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Old Feb 22, 12, 7:37 am   #1
 
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Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice - centrally located hotel importance?

We are thinking of going to Italy next year in spring or fall. Looking at my points, I don't have that many (60k SPG, 50k + one free night certificate Priority Club). I got some ultimate rewards points, but saving those for transfer to airlines. I figured my hotel points are good only for about two nights at SPG, and two nights at Priority Club, more if cash+points are available.

Having said that, which cities will it be really beneficial to stay at a centrally located hotel?

Rome - Looks like the areas to be seen is huge and disperse. So, I don't think a centrally located hotel will be a huge advantage. I looked at the Intercontinental near the Spanish steps and a Westin/St Regis nearby.

Florence - Westin and St Regis by the river, on the side of the cathedral, but each goes for 25k points per night. Holiday Inn across the river is cheaper.

Milan - Have yet to look.

Venice - Two Starwood hotels each at 25k close to St Mark's Square.
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Old Feb 24, 12, 5:17 am   #2
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Rome: Intercontinental De La Ville is the most centrally located. The Westin is a bit further away and the St. Regis another bit further away (but closer to the railway station in case you're getting to Rome by train).

Florence: the two Starwood properties are lovely but if by central you mean the Santa Maria del Fiore/Uffizi/Piazza della Signoria area, then they are not centrally located

Milan: none of the Starwood hotels is centrally located

Venice: both the Danieli and the Europa & Regina are close to PIazza San Marco, with the Danieli a tiny bit closer
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Old Feb 24, 12, 6:58 am   #3
 
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Florence: the two Starwood properties are lovely but if by central you mean the Santa Maria del Fiore/Uffizi/Piazza della Signoria area, then they are not centrally located
The Starwood properties are located in the centro storico of Florence. They are a few minutes on foot (maybe 10?) from Piazza and they are far, far more convenient to sites than the Holiday Inn - which requires a 20 minute bus ride to get to the same area.

Ultimately the issue of 'central' location is relative. There is a strong argument to be made, for example, to avoid staying close to Piazza San Marco in Venice - precisely b/c of the crowds, tourist trap restaurants, etc... associated with that area.

Last edited by bdemaria; Feb 24, 12 at 7:05 am..
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Old Feb 24, 12, 9:14 am   #4
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I'd say a 15 minute walk from the Excelsior to Piazza della Signoria and another 5+ minutes from there to Santa Maria del Fiore.

Personally I would choose to stay in Piazza Ognissanti anyway because I love looking out of the window and seeing the church of San Frediano reflecting in the Arno
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Old Feb 24, 12, 10:26 am   #5
 
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Depending on the circumstances OP, you may wish to consider setting up a central base in Italy, like Florence. From there, you're 1.5 hrs by train to Rome, Venice and Milan. You can definitely do Venice in a day and Milan. For an overnight in Rome, check out of your Florence hotel and check your bags for the return trip.

For Rome, I'd prefer the Hotel Eden to the Westin and in Florence, the St. Regis.

Of course a lot depends on where you're flying in and out of.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 6:38 am   #6
 
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The Starwood properties are located in the centro storico of Florence. They are a few minutes on foot (maybe 10?) from Piazza and they are far, far more convenient to sites than the Holiday Inn - which requires a 20 minute bus ride to get to the same area.

Ultimately the issue of 'central' location is relative. There is a strong argument to be made, for example, to avoid staying close to Piazza San Marco in Venice - precisely b/c of the crowds, tourist trap restaurants, etc... associated with that area.
Indeed the issue of "central" locations is relative. Sounds like for Florence then, the Starwood hotels are much better choice than the Holiday Inn, but for Venice, a centrally located hotel might than be so ideal. Over 10 years ago, I stayed pretty far from San Marco, as I was on a cheap tour group. I don't think I missed out too much.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tyn View Post
I'd say a 15 minute walk from the Excelsior to Piazza della Signoria and another 5+ minutes from there to Santa Maria del Fiore.

