Introduction: A Spring Trip To Italy & France

Introduction: A Spring Trip To Italy & France

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I’m making an effort to write as many trip reports as possible. In the past few weeks I’ve written reviews of trips to Oman and Hawaii, and I want to now share my next trip, which is currently underway. Ford and I are off to Europe, with reviews of some flights and hotels that OMAAT readers will hopefully enjoy.

Why we decided to travel to Europe

Often my travel plans are motivated by some amazing award availability opportunity, and this trip was no exception. In late 2021 I wrote about how Singapore Airlines had wide open Suites award availability between New York and Frankfurt on the Airbus A380. This opportunity got even better when it was announced that Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabins would be available on this route.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites

I locked in roundtrip flights from New York to Frankfurt, though initially didn’t know where exactly we’d go in Europe. For me it’s much easier to figure out flights than to decide where to go. In the end we decided to visit Venice, Milan, and Courchevel, and we even modified our initial flights a bit. So let’s go over the details.

The airlines we flew

Initially I had booked Singapore Airlines Suites roundtrip from New York to Frankfurt on the Airbus A380, for 86,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles per person per direction. However, I’m making an effort to review as many new products as possible, and I figured reviewing Singapore Airlines’ A380 Suites twice was a bit unnecessary, especially since I’ve reviewed it before (though it was back in early 2018).

We ended up canceling the Singapore Suites ticket in one direction, and replacing it with a Eurowings Discover business class flight direct from Tampa to Frankfurt. Eurowings Discover is Lufthansa’s new long haul low cost carrier, and let me tell you, it’s no Singapore Suites. 😉

I booked Eurowings Discover business class from Tampa to Frankfurt, plus Lufthansa business class from Frankfurt to Venice, all for 70,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points per person (you’ve gotta love how many airline partners Aeroplan has). The Eurowings Discover experience was something…

Eurowings Discover Airbus A330

The only other flight we booked while in Europe was a SWISS Airbus A220 flight from Geneva to Frankfurt, which I’ll be reviewing as well. All our other travel within Europe was by train, so I’ll be reviewing Italy’s shockingly luxurious train experience as well.

SWISS Airbus A220-100

In the individual review posts I’ll talk more about the booking process for each flight, the taxes and fees, etc.

The hotels we stayed at

Our first stop in Europe was Venice. I haven’t been to Venice in over 20 years, and visiting in summer has little appeal to me, given how crowded it gets. Going in late March ended up being beyond amazing — we had perfect weather (it was sunny and low 60s during the day), and it wasn’t crowded. I can’t believe I hadn’t visited Venice for this long, because the city is amazing.

We ended up splitting our time in Venice between two points hotels that have been on my list for quite a while — Gritti Palace, a Marriott Luxury Collection property, and the St. Regis Venice.

Gritti Palace Venice

You might be surprised by the hotel I ended up preferring, as it wasn’t what I was expecting.

St. Regis Venice

Next up we spent a couple of nights in Milan, and we decided to check out the BVLGARI Milan. While BVLGARI is a Marriott brand, it doesn’t participate in Marriott Bonvoy, much like Ritz-Carlton Reserve. However, I’ve never stayed at a BVLGARI before, and was curious to see what the luxury brand’s entry into the hotel space was like.

Ford’s a skier, so he was hoping to get in one last ski session before the season ends, so we decided to then travel to Courchevel. I’ve never been to Courchevel before, and was curious to check it out. There are sadly no points hotels in Courchevel, so we decided to book Les Airelles Courchevel, an independent hotel that’s sure to be quite an experience.

Lastly, we had to overnight in Frankfurt, so booked a night at the Marriott Frankfurt Airport. This is part of the former Sheraton, so I’m curious to see how the property compares.

I’ll be reviewing each of these hotel experiences, and will share more about the booking process with each installment.

Bottom line

It sure is nice to be doing some more consistent traveling again. I’ll have reviews of Eurowings Discover A330 business class, Singapore Airlines A380 Suites, SWISS A220 business class, plus several hotels, including two points hotels that have been near the top of my list of properties to visit.

While I only recently got underway on this trip, I’m really enjoying being in Europe this time of year so far. I usually prefer warm climates, but it has been mild and quiet here, which is a treat.

Stay tuned, and thanks so much for reading!

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  1. Ed Guest

    = my reaction after reading you had dropped Singapore First Suites for ⛈ Eurowings Discover BC…..

  2. Beschan Guest

    The hall is designed that way. They are idiosynchratic, yes, but they are making space otherwise not used into something usable.

    Been there many times, if you prefer a modern styled hotel over this one, it’s just a matter of taste. Hotel was significantly redone in 2013. To call it shabby is a slander.

  3. Vancouver - Char Gold

    Happy to read your recent reviews, such as to southern Oman. Looking forward to this voyage including the SWISS Airbus A220 flight and Italian train; I appreciate your candid reviews. As always happy and safe travels

  4. Alex Guest

    Ben, what was your experience entering Italy and complying with COVID and Super Green Pass requirment?

  5. Diane Dioguardi Guest

    We usually do the South of France for January and February. It rarely gets below the low 50's, and on a sunny day (lots of them), you primarily eat outside because it feels like 70+! So I totally understand and has become our favorite time to go to Europe.

