Very good service. Will use again.
Everything was just as Nicole planned for us. The car hire was especially convenient. Avis, was located right at the airport. My husband and I have been customers of DialAFlight for many years, and we have travelled to many places. Nicole has always booked our flights and made the travel arrangements for us. We can guarantee that she will respond to any issue you may have, any here in the world, with prompt efficiency!
Thank you Lucy! We had an amazing trip
Great job Ian, always helpful
Zac did an amazing job rebooking flights at very last minute!
Dexter was very good. This is my first time using you and I shall most certainly use your service again.
Please don’t book ancillary services linked to BA. I would rather pay full fare. Their car hire relationship with Avis is a disaster; after waiting an hour for service and the promise of another hour's wait we switched to Europcar and we were on our way in 20 mins. Thanks to your team for getting a refund from Avis.
Adam Sui is simply wonderful!
London City can still be a problem with going through security, even though had nothing suspect in rucksack. Took ages to get it checked, ended up running for my flight. Had flown down from Edinburgh so I had already gone through security.
Once again Sebastian helped me with my holiday plans very successfully
The hotel was really excellent - great rooms and very friendly staff, very well situated to visit the major towns and little villages nearby. A car is essential. Worth noting that flying into Florence is not necessarily a good idea and Pisa may be a better choice depending on where people are staying
Brilliant idea and good advice to book the hotel at T5 Heathrow. A perfect hotel for us.
Excellent as always. Thank you Helen and team.
Very helpful personalised service.
An excellent holiday, with good liaison with Philippa. Lovely hotel in Florence in a super location. If hiring a car, please ask if we want automatic or manual. I was expecting an automatic!
DialAFlight and Tristan were as usual the epitome of excellence
Always more than helpful and ready to sort out problems and questions at any time
Our last minute changes due to covid were handled smoothly and professionally by Manny. Using DialAFlight made a stressful situation far less so.
I will not book a flight any other way from now. It was a really good experience.
Wayne was absolutely amazing in understanding exactly what our requirements were. He delivered a first class service.
As always Raj did a fantastic job especially when BA decided to delay our flight by a day! He always comes up trumps and sorts things out without any fuss.
Always a fantastic service
Really efficient service from Nathan, thank you. Florence was a dream escape. Private car pick up was extremely comfortable and timely with lots of local info from our drivers. Loved the retained 15th century features in the bedroom and elsewhere. A fabulous memorable escape to a different world - and one which Covid-wise, felt safer than England!
Excellent, efficient support from Tristan.
It is bad that Vueling cancelled our flight out with three hours notice for a reason they had known for 24 hours. But that was not your fault.
We always use DialAFlight and recommend our friends to do the same
Would highly recommend to my friends and family. Jasper was very helpful throughout booking and in the run up to my holiday. Will use again.
A very good service and team so helpful and friendly. However Vueling they left all the passengers luggage in Florence third flight that day and ruined all the passengers holiday, mine and my friend's included..
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
More articles below...