Notices

Hotel vs Apartment

Reply

Jan 18th, 2012, 11:40 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 68
Hotel vs Apartment

Have only recently become aware of apartment rental in Italy as a viable option. After always searching the various sites (priceline etc, with good results) my question is; Are most apartments/and bookings better options than weeding through the lists of hotels? Most budget apart's (for 2) seem to be in the $100-$125 range while hotels can be found for less($75-$80). I don't trust what i'm seeing with some of the hotel info. Are the apartmt sites, info and lodgings better(get what you see)?
Also, I'm going cross-eyed checking out all the train schedules and fares. I've been to the various sites but can someone give me a concise idea of what line and what price I can expect for Rome->Florence->Venice. (sorry for being such a dolt
Any feedback and info will be helpful.
chs29445 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:03 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,830
As for apartments, although one person here will tell you they are ripoffs, we (and many, many others) have had excellent experiences renting apartments in Italy.

Some of the best, IMO, are sleepinitaly.com, airbnb.com,romecapitalapartments.com, VRBO.com Italyperfect.com. Always check for reviews on independent sites like traveladvisor or slowtrav.com to see what people's experiences have been. And post the links here if you want someone else to give it a look.

If you are looking for budget apartments be aware that they will not be in the center of things in Rome, Venice, or Florence. You will have to check locations by address on Google maps and compare that to locations of the things you want to see. How much time are you willing to lose getting into and out of the center to your apartment? On very hot days, it is nice to be able to take a siesta, so you might want to go back for a couple of hours.

And there are other things to look for, too. For example, first floor means one floor up from the ground, so it is really second floor in American terms. And some buildings do not have elevators, so a third or fourth floor means a big climb up stairs when you come and go. If stairs are a problem, what about stairs within the apartment? If you are going in summer, does it have air conditioning? in the entire apartment or only the bedrooms?

Do come back here with questions about any apartments you think are good.
charnees is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:16 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 68
Thanks charnees. I'll put those into my considerations and be back with more Q's I'm sure. Walking stairs isn't a concern(yet,thankfully) nor is the heat.(from South Carolina,U.S.)
Location and "liveability" are biggest concerns.
chs29445 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:26 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,501
Also depending premises, read carefully the check-in/out time windows, up front cash requirement, and the cancellation policy which can be quite restrictive.

For trains, www.trenitalia.com gives the info you need on the route you mentioned. I don't know when you are traveling, but since they only publish schedules only for a few months out, use the same day of the week next week to see the train frequency and the prices. The schedule doesn't change much between seasons.
greg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,194
How long are you staying in each city? Have you been before?

Why don't you "trust" the hotel information you are seeing?

For me, unless it's at least a week, I find it better to book a budget hotel. It's easier to make the resevation, more options for paying the bill, plus there's front desk staff to help you with things if you get stuck.

I only like apartments when I'm staying for a length of time AND in a place I have been to before. A 1st time anywhere I much prefer a hotel.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,134
The main advantages of apartments IMO are space and the freedom to prepare drinks/meals if you wish.
We enjoyed buying bread, fruit, snacks etc at local markets in Italy and preparing simple breakfasts or picnic lunches.
sassy_cat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:50 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,555
"Are the apartmt sites, info and lodgings better(get what you see)?"

You can not assume that all listings are the same. Some sites are very reliable, others less so. It is good to check reviews for the particular apartments or agencies. If you have found particular ones you are considering, you can post them here to see if others have any experience with them.

Sites like vrbo (which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owners) are just listing sites, not agencies. The apartments are advertised their by their individual owners. Some listings are very accurate, some less so.

That said, I have had very good luck renting apartments and much prefer them over hotels for stays of more than a couple days. I question how long you are staying in each place though, since you are going to Rome, Florence, and Venice. Many apartments have minimum rentals of a week, some of three days.
Nikki is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 01:00 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,498
If more than 3 nites I suggest apts.--if available.

This may help your train questions:
WEEKDAY DEPARTURES ON ES/AV FAST TRAINS
ONE WAY FARES & JOURNEY TIMES FOR MAJOR ROUTES


ROUTE/REVERSE FREQUENCY JOURNEY 1ST CLASS 2ND CLASS

Rome/Florence Twice hourly 1:35 62E 44E

Rome/Venice Hourly 3:48 99E 73E

Rome/ Naples Twice hourly 1:10 57E 44E

Milan/Rome Twice hourly 2:59 114E 89E

Milan/Venice Twice hourly 2:35 43E 31E [ES City]

Venice/Florence Hourly 2:03 59E 42E


LOCAL DAY TRIP ROUTES ON IC OR R TRAINS

Rome/Orvieto Varies 1:09 18E 13E

Florence/Pisa Hourly 1:02 N/A Regional

Venice/Verona Varies 1:05 28E 19E

EFFECTIVE 1/24/11 NEW “ MINI” FARES ANNOUNCED

* Discounts for most trains if purchased prior day or before

* Capacity controlled---some restrictions apply [ no regional trains]

* Most of the major routes above also have IC or Regional options available at roughly half the 2nd class price and double the time.

