My husband and I would like to go to Europe with our three kids, 19. 23. 25 in late July or early August. This seems to be the time that will work for all three with their different schedules. We have traveled a lot with them and enjoy big cities, but also like to explore the countryside. We spent two weeks a couple of years ago in London and Scotland. Since we only have a week with both weekends, we are thinking about keeping our travel to one city and the surrounding area. We have enough points to get a 5 night stay for one room at a level 8 hotel. I looked at Paris, but our extra room will need to be big enough for three and the hotels in Paris would cost us about $500 a night for that, also the flights into Paris appear to be more expensive than anywhere else. I have thought about Rome, but it feels like a trip to Italy would be better when we have two weeks to really explore. I have been looking at Ireland or Spain, they might also work. I have also been reading a lot of positive comments about Ghent, Belgium. My son is going to Germany next year, so we don't want to go to Berlin. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
Hello and welcome to Marriott Rewards Insiders, nancyge. Many members of the community have traveled abroad recently and I am sure will jump in and provide you with some great ideas. In the meantime, here are some links to get you started:
psudad wrote about his April 2013 trip to Belgium here: Re: Belgium - April 2013 - Our recent trip to Ghent, Brugge and Brussels
If you end up still considering Paris, there is a good post from 2012 about Paris Day trips here: Re: Day trips out of Paris
I would encourage you to not discount Germany (unless of course your son is venturing out of Berlin when he visits) as I loved Cologne and Munster.
One thing I would like share with you is:
Make sure everyone carries a copy of their passport and an itinerary, listing the hotels and their phone numbers! People this age tend to get "Lost" or can "Stay out late" and do not know where they are even staying! Sounds bizarre, but it happened to me at when the Renaissance Louvre just opened! It was a nightmare trying to find lost teens in Paris!
Now onto a more positive comment, have you considered "Monte Carlo", and the area around the Med. Coast. It is quite pretty, and you can take "Day trips" to Pisa, Milan, St. Tropez and many other wonderful places!
Just a thought. Whatever you decide to do, I hope some of us at MRI, can assist and answer your questions!
With kids that age I would highly recommend Dublin, Ireland. The Temple Bar district has amazing cuisine, clubs, and culture. While there you can take side trips to Galway and the Aran Islands. You could even get the ferry over to England if you want to try to fit that in too.
Looking forward to hearing what you choose!
We truly enjoyed our trip to Belgium last April. Southern Europe, i.e. Italy, would be very crowded and very hot in July. In August many things are closed, as they leave for their month-long holiday.
The Ghent Marriott is great and perfectly situated. It is very easy to fly into Brussels and take a train, non-stop, from the Brussels airport to St. Peter's station in Ghent. Then take the number 1 tram to the stop by St. Michael's bridge, walk across the bridge, take the stairs down and walk the block to the hotel.
Brugge is an easy day trip by train. About 25 mins, station to station. Easy to walk all over town.
You could stay, your last two nights in Brussels, at the great Marriott there, then fly home. I did a write up on our trip and also created a photo album. Let me know if you need help finding them.
Hello nancyge -
Welcome to Marriott Rewards Insiders. As someone in the age range of your children, I honestly do not believe you can go wrong with wherever you choose in Europe. I lived in Barcelona for 6 months when I was 21 a few years ago and loved the city, culture and people. I recommend a trip to Barcelona to everyone, just be careful of pickpockets there! There is a lot to do and see in Spain; I personally believe it is manageable to do all in the time frame you have. Ireland was a great trip for me as well, but it could be covered in just a few days. Another option is Greece, between Athens and some of the smaller islands you get the best of both worlds (might be very warm in July though).
Looking forward to hearing about your trip in the summer!
You mentioned the possibility of going to Ireland. If you fly into Dublin, there's a lovely Marriott Hotel a few miles west of the city - the Johnstown House - Meath Hotels | Hotels Near Dublin | Kildare Hotels | Accommodation Meath
You could drive south from there to what's called the "Ring of Kerry", Waterford and Cork, which is quite nice. Or, you could fly into Shannon (western Ireland) and visit Galway, drive to Ennis and stop at the Cliffs of Moher on the coast.
From there, drive north toward Galway (photo below) , and around the the Cornamona - it's absolutely beautiful!
The town of Clifden is a lovely spot to visit near the coast as well.
You can then drive back to Limerick and fly out of Shannon Airport. And, for added incentive about this lovely country, watch this:
If you're still considering at this stage, I'd cast a vote for, in no particular order:
1. Monte Carlo and Cannes. Hot weather, beautiful scenery, plenty of history and great entertainment choices for the late teens. The Marriott Porte Monaco and JW in Cannes are both great options
2. Benelux tour. Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a great starting point with Schipol airport well served by transatlantic flights. Both the Marriott and Ren are well positioned, I think the Marriotts position may suit a family with teens slightly better. Brussels is easy to reach by rail from Amsterdam and the Marriott Brussels is a credit to the chain, Bruges is easy to reach by rail for a day visit but deserves longer, no Marriott there but the Crowne Plaza is very comfortable, central and reasonably priced. Ghent is another lovely city and the Marriott there well regarded.
3. Barcelona. Plenty of Marriott choices here. I really like the much cheaper Ren Fira but there's no local nightlife in that area so not so good for teens, a more central choice such as the Ren Barcelona will be a better choice for them. Barcelona is a fab city, there's plenty for you and your teens!
4. London, Edinburgh and York. Lots for late teens. You can't go wrong with the London or the Marriott's there. The York Marriott is slightly outside York city but IMO York is unmissable and easy to reach on the East Coast line. From there pick up the train again to Edinburgh where Marriott serves up a trendy choice, the ultra central glasshouse, a roomy choice, the Residence Inn and the familiar, slightly out-of-town-but-next-to-tram Marriott. Finally, if your family fancies a bit of Scottish baronial splendour the much more out-of-town Dalmahoy is a great option for a night or 2. It feels quite isolated but is only a £20 cab ride onto Princes Street!
OOops. Misread your post, thought you said 2 weeks, not just a single week. Numbers 1 and 3 still work. For Benelux stick to just 2 of the 4 suggestions, for the UK, no more than 2 though London can do the entire week on its own. The Marriott Knightsbridge is well connected and within your range...
nancyge, what did you decide to do? Were the suggestions given early enough for you to reserve using points? Sometimes you have to reserve a long way out for some more in-demand locations to ensure you can get in.
nancyge - Perhaps with the turmoil in Western Europe it's not so bad that you can't follow through on your earlier plans. My favorite "European" city in N.A. is Quebec City, north of Montreal. If you've never been there, I'd highly recommend it. It has all the flavor of Europe - walled city, language (French), food, atmosphere, history, castle, fort, etc. We've been there in all seasons, including February during the international ice carnival (my wife and I below), when it snowed over 8 inches and was below zero:
The largest hotel is the Chateau Fontenac, as shown in photos below, but there are many others, less expensive. We normally stay in nearby St. Foy (between airport and Q.C. )at the Chateau Bonne Entente, where you can enjoy spacious rooms and fantastic food, especially the Sunday buffet.
If you happen to go, make sure you walk down below the boardwalk to the Old Quebec (photo above), and shop, take photos and dine - our favorite restaurant is La Marie Charise. Take time to tour the La Citadelle de Quebec - For additional information check: http://tripadvisor.com
You can fly into Montreal and from there take short flight to Quebec City.