The only thing that could have been a little more organised (and less stressful) was regarding the pick up from Venice to the airport. Our documents stated that we would have been picked up at our hotel, but in fact it was at the water taxi terminal. This needs to be made clear on the documents.
As always a superb service. Can’t be beaten by any other travel company..
Everything went like a dream and was organised for us as planned. Would definitely recommend to friends. Well done.
Everything was in place when we arrived. Taxi pick up at airport was on time, hotel accommodation was just as requested, hotel and facilities were exactly as shown.
All went very well. Thanks to Harry.
Ian Newton. Excellent as always.
The hotel and its location were perfect - close to restaurants, a centrally located metro station and a variety of shops and the buzz of Barcelona life. Thanks DialAFlight.
Seamless as usual
You made it very easy and all the well timed reminders were welcome
Jenson was so helpful and attentive it made the booking a happy experience and I would certainly recommend him to my friends. Thank you so much for such great service
Thanks for your assistance
Very pleased with the arrangements and advice from start to finish.
Riley is brilliant and has all our needs covered and made sure we had an excellent trip
Excellent service as always
The hotel was great! It was very close to all public transport stations. The food was good at the hotel and the range for breakfast was modest. I will gladly go back to this hotel. Great birthday present for my husband.
Best place we stayed - clean, food excellent and staff.
Your help and support were second to none. I would highly recommend you and I have already suggested to friends to contact you
This trip was for a wedding and Glen as always was great assistance throughout. Fantastic recommendation on hotel and arranging flights for a large group. DialAFlight offer a super service. Always deliver. Can’t recommend them enough
Luggage did not arrive in Graz when we did. We had to go back for it 10 hours later. Not a good start.
DialAFlight performance is excellent - just a shame the car company that was booked wasn’t good.
Elizabeth is great, really helpful
Great job, as always!
I would like to thank Jack Sulliman for arranging our trip to Madeira. Everything went like clockwork.
Once again Guy delivered - superb hotel in Puerto Banus. Highly recommended.
Great holiday. All aspects perfect.
Slight hassle with the taxi transfers to and from the airport. After a few messages, and a phone call from our hotel to our driver for the return journey, it all resolved itself.
Craig was so helpful - really excellent service!
Peace of mind and lots of info and reminders. Thank you
Italy makes me greedy. Florence is awash with deliriously good art, Milan is Italy's fashion and design hub, and both of them have outstanding food scenes.
However, it turns out that you don't have to make a choice when it comes to a long weekend break. These two cities are only a 90-minute train journey apart, so it's possible to explore both in one trip.
By happy coincidence, both cities have airports nearby. It is a just a 20-minute journey from Peretola airport in Florence to our hotel, the Helvetia & Bristol, in the heart of the city.
Opened in 1848, this former palazzo is the oldest hotel in Florence and is still a charmer, with deep colours, marble bathrooms and ingrained atmosphere. We sip aperitivos beside a log fire while elegant Florentines mill around us.
However, with just 67 rooms, the Helvetia & Bristol hasn't got attitude. Rather, it's as friendly as Tom Hanks (the Hollywood star stayed here while filming 2016's Inferno) and it's also handily central - the Uffizi gallery and the Duomo are just minutes away.
The view from my window is pure E.M. Forster, although there are signs that Florence is becoming hipper.
In Piazza della Signoria is the Gucci Garden. The Italian fashion house has taken one of Florence's palazzos and turned into an arty showcase, with slogans on the wall and where a box of pencils, made in China, costs an astonishing 90 euro.
Offering more of a bargain is Desinare, just off Via dei Serragli. It's a reclamation yard, restaurant and cookery school, where Maria has us making fresh tagliatelle with a saffron sauce, bruschetta with kale pesto, and a delicious flourless chocolate cake.
For a more rural experience, but just 15 minutes outside Florence and still with amazing views of the city, is Il Salviatino hotel. This is a beautifully restored 15th century villa in the rolling Tuscan hills. It has original frescoes, lush organic gardens - and offers the opportunity to go truffle hunting in the hotel grounds, as well as winery tours and family-style Tuscan dinners. This is an authentic, magical, Italian escape combined with sheer luxury, perfect service and a setting of pure grandeur - and Florence in easy reach.
Also in the stunning countryside near Florence is the Belmond Villa San Michele, a 14th century former monastery that's now recognised as one of the country's finest small boutique hotels. It's surrounded by lush woods and terraced gardens of lemon trees and fragrant roses, with stunning views.
The hotel is steeped in history - and seeing medieval architecture perfectly blended with modern luxury is fascinating. First, savour superb Tuscan cuisine on the alfresco loggia...then take lessons in Tuscan fusion cuisine at the hotel's famed cookery school.
A day or two later we clamber aboard the train and head north, and glimpses of glorious Tuscan hills give way to tunnels and finally to Milan.
Our hotel, the Rosa Grand, also has a prized location. From here you can see every knobble of the city's spiny Duomo.
If Florence is joyously tied to the past, Milan is a city that works. It feels sure of itself. There are crowds and paparazzi as we start to explore - it turns out that one of Italy's top chefs is getting married.
Staying so centrally brings all sorts of pleasures, mostly of the lazy sort.
I get to wander into the Reale Palace to catch an exhibition of Caravaggio and costumes from opera house La Scala, peruse mind-bogglingly expensive vegetables in Peck (a grocery story that displays its wares like art) and then slip into the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the imposing glass and steel shopping arcade built in 1877.
In the middle is Marchesi. Milan's most famous pasticceria recently opened a branch here. Now owned by Prada, it's part cafe, part art installation. And wholly delicious - as are both of these cities.
First published in the Mail on Sunday - August 2019
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