I am planning a tour in July to the following cities. I would appreciate recommendation of hotels for a family of four. Barcelona, Paris, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Florence, Rome, Venice and Munich.
You have nothing booked yet? Yikes. Getting quads is not that easy,, most hotel rooms are meant for two , soI would be a bit frantic by now,, most especially if you are not wealthy and willing to pay a high price. In Paris its hard to find quads,, but I know Timhotel Jardins Des Plantes has quads. I have not stayed there, but reviews are decent for a budget /moderate hotel, and the area is nice and central. In Rome I have stayed at the Hotel Selene,, the rooms were nice enough, and its not far from the Terminal area so close to buses/metro. I actually stayed there while on a RS tour,, so its a decent place but not fancy at all. It did have a/c which is cruicial for Rome in summer. Barcelona, I have booked Hotel Jazz for this summer, the reviews are good and I like the fact it is a block or two away from the hustle bustle Les Ramblas..
You really need to consult some good guide books especially the Steves' books for those areas. All of my recommendations would be doubles. Pat is correct. Quads are much harder to find. Remember it well when we traveled with our two sons. And you cannot sneak two kids into a double as you might consider doing in the US.
To echo, quads will be hard to find.....Email Hotel
Maxim in Florence. Nothing fancy, but very helpful staff, good prices, and great location...just steps from the Duomo If they can't help you with a quad, you might get two adjoining doubles.
I would second what Frank already posted and that is go get the guide books for those areas real soon (yesterday?) and start doing some quick research and I would probably call places at this late date. I made reservations for Italy months ago and had to work at it then. Good luck.
Pat, Frank, Carol and Charlie, Thanks for the response. I am realizing that I am starting late. I was preoccupied with college admissions. I do see hotels available online for 4 in the range of $ 250, but don't see good reviews. Please suggest any website to book hotels with reviews that I can trust. I am using Rick Steve's DVD set on Europe as my starting point. I have been to most of these places a long time back and would like to take my family. The tours offered are expensive and hence planning to travel on my own. Thanks for all the suggestions.
Sam, I use tripadvisor.com for reviews. I have booked at least 9-10 hotels this way. I am careful how I read them. First off, if the are a rash of reviews posted with the poster having only posted once, I am distrustful. Also one bad review does not ruin it for me,, I have seen people complain about things that I would not be bothered by( old curtains, no bellman, etc) . I also cross check reviews by googling the hotel name and finding reviews on other sites, booking sites like Venere and Booking.com.
I look for the general concensus. If 3-4 people complain about the same thing ( ie noise) then I take that in account .. I also like that on ta you can private message a poster and ask they specific questions.. I have done this 4-5 times and they have always answered. I haven't been surprised yet. Note, I do not book through tripadvisor,, I usually find hotel website( its often listed but not always on the ta site) sometimes I just google for it, and book directly. I have used booking.com twice though and it was fine.
http://www.booking.com/ perhaps - no reviews are accepted unless you have booked the accommodation through the site.
For Paris: Looks like mike best bet is 2 Double rooms. To keep my cost down, I would like to consider locations that are a little farther from the typical tourist areas. I would appreciate suggestions for a safe place to stay so I can return with my Family by say 9-10 PM. I have so far two hotels for consideration. 1) Quad Cosmotel Boulevard De Strasbourg 17, 10. Gare du Nord, 75010 Paris 2) Two double rooms Hotel Lecourbe
28 Rue Lecourbe, Paris
I have been using Trip Advisor and Bookings. Both are very useful. Thanks Pat and Neil.
Any opinion on the Accorhotels chain of hotels? I am looking at: ibis Paris Montmartre 18ème, 5, rue Caulaincourt 75018 PARIS
Nothing wrong with Accor at all. Go a couple blocks down the street to Clichy's Tavern for pretty good mussles and fries that won't take your whole wallet. The only drawback is that you'll probably have to ride the metro into the more central area (and back) most days. Ex: Notre Dame, Invalides, and the ET are all about two and a half miles away.
