Alternative Accommodations: 2007
House swapping, convents and monasteries, college dorms... when it comes to beds, the less you spend, the more of Europe you experience. Others swear by renting a "flat" (apartment) or "villa" and becoming a temporary local. Any tips about fun, unique, or unusual accommodations?
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
For a cool condo near the sea we recommend Brighton Heights in Brighton, a great beach city on the south coast of the UK, an hour from London. It's clean, modern, sunny, central location in a cute little square. One bedroom, living room with table and chairs, bathroom (shower over bath) and separate kitchen.
We paid about $100 a night, good value compared to a hotel and we saved on restaurant bills too. It has an luxe feel.
nyc, ny USA Fri 12/28/2007
Sleeping in Rome
I want to add another idea for sleeping in Rome. We stayed at Hotel Domus Tiberina www.gregorihotels.com in Trastevre area. It was very nice and had a remarkably big breakfast. The folks at the hotel were very helpful.
Dusseldorf, Germany Sat 12/15/2007
month in London for $100
Home exchange is a great way to go if staying in one spot for a week or more. Imagine four weeks in a beautiful condo on the Thames, 10 minutes walk from Big Ben, all for $100 total (the cost of joining the exchange site). We could have never have spent that much time in London if paying for a hotel. Part of the fun is you never know when or where you will get an exchange offer from.
Vancouver, BC USA Wed 12/12/2007
Budapest, 5 flats to rent for tourists
5 flats to rent in the main street of Budapest, Vaci utca, pedestrian zone.All the comforts, with prices according to the season. we are 2 owners. Enjoy Budapest www.budapest-house.com
budapest, hu hu Tue 11/20/2007
This apartment was home for my wife and I and our granddaughter in May, 2007, and provided a wonderful base to see Rome. Great location, and really roomy. The biggest plus, however, is Mauro. He picks you up at the airport, introduces you to the apartment, and delivers you to the train station/airport as you leave Rome. He made the visit so much better by being a personal contact on the ground. Great visit, enhanced by great support from Mauro at http://www.consult-italia.it
Houston, Tx USA Sun 11/18/2007
Apartment rental in Amsterdam
My wife and I recently rented the St. Pieter Apartment in Amsterdam for a week, and we were very happy. The apartment is located about a block southeast of Dam Square off of a quiet alley, and about one or two blocks south of the Red Light District, right off of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal. The apartment was recently renovated and was very clean and modern. It has two bedrooms and a study, and three people, possibly four could stay there comfortably. The apartment had a nice living room with cable television and wireless, high-speed internet. We were able to enjoy the patio garden when the weather allowed. Despite Dam Square and RLD being so close, the apartment was very quiet. Most of the other tenants in the apartment building seemed to be families. There is a nice kitchen in the apartment. The nearby Albert Heijn supermarket allowed us to take advantage of the kitchen in the apartment and save some money on dinners. We paid €190 a night for the apartment. I'd highly recommend staying at the St. Pieter Apartment. http://www.stpieterapartment.com/
Raleigh, NC USA Wed 11/14/2007
Hotel Paris Hotel
We stayed at Hotel Paris Hotel located in 23 Rue Henry Monnier. Our room was small but for the purpose to sleep only it was ok. Only downside was that the elevator was next to our room so we could hear it going up and down when we were awake, but we were so tired that we did sleep thru the night. Their people were very very helpful and nice. Hotel is well located in the middle between Pigalle and Saint Georges Metro stations. Breakfast was included.
Miami, FL USA Tue 11/06/2007
Rome We recently travelled to Italy to stay in Tuscany at a villa for a week and also a villa in Umbria. We had a wonderful time. The start of our trip was made so much easier because of Mauro from Underground Viaggi at website www.rome-apartments-for-rent.it. Our travel companions had contacted him regarding an apartment only to find out he also offers transportation to and from the airport. He also gives you a cell phone to contact him if needed. We stayed in the Pellegrino apartment for a few nights on our arrival. On our return to Rome we were picked up at the train station even though we were coming in earlier than expected. We stayed at the Malpasso for two nights before returning home. Both apartments were in excellent locations close to all the attractions and restaurants. I cannot imagine visiting Rome without the helpful service that Mauro provided. We would glady recommend his service to our friends. Mike & Pat Canada
Do NOT stay at Hotel Nardizzi in Rome. We made reservations back in May 2007 and received an emailed confirmation stating "Your reservation is confirmed. See you on Oct 8th" We arrived on Oct 8th to find out that they gave away our room!! This was after we had trekked from the train station through Rome with our luggage to find the hotel. They offered us a room at their sister hotel, but we had to take a cab to get there. We did not sleep at all at their sister hotel, as our room was right above a bar and there were people yelling all night. If we closed the window it was so hot that we felt like we would suffocate. The desk clerk at Hotel Nardizzi was also rude and really didn't care that our room had been given away. This was our only hotel problem in 2 weeks of traveling through Italy!!
Spokane, WA USA Sun 11/04/2007
We stayed in a great apartment in the Mala Strana area of Prague a block from the American Embassy. The apartment is owned by Eva Vesela who owns the Eclectic Gallery downstairs. The apartment can be rented for short or long periods of time. The location can't be beat and the apartment is roomy with all the modern conveniences. Eva's phone is +(420)257 532 509 or (+420) 602 214 774. email is email@example.com
San Diego, CA USA Fri 11/02/2007
Accommodation in Assisi
We had booked a week at the Carpe Diem time share in Assisi but when we arrived found it horribly rundown, dismal and exceptionally unpleasant. We refused to stay there and before we had a chance to determine our next step - we had a carload of groceries and it was late afternoon - we ran into Ann Robichaud http://annesitaly.com/ who helped us find accommodation at the Palazzo Miniciotti www.palazzominciottiassisi.com We stayed in the San Rufino apartment - a luxuriously comfortable three bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and incredible views from any direction. We discovered their beautiful garden and outdoor kitchen to which each apartment has access. This was such a highlight for us and such a stroke of good fortune. We will most definitely be back again.
Calgary, Albert Canada Fri 11/02/2007
Hotels in Budapest
I just returned from a 10 day trip to Budapest and Vienna. Since I planned to take the train to Vienna, I wanted a hotel near Keleti Rail station, and the Metro for my Budapest explorations. The Best Western Grand Hungarian was perfect. It is about 100 yards from both stations. It is large, newly remodeled, smallish rooms, but comfortable, with safe and minibar, and one of the best breakfast buffet I've seen in Europe. And, on Hotels.com, it was $95 a night!
bakersfield, CA USA Thu 11/01/2007
Apartments in Paris-VIP
We had read about Vacation in Paris on the message board last year. We spent five days in Paris,(June 2007) staying in an apartment that we rented from VIP. We loved the location to the Eiffel Tower. We had a bakery next to the apartment building that had very convenient hours. Our teenage children were very impressed with the "apartment" approach to staying in Paris.
Bend, OR USA Thu 11/01/2007
Lodging, Hungary, Danube
We travel by bicycle, and just returned from Europe, cycling the Mosel, Rhine, Romantic Rd, Swithzerland,Danube and finished with train from Budapest to Prague. We used Rick Steves when possible for lodging and other travel tips. We followed the Danube from Regensburg, Germany to Budapest. Our best lodging was in Esztergom. Brand new pension "El Greco"(www.elgrecocafe.hu), E55 with breakfast. Located below the Basilica,rooms very comfortable,very good breakfast, and the friendly owner does not speak English but manages to be very helpful. He sent us to a resturant for dinner..best meal we had on our entire trip (2.5 months)
Anacortes, WA USA Sat 10/27/2007
Vacation Rentals in Italy
We recently returned from a 2 week vacation in Italy/Tuscany. We spent one glorious week at a farmhouse that has 9 rental units (1-2 bedrooms) -- Le Torri Vacation Rentals in Montespetoli. It was a beautiful location and a very reasonable rate. The proprietors are very helpful in arranging cooking classes, wine tastings and obtaining museum reservations. But the best night was a Tuscan dinner (prepared by the Mother) which was fantastic. We paid an extra price (28 Euros), but it was one of the best meals we have ever had -- well worth every Euro and then some). I would heartily recommend this location -- the grounds are beautiful (olive and lemon trees), with a swimming pool. The units are neat and clean with a rustic appearance. And the location is perfect -- about 35 miles SW of Florence and perfect for day trips to Pisa, Chianti/Gravea, Siena, San Gimgnamo
Monument, CO USA Wed 10/24/2007
British Volunteer Vacations
My friend and I just returned from a three week trip to England. We spent the second week volunteering for the British National Trust. We worked at the gorgeous manor house, Waddesdon Manor, putting in flower beds for spring bloom. For a week's hostel-like accomodation and all meals, we paid $150! Each evening we cooked large, delicious meals with other members of the group and then socialized and/or played fun trivia games. We really got to know and work with a fun group of 12 British people who had come to volunteer from all over England. To check for National Trust Working Holidays, go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk The 2008 listings should start to be posted around December or January.
Lopez Island, WA USA Mon 10/22/2007
Agriturismo in Lazio/Abruzzo Italy
I stayed at a wonderful agriturismo on the Lazio/Abruzzo border in Italy a couple of weeks ago (just outside of Pescosolido, near Sora). It's called ITALYFARMSTAY (www.italyfarmstay.com). A working organic farm run by a wonderful, warm and very Italian family. Great homecooked dinners, wonderful walking tours around the mountains (and I'm no hiker!). Within 5 minutes of my arrival, I knew I'd made a great choice staying there. I'll definitely return. Feel free to ask questions or offer opinions. Thanks!
New York, NY USA Wed 10/17/2007
Hotel Touring in Chamonix
There is no way to contact Hotel Touring in Chamonix, France by email. The AOL address given in the 2007 Guidebook has bounced back 6 times. The web site is a loop of advertisers from Expedia to Hotels.com etc. No direct contact with the advertised British proprietors. AOL has always been a problem since its inception though - maybe we'll blame them instead of the hoteliers...
CA USA Mon 10/15/2007
Great deal, and great comfort, in Rome
By chance, we came across a terrific bargain in Rome; a one-bedroom B&B-type apartment in the same building as the new Hotel Alimandi Vaticano, right across the street from the entrance to the Vatican Museum. We came across it after staying a night at the hotel (which we found through Rick's book and is fantastic, by the way) while our son was in the hospital with what, unfortunately, turned out to be a cancerous tumor.
When it became clear we would be staying a while, the amazingly gracious and helpful owners, the Alimandi family, told us of the apartment, which was a steal at 100 Euros a night (cash). We stayed three weeks, and the family could not have been more wonderful. We had full access to all services in both the Vaticano and the original hotel right behind the new property, including wonderful breakfasts and cheap wi-fi service in the older hotel. The Alimandis were truly angels, making their fantastic properties even more special.
We understand the family is developing more apartments, which are considered B&Bs, and assure you that on our next trip to Rome (to celebrate our son's recovery, since his prognosis is excellent), we will head straight for one of the Alimandi hotels or apartments. Bravo to this family for truly showing us what hospitality means.
Maplewood, NJ USA Sat 10/13/2007
parisbestlodge - furnished flat in le Marais
Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our stay at the Studio Marais of PARISBESTLODGE. The apartment was very clean and the location was great. We hardly needed to take the Metro at all as many of the places we wanted to visit were just a short walk away. We also really appreciated that the apartment had everything we might need - i.e. iron, blow dryer, and a toaster, which you don't see often in France. It was also great to have a computer with internet access available to us.
Adelle & Rick Palmer
USA Thu 10/11/2007
Apartment rental in Nerja, Spain
We recently stayed for 3 weeks in an apartment known as Carabeo 2000 in Nerja, Spain. We were there with 2 small children. We enjoyed our apartment immensely - perfect location, great size, all the amenities. The property managers, Frans and Nuttee, go out of their way to ensure that you have everything you need. Our rental choice truly added to our enjoyment of our stay in Nerja. Highly recommended.
Toronto, Canada Wed 10/10/2007
Apartment rental in Rome- Campo dei fiori
My parents and I rented an apartment in Rome the last few days of May and into the first week of June 2007. We stayed in the Malpasso Apt (ground floor) run by Mauro from Underground Viaggi http://www.rome-apartments-for-rent.it/default.asp
This is a great location! minutes from Campo dei fiori, short walk to Piazza Navona. Mauro (apt. manager) was wonderful, picked us up from the airport and took us to the train station on the last day. This apartment is as it looks on the website. The only surprise was the short ceiling up in the loft where the bed is. You definitely need to bend a little up there. The bed was very comfortable. There is a sofa bed down below in the living room. The only seating is the couch and two dining chairs. We used the grocery store across the little square almost everyday, they were very friendly and Mauro made sure we knew the hours they kept, etc.. Again you can't beat this location, we literally walked everywhere. Very local feel, not touristy (except for us!) I highly recommend this rental agency, hopefully my husband and I will be going together next time and I hope to rent from Mauro again.
Richland, WA USA Wed 10/03/2007
We (two women in our fifties) enjoyed a great 5 days in Venice in Sept. We used Rick's Venice city guide book for EVERYTHING (and met lots of others who did also!) The Locanda al Leon the guide book recommended was not only moderately-priced (we reserved 4 mos. ahead and mentioned Rick and got 10% off because we paid in EURO cash) but offered us a modern apartment in another building, for EU180 night for 5 nights. It was located off the Campo Santa Maria Formosa in the Castello "sestiere" (neighborhood), a few extra blocks to St.Marc's Square and a short walk of 5 blocks to La Leon's main hotel where the generous [included] breakfast was served. We ate hearty on American cereal, coffee/cappuccino/tea, croissants, rolls, and yogurt so we could skip the crowds at the cafes at lunchtime. The apartment was immaculately cleaned every day, had a bathroom with full shower stall and 2 bedrooms and a kitchen. It allowed us to live "like natives", looking out the window each morning to check the weather and appreciate the church bells (OK, it had a TV also, but the window was more fun), sitting in the campo (a large town square of which Vencue has many) watching the local kids and dogs play after dinner, and buyng fruit at the open stands, yet being close enough to the vaporetti (water buses - fun and scenic) and main sites that we could walk almost everywhere. Venice is a dream city and thanks to Rick's info, we had a dream trip!
New York, NY USA Tue 10/02/2007
RE:cheaper than a hotel in Florence!