Personally I would choose to stay in Piazza Ognissanti anyway because I love looking out of the window and seeing the church of San Frediano reflecting in the Arno
Do you find it noise if you're in a busy area overlooking the church? Any recommended hotel in there?
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Old Feb 25, 12, 6:47 am   #7
 
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Do you find it noise if you're in a busy area overlooking the church? Any recommended hotel in there?
I stayed at the St. Regis a few months ago and didn't have any problem w/street noise from the Piazza.
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Old Feb 25, 12, 7:12 pm   #8
 
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I'm with "tyn", we have always stayed at the Grand Hotel, across from the Excelsior - though we have not been back since they did a huge renovation. Starwood does have special deals. Check out their "welcome to Italy" package. You need to stay 7 nights, or so, at their properties in Italy. We've stayed at the Excelsior in Rome and adored it.
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Old Feb 26, 12, 12:24 pm   #9
 
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Milan: none of the Starwood hotels is centrally located
Westin Palace in Milan is about 20 minutes by foot from the center or ten minutes by subway.
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Old Feb 26, 12, 1:56 pm   #10
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The E&R in Venice is 12K points/night if booked by Feb 29. It's a great location, right on the canal.

Last edited by SanDiego1K; Feb 28, 12 at 4:07 pm.. Reason: Updated book by date
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Old Feb 28, 12, 2:24 pm   #11
 
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Looking at Hyatt, looks like there is a Park Hyatt that is very centrally located in in Milan. I could not find any Hyatt hotels in Venice, Florence nor Rome.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 4:08 pm   #12
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Looking at Hyatt, looks like there is a Park Hyatt that is very centrally located in in Milan.
It is a beautiful property in an excellent location, just a block from the Duomo.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 8:03 pm   #13
 
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It is a beautiful property in an excellent location, just a block from the Duomo.
The Hyatt is much more central than the Westin in Milan, closer to the Duomo, Galleria and Fashion District. Four Seasons (if your budget goes that high) is also nice and in a central location. But Milan is not that big and it can be a bit of a pain getting into the very center due to the narrow streets by taxi (if you are arriving with substantial luggage), but if you can do subways/trams/buses it's not too bad.
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Old Mar 1, 12, 1:04 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by opus2002 View Post
...Rome - Looks like the areas to be seen is huge and disperse. So, I don't think a centrally located hotel will be a huge advantage. I looked at the Intercontinental near the Spanish steps and a Westin/St Regis nearby....
Everything is relative and subjective - to me, the "main" areas to be seen in Rome are the opposite of huge and disperse. To me (someone who resides in Los Angeles) Rome is compact and easily toured on foot so being centrally located IS a huge advantage (and as others have mentioned, either the IC or SPGs would serve this purpose well).

However, if you also plan on venturing outside the Centro Storico (and you should!) with visits to the Appian Way/Aqueduct Park/Catacombs, Tivoli and Ostia Antica then yes, this area is "large" and would require buses or trains.
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Old Mar 2, 12, 7:55 am   #15
 
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The Hyatt is much more central than the Westin in Milan, closer to the Duomo, Galleria and Fashion District. Four Seasons (if your budget goes that high) is also nice and in a central location. But Milan is not that big ....
Good to know. I am just looking for awards night. Looks like Hyatt is the best choice for Milan for sure, especially with the Chase Hyatt card. The other cities (Rome, Venice, Florence) seem best service by SPG or IC in case of Rome.


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Everything is relative and subjective - to me, the "main" areas to be seen in Rome are the opposite of huge and disperse. To me (someone who resides in Los Angeles) Rome is compact and easily toured on foot so being centrally located IS a huge advantage ...

However, if you also plan on venturing outside the Centro Storico (and you should!) with visits to the Appian Way/Aqueduct Park/Catacombs, Tivoli and Ostia Antica then yes, this area is "large" and would require buses or trains.
True. While the main tour areas are the Vatican City and ancient Rome (Roman Forum, Pantheon, Fountains, etc), I think the other areas you mention (Catacombs, Tivoli) are certainly worth the tour. I certainly did the last time I was there years and years ago. I say Rome and vicinity area (Tivoli) are worth at least three full days for fast pace touring.


Can one stay in Rome and do the Pompeii trip in a day? I think we stayed in Pompeii area the last time, but can't quite remember.

Last edited by opus2002; Mar 2, 12 at 8:01 am..
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