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Family of 3 travelling Europe - what type of lodging?

Old Feb 8th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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Family of 3 travelling Europe - what type of lodging?

My two kids and I (12 & 13) will be spending 4 nights in Rome and 4 night in Paris this summer. They are relatively used to travelling, but are used to American, family friendly hotels only. I'd prefer not to stay on the outskirts of Rome and Paris rather in the middle of the "action." Would you recommend trying to rent an apartment or stay in hotels? Would love recommendations for either.

Thanks
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 03:39 PM
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I think for 3 of you an apartment might be a logical way to proceed. Many owners and agencies require a week's stay but there are many on AirBnB that do not. I've used the site very successfully in the US and in Paris and friends have booked apartments all over Europe.

www.airbnb.com

Others here have their favorites and I'm sure you'll have lots of suggestions before long.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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I agree with an apartment as you'll have more space than in a hotel room, laundry facilities, refrigerator for snacks.

Perhaps you could describe what "family friendly" hotel means and people would get a better idea of what you want or will accept. Vending/ice machines? I can't imagine hotels in Paris and Rome being unfriendly to families.

I agree with not staying on the outskirts and see no reason to do so. There are apartments and hotels for every budget(I imagine that cost is why you were thinking of the outlying parts of the cities?).

There are numerous threads and suggestions on apartments if you search on this board. You could always start with vrbo.com or sleepinitaly.com
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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There are lots of apartment rentals from different agencies, etc., that do not require an entire week. I have had good luck with vrbo.com. www.vrbo.com/58971 is a great place for 3-4 people, and although it's in the middle of a vibrant part of the 6th arr., it's very quiet b/c it opens onto a private courtyard.
IMO, an apartment is the only way to go with kids in Paris.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 04:59 PM
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These websites are great. After looking at some of the options available on these sites I think an apartment is definitely the way to go. By kid-friendly American hotel I meant one with quite a bit of space, typically a sitting area and refrigerators in the room and pool. I've certainly prepared them that there likely wouldn't be a pool, but also wanted to make sure they had some room to unwind without being on top of eachother. For these reasons, I think an apartment will be better. My only worry, is that there is comfort in numbers for me. That might sound a bit strange, but it's the only way we've travelled before. Maybe it would be helpful if I could get some recommendations of neighborhoods would help with my safety concerns.
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 05:05 PM
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Well I have used hotels with my kids and I like them, I am not doing laundry, making beds, cooking, washing towels on my vacation , but others are welcome to.. lol I do think apartments are good when you have kids though, but for me it would be for more then 4 days, I don't like prepaying for my accomadations really, apartments have horrible cancellation policies compared to hotels( the ones I book generally allow full refunds up to a few days ahead) and I like A/C in both Paris and Rome in summer, both places ( Rome especially ) can be very hot in summer and after a long day touring about I like a cool retreat.

Many hotels in fact all the ones I used, have mini fridges in the room, and I always stock them with juices, fruit , yougurts etc for snacks.

I agree stay central, commmuting to accomadation with kids is not fun after a full day, and its nice to be able to pop back to room for snack or rest before dinner etc.

In Rome we stayed at the Hotel Selene, which had triples, was near Termini, and had fridge and a/c .. clean and basic though so if you wish luxury you are out of my league, lol

In Paris I have rented an apartment( which I loved, but the agency I used doesn't do stays of less then 7 days) , and also usually stayed in hotels.. we stayed at the Hotel Diana this past summer, and we had the triple room, but it was a pull out bed and a queen bed so not sure your kids would be willing to share a bed with each other or you,, so you need a room with three beds right?
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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With your kids an apartment would be much better for space (most hotel rooms are very small unless you have a very large budget) but you will need to look carefully to find apts with AC and elevator versus stairs (which can be up to 5 flights).

When we traveled with our 2 teen/tween D's we would get a suite for ourselves with a LR plus a nearby double for them. This gives AC and hotel services plus enough room - but not sure it's within your budget.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 02:10 AM
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>

You would rent an apartment in the same areas as a hotel stay. I can't imagine anyone thinking that Paris is unsafe. It's much safer than a major US city (fewer people own guns). What exactly are your safety concerns? People live in the apartment buildings so there are other people around.