We stayed at Casa Spinelli as well, back in April 07. It was a great deal, we had 4 people in our party (2 couples). So we were estimating paying for 2 hotel rooms and realizing how expensive it would be. Then I saw the postings on this board for www.casaspinelli.com . So luckily we were able to book with them. the apartment was centrally located, very clean, cute, and the beds were comfy. One night I got into a fight with my wife and so i stayed upstairs in the living room (the sofa pulls out into a nice queen size bed)....hee hee..LOL... I'd like to thank the owners, Joe and Heather for a nice and affordable stay at their apartment. www.casaspinelli.com
Lincoln, NE USA Mon 10/01/2007
Wonderful Apartment in Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy
My husband and I just returned from an amazing stay at Lake Como, Italy. Part of what made this trip very special was the apartment we rented in Bellagio. We stayed at Rick's recommended apartment Il Borgo Residence. It was right in the center of town and convenient to anything you might need. It was newly refurbished, very clean and comfortable. We loved being able to cook some of our own meals and found the local markets had everything we needed. Flavio was always available when we needed assistance and made booking our trip very easy. He even drove us to his other property which is out of town a bit, which is where we will stay next time we visit.
Tampa, FL USA Sun 09/30/2007
Apartment in Florence
We rented a delightful apartment in Florence, Italy, in September 2007, through the Windows on Italy group represented by USA company www.rentvillas.com. It was pricey ($1800 for a week) but worth it. The unit was in a restored palazzo, beautiful wood-beamed ceilings, antiques, with a large living/dining room on the main floor, loft bedroom, bath, and laundry on the upper floor. Beautifully furnished, completely outfitted kitchen, great linens, but best of all, it was like stepping into the past with all the creature comforts of the present. Our Santo Spirito neighborhood in the Oltrarno was within minutes of the Ponte Vecchio and Pitti Palace, and 20-25 minutes by foot to Uffizi, Duomo, and Accademia. We felt safe and welcome in the S. Spirito neighborhood, great little stores, trattorias and wine bars. The staff both in the US and Italy were marvelous and professional. Exceptional experience.
Redmond, WA USA Tue 09/25/2007
Casa Via Beppina apartment in Lucca
The homeowners of this lovely home offer three apartments in the lower levels of their home. Both Cinzia and Aldo speak English and are very accomodating. The apartment we stayed in was the Magnolia. There were two of us traveling (friends) and Aldo added an extra bed for us. There was wifi internet in the home, and the apartment was a short walk into town. A fabulous bar (Via Viale) was on the way to town and offered both cafe and ensalatas at a fraction of the prices inside the city walls of Lucca. The apartment was immaculate, airly, light, private, and perfect! A nice sized refrigerator for the food from the local market (a block or 2 away), nice garden with table and chairs for relaxing or eating food we brought back. Price for one week in Sept 2007 was HALF the price of an apartment within city walls. Please email with questions, I happily recommend this place, location, price, and owners were ideal.
Streamwood, IL USA Sun 09/23/2007
Great apartment in Rome
My family & I spent a week in Rome this August, and we chose to rent an apartment instead of getting 2 hotel rooms. The apartment we stayed in was amazing - I want to live there! It was beautiful, with 2 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms and a nice terrace full of plants. The woman who own the apartment is from New York, but has lived in Rome for decades, and she was very nice and helpful. She left a detailed list for us that included restaurant recommendations, directions to the market, and instructions for running the appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, etc.). The following week we went to Paris and also stayed in an apartment, and we wished we had such a list! The washing machine had all these crazy symbols that we couldn't decipher!
It was in a nice little neighborhood of Rome - quiet, but with plenty of small shops & restaurants within a few blocks. It was also within walking distance of the outdoor market, which was great since we had a kitchen and could therefore cook our own meals whenever we wanted. It was also close enough to the center of Rome that we could either take a long-ish walk to some of the attractions, or easily hop on a bus and get where we were going quickly.
We rented the apartment through realrome.com. The name of the apartment is "Flavia 2 bedroom" on their website, in the "Rome Centre" section. It is on Via Flavia in Rome.
If you're planning to rent an apartment in Rome, I would highly recommend this one!
Minneapolis, MN USA Fri 09/21/2007
Limegrove in London
Sorry, but I would second the negative comment on the Limegrove Hotel in London. It was far from clean, the thin walls were not quiet, and general fixtures needed repair. It was 120 US per night and perhaps a bargain but in hindsight would have preferred spending a little extra for a comfortable bed. The breakfast was very disappointing and because we received the wrong order it had to be returned both mornings.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 09/21/2007
Palazzo Minciotti Assisi
Staying in an apartment is a wonderful way to experience an Italian town, especially Assisi. In a hotel, you are always a tourist and you miss out on meeting the people that are the heart and soul of this special place.
AnnaMaria and Edoardo Minciotti are two of those people, wonderful hosts who excel at making their guests feel welcome. We stayed in the 2 bedroom San Lorenzo apartment which opens onto the walled garden, a place of peace and tranquility at the end of the day where you can watch the sun descend over Santa Maria degli Angeli, see the pink glow of the duomo, San Rufino, then turn around and watch the moon rise over the Rocca Maggiore, the large fort above the town.
AnnaMaria and Edoardo are very warm and welcoming. They include their guests in events in the town, meals in the garden, and for me, an incredible insider's view of the spring festival Calendimaggio.
I would highly recommend Palazzo Minciotti to anyone. I will never stay anywhere else when I am in Assisi.
Lake Tahoe, NV USA Wed 09/19/2007
Apartments in Barcelona
I am back from a nice trip in Barcelona and I would like to share this experience. The city is awesome...So many things to do night and day! I rented a great apartement ( http://www.top-barcelona-apartments.com/asp/apartament.asp?pCod=7 ) just 2 min walking from the Ramblas for only 65 euros per night. It's a good alternative to the hotels which are very expensive in the center (more than 150 euros per night for 2 people). Hope this comment can help you to prepare your future trip in Barcelona.
Pornichet, France Wed 09/19/2007
I recently stayed in the Kreuzburg area in Berlin and it was a wonderful location to base yourself in. The street is full of funky shops and lovely restaurants. It is full of character and there was always something happening. I stayed in an apartment overlooking a garden in a really old building. It cost around 60 Euros a night and I would definitely recommend it. RentinBerlin.net
Rent in Berlin
Berlin, USA Wed 09/19/2007
Apartment vs. Room
• Although we are, by now, quite familiar with certain areas of Paris, we still follow Rick's suggestion about staying in the Rue Cler area. However, this time we rented an apartment instead of a hotel room. This is also the first time we stayed more than one week. Regardless of how much one enjoys Paris, any "regular" hotel room feels cramped after seven days and nights. And you haven't enjoyed Paris yet until you stay in an apartment. By the way, although hotel rooms/ apartments are supposed to be safe, we used the safe provided in the apartment for our money and documents, and we locked up anything bulky we bought in our suitcases, using TSA locks. Also very useful at airports. P.S. We bought ours from Sears (Master Lock) and the company has a website (www.combolocker.com) in which you can register up to 5 combinations and retrieve them online anywhere in the world in case you forget them. No charge. Rick Steves sells TSA also. P.P.S. One day before returning home, we asked for a printout of the hotel/apartment bill, so we could check in advance if all was well.
Staten Island, NY USA Tue 09/18/2007
Per a reccommendation from a friend we stayed at Imperial College in London-Beiut Hall. It is dorm style-larger rooms, share a bath. It is in the South Kensington area, about 10 minute walk to the underground and to grocery/restaurants. Next door to Prince Albert Hall and near the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert. We had a family of 4, 2 rooms, 5 nights for under $900 US.
This included breakfast in the cafeteria. It was clean, safe, and on a quiet street.
Portland, OR USA Sun 09/09/2007
The "Clarice" apartment in Florence is an excellent value for the money and ideally located in the historical centre near the Ponte Vecchio. My wife and I were travelling with another couple and, with two double bedrooms and two bathrooms, the apartment provided plenty of space and privacy. The living room has original frescoes on the walls and we found the apartment to be very comfortable. I rented it through SPQR Travel, at spqrtravel.com. I highly recommend this apartment.
Vancouver, BC Canada Sun 09/02/2007
We learned of Coach Hous Rentals through the Frommers Guide 2007 to England and were delighted with the range of short term rentals available. Our family of four enjoyed staying in a bright, fully equipped private townhome in the Kensington area of London. We appreciated the quiet street and easy access to the tube. The home was lovely, comfortable and fully equipped. Coach House Rentals was responsive and helpful. We'd certainly look to them again if presented the opportunity to return to London (or Paris!)
Charlotte, NC USA Thu 08/23/2007
ACCOMMODATION IN OLTRARNO - FLORENCE, ITALY - HISTORICAL CENTER
My girlfriend and I were so lucky to find a very central, weekly rental accommodation in one of the most beautiful and popular quarters of Florence -- Santo Spirito -- where we rented an apartment for a whole week. We saved so much money this way. We have been planning this trip for a while and thought we could never afford a room in one of the over-priced Florence hotels. Instead what we got was a real "Room with a View" -- the rooftop view from the apartment, overlooking a charming narrow street, with a glimpse of the Santo Spirito bell tower and the cupola of the Duomo, were just great. The Oltrarno area, where the apartment is situated, is Florence's Left Bank of sorts, and it has so much to offer in terms of art galleries, restaurants, cafes, bars and artisan shops. After a few days of exploring its streets and discovering so many great cafes, enotecas (wine bars), flea markets and antique stores, we felt like locals. What Florence hides behind its famously austere face, it more than makes up for with delightful, one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. It was a great alternative to a conventional tourist experience. It's like "living Florence" instead of just visiting it. - David, New York, NY. The apartment @ contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW YORK, NY USA Thu 08/23/2007
Palazzo Minciotti Assisi
For a very special view of the mystical city of Assisi, we can recommend staying at the Palazzo Minciotti. Our family group of six people, ranging in age from teens to seniors, stayed there in July 2007 and all had a thoroughly good time.
It's a great location, as each age group can go its own way and meet up for meals, either at the well-equipped apartment or one of the fine restaurants within walking distance.
From the San Rufino apartment, we had great views of Piazza San Rufino (including several evening concerts!), and pastoral views of the valley. The gracious owners, Anna Maria and Edoardo, have done a lot of travelling themselves and have furnished the apartments with everything you will need for your stay plus their unique books and furniture collected as part of a traditional Assisi family home. If there is anything in addition, they are close-by, for advice and suggestions.
Calgary, AB Canada Wed 08/22/2007
Great stay in Sorrento!
We visited Sorrento, Italy in late June, and had scheduled two nights at the Hotel El Nido (the one up on the hill recommended in Rick's guide). Arriving in Naples mid-afternoon, we missed one boat and had to wait for the last one - BUT - they didn't tell us that it wasn't actually going to Sorrento, but to a little town North that was about 30 kilometers by car away for the night. I won't go into the details of that nightmare, but want to thank the owner of the hotel for coming the distance at 1 in the morning to pick us up - WAY above and beyond the call of duty. What's more, he steadfastly refused any extra payment for time or gas! As far as the hotel, it was awesome in every respect. Our spacious room had a balcony view of the Bay of Naples. A very substantial breakfast on the dining room balcony, overlooking the bay was very relaxed and enjoyable. And dinner.... ah, dinner. One of the best meals of our entire trip. Plus, the final bonus, the room rate was far below many of the less fancy places in Sorrento. Plus, they run a free shuttle down and back to town several times a day. Do yourself a favor: when going to Sorrento, stay at the El Nido - you won't be disappointed.
Glendale, AZ USA Wed 08/15/2007
London - LSE Residence
Stayed at Carr-Saunders Hall in London. 60 GBP per night for double with full english breakfast. Very handy to Goodge Street tube station. Recommend.
USA Wed 08/15/2007
Where Not to Stay in London, and Where To Stay in Dubrovnik
I have to disagree about the Limegrove Hotel in London. Perhaps it's changed owners, but it was far from clean, the stairs and landings were cluttered with furniture and railings were coming loose, and the proprietoress was anything but friendly. And breakfast was quite disappointing.
I happily and enthusiastically recommend, however, Soba Placa in Dubrovnik. Lidja is friendly, helpful, and generally a lot of fun. The apartaman and room are both clean and bright - very nice, and reasonably priced (with laundry facilities). Also very convenient - in Old Town, two minutes from the Pile Gate (with children and suitcases).
Idaho USA Wed 08/08/2007
Vichter Landhaus - Stolberg
Peaceful rest; comfortable, rooms and beds that are emaculately clean, all at reasonable prices. The Gogic family are the epitomy of hospitality. The restaurant is fabulous as well.
JK & Family
Anchorage, AK USA Wed 08/08/2007
Hotel Bus, Aosta Italy
We recently stayed at the Hotel Bus in Aosta, Italy. Overly tired, I left my favorite sweater hanging in the closet but didn't realize it until the next day when we were many miles away. We called the hotel, explained the problem in fractured French, and were told that Roberto would send it COD to the French apartment where we were staying. Two weeks later the sweater arrived in the mail - the staff at Hotel Bus really went beyond the call to do this kind act for a past guest. If ever in Aosta, I would like to recommend Hotel Bus - it's comfortable, near the heart of the quiet town and the owner is a jewel.
portland, OR USA Wed 08/08/2007
Private Accomodations in Croatia
We just got back from a trip to Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and wanted to share some great experiences with private accomodations.
Plitvice - The hotels in the national park were very plain and relatively expensive (130 euros for a 3 person room), so we found private accomodation in Jezerce, just south of the park. We got a clean room for 3 people with a shared bathroom for 30 euros (no breakfast, no a/c)! The people were very, very nice. They also had a couple of rooms that were full board (dinner and breakfast) for 100 euros. The food looked incredible. Veggies from their garden etc. The address is Jezerce 18a, phone 00-385-53-774-113, Name - Milan Miric. I think they had 4 rooms like ours and 2 full board rooms.
Dubrovnik - We pulled into town at 9PM on a Friday night with no reservations. We tried a few hotels (Uvula, Adriatic, Komodor) and they were 200+ euros per night for 3 people. So, being appalled by the prices we started driving around and saw a man with a 'Camere' sign, so we stopped and he piled into our car to take us to see his private room. He was very, very nice and his room was great. It was 70 euros per night (less than 1/3 the price of the hotels) with a/c, an incredible view and lots of drinks of homemade plum and raisin schnapps with Nikola! It is located just up the hill (steep) from the Hotel Zagreb with easy access to the #6 bus to the Old Town. We really enjoyed staying here and talking with Nikola. My biggest problem was way too much schnapps with Nikola the night before driving back to Budapest! Name - Nikola and Marila Misita, Velebitska 6, 20000 Dubrovnik, Phone - 00385(0) 98 392 499, email - email@example.com. Great stuff. Nikola had 3 rooms.
