How we got there
We took an Air France flight from CDG to Lyon and then a HOP flight from LYS to Venice. This was our first Air France flight and if we have a choice in the future, our last. Our 1pm flight was delayed, the gate was changed without notification. We had to go to the desk to ask for the new gate, which was changed twice. The whole boarding process was a total mess. It's kind of shocking to see such bad service in Europe, one might expect this in less developed parts of the world, but not Europe. The intra-Europe airline service according to our limited experiences with BA and AF is worse than domestic US service. Upgrading to the premium cabin does not seem to be worth the money either.
At Lyon, things were not much better, but at least the Wi-Fi worked and we could see the gate change. We finally made it to VCE somewhat on time.
Once we got to VCE, we took the blue line (water bus) to St. Mark's Square. It took us about an hour to get there, but we took lots of great pictures from around Venice on the way there. Finding the shuttle boat to the JW Marriott was easier than expected and we were on our way to the resort within minutes.
Where we stayed
The JW Marriott is a 3 year-old resort located on Isabela island about 20 minutes from Venice.
The shuttle service is free and runs punctually every 30 minutes each way. We were warmly welcome and Madalina (Romania) checked us in. Unfortunately for us there were only 2 rooms available. One on the first floor with a view of the resort entrance and another on the 3rd floor. Madalina tried to do right by us, but she could not magically make a better room available. We agreed to try to see if a better room opened up the next day. The room we got was probably the only negative aspect of our stay. To be fair, this room might be fine by European standards, but we expected more from a JW Marriott property. By the way, this was our 3rd JW in less than 3 months. We stayed at the JW Marriott Bogotá and D.C. Which influenced our decision to pick this hotel over other great options in Venice. I need to point out that besides the resort being located on a private island, the professional and caring staff made staying at this resort a great experience. For instance, Nicola (Queens, NY/Italy)and Pep(Barcelona) went out of their way to ensure we had a great time in the family pool area.
Where we ate
The first evening, we were planning to have dinner at Sagra rooftop bar and restaurant, but our child really wanted to eat at Cucina, the buffet on the first floor. Alvaro, Nicholina and every one else there was wonderful to us. We ate good pizza and the different pasta offerings were also fine. Perhaps the price might make you expect even better food, but you are at a Venetian paradise island and that can't be cheap! You always have the choice of taking the shuttle to a less touristy restaurant in Venice.
After dinner, we did go to Sagra briefly to take a few pictures of the sunset.
We also ate at some back street restaurant because sometimes you just need something to eat and move on.
For dinner on our last night we went with a new friend from the hotel to Trattoria Casanova. The meal was fine, and we had a very good experience. If we had seen the Yelp reviews we would not have gone, but our new friend had been there several times before.
What we did
Since our arrival to the resort was so late, we ate and went out to take pictures. The next day, we used Google Trips recommendations and visited: St. Mark's Square, Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, Rialeto Bridge and The Grand Canal.
We also got pleasantly lost walking back to St. Mark's Square. I think, making it easy to get lost is good for business is Venice. There's no other explanation for the status quo. As a result of getting lost, we saw the market, and stores we had not planned to visit.
We went back to the resort spent a few hours in the family pool area and took pictures of the island and Venice.
By the way, if you or someone you know is looking for the perfect place to have a destination wedding, look no further. The resort even has a church. Do remember to invite us!
Without a doubt and even having to deal with the many crowds Venice is a wonderful destination. If we had had a better room this would have been a perfect couple of days. The staff is outstanding and is constantly asking if they can make things better. I used the app to ask for more water and coffee and they were delivered immediately. Pep not only helped us enjoy the pool area, but also helped us figure out the best way to get to Rome.
Our plan was to take the shuttle to St. Mark's Square, but he told us the best way was to board a second shuttle which would take us to Piazza Roma, a short walk to Santa Lucía, Venice's main train station.
While we plan to share a post with lessons learned from our trip at a later time, when it comes to our 2 nights in Venice, these are some of the things we would have done differently:
1. Take a night train from Paris to Venice. As a matter of fact, I would travel by night train whenever feasible.
2. A. Make sure the room is of a size and desired features before getting to the resort. If possible pay for an upgrade. Usually, having elite status is supposed to take care of this issue, but in our case it did not. B. Perhaps when dealing with Marriott in the future combining cash and points might yield the best value. My partner believed that the fact that we paid for our entire stay using points might be linked to getting an underwhelming room. This was not the case in Zürich, where we stayed one night at one of the best top floor rooms at the Park Hyatt Zürich.