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Sicily hotel may 22 tour

Helllo, the hotel that we are starting our tour at.......The Ambasciatori is full the night before the tour starts. It is in Palermo. Any recommendations for another hotel in that general area? Thank you!

Posted by
4666 posts

Did you tell them you're on the RS tour? We ran into the same problem a couple of years ago, and the hotel put us on a waiting list. Sure enough, they had a cancellation, and we were able to get in.

In the meantime. we made a reservation at a different hotel, based on recommendations on this Forum, at the Centrale Palace Hotel. If I recall correctly, it's at or near the "Four Corners" area, in walking distance of the Ambasciatori.
The email address is reservations@centralepalacehotel. com, and their website is www.centralepalacehotel.com

Since we got into the tour hotel, I can't tell you anything about the Centrale Palace, but the staff were good to work with as we figured things out.

This is a great tour, BTW, and the Ambasciatori is one of our favorite hotels anywhere. Breakfast on the terrace!

Posted by
6758 posts

A long-time member of this forum (Harold, I believe) recommended this place. It looks great and gets very good reviews. I have it bookmarked for my next trip to Sicily.

B&B La Bella Vita
http://www.booking.com/Share-yKyXKLB

Posted by
3551 posts

I stayed at La Bella Vita B&B in June.
A great place w/ perfect location.
Not sure if they have a min stay.

Posted by
1 posts

The same thing happened to me when I tried to book before our tour using their website. I sent them an e-mail explaining I was joining the tour and if they "really" didn't have any rooms available. They answered me with an available room which we confirmed with a credit card and we didn't have to move when the tour started. They are very nice there and it's family run. Ask for a room away from the elevator for more quiet stay. We could only get internet on the 5th floor and 6th floor dining area where it was quite strong. You'll love your tour. I recommend two extra days in Palermo and at least one meal at the nearby Maestro del Brodo. Alfio was our guide and he is absolutely excellent.

Posted by
2265 posts

You might also check out the B & B Teatro Massimo, which is right across from Teatro Massimo, not too far from the Ambasciatori. On booking.com, it is available for your dates, it is slightly higher rated than the Ambasciatori, and appears to be considerably less expensive. I did not stay there, but remember taking a look inside, as it was highly rated then too. When I took the wonderful RS Sicily Tour in May 2014, I tried to stay a couple nights at the Ambasciatori before the tour, but they did not have a room for both nights. In the end I arrived at Palermo airport, rented a car for two days, and went to stay that time in Erice, which has been a highlight and favorite memory of several trips to Italy. I loved this ancient stone hill town in the misty early mornings and evenings, great food there too. Then I was able to stay one night before the tour at the Ambasciatori. Worked out perfectly for me!

Posted by
17 posts

I dont want to hijack this thread, i just want to thank dvicksta1 for his/her suggestion of emailing hotel directly.
Ive been trying to add 2 days to my RS tour hotel in Barcelona, but hotel kept coming up as fully booked.
Following dvicsta1’s suggestion, i emailed hotel directly and was able to book a room.
Worth trying
Claire

Posted by
4666 posts

Claire, it's almost always better to go straight to email. If the hotel wants you to book on-line, they'll tell you so in the email.

This is especially helpful if you're looking for a RS discount, or if your dates are so far out they don't show up on line yet.

Posted by
4666 posts

And be warned, the forum is addictive. I've become one of the people I used to make fun of. ;-)

Posted by
51 posts

I am taking the May 28 tour and contacted the Ambasciatori to see if I could book a room the night before the tour. They replied that they had a room, however, the quote for a double room (single person) is 90 euro. The rate for that week on the website is 60 euro. Do they charge extra for people on the tour? I would have thought tour people would be offered a discount, not a surplus!

Posted by
4666 posts

Did you tell them you're on the tour? Some places charge more for a single night stay. We've never had to pay a higher rate because we were on a tour.

Posted by
19215 posts

Sometimes there are rooms of varying quality--rooms the size of a walk-in closet vs. rooms you can actually move around in, at least to some degree. Maybe the online room is microscopic whereas those assigned to the tour are not so cramped. As a solo traveler I've been in rooms with double beds that would be nightmarish if you actually put two people in them--including having absolutely no place to put two suitcases. I think that's the sort of room that sometimes gets shuffled off to online websites.

(To be clear, I don't really mind the cramped rooms. I like cheap. And there is never a problem with air conditioning inadequate for cooling the entire room!)