Trogir - We stayed in the small walled sity just north of Split as Rick's Split hotel recommendations looked pretty unsavory. Anyway, we stayed here for 50 euros, again 3 people. Very nice provate accomodation just across the bridge and left of the old town of Trogir. Not much English spoken, but clean nice romm, but no a/c. Name - Zecic, Address - Put Gradine 4, Trogir, Phone - 021 884 630, email - firstname.lastname@example.org I think they had 8 rooms. We had good luck with these, but you cannot pass up the schnapps, view and conversation of Nikola in Dubrovnik! Thanks Nikola.
Denver, CO USA Mon 08/06/2007
Haarlem, Netherlands B&B
On our recent trip to Haarlem, the Netherlands, we tried to book at one of Rick's B&B's, but they were full. We found the Rosenhof, www.rosenhof.nl to be charming! Beautiful ensuite room, lovely garden, convenient location! Marion, our host, was very helpful. We were quite happy with this B & B. (Reserve ahead - just two guest rooms.)
Covington, KY USA Sun 08/05/2007
For the last fourteen years we have made several trips to Ireland and have stayed in holiday houses and b&b's. All have been wonderful, but, we find the holiday houses are more in line with our budget. This past fall we stayed on a dairy farm a few miles from Cork City. We arrived late in the afternoon after nearly 24hours of travel. There was a peat fire burning in the fireplace, fresh flowers on the table and a homemade apple tart in the kitchen. Needless to say, we felt most welcomed. We stayed in these houses all over county cork, limerick, and clare and have come away from them all with the grestest memories.
mary ann worthen
amarillo, texas USA Sat 08/04/2007
military and retired military should seek out military accomadations.They are all at least 3 star accommodations and very inexpensive.I am in the Army and I travel alot and my first choice will always be the military places. I've stayed all over Germany to include Frankfurt, Vicenza,Naples,and Sicily,Italy, Spain and Greece.Prices vary from $45.00 - $100.00.Great places at great prices.
Vicenza,Italy, USA Wed 08/01/2007
Careful about renting ancient villas
We rented a very old villa in Tuscany called Villa Ott, through the rental agency Cuendet. The property was breathtaking, the landscaping was gorgeous, the pool was perfect, the villa was huge, spacious, palatial... but the villa was very old and smelled that way; plus the outside was falling apart. The parts of the estate that were unused should probably be condemned... it almost appeared unsafe to walk near them, and it gave parts of the property the feel of "slum".
The landlord, whom I believe was a decendant of the original owners, kept things kind of clean indoors but most stuff was in disrepair. The gas stove was difficult to light, and the gas flow was unsteady so we had a few incidents of flame going out and gas leaking into the room. Yikes! The dishwasher in the kitchen needed replacing... barely cleaned the dishes even when not fully loaded. The small washing machine leaked and was so gross (where the detergent goes in). They had a dinky water heater, that was supposed to heat the water for the entire villa (which sleeps 13) plus his part of the estate where he lived. At one point he and his girlfriend and her son took showers in a row followed by my sister-in-law then me; I had NO hot water at all. The showers were old and decrepid... shower heads were clogged and squirted water out of just a few holes. Mildew on the walls/wallpaper in the shower...gross. Many of the important light switches didn't work. All in all, this place needed about $500,000-$1,000,000 in upgrades/repairs, and it just appears as though the owner could care less and just wants his money.
At about $4500/week, I expected everything like water, faucets, kitchen appliances, and lights to be in perfect working order. I wish I had enough money to take this villa away from the owner and fix it up. I'd be a far more caring landlord than he is.
La Honda, CA USA Sun 07/29/2007
we rented a attractively furnished apartment (vrbo) with a view of a colorful garden, located on a bike/walk trail in munich. the ubahn, restaurants and markets were 5 minutes walk. bicycles were available for visiting nearby beer gardens and exploring the english garden. gabi and joseph were gracious and helpful.
munich, germany Mon 07/23/2007
Munich Apartment in Giesing
We stayed at the place mentioned in previous post, called, we think, Gasthof Hubman. It is in Giesing section of Munich, near a metro stop, on a tiny street. The location is terrific-- very near a walk/bike path, a park , the river and it is convenient by metro to downtown. This was an excellent place (tho I kept hitting my head on a low doorway to the kitchen) and a good value. Munich is an excellent base for visiting Bavaria and Austria, w Bayern Tickets available to train around for less than €30 daily for up to 5 people.
Paul n Sara
USA Mon 07/23/2007
Casa di Subasio in Assisi
My husband & I stayed at an apartment right outside of the center called Casa di Subasio.We read about this place from a posting on this graffiti wall and Jackie was right, the hosts Jack & Helen were great. They named the flat after their son, Subasio, who's a real cutie pie. We stayed here for a week and it was like a home away from home. They supplied us with enough ingredients for our first night there and amazingly had a freezer full of ice, which was unexpected and we definitely needed it due to the heatwave they were having in Italy. They were very helpful with information about Assisi and surrounding hill towns that they thought we should visit. They even took us out to a Sagra in Bevagna (gratis). This was quite an experience, because we have never even heard about these events. We recommend anybody who visits Umbria to attend a sagra, it's fun and that's where all the locals go for great food and dance. www.assisiapartment.blogspot.com pretty much will have all the info you'd need on this place. We were able to see so many places in Umbria and Tuscany from taking day trips. It was so relaxing to stay in one place and be able to do so much. I'm surprised that Rick Steves have not noticed this place. We're so happy to have found such a place. A definite two thumbs up! It will now be "our" special vacation place.
Denver, CO USA Sun 07/22/2007
We went to Spain in June and this time we did not stray from Rick's suggestions for meals or hotels. I'd have to say all were right on the money. We loved Restaurant Puerto Rico in Madrid. In fact we ate there twice it was so good and cheap. The Pixto bar (tapas) in Barcelona was also outrageously good! Couldn't find the fabled street of tapas bars in Barcelona, but a restaurant nearby called Safra had great homey cuisine.
Belleville, IL USA Fri 07/20/2007
Paris Hotel & neighbor hood
We stayed at Grand Hotel LeVeque in the Rue Cler Neighborhood, we were very pleased.It was quite tree lined stree with wonderfull shops and street vendors -right outside was a versateller machine-this area was filled with regular parisan familys strolling hand in hand -parents walking there children to school-wonder cafes to grab a morning omellets or acapuchino before sigt seeing.we felt at home and people were very nice not rude as we had heard so much from other travlers-we did have one very cold night in our
Richmond, Ca USA Wed 07/18/2007
We had a hard time find rooms in Rome and were refered on by a Rick Steves recomendation to try the Hotel Piccolo,it was very nice and only a block from the Spanish steps, a great user friendly neighborhood,about a 15 euro cab ride from the station.Very nice stylish and clean great little deck and very helpful desk clerk it was located up on the forth floor. Wonderful tub and shower accomadtion right in the room -200 euros for 2 double beds w/a lift
Richmond, Ca USA Tue 07/17/2007
Casa San Martino
Wow-don't know where to start what a great find! Thank you Rick!We had such a wonderfull stay,great farm house wonderfull Hostest-Lois we felt we had just arrived home-great house mates to dine with,made my return trip to Cortona the best!What a gracious Hostess-she gave us fabulous locale food recomendationa and even drove us there is the directions were complecated.We wanted to cancel our trip in to Florence and just stay on with her.We will be back-She even took the trouble to have here local grocer bring in some whet free pasta ,both my daughter and another guest are gluten intolerent.She had a welcome drink and biscotti waiting for all the guest and a lovely bottle of wine in our rooms. Thank You,Lois
Richmond, Ca USA Tue 07/17/2007
Hotel Riva in Veneice
Another great Rick Steves find, very centrally located right behind Saint Marc's Square, very charming room and very clean, a gondola was parked right out side,great food and shopping right half a block away.
Richmond, Ca USA Tue 07/17/2007
We just got back from Rome and we stayed near the Vatican. I know Rick says that it is pretty far from most of Rome, but, we really enjoyed it and we loved our hotel. Hotel Grand Olympic is on Via Properzio, near Piazza Risorgimiento. It is a former papal apartment building, and it was wonderful. We booked it through www.hotels.com and received our third night free. Three nights there cost us about $375. It was clean, spacious, and comfortable. We had a nice bathroom with an excellent shower. The breakfast was included and was very tasty. The hotel staff was helpful. I strongly recommend this place to anyone interested in staying near the Vatican. We could walk there every night, and it took about 5-7 minutes. We also were close to the Metro (Ottaviano) and the buses that picked up in Piazza Risorgimiento. Plus we felt a bit safer in this area at night, even though, overall, I never felt unsafe in Italy. The area in the Vatican was a bit calmer and was nice to come home to.
Recent Rome Traveler
Baltimore, MD USA Mon 07/16/2007
Palazzo Minciotti in Assisi
We loved Palazzo Minciotti and we loved everything about Assisi. It was the best and most wonderful experience. Palazzo Minciotti Assisi is so beautiful and it is a very special place. We stayed on a top floor apartment with one bedroom having an exceptional view to San Rufino and all windows on one side facing the plain below the city. The memories will be in our hearts for ever!! You made our experience to be the best of Italia. We still talk about it and we are coming back in 2008!!!!
Don and Maggie Nelson
Stonington, CT USA Sun 07/15/2007
Palazzo Minciotti Assisi
Staying at the Palazzo Minciotti is like visiting your second home, not renting an apartment in a foreign town. We found the Palazzo Minciotti Assisi through an internet search for apartments in Assisi and discovered ourselves in a place so special, so unusually welcoming, that we were not quite sure we were in the right place. The building is situated at the western end of the city in a lovely quiet neighborhood whose focus is Assisi's Duomo, the church of San Ruffino. The location is spectacular, within the walls of the old city and walking distance to everything, with the added advantage of being at the quiet end of town, opposite that of the Church of Saint Francis and the many tourists coming for their pilgrimage. The entrance is unassuming but once you climb the staircase (our apartment on the first floor is the largest) the charm emerges. We loved the large eat-in kitchen (with an ancient fireplace) that came stocked with pasta, olive oil and other essentials. There were three bedrooms with three modern baths (including hair dryers) and multiple sitting rooms, one with a spacious balcony overlooking the Piazza San Raffino and a beautiful view of the church façade. The meandering garden overlooks the rooftops of this hilltop city. And there is a hidden extra dining room that can only be described as medieval. The long table that could probably seat 20 people would be perfect for an extended family that rented all the apartments in the building and wanted to have meals together, something we are considering for a return visit. The many antiques and decorations (including a collection of sun-motif "chochkas" from all over the world) made the rooms look lived-in and welcoming. We had the added good fortune of being there during Easter Week, where we experienced the torch-lit procession on the evening of Good Friday. Your "front row", unobstructed view of the procession from the balcony is amazing. To add to the experience, our hosts Anna Maria and Edoardo, who live in the building, invited us upstairs to join them and their guests to celebrate with a traditional Good Friday feast. We met their friends from all parts of the globe and feasted on traditional Italian delicacies. We look forward to retuning to our "home away from home".
Berwyn, PA USA Fri 07/13/2007
Airport Hotel in Bergamo
we were forced to stay in a new town called Bergamo Italy so we could be close to lake como and the Milan-Bergamo Airport-what a lovely surprise very little town both the old and new area, outstand resturants-wew were very impressed. We had nice a Nice room at Airport Hotel-$100.euros 2night for double-clean comfortable and five minutes from airport/www.hoteltour.it or email@example.com to book your cab the night before you leave as they often come from Varrena-perfect if you fly ryan iar out of milan
Richmond, ca USA Fri 07/13/2007
great place to stay right in the heart of things-rooms are clean but outdated. the service made up for that very -free computer use/great direction for road trips/helpfull staff!!! can't say enought great things about the staff-Very nice continetal every day-they even took care of a garage for us at a small fee while we were in Florence-we only had three short days and it was nice to just step out the door and be in the heart of evrything-Thanks Rick for your recomendation
Richmond, Ca USA Fri 07/13/2007
Palazzo Minciotti, Assisi
My husband and I spent four days in Assisi, at the Palazzo Minciotti. Our top-floor apartment was light and so spacious, with two bedrooms and a bathroom; a fully-equipped kitchen; an enormous living room with a dining area and a door to a large, lovely private garden; and a washing machine. Interior stone walls many hundreds of years old, skylights, and bookcases filled with guide- and art books in several languages, added interest and atmosphere, as did the wonderful view from the large windows. Assisi can be very noisy with revelers at night, but our apartment was absolutely quiet and peaceful. We slept soundly on our comfortable queen-size bed, fixed our own breakfast and (sometimes) dinner, and ate at a table under the wisteria arbor in our rose garden, while admiring the medieval church steeples visible over its walls. The owners of the Palazzo, Anna Maria and Edoardo, are friendly, extremely cultured, and helpful, but not intrusive in any way. When you let yourself into the The Palazzo Minciotti with your own key, climbing the hushed marble staircase to your own comfortable apartment, you'll feel as though you actually reside in Assisi. And the location on the historic Piazza San Rufino--convenient to everything, well within the city but away from the crowds--couldn't be better. We can't wait to go back.
New York, NY USA Thu 07/12/2007
We wholeheartedly agree with the other positive comments regarding Palazzo Minciotti in Assisi. We have stayed with Anna Maria and Edoardo twice and certainly plan to again. The accommodations are first rate and Anna Maria is a welcoming host. The spacious top floor apartment (pack light, no elevator) worked great for our group and the other apartments she showed us were equally inviting. A great home base for exploring Umbria. We've been to Italy four times in the last five years, from Como to Sicily, and Palazzo Minciotti is definitely one of our favorite places.
Nashville, TN USA Thu 07/12/2007
Apartment in Assisi
We loved Assisi of all the hill towns in Italy, in part because of the beautiful apartment we stay in at the Palazzo Minciotti Assisi. Anna Maria and Edoardo Minciotti, our gracious hosts, have opened their serene and lovely palazzo to guests. The home has been in the Minciotti family since the early 19th century, and includes several small and large apartments on three floors. Our one bedroom overlooked the hills of Assisi, was beautifully decorated, and centrally located across from the Piazza San Rufino. The Minciotti's welcomed us like family and our stay soon became the highlight of our Italy trip!
USA Wed 07/11/2007
Palazzo Minciotti in Assisi
We spent nine days in Assisi -- in Palazzo Minciotti. It was a perfect spot and the Minciotti family are delightful, elegant and helpful. The apartments in the Palazzo are beautifully and tastefully appointed. We loved it and would return in a heartbeat!
Albuquerque, NM USA Wed 07/11/2007
Palazzo Minciotti Assisi
We have wonderful friends on St. John who recommended Palazzo Minciotti Assisi for our group of four. The apartment on the top floor had three nice bedrooms two baths and a washing machine. Beautifully appointed and centrally located in Assisi it was also the perfect location for touring Umbria. The Minociottis could not have been nicer or more helpful. We loved it and would return again.
