Taken 2 city tours and one “My Way.” The city tour hotels were excellent. The hotels in”My Way” Italy were bad to horrible, unsafe in two instances. Is there a difference in hotel categories between the escorted tours and the “My Way” tours? Want My Way France” but reluctant due to previous experience. Thank you, Gladys
The hotels in”My Way” Italy were bad to horrible, unsafe in two instances
That is astounding
Is there a difference in hotel categories between the escorted tours and the “My Way” tours?
Call the RS office and ask.
I cannot image why they would use a different class or group of hotels
Could you please expand on your experience a little, and tell us which hotels in which cities you felt were horrible or unsafe? I was thinking of doing the "MyWay" Italy tour next October, but I'm pretty picky about hotels.
Maybe things got worse in memory. In 2015 Gladys posted
Having taken both the fully escorted RS tour and a "My Way" tour, I notice that the hotels used are very different. The ones in the fully escorted tour were great. The hotels on "My Way" tour were not as good and the standards were very inconsistent--some were fine and others barely so.
I guess it is "hit and miss' then. I was spoiled by the London hotel and the breakfast (My Hotel Chelsea) and expected the same standards in Italy but did not get them--specially in Rome and Florence. The rest were fine.
in 2015 she wrote "some were fine and others barely so" but now she pans them with "The hotels in 'My Way' Italy were bad to horrible, unsafe in two instances"
Gladys, referencing John, the above responder to your post, is this the same review reposted 5 years later? Or a review for 3 new tours you have recently taken? Confusing, at least to me. Could you please clarify how recently you stayed in those hotels referenced in today's post?
Gladys, we haven't taken either the My Way or escorted tours but if the acceptability of your accommodations is going to matter enough to bother you 5 years after your last trip, it's probably best to book your trip, and accommodations which suit your preferences, independently. My husband and I have done that so far for most of our European adventures and have yet to have been disappointed.
My husband and I have participated on the My Way Italy and the My Way Spain tours and been very pleased with hotels in both countries. All were central to expected activities and transportation and while some served a better (more extensive) breakfast, each offered variety. Some of the hotels were decorated in an old world style and others in sleek modern/contemporary but all had comfortable beds and typical European bathrooms. One in Italy was a 'wet bathroom' style but had everything we needed. We would stay at any of them again except for one in Florence. For the hotel in Madrid, we had a basic inside courtyard room with only a view of mechanical equipment, but we had pre-booked the same hotel for after the tour and had a little larger room with a view of Puerto del Sol. We felt safe in all the locations and the hotel staff were personable.
We have done fully guided tours and the My Way Best of Europe 14 day tour. I have to say that we did not notice a difference in the quality of hotels between the types of tours. It is my understanding that the guides have a lot of input as to the hotels that are booked on the individual tours. There have been hotels that we liked better than others, but have never felt unsafe in any of the hotels on our RS tours. We have always found them to be clean, safe, and in great locations with a helpful staff. The hotels that are utilized on the RS tours have drawn us to his company.
PS We are planning to take another My Way tour when Europe is again open to US tourists.
There is no significant difference between hotels used for fully guided or My Way tours but there IS a difference for one-week city tours, partly because you’re spending a whole week there, but also due to other logistics of these expensive cities. I find all of the hotels used for My Way Italy to be quiet comfortable and fit our standard mix, similar to what you should expect from My Way France. Of course, each one is independent and different.
Also note that Italians don’t have a strong tradition of large breakfasts, nor any need for large hotel breakfast rooms. With input from our groups and other international travelers, the Italian hotels we use now offer more breakfast variety than they likely did In years past, and a few are very lush, but they are still Italian. A relatively simple Continental breakfast is also typical in France, though with more yogurt and better croissants than the Italian version.
Have done one RS fully guided tour (GAS), one My Way tour (Spain), and one do it myself tour (Italy) using RS guidebook and booking.com. I think the fully guided tour hotels were slightly better as a whole than the my way hotels. But as noted by others it really depends on your tour directors ability to evenly mix up the room strings so you get some ok, some good, some great. For you the Villa Ciprissi in Varenna is an Outstanding property right on the lake with terraced gardens. If you do your own trip and bookings you have more control on the room selection and can pay a little more to guarantee a room with view or balcony. But all RS hotels are central to the city or town and come with breakfast. He does have the time tested experience to know.