Posted by
1834 posts

I can also vouch for emailing the hotel directly. When I was arranging hotels for our trip to Ireland last summer, I booked online at the hotel website. I always book with a generous cancellation policy and this one said there was no charge for cancelling. Later, I changed my mind and decided to stay elsewhere. When I got my visa bill there was a charge for like 12 euros. When I investigated it turns out that the hotel did not charge a canellation fee, but the online booking engine did!!!! (Avvio)
After a lot of effort and emails, the charge was taken off, but I learned my lesson. When I see the hotel uses that booking engine, I always email the hotel direct and tell them I won't use the booking engine!

Posted by
996 posts

I am taking the May 28 tour and contacted the Ambasciatori to see if I could book a room the night before the tour. They replied that they had a room, however, the quote for a double room (single person) is 90 euro. The rate for that week on the website is 60 euro. Do they charge extra for people on the tour? I would have thought tour people would be offered a discount, not a surplus!

The same thing happened to us when we were trying to book our pre-tour nights in November. The price quote from the hotel was significantly higher than I could book it online, and, yes, I did tell them that I was booking as part of a RS tour group.

In the end, I booked the rooms myself through a third party vendor (which was cheaper than their website), and then emailed them to ask if the reservation could be linked to my RS tour stay. We arrived two nights early and had a lovely room which we were able to keep for the entire stay of our group in Palermo.

I'd go with whatever is the best price, but that's just me.

Posted by
4666 posts

I hope this doesn't indicate a general policy change at the Ambasciatori. We love that place, and the staff has always been amazingly helpful.

When we had ATM problems one year, they let me call my bank to get it straightened out - no charge! When I was sick (another trip), they arranged a doctor, then afterward got me a cab to go to the hospital, making arrangements with the cabbie to stay with me long enough to get checked in. He stayed for hours!

I do hope this room charge disparity is an aberration, not an attitude change.

Edit to add: Maybe someone who has encountered this should let the RS office know? I've had a problem in the past with a hotel that wouldn't honor the RS discount, and I reported it to the office. We have another one this year...

Posted by
6763 posts

Can’t the Rick Steves’ staff get you a room there for an extra night?

Posted by
51 posts

Thanks to everyone for responding. I wrote to the hotel to ask why it was 90 euro when the website said 60. Another person wrote back and said the 90 was a mistake, the price is 70. I asked why it is still higher and they said the 60 euro is for non refundable. Sounds a little shady but I booked it anyway.

Posted by
6758 posts

Prices for lodging vary depending on the distribution channel used - there are a series of prices that are different depending on whether you book online through the hotel website, over the phone with a person, via e-mail. or with a third party. This has been true for a long time, that's why it's worth looking into several options, even for the same exact hotel. I've rarely found hotels (except for the moms and pos that offer uniform pricing) to offer the best price on their websites so I look elsewhere (typically third party sites). There are also different discounts offered depending where you look, and it shouldn't be assumed that the Rick Steves discount is the best.

It's not shady to offer a lower price for non-refundable rooms. You're paying the hotel upfront and taking on more risk; in exchange, the hotel offers you a lower rate. This is pretty typical. By the way, keep in mind that you'll have to pay the city taxes (per night, per person) in cash and those aren't included in the room rate.

Posted by
4666 posts

Several of the hotels we checked for our spring tour offered cheaper rates for nonrefundable bookings. We ended up doing one that way, but only through carelessness and naïvete. (Long story; I'll save it for another time.) Too many things can go wrong between booking and arriving. Although the dollar-euro exchange rate now makes me look like a genius.

Posted by
8455 posts

"Can’t the Rick Steves’ staff get you a room there for an extra night?"

No, you are responsible for booking any nights outside the actual tour dates.

I'll just add I've had good luck with the email route as well when booking a pre-tour night after the hotel website and booking.com both showed no availability.

Posted by
10 posts

We used ACasa di Anna a couple of doors away from The RS Hotel. Giuseppe the owner and his Uncle, Giuseppe were wonderful. The young Giuseppe made us breakfast each morning and the Uncle gave us a Language lesson and preTour sites to visit!

Posted by
66 posts

We are going on the RS Sicily tour in late April. We are arriving early and the Ambasciatori did not have any rooms. I emailed several hotels and it seems the rates increase as it gets into their busy season. The Centrale Palace for a double for 2 adults was €145 and with breakfast €162 per night. Anyway, based on the recommendation of someone on another thread, Trip Advisor comments and it being listed in the Lonely Planet book, we have chosen Palazzo Pantaleo B&B. It is walking distance to the Ambasciatori and is €100 including breakfast. We are looking forward to staying there-will let you know!