St. John, Virgin USA Wed 07/11/2007
www.italyfarmstay.com I recommend this family run establishment to anyone who is willing to take a detour from the well trodden tourist path to a wild nook of the Italian countryside. I felt very much at home during my four night stay due to the warm hospitality the family exudes. The accommodations are clean, spacious, and better yet affordable for the budget traveler. The farm offers land to be explored, where one can meander along the paths and stumble upon grapevines, and olive, walnut, cherry, plum, fig and pomegranate trees. The farm is nestled in the mountainside, where many outdoor activities are close at hand. The farm's host, Antonello, is generous, giving of his time and transportation, to be sure activities such as trail hiking, horse riding, paragliding, and a visit to the cheese-making shepherd are within the grasp of enjoyment. My favorite was the early a.m. cheese making. We watched as the shepherd milked the goats and sheep, while the wife build a fire for heating the milk. Trying to escape the bite of the morning air, we hovered close to the fire, sampling the freshly handmade cheese with bread and homemade olive oil, and the remaining delicious whey.
USA Tue 07/10/2007
Alpenhof Stechelberg accomodation
Alpenhof Stechelberg. Quaint, peaceful and serene B&B at the end of the Lauterbrunen Valley. Excellent hiking from here. The place is also within the UNESCO World Heritage Reserve. Breakfast included freshly baked bread and local cheeses from the cows you can see out on the mountainside. They also have a kitchen so you can cook your own food. The owners are fantastic, they speak English and German. To get here, take the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunen. When you get off the train in Lauterbrunen, take the bus to the end of the valley (last stop). Walk past the hotel and turn right over the bridge and there it is. We just wanted to share this place with others as we found it to be wonderful. They have a website but I cant remember the address
Vancouver, Canada Wed 07/04/2007
Near Siena – Chianti – Tuscany
Our family of four stayed at Casa Cernano in Castelnuovo Berardegna, southeast of Siena. The lovelingly restored 14th century Vatican farmhouse sits peacefully near the olive groves and vineyards. Eva was a gracious hostess and our two day stopover turned into four days of relaxing and soaking in the beautiful Tuscan landscape, and the wine. Located conveniently within walking distance to the village and restaurants.
We were so rested at Casa Cernano that we decided to turn Roma into a day trip and stay another night. We drove to Orvieto, took the train into Roma, toured our target spots in Roma via metro, cab, and foot. Then we returned to Catelnuovo Berardegna for a late dinner and a great nights rest!
As much as we wanted to keep this our own "Back Door" a secret, we just couldn't keep this gem to ourselves! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Anchorage, Alaska USA Wed 07/04/2007
Thon Hotel Stephan, Oslo
We were disappointed with the loudness of the clubs next to the Thon Hotel Stephan in Oslo-It was way too noisy and would not recommend staying there
ROCKFORD, Il USA Wed 07/04/2007
I wanted to rent an apartment in Paris for one week. I found tripseurope.com on an internet search. I was impressed with their immediate response during our initial email interaction, but i found them even more responsive upon our arrival in Paris. Nicholas personally met us as we came out of the metro station and escorted us to the apartment, which was right around the corner from Rue Cler (a street full of shops and cafes and NO cars). He made sure we were familiar with the features and idiosyncracies of the appliances, elevator and key system and gave us his cell phone number for any unforseen emergency. The apartment was roomy, comfortable and furnished tastefully. Having an apartment in Paris gave us the opportunity to be a resident rather than a tourist.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 07/03/2007
Paris Rentals - Be Warned
Be warned that spending more in Paris doesn't mean you'll get more. We rented a "luxury" flat in Paris for the month of April from Paris Luxe. While their website was great and they made all sorts of promises about their "hand-selected" units and how they would fit the "most discriminating tastes" along with their "money back guarantee" we were sorely disappointed. If not defrauded. Our 1 BR in the Marais (3 Rue du Borg-Tiborg) was on the 1st floor, literally surrounded by restaurants. The bar below us had mounted their stereo speakers right below our bed. Seriously. We were woken up repeatedly after midnight by music so loud the floor shook. We contacted Parie Luxe within hours of getting there -but suddenly they didn't want to live up to their guarantee. The apartment was also worn and had mildew on the ceiling and in the shower. We feel snookered that we paid over $6,000 for 3 weeks. Not exactly the "luxe" experience we were promised...
Denver, CO USA Mon 07/02/2007
Paris Apartment Rental and parisbestlodge.com
We just spent a week in Paris in an apartment from parisbestlodge.com and cannot say enough good things about it. We rented "La Coupole" in the Montparnasse area just south of Luxembourg Gardens. It was such a wonderful area without much tourist traffic and alot of good restaurants and cafes and shops. You can easily walk or metro to all the big Paris sights. We found hotel rooms in this area to be twice the rent for the apartment. The owner of our apartment, Vicky, gave us a quick walking tour of the area when we arrived. Just before we left for Paris I saw some posts on here that seemed rather "canned" about some rental sights. Well I assure you I am not a part of their company and I highly recommend parisbestlodge.com and "La Coupole" in particular.
Minneapolis, MN USA Sat 06/30/2007
Rick Steves Believer !!
Just returned from three weeks in Italy. Stayed in five hotels recommended by Rick Steves guide. All clean, inexpensive and nice employees. Everywhere we went people discussing Rick Steves. Why pay more. Use the guide with great confidence.
Mesa, AZ USA Fri 06/29/2007
Black Forest Germany
Black Forest Germany My wife and just returned from a three week trip to Germany, the Netherlands, and Brussels. If you are looking for a great, centrally located, storybook village in the Black Forest, we highly recommend the town of Gengenbach. Great scenery and very friendly people. http://www.stadt-gengenbach.de/en/tourism/ Gengenbach is located south of Offenburg between Freiburg and Baden Baden with easy acess to the Autobahn #5. We made side trips to the Alsace region of France and to Switzerland. We stayed four nights at Haus Wussler, (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/Germany/holiday-apartment-Black-Forest/p71256.htm#rental3) a modern, meticulously clean, well furnished apartment on a working farm just a few minutes by car from town. We stayed in the Swallows's Nest and would recommend it without reservation. We enjoyed breakfast and evening drinks on the terrace overlooking the valleys, forest, and pastures with grazing horses and cattle. Barbara Wussler and her husband Irwin own the farm and work from morning to night. Barbara speaks excellent English and is a wealth of information about what to do and where to go. She gave us great suggestions for restaurants and sightseeing. Her web site is informative and Haus Wussler is as picture perfect as the web site depicts. John Texas 06/28/07
Carrollton, TX USA Thu 06/28/2007
WONDERFUL places we stayed in Italy
We just returned from a full two weeks in Italy. Venice, Florence, Volterra and Rome. We had very positive experiences in each place we stayed. In venice we stayed at the Pensione Guerrato and felt they had the best breakfasts of our entire trip. Wonderful homemade croissants every morning, and when I opened our bedroom door each morning the wonderful smell filled the hallways. Two cold cereal options, two juice options, great coffee with hot milk, fruit, yogart, and of course hard rolls. All of the people working there, Roberto and Pierro, Giorgio, Mirco and Monika were friendly and more than helpful and we felt right at home. They run a very classy place. In Volterra we stayed at the Seminario Vescoville, where they provided a simple but very nice breakfast upon request and an additional 3 Euros. We had a very nice room overlooking a beautiful courtyard below and everyone working there was very friendly and helpful. No English spoken, which we were happy about, since we were really trying to learn our Italian well. In Rome we stayed in the Suore di Elizabetta. We were more than pleased with our room with its own balcony. The breakfasts were so very simple and civilized and we just adored the whole experience. Having nuns wait on us for breakfast was quite an experience! In Florence we stayed at Casa Rabatti, where we just wanted to sit down and chat all afternoon with Marcella, a wonderful woman who opens up her home to travelers at a good price. My family stayed in a large room that had at one time been her daughter's room. No breakfast. We had a wonderful experience in each of these places. WONDERFUL.
Irving, TX USA Wed 06/27/2007
Our two most memorable accomodations were with Christof in Bergerac and Hotel Breiterle in Rothenberg Germany. Excellent English, helpful, reasonable....don't miss out with them.
ofallon, mo USA Sat 06/23/2007
Hello Andy Grand Rapids I just returned from Vernazza. We stayed in a loft studio apt. Private bath, queen bed. You could add a person to sleep on the futon below the loft. Refer, coffe maker, no stove. Fantastic hosts, right off the main square, 50 meters to the small sand beach. 70 eu.email contact firstname.lastname@example.org. cash only Johnnie or Titti Leonardini 39 0187 812 059. It was so great, we gave the hosts a bottle Chaniti Classico as a thank you. Ciao, Mike Tucson, Az. Don't miss fantastic Pesto meals here, and if you LOVE seafood, order the fish soup. Enough for two, but it was just for me. Fantstico. Two restaurants serve it, Beleforte and the one to the left of your steps as you exit. Jordie is the owners son, see him there. This is not on the Menu and is a special request at 22 euros.
Tucson, Az USA Tue 06/19/2007
Avoid Mike and Franca's in Vernazzo
There was plenty of negative reporting on the Internet about Franca of Mike and Franca's in Vernazzo, Italy (in the Cinque Terra region). There are reports about how she would promise one type of room, in our case one with a private terrace, and try to switch it once you arrive. I thought that I would give her the benefit of the doubt, because she had recently been widowed. Note that under "Contact Us", on her web site, she does not give an email address. So you will have nothing in writing to prove your telephone discussions with her.
I phoned in February, to reserve the room with the terrace for 3 days in April. A few days before our arrival, I phoned again to confirm. However, when we arrived, she showed us into a room without a terrace. When challenged about our agreement, she said that the people that were given the room with the terrace were staying 8 days. In effect she was admitting to taking the longer booking and switching ours. We left immediately & went to the tourist office and managed to get a lovely apartment that was one of the finest accommodations of our trip. So all's well that ends well, but it was an inconvenience to us. So I add my voice to the warnings against Franca, who should certainly not be to allowed to get away with these type of false promises.
Dartmouth, NS Canada Tue 06/19/2007
Two more to avoid
My husband & I traveled through Spain, Italy, Croatia & Greece for 3 months from mid March to June 2007. I booked all the accommodation on the Internet prior to leaving. We stayed in over 28 rented accommodations, including private apartments, pensions, B&Bs, and hotels. We encountered problems in only three of them, two of which I'm reporting here.
We booked a room with a terrace, at Palazzo Vingius in Minori, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The web site states that, "All rooms are front sea view with terraces". So in my email I asked for a top floor room, but did not ask for a terrace, as I believed them that every room had one.
When we arrived, we were indeed shown to the top floor, however, the room was much smaller than it appeared on the Internet site & it had no terrace. We asked to speak to the manager. After a few minutes the proprietor, Pisani Trofimena came with another lady. She said that the "porter " had made a mistake & given our room to someone else. This lady and her friend confronted us and were very rude, using raised voices at us, telling us she'd given us a room on the top floor as we'd requested.
Despite our insistence, she refused to rectify the error, until 2 days later. Then she gave us a room with a terrace, on the bottom floor, for our remaining two days.
The second instance happened in Hania in Crete. It was at the El Greco Hotel.
Again we'd asked for a room with a terrace, in fact we'd asked for the room shown in the pictures on the Internet, on the top floor. We were given written confirmation that we would be given that room.
When we arrived the room we were assigned was not on the top floor. It was so small that we could not both walk around the ends of the twin beds at the same time. Again we asked to be provided with the room we had been promised. We pointed out that we had made the reservation in February (it was now June). The receptionist told us that we should have asked for the room we wanted by number. She told us that the woman who has sent us the emails had made a mistake and was no longer working at the hotel. We asked to see the manager and were told he was not available.
We left the hotel and found a lovely one across the street (The Palazzo, which we highly recommend).
Dartmouth, NS Canada Tue 06/19/2007
My family recently returned from a visit to Venice where we had rented a lovely 2 bedroom apartment through Venice Rentals. While in Venice I got sick enough to require a doctor's visit and Denise (the rental agent) went way beyond the call of duty to see that one could be found for me. As I said, the Campo Santa Margherita apartment was among the nicest I have rented in Europe;and, the rental staff was outstanding.
Monroe, NY USA Sat 06/16/2007
I just got back from Ireland and mostly stayed in B&B's. They were all very nice and had there own little personality. My last three days in Ireland I stayed in a apt in Skerries. Skerries is a small town just a train ride from Dublin Center. The train was about a 15 min walk from the apt, but the owner Valerie took me too the train station when we were both on our way out. On my last day since my flight left in the morning she took me all the way to the airport for no charge.
The apt was upstairs from the main house and had a wonderful picturesque view of the Irish Sea out the living room and bedroom windows. In fact the entire sea side of the apt was all windows. It had a living room, kitchen with table and bathroom. It also came with everything you would need to cook with aside from the food. Dishwasher, iron and ironing board, and clothes drying rack.
It was bright and airy and can sleep 4 people. I was at the end of my trip and the apt was cheaper then staying in a B&B at a single rate or a hostel. The owner had milk, sugar, tea and coffee in the apt. when I arrived. I was even able to pay her upon arrival.
The market was about a 10 min walk from the apt but there was also a mini market store about 1 or 2 blocks away where you could pick up some items.
Skerries has a castle and the Skerries Mills that are on the way to the train station. The little boat town is about a 15 min walk along the sea shore.
I have included the Skerries website of the town as well as the email address for the owner.
www.skerrieshomepage.com/visitskerries.htm - Town website http://www.cottageguide.co.uk/sunsetcrag - Apt website and pictures.
I hope you will enjoy the apt as much as I did. It was nice to relax in peace on my last 3 days in Ireland.
Newport Beach, Ca USA Tue 06/12/2007
Best Villa in Tuscany!
I just got back from 2 weeks in Italy and spent one full week in Tuscany at a villa called La Fornella. It was incredible...perfectly located in Tuscany so that Florence and other cities were easily accesible. The accomodations were beautiful, lots to do and see on the property. The owners, Cassandra (American) and Giacamo, were so friendly and helpful. Tell them the Snyders sent you and have a great time!
