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FIRST TRIP TO ROME & BARCELONA; NEED HELP

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Jul 21st, 2015, 01:50 PM
  #1
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FIRST TRIP TO ROME & BARCELONA; NEED HELP

We redeemed miles for what will be our ONLY trip to MED. Hard to explain in sound bites--I am disabled. Have compression fractures in spine; have been home 12 years post accident dreaming of places I've always wanted to see!

Had some success with spine injections that gave me more mobility--for now--and so we booked 10 day cruise (9/14-9/24) on Oceania in MED.

Only time we could get seats is why we booked flying into ROME arrive @ 9 am 9/11 FCO. Thought oh we'll see ROME & BARCELONA before boarding ship (we also have day we disembark off ship 9/24--but how long I don't know. Have never cruised nor been to MED!!!)

Redeeming miles BC to try to insure I could rest to help mobility on what for me will be tough physical journey (everything is different once that spine is really messed up--grateful you don't understand). Arrive in ROME @ 9 am 9/11 and leave out of BARCELONA on cruise 9/14 that ends in ROME. Depart @ 9 am 9/25 to fly back to DFW.

Thought we'd get a hotel in Rome when we land am of 9/11, check-in SOMEWHERE & rest that day. Next am hire private tour to see ROME 9/12, check out am 9/13 am, fly to BARCELONA (haven't booked this flight yet), check in to hotel & see GAUDI SUNDAY afternoon??? Sounds ludicrous as I type it!!

Check out am 9/14 & go to cruise @ Noon.

Have to hire transfer people to/from
Airport FCO & one way BARCELONA as we aren't able to do what we used to do. I can walk & so can hubby; I just know I'll need to spend $$ to insure I can see most & still be able to move succeeding day. These aren't considerations for most people.

Need help with ROME & BARCELONA hotels! I think Hotel Colon in BARCELONA sounds nice; will we be able to see GAUDI on a Sunday afternoon???

ROME hotel???? Beginning to realize that hotel with great a/c, king bed, English speaking, oh and hubby is diabetic so need great breakfast which is eggs & protein base as opposed to pastries--feeling frustrated & overwhelmed as I can't find hotel in ROME that reviews on trip advisor don't eliminate for some of previously listed reasons!

THANK YOU for trying to help me!!!

Advice greatly appreciated!
Tiggy4616 is offline  
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Jul 21st, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Try looking on booking.com for a hotel in Rome. You can use your actual travel dates to see what is available precisely in your dates, and be able to read reviews. Almost all quality hotels in Rome that have an elevator, air con, king sized beds etc. will have meat and cheese available for breakfast. Many will also have hard boiled eggs. Some will offer hot eggs (but not many).

Given your need for comfort, I suggest you pre-book a driver/cab to meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. You can find reviews of car services on Tripadvisor.

Something you might consider when it comes to paying for a private tour is whether having the guide allows you to skip waiting on lines. Also, many of the most famous sights of Rome involve walking for miles inside museums or churches, or walking on very uneven surfaces. If these things will bother your back, then you might want to seek out a customized tour.

Hope you find everything you are looking for! Some hotels in Rome are located in areas with flat streets and smooth sidewalks rather than cobblestoned alleyways, and if that would be best for you, before you book a hotel, you can ask people here to describe the neighborhood -- whether it is flat or if there are sidewalks, etc
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Jul 21st, 2015, 02:19 PM
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Please clarify if this is your plan:

9/11 Arrive FCO 9:00a
9/12 See Rome
9/13 Fly to Barcelona
9/14 Board cruise at noon
9/15-9/24 Cruise Mediterranean; end in Rome
9/25 Fly home 9:00a

I understand you're using FF miles, but did you attempt to fly into Barcelona and out of Rome? An "open-jaw" ticket like this would make your trip much easier. I would investigate that option with your FF airline, even if it were to cost money to change the ticket.

If you can't fly directly into Barcelona, I'd probably fly there after arriving at FCO. I'd change the return flight to 9/26 or 9/27 and see Rome after the cruise.

