If you are using "Points" for hotel stays, "Do it NOW", or ASAP! You can always cancel, but you will want to reserve a place you can afford, soon.
Air costs are really ? right now. This American/ US Air merger is something to watch. They will probably have some "Super Specials" soon.
Hope you stay in touch and let us know how your progress and how we at MRI can help with details.
Make sure you check prior posts, especially ones posted by "Professor C"
If you want to use Marriott Rewards points for the trip you can go here to see what point values can do for you...
Look for the airline that best suits your needs (and is usually the airline that you have a good frequent flyer account with) and the Marriott packages, when used, will transfer extra miles to your airline account to help with the full amount of miles you will need. Take a good look at the Terms and Conditions to make sure that you can get it done so it works for you.
Good luck and keep us posted how it works out and if we can be of more help...just ask!
We've already book our rooms in TuscanyLuxury Hotel in Tuscany: Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa: Home , hope I didn't snag the last rewards stay!
As Mr. Coin mentions book them early, but also make sure you check the airlines you plan to you for the best days to travel as some Tue/Wed trips are much less in cost or have saver awards available.
Good luck and keep us updated just in case the Insiders can offer suggestions.
IAHFLYR, and anyone else considering this exquisite property, just to get you in the mood - particularly if you've forgotten to visit fschumpert's excellent gallery - you can check out our view (looking to the left) from our balcony, below (obviously, many more later).... It was brutal day for our family - a late breakfast, family tennis (on a turf court) surrounded by gorgeous green trees, some pool time, and a splendid outdoor dinner overlooking the killer view...
Other than that, you may have seen similar tips before, but: (1) GPS is an absolute necessity; (2) be prepared - it is not a casual drive to the resort - the last hour requires consistent attention and a fair degree of caution, and (3) depending upon your experience and skill level, think long and hard about whether to pay the (significant) price premium for an automatic transmission - we're doing fine with a manual transmission, but my wife is not enthusiastic about driving up here - it's very (very) hilly, and the roads are very, very winding and tight... (Granted, there is a heliport on the property, but we left our chopper at home for the transatlantic leg....) Oh, and, if you haven't purchased your plane tickets yet, we flew to Florence (on United, via Zurich), and our friends flew to Pisa (on Delta/KLM through Amsterdam) - their drive was significantly quicker....
ssindc sounds like you're brutal day is exactly what we will want and enjoy very soon at this gorgeous spot.
We will be driving from Bellagio and the current directions have us turn southwest just prior to Parma. I am also looking at staying on A1 until Modena, but that road looks even more curvy than the drive along the Amalfi Coast so I may not do that route. Thanks for the information and the manual transmission will be how we get there.
Oh, what was the restaurant you had the outdoor dinner?
IAHFLYR - as for driving, I can't tell you any road names - I'm just doing what the GPS tells me to do...
We've already eaten a few meals on the hotel veranda - one dinner and two lunch/mid-day meals - we've not eaten at the high-end (dress up) restaurant yet - the food is (very) good, albeit pricey... My sons are raving about, among other things, the pizza, the Renaissance burger (alas), the virgin colada's, the ice coffee (shaken, not stirred, and served in a martini glass). Tonight we ate in the (gorgeous) town of Barga at L'Antana, highly recommended by the hotel (and reservation pretty much required) - exquisite food yet casual and more moderately priced...
Oh, and my son (a budding photographer) and I were intrigued by the hallway lighting fixtures in the resort....
Yeah road names other than A1 would not be something I'd catch other than "the voice" telling me to turn in 500 feet!
Glad to read it's casual as the closes thing to formal I will bring is a pair of Nike walking shoes and maybe a Hawaiian shirt. Thanks for the tips, and yes even I would take a picture of those light fixtures.
The A1 is primary motorway from Milan to Parma to Modena. If you plan to head south to Lucca from Modena you'll take Highway 12, approximately 100 km, and you can then go north at Bagni toward Barga. Highway 12 is better route than road from Reggio through mountains to Barga. Or, if you haven't passed Parma, you could take A15 south toward La Spezia and then turn East at Aulla toward Castelnuovo and Barga. This would be shorter route over mountains than Hwy. 12.
IAHFLYR - suppose you've arrived at Ciocco Renaissance by now and are reclining in the "lap of luxury" - say "hello" to GM Georges M. that I'm continuing his request to recommend US folks to Ciocco
Not there as yet Fred, it is on the horizon and promise to pass along your good wishes to Georges. I think ssindc is there right now with his family so he also might say hello to the "Boss"!
You might want to visit earlier photo posting I submitted for one of our favorite Tuscany spots, Renaissance Tuscany, Ciocco, and nearby town of Barga and Lucca, which I've posted under photo page I earlier posted on Insiders, under heading "Browse" and "Photos". You can drive from Florence there in less than one hour.
Our other favorite spot to stay and tour Tuscany is San Gimigiano, about 45 minutes south of Florence. From there you can visit nearby Siena, Montepuluchiano, Montalcino, Cortona, Assi, etc. and drive down the Chianti Road. If you need a recommendation for B&C in San Gimigiano, let me know. If you've never seen the movie, "Tea with Mussolini", it is a true story and was filmed partially in this walled city. Wonderful restaurants there also. Make sure you try some of the wild boar sausage and pecorino cheese, Vernaccia white wine, which are ingenious to the area.
There are any number of ways to fly to Italy, but living on East Coast, US, our nearest "gateway" is Atlanta, either direct to Milan or Rome, or via JFK to Venice. You can drive from Milan or Venice to Renaissance, Tuscany, which is near Barga, or take train to Florence, or Pisa, and rent auto there.If you use a GPS the last time we were at Renaissance, the device only took us to Gallicano, so you might want to email the resort for directions before you leave.
IAHFLYR - ENJOY!!! I ... am ... jealous....
I think you've seen these already, but - in addition to fschumpert's gallery, I posted more photos here: Italy, Tuscany - Il Ciocco, Barga, Cinque Terre, Florence, Lucca, Pisa
Ah.... Great stuff... I hope you have a wonderful trip!
On your way to the hotel you will come to see this bridge which has a wonderful story attached to it....
IAHFLYR - Here's another amenity of Renaissance in Tuscany - if you arrive via plane in Rome and don't want to drive to Pascoli, you can arrange for the hotel to pick you up in the hotel helicopter and bring you to the hotel. As you can imagine, a bit pricy! But, you might be of the royalty sort and don't mind a few extra hundred Euros for comfort and time conservation!
Just returned from a GLORIOUS time in Italy and Germany, and yes the Renaissance is all you guys said it would be as well as we got to see the helicopter come and go a few times. Got to meet and talk with Georges, gave him regards from you and ssindc as well, what a great person and runs a fabulous place for sure. He was even gracious enough to have Elena send us up a superb bottle of wine on our first night as he was dashing off to Rome on his motorcycle.
Much more coming on the trip in some blogs and probably in Aviation Geeks as well, where else!
IAHFLYR - Thanks for post; glad you enjoyed the Renaissance. Regarding helicopter, I took a video from my balcony patio when I was there, but haven't indulged in ride from Rome