We are planning our first trip to Europe with our 3 teenagers. Planning to hit London, Paris & Rome. Any tips you can provide--we are planning to stay right in the middle of the cities to make transportation easier. Any hotels with concierge lounges for breakfast or any that include breakfast? We are platinum members. Thanks for any help!!
dbmb, There are a lot of folks on here that have done many Europe vacations, I have done what you are contemplating a few times. I assume that you are looking at two rooms, as most hotels in Europe are not the two double/queen layout that you find in the US.
The easy answer is concierge lounges. With the exception of AC, the majority of the line are full service (Marriott or Ren) Most have lounges, and it is easy to check before you book. lounges are far superior in EU than in USA, in fact as well as breakfast you can get a pretty good dinner in most if you want, also alcohol is included. (if you can get all five of you in is another question)
Staying in right in the main core of the cities has some ups and downs. I have tried both and both worked well. For example in London, I have stayed right in the core or have also moved out to Kensington at half the price. The thing to remember is the transit systems in each city is very good and not everything you want to see is in the core.
Are you going on points? If so price really is not a consideration as most properties are at the top of the redemption categories. On points, I stayed at the County Hall, when I paid I stayed at Marriott Kensington. I will let others give you advice on best hotels and CLs.
My advice is do a lot of research. I think your biggest challenge is that there are 5 of you.
Thanks for your tips! I thought it best to start my research now as I have a lot to learn!! Yes, planning on doing 2 rooms. We've been saving up points for a trip like this so we do have enough to get 2 rooms/night at hotels in the middle of the city (categories 8-9). Planning on 3 nights in 2 of the cities and 5 nights in one city (whichever we think has the most to do--or close day trips). Any idea about getting 3 in one room and 2 in another? Our youngest will be 12 by next summer, technically not a teenager but close.
Good to know about the CL. Those are always a huge help in the US for us. For the most part we haven't had trouble getting all 5 of us in them across the US. And that's with us all in 1 room. Not sure how that varies in EU.
We thought staying in the cities would be easiest overall so we could either walk to main attractions or it would be easy access to public transportation.
Thanks for the update on plans. You have a big plan even by Europe standards. If I were doing it on points, with teens, I would definitely spend the 5 days in London. Get the London Pass, it offers free front of the line entrance to all of the key attractions. I am with jerrycoin stay at the County Hall, you can walk for miles and see many wonders that adults an teens love. Take a day and go out to Windsor Castle and also take them to a west end show. There was a day when the ticket office in Leicecter Square gave good same day deals, but it may be best to book that here before you go now.
You can spend a lot of tine in Paris or Rome as adults, but honestly with kids, Paris could be a pass through to Rome. Check your bags and gloss through the "been there done that" sights. I would spend the time in Rome.
Good point on London peymanagement!
Here is a sign with many activities the family may enjoy surrounding County Hall! Likewise, you may want to take a Thames River Cruise!
This is one of the River Cruise departure points that you can see from your room at County Hall!
That's a place to catch a Thames River Cruise! (Right behind the tour boats), a short walk across Westminster Bridge. Likewise, that building behind the boat dock is The Westminster Tube Station. It will take you to/from LHR, and elsewhere!
This is an interesting "Challenge"!
As peymanagement, points out, anytime you desire to get more than two people in a room in Europe, you had better make sure the hotel is agreeable BEFORE attempting to check-in!
Not knowing your budget, here would be my choices, and these places are expensive, but well worth it for a variety of reasons:
Consider two ways to get to the County Hall from LHR. Inexpensive, (You do have some young help with the luggage), is to take the tube from LHR to Westminster Station, (Blue Line and change to Green Line at Earl's Court), once you arrive at Westminster, go to Westminster Bridge and walk to County Hall! You will see the hotel from the tube station. Your other option is a lot more expensive and that is to arrange for transportation, (Probably two cars, or a large Van) from LHR to County Hall. You can email the Concierge desk, and they can arrange this for you. Likewise, you can put this charge on your room! One at hotel, you will all have the ability to walk to:
Historic Pubs and Dining Places!
The Inexpensive "Big Red Bus", stops right in front of the hotel. It will take you to all of the notable sights, and you can hop "On/Off" at will!
The family will enjoy The London Eye! Just outside your room!
The youngsters will enjoy going to The London Dungeon! Just outside your room!
Now for your next "Treat", take the Chunnel to Paris! Make arrangements with The Concierge to get you there, and get you a "Budget Ticket", for the 2 hour 15 minute experience!
Make arrangements to visit the VIP Lounge, if you have a Plat. AMEX! Likewise, ask to have a ride to your Paris hotel upon arrival, taxi's are crowded!
This is a great place for walking, shopping, and dining! Close to The Arc! You will enjoy the staff and the area!
Again, take the "Open Air Tour Bus" to all the wonderful sights of Paris!
Paris to Rome, is a challenge! The train may be your best bet, if you have the time!
When in Rome, enjoy The Grand Flora!
You can walk to:
Trevi Fountain, and so much more!
Have The Concierge arrange for you to see The Vatican, The Forum, and wonderful places to dine and shop!
Good luck! Let us know if you have detailed questions!
Awesome!! Thanks for all of the tips and pictures. This gives me many great starting points. We have traveled extensively in the US and want our kids to have a Europe experience for the first time with us. We have saved up a LOT of points to help make this trip happen and have enough to redeem 2 rooms/night for 3 nights in 2 of the cities and 5 nights in the 3rd city (haven't figured out which city we will spend 5 nights in yet) and plan to stay in Cat 8 or 9. We thought it was easiest to stay near some of the main attractions and close to public transportation for the others. Staying the 5 nights lets us use points for 4 nights and get the 5th free and we have enough time to do that in one of the 3 cities. Any recommendation on which city you'd pick? We are assuming we will do 1 or 2 day trips from that city rather than spending all the time just in the city.