[ See www.trenitalia.com for details and specific schedules.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 01:10 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,194
I've only done trains a few times and never bothered online in advance. I just went to the train station, told them were I needed to go, asked the best way, and bought a ticket, either day before or same day. Between those 3 cities are major routes with plenty of daily options.

I think it's good to have the information above as but it's not something I'd stress over personally.

(finding the right places to stay is WAY more important i think).
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 18th, 2012, 01:19 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 50,352
hi chs,

whether an apartment is right for you depends on a number of matters: whether you want concierge type services [less likely to be available in an apartment] daily maid service [ditto], the ability to cook/get your own breakfasts and drinks [apartment] how much space you need, etc.

generally when travelling with our kids we've gone for apartments, when there are just the two of us, for hotels. but many fodorites [and others} always pick apartments because in general you get more space for the same money, plus the opportunity to shop for food, cook, make your own hot drinks [surprisingly expensive in Italy].

in fact the last time we stayed in Rome we never cooked a meal but used the apartment kitchen for making our breakfast [bought in cornetti plus oranges we squeezed in the machine provided, and making our own coffee] a cup of tea when we got back from sightseeing, keeping our wine cool, storing milk, etc.

meals in Venice are pretty expensive so you can save a bit by making your own sandwiches for lunch [no sitting down on St. Mark's square, but no reason you shouldn't eat them on a vaporetto] buying in your pizza for supper, getting your plastic bottles filled with wine from the wine shop, making your own tea and coffee, and of course, buying and cooking some of your own main meals.

good luck!
annhig is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 19th, 2012, 09:46 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 68
Thanks for the replies. Some of the posts I've read have made me question some hotels. People saying it was nothing like the picture or description. Granted that could be true of any lodging but some of the aprt. options I've seen seem to work on a more direct basis.(am i falling for their advertising?) Any word on cross-pollinate and beehive.com ? We are looking at 4days in each location. Will probably adjust that, add to Rome and move out of Florence to see more of the countryside , Siena area perhaps. Is car rental advised? Any diff than in States? And no, do not plan on driving in Ro or Flo.
I know I'm piecing together many thoughs that are in other posts but bear with me.
chs29445 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 19th, 2012, 09:55 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 877
If you want an answer to "Is everything as advertised," then you're not going to get an answer.

As some have already said, there are well-recommended apt. websites that you can use.

One warning (from someone who uses apts. a lot): If it's your first time visiting an area or you're not an experienced traveler, an apt. might not be right for you. Hotels provide some tourist info, services and guidance that you won't get with an apt. It's your call.
niente is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 19th, 2012, 10:58 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,194
I don't think you can generalize about 'truth in advertising' for apartments vs hotels. Some are more honest than others. The thing about a hotel though is it is a larger business with a lot more to lose if people start writing bad reviews, trashing it on the internet. Much more damage can be done than someone just renting out a single vacation apartment. Also you are more likely to find reviews of hotels (Trip Advisor, etc.) than of any one specific apartment rental.

With 4 day stays & in a city new to you, I vote for hotels. It's not like you need the extra room or will be cooking meals, etc. for such a short timeframe.

I agree with niente above, I do use the services at a hotel, especially when I don't speak the language. To help me with a place to eat nearby, how to get a taxi to the airport in the morning, etc.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 19th, 2012, 08:12 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,119
I can vouch for this apartment in Venice. We have stayed there twice, each time for eight weeks. The photos and description are accurate.

We stayed in the second floor apartment.

http://realvenicevacationflats.com/
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 19th, 2012, 09:17 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,698
I have stayed in hotels, B&B's and apartments. As noted above, there are many factors involved in deciding when to choose one over another.

I don't believe that you have to book a hotel just because it's your first trip to a particular place.

I agree that less than 3 nights' stay probably is best spent in a hotel. But I enjoy living "like a Venetian" or "living like a Roman", and renting an apartment is paramount to that experience, IMHO.

Additionally, as noted above, eating out all the time can be very expensive. There are fabulous markets in each of those cities. You can buy fresh meats/seafood/produce and make your own meals once a day. That, in itself, would probably pay for the difference in apt vs hotel.