You could also check Best Western, Novotel and Ibis hotels. The Best Westerns are a lot nicer in Europe than in the States and in some cities very reasonable. I'm assuming you are travelling by train? For Munich, several people on this forum like Hotel Uhland. I have not personally stayed there. On the outskirts of Florence, there is a Hilton Hotel that has a free shuttle into the city. Are you staying in Lauterbrunnen Valley or did you want to go up into the mountains? In Muerren which is up from the valley floor, we stay at Hotel Alpina which is literally on the cliffside. The balcony rooms have an awesome view of the alps. Have a great trip making lifetime memories with your family.
Take a look at Hotel Guerrini http://en.hotelguerrini.it/ in Venice. They are a reasonably priced two star hotel in Venice. We had two triple rooms that were clean, had AC and came with breakfast. You will spend very little time in your room in Venice. The hotel is located near the train station, near many restaurants and close to a vaporetto stop. Their website says they have a quad.
Any opinion on the Accorhotels chain of hotels? What opinions would you like? They are an absolutely massive chain of many various levels of comfort and amenity. Everything from the 4, 5, and 6 star Sofitels and M's all the way down to Formule 1 with toilets down the hall. Each level has various characteristics. Ibis tends to be predictable - similar small or very small rooms, clean, older (but not all), clean comfortable bed and bathroom, little if any hanging space, reasonable prices but not fantastic, cheaper if booked either more than 20 days out or occasional last minute, 2 star, very few services provided, always used to be pay wifi but now some include it, decent €7 or €8 breakfast all cold. Marginal restaurants can be overpriced. Usually have lifts. I haven't been to the one you ask about but I bet it not far off the mold.
Another thing to consider would be apartments. I'm not sure how long you will be in each place, but I have rented an apartment for as short as 2 nights. I use vrbo.com and homeaway.com to find apartments. You are renting from the owner so there is usually more flexibility than renting from an agency. In Barcelona I rented a 2 bedroom apartment that was very nice. Check vrbo #74574. Good luck!
I'm with Andrea. It's pretty easy to find a nice apartment in the major cities, even if you're only staying a couple of nights. Cost likely won't be any more ~ and could be less ~ than what you'd pay for four in a hotel. And there are so many places available, you can pick something up even relatively close to your travel dates. Enjoy!
Venere.com is another good booking site with reliable reviews. You can limit your search to quads. In Paris, try VacationInParis.com for apartments. They rent by the night (3 minimum I think) and are very reliable and easynto deal with. In Florence we had a lovely quad room with our kids at a B&B, Casa de Tintori. Very well-located near the Ponte Vecchio. Check the reviews on Tripadvisor. The quad is the Green Room, set up to allow some privacy to parents and to kids although you are all in one large room.
I travelled to 2 of your cities last summer with 5 guests. There are hotels that have family suites. In Venice I stayed in an apartment at the Hotel al Piave. Great location and nice lodgings. In Florence I stayed in an apartment at Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti. Again, great location and fine accomodations.
I agree with using TA and the method mentioned by Pat. I also think the apt. Idea is a good one, but be aware that "sleeps 4" may mean 2 adults & 2 small children. Read the descriptions thoroughly.
Florence: Hotel Casci. They are listing E230 for a quad in July. We love it. Family friendly, literally just around the corner from the Duomo.
Thanks to all the responses. Most of the hotels mentioned here are so good that they were sold out on the dates we wanted! I should have started booking in March. Sigh! We have done one round of booking and now revisiting the reservations at Interlaken and Venice because they are so expensive. Also, any suggestion for the right location to stay in Florence and Rome ?
Denise, Thanks for the wishes. Yes we are travelling by train. Any suggestion for a place to stay at Lauterbrunnen ?
I second Johns suggestion of the Hotel Al Piave in Venice. Stayed there on a Rick Steves Family tour( so many of us were groups of three, four and fives) .. the location is nice and quiet , but easy to get to busy areas,, ( once you figure out the maze that is Venice, lol ) . The rooms were decent and the AC worded well!
Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes with my wife and sometimes with kids in tow. Regardless, I think it's best to call directly (whther well in advance or the morning before you arrive) and ask what the hotel can offer for your group. Sometimes I've ended up in large rooms, sometimes two rooms, and sometimes apartments. Let them tell you what they have to offer rather than thinking you must have a quad room. In Barcelona - we stayed at Hostal Campi. The upside: it's really nicely located two blocks from Placa Catalunya and a block off the Ramblas, the staff are good, the place is clean, the prices are good (for Barcelona). The downside: it's pretty basic, no elevator, and half the rooms aren't ensuite (can't recall about AC, we were there early April and didn't need it). I'd stay there again. Florence - we stayed at one of Rick's recommended places, Hotle Aldobrandini, it's also on his Florence show. It was well located, the only upside. It wasn't cheap, the walls were paper thin, the ensuite bathroom was a shower head above the toilet, no elevator, the beds, towels and linens were worn out, and - the big one for my wife - cigarette smoke was wafting under our door from the owners chain smoking down the hall. I wouldn't recommend it at all. We talked to other travelers who mostly agreed lodging in Florence is expensive and not very good. Venice - We stayed in an Apartment we booked through Hotel d'Art. It was cheap, basic and perfect for us. The Hotel is not far from the Rialto bridge, the apartment was just around the corner from them. Although we didn't see more of the hotel than the lobby, I'd give them a call next time I visit. Munich - I've always had great luck with Pensions in Munich. I've stayed at different ones, all seem to have the same high standard for cleanliness and quality furnishings.
In Lauterbrunnen, Hotels Silberhorn, Staubbach, and are all well-regarded. I didn't check to see about quad rooms but most Swiss hotels in the alpine villages have at least one or two. If those are full, come back and I can come up with more suggestions. You could also consider staying above Lauterbrunnen in either Wengen or Mürren. The Bären in Wengen has a family suite as well as an apartment/chalet in the garden. In Mürren, Chalet Fontana has very well-priced family accommodations, either the ground floor apartment, or two rooms in the B&B. In Florence, we had a very nice quad room in B&B Casa de Tintori. The Green Room is large and set up tonallow some privacy. We and our college-age daughters were very comfortable there. The location, near the river just one bridge up from Ponte Vecchio, was perfect. We walked everywhere, from the Accademia innone direction to San Miniato church in the other. The restaurant a few doors down, Dei Fagioli, is a nice casual place with great food, frequented mostly by regulars from the neighborhood. We were welcomed as warmlynas the locals, maybe thanks to our two pretty daughters? Anyway, I would highly recommend Casa de Tintori for a quad room in Florence.
In Florence, I've stayed at the Pensione Pendenni (sp?) on the Plaza Republica and would recommend it - centrally located, friendly, includes breakfast, etc. As for Paris, if you're going to be there for at least 3 days, I'd recommend renting an apartment. It will give you more room than a hotel (even 2 hotel rooms), a chance to relax on something other than a bed, a kitchen to cook some meals (and save some $$), etc. I've used Vacation in Paris several times and always been pleased. They're dependable, you pay in $$, they mail you the key ahead of time so you can just walk in and start to live there. They have apartments all over Paris, all locations, all price levels. And, no, I'm not their sales agent! Just a very satisfied customer.
You are really late. At this time I would not use Rick's books simply because the whole world does and they will be full. Both Venere.com and Booking.com have worked well for us in the past, you can sort by location, cost and quad rooms. The reviews on some of the 2 and 3 star hotels can have a wide range, rating them from the Taj Mahal to the Black Hole of Calcutta. We have gone with the majority of the ratings and not been let down. When reading the reviews it is best to remember that some people just wouldn't be happy even if you hung them with a new rope. In Lauterbrunnen the Hotel Staubach was a very good value. Check their web site to see if they have anything left.
We stayed at the River Palace Hotel in Rome last summer. It receives great reviews on Trip Advisor. I have recommened the hotel to numerous people, since we visited. It is such a lovely hotel. We booked our 7 nights directly on the hotel website. We were within walking distance of the Fountain of Trevi, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and the Victor Emanuel Monument.