Phoenix, AZ USA Tue 06/12/2007
Talk about bang for your buck. Renting an apt. is the way to go. My husband & I decided to check out Umbria,Italy after our 1st trip to Rome & Tuscany in 2000. Out of all the places to live in Italy, one of our close friend said it'd be Assisi. So, we decied to go there and explore for a week. It gets pricey staying in hotels, so we decided to look into renting an apt. A blogger had recommended a place where she'd stayed last year and mentioned " Casa di Subasio" in the heart of Assisi. It was amazingly convenient for our excursions throughout Umbria and even a day in the Marche area. You don't need a car to get there. Jack & Helen were great hosts, they offered a free pick up at the train station , which we did not need, because we rented a car.The Medieval vaulted ceiling was an extra perk. The bedroom was very cozy and has a full kitchen, even cold bottled water,coffee,tea,olive oil and the basics condiments were there for us. It's nice not have to scramble for drinks upon arrival. We normally get hit with a charge for drinks at hotals. All in all, it was very relaxing and economical for us. Check out their pics at www.assisiapartment.blogspot.com" We definitely will return to Casa di Subasio for our future vacations and continue to explore Umbria and more of the Marche region; which was breath taking also.
Orinda, ca USA Sun 06/10/2007
Try the budget Fast Hotels if you're driving in France.
When we were driving in France this past month we occasionally looked for the cheap interchange motels outside of larger towns. Formule 1, Etap, etc. gather at major Autoroute interchanges and have bargain prices easily half of what a 1 star budget hotel in the town center would cost.
We found the Fast Hotel chain. They have very basic but fully equipped rooms and have full service restaurant and bars on the premises. They have a nice landscaped exterior decor with sunny patios.
We were traveling with our 4 year old daughter, so we asked for triple rooms at about E38-40. She got a bunk bed above our double bed on the floor but all beds and bathrooms were clean and comfortable, if quite close.
We met numbers of retired European couples who used these locations to make their driving vacations more affordable.
The tradeoff is having to drive into town for dinner or sightseeing at night, but when in transit from one region to another, staying at one of these trips is the value of a bonus night for your vacation.
Highly recommend the Fast Hotel chain.
Portland, OR USA Sat 06/09/2007
Vernazza - Cinque Terre
We're trying to get a place in Vernazza (1st choice) in Cinque Terre for a few days end of June/early July...any suggestions? Is it really risky to go there without reservations this time of year?
Grand Rapids, MI USA Fri 06/08/2007
Amsterdam-Frederic's Bike Rentals
I used Frederic's to get a room in Amsterdam. He rents various rooms all over the city. His website has a photo for each room. I was very clear in choosing a room as I am 7 months pregnant and have a few needs. Upon arrival I was not given the room I reserved and confirmed but rather a room in same building with a bath-only that had no privacy to it, a waterbed and a cat who is free to come and go at any time. I was told no other room was avaliable. I was very let down and I would encourage anyone to be very careful when renting from him.
Louisville, KY USA Wed 06/06/2007
I was nearly strandard in London witout a hotel,as I missed my flight,but wasb fortunate enough to be accommodated in the Limegrove hotel in Victoria,run by ever so busy Joyce.I must say that the friendly atmosphere in this tiny hotel made up for my bad day.It is rater cheap and clean and the location is one of the best places in London.I would reccomend this to those who need an inexpesive stay in London.
Sydney, Australia Tue 06/05/2007
We stayed at a wonderful apartment in the beautiful city of Lucca. The apartment is named Carlino Michele. It is a 3BR 2bth on a quiet street but in town. The web site is: http://www.knowital.com/tuscany/lucca/carlinomichele/rentals3.html. Apartment was clean, well furnished, and spacious. We were seven (four teens and one pre-teen) and had enough space. Apartment is well managed and Lucca is a great town. A perfect jumping off point for other places in Tuscany or just to spend a long weekend as we did.
Naples , Italy Sat 06/02/2007
florence and venice accommodation
I would like to recommend two apartments I recently stayed in (a month in each apartment). Firstly, in Venice, just off Campo Santa Margherita we rented a two bedroom apt from www.holiday-velvet.com The location was perfect - supermarket within 5 mins, and a ten min walk to San Marco. Holiday velvet were excellent in their communications prior to travel and as we arrived on a Sunday, they left the key with detailed instructions to the apt in their security box outside their office door. In Florence we rented Apartment Boboli from www.holidayhomestuscany.com who were again excellent. The apartment was located in Via Romana (in the Oltrarno area) quite close to the pitti palace and a ten min walk to the centre of Florence. Located nearby was a supermarket, cafe, and an internet cafe practically next door which only charged .50c per 20mins. This two bedroom apt could easily sleep 7 people if required. Location and price for both apartments was excellent and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.
nz Sat 06/02/2007
I stayed with my family (7 females) at St. Sebastion. It is a dorm in the school year but rents rooms with shower/toilet/sinkin room in summer. It was nice, very clean, Swedish/Ikea furnishing. The location is wonderful, just outside old city on a very nice street with expensive hotels, great cafes and reasonable shops. It was about 60 Euros for 2 people per night. If you do stay there eat at the Winebar across the courtyard. The owner has many wines to indulge in and offers a simple menu of salads and pastas. We just came from Italy and he does it better. Great price and great regional wines. We ate there twice!
Houston, TX USA Fri 06/01/2007
Italy Farm Stay outside of Rome
We had a wonderful stay on an organic farm outside of Rome. Our hosts were very gracious and the surrounding neighborhood is traditional Italy at it's best. If you like animals, hiking, relaxing and local culture, then this is the place. More information at italyfarmstay.com.
Lake Oswego, OR USA Thu 05/31/2007
BUDAPEST!!! DOWNTOWN!!!! apartment for 38 USD!!! Very Clean and comfortable flat, with a very kind owners(Malna and Andras)!!!!Good restaurants and pubs around, www.budapest.weebly.com :):):)
San Fransisco, CA USA Wed 05/30/2007
http:// vs https:// when reserving at hostels on Internet
Be careful when trying to pay for a reservation by Internet on www.fuaj.org (French youth hostel website). When time comes for payment, it takes you to a page in www.hihostels.com where you enter your bank card number. But it is http:// not https://.
But if you go instead to www.hihostels.com directly to make your reservation for France, then the page where you enter your card number does in fact have https://.
Detroit, MI USA Tue 05/22/2007
Italy Farm Stay Near Sora
We wish we could have stayed longer at this wonderful place bordering Abruzzo National Park in central Italy. It's midway between Rome and Naples, about 45 minutes off the autostrada, but well worth getting off the beaten path. You don't even have to drive...they'll pick you up and drop you at the train station in Sora.
This working organic agriturismo with olive and fruit trees and a wide variety of animals (including two friendly dogs) is just outside the larger town of Sora, as well as several small and scenic hill towns. While the location alone is fantastic, wonderful Antonello and his family really make this a memorable place to visit.
The farm is a quiet world apart from the tourist sites and crowds. Sora has a great market day on Thursdays, when merchants and farmers line its downtown streets. But there's so much to do on and near the farm, including a hike on the farm or in the national park, horseback riding, language and pasta-making lessons from Maria, touring historic monasteries, frequent sampling of the farm's wine, produce, and olive oil, and a visit to the local cheese-making shepherd. The region is known for its truffle production and one evening we visited a local restaurant - virtually everything on the menu featured truffles, yet it was the great food bargain of the trip. We also greatly enjoyed our dinner and breakfasts at the family table, and again, almost everything was produced on the farm.
Our kids (ages 4 and 8) absolutely loved it, but it's a great place for anyone to visit. There's surely enough to see and do to stay a week or more. It caters to English-speaking travelers and Antonello has spent time in the United States. What a wonderful place...we hope to visit again someday!
Brad, Ellen, Luke and Lydia
St. Louis, MO USA Tue 05/22/2007
Fantastic Apartment in Central Rome
Ive just returned with my boyfriend from a wonderful 4 night break in Rome, what particulary made it special was the apartment i stayed in close to the Piazza Navona and Trastevere district. We were collected from the airport by our letting agent "Mauro" who took us by car to a beautiful, well equipped 2 bed apartment (One double bed & 2 singles) - the furniture was very tasteful and the apartment also included all the modern appliances needed including great bathroom, washing machine, well equipped kitchen, hairdryer, aircon etc. It was very central with a spar shop around the corner and resturants and shops 2 streets away. There was coffee, toilet rolls, washing powder etc upon our arrival which took out the stress of having to go and get supplies as soon as we arrived. Mauro also took us to the airport for our return flight which took out all of the hassle of rushing around before an early departure. He was very helpful on advice with attractions and resturants etc and we were able to contact him anytime with questions we had. I highly reccomend anyone visiting Rome check outthe website http://www.rome-apartments-for-rent.it/ we stayed in the Reginella apartment (the photos DO NOT do it any justice whatsoever!) http://www.rome-apartments-for-rent.it/reginella2/reginella2.asp
Penryn, Cornwa UK Sun 05/20/2007
farm between Rome and Naples
I had a brilliant time here on this farmstay. Having the opportunity to meet so many guests from different countries was very interesting, and being able to take part in the activities provided was a lot of fun. These included horse back riding, hiking, italian cooking, and a visit to the shepard to make cheese. The surrounding landscape is on the edge of Abruzzi National Park, and it is very easy to reach from Rome by bus and train. italyfarmstay.com
Birmingham, UK Sun 05/20/2007
H10 Montcada MUY BUENO!
When in Barcelona, stay at H10 Montcada!! Vía Laietana, 24. I arrived without a reservation on May 6, 2007, planning to stay one night. I wound up staying four nights because it was so wonderful. I am a single female traveler and felt completely safe at all times in this hotel. I paid 140 Euros, which was well worth it!!
Chicago, IL USA Sat 05/12/2007
apartment in florence
I was so lucky getting a last minute available apt from Lorenzo (www.florencehousine.it)! 2 people, 3 days in florence, 255 euro all inclusive. Lovely place! Try his services!!
nyc, ny USA Fri 05/11/2007
Agroturismo in Sicily
I and my two companions lucked into a wonderful agroturismo place in Nicosia, Sicily. It used to be the fortress and headquarters for Frederick II's general...on top of a hill overlooking the city. Great food, great price, friendly staff, clean, convenient cottages, pool. Need a car to travel the area, as Nicosia is off the beaten path in the center of Sicily.
Baglio St. Pietre
Nicosia, Sicily Wed 05/09/2007
Scotland B&B in Tyndrum, Crainlarich. For travelers like us to stay longer then planned at a place of interest,here is a good place to overnight between Glasgow and Oban--Dalkell Cottages on the West Highland Way (hiking/walking). Two train stations near. Angela and Chris have a comfortable and reasonable B&B with pick from the menu breakfast. Highly recommended. tel.01838400285
Silverthorne, Co USA Mon 05/07/2007
Great apt @ Paris Latin Quarter, 5th Arr, email: email@example.com + BEWARE of
Nearing the final two days ago from a fifteen day stay in Studio Notre Dame from victoria-parishomes.com. Ooh La La.... It was a perfect space for us; computer/internet, washer/dryer, cook tops and refrigerator gave us the opportunity to bring home groceries, wine, water and of course, fabulous breads and pastries. The apartment was a convenient walk to Notre Dame, the vibrant night life of the Latin Quarter, the bouqanistas and the Seine. We also took a leisurely walk to the Louvre and followed Rick's Classics Walks of Paris on our IPOD. Podcasts for everything are DEFINITELY the way to go! You can start and stop whenever you want and so convenient and informative. There are many podcasts available on the internet, most free (like the one on the Versailles museum home page for Versailles), or nominally priced (like Tourcaster). We were in a very comfortable neighborhood and had access to open stores during times when most other arrondisements "rolled up the streets" for the evening. There is no better place to stay than in the Latin Quarter, hands down! We ventured out to the base of the Pont Neuf on some nights and "made like Parisians" with our bottle of wine (try the Chateuneuf du Pape, it's heavenly!), a candle and with the beautiful weather we were lucky to have in the end of April/beginning of May (highly recommend coming here in the spring). The metro we used most was St Michel (3 blocks from the apartment) and the Maubert Mutalite (around the corner). There are many restaurants and bars in the area. One night, we were so tired from our day adventures, that we brought in a greek pita and chicken crepe from one of the many stands in the Latin Quarter. Another night we had take out pizza from a local Italian restaurant. The area is hopping any night of the week with night clubs and bars. Most are affordable but BEWARE OF "SURPRISE" COVER CHARGES! We had heard so much about the Aux Trois Mailletz (3 Hammers) club and how it was rumored to be the "origin" of the French Resistance because it's cellars connect to the catacombs and surrounding apartments, that we ventured in one night for some local entertainment and dinner. We went downstairs and asked for a table for dinner and were promptly seated in the cellar at a cramped table of four next to a couple that was already midway through dinner. Everything seemed alright and the place filled up fast when some guy singing like the Gypsy Kings came in to play his guitar with the band. When we left after three songs we were given a whopping bill for 200 euro stating that the "cover charge" for the entertaiment was 25 euro per person (which we had not been told) and that if we had eaten outside or "upstairs," without the "showcase" entertainment (but instead with the piano bar upstairs), then there would not have been a cover charge for the "show." We should have fought the cover but both of us were weary from a day full of sightseeing, but NEVER AGAIN! Forewarned is forearmed, make sure you ask if there is a cover before sitting down at a club so that you don't end up paying 50 euro (or more) for unexpected (and underwhelming) things. The apartment, on the first floor, is well-equipped for a home away from home. Although we had our own travel printouts and podcasts for Paris, having a computer with internet access in the apartment was worth its weight in gold. We were able to check the weather pattern, museum opening hours, etc.
Highly recommend Victoria at victoria-parishomes.com and will stay in one of the apartments she represents next time.
Final notes: Cup of noodles and other "portable" snacks from the US are worth packing and bringing for times when your legs and feet are travel weary and you just want a warm meal in your tummy to relax. Also, recommend packing muscle rub, foot scrub/soak tablets or lotions/potions and aspirin/advil to ease the impact the cobblestone streets will have on your poor little feet!
Los Angeles, CA USA Fri 05/04/2007
Rental insurance and trip insurance
I am looking at Lodgis.com for an apartment in Nice. Lodgis has sent me an email regarding about apartment insurance and trip insurance. Did you really had to show proof of Home insurance? What about the trip insurance? We are only going to stay there for about 5 days and the youngest person going is 48 yrs. young. Thanks! Linda
Seattle, WA USA Mon 04/30/2007
Vacation Rentals By Owner
Before starting our backpacking trip, my friend and I spent a week in Paris. We rented a cute little apartment through www.vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner). We found an excellent place very close to Notre Dame, on the Left Bank, at 22 Rue St. Severin. It was very affordable, and included a private bath, a kitchenette, and a tv/vcr. It was a bustling area, but we had no safety problems. It was pretty clean, and the people we rented from were kind and we had no hassles! It was very close to the RER and Metro (near to Place St. Michel), so we were able to see as much of Paris as we desired in a week, with the luxury of a little apartment to come home to every night at an affordable rate. Pluse, we discovered later (after we saw people taking pictures of our apartment) that we were staying in the narrowest apartment building in Paris, or so the guidebooks said!! It was just the right size for two people. It was charming and I'd recommend this place (or others on that website) to anyone.
