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Costco Travel Best of Italy: Experience? Opinions? Comments?
Old 02-27-2018, 09:09 AM   #1
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Costco Travel Best of Italy: Experience? Opinions? Comments?

About to book this trip for late May, with a few days in Paris tacked on the end, since well be in Europe anyway.

But, for example, there are seventeen choices for hotels in Rome, eleven in Florence, etc., enough to make ones eyes glaze over...

Anyone booked this trip? Any recommendations for hotels? Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:21 AM   #2
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What I would do is look at the booking.com number rating and the trip advisor reviews for the hotels offered and make my choice. Maybe that won’t take too long.

A shortcut would be the booking.com rating number, look at their photos and location - booking.com even gives distance to major attractions. All on one page.

I’m curious about the whole trip works out for you. I haven’t done a Costco package trip, but I was seriously eyeballing a Virgin Islands trip last year. Unfortunately they then got hit super hard by big hurricanes.

Believe me, I understand. It usually takes me a day and sometimes two to select a hotel for each city. Even when soliciting DH’s help. Which is why I feel qualified to give you the shortcut listed above. See my sig line!

I’ve just come off weeks of picking hotels in Holland and Spain. We are staying in a bunch of different places. It can be enjoyable if you are not rushed. Unfortunately I was because our trip is coming up soon.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:30 AM   #3
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In Paris we picked hotels near the Tuileries with many museums, the historic city center, etc., in easy walking distance. We was happy with both hotels. We stopped in Paris pre- and post-trip. The hotels were in older buildings as they will be in that area, so a bit quirky.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:41 AM   #4
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FWIW, if you choose a smaller 'mom and pop' type of hotel (IOW, not a big corporate hotel) try to book first directly with them. The booking sites take a huge percentage of the rate (25% in some cases). If we want these small hotels to stay in business we need to funnel money into them and not into big corporate internet sites.

In addition, while there is no promise of this, many will give the more profitable direct bookings a nicer room, and sometimes throw in breakfast or such.
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Old 02-27-2018, 09:52 AM   #5
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FWIW, if you choose a smaller 'mom and pop' type of hotel (IOW, not a big corporate hotel) try to book first directly with them. The booking sites take a huge percentage of the rate (25% in some cases). If we want these small hotels to stay in business we need to funnel money into them and not into big corporate internet sites.

In addition, while there is no promise of this, many will give the more profitable direct bookings a nicer room, and sometimes throw in breakfast or such.
Other than Paris, Costco Travel is going to be booking the hotels for him as it is part of the package.

I was recommending the booking.com site as a quick filter.

I almost always book directly, although occasionally a small inn/hotel will send me to booking.com for reservations. Usually because they wont otherwise do them over the Internet.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
About to book this trip for late May, with a few days in Paris tacked on the end, since we’ll be in Europe anyway.

But, for example, there are seventeen choices for hotels in Rome, eleven in Florence, etc., enough to make one’s eyes glaze over...

Anyone booked this trip? Any recommendations for hotels? Thanks in advance!
Stayed at the Grand Hotel Baglion while in Florence. Can highly recommend it. It is on your list.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:29 AM   #7
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You can also Google "where to stay in Rome" and you will find previous discussions and blogs that will give you some ideas.

Frommers.com will also have some outlines of different neighborhoods.

If you're going the first time to Rome, I'd stay around Campo dei Fiori and Piazza Navona.

There are also a lot of hotels by the train station or Termini but that area is dodgy at night.

Trastevere is trendy but it's further away from the attractions and transport links. Definitely worth crossing the bridge to visit but if you're going to the Vatican, Colisseum, Trevi Fountains, etc. you're having to go further.

In Florence, it's a pretty small centro storico so it can be anywhere north of the river. A lot of the museums are near Piazza Signoria but the area near the Duomo is another neighborhood, not so far away.

Since this is a packaged tour, it may not matter but it may also be convenient to stay near the train and bus station because you can get on buses and trains to nearby towns from there.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:46 AM   #8
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I’m assuming the Costco package is just hotel and transportation?

I like to stay close to the things I want to visit when they are close together. We prefer to walk or short/bus metro rides.

In Florence it’s pretty easy to walk to everything, but I’d still want to stay in the center of it all.
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Old 02-27-2018, 12:40 PM   #9
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The hotel selections appear to be centrally located...
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Old 02-27-2018, 01:07 PM   #10
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Compare dates and prices with Tripmaster.com. Last year, my wife and I went to Paris and Prague and booked through these guys. The recommended hotel for Paris was nice and very convenient.

