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Apartments (via airbnb) or Hotels / B&Bs in Italy

Apartments (via airbnb) or Hotels / B&Bs in Italy

Mar 30th, 2015, 02:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 110
Apartments (via airbnb) or Hotels / B&Bs in Italy

We are visting Italy - Florence, Venice, Amalfi coast and Rome in the first 2 weeks of June. We have always stayed in boutique hotels or in B&Bs during our travel. 5 star hotels as and when we have collected enough starwood points! But never in an apartment.
This weekend research resulted in nicely done-up apartments in central parts of the city. Most of them have beautiful photos. Most are cheaper than hotel options in comparable locations.
But having never booked an apartment, I am a bit nervous. It shouldnt happen that we find a not clean place, cmpletely distant from the promise shown on the webpage. Also I cant cook to save my life and wouldnt want to anyway on a holiday. So we wont be making use of the kitchen apart from opening a milk carton perhaps for my 4 year old daughter.

I would appreciate responses from people who have had either good or bad experiences with apatments in italy (specifically in the 3 cities and amalfi coast mentioned above)
shwets is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 02:42 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
We always stay In apartments if we are staying for a week.

You are going too many places in two weeks to make an apartment worthwhile for me.

An apartment is neither more nor less likely than a hotel to delight or disappoint.

I used to have to stay in ***** hotels for work and can't imagine it as a leisure traveler. The surcharges and the hands always stretched out for tips were something I have gladly managed to avoid since then with no reduction in comfort.
Ackislander is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 02:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 33,566
I appreciate your concern and allow me to say that good and bad "experiences" in apartments and in hotels are hardly exclusive to Italy.

If what you are REALLY asking is for some sort of first-hand recommendation for some specific property in these three places then perhaps you should say that.

I would be interested in knowing why you have decided TO RENT an apartment at all? I assume because of the cost.

I can tell you first-hand that DESPITE glowing recommendations from other users we had a less-than-ideal experience with an apartment rental: the oven didn't work and during the stay that stove was replaced and when it was you were unable to open the washing machine door!

All of this in a place owned and rented out by some woman whom everyone raved about, how great and friendly she is and blah blah blah.

So beware and be very VERY wise when you read reviews and see pictures, etc., and good luck to you. Apartments have advantages even if you aren't cooking IMO.
Dukey1 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 02:47 AM
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I am sorry but I DISAGREE with Ackislander's rather outrageous IMO assessment of upper end hotels where "everybody's hand is out for a tip." That has not been my own experience and if it happened I can assure you that I would be writing a complaint and not staying in the future.
Dukey1 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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We have very good luck with apartment rentals, but I would say, even with extensive research, in can be a matter of luck.

I have chosen apartments when they made sense for me: we were staying more than a few days and had the time to spare in case check in did not go smoothly, it was cheaper than looking for two rooms to accommodate a family of four, I actually wanted to shop in the local markets to cook,etc. Also, with teens it can be nice to have extra space.

From what you have described, I don't think apartments would be a better choice for your vacation.

People here can recommend moderately priced hotels and B&Bs that might have the right bed options for you. In Amalfi, your daughter might enjoy a hotel with pool.
mama_mia is online now  
Mar 30th, 2015, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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With a bit of research you can usually find reviews for apartments and for the rental agencies. You say you have already seen some apartments you like. If you put up links to them people can help you more easily with your concerns.

I have rented many apartments all over Italy and I can't recall every having any real disappointments.

Also, there is a website called Slow Travel that is mainly about people who rent apartments when they travel in Europe. They have a message forum for Italy where many people discuss apartment rentals, in particular for Venice and Rome, but also for Florence and the Amalfi coast. There are lots of reviews of apartments on that website as well.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 05:43 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Florence -

Perfect location, just a few short blocks from The Duomo. Lovely owner, clean apartment. Everything you could ask for and more!
Stayed there in April 2014. Great owner, Roberta, was easy to work with. Tons of great reviews.

DebitNM is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 198
We prefer apartments when we travel because we like to have room to spread out in when we our done with our sightseeing for the day. We also prefer to have most of our dinners in our apartment and eat out for lunch. It's a big money saver and the cooking part can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. When we were in Italy 4 years ago many of our dinners consisted of things we had picked up that day on our way back to our apartment, salamis, cheeses, bread, pasta, fresh sauces or seasonings....etc. It's also nice to get up and be able to make a cup of espresso while you are getting ready for the day, maybe have a yogurt or a scrambled egg, though we do enjoy stopping for caffe and biscuit once we are out the door.

That being said, we rented apartments in Italy the last time around, Venice, Florence, Monticiello, Rome. All but one of them were far nicer than we ever expected. Like jaw dropping gorgeous inside, great locations, comfortable, quiet, clean, safe....everything you could wish for. Only the Rome apartment was a slight disappointment. Great location, very nicely furnished, but there was a sewer problem and we had to keep one of the bathroom doors closed all the time, and the pipes would wake us up whenever the people in the other apartment used the water during the night. But on the whole it was all a great experience and I understand plumbing issues in very old buildings so I didn't even complain to the landlord. I get it. All of these apartments were rented from VRBO.

We are going back to Italy this fall, and have already booked apartments in Rapello, Florence, Rome and Milan. We had thought we would stay in a hotel in Milan because we are only there for 2 nights, but when we saw the price of hotel rooms, well we found a very nice apartment in a good location for about 1/3 the cost. We used airbnb for our bookings this time, they just had more to choose from then VRBO.

We look for as many reviews as possible when we are looking, we write to the owner and ask questions, even if we don't really have any major questions. The response time and tone of the owner is, I think, important when renting. If they can't take the time to answer questions from potential renters, or if their answers are not adequate they get crossed of the list.

