Italy hotel dilemma - pls help!

Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 10:36 AM
  #1  
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Italy hotel dilemma - pls help!

We are in process of doing research and planning spring trip to Italiy May 10-26 2013. We are planning major stops in Rome (4 nights), Florence (3 nights), Venice (2 nights) and a couple of hill towns in between (3-4 nights). Looking for a moderately priced ($200 - 150E) double for myself and DD (21). The big dilemma is that I am somewhat handicapped and climbing stairs is very difficult for me. I can walk up one flight of stairs, but anything more than that would be impossible. REALLY need hotel with elevator (and preferably A/C). Of course, we would like to be centrally located, but close proximity with good public transportation is very good as well.

What areas of these cities should we be investigating for these criteria? Any specific hotels come to mind?
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Due to tidal flooding very few buildings in Venice have lifts, but if you can do 1 floor's worth of stairs you will find plenty of choice. Another option is not staying in Venice itself but on the Lido or (gasp) Mestre, but I'd never recommend that and in any case that would mean more effort in travelling to & fro.

Still on Venice (where I live), a problem with steps also means a problem with getting round the city generally as you can't go very far without needing to cross a stepped bridge. But it is doable, you just need to plan carefully. My PILs, one of whom is a full-time wheelchair user, recently visited and we found the comune's website a great resource for accessible itineraries - http://www.comune.venezia.it/flex/cm...?5086f7b5a5b3a. We were ourselves surprised at how much of the city these routes make accessible.

And you can use the vaporetti (water buses); although if you need a wheelchair, you're best with a manual folding one which the crew can help lift on & off when necessary - I have seen electric wheelchairs & scooters unable to board.

How would you be arriving & leaving?

Any more specific questions please ask.

Btw 2 nights - i.e. 1 full day - is *very* little time for Venice! I'd drop either one of the cities or the hill towns altogether.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 02:04 PM
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Caroline, thanks for your help! I didn't make clear - we plan 2 full days of sightseeing in Venice. In doing research, Venice appears to be the most expensive city we are planning to visit and so, unfortunately, will have to limit time there.

I don't use a wheelchair, sometimes a cane. I am assuming we will be taking a train to Venice and departing via plane back to the States. Your website will be much appreciated when planning sightseeing itinerary.

Can you recommend any reasonably priced hotels in Venice proper which might fit the bill I described in my OP? Also, I understand restaurants are very expensive and the food not necessarily wonderful. Any food recs for good value would be much appreciated as well. Thank you so much!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Is your issue only stairs, or are you also limited in how far you can comfortably walk?

Which hill towns were you interested in seeing? Will you have a car for this segment of your itinerary?

In Florence, consider the Tourist House Ghiberti which has an elevator (rooms are not on the ground floor) and a bus stop across the street. The location is two longish blocks from the Duomo. THG is currently offering a double around your dates for 144 euros mid-week and 149 euros on Friday/Saturday nights.

www.touristhouseghiberti.com
Jean is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 03:40 PM
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When choosing and booking hotels in Europe, we like to use www.booking.com which has many choices in most every city/town you're likely to need. They feature hotels and B&Bs in every price range. They show pictures and have descriptions and maps which I've found to be pretty accurate, and they have ratings and recommendations from travelers who have actually stayed in the hotels. We have never been disappointed with this booking site. Have also used www.venere.com, a similar site. No booking fee at either site and cancellation policies are clearly explained.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 05:37 PM
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I like the Hotel UNA in Rome, it is in a nice old building but very modern inside, the rooms are small but good and a great bathroom. It is walking distance to the Central Station and HOHO bus stop plus about a 15 min walk to the Colosseum. There are lots of wonderful tratorias all around it too
It does have a lift. They have lots of promotional offers plus properties all over Italy,I have only stayed at the Rome property, but worth a look at their web site.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 05:44 PM
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I have stayed at these two 3* hotels that have lifts. I found them well-located. They are supposed to have A/C too, but I was there in winter, so I have not tested it.

* Hotel La Forcola in Venice
* Hotel Julia in Rome
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 05:57 PM
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Several years ago we enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Ala in Venice. It has an elevator.

We've also stayed at the Tourist House Ghiberti in Florence and like it very much.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 06:26 PM
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I stayed recently at the Hotel David in Florence and can highly recommend it. It was reasonably priced, has an elevator and offers free extras such as "happy hour" wine and snacks, water and soft drinks in the mini fridge for the first night, a free 10 minute phone call home each day.

It is on the other side of the river from the historical centre and is an easy 20 minute walk along the river. If that is too much walking for you there is a bus which stops right across the street.

I booked it directly through their own website and got a great rate by paying in advance. Personally I have always got better deals by booking directly with the hotel than using booking.com or similar.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Hotel David is in a beautiful spot, but it wouldn't be a good choice if you wanted to rest during the day, because of its further-out location. I am guessing the original poster might want to rest during the day.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 07:31 PM
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For "a couple of days in between," we stayed at Relais Vignole in Radda in Chianti in nice almost first floor room, up a few steps. Vineyard views, elevator down to pool and dining. Lovely.
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Old Oct 24th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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The Duodo Palace Hotel in Venice has an elevator and air conditioning that really works, but it may not fit your budget, and some rooms have interior steps.

If your hotel is in an older building, as most are in Venice, you should contact the hotel directly to make sure there are no interior steps in the room.

Many of the hotels in Europe have higher bathtubs than what you may be used to at home. If you think this may be a problem for you, you may be able to request a room with a stall shower.. it may be small but safer than climbing in and out of a bathtub.

