My husband and I are leaving for Italy in the next month and will be gone for 3 weeks. We are staying at the Grand Flora in Rome on points, at the Westin in Florence on points and at the Boscolo Venezia on points. Can you tell that we have been saving our points for many years for this first time trip to Italy?
I would love to have any recommendations for restaurants in any of those cities. We pretty much have our "tours" booked and major sight seeing locations all planned out.
Also, if you have any helpful hints or suggestions, that would be most welcome. Lastly, for those with experience flying out of Venice - here's our challenge. We have a 6:30 am flight out of Venice, connecting throughout CDG back to the US. I don't believe the Marriott Boscolo provides airport boat shuttle to the airport so we will need to take a public transportation. How early do we need to be at the airport? The Alliguna does not stop at the closest dock to the hotel until 8am. So we will need to either walk to the further dock or walk to the bus stop, both at an ungodly hour in the morning.
Should we splurge on a "taxi", should we just stay at the Marriott courtyard for our final night, or will it be no problem to take the bus to the airport.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
Well if it was me i would stay at courtyard to relive a lot of stress about making it on time just my two cents . You will sleep better and insure you make . By the way all are very lovely cities that i have been to also . As far as restaurants most hotels have wifi so go to trip advisor and it will tell you all restaurants within a distance and show you all the reviews. We have done that many times and i have been able to go to many fine out of the way restaurants
Dining in Venice just walk around and you'll find so many little cafes and quaint spots to eat it isn't funny, but also look at tripadvisor as jerryl wrote. Don't expect an early meal though as most places don't start serving dinner until 7PM or a bit later.
Also, expect to get lost numerous times while walking around Venice, it will happen.
Enjoy your trip
Staying at the Courtyard the night before would definitely be a stress reliever so agree with the previous posts on that one. We found that using Tripadvisor in any location is a great asset and we definitely use this tool extensively wherever we travel. But that being said, in Venice we found the best eating in places we stumbled upon during our walks. At one point I felt that we had actually landed in some family's home by accident but it was just the hospitality of the owner that made us feel like family. No menu just some wonderful dishes of food brought out and thoroughly enjoyed. Have fun walking and exploring because you never know what gems are waiting down an alleyway or across a small bridge.
My experience at Grand Flora was superb!
The staff is wonderful, say hello to these fine people for me!
They can arrange transportation to/from airport, if you need it, and put the charge on your room!
A block away from the hotel is one of the finest and fairly priced places for dinner in Rome. You can easily walk there, and the American music was fantastic.
Mirabelle's is a lovely place for a great dinner and evening!
Will have more, later!
Here are a couple of other places that you may want to visit while in Rome, close to The Grand Flora.
If given a choice, enjoy room 620! Its quiet and inside. Be careful of rooms on the street, they can be quite noisy.
This is a place just outside the hotel, to your left. It is a wonderful place for snacks and inexpensive items!
Don't have a photo, but if you walk down the Via Venetto you will find the best place to exchange money. It is before you get to The Burger King, and on the other side of the street from the hotel.
Thanks for the message!
Right now, I am worried about travel. This Dallas situation is scary. Made it a great week in London, (Will have details soon).
Will stay in touch!
surfwatcherb - Travel in/out of Venice on business frequently. When coming into Marco Polo Airport, and staying at Boscolo, I usually take water taxi (public transportation), to ATV Madonna del Orto dock, and walk about five minutes to the Boscolo -
There are plenty of good restaurants throughout Venice - not always in the more tourist sections - and my favorite is Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie - http://www.posteveccie.com/.it near the Rialto Bridge and the fish market. You can take a vaporetto from S. Marcoula (near Boscolo) to three stops and exit at Mercato, and then walk to the restaurant, then the reverse back to the hotel. The Boscolo breakfast is quite good.
If you're flying out of Marco Polo Airport in early AM, as you indicated, I'd definitely stay at Courtyard near airport and they provide free shuttle to the airport. It would be less confusing, and time consuming, than going to bus station (car park), and riding bus to the airport.
