From a converted monastery in Venice to a former post office in Ghent, our tipsters share their most memorable places to stay handy for the train
Venice is a brilliant place to arrive in – the moment you walk down the steps and out of Santa Lucia station you’ll see bobbing gondolas on the city’s famous canals. Last year, I stayed at the Hotel Abbazia, a lovely traditional building in a restored ancient monastery. It’s two minutes from the station and has comfortable rooms for two or three from €125. You can have breakfast in the shady courtyard garden, almost imagining the monks strolling around as they said their prayers. In fact, the whole place was so relaxing, I almost missed my train as the friendly hosts served me more croissants and cappuccinos.