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Looking for help choosing hotels in Rome/Florence/Venice

Looking for help choosing hotels in Rome/Florence/Venice

Old Jul 2, 15, 8:48 am
  #31  
 
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We booked with David O, a deluxe king and received the upgrade to the suite......along with nightly glass of champagne and oysters^
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Old Jul 2, 15, 6:53 pm
  #32  
 
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When I was in Venice last year, I stayed in Aman, Cipriani and Balglioni and the latter was my favourite in terms of service and warmth.
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Old Jul 6, 15, 3:55 am
  #33  
 
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Venice - There are two Bauers in Venice. We enjoyed the Bauer Palazzo & Spa on Guidecca, sister to the Bauer l'Hotel. The Bauer on Guidecca is bang next to the Cipriani and is an old Nunnery with a beautiful garden (no pool, sadly). Lovely walks outside along the Guidecca seafront and lots of restaurants. There is a regular shuttle to the more central Bauer, so no feeling of being cut off but it is a whole lot more peaceful than central Venice. However if you don't like peace and quiet it may not be for you. It does also come in cheaper than most other Venice 5-stars - especially if you book via something like last minute.com. We got a great deal when it popped up there as a 'secret' hotel. If a pool is important to you, try the Hilton or fork out big bucks for Cipriani.

For something a little cheaper, the Academia Villa Maravege is a lovely little hotel, central and with a pretty garden.

Hilton, also on Guidecca has a rooftop swimming pool and great views and enormous buffet breakfasts, but we weren't too impressed with the rest of it. I also posted on Tripadviser a few years back about it. It is pretty reasonably priced for Venice, however.

In Venice make sure you get the 24 or 48 hour pass which enables you to hop on and off the water busses as much as you want.

Florence - if its your first trip to Italy why not try something more traditional such as Torre Guelfa or Antica Torre Torrebuoni? Both are medieval watch towers near the river right in the centre with great views from the roof terraces. Only 3-4 star, but we stayed at the Guelfa and found it charming and quirky.

Rome - Hassler has a great location but is pricey. I would choose a hotel closest to the areas of interest to me For me the nicest part of Rome is Piazza Navona and Piazza dei Fiori, both are walkable to the main sights such as the Colosseum and are near the Trastevere - the students/artists quarter. Beware of tourist trap restaurants in the latter!
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Old Jul 6, 15, 4:00 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by gypsyjaney View Post
but is pricey.
That´s sadly mostly the case with hotels mentioned here
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Old Jul 6, 15, 5:06 am
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
That´s sadly mostly the case with hotels mentioned here
Alas yes! Hence my attempt to include a few cheaper options!
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Old Jul 6, 15, 5:52 am
  #36  
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Originally Posted by gypsyjaney View Post
Alas yes! Hence my attempt to include a few cheaper options!
Indeed, sometimes that's not a bad idea at all. ^

We enjoyed our stay at the Gallery Hotel Art, it's part of the Lungarno Collection, the location and design, understated elegance, beautiful upgraded room, hands off / hands on service, our breakfasts and our dinner at Fusion in the hotel were all very enjoyable:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...nce-italy.html

There's no need to always associate "luxury" with a suite or the most expensive hotel in town.

IMHO, luxury is personal, it's an attitude, not simply a "sky high" number attached to something. ^

Last edited by uggboy; Jul 6, 15 at 6:12 am
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Old Jul 8, 15, 6:51 pm
  #37  
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Last year we had lunch at a relatively new hotel http://www.slh.com/hotels/centurion-palace-hotel/
I asked for a tour. Rooms are beautiful. Hotel practically next to Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Same views of Grand Canal as Gritti or Bauer. I would stay there in a heartbeat if considering a 5* hotel. The Front Desk people were so friendly. I said nothing about FT, just that I was a frequent visitor to Venice. They could not have been more welcoming. To those who may question why I am not staying there--- a good friend manages a beautiful, newly renovated 4*hotel in Castello. We will be treated as family and have a gorgeous suite. No restaurant which is why it is not a 5* hotel.
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Old Jul 8, 15, 8:39 pm
  #38  
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Centurion Palace is represented by a company called Celebrated Italy which offers "Celebrated Perks" with its bookings. (Celebrated does not sell directly to the public). They describe Centurion Palace as a "palace hotel" having "a gothic façade and modern décor" with grand canal views.
Celebrated Perk: Complimentary three-course lunch or dinner per person (excluding beverages) with a three-night minimum stay, breakfast included


Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
Last year we had lunch at a relatively new hotel http://www.slh.com/hotels/centurion-palace-hotel/
I asked for a tour. Rooms are beautiful. Hotel practically next to Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Same views of Grand Canal as Gritti or Bauer. I would stay there in a heartbeat if considering a 5* hotel. The Front Desk people were so friendly. I said nothing about FT, just that I was a frequent visitor to Venice. They could not have been more welcoming. To those who may question why I am not staying there--- a good friend manages a beautiful, newly renovated 4*hotel in Castello. We will be treated as family and have a gorgeous suite. No restaurant which is why it is not a 5* hotel.
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Old Jul 8, 15, 9:57 pm
  #39  
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
Centurion Palace is represented by a company called Celebrated Italy which offers "Celebrated Perks" with its bookings. (Celebrated does not sell directly to the public). They describe Centurion Palace as a "palace hotel" having "a gothic façade and modern décor" with grand canal views.
Celebrated Perk: Complimentary three-course lunch or dinner per person (excluding beverages) with a three-night minimum stay, breakfast included
Perhaps the description did not translate well. The Grand Canal Views equal those of the Gritti. Reception was warmer than the Gritti (probably worth noting that I have stayed at the Gritti about a dozen times as I have been going to VCE every year for many years). In fact, the view of the Canal is equal to that of the Aman.
If, indeed, they are offering a three course meal than that is worth considering. My husband and I dined on the terrace in late October and thought the food was absolutely outstanding. It was a beautiful day so we dined on the terrace. We did see the dining room and it was also lovely. Although modern, it does have some very Venetian touches and the location is great. I would be interested in hearing a review of this hotel from a Virtuoso member of this forum.
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Old Sep 11, 15, 5:22 am
  #40  
 
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Italy in the Fall

I just figured I would bump this thread to ask a related question. If I want to take a long trip to Italy in late September ~ October, do you think I might be okay just booking hotels as I go instead of pre-planning? I would like flexibility and to have the freedom of not knowing where I might go next until I decide.

Possible advantages are: Trying new and unexpected things, not having the headache of pre-planning every detail, and the potential for last minute deals or negotiation at hotels.

The disadvantage of course is the risk of not getting a first choice hotel or room/suite category, or having to pay a premium due to high occpancy if booking at last minute.

Do you think it is ever advisable to travel without advance reservations in Europe? Or, is the best solution to have flexible reservations and cancel/amend as necessary? Even in that case it can be stressful to have to change reservations before cancellation deadlines...
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Old Sep 11, 15, 11:23 am
  #41  
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
I just figured I would bump this thread to ask a related question. If I want to take a long trip to Italy in late September ~ October, do you think I might be okay just booking hotels as I go instead of pre-planning? I would like flexibility and to have the freedom of not knowing where I might go next until I decide.

Do you think it is ever advisable to travel without advance reservations in Europe? Or, is the best solution to have flexible reservations and cancel/amend as necessary? Even in that case it can be stressful to have to change reservations before cancellation deadlines...
Some rates and places can be cancelled 24 hours before. I'd rather have something in place and change as I go rather than just wing it.
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Old Sep 11, 15, 12:12 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by Aventine View Post
Some rates and places can be cancelled 24 hours before. I'd rather have something in place and change as I go rather than just wing it.
Right, I think that makes sense. I should probably reserve whatever I know I want in advance, but just for fun I might leave a week or so open and see what I decide to do at the last minute. Maybe the concierge or management at FS Milan or other hotels can suggest something to book that I might not have even thought of on my own.

Maybe I should also have a look at R&C properties.
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Old Sep 14, 15, 10:23 am
  #43  
 
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Wink

Originally Posted by gypsyjaney View Post
Venice - There are two Bauers in Venice. We enjoyed the Bauer Palazzo & Spa on Guidecca, sister to the Bauer l'Hotel. The Bauer on Guidecca is bang next to the Cipriani and is an old Nunnery with a beautiful garden (no pool, sadly). Lovely walks outside along the Guidecca seafront and lots of restaurants. There is a regular shuttle to the more central Bauer, so no feeling of being cut off but it is a whole lot more peaceful than central Venice. However if you don't like peace and quiet it may not be for you. It does also come in cheaper than most other Venice 5-stars - especially if you book via something like last minute.com. We got a great deal when it popped up there as a 'secret' hotel. If a pool is important to you, try the Hilton or fork out big bucks for Cipriani.

For something a little cheaper, the Academia Villa Maravege is a lovely little hotel, central and with a pretty garden.

Hilton, also on Guidecca has a rooftop swimming pool and great views and enormous buffet breakfasts, but we weren't too impressed with the rest of it. I also posted on Tripadviser a few years back about it. It is pretty reasonably priced for Venice, however.

In Venice make sure you get the 24 or 48 hour pass which enables you to hop on and off the water busses as much as you want.