It would help us to know what your hotel budget is in either dollars or euros. FYI, you don't have to worry about the English-speaking issue unless you're thinking of truly budget accommodations. Even if your hotel doesn't offer the sort of breakfast you need, you can go somewhere that does.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 02:48 PM
  #4
 
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When in Rome we stay at www.fontanellaborghese.com/en/ near the Spanish steps.
We had a driver recommended to us by the hotel and I am checking with him to ask permission to share his email. He is a very nice gentleman and drives safely.
I will forward his information if I hear from him.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Jean is giving you the best advice possible.

If you can possibly do what She suggests, even for more money, you would be so much better off physically by flying straight into Barcelona. What you want to ask for, or book, is called a "multi-city" ticket.

A few people are not bothered by jet lag, but many are and the flight to Rome followed quickly by Rome to Barcelona may be really rough. Doing days in Rome at the end would be best.

As to hotels and food. Good advice about that from Sandralist. You should not have a problem with food. It is almost always possible to gets eggs. Nicer hotels will have AC. The king sized bed may not be available, but I would think that would be less important than the other two things.

Depending on what time the cruise departs, you could see Sagrada Familia in the morning before boarding the ship. Use taxis in Barcelona to go from place to place and save your energy for walking at the different sights. Taxis are cheap and efficient there.

I hope you have a fab trip. Cruises are great experiences in and of themselves, so it should be wonderful.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 05:39 PM
  #6
 
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There will be English speakers at any decent hotel and AC at better ones (but make sure it is strong american style AC that runs 24 hours per day).

The problem may be a king bed - which is very rare in europe - usually only in very upscale/expensive places. We like them too and have often had to give on this since we prefer not to go to 700 or 800 euros every night. And do realize that what they call "king" may be "queen" to americans.

Also agree to change your itinerary - since the very quick in and out of Rome will be very tiring for anyone - esp if you get jet lag. Definitely worth spending a relatively few $ to fly into Barcelona and out of Rome.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 06:26 PM
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You can book a transfer from Rome/Civitavechia to central Rome that will include some sightseing. I've seen lots of excursions like this. Take a look at cruise critic for recommended companies.

And really...change your plane tickets if at all possible. That extra leg is crazy....you should try to fly direct to Barcelona if you can. I know that will give you little time in Rome, but you will get to enjoy Barcelona more. And I bet your cruise has more Italian stops than Spain, anyways.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 08:47 PM
  #8
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I took a break to "gather myself". Jean has the facts down. There were no seats to have better routing! The merger has royally screwed up what used to be a great airline/loyalty program (I travelled a lot in my former career pre-accident). I attempted to book this trip for 1.5 years--never could align seat redemption with cruise. Added factor with "snagging the seats" was a spinal injection that has given me pain relief & mobility I've never had in 12 years. It won't last. My husband and I, knowing it won't be planned & perfect the way we used to travel--were and still are excited to go at all.

Yes, jet lag affects me! My hubby always relied on my former stellar planning. I told him I was struggling (ate dinner & shared; didn't tell him I'd posted on a board). He said we could go on to Barcelona and skip Rome if it will help.

It is hard to make decisions when you have no vision of the impact.

My most fervent desire was to see the AMALFI Coast. We have a cruise stop in Sorento so someway I pray to see that (Oceania has a different port every day & they travel in dark....).

Once I figure out Extra days will pick yaw'lls brains about the potential excursions.

Walking. I am walking 30 minutes ok. Going up steps is a killer. Never really knew enough frankly to know how many stairs. Cruise excursions look to exclude me too. I could really cry & have a pity party--refuse to do that.

Sandralist suggested I go & scan for dates. Haven't done that yet as saw suggestion for fontannellaborghese.com; I think all they have is a twin or a triple. Triple appears to be $500 (I'm assuming per night?) that's pretty high for a 3 star hotel. It's been almost 20 years since going to Europe. I had a travel agent who knew I liked nice hotels (when you live in them all the time you get picky). That was back when I had a nice salary.

I must have made a mistake $500 night for the fontannella when hassler is $600. Wish I could afford Hassler! ��

You are all so kind to try to help someone drowning in ineptitude! The bed size -- can deal with Queen.

The extra leg -- can't change. At pretty early point realized the fantasy in my head was that. I thought about canceling -- then faced facts..I'd been duped & too late to go back; I would adjust best I can, do best I can--and once we leave DFW, will enjoy my one outing out of my four walls. Financially it's my bucket list....all this one excursion!!! To achieve pain relief & movement after 12 years, enough to consider I might be able to go--is a great gift period! Still we want it all, or I do.