Hello. I have done 1 My Way tour: Alpine, the first year it ran. I have done 8-9 other guided tours. Now, this was about 5 years ago. I travelled as a single tour member and paid the single supplement. I do not recall the names of the hotels off the top of my head but here are my impressions: Salzburg and Füssen: perfectly adequate center of town hotels with neighborhood noises and perhaps a bit warm as this was end of July. Both were centrally located and easy to reach with amenities like bank machines near by. Hallstatt: Seehotel Grüner Baum, the best of the best in Hallstatt, I had a lovely large, large room to myself. Luxury. Bolzano: center of town luxury hotel with air conditioning and pool - really appreciated since it was about 90 degrees in Bolzano. Lauterbrunnen: central hotel in the valley. While my room was a double, I was not wild about it because it looked the opposite direction from the falls and had an unusual shower (to my American eyes), but I early realized that this was a new RS tour, and other RS tours had already booked the more prime locations in Lauterbrunnen and Mürren, and not every room has the view. But, there was a large communal balcony with great views where the group often congregated. Chamonix: best room yet in a hotel overlooking the racing river. I had a huge double with balcony and AC. Funny, I did not use it much. I spent time with other tour members on the small patch of lawn overlooking the river where we watched rafts go by while sipping prosecco.
In sum, this My Way tour had some of the best hotels I have visited. Much appreciated. Not all hotels are the same, and while I am from time to time disappointed, now I know where to go and what to avoid in future. Also, the slightly older, less swank hotel in the center of town may have a better overall location than the glitzy one at a distance. It is a trade-off. I hope you get enough positive responses re MyWay France hotels and feel comfortable booking. Good luck!
PS, I would love to see more My Way tours: I would love the first have of the GAS or a combo of the first half of GAS and Eastern France. I always gravitate towards the mountains! I am thinking of taking My Way Alpine again as the locations have changed somewhat.
I have done one RS My Way tour and 3 self-guided tours using RS hotel recommendations. I will say that if you are "picky" about hotels, Rick Steve's hotels may disappoint you. It's also important to note that we experienced many hotels with flights of stairs and no elevators. That is something to keep in mind. We didn't mind, but you may. The hotels are centrally located and many times family-owned. His tours offer a mix of very nice hotels with comfy beds and good accommodations and hotels that are not so nice or comfortable. I guess it's all a part of the European experience. His hotels are not typically fancy U.S.-style hotels. It could be an issue for you. Having said that, the thing to keep in mind is that the hotels are centrally located and that is a very nice feature. Keeping an open mind is key on these trips but so is a good night's rest. Happy travels whatever option you choose!
3 RS tours from 2013 to 2019. The only large/largish city hotels were Athens, Istanbul and Salzburg. Athens and Salzburg were fine, I was unhappy with the one in Istanbul probably because I had spent a week in the city pre-tour at a much nicer hotel. The RS hotel had quaint, somewhat uncomfortable period decor and substandard service. The other hotel was modern, better breakfast, somewhat better location, and superior service. The room price at the modern hotel was less than the RS one. The rest of the hotels were fine, more than adequate, especially considering the limited choices in some of the villages. I didn't find any overall difference between the My Way and the guided tours.
I've done one MY Way tour and a number of guided tours.
I saw no difference in the hotel quality at all. I don't question your view as I wasn't on that tour. This is simply my observation.
The big difference between My Way and Guided tours, in my opinion, is that while more expensive, the guided tours are a better overall value. That's just me, of course. YMMV.
Except when my company sent me to Europe, and the staff over there took me around to medical clinics, I've never taken any kind of "organized" tour (ie, a tour organized by someone else). I really feel that I can get a better value doing my own research and planning my trips myself. That said, if I were going to take an organized tour, it would be a Rick Steves tour. I like the "everything is included" pricing, rather than showing a low, "nothing-is-included" price and then nickel-and-dime-ing you to make it a complete tour.