We have rented apartments all over the US too, and we have never had a truly bad experience. Occasionally something isn't perfect, but what is? And I've stayed in a lot of hotels through the years too, and we have had more unpleasant hotel stays then apartment stays, mainly due to cleaning and noise issues in hotels.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
Cpelk is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 07:27 AM
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We stayed t this apartment just off Piazza Navona in Rome last June and were extremely happy with it, I plan on booking it again for our trip in May 2016. Check it out.

geetika is online now  
Mar 30th, 2015, 08:27 AM
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Sandralist - this one in Florence seems really good:


Dukey1 - reason to consider apartment besides cost is the space. European hotel rooms in general are smaller. I thought my daughter might be happier with the additional space.

Cpelk - your thoughts on response time and tone are so valid. Pone of the reasons this Florence apartment seems nice is because the landlady responded so quickly about the cotbed for my baby, additional cleaning fee, taxi from the station etc.
I am going to take the plunge in Florence and Rome. Stick to a hotel in Venice and amalfi most likely.
shwets is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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I rent apartments fairly often when traveling, especially when traveling with extended family, which I do regularly. If I'm going to one place for an extended period, I prefer an apartment, because the extra effort involved in finding and setting up an apartment is amortized over the longer period, and because for a stay of a week, a hotel room can get a bit confining.

Aside from these situations, I really prefer a hotel. It takes a lot longer to do the research that's needed to find a good apartment and a reliable agency. Arrival and departure is usually more complicated for an apartment than for a hotel. You often have to do some shopping for basics immediately. You don't have the services a front desk can provide. Very often, there are no cleaning services; I seem to be a lot more bothered by housecleaning issues than my other extended family members. At home I have a housekeeper, and I'm not enthusiastic about going on vacation to clean the bathroom and make the beds.

Finally, I don't like to stay in non-serviced apartments in a country where I don't speak the language, and I would never stay in an apartment without a phone that could be used locally.

I've never really had a bad experience with an apartment, although once I had one that really had several safety issues that would have been unthinkable in a hotel. We were traveling with a toddler that time, and there were electrical outlets that were sticking out of the wall, with wires dangling, and a window that had a low sill and no protection to prevent a child from climbing up and tumbling to a cement courtyard several floors below.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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I always rent an apartment when I visit Positano each year and would likely not go back to staying in a hotel. The rental price is usually cheaper, I save money on food as I can stay in for lunch or dinner if I feel like it and I can usually wash clothes in the washing machine, which makes it easier to pack lighter.

But if you are traveling to the Amalfi Coast this June, you should really book ASAP. Many of the better places have been booked for months.
ekc is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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That apartment looks quite nice, has sufficient positive reviews for me and I prefer that location in Florence, across the Arno, although if you are arriving by train, simplest thing to do is take a taxi to the hotel. There is a nice wine bar near that apartment, Pitti Gola e Cantina, and a highly regarded old fashioned Florentine trattoria, Alla Vecchia Bettola. Don't know what time of year you are traveling, but if you need air conditioning, you need to double check it's there. Otherwise, you will need to open windown in hot weather, and it is not just the noise, but the mosquitoes that can be a problem.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 224
We can highly recommend the B&B Armonio All' Opera in Roma on Via dei Viminale. We have stayed there a number of times since 2009 and the young owner, Paolo, is most accommodating. It is located across the street from the Roma Opera House. Stazione Termini is a 10 minute walk and the Metro in Piazza Republic is a 5 minute walk. The property is highly rated on all of the hotel booking websites as well as TripAdvisor.

Buon viaggio,
rbciao47 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 01:39 AM
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sandralist - booked the apartment last night. For 4 of us, (my brother in law is joining us from london for that weekend and my daughter), seems nice. Lets see how this experience goes.
We are here from 29th may - 31st may. It doesnt have air conditioning. It wont be hot for us, but I forgot that unlike India, european homes may not have ceiling fans.

For Rome, this is my shortlist -
(the hotel is very expensive, but we would get 4th night free with amex, hence under consideration)

ekc - I know we are really late for AC
you have got me even more hyper now. I will get down to research tonight.

For Venice, I am veering towards Hotel Danieli even though its exepensive. Apartment research didnt result in too amazing apartments and I am not too sure about how the upkeep would be in really old buildings.
shwets is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 02:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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The real issue may be mosquitoes if you try to leave the windows open at night. You might want to communicate with the landlord about that. Most windows in Italy don't have screens. Some landlords provide mosquito netting. Others have anti-mosquito devices in the apartments.

Rome apartment looks nice. Don't know the hotel. My favorite agency for rentals in Rome is Rome Loft if you want more options.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 02:46 AM
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sandralist - thanks a ton for your quick responses. I checked with the apartment owner, (and she responded very quickly as well) she said there are fans in all rooms and mosquito screens on all windows. should be fine for us.
shwets is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 02:57 AM
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bvlenci - your points are quite valid.
i get bothered about cleaning as well. And having never ever have to do room / bathroom cleaning myself at home, I think it might spoil the holiday if I find dusty cupboards, dusty rugs, non-functional plug points and noone to attend to issues.
Fingers crossed for florence apartment. Doing my research for other 3 places.
shwets is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 04:58 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Did you seem my suggestion for Florence apartment, linked above? I think you will be hard pressed to find a nicer apartment at any price and this one is really very reasonably priced and well located and is super clean and very well equipped. It also has air conditioning.

DebitNM is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 06:13 AM
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DebitNM - thanks for the suggestion. But I have already booked the Florence leg with the apartment I had short listed earlier.
shwets is offline  

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