Whoever chose December-the final month of the year-as the time to celebrate the holidays, buy and wrap presents and cook for family and friends probably didn’t own their own business-and relaunch their website during the week of Italy’s first festa of the holiday season.
I’m just saying … the holidays could come at a better time of the year.
Oh, but who I am to Scrooge-up your holiday season? Forget about end-of-the-year invoicing, new year’s goals and the most generous of all holiday gifts-taxes.
The holidays have arrived, and that, in conjunction with the My Bella Vita relaunch, is why we’re giving away ItalianPod101 lessons, an 8X10 Italy photo of your choice and a free one-day custom itinerary.
Last week I asked my husband how he planned to contribute to the new site’s relaunch.
“I have an old pair of shoes!”
I mean, if you are into the shoes, then come on over and get them. Please.
Otherwise, read on.
THE FINAL MY BELLA VITA RELAUNCH GIVEAWAY:
A romantic weekend for two at Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast in Catanzaro, Italy and a Taste of Calabria welcome basket, complete with Calabrian specialties of the season and drinks.*
See details below. And now, on with the column …
With Christmas breathing down my neck and an international trip on the horizon, I’m lucky to find 20 minutes a day for my Mari Winsor Pilates. And in keeping with the good-will of the season and the new FTC rules for bloggers-I don’t get money if you click on that link.
Speaking of time-consuming projects that pay, I was recently asked to update the Southern Italy section for DK Eyewitness Guide, Italy 2011. I’m thrilled with the gig and anxious to learn even more about my adopted area of the bel paese.
In keeping with the Calabria travel writer theme, Lara Dunston, travel writer extraordinaire recently asked her blog readers to share their worst hotel experience. Her post was prompted by a recent stay at a five-star hotel** where she and her husband returned to their room on their first night to find urine-soaked sheets and comforter. (Gah!)
People responded to her call for worst hotel experiences.
Erica of Travel Blissful reported smoky rooms that lack hotel-room essentials, Tess of Luxury Beach Escapes spoke of language mishaps-in a perfectly normal and charming way-and Mary Jo of Suzhou Mojo told of having a man sleep on her balcony and a literal hole-in-the-wall of the bathroom that led into the hallway.
And their stories got me thinking.
As bed and breakfast owners, my husband and I focus on the details of the guest experience and do everything in our power to make it positive. But some hotels don’t.
My worst hotel experience was at a bed and breakfast in the mountains of Calabria my husband and I chose for a weekend getaway. The room was musty, dusty and rusty, the towels were paper thin and tearing at the seams and the bathroom was tiny-even by Italian standards. Instead of a king-size bed, they’d pushed two twins together forcing us to sleep separately-newlyweds that we were-or fall into the crack between the beds.
The room was icy cold and they only offered housekeeping if you left your keys with them, a fact they didn’t tell us when we checked in.
However, it wasn’t a horrible experience because we spent time walking through the mountain trails, warming up by the fireplace in the sitting room and eating at the hotel’s surprisingly fabulous restaurant. I’m curious about your worst hotel experiences …
But now back to that giveaway!
There are five ways you can enter the drawing to win the romantic weekend at Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast and Taste of Calabria welcome basket.
1. Leave a comment on this post detailing your worst hotel experience.
2. Retweet this post. Be sure to include “@mybellavita” so I’ll see your tweet.
4. Post this on Facebook and either leave a comment on the My Bella Vita Facebook page or tell me in the comments.
5. If you do all four, you’ll receive a bonus entry-just for kicks!
Contest ends Thursday, December 17 at 5:00 PM, Italy time. Winner will be selected in a random drawing.
In bocca al lupo and Happy Holidays!
* The fine print: The romantic weekend at Il Cedro B&B is based on availability and must be booked within one year of notification. There are no refunds and prize can not be combined with other offers or promotions. The Taste of Calabria welcome basket accompanies the room nights and can not be shipped separately.