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Anniversary trip in Europe, September 2014

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Oct 8th, 2013, 03:33 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Mike
The husband and I did an anniversary trip a few years ago to Venice and Rome. We also wanted to stay in upscale hotels but the costs were a bit much for us. One thing we did (and I only recommend if your are the type to pay off in full every month) was get an American Express Starwood card. We were able to get bonus points upfront for signing up and did this more than a year before our trip so we were able to accrue 60,000 points which we then used at the Westin Excelsior in Rome at 20,000 points a night. At that time the hotel was around $450 USD per night then (we stayed five nights but only paid for 1 as I had earned a bonus free night from Sheraton through other travel). Unbelievably beautiful and luxurious hotel, and well worth the advanced planning with the credit card. Just a thought and again this is not a strategy for anyone who doesn't pay off the balance each month
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Oct 8th, 2013, 03:39 PM
  #22
 
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Oops - MARK not Mike - sorry about that!
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Oct 8th, 2013, 04:34 PM
  #23
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Thank you, happygirl73. Interesting idea about the card - I will look into that (yes, I pay off each month so it could be of interest). That's the good news. The less-than-good news is that this looks a bit out of our price range. I just did a quick search on their web site and the "low end" room (smallest) came up at $760 per night. Yikes!! Thanks for the pointer, though.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 09:09 AM
  #24
 
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In terms of balancing the costs you might consider the opposite of what you stated above and go for a more modest (but still lovely) hotel in Rome (where the sights, restaurants, cultural activities, etc. will keep you out and busy all day so that the amenitites of the hotel will be less used) and more in Lake Como or Tuscany where the leisure time at the hotel is more part of the overall experience.

You may also be able to benefit that a big city hotel can often be more expensive than a country hotel for the same amenities (so spending more in the country can get you more than spending more in the city).

Only you can evaluate, however.
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Oct 9th, 2013, 11:52 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you are still interested in Lake Como, I have stayed at Serbelloni. The best way I can describe my experience at this hotel was that this was a kind of hotel you would see in James Bond movies. The concierges seem to know the clients by name and the clients and the hotel staffs seem to know what clients expect. So I when I posed touristy question like ferry boat and villa info, I felt as if the guests here don't do these kind of things and don't bother the concierges with this kind of matters. Others would probably had different experiences here. The premise and the food were top notch and the staffs were competent. However, I was not Roger Moore or Sean Connery, and I did not feel I belonged there.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 01:59 PM
  #26
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Thanks for the comments. Nickn - good feedback. I must admit I want to end the trip on something really, really special and I'm willing to spend a little more on that part of the trip. But your comments are indeed a bit of a turnoff for me, re. Serbelloni. It looks like a beautiful place but I also want to feel relaxed and welcomed, without any pretentious characteristics. I'm pretty sure Lake Como will be the final destination but it could be that Serbelloni isn't the righ place for us after all.

Thanks again.

Mark
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Oct 10th, 2013, 04:57 PM
  #27
 
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My wife and I stayed at Serbelloni. Love it. And I'm not James Bond. We felt the staff just couldn't do enough to be helpful. We went out to have drinks and snacks by the pool after a long day out on the first day, 2 days later we did the same thing, different waitress, she asked if we wanted the same thing. We said yes, and we got the same things right. Yes, they looked in the old ticket, but things like that I think are waht you're looking for when you described what you want in your trip from a top notch hotel. We were there for our anniversary too, and amongst other celebratory welcome things, there were beautiful fresh flowers, which swooned my wife.
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Oct 11th, 2013, 06:22 AM
  #28
 
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I would not go to Rome and even think about staying out of the historic center. You would waste too much time traveling to and from and a car is useless since you aren't allowed to drive in the center (restricted zones - ZTL).

There are quite a few nice hotels in the Spanish Steps area or Via Veneto. Your budget is very low for that type of hotel in Rome. $300 is only 220€.

If you want to be a bit more central, take a look at the Raphael, but it might not be in your price range either.

http://www.raphaelhotel.com/index.htm
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Oct 11th, 2013, 09:32 AM
  #29
 
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I can fully support Greg's and StCirq's comments. There is a lot of confusion about how much you spend and the benefits you receive. Given that September is shoulder season in Tuscany careful selection of facilities and meals rather than spending lots of money. Venice is a place you have to splash out more for a romantic visit, while Como does not need a lot of money for rooms.

So excluding Venice focus on well placed 3star or fewer hotels or B&Bs in the best areas.

The three hotels identified left me underwhelmed.
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Oct 11th, 2013, 11:26 AM
  #30
 
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For a romantic trip, Venice trumps Roma, in my opinion. Venice is one of the most romantic places I've ever been. Roma is not.

Didn't see any mention of tripadvisor.com in the above thread, but I've come to start with that site when looking for lodging as it rates hotels by popularity and satisfaction among travellers. When I've found one, I then go to Booking.com because that site also has traveler feedback and in addition you can see prices. Its prices are generally pretty competitive and it doesn't charge a fee.

On Booking.com, you can expand and move the map once you've found a particular hotel to find others that may fit in more with your plans.
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