May I ask, Sagrada family, on the am of 9/14 before the [email protected] how long will that take.

Thank you all for taking time out to try to help me!!! Grateful!!
------
In essence, what happened, I had two successive spine nerve blocks without anesthesia (helped him find the perfect spot--very painful)-- to be able to go see my sister marry. Had one Apr 14th & 2nd May 17th (wedding was 6/20 3 days before our 25th anniversary.)

As soon as the effects of the procedure wore off, @ May 20th--I had pain relief that was transformative! It should be noted though that the cortisone does wear off. My hubby said we should seize this moment, not wait for retirement--just book it! When seats opened up enabling us to make the trip reservation I just did it. Now trying to figure it out....though I knew it was adding more time, more cost. I just cannot control all the variables the way I used to be able to.

I just had spine injection last Friday & next one Aug 31st. Trying to do all possible to help myself.

Hotel budget. I didn't develop one. Tour budget: didn't develop one. Just paying for that cruise was big..but it's paid for. Verandah stateroom.

The fact is any place really important to me to see, might require a private tour. If I could nail down something I could go from there. AMALFI Coast I will see I guess out of Sorento on cruise. I was going to read tours on trip advisor. Many sounded good & they supposedly have a cost sharing function -- though I'm not there yet--where like minded people can share that tour. Anyone used these?

Kinda depressing myself writing this. Please forgive. I'm not a whiner. One day I was like all of you, then one accident & one medical error (the turtle they custom make to support spine when back broken, mine didn't fit right & I continued to fracture).
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Jul 21st, 2015, 10:45 PM
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The Fontanella Borghese has no availability Sept. 11-13, but they do have a standard double available for the last night Sept. 24th at $200. FYI, we've stayed at the FB multiple times and love its location and the helpfulness of the staff. The rooms are not large, and the bathrooms are definitely on the small size.

Keep checking your FF airline about going directly to Barcelona. Don't rely on their website; call and speak with a human. I might even go so far as to forget the FF option and buy tickets for the routing you want.

And I hope you're buying trip insurance...
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 12:23 AM
  #10
 
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>>The problem may be a king bed - which is very rare in europe<

????

Someday nytraveler (love the imaginary name) will confess to us how many decades it has been since she has slept in Europe. I have not slept in anything smaller than a king bed in Europe for as long as I can remember, except in the UK when I stayed with friends or when I specifically asked for twins (and even then I sometimes got 2 huge beds). And I do not stay in pricey hotels.

Anyway, I would recommend getting 2 twin beds for this particular excursion unless you simply cannot get a good night's sleep without being close to your nearest and dearest. Also, do check double check that any place you book has an ELEVATOR and AIR CONDITIONING.

I recently had a very comfortable stay in Princeps Boutique Hotel, and its best rooms are not $500. Wonderful staff.

Regarding the Amalfi: Can you walk down stairs? Is that also bad for your back? If so, book a private driver out of Sorrento to pick you up and give you a tour. I like Benevenuto Limousines. You can find their phone number on the web.

And if you buy trip insurance, get clear before you purchase it what the policy is regarding pre-existing conditions.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 12:25 AM
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Sorry for my typo -- Benvenuto limo
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 03:48 AM
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Sandralist - not sure why you feel impelled to constantly say I have not/do not travel. You have no idea.

And I have found it VERY difficult getting US king size beds in many cities without going to luxury hotels that are more than we care to spend on a regular basis. As you must know the standard room configuration in europe is one double bed for two people. Quite a few hotels have what they call "queen" beds - which seem smaller than those here but I have not measured them.

And even you must agree beds sizes in europe are not identical with the US - or why are sheet sizes different. And even traveling on business - with unlimited budget - we cannot always find "king" or the european variant thereof,
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 05:16 AM
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I am not the only one who has questioned how long it has been since you were in Europe. The information you post here is woefully out of date about all sorts of issues. Would you please just answer the question? When were your last few trips to Europe? What years?

You need to change your search processes if you are having a hard time finding hotels in Europe with king sized beds other than luxury hotels. I absolutely never stay in luxury hotels, and I always sleep in king sized beds -- never queen.

Here are pictures of the actual European hotels rooms I personally stayed in the past year alone, not a single room cost me more than $250 per night, and several less.

