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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:05 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Best SPG property value for the points @ Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, Pisa & Florence

I am a platinum with SPG & have 80000 SPG points. Already booked my trip to Italy in March end. We are staying for 10 nights. Although we may not spend enough time inside a hotel room, mainly I would like to spend my points usefully, that can save my $$$ Vs Euros. Includes my wife, my 3 year old daughter & myself. I don't want to stay at Intercontinental as they always costs more points.

More than the hotel room comfort, I am expecting your help to find me few properties that are
a. closer to the main attractions
b. able to reach through metros/buses (we are going to travel in the train and not rent a car) even at night time
c. safe
d. convinience.

I would like to know few properties in Italian cities. We are planning to visit Rome & Vatican City (4 days), Milan (2 days), Venice (2 days), Naples, Pisa, Florence (1 day each).

Since 80000 points is not a lot, I would really need your help to redeem the points wisely at a good locations.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:28 pm   #2
 
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A few random thoughts:

* - Wow, that's a very ambitious itinerary with a 3-year-old. In your shoes, I would probably only do two or three cities at most.

* - Booking C&P, where available, will save the most points. But do so quickly, as category changes are coming as early as Feb. If you already hold a reservation, you pay the old rate. If a property's category falls, you can rebook at the lower rate.

* - Check with the hotels when booking to make sure you won't be charged extra for a third person in the room. I don't have a lot of experience with Italian Starwood properties, but I didn't have an issue with myself, wife and then nine-year-old at the Danieli and Westin Excelsior Florence. But that was way back in 2004.

* - The Danieli is about as central in Venice as you can get. However, I would opt for the Westin E&R instead since it is fewer points. Both hotels are situated very well.

* - The Westin Excelsior in Florence is my favorite European Starwood. Not quite as close to everything as the two Venetian SPG properties list above, it is still right on the Arno and a 5-8 minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio. If you have your heart set on visiting Pisa, I would probably also consider that a day trip from Florence and stay here two nights.

* - I would skip Naples. If you want to stay in the area, you're better off staying at a smaller non-SPG property in Sorrento or even in one of the Amalfi Coast towns.

* - I'd probably skip Milan too with a child, but that's just me.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:40 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_tigre View Post
A few random thoughts:

* - Wow, that's a very ambitious itinerary with a 3-year-old. In your shoes, I would probably only do two or three cities at most.

* - Booking C&P, where available, will save the most points. But do so quickly, as category changes are coming as early as Feb. If you already hold a reservation, you pay the old rate. If a property's category falls, you can rebook at the lower rate.

* - Check with the hotels when booking to make sure you won't be charged extra for a third person in the room. I don't have a lot of experience with Italian Starwood properties, but I didn't have an issue with myself, wife and then nine-year-old at the Danieli and Westin Excelsior Florence. But that was way back in 2004.

* - The Danieli is about as central in Venice as you can get. However, I would opt for the Westin E&R instead since it is fewer points. Both hotels are situated very well.

* - The Westin Excelsior in Florence is my favorite European Starwood. Not quite as close to everything as the two Venetian SPG properties list above, it is still right on the Arno and a 5-8 minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio. If you have your heart set on visiting Pisa, I would probably also consider that a day trip from Florence and stay here two nights.

* - I would skip Naples. If you want to stay in the area, you're better off staying at a smaller non-SPG property in Sorrento or even in one of the Amalfi Coast towns.

* - I'd probably skip Milan too with a child, but that's just me.
Thanks a lot. But we fly to Milan. Naples - yeah you have a point. Probably will drop out Naples. Guess Pisa and Florence can be combined for 2 days.

Thanks for mentioning the changes, I didn't know. Probably Westin @ Venice would be the best bet in Venice I guess. But there is a Sheraton outside Venice, any suggestions on that property?

How about Rome? great properties there?
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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:40 pm   #4
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Wow....all that with a child. My parents traveled a lot with me, too, when I was a kid .... but now that I'm approaching 50, I'd never have the nerves to handle that.

We were in Florence this past fall. I'm not sure the exact dates, but we were told that the Westin Excelsior was closing for renovations this winter/spring and would re-open as a St. Regis afterwards.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel .... just across the street from the Westin, and both are excellently located for sightseeing in that city.

It's been several years since I have stayed in the other cities, and will let someone else with more recent experiences make recommendations there.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:50 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by kevinsac View Post
Wow....all that with a child. My parents traveled a lot with me, too, when I was a kid .... but now that I'm approaching 50, I'd never have the nerves to handle that.

We were in Florence this past fall. I'm not sure the exact dates, but we were told that the Westin Excelsior was closing for renovations this winter/spring and would re-open as a St. Regis afterwards.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel .... just across the street from the Westin, and both are excellently located for sightseeing in that city.

