I have been saving my platinum points forever to do a BIG 50th birthday trip for my husband and his best friend in September this year... we bought the flights first because of everyone's restricted work schedules but it never ever occurred to me that i would not be able to find availablity as a Platinum Premiere member....
The price for the preferred Autograph hotels in both Venice and Rome are prohibitive for as long a trip as we are taking - I just don't know what to do next ---
any help? any suggestions??
ugh. feeling a bit desperate.
The consensus on MRI appears to be that the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora is THE best Marriott property in Rome. The Rome Marriott Park hotel also seems to get good reviews, though it's farther out.
Profc just came back from Venice and posted some lovely photos and good info on her stay in Venice. This wasn't at a Marriott property though, but something to consider!
The only rooms available in either city right now are the airport hotels. I just cannot conceive of that sort of commute - but maybe i am mistaken?
I checked the Pesaro Palace in Venice that Profc wrote about - it was 355 euro per night. a bit out of our budget and right at the same price as the marriotts.
I haven't done this myself, but others in MRI have mentioned that if reward nights are not available at the Marriott Grand Flora in Rome, you can try contacting the hotel directly to do a reward booking. It doesn't hurt to try, and others have had success doing this. I would call the Platinum line and have them connect you, but it would be best to call the property during their normal business hours. Alternatively, you could try communicating through e-mail. Again, the Platinum line should be able to provide you with the relevant information.
As for Venice, I've read on MRI that there's actually a pretty good Holiday Inn that's centrally located and is priced decently. I can't recall the name, but it's something worth checkin out.
That is a fantastic suggestion to contact the property directly - anyone know how to get the email address?
The gentleman at the Platinum number said that those properties only have to offer 10% of their rooms for rewards travel... i bet it is at their discretion.
In this instance, there are rooms available at the rack rates - but it would be a total budget buster.
I am hesitant to try and call directly. Mainly, because I lack the confidence to get my intentions across clearly.
I am new to using this Insider's board... thank you all so much!
The rates vary enormously depending on time of year in Venice. I got a very sweet deal at the Pesaro (but it was Jan/Feb), and even with it costing more in May (I did it on booking.com) the place was so great I wouldn't consider anything else. But it's Carnavale right now, so the prices are very high everywhere.
There are a number of Best Westerns in Venice. I've only stayed at the Sant'Elena which is now one of Priority Club's higher class properties. I stayed there twice -- it's a very quiet location just beyond Giardini with a vaporetto stop (and no bridges or steps) about a block and a half straight ahead. I was treated wonderfully there on both stays.
Let me know when you're trip gets closer and I'll give you some tips for restaurants, etc. in Venice. I've now been there (I think) 9 times and it is my favorite Italian city.
That's because of Carnavale. The other dates to work around are feast days of Saint Mark, and you won't have a problem. DON'T STAY AT THE AIRPORT FOR ANYTHING BUT THE FIRST OR LAST NIGHT. It's a good CY, but you're 20-30 minutes from Venice by bus. You might as well not go to Venice. You shouldn't have any problems getting a good hotel room in September, just try later.
K-Fraz, the Grand Flora is a category 8 hotel, which means it's very popular among MR members. The categories are determined by prior year redemption volume at each hotel. If there are a ton of us redeeming points to stay at a certain location, the higher the category. We can book about 50 weeks out (give or take a day) so plans need to be booked nearly a year ahead in order to somewhat guarantee a reward stay. I booked the Grand Flora exactly 50 weeks ahead of my hotel departure date this coming October, and when I checked one month later about shifting my dates a day to the right, there was no availability. The hotel may have rooms available for paying guests, but they don't release all their inventory to MR members for award redemptions. a
My wife and I are traveling to Rome in May at the tail end of a London/Paris/Rome trip. I also looked at the best redemption bang for your buck and decided to use the book 4 get 5 nights in Paris instead of Rome. Part of the reason is exactly what you are going thru. The only properties that were readily available are way outside of town. If you haven't tried it, go to the flexible calendar view for the Grand Flora. It may be that only 1 of the nights you have searched for isn't available and that has caused your entire search to show no availability. Even if you had to pay a night or two out of pocket, it wouldn't be TOO bad that way.
My wife and I actually ended up booking a lovely 1 bedroom apartment from a local on VRBO in the heart of Trastevere at 100Euro/night, which compared to other hotel costs is a steal.
