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Old 10-18-2012, 08:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
Does anyone have a recommendation for a hotel in Venice?

I have a Starwood AMEX that gives me a good value when booking with their hotel chain and in Florence and Rome, there is a St. Regis in each city. The limited research I've done both say the St. Regis hotel in each city is excellent so I'm likely going to book those two but still need a hotel for three nights in Venice. Anyone have opinions on any good properties? Any opinions on either the St. Regis Rome or St. Regis Florence?

Thanks again!
You sound like your travel plans are high-end, if you are talking St. Regis. Staying in Venice is very expensive. And only the most expensive places have decent sized bathrooms and creature comforts. I don't frequent such places. What a lot of people do is stay in Mestre, across the Laguna Veneta, which is the last train stop on the Italian mainland and less than 10 minutes from Venezia's Santa Lucia train station fronting the Grand Canal. In Mestre, some of the chains have hotels. It is essentially a way to day-hop to Venice and to sleep in someplace less frenzied. The last time I checked, the Holiday Inn had 3 Venice locations - one in Mestre and 2 in a suburb named Quarto d'Altino, which requires a train ride to Mestre, and then the connecting train across the Laguna Veneta. It's also better for people who have a rental car and for whom seeing northern Italy (the Dolomites, the Lakes, Trieste, etc) is more of a priority than spending all of one's time in Venice. As expected, the Quarto d'Altino Holiday Inns are modern and in a generic suburb, and priced reasonably, for Venice. None of the really grand hotels in Venice belong to a chain, unless they are loosely affiliated. Look in Fodor's and look for 4 or 5 stars in Venice for the high-end ones in the city proper since that publication is for more affluent travelers.

 
Old 10-18-2012, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,304,691 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
You sound like your travel plans are high-end, if you are talking St. Regis. Staying in Venice is very expensive. And only the most expensive places have decent sized bathrooms and creature comforts. I don't frequent such places. What a lot of people do is stay in Mestre, across the Laguna Veneta, which is the last train stop on the Italian mainland and less than 10 minutes from Venezia's Santa Lucia train station fronting the Grand Canal. In Mestre, some of the chains have hotels. It is essentially a way to day-hop to Venice and to sleep in someplace less frenzied. The last time I checked, the Holiday Inn had 3 Venice locations - one in Mestre and 2 in a suburb named Quarto d'Altino, which requires a train ride to Mestre, and then the connecting train across the Laguna Veneta. It's also better for people who have a rental car and for whom seeing northern Italy (the Dolomites, the Lakes, Trieste, etc) is more of a priority than spending all of one's time in Venice. As expected, the Quarto d'Altino Holiday Inns are modern and in a generic suburb, and priced reasonably, for Venice. None of the really grand hotels in Venice belong to a chain, unless they are loosely affiliated. Look in Fodor's and look for 4 or 5 stars in Venice for the high-end ones in the city proper since that publication is for more affluent travelers.
My parents are 65 and 70 so I'm trying to find places that are a bit more comfortable for two people not used to small rooms/small bathrooms or lacking in creature comforts. I picked the St. Regis in both Rome and Florence because I know the St. Regis chain fairly well and also get points on my Starwood AmEx for staying at a Starwood property. My parents really aren't the types to stay at small, quaint properties because my dad is probably the quintessential "American tourist" with the bulky camera, the loud and boisterous voice, and generally likes to complain when something isn't what he is used to. He's a whiskey-drinking, golfing, stereotypical 70 year old retiree that wears Dockers and a Hawaiian shirt. Not exactly someone you want in a small, European hotel.
 
Old 10-18-2012, 11:14 PM
 
14,752 posts, read 28,681,653 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
My parents really aren't the types to stay at small, quaint properties because my dad is probably the quintessential "American tourist" with the bulky camera, the loud and boisterous voice, and generally likes to complain when something isn't what he is used to. He's a whiskey-drinking, golfing, stereotypical 70 year old retiree that wears Dockers and a Hawaiian shirt. Not exactly someone you want in a small, European hotel.
Can you handle NOT staying in a chandelier filled place in Venice, then? Try the chains in Venezia-Mestre. It will be standard issue Holiday Inn Europe if it's still in the chain - they come and go, switching ownership and franchising. See if Starwood has Sheratons there, too. The trains between Venezia-Mestre and Venezia-Santa Lucia (Venice proper) run every 15 minutes or so, constantly, and the train track connecting the mainland to Venice (about 117 islands) across the lagoon takes only 8 minutes or so.