Chicago, IL USA Sat 04/28/2007
paris vacation rental in St germain des Pres - Parisbestlodge
We returned two days ago from a twelve day stay in Studio St. Germain from parisbestlodge.com. Ooh La La.... It was a perfect space for us; computer/internet, washer/dryer, cook tops and refrigerator gave us the opportunity to bring home groceries, wine, water and of course, fabulous breads and pastries. The apartent is a convenient walk to The Louvre, D'Orsay and Orangerie Museums. We also took a leisurely walk to Notre Dame and I ventured out on my own one day to Ile St. Louis to boutique shop. The metro we used most was Odeon, although after a few of our ventures, Mabillon was more convenient. There are many restaurants and bars in the area. One night, we were so tired from our day adventures, that we brought in pizza from Cesare's, around the corner on rue Mazarine. The area was hopping on Saturday when the art galleries (and you are in the center of the gallery area) were open later hours. The apartment, up three narrow flights of steps, is well-equipped for a home away from home. Although we had our own travel books for Paris, the books in the apartment gave us some more information to make our stay more complete.
Sharon and Mike
USA Fri 04/27/2007
I plan my travel across Italy using allhome.eu, a web guide for all accommodation is really easy and cool, for each lodging you contact direct the owner, i think is a good help!!!
Calgary, Canada USA Thu 04/26/2007
We recently flew in and out of Bern, Switzerland (great little airport) and stayed at Marthahaus on both ends of our trip. I was a little worried about getting to and from the small airport but need not have been. When we arrived, the owner (?) of the shuttle service grabbed my bag saying they drop off at the train station. I told him I needed to get to Marthahaus and he arranged for the shuttle to drop us there at no extra charge. We had a triple room with bath (my older mom wanted one close by) which cost SF 160 per night and included a great Swiss breakfast.
Upon leaving, they were happy to arrange a taxi for our early morning flight and have the night porter set out breakfast at 5:00 a.m. (usually served from 7:00-10:00). The smell of the coffee brewing was enough to make the 4:00 a.m. alarm not quite so jarring!
It is just a 10-minute walk to the train station and old town over two different bridges.
It was a great stay in a beautiful town!
Pension Marthahaus Bern Wyttenbachstrasse 22a 3013 Bern Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)31 332 41 35
Fax:+41 (0)31 333 33 86
Boise, ID USA Tue 04/24/2007
Accommodations in London for a family
We just returned from spending 10 days in England. Six days were spent in London. We found great accommodations for our family of five through Coach House Vacation Rentals. We stayed in their BWE location. It is a beautiful 2 bedroom loft apartment overlooking the River Thames, with a view of Tower Bridge from the balcony. It was a convenient location close to the tube. It was wonderful to have a place to relax after a long day of sight seeing. We also enjoyed having a kitchen as eating out every meal would have been rather pricey. Coach House was very helpful and met us upon arrival to answer any questions we might have. They provided great service and were easy to work with. This was definitely more economical and nicer than staying in a hotel. We will definitely use Coach House for our next trip to London.
St. Joseph, MI USA Fri 04/20/2007
2 months in Italy
We're going to Italy for 2 months this fall and were looking for ways to save money on housing. At first we thought we'd rent a motorhome, but soon found they were too expensive. But on this site we found extensive lists of campgrounds. Many of them rent bungalows for half the cost of hotel rooms, and they have kitchens so we can save money on food. Has anyone tried this? http://www.worldwide-motorhome-hire.com/campgrounds/italy-campground.html
Hesperia, CA USA Thu 04/19/2007
Great place to stay in Florence-RE: Casa Spinelli
We stayed at Casa Spinelli in Florence as well. Big thumbs up! We loved it, so convenient to the tourist attractions and so comfortable and cute. The owners are from NY and are very nice and helpful. Also they charge in US dollars so you save money on the bad exchange rate, a HUGE plus. www.casaspinelli.com
Ronkonkoma, NY USA Tue 04/17/2007
Hostels in Italy
I just got back from three weeks in Umbria, Italy, and made a point of staying in hostels. In Assisi I can highly recommend Ostello della Pace starting at 15 euro a night [with breakfast] and in Perugia, Ostello Per la Gioventu, same price - which are shared rooms. Private rates start around 22 euro. Those names into Google will get their sites, and I did my booking with the first one online before leaving Canada. Not being 25 any longer, I paid more for the private room and it worked out perfectly. For 22 euro a night instead of at least 5 times that for a hotel, I was able to see and do much more on my travels. I plan to return [for my 3rd time] and would go this route again, no question. Even though town centre for Assisi was a 15-minute walk [uphill of course] the owners of both were exceedingly helpful about my first time getting into town by bus, the hours they ran, connecting train schedules, etc. They really could charge an extra fee for this important help, and I would gladly pay it. I know they would not suit everyone's travel needs, but hostels it is until I win the lottery.
Canada Sat 04/14/2007
Coach House London Vacation Rentals
My family recently returned from a week's stay in London. We rented a 1-bedroom flat in the Chelsea neighborhood through Coach House London Vacation Rentals. I would highly recommend using Coach House London: the service was wonderful, and the flat was simply marvelous. It was in a great neighborhood, with full kitchen, full bath, laundry, and close to the tube. So much nicer and more economical than a hotel. We'll use Coach House London again when we return.
Chicago, IL USA Thu 04/12/2007
Rental cottages in Ireland?
My friends and I are celebrating our 30th birthdays in Ireland this June, and we would love to rent a cottage for the week. Can anyone suggest a good website or a particular home they have used before? We are thinking Kilkenny might be a good base for us. Thank you!
Washington, DC USA Wed 04/11/2007
Coach House London Vacation Rentals
We used Coach House Rentals to rent a beautiful and large 2BR flat (BWE) on the Thames river with a view of Tower Bridge. The agency is first class and our experience with them and the flat was outstanding. This is a much better way to spend 5+ days in London than staying at a hotel! Also, you can't beat the value. I highly recommend both the agency and the BWE apartment.
Chicago, IL USA Wed 04/11/2007
flat rental in London
Coach House Rentals
Traveling with our children and my in-laws to London we were able to get a terrific 3 bedroom, 3 bath townhouse near Waterloo Station for the same cost as two hotel rooms. Infinitely more space along with a full kitchen and laundry facilities. Excellent service from Coach House and the unit was better than advertised.
Burbank, CA USA Wed 04/11/2007
Room near Zagreb Airport
I am looking for a sobe, or in-home accommodation in close proximity to the Zagreb Airport for mid-May of 2007.
Port Orford, Or USA Mon 04/09/2007
Coach House Rentals
We stayed in a great flat in London that we got through Coach House Rentals. They were flexible with our timing (we didn't want to stay a whole week--and it was off-season, so this wasn't a problem). The flat was gorgeous and more importantly exactly as advertised. The company was great to work with, contacting us a few times between the time of our reservation and our actual arrival, and they answered all of our pre-departure questions promptly.
Reno, NV USA Mon 04/09/2007
vacation-italy apartment rentals
Has anyone used vacation-italy.com for apartment rentals in Florence?
MN USA Fri 04/06/2007
My all time favorite place to stay in Florence is with Marcella at Casa Rabatti. She is in Rick's Italy books. I've stayed with her twice and the experiences have been priceless. Spotless, great location, quaint, comfortable. She even has a larger room that can accomodate 5. You can make reservations on line.
Bremerton, WA USA Tue 03/27/2007
My husband and I are staying in a villa in Tuscany for a week that we found on www.to-tuscany.com,upon recommendation from an Italian friend of mine. My husband wasn't so sure at first,because he thought it should have been more expensive (He thinks $600 for the week is a bargain!) This was for a 2-4 person villa that is very remote. You definitely need a car to get here (use Auto Europe- you will find the best deal here, since everywhere else I looked was quoted in euros and these guys quoted in USD). Other sites I have used to book rooms in italy are www.initaly.com (good for lots of useful information about Italy, not just for looking for acommodations-many are very expensive BTW, but some were reasonable), and http://www.acasa5terre.it/ (many reasonable rates for Cinque Terre here). We are also staying in a B&B in Rome with reasonable rates. I found it on a Google search , "vegan italy" - http://www.bedandbreakfastbio.com/en/servizi.asp
SLC, UT USA Mon 03/26/2007
This march I stayed at a farmstay near Sora, two hours south of Rome. They offer accomodation for budget travellers with lots of things to do... it's a good way to see the countryside in Italy and get off the beaten path a little bit, (good for us all)...there is a sweet old castle to check out, lots of hiking trails, fun stuff. www.italyfarmstay.com for more info.
Mindemoya, ON Canada Sat 03/24/2007
My wife and I are planning second trip to Italy. We want to stay outside of Rome from May 4-6 in the countryside, close enough to take the train in each day. Any recommendations?
Folsom, CA USA Fri 03/23/2007
Florence and Milan
Does anyone have good suggestions/referrals for Milan or Florence, Italy, accommodations for 5 persons in August?
USA Fri 03/23/2007
Hi there. Two girlfriends and I are planning a trip to Barcelona in May for a few days. Well, it turns out the FORMULA ONE race is going on and there are no hotels available. Does anyone have any recommendations for alternative apartments/condos/other hotels? Thanks in advance!
Los Angeles, CA USA Mon 03/19/2007
Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris Apartments
Three weeks in Europe....three days in Amsterdam, a week or so in Belgium, three or four days in Paris. My husband and I are interested in apartment or B&B rather than hotels.
I have contacted Amsterdam Escape and Paris Attitude about apartments in those cities. Has anyone ever utilized them? Suggestions, comments, alternatives gratefully accepted. We are 50-somethings and, although we are seasoned travelers, this is our first European trip.
Livermore, CA USA Mon 03/19/2007
Sicily NY hosue swap exchange
we are looking for a house swap in Sicily. We can offer 2 weeks at our luxury home in Weehawken - 5 bedrooms 8 minutes to manhattan via private bus that is at our door. June 7-13.
Any advice or recommendations for sicily accomodations on the nice end. we are traveling with a 1 year old!!.
Weehawken, NJ USA Sat 03/17/2007
Has anyone used feel-paris.com for Paris apartment rentals? Their prices are less than those for the same properties under other agencies. Is this a red flag?
MN USA Sat 03/17/2007
Barcelona - Apartment info?
Our family of four would like to rent an apartment in Barcelona for a week this July. Does anyone have suggestions on which neighborhoods to avoid? Any you recommend? Any apartments or websites you recommend?
Bellevue, WA USA Sun 03/11/2007
San Fermin Fiesta (Running of the Bulls)
Anyone planning on going (or interested in going) to the San Fermin Fiesta (Running of the Bulls) 6 July 07 - 8 July 07? I'm trying to find someone to share a room with or several people to share an apartment with. Thanks !
Denver, CO USA Sun 03/11/2007
It has been about three years since we stayed there, but we had a great stay at an apartment run by http://www.innsidebarcelona.com/default.htm. The apartment we had was: Virreina Flat near the Boqueria Market. Best of luck.
Naples , Italy Sun 03/11/2007
We have stayed in apartments in Sicily and Tuscany and would not do it any other way. Our last one (Sicily) had a balcony over a wonderful cobbled street in Cefalu, and the other balcony was directly over the sea. The one-bedroom in Tuscany was about $500 for the week, complete with gorgeous views; the 2-bedroom in Sicily was $900.
avon, ma USA Fri 03/09/2007
Hotel bookings all over world
You can find a large selection of hotels with reviews and pictures from this company web-site. I have booked there many times, and everything works really well. And for bonus you can have 4% discount for every booking:
The Venere.com discount code allows you to offer a discount to your friends who want to book via Venere. The discount code you can offer is: C92TJ46. The discount is 4%. There is a box to enter a discount code when you are inputting your personal information. I used a code and my discount was instantly applied.
USA Thu 03/08/2007
Kimberly - rue cler hotel
we always stay at Hotel la Motte Picquet at the corner of rue Cler and avenue de lo Motte-Picquet. It's 1/2 block from Ecole Militaire metro stop and turn right out the door and you are on rue Cler. 10 minute walk to Eiffel Tower. It's in Rick's book and the web site is www.hotelmottepicquetparis.com
Haddon Heights, nj USA Wed 03/07/2007
apartment in santa margherita ligure
Stayed in an apartment in Santa Margherita Ligure (Italian Riviera )which the owner rents on a weekly or monthly basis. Much cheaper than a hotel and convenient since you can do your own cooking and save on restaurants!!!!
astoria , ny USA Wed 03/07/2007
A double room has a double bed (usually not two singles) and "standard" may mean that the toilet is in the hall, not in your room. Check it out before committing. The standard room will usually save you money. A true single room has one twin bed and will not accommodate two people. Sometimes when people request a "single" they are booked into a room having a double bed because that is all that is available. Clear?
USA Sat 03/03/2007
Italy meets the wild west meets Zen?
At the foothills of the Abruzzi Mountains just outside of Sora, Italy you will find a wonderful, intriguing, and thriving agritourismo www.italyfarmstay.com . THere you will find something for the least adventurous and most adventurous of travelers. Mountain hikes to remote waterfalls or learning to lasso a cow from an Italian cowboy isn't your thing? then you can lounge by a peaceful lake, take a yoga lesson, or learn to make pasta from scratch. I spent over a week at the farm, where I met wonderful people, learned some Italian, took in incredible scenery--My next destination, Rome, seemed somewhat anti-climatic. Definitely a fun time!
Minneapolis, MN USA Wed 02/28/2007
We believe that a "single" room means one to be occupied by one person while "double " assumes there will be two. The two words do not,so far as we can tell, imply the NUMBER of rooms
Paul n Sara
USA Wed 02/28/2007
A bit confused need to book a hotel in Paris for 2, me and my husband, whats the difference between a single room and a double standard room.Besides the price
Denver, Co USA Wed 02/28/2007
Kimberly-hotel nr Rue Cler
I always stay at Hotel Kensington. ck out www.hotel-kensington.com. it is a 2 star but very clean w/ elevator and 2-3 block walk from Eiffel tower, ecole militaire metro and rue cler. website photos make it look more drab than it is.
USA Wed 02/28/2007
Was wondering if anyone can recommend or not recommend a hotel in the Rue Cler neighborhood,near the Ecole Militaire metro stop in Paris.
Co Springs, USA Wed 02/28/2007
cheaper than a hotel in Florence!
Great find in Florence! I search on craiglist for apartment rentals in italy because they are often cheaper than hotels. I ended up staying in florence for a whole week in february for only 500 bucks! i stayed at an apartment called casa spinelli, cute, clean, and close to everything. their website is casaspinelli.com i definitely reccommend it, if they are booked then definitely check craigslist italy for apartment rentals, they are always cheaper and better than hotels.
