Hotel Villa Pannonia

Lido Island, Venice, Italy Book from Eur60

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
Modern family-friendly hotel on the Lido with an eye for contemporary art; a 15 minute boat ride from St Mark’s Square
The Lido isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Venice. An adjacent island to the beautiful city, its wide, quiet streets and long sandy beach seem more reminiscent of mainland Italy, but when the tourist rush of summer begins and Venice’s narrow streets are clogged with people, you’ll be glad of some breathing space.

Hotel Villa Pannonia is just off the main drag on the island, a poppy-red building with good rates, making it a fantastic place to stay if you’re on a budget but want to get the best out of Venice. With modern art exhibitions in the lounge, restaurant and bar area, and chic, monochrome rooms, it’s not a symphony of excess like many of the palazzos in the city centre. And it has good-sized bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as an excellent breakfast spread.

Hop on a vaporetto and cruise down the Grand Canal to the Rialto market; ramble the narrow streets and explore gilded churches and lavish art collections, then hop back on a boat to laze on the beach in the afternoon. And if you come in late August/early September, keep an eye out for movie stars as the Venice Film Festival is held here.

Highs

  • When we revisited in 2013, the vaporetto took just 15 minutes from St Mark’s Square - such convenience makes it great value
  • Good for families - no bridges to negotiate, no steep flights of steps and it’s close to the beach
  • It’s very quiet and we had a great night’s sleep
  • Helpful staff
  • The boat connections are excellent and quick from here to the centre of Venice (15 mins), as well as the outlying islands in the lagoon

Lows

  • The location lacks the atmosphere and history of the city centre - given the choice, we'd stay in central Venice
  • Slightly characterless and service is more professional than friendly
  • Breakfast costs extra and the food options nearby are fairly limited so you’ll end up going back and forth to the centre by vaporetto (which is actually great fun)
  • The Lido is fairly dead out of season, though in the summer it’s a great spot
  • No tea and coffee in your room - you have to order it through the bar

Best time to go

Venice is a year-round attraction but this hotel is closed for a couple of months in winter. It comes into its own in the summer months when Venice is really busy (and the lagoon water isn’t terribly fragrant) - the beach and spacious streets are a real draw. The Lido is busiest when the Venice Film Festival is on, during late August and early September each year. It’s very quiet here in the spring and autumn, when it might be better to stay in central Venice itself.

Our top tips

Buy a 72-hour vaporetto ticket when you arrive so you can hop about easily and cheaply to St Mark’s Square, central Venice, around the Grand Canal and over to Torcello, Burano and Murano.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 30
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 16 Nov 2015 - 28 Jan 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Triple

Rooms

Being out of the city is good: you get a lot of room for your money and it’s blissfully quiet. We slept really well in the pared-back, monochrome rooms, which are well-equipped if a little impersonal. It’s a shame that the exciting modern art displays in the main reception and communal areas don’t extend into the bedrooms, too.

There are well-sized Standard Doubles; Deluxe Doubles, which have extra space and a fold-up single bed; Attic Rooms, which are a little dingy as they only have small windows at knee height, but a good option for larger groups (the Attic Family rooms sleep up to 5); Junior Suites, which are spacious with a double sofabed, and Suites, which have 2 double bedrooms. Bathrooms are spacious, though a little dull in décor, with power showers.

We slept in one of the ground-floor rooms (which are all very quiet) - a large Deluxe Double with a desk, a flatscreen TV, small pouffes and a great view of the garden.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Hotel Villa Pannonia might serve breakfast at an extra cost, but it's very good. One of the worst things about central Venice hotels is their rubbishy breakfasts - there’s a strange predilection for pre-packaged croissants and anything-but-fresh bread rolls. Here, there’s nothing of the sort. We really enjoyed our big breakfast: several types of fresh pastries, breads, honey, yoghurt, cereal and cake, served with boiled eggs, ham, cheese, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. In the summer, you can breakfast in the garden where modern tables are shaded with umbrellas.

No other meals are served but you can have coffees and drinks from the bar delivered to your room or the garden, and breakfast can be served in your room for a small fee.

As for eating out, Venice is a strange city for food and the Lido is no exception. There are plenty of tourist-friendly restaurants on the Gran Viale, under 5 minutes’ walk away, but they didn’t dazzle us: menus in 5 languages with pizza, pasta and panini of varying quality. It's probably best to seek recommendations from reception. For an expensive treat, we’d recommend Venissa on Mazzorbo Island, a short boat ride away. Otherwise, perhaps have lunch in Venice while sightseeing, and dinner too, if you can, where there’s certainly more atmosphere.

There are snack bars on the beach which are open during the summer season, serving drinks, pizza slices and paninis, and a couple of good delis on the Gran Viale if you want to buy picnic food for a day out cycling round the Lido.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • In the summer, take the vaporetto (waterbus) to St Mark’s Square in the morning and explore the busy streets and galleries. In the afternoon, return to the Lido and flop on the beach

  • Swim in the sea - it’s fine for children as the beach slopes gently into the water. Just watch out for occasional jellyfish

  • Play golf. The course on the Lido is renowned as one of Italy’s finest. Or hire bikes, buy a picnic and explore the island's fishing villages

  • Keen birders might enjoy a trip to Pellestrina Island, which is fantastic for bird watching, especially around Carmona beach where you may see Little Terns, Plovers and Red Falcons. Take the vaporetto there from the very south of the Lido - the island is just off the tip and its candy-coloured houses are pretty in the afternoon sun

  • Visit during the Venice Film Festival (late August/early September) to experience the glamour of an international art event

  • Take day trips to the other islands in the Venetian lagoon, including Torcello, Murano, Burano and Mazzorbo

  • Cruise down the Grand Canal and under the Rialto Bridge. There’s a market beyond the bridge - get there early (8am) to see the fish being unloaded and the barges carrying goods up the canal

  • Lose yourself in the back streets of Venice, browsing exquisite paper, animal mask and pastry shops, and delicious gelateria

  • Take an early evening stroll around the Dorsoduro district of central Venice and enjoy a cappuccino as the sun sets and turns the city a beautiful shade of orangey-pink. Eat dinner then hop on the last vaporetto (around 11pm) back to the Lido Island

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Film Festival
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Hotel Villa Pannonia is welcoming to children of all ages - we took our baby and they provided a cot and bedding plus a highchair in the morning, and they warmed milk and baby food when necessary through the day.

The Lido is great for little children, with the beach and a distinct lack of bridges to carry your pushchair over; a refreshing change from central Venice, which is actually quite difficult with a toddler. The hotel has extra beds too, for older children.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All the rooms have extra beds except the Standard Doubles; the Deluxe Doubles have a fold-out bed and enough room for it, the Junior Suites have a double sofabed, and the Suites have 2 double bedrooms. There are also a couple of Attic Family rooms which can sleep up to 5 - a good budget option for families.

Baby equipment:

Highchairs are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities nearby:

We found a couple of nice gelateria on the main drag that made us happy; older kids might like to hire bikes and explore the island too.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

6/
Rooms
6/
Food
6/
Service
6/
Value
6/
Overall

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