He can wear the Dockers, but the Hawaiian shirt has to go. He will really stand out as an American first-timer. Forbid him to wear anything other than his solid colored golf shirts. Also, the FIRST rule for men from the Anglo-influenced world traveling in Italy, particularly in crowded tourist destinations, is NO WALLETS in back pockets. Carrying valuables and credit cards/currency requires additional security procedures.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 04:47 AM
 
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I could spend the whole 15 days just going from town to town on the Amalfi Coast..
https://www.google.ca/search?num=10&....1.YG27BdtVs-w
 
Old 10-19-2012, 05:21 AM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,623,429 times
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I've never been to Italy but my daughter and gdaughter have been several times. They were least impressed with Venice which seemed, to them, totally dedicated to the "tourist". They loved Florence. Theydidn't get a chance to see much of Rome as this was a school trip , kind of a sampling of places and it also covered Austria and Paris as well.

Will all 6 of you be "together" when touring? Seems like some would have different interests and want to see different things.

Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for all of you and you probably will want to return when you can have a "smaller" group to travel with.

Last edited by Newdaawn; 10-19-2012 at 05:24 AM.. Reason: Addition
 
Old 10-19-2012, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,304,691 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
Can you handle NOT staying in a chandelier filled place in Venice, then? Try the chains in Venezia-Mestre. It will be standard issue Holiday Inn Europe if it's still in the chain - they come and go, switching ownership and franchising. See if Starwood has Sheratons there, too. The trains between Venezia-Mestre and Venezia-Santa Lucia (Venice proper) run every 15 minutes or so, constantly, and the train track connecting the mainland to Venice (about 117 islands) across the lagoon takes only 8 minutes or so.

He can wear the Dockers, but the Hawaiian shirt has to go. He will really stand out as an American first-timer. Forbid him to wear anything other than his solid colored golf shirts. Also, the FIRST rule for men from the Anglo-influenced world traveling in Italy, particularly in crowded tourist destinations, is NO WALLETS in back pockets. Carrying valuables and credit cards/currency requires additional security procedures.
I'll look up your suggestions, somebody emailed me a suggestion to stay at the Westin Europa and Regina if I preferred Starwood so will look into that, also looked and found they had a Hilton Molino Stucky Venice. I'd really rather still to an international chain where I have a base idea of what to expect than stay at a local place or a European-only chain that my dad would feel uncomfortable in.

Besides what a better way to see the "grandeur" of Italy than staying at a grand hotel?

Thank you for the train suggestion, will definitely look into that!

I'm trying to get him to only bring his solid-colored golf shirts along with Dockers; no Tommy Bahama this trip. I'll tell him about the wallet situation as well, this is all helpful! I'm a Europe-newbie so all advice is taken!

Quote:
Will all 6 of you be "together" when touring? Seems like some would have different interests and want to see different things.
To see the major sites in each city, we'll all go together I assume. Obviously to check out museums and such we'll go as a group. We'll probably split up after supper and do our own thing, my siblings and I will want to check out the nightlife while my parents will want to go back and soak in the bathtub after a long day of walking cobblestone streets. We'll convene at breakfast each morning and at that time, we'll probably discuss our plans for the day.

Tentatively this sounds like a decent way to approach our trip. Instead of making some long checkmarked list of places to see and visit, just have a general idea of what we want to do and decide each day what we should do/see.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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Again, I recommend tripadvisor for recommendations. In Venice we stayed in a small not too expensive place lots of stairs. Probably not what you want for your parents. Venice Hotels: Compare 434 Hotels in Venice, with 77,399 Reviews | TripAdvisor. Since your parents are older you might want to also check the maps and see how close they are to the water taxi's. If it's in your budget and it seems it might be you might look here The 25 Best Luxury Hotels in Venice : Five Star Alliance.

For the person asking about Cinque Terre, it's ok there now but yes it's not an easy journey from Florence.

Speedy, where are you flying into and out of? Are you training between locations?
 
Old 10-19-2012, 09:04 AM
 
Location: San Diego
993 posts, read 803,298 times
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I lived in Italy for a summer and have been back two more times since then...it's definitely one of the best places in the world to visit.

In Rome, just walk around and go into every church you see. I'm not Catholic (or even Christian) and I found the churches in Rome to be the best part. Vatican is amazing, but you need to make sure you buy the tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum Tour, you get a top-notch tour guide as well as getting to skip the lines. The Vatican is an absolute must-see. As is the Coloseum and Forum if you get a good tour guide. Go through Viator, they were amazing and incredibly professional. Our guide in the Forums was a literal walking encyclopedia. Interestingly enough, our best meals in Rome came at two very odd places: A restaurant at the foot of the Coloseum called "Coming Out" which was a gay place but the food was incredible and it's one of only a few restaurants where you can eat outside in direct line-of-sight to the Coloseum. The other restaurant which was amazing was in the Jewish quarter...it was a Jewish-Italian restaurant which had some really unique things I'd never heard of and which were spectacular. But food in Italy is basically all wonderful unless you're going to the touristy places.