Paris - 4, 5, 6, or 7 arrondissement
Rome - near a major/fun square - campo dei fiore, piazza navonna
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 04:02 AM
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For four nights each city, and just you and the kids (no other adult) I would most certainly do hotels. Plenty of hotels have triple rooms. It's only four days each city - how much time are you going to spend in the room/apt anyway? If you are going for a week or more, have been before, want to have the ability to buy food and prepare meals - then it's worth the hassle of prepaying, having to arrange to get the key, not having a front desk if anything goes wrong, etc. But for four days and with kids I would do hotels.

In Paris try Hotel Marignan (http://www.hotel-marignan.com/) - they have some huge rooms, they have a little kitchen (and laundry) downstairs you can use, breakfast is included. No TV but unless your kids speak French and Italian they can't watch TV anyway. Hotel St Andre des Arts is another one I've stayed in with kids that have huge rooms (and breakfast is included there too). http://www.france-hotel-guide.com/en...e-des-arts.php They are in fantastic neighborhoods right in the middle of things (5th and 6th).

In Rome try Hotel Julia. http://www.hoteljulia.it/ They have an annex next to the main building that has I think three bedrooms around a little living area on each floor. So even if you were only taking one or two of the bedrooms, you can still make use of the living space if you need to spread out a bit. This one has AC, the two I mentioned in Paris I don't think do, but it's less of an issue in Paris than in Rome certainly.

I have stayed in all three of these hotels.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 04:03 AM
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For four nights each city, and just you and the kids (no other adult) I would most certainly do hotels. Plenty of hotels have triple rooms. It's only four days each city - how much time are you going to spend in the room/apt anyway? If you are going for a week or more, have been before, want to have the ability to buy food and prepare meals - then it's worth the hassle of prepaying, having to arrange to get the key, not having a front desk if anything goes wrong, etc. But for four days and with kids I would do hotels.

In Paris try Hotel Marignan (http://www.hotel-marignan.com/) - they have some huge rooms, they have a little kitchen (and laundry) downstairs you can use, breakfast is included. No TV but unless your kids speak French and Italian they can't watch TV anyway. Hotel St Andre des Arts is another one I've stayed in with kids that have huge rooms (and breakfast is included there too). http://www.france-hotel-guide.com/en...e-des-arts.php They are in fantastic neighborhoods right in the middle of things (5th and 6th).

In Rome try Hotel Julia. http://www.hoteljulia.it/ They have an annex next to the main building that has I think three bedrooms around a little living area on each floor. So even if you were only taking one or two of the bedrooms, you can still make use of the living space if you need to spread out a bit. This one has AC, the two I mentioned in Paris I don't think do, but it's less of an issue in Paris than in Rome certainly.

I have stayed in all three of these hotels.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 04:13 AM
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I so agree with Isabel--the kids can surely adjust for that length of time,and you will have the hotel desk to help you if need be. You aren't going to be IN the room that much.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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I so don't agree with Isabel. Having an apartment is not only a great pleasure it can also be a money saver if you shop around and find a deal. And there are many deals. It gives one an entirely different perspective and after having that experience I've found it difficult to return to staying in hotel rooms.

In Paris I prefer areas outside the central arrondissments mentioned above and they are also often less expensive and more welcoming, not being overrun with tourists. The 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and parts of the 18th, really most areas within the Peripherique, the road that encircles central Paris. Don't be afraid of looking in any of these. The metro and buses are everywhere. Use Google Streeview to "check out" the neighborhood. As has been mentioned Paris is very safe but naturally, for esthetic purposes, some neighborhoods are better than others. You might not want to stay on a street lined with mechanics and auto parts stores rather than bistros. Hence, Streeview.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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I probably agree with Isabel given the short stay. Trying to find and make arrangements, deposits, etc. for an apartment for just a short stay wouldn't be worth it to me. It's only 3 people, if it were 2 adults with kids I might feel differently. I don't get the obsession with pools for just a visit to a city rather than a resort vacation, anyway, but you certainly aren't going to get a pool with an apt, anyway. But if you must have more space than a hotel room (ie, the sitting area bit, which isn't really common in any US hotels I've been in unless you specifically book a suite), go with the apartment, I just think it's a lot more trouble. You are supposed to be mostly out seeing things, after all.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 09:15 AM
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I'd like to just say a few words about the impulse to travel as it seems to me to relate to arrondissments in Paris. At the heart of it, travel is an act of courage and stepping outside one's usual environment and so, by it's nature, uncomfortable to a lesser or greater degree. If I decide to stay in the tourist heart, generally the center of Paris, I'll have the comfort of Paris softened for visitors by waiters who all speak English, menus in 4 languages, t-shirt and totebag shops that tell my friends I've been there and higher priced hotels and apartments for the pleasure of a possibly inferior but less intimidating experience.

