I’m off to Florence. Despite many a trip to Italy, Florence is one city I’ve yet to visit. So with a winter weekend away to play with it seemed an ideal opportunity to visit, via the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card.
The flight timings mean I’m flying into Rome and have a train booked from Rome Centrale up to Florence. A train from Rome takes you through to the central station, while the train up to Florence takes under 2 hours. I plan to spend the weekend hunting out various wine bars and wine-focused restaurants with my good friend Robbin (who, at the moment, lives in the city). I dare say a fair few photographs will be taken during the weekend.
I’ve redeemed 100,000 Starpoints given to me by the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card. This scheme allows SPG/American Express card holders to turn ‘everyday purchases’ into amazing getaways, offering what we all want – luxury and fantastic destinations. The hotel I’ve selected – the Westin Excelsior right on the banks of the Arno – certainly looks to provide the luxury angle with an art deco bar that will be my very first stop for a cocktail and a roof top restaurant with 360 degree view of the city! And just talking to Robbin, Florence certainly sounds like an amazing city to explore. True the weather in January may not be suitable for an outside table; but I’m hoping they’ll have a table for brunch!
Starwood Westin Excelsior
The excelsior excels with its marble floors and columns, grand staircases, stained-glass windows, statues and period paintings. The rooms are equally as opulent, while the staff add warmth to it all… Its restaurant, Il Cestello, is celebrated for its cuisine. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Florence & Tuscany.
I spent a great time, having been given the points required, exploring various destinations and hotels in the Starwood Guest scheme. All rather easy to browse, if rather trickier in finally selecting when and where to go for the choice is broad. I thought of Albania, of Tallinn and of Copenhagen. All places I’d love to visit and explore but finally the city of Florence was settled on due to its wine-country capital credentials. While the train trip from Rome to Florence isn’t included in the Starwood scheme (easy enough to book via the Trenitalia website) the flights are; because of timings I’m able to fly back to Heathrow from Florence airport itself. I had enough points to redeem against a return flight plus 3 nights in the hotel.
I’m off in a couple of weeks. I’ll be tweeting and snapping away while there. Onward To Florence with Starwood!
© 2004-2014 Andrew Barrow All Rights Reserved