We stayed at The Joke Hotel and there was a local bus on the corner which took you to the main tourist sites. It was two blocks from the Moulin Rouge.

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Old 02-27-2018, 01:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
....

I was recommending the booking.com site as a quick filter.
....
Audrey - thanks for this - had wondered if your tag line referred to lots of personal travel or what. Passed your tip along to my gal, as she and her classmates are planning a 50 year reunion in Desert Hot Springs. The currently chosen hotel rates real favorably - good validation.
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Old 02-27-2018, 01:34 PM   #12
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About to book this trip for late May, with a few days in Paris tacked on the end, since well be in Europe anyway.

But, for example, there are seventeen choices for hotels in Rome, eleven in Florence, etc., enough to make ones eyes glaze over...

Anyone booked this trip? Any recommendations for hotels? Thanks in advance!
I personally would not book through Costco travel. You are better off booking hotels and transportation on your own. Plus do you really want to travel by train in Italy? We have been traveling to Switzerland, Italy, France at least once a year for the past 27 years and I have been to Italy quite often on Business before retirement. I even proposed to my wife in Milan Italy during one of my business trips. Trains are not that great in Italy. They are late and often break down. Not to mention the labor disputes that can cancel service. You are much better off driving or flying with Easyjet between cities. As for hotels, the best one's in Italy are the business hotels just outside the city centers that have access to public transportation (if you aren't driving). As for some of the best places in Italy to visit:

1- Stresa and Borromeo islands in Northern Italy
2- Amalfi Coast / Salerno
3- Lake Como (Northern Italy)
4- Tuscany Region (Florence, Sienna, Pisa)
5- Rome
6- Venice
7- Adriatic Coast (Ancona, Rimini, Ricioni)
8- Napes area (Pozzuili, Pompei, Vesuvio)

Other places that are okay are:

Genoa, Livono, La Spezia, Milan, Bologna,

Italy has a lot of places to see and great food and wine. You are better off selecting a a region to visit and focus your visits in that region so you can enjoy the sites and cuisine the region has to offer.
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Old 02-27-2018, 01:40 PM   #13
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I very much enjoyed traveling by train in Italy. We were Eurrail pass at the time so we travelled first class.
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Old 02-27-2018, 01:55 PM   #14
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Trains are pretty good on most routes, especially central and northern Italy.

It can be tough to take luggage and switch trains but otherwise, on longer-haul routes, it's hard to beat.

On shorter routes, cars will give you more flexibility but on most popular routes, there are frequent options , departing at least a couple of times an hour during the peak midday hours, in high season.

I have to say though that I've never run into strikes canceling or delaying trains though, so I've been fortunate.

And second class trains are fine too, though second class cars tend to be more crowded for obvious reasons.
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:32 PM   #15
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For this trip Im using Costco, so while all comments are welcome, anything specific to the package mentioned (Best of Italy: Your Way, which is Rome, Florence, and Venice) is what Im seeking...
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:55 PM   #16
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Im assuming the Costco package is just hotel and transportation?

I like to stay close to the things I want to visit when they are close together. We prefer to walk or short/bus metro rides.

In Florence its pretty easy to walk to everything, but Id still want to stay in the center of it all.

Yes, air, ground transport, hotels, first-class rail...
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:56 PM   #17
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Stayed at the Grand Hotel Baglion while in Florence. Can highly recommend it. It is on your list.

Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:58 PM   #18
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Strikes are a way of life in Italy and France and not big news. The link below has the planned strikes for the month of March 2018:

https://www.summerinitaly.com/travel...rikes-in-italy

We even use an Android app to keep track of strikes.

I guess it depends how often you go there and how much time you spend there. We typically spend about two months in Europe. In 2017 we made two trips for a total of 4 1/2 months.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:04 PM   #19
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If you're traveling by train in Italy, I'd try to stay near the main Rome train station to limit walk with bags to there. Same in Flo. Paris, I like staying between Eiffel & Rodin sculpture garden. Rather homey & not so expensive. Easy Metro access.

Pick pockets are a pain in Italy & Paris. First hand experience.
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:10 PM   #20
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But the areas by the train stations are not always the best.
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