Bologna
http://r-ec.bstatic.com/images/hotel...4/25479088.jpg

Perugia
http://static.laterooms.com/hotelpho...0900285274.jpg

Tuscany
http://www.castellogabbiano.it/cg/in...&h=600&t=exact

Tuscany
http://www.cortedireartu.it/media/66...b21/artu-1.jpg

Tuscany
http://aff.bstatic.com/images/hotel/...8/28823530.jpg

Paris
http://media.tvtrip.com/hotel-paris/...iew-player.jpg

Vienna
https://media.holidaycheck.com/data/...1157411509.jpg

Rome
http://q-ec.bstatic.com/images/hotel...5/49579893.jpg

Munich
http://aff.bstatic.com/images/hotel/...6/24658958.jpg

Trento
http://www.cleartrip.com/places/hote...11306576_w.jpg

Verona
http://www.cleartrip.com/places/hote...10136920_w.jpg

Milan (where I always get twins because I am just passing through)
http://www.kayak.com/rimg/himg/e7/1f...530&height=290



Like I said, that was just in one year and I don't spend a lot of time looking for hotels. All of them are on booking.com.

So please quit posting that king beds are extremely rare in Europe just because you have a problem finding them.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 05:22 AM
  #14
 
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Just so there is no dispute about bed-sizes and sheet sizes, this is a king-sized bed with pillows at a typical American hotel. If you are having trouble finding the equivalent in Europe, I suggest you go to booking.com and look at the pictures of hotels. You'll find plenty of choices at moderate prices

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/med...nd-pillows.jpg
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 07:48 AM
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I have to say I'm surprised by your list of rooms sandralist, because my experience has been similar to nytraveler. I find it difficult to find king beds in Europe. And for the record, I'm going to Barcelona and Provence this year, went to Switzerland in 2014, Paris in 2012, Vienna in 2011. Not a ton of European travel, but some.

So to test my opinion, I went to booking.com, picked a random weekend in October and looked at Rome hotels. I didn't investigate every single entry that it showed. I scanned the list for rooms under $250/night, and every one showed "twin/double" on the main page. Now sometimes thats different once you look at the room types available,or at the specific bed preference. I looked at maybe 10-12 of these more closely. Every one of them offered queens or twins. None had king beds available. The only king bed I found was a junior suite at $400/night.

As best I can tell, booking.com doesn't have "bed type" as a filter criteria. So what mechanism should I use for finding all these king bedded rooms?
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 08:37 AM
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I don't think you can assume anything just from pictures. Lots of techniques are used to make things look bigger/wider/longer/etc. in marketing photos. You can send an email to the hotel and ask the dimensions of the beds in a particular room category, and if they reply it will be in centimeters.

In recent years, I think we have had king-size beds in a few rooms, not that I asked for them. We've also been in some rooms where a king bed just wouldn't fit.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 08:52 AM
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I admit I have not read all the responses. As far as Hotel Colon in Barcelona. We just spent 5 nights there a couple of months ago. It was 179 euros a night with cathedral view...it was quiet.

They also had a driver pick us up at airport. They have a fairly expensive breakfast that we did not try, but right down the streets is Els Quatre Gats where we had breakfast one day.

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Jul 22nd, 2015, 10:54 AM
  #18
 
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Sandralist -

I really do not owe you an explantion. Nor do I see any chorus of people stating that they are sure I have not been to europe in decades.

But - if it will shut you up - I have been to Switz twice and Paris once this year. Last yeas I was in europe 7 times that I can recall - granted only one was a vacation. Others were for reasearch or client meetings - so I do know quite a bit about business/upscale hotels and the beds therein.

Just because someone doesn't agree with you on every minute point doesn't mean that they are fabricating information. Can't imagine why you just don;t ignore my posts if you dislike them so much.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 10:56 AM
  #19
 
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Oh - an I have been a member here since 2003. (You I believe joined in 2014) And I have been quoted in at least 5 of the Fodor's guide books.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 12:38 PM
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Ah but Sandra did not join in 2014, she has been the resident fountain of knowledge here for years under a myriad of different names. The real question is why she needs to be the ultimate and only authority on all things related to travel in Europe?
But back to topic, the issue of bed size is not easily resolved, judging by the number of queries related to beds on this forum on a regular basis.
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