Website Review: Magica Venezia

The Magica Venezia website belongs to a group who, in their own words:

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… rent luxury furnished apartments in the centre of Venice, Italy, next to the most important places in the city ”¦ starting from 200€ per night (for whole apartment) including breakfast, welcome prosecco cocktail and WiFi internet connection.

The idea itself is good, and I like the idea of using an apartment to stay in Venice over a hotel or hostel for two reasons: if you’re traveling with a small group (around four people could be ideal), then it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to have a roof over your head, plus you are independent and able to cater for yourself. A WiFi connection is a feature I haven’t seen often in holiday apartment rentals and it’s something that would definitely make me choose one place over another. The apartments that Magica Venezia handle also come with breakfast included, in the form of tea, coffee, bread and jam and various other ingredients.

As for the website, it’s actually pretty well organized and there is a good amount of information, including photos, for each apartment that they rent out. Each apartment page shows the dates in the next month when the apartment is already booked, gives prices for each season, includes a useful plan showing the arrangement of the rooms and locates the apartment on an aerial map in relation to the sightseeing highlights of Venice.

The booking process isn’t bad, but it could be better. If you already know which apartment you want to rent, you can see the availability in calendar form for the next month, but for anyone who’s not booking at the last minute, you have to keep plugging in dates until you get the green light. If you’re not set on a particular apartment, the process is easier, as you can use their main search function at the top of the website, specifying your dates and the number of people staying.

Contact details (phone, email, even a mobile number) are shown on many pages so if you get confused it should be easy to get in touch with a live human. There’s also no scary spot on the booking form where you must include your credit card details — they run bookings in the form of initial enquiries where you only need to give an indication of your method of payment, and here’s one especially nice feature, I think — they’ll even let you pay your bill via PayPal. Incredibly, you can even make a booking as far ahead as 2017, if you happen to be making plans a decade in advance.

The English version of the Magica Venezia site is one of several languages available, but it’s obviously been professionally done, which is a real blessing. A few errors have crept through, and one bad goof is in the summary box that appears at the top right of every page, listing the cost-per-night as €200,000. That extra zero and the European use of a comma instead of the English decimal point could easily put a casual web surfer off the idea.

In general, this website provides what it should: enough details so travelers can make an informed decision about which apartment will best suit their needs, access to availability and prices, and various ways to get in touch. I’m not sure that it lives up to the “magical” part of the title, but probably Venice itself does, and that’s good enough.

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