A Cool Hostel in Venice

The idea of sleeping near strangers can seem a little odd and hostels aren’t the first choice for most travelers. But if you have fond memories of summer camp, enjoy making new acquaintances and want to save considerably they are worth considering. There are a number in Venice and several located on the island of Giudecca.

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Generator Venice (Fondamenta Zitelle 86, tel. 041/877-8288, www.generatorhostels.com, €16 per bed, €80 d) is the coolest and will break any negative stereotypes you may have. The ground floor bar and restaurant are located inside a former warehouse that would make any boutique hotel proud. At night the chill-out areas are alive with multilingual conversation and newly made acquaintances from all over the world relax on plush sofas and gather around the pool table. Merriment goes on until late and often spreads outdoors to the embankment where unwary guests often get their feet wet.

Top or Bottom Bunk?
That is the question at hostels and there’s an argument to be made for both. The bottom bunk is cosy and doesn’t require climbing which can be a problem in the dark or after several beers. It’s slightly less private though and may be noisier depending on construction. Making the bed however is easier as is getting ready in the morning. There’s also less chance of waking hostel mates during late-night trips to the bathroom. Nevertheless the top bunk will always have it’s appeal and if you never had a bunk bed as a child it’s difficult to resist. Most hostels won’t ask for your preference but if it does matter to you request top or bottom prior to arrival.

Upstairs are small (8 beds), large (16 beds), female and mixed rooms opened with key cards and just as neat as the digs below. Beds are unmade and come with a clean sheet, blanket and pillow. They’re also equipped with a reading light and electric socket. Lockable storage boxes are underneath the beds and the bathrooms for small rooms are en suite. Several private rooms are also available on the top floor. Towels are €3.50 extra and the breakfast buffet served 7am-10pm isn’t particularly appetizing. You’ll find better cappuccino and pastries at Majer (Fondamenta Sant’Eufemia 461, tel. 041/521-1162, daily 9am-11pm) down the Fondamenta Zitelle near the Palanca vaporetto stop.

Getting to Giudecca requires a ferry and the 2, 4.1, 4.2 and N serve the islands four vaporetto stations. A single ticket is €7.50 and you’re better off opting for a daily (€20) or multiday pass. Once you ride a vaporetto you’ll want to ride others and staying on an island won’t seem like such a big inconvenience.

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