My wife and I are currently planning a trip to Italy for May. We were dissapointed to find out that many of the hotels we would like to stay at either do not except points, are already booked, or are away from the city center. We are thinking about visiting Rome, Tuscany and Venice. Does anyone have any recommendations of where to stay, and might be able to share their experiences.
For Rome I have always stayed at the Grand Flora or much less expensive Central Park Marriott. The latter is not downtown, but has a shuttle. It also has very spacious rooms with balcony views of the Vatican and a large park.
For Venice, I recently stayed in Augusta at La Metropole, which even though I booked through expedia, treated me wonderfully. I've also stayed at the Best Western Sant'Elena, which is very nice and located out in the quiet Giardini area, with a vaporetto stop nearly in front of it. I've heard the Bauer Hotel (next to the Metropole) is very nice, but I really thought their restaurant was overpriced and the waiters not very helpful.
For Tuscany, where do you plan to stay? Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, Chianti. Siena is my favorite Tuscan city. I have been there four times, and Florence about 8. Florence is great for about four days, but Siena has a charm (in my view) that is missing in Florence or that at least doesn't wear off. Cortona is overcrowded because of Frances Mayes' books. Anyway, let me know and I can make some recommendations.
Thank you for your response. The Grand Flora was our first choice but they are currently sold out. It's disappointing that you can't use points at any of the Autograph Collection properties because that would definitely give us more options. We have just started to plan the trip, and judging by the availibilty, we probably should have started months ago. Do you know anything about Serchio Valley in Tuscany? That is where the Marriott is located and they currently have some availabiltiy to use points in May.
No, I haven't been to the Serchio Valley, though it was an important part of the end of WWII. I did find this site:
I've stayed in Lucca, which is wonderful. I think you might need a car (although NOT in Florence or Siena unless you like risk-taking) for stays in Tuscany. I once led alumni groups to Tuscany and we stayed in the wonderful hill town of Pienza (where several movies have been filmed, including Romeo and Juliet, Brother Sun Sister Moon, parts of the English Patient and Gladiator). It was a wonderful base for exploring Siena, Florence, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Assisi, and Perugia.
Hope this helps. And the Rome Central Park is really nice if you don't mind using the shuttle to a metro stop.