The last few years have been special "Marriott" Christmas Holiday's, Here's my top 10 do you have some that provided real memories?
Williamsburg, Va Most enjoyable RI.
Wentworth by the Sea, NH at Christmas was almost too snowy.
Dearborn Inn, Dearborn, MI Next to Greenfield Village, it is a very special.
Vail, Co Marriott A real White Christmas for sure.
Park City, Utah Marriott Ditto!
Ottawa, Canada CY Christmas Spirit for sure and shopping within walking distance.
Asheville, NC RI Right at the entrance to The Biltmore, the indoor pool is great. Surrounded by nice places to dine.
Paris at any Marriott What would you expect from the "City of Lights".
London, any Marriott Has not changed that much for Centuries, great Christmas shopping.
Zurich, CH, Marriott Pretty much the same, more great shopping.
DefinitelyRome and the Frand Flora, or Paris, any hotel. The lights, the markets, the beautiful Churches each with their own precious nativity, the shopping, the mulled wine and chestnuts roasting on street corners,, the sacred Masses, in Rome- Vatican city, and in Paris-ice skating on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower....just magical:).
I am down to two places for next Christmas, Berlin or Rome!
It has been a long time since I was in Rome and that trip from the airport troubles me. That Grand Flora sounds magnificent, but Berlin also has a great Marriott, and the shopping is fantastic.
Anyone have any thoughts?
The Grand Flora in Rome is outstanding!! The staff went out of their way to make our stay fantastic, we were there for 1 week. It has great
resturants and a short walk to the Spanish Steps and shopping. It was very easy to get around for that location. It has my vote as the #1
place to stay in Italy. Ciao
I couldn't agree more about the Grand Flora! It almost feels like you're going back a century to what hospitality once was (and happily still is in some places). Even when it's been more than a year since I've seen the bellman (Signor Dorpatti) and the concierge (Signor Chea) they always greet me by name. It's a grande dame among hotels, and Jerry you need to get yourself there.
There was once a time I didn't like Rome (about two decades ago on my first trip) because I was stuck staying near the train station, which is not the place to be. But over the past many years I've come to love Rome among my very top big cities (in no particular order, Venice, Rome, Cairo, Athens, Jerusalem and Istanbul) because in every corner you find a surprise and a joy. (So do the Romans, to their everlasting sorrow, as they keep trying to dig new metro tunnels and come upon more ancient ruins.)
A nearby version of Pompeii is Rome's ancient seaport of Ostia Antica, just a subway ride away. But my favorite places in Rome are medieval Trastevere (it is still medieval, yet with some of the best cooking in town), the Largo Argentina, places between the Forum and the Capitoline, and of course the Villa Borghese and Gardens (practically right next to the Flora). Rome is very much an acquired taste, but once you acquire the taste, Paris seems boring (and that's from someone who lived in Paris for two years in the 80s and has spent half of years since there).
As I admitted before, however, Paris is always pure work for me when I take a research trip there. When I do, I usually find a Sunday to take the TGV to Beaune for endless wine tastings at Père Patriarche et Fils and other burgundy bottlers (wonderfully inexpensive and you get to keep the tastevin). Plus the burgundy houses are right next to the Hospice de Beaune, a medieval hospital built by the medieval dukes of Burgundy which looks (intentionally) like nothing from the outside, but is utterly magnificent inside. It's also where the Chevaliers des Tastevins meet.
Ciao e viva la dolce vita!
PS - Although I've been there many times, I don't like the Colosseum -- too many deaths of humans and animals.
Same back at ya, Shoeman,
I can always provide hints for almost anywhere in France (the only part I have not spent time in is the Massif Central), but Rome has become a second home in many of the past several years. One of the wonders of Rome is that its restaurants are hidden gems, tucked away in side streets, not the glitzy Harry's Bar Roma or other places near the Flora. Venice is the same. It takes some doing and getting to know some of the locals and then you know where the best places to visit, go and eat are.
Happy New Year to all!
Golflady and Professor,
This is impressive information!
My first trip to Rome, did not impress me, it was decades ago and I was not PP, nor could I have afforded much. I was also on my one and only "Tour bus" in Europe.
I think I can make Rome on one stop (Atlanta), but what do you suggest as a way to get to the Grand Flora from the airport? I have too many bags to take the train. Likewise, I imagine, The Concierge (Who sound like real pro's) could make arrangements to get me a car for hire.
You just answered all my questions about why you've been avoiding Rome. Rome needs to grow on you, and it can only do so in your own time, space and place. The Grand Flora is a great place for that to happen. A tour bus is not, as my hotel near the train station was not. Rome is a glorious beautiful city that only gets richer the more you get to know it.
I take a cab from the airport (they're regulated - it was 40 euros last trip) - but make sure to get a real cab outside FCO, not one of the hucksters inside. You don't need a special car to the Flora, since the cabs may charge a little extra but not much since they are strictly regulated (believe it or not for Italy). Then say Flora, per favore. In all likelihood, the driver will start speaking to you in English, and he might even be from the States (it's happened more than once to me, especially in Italy). They all know where the Flora is, but it's 191 Via Veneto just in case. And everyone can speak English in the tourist trade in Rome now. I got to meet real Romans (including the Flora staff) in the past six or seven years, and one dear Italian friend who is multilingual said to a whole group of tourists from all over Europe: "English is the lingua france; if anyone needs for me to speak another language, tell me." It's the truth -- for me partially a sad truth because I think I have gotten so much more from knowing some languages fluently and some only so so, like Italian. But if you try out your Italian, use per favore (please). molto buono (very good - both those words can be used all the time), and buon giorno (good day) and buona sera (good evening) you will have made friends for life. Also calling someone Signor or Signora is a big help. They always revert to English when they realize you're American but you've scored big points. Southern Italians are very warm, hospitable people. They want you to love them, and it's been very easy (molto facile) for me to do do.
Ciao e buona sera (I completely taught myself Italian through Fluenz programs and it worked!)
Thanks to your recommendations, Rome it is!
I am booking on Delta and staying at the Grand Flora as soon as I can book all. It is too early at this point, but I do want to ask a favor of you and other MI, "Help me'! I want to re-visit the Vatican, Trevi Fountain and a few other spots. Mostly, I want to shop and dine!
Will keep you posted, and I also want to thank Golflady, for her contribution in making this choice! I have spent a lot of time in The Lake Como area, but am going to "Head South"!