I have stayed in this apartment twice and absolutely love it. The owner speaks English very well.

http://www.gulivers.com/4083/#bottom

You do not need to rent a car if you are going to travel to Siena from Florence. The direct bus takes one hour and is, by far, superior to the train (trust me- I learned the hard way!)

You will have a lovely trip. Italy steals your heart. As soon as you're home, you'll want to start planning your next trip!

Buon viaggio!
sarge56 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 20th, 2012, 07:40 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,830
I have heard good things about the Beehive. Also, for a budget hotel, a friend stayed at Hotel DES Artistes in Rome and said it was fine for him and his teenaged daughter. Not fancy, but decent.
charnees is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 20th, 2012, 10:53 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,066
Like others, I like to rent an apartment if we're staying a while, mainly because it allows the opportunity to cook a simple meal. However, I am conscious of the fact that in some cities this form of accommodation for tourists is taking housing options away from locals by making housing more expensive for local residents. I'm not sure how to resolve this in my own mind.
dreamon is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2012, 06:53 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,800
We love staying in apartments. First time was in Ireland 4 years ago, where we stayed at 3 different rentals, 2 of them for only 3 or 4 nights. They were all as represented, very nice. Two years ago we rented a lovely apartment in Rome for 5 nights (our first time in Rome, and we don't speak Italian) and in Tuscany we had a separate small house on an Agriturismo. Last year we rented an apartment in Zermatt for 4 nights, and an apartment at Lake Como for 5 nights. On all those trips, sprinkled in between were B&B's.

Many of the apartments have very "hands on" owners. In Rome, the owners gave us a cellphone with their number programmed in. In Zermatt the owner popped by in the afternoon when she saw us on the terrace to chat and see if there was anything she could do for us. All of these owners made dinner reservations for us, and were extremely helpful with questions, directions etc.

Now when we plan a vacation, I first look for a town to "base" in where we can book a rental. We love the feeling of having your own house in another country, sit on a terrace or balcony with wine, walk into towns or through a countryside....and have a washing machine! That is a requirement when we book somewhere, it makes packing SO much easier!

We don't cook dinners, mainly because my husband refuses to clean up after me on a vacation (I'm a messy cook) But we go to markets and bakeries and have our own breakfast in the mornings, maybe pack sandwiches or fruit for a lunchtime stop, and have wine and cheese available for evenings before or after dinner.

I have booked apartments through VRBO, from Trip Advisor reviews, and suggestions from this Forum. This year I booked an apartment in London through Londonconnections (rec'd on this board in several posts) and an apartment in Chipping Campden through Trip Advisor reviews.

As with any internet booking, do make sure you see pictures of all the rooms. I won't book if I can't see good pictures, so many websites show artsy pictures with flowers or champagne glasses, and no pictures of the bathrooms! Ask questions via emails, enter the address on Google Maps to make sure it's not next to a major highway or something. I usually check slowtrav reviews also.

Have fun planning, I understand the "cross-eyed" feeling but it's worth it!
wrenwood is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 21st, 2012, 08:16 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 30,545
>>>For me, unless it's at least a week, I find it better to book a budget hotel. It's easier to make the resevation, more options for paying the bill, plus there's front desk staff to help you with things if you get stuck.<<<

That's really not the case for Rome/Florence. Many small budget hotels do not have a front desk at all. They are sometimes just one floor in a building with other hotels, businesses or residences on the other floors. Often in Italy, budget hotels want cash and don't accept credit cards.

It would help if you stated your needs for hotel/apartment (AC?, no stairs?, etc.) and the time of year you are traveling.

>>>Most budget apart's (for 2) seem to be in the $100-$125 range while hotels can be found for less($75-$80).<<<

I am very surprised at these prices for these cities. I often travel budget in these same cities and certainly don't see these kinds of prices except for hostels (shared rooms with other and shared baths). I don't even see that kind or price for convents. Did you mean euro, not dollars? $75-80 is only 57-61€. Are you pricing per person?

If you go from Rome to Siena, bus is a better option than the train.
http://www.sena.it/Home/78-1-en.html

If you are taking day trips from Florence, bus is often better than train depending on which towns you plan to visit.
>>>Also, I'm going cross-eyed checking out all the train schedules and fares. I've been to the various sites but can someone give me a concise idea of what line and what price I can expect for Rome->Florence->Venice.<<<

Since you are asking about budget (hotels), you might want to book your train tickets in advance to get the discount fares (Mini Fares). Trenitalia summer schedules will start around June 12, but likely won't be online until sometime in late May/early June. If you are certain of your travel schedule between cities, Mini Fares can save you as much as 60%, but can sell out.
kybourbon is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:40 AM.