Florence - if its your first trip to Italy why not try something more traditional such as Torre Guelfa or Antica Torre Torrebuoni? Both are medieval watch towers near the river right in the centre with great views from the roof terraces. Only 3-4 star, but we stayed at the Guelfa and found it charming and quirky.

Rome - Hassler has a great location but is pricey. I would choose a hotel closest to the areas of interest to me For me the nicest part of Rome is Piazza Navona and Piazza dei Fiori, both are walkable to the main sights such as the Colosseum and are near the Trastevere - the students/artists quarter. Beware of tourist trap restaurants in the latter!

My choice in Venice would be Hilton.

Reasons.

1) Rooftop swimming pool, you can not beat that ( it has to be one of the most amazing views you can get from hotel swimming pools).
2) Size, most other hotels in Venice are quite small ( I like big hotels).
3) Location, although this can also be downside in case of Hilton I like the fact that it is located in Giudecca and not in Venice. You are few minutes from San Marco and not overcrowded with tourists.

Downside is obviously the fact that it is on Giudecca so you are not right in the city center.

This is a good overview of other 5 star hotels in Venice.
http://www.traveltovenezia.com/venic...els-in-venice/

Number 2 option for me would be Danieli, just to be able to brag that I was there.

Rome.

My recommendation is Majestic http://www.hotelmajestic.com/

Simply amazing.

Florence,

Unfortunately I have no idea, I always stayed in countriside while in Tuscany.
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Old Oct 18, 15, 11:13 am
  #44  
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OP here. Back from my trip to Italy and thought I would check in with where we stayed.

We were trying to save a few euros, so pulled the lodging decisions back a tad until we reached Venice, where we splurged. Not that we didn't stay in nice places - just pulled back a couple of hundred euros a night.

This is the first trip we have made under Virtuoso where we felt that it really made a difference in our experience. I never know for sure, but it seemed to me that we had an upgrade or two.

Rome: Originally wanted to stay at the de Russie; booked instead at Westin Excelsior
We had a very spacious and very quiet room with a balcony. The hotel in general has a look of genteel shabbiness about it but our room was not at all shabby and the bathroom had every modern touch. We spent six nights here so we were grateful for the large room. Breakfast included and was just terrific - the Doney's cafe was so cheerful and the breakfast buffet was sumptuous. Water pressure and shower temperature a little glitchy; reminded us we were staying in a "venerable" hotel.

Tuscany: Castiglion del Bosco
This was our travel agent's suggestion and it was a dream destination, although it would have been a nightmare to find it if we had been driving ourselves. Weather was slightly inclement and too late in the season to sit by the pool or have a cocktail outside, but our room was so gorgeous there was no reason to leave it. This place is so luxe and every single design detail is a revelation. Nice meals at the casual restaurant, although since they feature their own wines almost exclusively the wine list was a bit limited.

Florence: Originally wanted to stay at The Four Seasons; booked at Portrait Suites
I know I would have loved the accommodations at FS but the location of Portrait right by the Ponte Vecchio kind of made up for the austerity of the room at Portrait. Furnishings are modern and clever but reminded me just a bit of "first apartment" chic. Maybe it was because we were coming from the over-the-top luxury of Castiglion del Bosco. (Both are Ferragamo properties, btw.) The service at Portrait was so incredibly attentive and earnest - one of the staff told me no one on the team is over 29 years old and they are all so energetic and dedicated to providing a great stay for their patrons. We were truly touched by their efforts. Breakfast buffet (included due to Virtuoso) at the adjacent cafe was the best we experienced anywhere and that's saying a lot because they were all terrific. I just added some photos of our breakfast spread at Portrait Firenze here: https://polloplayer.wordpress.com/20...s-of-florence/

Bologna - Hotel Majestic Gia Baglioni
We were upgraded here (Virtuoso) to a beautiful junior suite. Yards and yards of beautiful fabric over the bed and framing the windows. We felt royal! Just a beautiful room and again, the service was so personalized. I don't know what the other hotel options are in Bologna but I can't imagine staying anywhere but here if I return. More detail on our stay in Bologna here: https://polloplayer.wordpress.com/20...es-in-bologna/

Venice - splurged here at the Gritti Palace where we were upgraded to a Canal-view room. I could have stared at the furnishings and out the window for our entire stay and, actually, thanks to Acqua Alta, spent more time doing that than originally planned. I read that they re-did the Gritti in 2013 and wow, kudos to whomever oversaw the room decor. Perfection. A great way to end the trip. Pix of our room here: https://polloplayer.wordpress.com/20...pth-in-venice/

Last edited by ejong; Feb 20, 16 at 1:52 pm Reason: adding content
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Old Oct 18, 15, 10:13 pm
  #45  
 
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Great update OP. We are heading to Florence and Bologna soon and narrowing out hotel choices. This info is helpful.
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