It's been several years since I have stayed in the other cities, and will let someone else with more recent experiences make recommendations there.
The Grand was the Hotel that closed and will reopen as a St Regis, but location wise they are across from each other in the same square
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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:52 pm   #6
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In Rome, I'd definitely say the Excelsior because it's only a Cat 5 (the other choices are Cat 6).
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Old Jan 26, 11, 1:11 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
In Rome, I'd definitely say the Excelsior because it's only a Cat 5 (the other choices are Cat 6).
I agree, although I've stayed at the St. Regis 4 months ago in my honeymoon and what can I say? I'm speechless with that hotel. It's a St. Regis after all.

On the other hand for Venice I've stayed at the Gritti and they gave us the biggest suite around (Grand Canal Suite). But on points I would go for the Westin as it's Catagory 5 hotel.

For the others I can't comment since I have never been there.

Hope you have a good time.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 1:30 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kay_jay View Post
I am a platinum with SPG & have 80000 SPG points. Already booked my trip to Italy in March end. We are staying for 10 nights. Although we may not spend enough time inside a hotel room, mainly I would like to spend my points usefully, that can save my $$$ Vs Euros. Includes my wife, my 3 year old daughter & myself. I don't want to stay at Intercontinental as they always costs more points.

More than the hotel room comfort, I am expecting your help to find me few properties that are
a. closer to the main attractions
b. able to reach through metros/buses (we are going to travel in the train and not rent a car) even at night time
c. safe
d. convinience.

I would like to know few properties in Italian cities. We are planning to visit Rome & Vatican City (4 days), Milan (2 days), Venice (2 days), Naples, Pisa, Florence (1 day each).

Since 80000 points is not a lot, I would really need your help to redeem the points wisely at a good locations.
This, along with the master threads, may be of help
Help needed: Booking SPG points stays in Italy
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Old Jan 26, 11, 1:55 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KENNECTED View Post
This, along with the master threads, may be of help
Help needed: Booking SPG points stays in Italy
Actually, KENNECTED brought up a good point I forgot in my initial post, each Italian property has extensive threads devoted to them. If you go to the sticky at the top of the page, they are organized very well for your viewing enjoyment - or just click here.

In Venice, one reason I might choose the Danieli anyways despite the extra points is that there is a little playground at the very Southeast corner of the city. From the Danieli, start out on Riva degli Schiavoni and walk about 15 minutes with the lagoon on your right. The playground was full of graffiti and I remember thinking much of the equipment would be deemed unsafe in the U.S., but seemingly all the Venetian children gathered here every afternoon and was a great way for our son to interact and get to know local kids.

I wouldn't stay in the Sheraton outside the city. All three proprties in Venice proper are stars in the system and right in the middle of the action. If your 3-year-old needs downtime, your commute back to your room will be much easier by stayig in the city.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 2:10 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
In Rome, I'd definitely say the Excelsior because it's only a Cat 5 (the other choices are Cat 6).

Thanks.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 2:12 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KENNECTED View Post
This, along with the master threads, may be of help
Help needed: Booking SPG points stays in Italy
Thanks, will check them.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 2:13 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinsac View Post
Wow....all that with a child. My parents traveled a lot with me, too, when I was a kid .... but now that I'm approaching 50, I'd never have the nerves to handle that.

We were in Florence this past fall. I'm not sure the exact dates, but we were told that the Westin Excelsior was closing for renovations this winter/spring and would re-open as a St. Regis afterwards.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel .... just across the street from the Westin, and both are excellently located for sightseeing in that city.

It's been several years since I have stayed in the other cities, and will let someone else with more recent experiences make recommendations there.

Thanks. Yeah I know, but my 3 year old loves travel and making friends everywhere.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 2:51 pm   #13
 
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Do you fly back out of Milan? If you drop Milan to just 1 night and add a night in Rome, then you could do a Fifth Night Free award in Rome.

You should also read through some threads over in FT's Italy forum. There are a number of other threads with similarly aggressive itineraries.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 5:40 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by sc flier View Post
Do you fly back out of Milan? If you drop Milan to just 1 night and add a night in Rome, then you could do a Fifth Night Free award in Rome.

You should also read through some threads over in FT's Italy forum. There are a number of other threads with similarly aggressive itineraries.
Very tempting but my wife have been to Rome & Vatican before and at Milan we want to see 'The Last Supper'. Also try to go to Alps for a day.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 5:56 pm   #15
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Just got back from Italy, and spent a couple of nights at the Excelsior in Florence. Terrific hotel, great location. No need to stay overnight in Pisa, easily reachable from Florence. Stay in Florence an extra night. (I also echo skipping Naples, and adding that day somewhere else -- I myself would add it to Florence, and either spend it there, or easy trip to Siena or Lucca).

This thread will show you the exact room we stayed at in Florence at the Excelsior.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/starw...er-thread.html

And we stayed at the E&R in Venice a couple years ago.

Our Grand Canal view room at the E&R and our Arno River room with balcony at the Excelsior in Florence are two of the best hotel experiences we have ever had. Highly recommend both of them.
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