Just Returned From Italy - Hotel Reviews

Old May 27th, 2003, 04:41 PM
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Just Returned From Italy - Hotel Reviews

We just got back from Italy yesterday. I wanted to share info about our experience. I have gotten so much info from all of you - I wanted to return the favor!

Here is a list of our hotels and comments.

Venice - Antica Venezia Hotel (3 star) 180Euros/nt.
Small, charming and quaint hotel with a B&B kind of feel. Small room/clean. The bathroom was very small, but completely updated with newer white tile and a very clean/very small shower. Hairdryer/soap provided. King bed too. The hotel had a great, quiet rooftop terrace and a "family room" off the terrace. Very cozy with beamed ceilings. YOu have to walk stairs in this hotel though. Ask for "Johnny" - he will take good care of you. The hotel is on a quiet ally away from tourists and about a 5 min walk to San Marco and the Boat stop. Many small, affordable restaurants near by.

Rome - Hotel Barberini (4 stars) 220 Euro/nt. Located away from tourists, but only a 5 min walk to the expensive Via Veneto hotels. A few minute walk to the metro station. Nice, small room, trimmed with crown moldings. King bed. Nice updated bath with small shower. Very clean. some rooms have bath tubs. Staff very nice. Good breakfast and service.

Siena - Santa Caterina Hotel 140 Euros (3 star hotel). Located right outside the Porta Romana entrance to city. 10 min walk to campo in town. Rooms modestly furnished. The bath again was updated with white tile and terra cotta floor and small, newer shower. King bed. Very hard mattress. The best thing about the hotel was the garden area. It overlooks the tuscan hills...beautiful flowers and many tables/chairs. Buy a bottle of wine and enjoy after sight seeing. The breakfast room is all windows - looking on to the garden. You feel like your are in the middle of no where - not in siena when you view the hills from the garden. One negative..don't use their parking. Our car was damaged by their staff when moving it. They denied it...another guest had the same problem - I heard him complaining about it to the manager before it happend to us. Find other parking arrangements just in case.

Florence - Hotel Hermitage 3 star hotel - 245 euros per night.
We loved the location right next to the Ponte Vechio. Our room over looked the arno (room 101). We paid a little more for a room with a jet tub. WORTH IT! It was nice to relax in the jacuzzi tub for two after a long day of site seeing. The bath was small, but updated with newer tile and clean. King bed again. Great rooftop terrace for breakfast and relaxing.

Camogli - Cenobio Dei Dogi Hotel (4 star) 212 euros. Nice hotel. Sits up on the hillside overlooking the water. Nice terraces by the pool for relaxing and hearing the waves crash against the rocks below. King bed, we had a garden view room. Bathroom had a tub/shower combo. Larger than our other baths and again updated with newer tile and clean. We loved the quaint town right near Portofino and Rapallo. It is an hour train ride to Chinque Terre. The train station is only a 3 min walk from the hotel...the only catch is it is all up stairs. You can drive by cab up to the station for a hefty price.

Milan - Capital Milleneum Hotel (4 star) 180 euros. This hotel is not in a tourist area. Only a few min walk to the metro and 20 min walk to Last Supper Painting. Approx 30 min walk to Duomo. You can take metro if you want I suppose. Small room - nice and elegant. Helpful hotel staff. Arranged a cab to airport for us in advance for a flat rate of 80Euro. Bath was small, but nice, clean and updated with newer white tile. GREAT Jet tub again. We stayed here on our last night and enjoyed the jet tub before our next day of travel home.

