50 years and many of the fittings, such as the kitsch murano glass and ceramic chandeliers, the wooden furniture and fabric wallpaper looks as though it has not been changed in those years. It is like being welcomed into the home of a favourite uncle, the staff are warm and friendly and particularly welcoming to children, whom they great with lots of ciaos.

Rooms with a view

Around the walls are prints of 1950s movie stars and original paintings of the still-life variety. The rooms have large comfortable beds and furniture from the 18th or 19th century, which makes you feel as though you have stepped into the pensione in EM Forster’s Room with a View. The shower is basic, but the simplicity is offset with luxurious Bigelow Apothecaries Peppermint and lavender toiletries. There are no tea and coffee facilities or minibar but downstairs is a friendly bar-cum-dining room, where you can order a pot of tea or bottle of wine to take to your room. They also serve a light dinner and this is where you’ll take breakfast, a friendly affair of home-baked cakes, pastries and fruits.

The location is fantastic, and it is a surprise to look down a narrow alley off the very fancy shopping street Calle XXII Marzo and see the narrow 17th-century palazzo that houses the hotel. The building was once the School of Painting and frequented by some of the great Venetian artists. Inside, there’s a pretty interior courtyard, where you can enjoy a drink or breakfast in the warmer months. Hotel Flora is the place to choose if you want charm, character and old-fashioned hospitality.

Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.