Just for grins, I did a quick flexible search in Rome for September, and found 7 nights available at the Grand Flora, quite a few nights for the Boscolo, and the Courtyard Rome Central Park is totally wide open. Good luck on your big trip.
We were unable to book the Hotel Flora because they were full.
So we will stay at the Rome Courtyard. It's convenient to many attractions and
it is walking distance to a huge park. My experience with Courtyard is
very good. You might think about it. It will save you big on the points and
you can always save them for the fancy Marriott at home!
The Marriott Hotel Boscolo Autograph Collection in Venice is only Marriott inside the city; only other one is Courtyard at Marco Polo Airport. Took the attached photo inside lobby of Boscolo the morning we arrived, the day of the worse flooding in Venice in 100 years, this past November. We had to wade in 1 foot of water to the hotel, and 1/2 " even in the hotel lobby. The downstairs dining room was closed due to flooding. Room price was a bit high, but food and service were commendable, particularly under the circumstances. Everything in Venice is high, but after Oct. 1 and before end of Feb. (Carnivale), you can find rooms for approx. $150/night for two. I've stayed at Hotel Principe just outside the train station several times, and would recommend this, particularly if you're traveling via rail.
I've only stayed at Marriott Grand Flora in Rome, but where else to see the city? The name is indicative of the hotel quality - "Grand". If you use reward points, and have member status, breakfast buffet is free - otherwise, about $50/person. I'd suggest staying at Airport Courtyard if flying out early next morning.
Hope this is helpful.
Hope you don't mind me wading in here. I'm about to book a trip to Venice and am considering the Boscolo. I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions.....
Reviews on trip advisor suggest the beds are very uncomfortable, was that your experience?
Also, do you know if the Boscolo acknowledge MR membership? And do upgrades etc (am Platinum,).
The Boscolo is a Marriott property, but it does not have a CL. I stayed there once on points, but I would not pay to stay. It is completely on the other side of the island from most of the sites (not that things in Venice are that far apart), and I didn't find it anything special. Nice, but not special. Since I have stayed at three hotels I have much preferred -- the Pesaro Palace, my all time favorite, where I'll be again in three weeks; the Ai Reali, where the rooms and staff and everything are amazing, even though it isn't directly on the Grand Canal; and the San Cassiano Ca' Favretto which was very nice but very hard to find even after several days. In the past I've also stayed at the Best Western Sant' Elena and the Hotel Metropole several times.
I've found Venice to be the one place on earth in which were you stay makes ALL the difference. I was so, so happy with the Sant' Elena (past Giardini) until the first time I stayed at the Metropole and then on the Grand Canal.
If I remember correctly the beds at the Boscolo were very firm, not to my liking or what I think of as the usual Marriott 'don't want to get out of' beds.
Hope this helps! I'd look up all these places on tripadvisor as well. If you have an early flight, do stay at the Marriott Courtyard. You can leave your luggage at the hotel in Venice till late the day before then go over and be right there at the airport.
Here is my tripadvisor review from July 2012 with a few photos:
Hope it helps in your decision!
We found the Boscolo quite nice, even as we arrived with the lobby flooded with water, which receded by 9:30 A.M. after our arrival some 30 minutes earlier. We did receive a room upgrade, quite a spacious room with lovely bathing facilities. Also, the backyard garden is one of the very few in Venice (as shown in photo). As reported earlier, the Boscolo is accessible via 10 minute walk from train station and five minutes from port of departure if you arrive in Marco Polo Airport and take public transportation (boat). The buffet breakfast is quite nice as well. When I don't stay here I've found the Principe and Hotel Carlton, both near the train station, quite nice and reasonably priced, especially compared to those located on San Marco.
Hotels in Venice are always a bit high, but I've found reasonable rates after Oct. 1. Doubles are more than single occupancy. The closer to San Marco usually the higher the price/night; however, there are some high-priced rooms even near the train station. If I'm arriving via train, or bus from airport, I usually stay at Hotel Principe, or Amadeus, or Carlton (across canal from train station). You can walk to these hotels. If you stay at only Marriott in Venice, you would have a longer walk from train station, but you can take public transportation (boat) from Marco Polo Airport for approx. 30 Euros, and you'll have 5 minute walk to Autograph Hotel - I'd use Reward points here as price is quite high.
I would agree with Fred about the Autograph in Venice -- it's on the back part of the islands (farthest from train station etc., right near Fondament.le Nova. It's a nice hotel, but I haven't stayed there since because it was very expensive and not nearly as nice as some of the properties I've stayed at on the Grand Canal and San Marco.