As mentioned in my introduction post, we were to spend 5 days in Rome with my family for Christmas. Our plans didn’t exactly work out as expected though. My wife and I live in Atlanta and were departing directly from there on Lufthansa (connecting in Frankfurt) while my family was flying Delta from Gulfport, MS – Atlanta – Rome. We had planned to meet up with my family in the Atlanta airport as our time there was going to overlap by several hours, however, their flight was cancelled out of Gulfport due to a “slight” fog. As there were no other flights out of Gulfport for the day it was up to Delta to find suitable rebooking options for 9 passengers. Amazingly, they found space on a New Orleans – Atlanta flight and paid for a van to drive them to New Orleans from Gulfport (1.5 hours). My family did not make their original Atlanta – Rome flight, but did make it onto the late-night departure from Atlanta to London with a further connection on Alitalia to Rome.
As for the flights, we redeemed United Miles for our Lufthansa flights (100,000 per ticket roundtrip in Business). The Lufthansa flight from ATL is operated by an A340-300 and the flight from Frankfurt to Rome is operated by an A321. Lufthansa business class was OK for the most part, the seat was infinitely more comfortable than coach but is lagging other more modern business class seats from competitors. However, the food was pretty solid and the service was fantastic. All-in-all I felt like we received good value for our miles.
A little planespotting from the Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurt. ANA 787. Sorry for the quality of the picture, it was taken with my iPad.
My wife and I arrived in Rome on schedule around noon on Sunday, 12/22, while my family did not arrive until nearly 10 PM due to the complications mentioned above. They were supposed to arrive at 8 AM so ended up losing one day on the ground due to the flight cancellation.
Prior to leaving for our trip I had booked a car service from the airport to our hotel based upon the reviews on Tripadvisor, I must say it did not disappoint. I would highly recommend using www.transfersrome.com for travel to/from the airport in Rome if your hotel is not near public transportation, such as the Rome Cavalieri. The cost is 50 euros and the driver was standing outside of customs with a sign with our name on it. Flawless experience.
We booked the Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in Rome for 5 nights prior to the HHonors devaluation. I don’t have the booking confirmation with me but I believe it was 50,000 points per night for a standard King room.
Upon arrival to the hotel a bellman assisted us with our bags and guided us to the check-in desk where we were promptly assisted by the front desk associate. The associate explained the features of the hotel, our benefits due to my Diamond HHonors status, and provided us a slight upgrade to a “City-view” room. I must also give credit to the hotel for allowing us to check-in before the standard time. It was quite nice to be able to get in the room and shower after a long-haul flight.
Overall, the hotel worked well for us since my wife and I had previously been to Rome. I would not recommend it to first-time visitors due to how far outside of the city center it is (the hotel does offer a complimentary shuttle hourly to Piazza Barberini).
Our “Rome View” wasn’t quite as exciting as I had hoped. We were only given a room on the 3rd floor.
After getting settled into the room and cleaning up, my wife and I headed out to walk around some. Since we had been in Rome only two years ago for our honeymoon we weren’t that interested in rushing out to see different sites. We took the hotel shuttle down to the city and began walking from the drop off location in Piazza Barberini. Nothing too exciting today but we did get a couple of good pictures of Rome decorated for Christmas.
Stay tuned for Day 2, when my family finally joins us and the madness of travelling with 11 people through Rome begins!