I hope this helps you in choosing hotels. I honestly liked each of our hotels. All included breakfast too. If you have other questions - let me know. We went to Chianti, Chinqua Terre, Orvieto too. We rented cars, took the train and some boats too. If you have questions about any of our experiences, would love to help. Happy travels!!!
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Old May 27th, 2003, 04:56 PM
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Great timing I just turned on my computer to see if anyone had anything to say about Siena. There are three woman traveling with car. I looked at the hotel Santa Caterina just a short while ago. I can't decide to stay a few days in Siena or Chianti. Which would you suggest? Thanks
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Old May 28th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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It depends on what you are looking for. We only spent a day in Chianti. From what I saw, most hotels are pretty isolated. I would not drive anywhere there at night due to the roads winding so much and things are not labelled very well. If you do stay in Siena, you can use it as a base and drive to other cities. Orvieto is only an hour and chianti is right there too. Then, after spending the day out, you can walk into town to a local restaurant in Siena for dinner and be done with the car. As I mentioned, I would not park there as they want the keys to your car to move it when they need to. Their small parking lot was a nightmare to get out of.... Also, I noticed lots of signs for hotels as we drove thru chianti. Many of them were listed as 4 star. The Santa Caterina was only 140 euro per night and included a nice breakfast and it is a 3 star. If you stay there, request a room overlooking the garden - away from the road in front of the hotel. You will think you are completely in the country - away from the city at all with that view. My opinion also is, we didn't spend so much time in our room...and my big hot button is a clean/updated bath. Our bath was nice size, very new and clean. The only drawback was the shower was very small...but how much time do you spend in the shower anyway? I hope this helps a bit. If you have more questions...let me know.
Maria
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Old May 28th, 2003, 04:53 PM
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hey mgfit thanks for the info.
we are staying at the Cenobio Dei Dogi in Camogli in 3 weeks! sounds like a nice place. should I call the hotel prior to train arrival for baggage help? Or is it an easy walk with luggage? Thanks.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 05:01 PM
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Thanks Maria I will go to Siena it makes more sense. One more question is Perugia worth a visit? I will only be staying one night in Seina as I have a reservation in Florence. Thanks again
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Old May 28th, 2003, 08:21 PM
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Did you happen to notice if there were many other hotels in Camogli? I've been looking on the internet and can't seem to find any other than the one you stayed at. (Looking for something less expensive.) Thinking of winging it next April if I can't find places with websites. What do you think?
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Old May 29th, 2003, 03:56 AM
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Holly, we've eaten at the Casmona in Camogli. Can't speak to their rooms but their food is fine. It's right on the main street facing the harbor but up a flight of stairs. I'd expect it to be relatively inexpensive.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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Maria,
Thanks for your report - very good info.
I was curious about your travel methods. You said you took trains, but also rented cars. We traveling to many of the same places (Tuscany, Umbria, Cinque Terra, Lake Como) in September. Usually when we travel in Europe we try to avoid a rental car and take trains/buses, but I've heard that's hard to do in parts of Italy.
Where did you find it necessary to pick up a car, and how difficult was it?

Thanks
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Old May 29th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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To respond to the numerous responses to my post....

To Lewis, regarding Cenobio Dei Dogi and and luggage. The walk is all down stairs and then you cross the street and you are at the hotel. I would guess it was about equal to 4 stories of stairs. There were some cabs outside the train station. We did take a cab from the hotel up on the way out...they charged us 15 euros because there were 4 of us and 4 large suitcases plus carry on's. They added some bag fees in to that 15 euros...what a rip off. If I had not shopped so much in Florence, I would have carried the bag myself up the stairs! The hotel did not provide any assistance in terms of pick up or anything. If you are strong and you don't have much, you may be able to walk. It isn't far, it is just so many steps! One recommendation on a restaurant...Ristorante Rosa in Camogli. It offers the BEST VIEW at sunset! I guarantee it! It can get a bit pricy...mostly seafood. We were not too impressed with the food in the Liguria area..in general. So I would say it was OK. The view however was worth it...sun set around 8:30pm last week while we were there. Simply gorgeous and a view overlooking Camogli. Make reservations thru the hotel. It is about a 10 min walk from Cenobio. Also make sure to have drinks out on the small terrace a few steps down from the pool. Right on the hillside over the rocks below...they bring chips/peanuts/olive snacks with your drinks. Simply beautiful right there!!! We enjoyed the snacks with a nice glass of champaigne....awesome!!
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Old May 29th, 2003, 03:31 PM
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To Joanie, We did not go to Perugia. We only stopped in Orvieto, Siena, and spent another day driving thru wineries in Chianti. That was fun! I do recommend that! Simply beautiful.

To Holly - about other hotels in Camogli. I did not notice much. I did see one or two restaurants advertising rooms though. I don't know names or anything though. I have heard from many other people that they stayed cheaply in the Cinque Terre area. That was a 1 hr train ride from Camogli. We did that for a day trip and it was AWESOME! This was the most beautiful place we went on our trip. Just my opinion!!!