Atlanta, GA USA Sun 02/25/2007
paris apartment in le marais
Our trip to Paris and our stay at the apartment Bourg-Tibourg from Parisbestlodge vacation rentals was simply perfect. We were in heaven. We have recommended it to all of our friends, many of which are planning trips to Paris in the next year. We told them they simply MUST stay at one of these flats (of course, we think nothing could be better than the Bourg-Tibourg). Even though the pictures online are great, they can't do justice to the warm colours and real beauty of the apartment. You have to see it for yourself!
First of all, the apartment itself is so lovely. It is cozy, serene, warm, spacious and romantic, while at the same time being amazingly functional and clean. Every time we would return to the apartment, it felt like we were coming home. Thank you for that wonderful feeling!
From the kitchen (with a refrigerator, toaster, microwave, 2 stovetop elements, kettle, coffee maker, dishwasher and beautiful sink) which was fully stocked with everything we could need (dishes, flatware, wine glasses, coffee, tea, dish soap, paper towels, salt and pepper, etc.) to the luxurious bathroom (gorgeous colour scheme, best shower we've ever used – like a rainfall, blow dryer, deluxe towel-warmer – and a generous supply of towels, and all the toiletries we would need, it was amazing, and so clean!) everything was outstanding. The bed was extremely comfortable and very large, the blankets were cozy and warm and we also LOVED the amount of closet space. It meant we could hide our big suitcases away and not live out of them!
We also loved the little balcony – we'll come back and stay when the weather is warm so that we can actually sit out at the pretty little table and enjoy our tea or wine without freezing!
We felt very safe and secure staying there, and the system you use for tenants to pick up the keys is perfect. On the subject of keys, it was brilliant of you to provide two sets – it meant my partner and I could enjoy our own alone time in Paris without worrying about meeting times or being locked out of our apartment waiting for the other!
It was a delight to be able to enjoy such a wide range of French (and English) television, and the flat screen TV was quite a treat. On the topic of technology, it is absolutely FANSTASIC that unlimited high-speed internet is included, and the computer itself is provided (it meant I didn't have to lug my laptop overseas or worry about it being stolen). The computer was new and fast, and it helped us to plan out our daily activities (i.e. look up hours, movie times, maps, etc.) and keep in touch with family and friends at home.
The local phone calls being included was another wonderful aspect of staying at your flat. And knowing that you were just on the other end of a phone call in case something went wrong was very reassuring. Thank you for being so responsible to and caring towards your guests. It could have been unnerving, staying in a strange apartment in a strange city, but knowing we had a contact "just in case" took that worry away. And, we didn't need to call you at all because everything was so perfect!
It was very thoughtful of you to provide a little library of Paris guide books too. We looked through many of them to help us decide on activities we didn't want to miss!
The location of the Bourg-Tibourg was perfect. There is a grocery store right across the street and two of the yummiest boulangeries (bakeries) in Paris right on our block! There are many, many, many cafes and bistros within a two-block radius, and lots of great boutiques as well! We picked up a couple of very neat, colourful espresso sets at a fun little store around the corner. There are two incredible gourmet chocolate shops on the block as well as the Mariage Freres tea store and restaurant. It's about a five-minute walk to Notre Dame Cathedral, about 15 minutes to the Louvre. We only took the Metro twice because this apartment is in such a fantastic central location!
This is a stellar apartment, and Thierry, the owner, is an incredibly sweet, hardworking and genuinely caring man.
We look forward to staying at the Bourg-Tibourg again as soon as we can! If anyone would like to contact me to ask any questions about our stay or about the apartment, please let them know I would be more than happy to hear from them.
Rosie Shaw and Brendan Murray
Rosie Shaw and Brendan Murray
USA Wed 02/21/2007
Florence apartments rental
Try Florence Housing.it Great value for money
NYC, MV USA Wed 02/21/2007
Room/studio in Florence
I am visiting my son in Florence for two weeks and am searching for an inexpensive room/bed/or studio near Santo Spirito/Palazzo Pitti. The dates are @ April 19-May 3.
Courtland, CA USA Sat 02/17/2007
Honeymoon in paris
I am looking at apt rentals in Paris for our honeymoon. I have looked at vrbo.com. I have dealt with them here in the States. I also found homeaway.com. A lot of choices on these sites. My question is about the area called Montmartre. Is it nice? Safe? I have found some beautiful places, but the prices seem super cheap and am wondering why. Thanks for your help.
Raymore, MO USA Thu 02/15/2007
Paris Sweet Home
I went for it and booked with parissweethome and so far it's been excellent. They were very prompt in getting back to me and securing an apartment for me. The owner of that flat took a couple days to respond to me but has been very friendly in sorting out arrival times, how to pay, etc. Although I originally e-mailed her in (very poor) french, we have communicated back and forth in English ever since. If the actual apartment is as good as the experience has been so far I'll certainly be back. FYI though, you do deal directly with the owner of the apartment you are interessted in renting which could be a problem if they speak only french and you dont. As well, make sure so select your favorite appartment as the first one on the list (of the apartments you want to check out) becacuse if the first one is available, then they stop there and let you know. We had to ask them to check our third choice again (because we neglected to put them in the order we wanted) but they were very good about it. Hopefully this helps!! :)
Calgary, Canada Thu 02/15/2007
I'm trying to rent a studio in Paris for 10 days and have found parissweethome.com which is also apparently managed by allorenta. Anybody have any info on either of those companies please let me know?
South Bay, CA USA Wed 02/14/2007
Anyone been to Freiburg?
Have you heard of a place called "Waldhof Pension"?
Dallas, TX USA Tue 02/13/2007
Try Ruggini flat and his bakery breakfast near signoria. Look on google "ruggini's flats in florence".
NY, USA Mon 02/12/2007
Room in private home
Older husband and wife arriving in Barcelona May 6th seeking info about rooms in private homes. Also Madrid, Lisbon, Rome, etc. etc, etc.
Tom and Paula
Colorado Springs, CO USA Sun 02/11/2007
Staying NEAR, not IN
Manhattan is ridiculously expensive but a fantastic place to see. Try apartments or studios in hotels in nearby north New Jersey. NYC is conveniently reached in 25 mins or so (by train or coach) and there is a LOT more left over for other enjoyments. Aside from sites like VRBO, try Extended Stay America, which has studios in Rutherford and Secaucus (the NYC skyline is visible from both, so you are pretty close.
Paul n Sara
USA Sat 02/10/2007
New York Vacation Apartment Search
Looking for a good source to rent an apartment for a 5 night stay in New York - Manhattan this March 2007. Checked out NY Habitat - any other suggestions?
Canada Sat 02/10/2007
Paris Sweet Home rentals??
Me and my sister are looking for an aparment to stay in for 1 week in Paris. THe cheapest apartment rental company i've come accross is http://www.parissweethome.com - so far an apartment for 2 is costing us about 325 euro for the week. Has anyone had any contact with or heard anything about this company - and and all information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :)
Calgary, Albert Canada Fri 02/09/2007
Hotels or Bed & Breakfast in Dublin
We are going to spend three nights in Dublin in June, 2007. Does anyone have a great place suggestion to stay and also eat. We will be returning home from Italy and spending three days in Ireland. email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Carol in Ocala, FL
Ocala, FL USA Fri 02/09/2007
B&B's, Hostels..Not in Rick Steves Guides
When I was doing my travel plans, I could not find rooms that fit my budget near the main train station in Rick Steves books in Munich (Euro Youth Hostel Munich), Florence (Tourist House - Firenze) and Switzerland (Hotel Rugenpark in Interlaken). I found them through these websites: www.eurocheapo.com, www.gomio.com and www.tripadvisor.com
San Diego, CA USA Fri 02/09/2007
Staying in a Nunnery In Rome.
In one of Ricks videos for Rome he mentions staying at a nunery etc. I am wondering if anyone has any experience but also web sites/info on where they are in the city, how to book them etc.
sydney, nsw australia Thu 02/08/2007
Via this website I found RomeBy.Com and want to say I found a fabulous apartment on their site, Casa Portico d'Ottavia, where I stayed last November. It was wonderful. Ideally located in an interesting artisan district and close to all "must see" sites, it was ideally located. Making the reservation was painless and I was greeted by a wonderful host who provided fresh pasta, bread and italian coffee for me to enjoy during my stay. This was my first visit to Rome and the positive experience I had with RomeBy has to be shared with others.
Hollywood, CA USA Mon 02/05/2007
Villa or Agriturismo
My wife, my five year old daughter and three year old son and I are looking into either a villa or agriturismo in Tuscany this summer. We'd like to be in an area where we could make day trips to Sienna, Cortona, Assisi and Montepulciano. In 2005 we stayed at Villa di Piazzano and loved it. However the prices have shot up dramatically in two years and out of our price range. Any reasonable, kid friendly recommendations? We've thought about agriturismo but are not sure. Do you get your own private living quarters or do you share bathrooms, common rooms, kitchens etc. If that is the case we are worried about the potetnial of an occassional cranky child infringing on fellow traveler's peace and quiet. Any thoughts?
Pt. Richmond, CA USA Mon 02/05/2007
need an apartment
Has anyone ever had any experience with A La Carte Apartments in Paris? My daughter and I are planning a trip to Paris in July and will be needing to rent an apartment for 1-2 weeks.
Jamestown, Ri USA Sun 02/04/2007
Private country B&B in Umbertide, Umbria
My elderly parents, college aged children and I took over a delightful country house in Umbria, Italy called El Marsam in the town of Umbertide. The American owners, Mike and Ginda Simpson embraced us from the start. We spent a lovely week with them over Christmas 2006. The food, the views, the conversation could not have been better. I feel we have become dear friends. I highyl recommend the experience! Elmarsam@yahoo.com
Deer Isle, ME USA Fri 02/02/2007
Alternative to Int'l Wire Transfer
I found out I can get a Moneygram in Euros for approx. $10 and mail it to Europe. That's a lot better than the $50 wiring fee my bank wanted to charge. That's the route I've decided to take to pay the deposit on the apartment we are renting in Paris. I am uncomfortable with the idea of sending a check in dollars, as it puts the hassle of conversion on the other party.
Ashland, OR USA Fri 01/26/2007
Rental in London
I noticed some postings with mention of Coach House London and Paris. I just wanted to give a little heads up about CHS. We rented from them in London and had a wonderful time. However, after returning home when we tried to get our full deposit back we ran into a problem. It seems that we were being charged for repairs to a washing machine that we did not break. We were never contacted about this matter. We would not have known what the problem was if I hadn't contacted them to find out where our deposit was as it had been over two weeks since our return. I was told at this time that the matter was being looked into and that someone would contact us. This never happened. My husband and myself both tried to contact them repeatly about this matter and were simply ignored. We finally received our deposit back minus $250 without any further explaination from CHS. This was very disappointing as up till this time we were very pleased with their service. I have also seen another complaint on Trip Advisor from a man concerning a lack of response from CHS and poor customer service. Because of this I would never rent from CHS again. But all that aside renting a flat in London was a great experience for us and a great way to live like locals. We are already planning trip to Italy and plan to rent an apartment while there.
Philadelphia, PA USA Fri 01/26/2007
wiring deposits for lodging
We have stayed in many self catering cottages where the owners don't take credit cards. Have you asked if you could mail a check[include extra for the conversion fee and the banks cut for converting]? It should still be cheaper than the fee to wire the money. You have to wait until the check--[or travelers checks] clear. It is an option we have used with good success.
warsaw, in USA Thu 01/25/2007
Apartment in Paris
I wanted to add my comments about the booking agency we used to lease an apartment in Paris. We have not taken the trip yet, so I cannot vouch for the actual accommodations, but the booking agency (www.lodgis.com) was very helpful and prompt in answering questions, getting signed lease back to me, etc. The owner contacted me immediately, and based on my questions has had the contact we will meet in Paris contact us as well to answer questions. www.lodgis.com has a lot of apartments and reasonable prices (we will pay approx 660 Euros--including agency fee--to rent a one bedroom that sleeps 4 for nine days in April/May in the 11e just off the Place de la Bastille).
Ashland, OR USA Thu 01/25/2007
Please Advise re Int'l Wire Transfers
I have leased an apartment in Paris for April and the owner needs me to wire the deposit. I called my bank (US Bank) and was told the fee would be $50! (To wire 145 Euros!) I think that's ridiculous. The apartment owner has no way to take credit cards so I'm wondering how others have handled this.
Ashland, OR USA Thu 01/25/2007
During my travels to Europe I found a great website called venere.com that had excellent service, great user ratings and pictures with maps of locations. On this website, you can book all types of different accommodations such as B&B's Town Houses, Residences, and Apartments. I think this site is a great travel tool. You can use this promotional code 9CPGUQT at check out and receive 4% off your order. Super Travels,
CO USA Sun 01/21/2007
Let's get our own place in Europe
I would like to get together with other RS travelers to purchase/lease a house or apartment in S.E. England to use as our very own "base camp" when visiting Europe. (It would be similar to a timeshare - but arranged by RS travelers privately among themselves for their own use.)
Because property prices in London (the world's most expensive city) are astronomical, the house or apartment has to be in a town outside London (where property prices are approx. 50% less than anywhere in London) - which is not any problem as long as the town has fast and frequent train service to central London (and preferably an airport shuttle bus as well).
For example, if 26 travelers (or families) came up with (the US$ equivalent of) 5000 British Pounds each, that's enough to buy an entire house - not just an apartment! (In a town outside of London, that is - not in London itself). Each participating RS traveler and their family (or their traveling companions) would then be entitled to a free stay of 2 weeks in the house or apartment - every year for as long as the house is owned.
Then when the house is sold, any profit on the sale would be divided equally between all of the participants - so in that event you would get more money back than you put in.
The town I'm looking at has fast and frequent trains to London (3-4 trains per hour; it's a 50-55 min. trip - actually quicker than it takes to get to Central London from the end stations on London Underground lines) - and this town also has an hourly express bus direct to Stansted Airport. (The cheap-flights capital of Europe.) It's also just a local train ride from this town to the High-Speed Ferry to Holland (with a connecting express train to Amsterdam on the Dutch side), and a short train ride to the local (sandy) beaches. This town also has a Norman Castle and a Roman Wall - a classic example of what Rick calls a "Back Door" town. (I also have a relative living nearby who can easily check on the property regularly whenever it's unoccupied.)
While you're taking a multi-day budget-airline trip to Paris, to Amsterdam, or Italy from Stansted Airport, your luggage can be safely left locked inside the house/apartment, so you would have no concerns about where to leave your luggage while traveling. (This is one reason why I prefer to rent apartments when traveling to Europe.) Also, having your own residential address in Europe entitles you to a number of discounts which only the local residents can get.
