Saving Money on the Best Hotels and Apartments

  • Look around the marketplace for special deals and offers on the top luxury accommodation. They do exist and for various reasons. They can sometimes save you a huge amount of money over paying the standard prices.
  • Where possible, try to look at moving your holiday dates to periods where the schools are not on holiday. Although it might be a little distasteful, it’s a commercial reality that many hotels will put their prices up by huge amounts at times in the year when they know the kids are on holiday and families will be looking for their holidays. If you don’t have children, you may be able to take advantage of this because at other times of the year their rates may be much more reasonable.
  • Don’t always believe the asking price on the Internet. Contact the accommodation agent, explain your budget position and ask them if they have any options. You may find that they have some special ‘under the radar’ deals they may be able to offer you because they are trying to fill unexpected gaps in their bookings due to cancellations etc. Don’t feel inhibited – you lose nothing by asking.
  • 4. Be prepared to sacrifice sea views. Some hotels may offer a standard room charge and ask for a supplement for a sea view. Some may not and in the case of the latter, you may be able to ask for their price for a room looking inland.
  • Ask questions about ‘all-inclusive’ deals. These sometimes include everything you can eat and drink in the initial price but if you only consume in moderation it might not always be the apparently stunningly good deal it appears. Ask instead for a room-only or B&B price, if they do them. You may see a substantial reduction.
  • Question the number of bedrooms you need in an apartment. Sometimes paying the extra for one of your children to have their own bedroom might be an unnecessary cost if they could instead sleep on the couch. Of course, you may need to take into account their age and any occupancy rules and regulations that come with the apartment.
  • Consider whether you really need to be directly on the beach. Luxury accommodation is luxury accommodation, even if it is say 800 metres away from the sand. The walk to the beach might be good for you and it might also result in you saving a lot of money on ‘first line’ locations.

In other words, don’t give up on that dream too easily!

Capanna Winery Tour in Tuscany

The first was a pleasant surprise for us, Capanna winery, were Alexandra took us on a sunny afternoon. For tourists or “untrained noses”, Capanna could be one of the small wineries that could fade among the much more famous Casanova di Neri, Biondi Santi, etc. yet, we discovered a wonderful choice of Brunello di Montalcino and gained more insight into the Sangiovese grapes. Capanna produces though other wines than Brunello as well (Rosso -Baby Brunello, Moscadello, Pinot Grigio, etc) at a stunning value for money.

Alexandra mentioned that at a blind tasting of red wines, their Brunello Riserva 2010 (the Brunello that we can find on sale only on January of the 6th year after the harvest) was the 2nd place situated right after the Ferrari of Brunello’s – Casanova di Neri. Of course this information together with the view of the winery itself, the landscape, amplified the taste of the wines we tasted. But this is actually how wine is enjoyed, isn’t it? It has to be associated to other positive emotions to be a great experience and get its taste amplified.

Yesterday, we were watching the SOMM Part II, a documentary opening our eyes to the labor, the history, the culture, and even the emotions that lie behind every great bottle of wine-the story, in other words, behind the bottles of wine. It was mentioned that there’s never been made great wine in ugly areas, it’s a matter of energies; great wine goes hand in hand with amazing landscapes and beautiful wineries, in the sense of energy.

The Capanna winery, situated in Montosoli hill-probably the best sub-area in the North of Montalcino is run by the Cencioni family, who pours the Tuscan ancestral knowledge straight into these complex wines.

Visiting the spectacular Capanna vineyard offers the opportunity to discover the unique micro climate and soil that nourish the Sangiovese Grosso for Brunello di Montalcino, while it lets you relish its fascinating landscape. Here we learned about: the pruning of the grapes (which guarantees a high quality product even in less favorable years), the selection of grapes during the harvest, the careful wine making at controlled temperatures, long aging in oak barrels/Croatian barrels for their lack of aromas. Brunello producers do not like aromatic woods for their wines and the selection. Alexandra taught us how to “read” the wines: color, body, structure, nose, taste and we checked as well for the key components in wines that give the balance: the minerality, the acidity, the tannin on one hand and the alcohol, the softness and the sugar on the other hand.