This modest, friendly place in Venice's Castello quarter gives itself no airs at all. In fact the Paganelli's entrance, filled with white leather chairs, looks unprepossessing. However, it shares the same lagoon views - splendid views of the island of San Giorgio and the Castello district - as much more august and expensive hotels on the Riva. And the simple, pleasant bedrooms far exceed the public rooms. They are furnished with pretty deco style pieces, and gauze curtains flutter at the shuttered windows. Largest and smartest rooms face the waterfront: number 206 is our favourite.

  The building is the former convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Zaccaria, and the hotel has been run by the Paganelli family since 1847. Breakfast is served in an annexe in an adjoining side street, where a number of bedrooms are also located. The coffee is excellent.

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