Jun 28 - Jul 8, 2022
Words can't describe just how excellent Jessica and the kimkim team were in making our trip to Italy unforgettable. We had never used a travel agent before, and were visiting Italy for the first time. We are so glad we chose kimkim and Jessica for planning the trip. Our family went back and forth about which cities to visit, what to do, and how long to stay. With each change in our plans Jessica came up with great ideas and a new plan. Jessica arranged our tours and transportation,... read more
Words can't describe just how excellent Jessica and the kimkim team were in making our trip to Italy unforgettable. We had never used a travel agent before, and were visiting Italy for the first time. We are so glad we chose kimkim and Jessica for planning the trip. Our family went back and forth about which cities to visit, what to do, and how long to stay. With each change in our plans Jessica came up with great ideas and a new plan. Jessica arranged our tours and transportation, leaving ample room for free day at the beach or to explore on our own. Private car drivers were prompt and personable and the tour companies for Rome (Lorenzo, walking tour guide extraordinaire!), Pompei (Mena!), Capri (grazie, Francesa and Gabriele!), Lake Como (Renzo, who made us feel so welcome we felt we'd known each other or years) and the Vatican were top-notch, helping us navigate Il bel paese through crowds and summer heat! When a slight hiccup found us off the Pompei tour list, Jessica spoke personally to the tour company! Amazing. A special mention to the Hotel Mignon in Sorrento -- a very special place!
Gilded, Old world feel -- like a movie set! -- with lots of modern touches. You really feel like you're somewhere special at this hotel. The staff is incredible. We arrived mid-morning and got to check in early instead of leaving our bags in storage. The room had high ceilings, great air and a large bathroom, and an actual writing desk! Breakfast was really spectacular (the "homemade cake" was different each day but always a special treat.) Great restaurant and lots of other food choices, including a Coop market, nearby. The hotel is a block from the terminale (transit hub) -- buses, trolley and trains -- but the area never seemed crowded and there was no noise. SS. Maria Maggiore, Colosseum, Minerva Temple ruin, and several archeological and historical sites and museums are within walking distance (all within about a mile, although it felt like more in the summer heat). And just a few blocks from some cool residential neighborhoods, shopping and theatres. Highly recommended.
This hotel is amazing! Combine a resort-spa with boutique hotel: tile everywhere, Mediterrenean-themed rooms, with great closet space and big shower. Incredibly helpful and friendly staff (you'll know all their names and the kitchen staff will seem like family by the time you leave.) Sunshine, lemon and orange trees are literally within your grasp from the room's balcony, and you're steps away from the best shopping, dining and some incredible sights, like local churches, woodworking, ceramic and photo galleries and a medieval fort is right next door! The hotel is a little way from the beach (and uphill from it, like just about everything in Sorrento) but the path is easy to find and there are cool things to see every step of the way. We were truly sad to leave Hotel Mignon. We would stay there again without hesitation.
The Uptown Palace was very nice -- Of the three hotels we stayed at on vacation this one was the most urban and modern-- and the one that felt most like a New York business hotel. Ironically, it was also the one at which we saw the most families. There was a conference taking place during our stay but this was not at all a distraction. There are quite likely "rooms with a view of the Duomo" as per the adverts but ours overlooked U Milan and the ancient church of S. Gregory Nazianzus. It was a nice view, but both of spaces were sadly unavailable for us to visit. Fortunately there is a nice 18th-century park around the block with fountains and a fish pool-- a real find for us. Room was well appointed but on the small side for three adults: we had originally scheduled a delux double but were put in a standard room, and we believe this was an oversight by the staff as they were just finishing up accommodating the guest in line ahead of us who booked online but then wanted adjoining rooms for family members! Staff was otherwise very attentive and there was turn down service. Breakfast was a bit crowded but there was lots of room and the meal was great. It is indeed walkable to the Duomo (we did the whole Duomo package, including the museum and outdoor film screening so we spent a lot of time there), the Sforza castle, the da Vinci Museum AND the da Vinci exhibition (one's near the Duomo and the other isn't), and La Scala, as well as several area churches and an architectural self-tour. There is great food on the Sforza, the De Amicis, and around the Duomo but it was harder to find closer to the hotel, especially on weeknights after eight. This was made a little more problematic as it was very hot during our stay, there was a taxi strike and there were several construction detours in the area for pedestrians and vehicles alike. The airport was a short ride away which was also a plus, but overall, we would prefer to stay closer to a transit hub as the city can be challenging to navigate.
We love tours where you can see the sights AND at the same time learn what it's like to live in a city - what is Roma like to Romans? How do they live, travel, etc.? Lorenzo was perfect for the job! We saw areas of Roma that were famous, and gorgeous, but we might not be able to get to during a short stay, even with help from the tour bus -- Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navonna. I'll never forget Lorenzo showing us the "how to turn the downspout water fountain into a drinking fountain" trick! We talked history, architecture, politics, economics, and, yes, how to find out if the gelato is well made just by looking at it! In the end we walked for two hours and hardly noticed the distance or the time. Lorenzo was also very mindful of when we needed a brief break. This was excellent.
This was a highlight of our trip! Very easy transportation from the hotel to the marina. Francesca and Gabriele were incredibly friendly and thoughtful. Francesca easily addressed a child's case of Male di mare, while Gabriele sang and talked with me about the sea. The ride was smooth and the water and sky were brilliant blue. Even the wait for the blue grotto rowboat was enjoyable (tip: bring a couple extra euros to tip the rower, ours did an expert Dean Martin impression.) Food and drink aboard ship was plentiful, including a caprese sandwich for our time ashore. I cannot say enough about how wonderful Capri and Anacapri were (Take the skyride! Visit San Michele Chiesa! Stop for coffee at the caffe in between!) We will remember forever swimming in the golfo and making a circuit of the island. We were a family of three with another family of three aboard: I think this was ideal. Such attention to detail, such personable tour guides. Bravi!
A true vacation highlight! Meeting Renzo and the train station in Milano was like meeting an old friend or family member. He put us all at ease, and was very easy to talk. The train to the Lake and then the ferry was so seamless. Renzo knew the region intimately, and wove the story of the villas, the flora, the local fishing and silk economy, Lake Como celebrities past and present and so much more into wonderful stories. The Lake, and Bellagio itself, are beautiful and fun, but we would not have had had half as great a time if it weren't for Renzo's fabulous tour. The shopping and restaurant recommendations were spot-on, too, and learning from Renzo about all there is to do in the area (touring the villas, cycling and mountaineering) will make the Lake our destination for our next vacation rather than a day outing.