Over the last twenty years I've kept detailed records of my expenses. Traveling single, I have generally spent about 65-70€/night on the ground, ie, not including airfare to get there. Due to the fluctuation in the dollar, sometimes that has been less than $100, sometimes more. But my cost per night in euro has remained fairly constant. I think there has been some inflation, but I've compensated by learning to find less expensive accommodations.
Because overnight accommodations are a major expense on my trips, I prefer to figure my cost as €/night (or 24 hour period) rather than per day. So when a tour says it is 12 days, but you meet at dinner time on the first day and the tour ends after breakfast on the last day, I call that an 11 "day" tour, and divide the cost of the tour by eleven. Actually, it's really a 10¾ day tour, because the tour ends earlier on the last day than it begins on the first day. There are really 10 full days plus two partial days that don't add up to a full day.
So looking at the "My-Way" tours, the nightly cost looks like it is about $100, or a little more, less, per day, than a full tour. However, it is hard to compare them, because they don't offer a "My-Way" tour with exactly the same itinerary as a full tour - ever noticed that? I don't know if there is a systemic reason why "My-Way" tours can't have the same itinerary as full tours, or is it just to obfuscate comparisons?
I have taken a number of fully guided RS tours and a My Way tour.
IMO, I think the fully guided tours are a better value for the dollar. Having taken several RS tours I was used to not spending much extra except for some meals, an occasional museum I wanted to see on my own and, of course, souvenirs for friends and family.
On the My Way tour it seemed I was bringing out my wallet all the time. Meals, tickets for this, transportation for that, etc. One time I took a guided city tour that cost 20 Euros. It was very good, but it would have been included with the guided tour. I also spent more of my time organizing things.
IMHO, go guided or go on your own. Or do a guided tour and then time on my own. I did that in Spain. The guided tour of Basque country, then Madrid, Granada and some nearby sites on my own. Very nice.
I'm glad you posted, Barnstormer.
I have only done the regular tours (6!), so couldn't really compare, but I feel there is so much value in the guides and the handled logistics. People are different, of course, but I know I get so much more out of a location when there is a knowledgeable person, often from the area, explaining things.
Hi, Lee. One key reason for differences between My Way and fully guided tour itineraries is for My Way to minimize the number of stops with more limited sightseeing and dining options. It doesn’t make much sense to say “you’re free to choose” if there’s essentially only one option. So Italy My Way doesn’t include a stay at an isolated agriturismo with dinner included, for instance, and Spain My Way encourages tour members to choose their own day trips from Madrid instead of including guided visits to Segovia and Toledo. It can be a fine line.
OK, Laura. I did ask, "if there is a systemic reason why "My-Way" tours can't have the same itinerary as full tours"? I accept your answer that, yes, there is a reason, at least for some of the tours, like the Italy one you mention.
I'm still not convinced that your argument about the agriturismos in Italy applies to all the My-Way tours, or that that the same route as My-Way tour couldn't also be a normal guided tour. Take the Alpine Europe My Way tour, for example. I think if there were a My Way tour I would want to take, it would be that one. And, if I were going to take a complete tour, that is the itinerary I would most want. That should also be offered as a full tour also.
Nevertheless, I still feel that Rick Steves tours are a good bargain for those who like tours, it's just not my style.
I should add that the reason I chose the My Way tour was that I was going with a much younger family member. She was not interested in history and great museums, so a lot of the RS guided tour would be wasted on her. For example, in Rome we skipped the Ufizzi and instead went to the Gatti di Roma feral cat sanctuary. Really! I kid you not. https://www.gattidiroma.net/web/en/
Of course, on the way we stopped to see a number of Rome's famous ruins. And the sanctuary itself was located in near various ruins (what in Rome isn't?) We also took the train to the beaches and along the way stopped at Ostia Antica.
Why a tour instead on our own? Well for starters there were other people her age on the tour, so when she decided to go to an Italian 'Ice Bar', the old man did not have to be dragged along. It worked out very well to say the least. And the group was one of the best I have ever experienced.