So, any RTS travelers interested in getting together to get our own place in Europe? (Would be great for frequent travelers.)
Philadelphia, PA USA Sat 01/20/2007
inexpensive fun place near all the sites
What a blast we had in Salerno! Stayed at B&B MY Salerno apartment. She (the "hostess") pretty much knew everything and had excellent tips on lots of things. Our luck - one of her friends that dropped by one evening showed me the "real italian way" to cook pasta and mussels. WHAT A TREAT. Clean and comfortable, and we had a real nice time there. We really recommend it to other people wanting so see more of an authentic view of Southern Italy on the cheap, and for value. Also while you're in Salerno take a daytrip to Ercolano and see the ruins, it's very close by train and we liked it better than Pompeii, especially for the frescos.
CA USA Sat 01/20/2007
Levanto hotel and CT tip
On our trip to Italy in September, my husband and I visited Cinque Terre. We weren't able to stay in Vernazza or Montorosso as we wanted, but now I am glad we couldn't. We stayed in Levanto - one town west of Montorosso - at the Villa Margherita by the Sea. It was WONDERFUL. Besides that everyone there was very friendly and helpful (suggesting restaurants and even loaning us an umbrella when it was raining), we thought the location was great. The rooms were clean and comfortable. They did water the plants outside a little early - it was noisier than I would've thought, but not unbearable. The breakfast was also good - not just bread and pastries. We met some really fun people there too. Since it was the tail end of tourist season, the little town was very quiet and the rates were reasonable. We took the train to Montorosso the first day and hiked back to Levanto. In the guidebook, Rick mentions that it is "not for the weary" and that is an understatement. The first hour was STRAIGHT uphill! It was worth it, though. It isn't nearly as crowded as the CT hikes and the scenery is amazing. The next day, we took the train to Montorosso and hiked the CT. We took the train back from Manarola to Levanto. I would recommend starting there and not at Manarola. The first two stretches are more difficult and you avoid hiking up all 400 stairs at Corniglia. Montorosso to Vernazza was A LOT tougher than it seems in the book description. There are times when the path is REALLY narrow and steep. My husband is afraid of heights and had a hard time at a couple points. We loved CT and will definitely go back. We decided that we would always stay in Levanto. It is easy to get to the main CT towns, the trains are pretty frequent, and the town itself is really cute.
Minneapolis, MN USA Thu 01/18/2007
My wife and I along with our 2 children (9&11) will be in Rome during the first week of July 2007. We would like to find a hotel that is in central Rome and that would be appropriate for a family of 4. Any suggestions
Bellevue, Wa USA Wed 01/17/2007
I have just seen the review for Coach House London written by Rebecca below and want to stress what a similarly wonderful experience we had with their Paris branch (www.chsparis.com). We too had a clear and concise welcome pack and a very knowledgeable English speaking representative to meet us at our arrival. As it was our first visit to Paris, having somebody to hand that knows the city well, helped us feel at home almost immediately. To top it all off we were given a bottle of champagne which was of course enjoyed on our first night! A wonderful experience and a solid recommendation to all Paris visitors!!
Austin, TX USA Wed 01/17/2007
Hotel Reservations booking website
Anyone have any experience booking hotels through the website: booking.com?
Madison, MS USA Wed 01/17/2007
I think the campground you are referring to is at Punta Sabbioni, a short vaparetto ride from San Marco. Stayed there some years ago. An excellent site.
NZ Tue 01/16/2007
Don't use www. Hidden Italy.com to rent villas. They don't check their properties. We had an awful experience with an old rundown dirtyl villa named VIlla Pantino or villa fantino as they called it, outside of Sienna. The countess who owns it should be ashamed to rent it. Torn shabby upholstery,ants,theft of clothes out of our suitcases etc.
seattle, wa USA Mon 01/15/2007
Don't use www. Hidden Italy.com to rent villas. They don't check their properties. We had an awful experience with an old rundown dirty villa named VIlla Pantino or villa fantino as they called it, outside of Sienna. The countess who owns it should be ashamed to rent it. Torn shabby upholstery,ants,theft of clothes out of our suitcases etc.
seattle, wa USA Mon 01/15/2007
Stay away from making reservation through NY Habitat. Going to Paris in April (high season), made reservations in late November/early December. The agency fee is outrageous, 35% markup over what they pay the landlords! The agency was quick to take my money and then indicated that "it was up to me" to follow up with the landlord for a signed short term lease, etc. After thirty days of going back and forth with the landlord and the agency, the landlord said he couldn't send the lease because he didn't have a fax nor access to one. Then to make matters worse, the agency rep sent me an email stating "she didn't have time for my questions or 'minutiae.' That if I wanted customer service, perhaps I should have rented a hotel!" The landlord never responded to my emails and in a last attempt to salvage the situation, I asked the agency to see if the landlord would send the lease via Fed Ex so I could wire the deposit money. The next day, NY Habitat contacted me stating that he cancelled the reservation altogether because he thought I would be a "problem occupant." As a result, one month lead time was lost on getting a choice apartment location for a good price (15 nite stay!). NY Habitat then stated that they would refund my money because they had no other apartment in my budget, even though their website listed a few.
Thank goodness we have resources like Rick Steves' Graffiti Wall as I had remembered reading positive responses listed (in December) on victoria-parishomes.com. Within 24 hours I had confirmation on a BETTER apartment, in the same great arrondisement (the 5th – Latin Quarter), with everything the first one had PLUS an in-apartment washer/dryer, internet and full kitchen (as opposed to a dilapidated warming plate pictured on the previous apartment). I would not recommend NY Habitat to anyone based on the rude appalling behavior of their staff as well as the undependability and underwhelming responsiveness from the landlords they represent. Victoria at Victoria-parishomes.com on the other had gives GREAT customer service, is responsive, speaks English fluently and is EXTREMELY helpful. Why go anywhere else?
USA Mon 01/15/2007
Italy Farm Stay!!
I would like to make a recommendation for Italy Farm Stay. I studied abroad in Italy last year and was fortunate to meet a guy named Antonello! Antonello has opened his beautiful farm house in Sora (midway between Rome and Naples). The farmhouse is large and beautiful and I enjoyed spending time with many of the animals (goats, sheep, pig, dogs, chickens, rabbits). I got to know his entire family very well. Antonello and I went hiking on this gorgeous nearby mountain and after rainfalls we would go walking around to pick mushrooms, which later his mother would cook mushroom pizzas! I loved his entire family. Antonello is such an interesting person and we shared many great conversations. He was such a great host and offered to drive me around many places. My boyfriend staying with him for 2 months and now Antonello is one of his best friends, as well as one of mine! I am so glad I stayed with him and got to meet him! I recommend to anyone to stay with him, he is fluent in English and is willing to try anything new and is very patient with explaining Italian history and teaching you a little bit of Italian as well! My boyfriend and I still keep in close contact with Antonello to this day!
Houston, TX USA Mon 01/15/2007
In Venice it is expensive for accommodations, so if you are on a budget there is a "campground" that is a short and scenic boat ride for about two or three euros that takes you right into Venice. I dont know off hand the name, but it was about 15 euros per night and they provide cabin style lodgeing. Oh and the bar on site was a great time at night.
Toronto, Ont Canada Sat 01/13/2007
Houseboat Apartment Amsterdam
Houseboat Apartment Amsterdam New Luxuary 2 bedroom houseboat apartment for maximum 4 persons with motorboat and bicycles. This houseboat is moared in a unique houseboat vilage close to the 1929 Olimpic stadium. 10 minutes fropm the center. You should check the website: http://www.rent-a-houseboat.nl
Amsterdam, Netherlands Fri 01/12/2007
hostel on the sea in Rome
If you're on a budget and looking for a hostel in Rome, I stayed at Litus Roma Hostel (www.litusroma.com) right on the Mediterranean. With a view of the sea from my window and a 30 minute train ride into central Rome it was a dream for me. Don't be put off by the neigborhood as like much of Rome it's covered in graffiti. But if you'd like to sleep away from the noise and chaos of Rome and wake up to the Mediterranean, try this place!
chicago, IL USA Thu 01/11/2007
English Guest house at Gatwick
My husband and i had an overnight layover at London Gatwick and didn't want to drive all the way to London for the evening. I found a great alternative to the airport hotels. It's called the Lawn House guest house. The owner of the house picked us up at the airport and fixed a full english breakfast in the morning before taking us back to the airport! What a treat!
Midland, TX USA Wed 01/10/2007
great rental website
Try VRBO.Com, Vacation rentals by owner. The website has rentals from all over the world. It's fun visiting different places this way.
Tempe, AZ USA Wed 01/10/2007
Coach House London vacation rentals
Just spent a week in London with my family (husband and two children) in a Chelsea townhouse that we rented through Coach House London. I cannot say enough positive things about the experience. The house was lovely and exactly as represented on CHS's excellent website. Coach House arranged a car from Heathrow to the house and provided an excellent welcome packet with details about the house (garbage pickup etc.), maps, takeout menus, information about local sites and activities, directions to local grocery stores, etc. A representative from Coach House arrived the next morning with breakfast and made sure all our questions were answered. And it was astonishingly reasonable, too; for the price of one room in a good London hotel, we had an entire house to ourselves. I would highly recommend this agency to anyone.
Wilton, CT USA Mon 01/08/2007
For anyone thinking of renting from Paris Holiday and Mr. Wunder, please read the posting on Trip Advisor regarding this man and his withholding of deposit money. All I can say is beware!!!!!! Unlike Marthe others had negative experiences with him.
Groves, Tx. USA Sun 01/07/2007
Paris Vacation Rental Wunder
I stayed in the Louvre apartment from www.paris-holiday.com in the middle of September and can not describe how thrilled I was! It truly is a "charming" place; the furnishings, the location, and all of the special touches. Especially important was the location...whenever I left the apartment to tour the city, I always had a great sense of home and safety once back in the area of the apartment. I was also able to visit the Louvre EVERY DAY because of the close proximity. (…) Not only were the accommodations absolutely fabulous, but Martin the owner of the apartment was so extremely helpful with all aspects of the trip...including arranging for the perfect "concierge" who was always only a phone call away! I can honestly say, without the apartment and accommodations, the vacation would have been less than perfect. Marthe Allworth, Chino Hills, CA
Chino Hills, CA USA Sun 01/07/2007
Paris Best Lodge - Great studio
We stayed in the Marais through Paris Best Lodge's Thierry and it was fantastic. It was super clean and convenient to everything. We were able to walk to Notre Dame, Pompidou center and really every where.
Thierry was also a very good host. Please just note that the washer and dryer takes 5 hours to complete!!! We would definitely stay there again when we return.
Richmond, va USA Sat 01/06/2007
Allorenta in Paris
Does any one have any experience with the company allorenta? I am thinking of renting from them in Paris
USA Sat 01/06/2007
Apartment in Monterosso?
We are planning to travel to the Cinque Terre in May or June of 2007. We would like to stay in Monterosso in an apartment with a view of the sea and 3 bedrooms. Any help??
Saint Paul, MN USA Fri 01/05/2007
For a short stay apartment rental in Paris try Coach House Rentals (www.chsparis.com). They have some 20 properties on their books from studio flats to properties that will sleep 8/10. They also operate in London – www.rentals.chslondon.com and have many positive revues on tripadvisor.com.
NY, NY USA Thu 01/04/2007
Accommodation in Italy
I like to say thanx to www.allhome.eu they are really the best of accommodation in italy, i was really late but with my boy friends, we were crazy to go to Italy for Christmas and the and of the year i thought i wold be impossible to find an accommodation wow!!! with AllHome next time i know how to do! Nice Year Everybody
dallas, texas USA Thu 01/04/2007
Villa near florence
We stayed at a Villa just outside of Florence over Christmas. We found it though the website www.initaly.com. Villa name La Acacia. A 300 year old house, very large. We had a group of 10 people and we were all very comfortable. The owners were very friendly and helpful.
germany Thu 01/04/2007
Seeking Villa in Italy
We are looking for suggestions for a villa rental in Italy for 7 people (two families). We'd love to stay near Cinque Terre but would consider other locations, particularly if it has a pool. One or two weeks starting June 23rd, 2007 is our goal!
Sammamish, WA USA Wed 01/03/2007
The Castle Steps Hotel, Prague
The Castle Steps Hotel, Prague (www.castlesteps.com)
We stayed at this place for three nights. The staff were American, which was a bit of a surprise: they were very friendly, however, and did their best to make us feel welcome. We had a beautiful view full of antiques which looked out over the Park. I would really recommend this place.
London, UK Wed 01/03/2007
Avoid Driving in Rome--Stay in Frascati
We loved our driving adventure in Italy in July 2006. We do feel at ease though, with public transportation. As we traveled north from Sorrento we drew near Rome. We decided to take off the freeway and see what Frascati was like and what it could offer us in the way of accomodations and public transportation to Rome and back. We found Hotel Colonna right on the quiet and quaint town square. It is a 3 star hotel, plush by our standards, with a full lavish breakfast buffet and car parking included. The price for the two of us was under $100/night. It was only a short walk to the train station and 1/2 hour train ride to the hot spots of Rome. We highly recommend this..............
Lois and Dimitry Holl
Atherton, CA USA Tue 01/02/2007
Apartment in Paris
We stayed at the Jeu de Clefs (http://www.jeudeclefs.com) "Central Marais" apartment for 5 people during the X-mas holiday. Isabelle is the property manager and speaks good English and is very responsive.
We were satisfied with our arrangement. It was ideally located on the M1 subway line which takes you directly to sites such as the Louvre, Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, and the Champs Elysees without having to transfer. The central "Chatelet" hub station is about 3 stops away which makes it convenient to get anywhere else in Paris. The apartment is located in the historic Marais district and is walking distance to the Bastille monument and Notre Dame Cathedral.
The place was quiet, modern and clean. The washer/dryer was useful which allowed us to pack less clothing. There satellite TV, wifi internet, and free phone were additional perks.
Some thing to note: the power breaker tripped several times when we had too many appliances operating. We had to turn something off in order to reset the breaker. Isabelle is aware of this. The dryer doesn't work that well so we ended up drying our clothes by hanging them on the radiators which was ok since it was winter.
We will definitely stay here again.
San Jose, CA USA Tue 01/02/2007
Stay away from Au Splendid in Montreux. My boys and I were looking for a room for one night. We were showed the room by the man at the counter, when we returned to the counter, he helped another couple, took a phone call and told us that he had just rented the room he had just showed us. Even my young boys were appalled by his behavior. Although a nice hotel, I would not recommend this hotel to anyone based on the rude appalling behavior of this person.
Seattle, WA USA Tue 01/02/2007