Venice has survived on tourism since the early 18th century, so you'll have no trouble finding a hotel here. And since most of the city's lodgings occupy historic buildings that are hundreds of years old, finding "character" isn't much of a problem either. Getting good value for your money, though, is more challenging.
At the top end, there's a huge choice: Grand palazzi line the canals around the Piazza San Marco and also the Lido. Lower down the price ladder, the scene has been shaken up in the last few years by the arrival of B&B-style guesthouses (many of which call themselves pensioni or locande). These range from charmingly simple options to luxurious homes that once belonged—and in some cases still do—to the nobility. Unfortunately, many of the city's established two- and three-star hotels tend to rest on their laurels, providing the bare minimum at rates that would be considered exorbitant anywhere else. Our suggestions in this category are among the exceptions.
The ever-growing number of beds available means that hoteliers have a hard time filling their establishments in quieter moments: it pays to check websites, where you're likely to find some excellent low-season deals.
For a note on Venetian addresses, see our Fact Sheet.