My 1st Airbnb Experience

I’m admittedly a little behind the curve on the whole Airbnb thing. As a travel blogger, I’m a little surprised myself that I’ve never rented via the popular site. What can I say? I tend to lean toward hotels (ideally luxury ones at that) for their services, safety and amenities. After rave reviews from my friends, who have used Airbnb rentals everywhere from Hawaii to Paris, I decided to give it a shot.

It was about 6 months ago that I started planning a trip to Italy. My husband and I would be doing the classic first timer’s Italy itinerary of Rome, Florence and Venice. The clincher? Our toddler was coming along for the ride. I know what you’re thinking. Who would want to bring their baby to such a romantic destination? Where we go, she goes, and I wasn’t about to skip a trip to Europe just because we have a baby! I knew that having a little one in tow meant naps, lots of dirty laundry and nightly bath time. The convenience of a private apartment with a kitchen and extra space was tempting, so to Airbnb’s website I went.

Since we had hotels in Rome and Venice locked in with points and hotel loyalty programs, we opted to rent a one bedroom apartment in Florence. While researching, I was really impressed with the search criteria options and being able to filter results for everything from family friendly facilities to amenities like internet and a pool.airbnb viewI was able to find a centrally located apartment from a super host, and it even included a crib. After reading the reviews, we decided to pull the trigger. Upon arriving in Florence, our hosts were gracious enough to meet us at the train station. The apartment was clean, spacious and perfect for our family of three. As every traveler knows, it’s nice to have a kitchen to eat a few meals in, and a laundry room to wash clothes. The location could not have been better – it was located on a quiet street within walking distance of restaurant, shops and Florence’s famous Doumo. The Mercato Centrale around the corner was super convenient and a go-to lunch spot. We were more than pleased with our choice of accommodations and I can gladly say my 1st Airbnb experience was wonderful!

If you’re ever in Florence, check out our new friend Alessio’s apartment. You won’t be disappointed!airbnb

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Paris Hotel Review: Royal Magda Etoile

madga entranceThe last time I was in Paris, I wanted to find a quaint, traditionally Parisian boutique hotel for our stay. I had done the large, international brand hotel before (check out my review of the Marriott Champs-Elysses), but was looking for a different experience. After lots of research, I found just what I was looking for in the Royal Magda Etoile.

This small boutique hotel oozes charm, from the Haussmann style facade to the wrought iron balconies. Its location in the 17th arrondissement was a great starting point for exploring the city. The Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile metro station were all within walking distance, and the surrounding streets offered good bars and restaurants. Once inside, we felt instantly welcomed by the friendly staff. The property had a chic Parisian interior, with a winding staircase and vintage elevator. The rooms were clean and on the small side, but on par with what you’d expect in Paris. One of my favorite features was the windows, which opened to a wrought iron balcony. So Parisian! The private courtyard was another highlight. It was the perfect spot for enjoying my morning coffee. The thing that was really made me love this hotel was the staff. They were outstanding! They even offered to mail a postcard for me after I inquired about the location of the nearest post office! They could not have been more helpful. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced boutique hotel with a Parisian feel, this hotel really is a hidden gem! madga street magda courtyars room magda view madga floers madga stairs


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