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Author: ginirn

Joined: 5/2/2012
Posts: 15
Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

US including Hawaii. Ireland twice.

Traveler Since: 2013

February 07, 2013
  • I am scheduled for the Tuscany and Amalfi Coast Tour on March 30th.  It is my first Grand Circle trip.  After looking at the hotels in the description I am very concerned about staying at the Airport Hotel in Ostia the first nite.  I looked at the travelers reviews and they were absolutely dreadful, every single one of them.  Hoping that when the final documents arrive that they have reserved a different hotel.  If not and it is as bad as described I probably will not do another trip with them.  First impressions are important and I really am not interested in using anyone who would place their customers in such a bad hotel.  Any feedback from prior travelers who stayed there?

Author: pamvaughan11

Joined: 6/17/2012
Posts: 16
Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

China twice, Japan, SE Asia, England and Ireland multiple times, other European countries, Guatemala twice, East Africa.

Traveler Since: 2012

February 08, 2013

 If it's the Airport Palace Hotel in Ostia, I was recently there in November for one night on the GCT Sicily trip. The rooms were clean. Very small. Just for one night.  I would have objected if it had been for an extended stay. We arrived in the afternoon. 4 of us took a cab into central Rome for a night tour. The cab was about $35 one way- it's a number of miles out of Rome. So I wouldn't worry about the room too much if it's just for one night. There's a nice bar. I think there is a small shopping district near by probably with a restaurant.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 404
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 08, 2013

We did not stay at the Airport Palace but we stayed at the Satellite Palace in Ostia and it was undoubtedly the least desireable hotel GCT has ever booked us into. However, it is just one night and you can be sure that the other hotels for the tour will be better. If you have researched the other hotels for the tour you will know that they are not five star, not four star, but what we would probably call three star hotels. They are clean, comfortable, but not posh. You will not stay in the same hotels that were used by the tour group I was with, but I'm sure they will be comparable. For us the hotel in Rome was good, as was the one in Monticatini (Tuscany). The hotel in Sorrento was great. Please don't let the first night detract from what will be a very enjoyable tour.

Come to think of it, there may not be anything better in Ostia.

Author: walshcs

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 87
Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, the Canadian Maritimes incl. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI, Montreal (Quebec), Guatemala, and many USA cities incl. NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC, Portland Oregon, the Oregon coast, Maine coast, parts of Florida. I took a 10 day tour to Costa Rica where I was especially thrilled to experience the tropical plants, birds, volcanos, and met the friendly Ticos. I did Ireland in Depth with GCT Oct. 2011 and it was an inspiring, beautiful, and meaningful experience to finally visit the land of my Irish ancestors. Completed the Tuscany & the Amalfi Coast with the pre-trip to Venice April 21, 2012 and it was a travel dream fulfilled. I booked Guatemala with Tikal, Antigua and Atitlan for January 2013 and had a wonderful adventure discovering modern day Maya culture and learning about ancient Maya city states with my visit to Tikal. Very excited that OAT has brought back the trip to Japan and I leave on that tour Nov. 4, 2013 with the pre-trip to Tokyo. Now I finally have the resources to pursue my "bucket list" of foreign travel and the freedom to chart my own life's course. Ask questions that will satisfy your requirements/interests in a travel buddy. Looking forward to meeting you here and maybe in the world. Warm regards, Cate I'll post a photo when I remember to bring one from home. (Only have internet at work for now.)

Traveler Since: 2011

February 11, 2013

Hi ginirn,

I didn't stay at the hotel you mention when I did this WONDERFUL trip in April 2012, as I did the pretrip to Venice and we transferred directly to the Tuscany hotel to join the main trip. The rest of the travelers who did stay in the hotel with the awful reviews were very pleased with the rest of the hotels on the tour and felt that one night on arrival in Italy wasn't a deal breaker. I encourage you not to allow your concerns to detract from the rest of your tour as this was one of the best I have taken with GCT, and I hope that you will have a fantastic adventure! I predict that you will LOVE having a base in Tuscany and a 2nd one in Sorrento for a week each as that allows you to make the most of your free time and really feel like part of the local scene.

Best wishes and may all your travel dreams come true,

walshcs

Author: ginirn

Joined: 5/2/2012
Posts: 15
Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

US including Hawaii. Ireland twice.

Traveler Since: 2013

September 24, 2013

Since I started this thread thought I should come back after the trip and report on the hotel.  We actually stayed at a different hotel right on the coast near a marina and restaurants.  It was actually quite nice the staff was very accommodating.  In fact all the hotels are the trip were very nice.  The one in Rome was a historic hotel and I really enjoyed the hotel itself.  The front desk staff, however, were dreadful.  Rude and never wanted to respond to any question or request.  I was told that Grand Circle had just started to use this hotel again.  They had stopped due to noise issues but the hotel had replaced windows which really muffled the noisy street sounds  .Apparently any issues with the staff had not been fixed.

Another issue I have read on this site were concerns that single travelers received less desirable rooms.  Not so in my experience.  Although there was quite a bit of emphasis on returning travelers at the start of the trip I found that the hotels assigned the rooms randomly.  I actually had nicer rooms that some of the Inner Circle traveler, both bigger bathrooms and better views. 

Author: ginirn

Joined: 5/2/2012
Posts: 15
Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

US including Hawaii. Ireland twice.

Traveler Since: 2013

September 24, 2013

Since I started this thread thought I should come back after the trip and report on the hotel.  We actually stayed at a different hotel right on the coast near a marina and restaurants.  It was actually quite nice the staff was very accommodating.  In fact all the hotels are the trip were very nice.  The one in Rome was a historic hotel and I really enjoyed the hotel itself.  The front desk staff, however, were dreadful.  Rude and never wanted to respond to any question or request.  I was told that Grand Circle had just started to use this hotel again.  They had stopped due to noise issues but the hotel had replaced windows which really muffled the noisy street sounds  .Apparently any issues with the staff had not been fixed.

Another issue I have read on this site were concerns that single travelers received less desirable rooms.  Not so in my experience.  Although there was quite a bit of emphasis on returning travelers at the start of the trip I found that the hotels assigned the rooms randomly.  I actually had nicer rooms that some of the Inner Circle traveler, both bigger bathrooms and better views. 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 489
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

September 24, 2013

 Thank you for posting a followup. More often than not people post their concerns and they get much activity on the forum, and never follow up with the real experiences.

Author: ray.

Joined: 4/14/2010
Posts: 9
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

September 25, 2013

 Some singles room in some older European Hotels are small and inferior in location (like window looking into blank wall etc). That is because in the old days, people travel with the servants (butlers and nanny) and those rooms were for them.

While they now are remodeled with amenities, they are still small and in the same not so good locations. But if GCT/OAT has enough pulls (as in high volume), our travelers wouldn’t be getting those rooms.

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