We were hoping to place 3 of us in 1 hotel room and 2 in another room. Think that's realistic? How have you contacted a hotel about this ahead of time?
From other research I've done we are thinking of doing the overnight train from Paris to Rome. Seems like overall that would be a good choice for our family.
Thanks for the updated information on your trip!
You can email the hotels directly and put your questions and desires to The Concierge. If you need the actual email address, you can get it from Marriott Platinum Reservations. They have also helped me with a "Three Way" telephone conversation that was most helpful. Nothing like having a "Friend" at an upcoming stay in The Concierge Dept. I do know these three hotels all have excellent staffs!
One more thought on Paris, now that you have shared the ages of your children, you may want to consider:
A wonderful experience, you can reach by RER (Train), and it is reasonably priced. A lot of fun!
Hope you enjoy the photo's!
BTW, I would not recommend getting a car! It's not worth it, if you have a problem!
Such great cities.
A couple of questions will help folks steer you best.
Is this the children's first trip abroad, or to these cities?
Are y ou going on points, or on money?
How long are you planning to be in Europe?
What month are you planning to go?
What are the ages of the children?
Are you going to get a car and go outside the city center in any location?
Summer is crowded everywhere in Europe, and this itinerary will leave you exhausted and shortchange the trip if you try to do it all in a week or something, particularly if all the obligatory sites have not been visited before. Seeing Versailles or going to the Loire, for example, and seeing Chenonceau, Amboise, Chinon there, and so on are each full day side trips out of Paris. And Giverny is easily a full half day or more. These guided trips, whether small group or larger, often include admission, which can be well worth it so you are not queuing for tickets and entry.
The good news is you have a lot of time to plan.
Let us know your thinking, so we can better help.
Good questions! Kids first trip abroad. They've been in about 40 states, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean so comfortable with travel in general. My husband and I have been abroad a few times each but not in about 20 years. I'm sure a lot has changed!!
Planning to redeem points. Have enough to do 2 rooms/night in a cat 8/9. We have a Marriott credit card and have been saving points like crazy for some time in order to make this happen. Planning on 3 nights in 2 of the cities and 5 nights in the other but don't know which city to stay 5 nights in (so we can redeem 4 nights and get the 5th free). Will go in June or July but not exactly sure when yet. Waiting to find out some info for next summer (sports schedules and such). Hoping to buy plane tickets in January. Think that gives enough time for redeeming free nights (5-6 months ahead of time)?
Boys will be 15 & 17, daughter will be 12.
Not planning on renting a car but hoping to do day trips via bus, train, etc.
Trying not to shortchange any city. These 3 cities we are passionate about seeing for various reasons and want to get them in before our oldest leaves for college.
Thanks for your help with this!!
You are planning an impressive itinerary, especially with teens! Do your homework and it will be the trip of a lifetime. Book the hop on/off red bus in each city before you leave the US on viator. Your feet with thank you and you don't have to navigate to get to the sights.
We did London/Paris fall 2014 and Rome/Florence fall 2015. Personally, I think that 5 days in London is too many. You can see it all in 3 (4 max). Be sure to check the schedule for the changing of the guards at the palace and plan to be there for that (doesn't happen every day). We lucked out and the Queen was on holiday, so they had opened Buckingham Palace for tours.
We stayed at the Renaissance Hippodrome outside Paris (beautiful property, don't recommend it for a short trip as the commute time is a little much). You could spend 5 days easily, if you wander the Louve, go to Versailles, Disney, etc. I can't wait to go back and see the things I missed.
Rome....two days max and get out. It's crowded and crazy. If you can swing a train ride into Tuscany, book a few nights of rest at Il Ciocco Renaissance. It's breathtaking. Lucca is also a must see.
Don't take the train from Paris to Rome unless you plan an overnight trip. It's quite a long ride (and be sure your pass includes all countries. I knew someone who didn't realize they would cut through a corner of Switzerland on her trip and got in trouble). Easy Jet and Ryan Air are inexpensive flights if you book early.
I'd put the five nights in either London or Paris, using it as a base to then get out of the city and see some of the things listed above if in Paris, or you might want to look at easy day trips like Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, or Avon from the London side.
Late June/early July is also Wimbledon, Ascot, and of course the Harrods sale. July in Paris is the finish of the Tour de France, among many other things, and a sight to behold even if not a cycling enthusiast.
If anyone has special interests that are literary or poetic, there are many smaller venues for famous authors and poets. Both cities are, of course, very walkable.
Something to bear in mind also is which days which museums are open. State museums and 'city' museums of interest may be closed certain days of the week during your stay, making those good days to get out of the city. In PAris also make sure any particular museum of interest is not closed for renovations. Musee Picasso was closed for two years or so, if I remember correctly, and this type of major work is not unusual. I'd already been there four times, but had wanted to share the experience with someone else and was unable to do so.
I'd start making lists of what you want to accomplish on the trip, what is reasonable without making this the Death March of Bataan, and it will start to be easier to see which city should be your five dayer. Getting from London to Paris or vice versa is easily accomplished via the Chunnel and I would vote for doing those two together, with Rome on one end or the other of the trip. Much easier than flying.
Speaking of flying-- how your routing works may in part dictate some of this. You may be flying into *** and then out of YYY back to the US, with either another carrier, Chunnel, something else in between. Check out how this might work with different options as it might have influence on the structure of your trip as well.