Comfort is an arbitrary thing, so although the European “star” system is a good place to start, this system gives no indication of the feeling you get out of a place, the way you are welcomed or what the views and general surroundings are like. Thus we have given our own grading taking into consideration both the official rating, but also our own feeling about the place. For example, on a few properties we will rate as “Comfort Level: Casual” a place that has a great atmosphere, nice surroundings or a warm and friendly welcome even if it is officially rated 2 star just because the rooms are plain. All of our accommodations have en-suite bathrooms, and the vast majority are rated 3* or 4* if it is a hotel, or 3* or 4* equivalent when we stay in agriturismo (farms) or B&B. In general we rate 4 star properties “Comfort Level: Premier”, and 5* properties “Comfort Level: Luxury”. On some rare and justified occasions (Climbing trips in the Alps, for example) the rooms have shared bathrooms or we use mountain huts with dorms, this is clearly indicated in the individual information sheet for each trip.
What’s important to us…
- Most of our tours are comfort rated Casual or Premier, or a combination of, with 3* and 4* level accommodations. You can expect to stay in en-suite, air-conditioned rooms in good quality, comfortable family run hotels, with possibly a night or two somewhere more basic to allow the itinerary to get off the beaten tourist track.
- Quality of service, location, and standards of cleanliness and safety are more important to us than the hotel facilities; to us a friendly welcome, a stunning view and a comfortable bed matter more than TVs and mini-bars.
- We prefer smaller, family run inns, as they usually offer a warmer welcome and the money we spend gets re-invested in the local economy.
- We normally choose hotels that don’t insist on half-board or full-board packages: this gives you the flexibility to eat where you want and doesn’t tie you to the hotel restaurant.
- Accommodation choices are based on what’s available in the places we want to stay: if that means a simple guesthouse, so be it – we choose the accommodation to suit the itinerary, not the other way round.
- Casual: Comfortable but modest accommodations. Typified by small inns, simpler family hotels, B&Bs and agriturismo (farmsteads), but always with private bathroom. Often chosen for its excellent location in relation to the itinerary. Normally you can expect the equivalent of a 3* property, but on a very few occasions we might use a 2* level if it’s a good choice based on convenience or location.
- Premier: Upscale accommodations with a nicer touch, often well located with amazing views. You can expect 4* level amenities with unique decor and superior rooms. We still strive for local flavor and regional ambiance, with rooms that are an oasis of relaxation after a full day of exploring.
- Luxury: Magnificent lodgings with outstanding amenities, ambiance and service, usually the best in an area. Normally featuring superb cuisine, elegant decor and luxuriant rooms . In a Luxury Level property you’ll enjoy a level of opulence and delights that are best described as world-class.