To SHeepdog - about our methods of travel...

We flew into Venice. From there we took a train to Rome (4 1/2 hrs) and purchased the ticket in advance from here. From Rome- we picked up a car from the train station and drove thru Tuscany. I can't imagine seeing Tuscany any other way!!! The scenery on the small roads thru the countryside in Chianti was amazing! So peaceful and beautiful. We dropped the car in Florence near the train station (nightmare to find that!!!! very stressful!). We then took the train to Camogli. We used the train/boats in Cinque Terre (no need for a car here - nor would I want to drive there). The boats between the 5 villages was beautiful..relaxing and provided a great photo op from the water. We then took the train to Milan. The best book we used to get in/out of cities was the Rick Steve's book. He had sketches of the route in/out of Orvieto, Siena and Florence. If I didn't have that book - we would have been in trouble!!! If you are afraid of drivig out of a big city, take the train to another city nearby that is smaller and then pick up a car. (example: you can pick up a car in Orvieto which is only a 1 hr train ride from Rome). That would be much easier. Driving in Chianti was tough...nothing labelled too well. We realized - just keep driving until any sign resembles anything on the way to where you are trying to go! The car rental place did give good directions to the auto strada in Rome. That wasn't too bad. I hope this helps a bit. Maria
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Old May 29th, 2003, 04:22 PM
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Hi Maria
Thanks again for the great info! We will also visit the CT from Camogli. We can't wait. We already made a reservation at Rosa thru the hotel. Also going to stay on the Tuscany/Umbria border so I appreciate your info on that as well. Mille grazie
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Old May 29th, 2003, 04:52 PM
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To Lewis:

If you love cheese, get some pecorino in Pienza and enjoy a picnic with a little vino rosso and pecorino.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 09:04 PM
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How busy was Camogli in mid-May? I plan to be there in April; guess I might have to wing it hotel or room-wise. Lewis - sure would appreciate it if you'd take note of the hotel situation and report back. And have a great trip!
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Old May 30th, 2003, 04:35 AM
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I like the way you think maitaitom I would enjoy that very much. We did just that while visiting the Provence & Burgundy areas of France in 2001, bottle of wine, a little pate, baguette, salmon fume, you know!!
Holly, I will look into all hotels in Camogli and the surrounding area for you and report back here amd send you info via e-or-snail mail.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 03:54 AM
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IF YOU VISIT CT or LIGURIA AND USE TRAINS>>>>READ THIS

I just wanted to share something else important if you travel by train here. You will purchase your train ticket, but you MUST get if validated or you will be fined! We got in trouble and were fined! (20 euros per person!!!). Before you get on the train, there is a machine in the train station that you must put your ticket in and it stamps a day/time on it. From what I could understand in the broken english from the train guy was that the ticket is good for six hours after it is validated. If it is not validated, they charge you on the spot additional money....it was so irritating because we were not told this when we bought the train ticket at the train station. Also - FYI - in Camogli, the train station ticket window was not open on Sunday morning (we had already purchased our tickets in advance so it didn't matter to us)..just in case you are travelling from there on Sunday. Also, the boats from Camogli were not running when we were there last week. They must start later in the season. The boats in CT were running though. Also - there is NO boat stop in Corniglia (it is a harder hike there from what I read) so I recommend taking the train there first so you can see it. Then do the easy walk to Monterolo and Riamaggiore (we did those and they were easy). Then, you can take the boat to Vernazza and Montrosso. Also - the boats between the CT do not run during lunch (12 - 2:30pm). Plan accordingly. My friend thought she saw on the schedule that the boats in CT do not run on Sunday....I honestly did not pay attention, so you may want to find out in case. Vernazza was the most flooded with tourists - the others were more quaint. I hope this helps!!! If you have more questions, let me know. I kept a travel journal on everything we did.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 03:59 AM
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Holly - as far as how busy it was in Camogli. Honestly - we didn't see any american tourists. Not many people really even spoke english. It was not crowded in my opinion. I can't image in April it would be over run with tourists. I will also look in any literature that I picked up on my trip and see if there are any hotel listings
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