I really don't like Venice, but it's definitely something you should experience. I'd make that the shortest portion...two days is definitely enough. If you want to see Canals in a city, go to Belgium or The Netherlands where they are clean and not lined by graffiti-covered and pee-soaked walls.

Florence is a freaking painting in 3 dimensions. It's stunningly gorgeous and the museums are wonderful. It's a city you can definitely spend a few days in. Make sure to go to the top of Florence Cathedral, the views from the top of the dome are breathtaking. Food in Florence is fantastic, but a bit more expensive than other places in Italy.

Pisa is nothing special outside of the Leaning Tower. Verona is only notable because of Romeo and Juliet. Milan is interesting, but not beautiful. Lago Di Como is stunning (if you've watched Attack of the Clones, the planet of Naboo scene where Anakin and Padme marry is filmed there) but out of the way being near the Swiss border.

Personally, I think Naples is the most underrated city in Europe. It's far cheaper than the other major Italian cities, has the best pizza in the country without question, has the best shopping (Via Roma), the best Gelato, the Island of Capri is a short (and cheap) boat ride away, Vesuvius and Pompeii is right there and is a tour you must go on. People talk about the crime there, but being American I don't see it to be a problem compared to most of our major cities. I walked alone through alleys and random streets and just about everywhere in the city (dressed in Khakis and a button down with nice shoes as I always am) and never once had a problem.

Italy is amazing, just be prepared to gain about 5-10 pounds a week while you're there.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 10:17 AM
 
548 posts, read 1,808,381 times
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I'm surprised the number of people who don't like Venice. 2 1/2 days is good imo although I would have liked to stay longer. Speedy, you might also like to look at my blog of my trips Every Picture Tells A Story: Venice, sweet Venice starts here for the Venice Rome Amalfi trip click next or use the right pane October2010. September/October this year (2012) is the Florence, Rapallo and Como trip.

And I thought the best pizza was in Portofino ;-) But seriously it's all good. Crust differs in regions I notice. Think, I lost weight all the times I've been to Europe...it's those stairs.

Oh and I just remembered...make sure you go to Piazzale Michelangelo preferably late in the day. We walked and it' a long arduous walk but you can take a bus there. It's a must see and have cocktails up there. It's high above the city (Florence) and a spectacular view.
 
Old 10-19-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,304,691 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by janrey View Post
Again, I recommend tripadvisor for recommendations. In Venice we stayed in a small not too expensive place lots of stairs. Probably not what you want for your parents. Venice Hotels: Compare 434 Hotels in Venice, with 77,399 Reviews | TripAdvisor. Since your parents are older you might want to also check the maps and see how close they are to the water taxi's. If it's in your budget and it seems it might be you might look here The 25 Best Luxury Hotels in Venice : Five Star Alliance.

For the person asking about Cinque Terre, it's ok there now but yes it's not an easy journey from Florence.

Speedy, where are you flying into and out of? Are you training between locations?
Will look at your link after work!

Flying in to Leonardo Da Vinci and flying out of Venice Marco Polo. Both times we're connecting in either Germany or Switzerland depending which flight I book. We plan on traveling by high speed rail between the three cities as it sounds like the most efficient method of transportation.

Quote:
In Rome, just walk around and go into every church you see. I'm not Catholic (or even Christian) and I found the churches in Rome to be the best part. Vatican is amazing, but you need to make sure you buy the tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum Tour, you get a top-notch tour guide as well as getting to skip the lines. The Vatican is an absolute must-see. As is the Coloseum and Forum if you get a good tour guide. Go through Viator, they were amazing and incredibly professional. Our guide in the Forums was a literal walking encyclopedia. Interestingly enough, our best meals in Rome came at two very odd places: A restaurant at the foot of the Coloseum called "Coming Out" which was a gay place but the food was incredible and it's one of only a few restaurants where you can eat outside in direct line-of-sight to the Coloseum. The other restaurant which was amazing was in the Jewish quarter...it was a Jewish-Italian restaurant which had some really unique things I'd never heard of and which were spectacular. But food in Italy is basically all wonderful unless you're going to the touristy places.
My whole family is Catholic, my mother being a very devout Catholic so the Vatican is high on her priority list. Being a devout Catholic, I doubt we'll be eating at "Coming Out" .

I think I have a pretty good list of places to check out! This should be a fun trip!
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