I'm not sure where you're staying in Florence, but I like a small, out-of-the-way restaurant, Nella Antica Trattoria Toscana, on Via delle Terme, near the Piazza Signoria and Ponte Vecchio.
Quite frankly, some of the best food we've eaten in Rome was at the Grand Flora, especially the buffet breakfast!
Not only do they have a great breakfast buffet at The Grand Flora, they gave us "Comped" room service every day, and it was wonderful as well!
Sounds like a stellar trip! To address your question of flying out of VCE to CDG early in the morning, I have done it.
You are correct about the Alilaguna boats not running until about 8am in the morning. We caught the last Alilaguna boat out of Venice (by the Rialto Bridge) to VCE the night prior, and then caught the Marriott shuttle to the CY. I would only caution NOT to take the last Alilaguna boat (after 10pm if I recollect - yes, we tried to squeeze every last second that we could in Venice), as these boats take about an hour, and the last Marriott shuttle picks up at the airport at around 11:30-11:45pm (you could probably walk to the CY from the airport, but in the dark and not knowing which direction... well, take the shuttle). We cut it really close. Then we had to get up at 4:00 to get back to the airport in time for the flight (if you are checking bags, I would arrive 1.5 hours prior, otherwise, 1 hour prior.) If you want even a marginally decent night sleep for the flight back, you will probably want to catch the Alilaguna boat across NLT 8pm. I don't know how late the water taxis run. While they are more expensive, they are definitely faster.
The first shuttle at the CY runs at 5am and you will want to be on that shuttle (make sure you're in line a little early in case there are a number of travelers wanting that first one and make sure you let the front desk know of your morning shuttle intentions when you check-in). This means that you will depart prior to breakfast service, which would otherwise be complimentary due to elite status.
The CY is less than a mile from the airport. While the CY decor was modern and up-to-date and all very clean and great staff, there is not a lot of warmth to the look and feel of the place, at least that is my recollection (and I only actually spent a few hours there). Lots of hard product (I think our 1st floor room flooring was pergo, not carpet), soft product not so much. It's not a place that I (personally) would enjoying spending time, although it will serve your purpose very well and you can't beat the price.
Here's some text from another post:
Busses - From the airport, City Bus number 5 takes you to Venice, number 15 to Mestre. An inexpensive option, but you probably don't want to use it when you have a lot of luggage. Like most local buses in Italy, buy a ticket at a tabacchi (tobacco store) or newsstand. There is one at the airport.
For Vaporetto information - www.actv.it | Actv - impresa e territorio, il valore dei fatti
For the Alilaguna boats to/from Marco Polo Airport and Venice - www.alilaguna.it/?lang=en
Tips for taking a gondola ride - Venice Gondola Rides - What to Know about Gondolas in Venice Italy
This may also be of some help: http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/message/75846#75846
Enjoy your trip!!
WOW !!! Thanks for all the tips and insights. I have reserved a room at the CY now the night before. We'll play it by ear and decide what we will do once we arrive in Venice. I can't thank you all enough for all the helpful hints and links. We leave in less than 2 weeks and are very excited. I'll give a trip report when we return.
Here's wishing you have a wonderful visit in Venice; hope it doesn't rain while there. Since it's entirely possible, pack a few plastic garbage bags and rubber bands to place over your shoes and pants legs, up to your knees, which you might find helpful if there is any flooding. We had to contend with this on our last trip, but only for a few hours.
Meanwhile, here's a site with photos I prepared in years past you might find of interest:
I am excited for you, rain or shine you will have a wonderful time in this beautiful city. It was my favorite when we went in the spring. A little aside thought when we saw the huge line ups to go up the tower in San Marco Square, our guy that we rented our apartment from said to go up the bell tower at San Giorgio Maggiore instead....we did and the views were breathtaking and far less crowded. The other suggestion was to buy a vaporetto pass which we did and rode it whenever we got tired or when the sun was setting and the photo opportunities were endless. We travelled the whole route a couple of times and never tired of the sights. Sitting in the front of the boats was quite lovely in the evenings. Enjoy yourselves!!!!