Venice is expensive, so you may have to pay more for a hotel there and balance your costs with a less expensive hotel other locations.

in venice i recently had lunch at
Taverna del Campiello Remer
Cannaregio 5701 | Sestiere Cannaregio, 30121 Venice, Italy

for 20 euros you get a choice of food at the buffet which is really good, a plate of homemade pasta, wine, coffee or a soft drink and bread
at the happy hour for 5 euros you get one drink and lots of small plates of nibbles that can be quite filling. and there is live music in the evening at dinner.

it was recommended by a local.
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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I'm afraid I don't know any Venice hotels with a lift (or ground floor rooms) but you have had a couple of suggestions from others. Do check with any hotel you contact whether the lift starts from the ground floor - it may only start higher up. I do know ground floor holiday apartments but you want a hotel, and most won't rent for only 2 nights anyway.

I normally advise against getting a vaporetto pass for the full time people are here, especially if it's short, as you can walk round most places you are likely to want to go. But in your case, due to the many stepped bridges, you will find it easier to use the vaporetto to get between points as far as possible. A timed tourist pass (2/24/36/48/72 hrs etc) allows unlimited vaporetto use within the specified timeframe. Look carefully at what timeframe you need it for - for example, if we assume you will arrive & leave early morning (since you say you have 2 nights but also 2 full days), you may not need a 48 hour pass but find that a 36 hour one (E25) will cover it.

If you are departing from Venice airport, the easiest way to get there is via the Alilaguna water bus service (this is a different company from the one running the city water buses - the vaporetti - so needs a separate ticket); so looking for a hotel with a lift and near both a vaporetto stop & an Aliguna stop. For example, my nearest boat stop is Sant'Angelo which is served by both Alilaguna and the number 1 vaporetto, which will take you close-ish to most places you're likely to want to go. There are a number of hotels very near that stop but I've no idea if they have lifts.

If you arrive by train, a number of vaporetto routes leave from right outside the station. There are a number of steps down when you leave the station but if a ramp is easier, there's one at the side of the station - right hand side as you face the station so left side when exiting. (Also useful for heavy wheeled luggage.)

I'd advise getting a good street map of Venice now, so you can check exactly where there are bridges - e.g. between any hotel you consider and the nearest vaporetto stop.
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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I share caroline's concern about walking in Venice.

Re: a hotel in Florence, we stayed at the Hotel Bigallo 2 weeks ago. If you look up my post w/the hotel's name in it, you will see what I said in more detail. The rate was the one you mention, 150 euros. It has AC, (warmish by US standards, but sufficient AC) that includes a fan within the AC that can be left on while you are in the room.

I am mentioning it to you, b/c it has an elevator. You have to walk up about 5 stairs to get to it, and then it takes you to the lobby on the 3rd floor. If you did decide to stay there, I am quite sure you would need a room on the same floor as the lobby b/c I think the upper floor of the hotel is not accessed thru the elevator, but rather thru an interior staircase that would be quite arduous as the ceilings are very high. Our room was just to the right of the lobby....the "Donatello", and altho technically it was a king bed, it was actually 2 twins sharing a single headboard, covered with a king sheet, but it was quite clear that it was really 2 beds and so that might be OK for you and DD. I only mention this as I am not sure if actual double rooms are on that floor or not.
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 12:05 PM
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PS our room had a (very nice, very large) walk in shower as well.
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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I stayed at Al Ponte Mocenigo in February and it was wonderful. First, it is a short walk from the Vaporetto stop. However, they have only one nice large room on the ground floor that would be great for you. They do a wonderful breakfast and the staff is top notch. Here's the link http://www.alpontemocenigo.com/

Did I mention it is reasonable? We were there for Carnevale and it was perfect!
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 12:18 PM
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In Venice we stayed in Arlecchino on recommendation of another Fodorite. The bed felt too hard. This hotel (and I think the "sister" Olympian has too) has an elevator but the 1st floor (above the ground floor, equivalent of the 2nd floor in the US) was blocked. So before you make a reservation in any hotel, e-mail them asking if your room will be accessible by elevator.

Make sure your hotel is close to a vaporetto station, and buy a pass. Vaporettos are easy, no steps. Ask if there is a bridge between your hotel and Vaporetto station - and old or a new bridge. The difference is, the new bridges have lower and wider steps, easier to climb.

I think Chiara hotel does not have a bridge between Vap. stop, train stop, and hotel... if you don't mind the P.le Roma area - for us it was perfect (Arlecchino) as we took a cruise, and the Vaporetto was the final stop, so it was easy to get a seat going anywhere.

And if you are using a cane, it will be a signal for somebody to get up to let you sit down - and the locals are really good about it!
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 02:06 PM
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Consider one of the Lido hotels right at the vaporetto stop. These two have elevators and high customer satisfaction: the Riviera is right across the street from the vaporetto (if you don't want to see anything more of Lido you don't have to - - but is is super convenient with great views across the lagoon, lovely breakfast room - - very nice). The Helvetia is just a few feet further and a few Euro cheaper - - very clean, comfortable, modern rooms - - great value. The location is a sweet 15 minutes vaporetto ride across the beautiful lagoon from San Marco - - superb location, really.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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"Vaporettos are easy, no steps." Not quite right - the step up/down to get off/on can be steep, depending on the tide (commonly c.6-12" & rarely up to c.18") and the smaller ones like the 4.1/4.2/5.1/5.2/6 have a few steps down from the deck into the cabin.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 12:25 AM
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Another Venice B & B you could check out is Corte 1321 -
http://www.corte1321.com/en/

To get there from the vaporetto is easy and there are no bridges to cross. They have a little apartment on the ground floor and a few more one easy flight of stairs up. It is a very central location, and has lots of great places to eat around there...
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