  6. Larry Guest

    Business class on Trenitalia is fantastic. However, don't waste your money on Executive class on the Frecciarossa 1000. It's intended to be a first class experience, with only 10 recliners in the carriage. The padding on those chairs is very firm and uncomfortable, and the legrest only comes up about 4 inches, so it's definitely not like your favorite family room recliner. The carriage was also kept very warm, bordering on hot.

  7. Airfarer Gold

    Was in VCE Spring 2019 - early April. Was scarf and a hat cold. Absolutely jammed with people. Back again late next next week for a week or so. Fingers crossed that their weather stays nice. And that there are a lot fewer people. Looking forward to your report before I go.

  8. Andy Diamond

    Great to see so many reviews coming up. Congratulations. I guess it's gonna be quite a contrast flying Eurowings and Singapore on the same trip ...

  9. D3kingg Guest

    I’m flying to Milan tomorrow in J on AA. No way AA will blow a 7 hr connection from Houston lol. 2 nights at Hilton Milan in the city center. Thinking about going for dinner at Hotel Armani. Then Emirates A380 First Class from MXP to JFK. Stopover at Hilton JFK. then JFK MIA IAH on AA. JFK MIA is a 772. Any recommendations for Milan ?

  10. Bao New Member

    Just got back from Italy for Spring Break and I have to agree. Love Europe in the Spring. Nice weather and small crowds. Definitely beats waiting in line in scorching summer temperature.
    Also, I need someone to bring those Frecciarossa train to the US ASAP!!!

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Bao

      You spring break in Milan as a college student ?

    2. Bao New Member

      Lol. Hasn't been a college student in 15 years. My 4th grader is learning ancient Rome in school so we took our children to Italy for Spring Break.

  11. MariB New Member

    Love Italy - been a number of times, but haven't been to Venice since 1993, back when it wasn't so overrun. Glad to hear late March is a good time for a visit.
    Can't wait for your reviews, esp. the train, since we will be in Puglia in October and plan to take the train to Rome. And I hope to travel to Milan and northern Italy next April.

  12. Morgan Gold

    Sounds like a great trip - excited to read the reviews!

  13. Janet Guest

    I’m flying to Milan, Italy this weekend. One of my connections was canceled, so flight was changed from Delta premium select to AF premium economy. Really p.o.’d. I envy your stay in Venice, one of favorite places (off season only).

  14. Steve Guest

    Just returned from 3 weeks in Europe with 1.5 weeks in Italy (Rome and points north). Completely fell in love with Italy and can't wait to read your experience.

  15. Towelie196 New Member

    Stayed at the Frankfurt Airport Marriott in December. While we were upgraded to a huge suite the lounge access was one of the most subpar lounge experiences I've ever had. The food was served in this box and tasted of stale cardboard. The restaurant is quite expensive for subpar food and we ended up going to the train station to have some semblance of a devent meal.

  16. Doug Guest

    We just got back from Courchevel and while we enjoyed the scenery, the skiing was garbage because it has been unseasonably warm. I hope Ford had better results. We used hotels.com nights to stay at the Mercure in 1850. While it wasn't particularly fancy (like much of Courchevel), it was ski-in/out, had a decent breakfast, and had great staff. It also didn't cost $2k/night.

  17. Tortuga Diamond

    This is going to be excellent! I'm very much looking forward to your reviews (especially the train, actually).

  18. [email protected] Guest

    Hyatt absolutely has a hotel partner in courchevel, Hotel Strato. 40k per night beats 1250plus euro rates. Booked last year but cancelled due to covid. Best part is that all rooms come with breakfast and dinner in micheline starred restaurant, at least they did 2 seasons ago.

    1. skimegheath Gold

      I did not know that (haven't been there in years). Any other Hyatt hidden gems at ski resorts in EU?

    2. KF Guest

      Hotel Schweizerhof in Zermatt! SLH. Not Ski-in/out, but in heart of village steps from train station. Cozy but comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and nice breakfast spread.

  19. Clem Diamond

    Looking forward to this report! Surprised you didn't go with the Aman in Courchevel :) .

  20. Debo Member

    My first solo international trip, I took Trenitalia room Venice to Florence and Florence to Rome. Absolutely fantastic experience.

  21. 305 Guest

    Trenitalia business class is one of the best kept “secrets” out there. For only €5-€10 more you get much nicer seats and the welcome service is a nice touch.

    While US airlines used COVID as an excuse to take away amenities, Trenitalia revamped the welcome service to be an entire paper bag filled with goodies. Multiple beverages, snacks, etc. It was such a nice surprise the first time I experienced it, as I assumed I would be getting nothing, like on US airlines

  22. Kevin Guest

    Can't wait for your trip reports! They were sadly missed during the COVID era.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

[email protected] Guest

Hyatt absolutely has a hotel partner in courchevel, Hotel Strato. 40k per night beats 1250plus euro rates. Booked last year but cancelled due to covid. Best part is that all rooms come with breakfast and dinner in micheline starred restaurant, at least they did 2 seasons ago.

5
305 Guest

Trenitalia business class is one of the best kept “secrets” out there. For only €5-€10 more you get much nicer seats and the welcome service is a nice touch. While US airlines used COVID as an excuse to take away amenities, Trenitalia revamped the welcome service to be an entire paper bag filled with goodies. Multiple beverages, snacks, etc. It was such a nice surprise the first time I experienced it, as I assumed I would be getting nothing, like on US airlines

3
Tortuga Diamond

This is going to be excellent! I'm very much looking forward to your reviews (especially the train, actually).

2
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