But if I decide to venture out of the center into a neighborhood where most of the population around me is French and I have to struggle on occasion to make myself understood, I may find that there's great pleasure in going past my initial fears. I'll likely find that people are kind and that I'm seeing the place more intensely, less cluttered by tourist claptrap. To me the choice is clear but I also know that many prefer the padding. An observation and encouragement, not a crticism.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 09:27 AM
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I'll chime in to say that even for 4 nights each in Rome and Paris, I'd go with the apartment if I could. We love our Tween and Teen and enjoy traveling with them a great deal (and they are very good travelers); at the end of a long day of sightseeing and "family togetherness," however, every one of us wants just a little bit of the privacy we can retreat to in an apartment. Eating out every night with Tweens and Teens in a hotel stay gets old, fast. Picking up a few items for a supper in the apartment when everyone is tired goes a long way with keeping travel spirits up.

At the end of the day, you know your children and what they can manage.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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We managed to do it for 3 weeks with 3 of 'em!! In hotels.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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"Trying to find and make arrangements, deposits, etc. for an apartment for just a short stay wouldn't be worth it to me."
Christina

Booking on AirBnB is very easy, done in your local currency, US dollars if it's that, no fees for changing currency and managed by the website until after your arrival. And other benefits. The site is quite beautifully done.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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The OP is going for four days with 12 and 13 year old kids. Does anyone really think they'll want to spend the majority of their time in the 11th? The Hotel Marignan is €130 a night, including breakfast, for three people in July ( less in August). Most apartments in Central Paris in that price range are going to be studios probably anyway, so not any more room than a hotel.

MmePerdu - the things you mention might be true for an older person, a couple, someone who has been to Paris a number of times. Not in this person's case. And not even for older, return visitors - I'm going to Paris this summer, it will be my 7th visit, and I'm going with my daughter who has lived in Paris (twice), I have rented apartments in Paris before, and still I didn't even consider an apartment for this visit - mostly because it's only for four days (start of a longer trip). Staying in a hotel does not mean you have to have a tacky tourist experience.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 11:18 AM
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"Staying in a hotel does not mean you have to have a tacky tourist experience."

Isabel, not what I said. It's all worth discussing and, as I mentioned, not for everyone, experienced Paris visitor or there for the first time. We cannot assume "not in this person's case". It's a matter of travel style, maybe, and we all have our own way to do a thing. It's all worth considering at any point in our travel life. I think we're here to give information, not bend others to our way of doing it.
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Old Feb 9th, 2013, 04:37 PM
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I love it when people assume they are having a more "authentic" experience because they stay in an outer area, or they choose an apartment over a hotel.

Its funny, but I have french relatives who live in central Paris and their entire apartment building is filled with other "locals" , no rentals allowed,, so apparently there are some french that live in center of Paris, ( actually folks there are thousands). They are likely of just a higher income bracket as you would die if you knew what tiny apartments sell for in those areas, lol

I have stayed with them, but I do not feel my experience is any more authentic, unless you count I help them with the dishes, set the table,take out the garbage and generally do not have the same relaxing experience as waiting for the maid to bring me clean towels,and the waiter my latte, lol

I have done apartment rentals and hotels, hotels are more fun for me.. I do not need to "pretend" to be a local to enjoy a place, I am there to sightsee, visit museums, enjoy time sitting around in cafes, its my holiday. That said, I know some people want to shop for food and cook and all that , so really it comes down to personal tastes. I don't think one way is "better" or more or less "authentic" but one way is better for ME personally.. everyone needs to judge that for themselves and there unique situation.

In this case the OP does not have another adult around, so its not like she is going to put the kids to bed and have wine and chat time with a partner, so really what diffence does it make if they are all in same room.I found when I took my kids that after a long day of sightseeing were we ready to read our books for awhile and flake out together anyways.. we didn't hang out in our room at all during the day.
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