Details on our "All-Inclusive" policy
|Title:||Details on our "All-Inclusive" policy|
|Author:||Daniele Pintaudi||Date:||Jan 31, 2019||Views:||3,553|
|Tags:||all-inclusive policy inclusions|
We are often asked to define this as much as possible, as people are accustomed to "all inclusive" not really meaning "all-inclusive". In our case, it really does, but of course, there is a limit.
To put it simply, you can very easily never pull your wallet out from the moment we meet until the moment we say our goodbyes. It is paramount to us that we have no financial relationship with you when we are together... we are family. So there are no extra options, added fees, upgrades, etc.
Arrivals & Departures
We will pick you up at the closest airport (and sometimes train station) and bring you to your accommodations. Check your particular itinerary for details. There are no extra fees relating to this transportation so long as you are there for our scheduled times.
On the final day of our time together, we have a morning shuttle that will take people to the closest airport (and sometimes train station). It is usually an early departure (Usually around 6:00 AM) because we need to get people to the airport by around 8:00 AM for the North-America bound flights. Check your particular itinerary for details. This is included in the price.
It is all included. When you arrive at the hotel (or village home if on our Soriano vacations), there no optional extras or hidden costs whatsoever. We will simply check you in and give you your keys. Before going to your room, we will show you some parts of the property you will need to know, including where you may find complimentary refreshments, coffee, pastries, etc. all day. We'll then leave you to rest up for a while before we get started.
Food & Wine
When we stay in hotels, every morning there is an amazing "Italian Style" breakfast buffet in the lounge with coffee, tea, freshly baked pastries, yogurt, etc. On our Soriano vacations, we meet in a local cafe for breakfast each morning. This is complimentary.
Everyday lunch will be either the results of a cooking class or at a restaurant while we are out on excursions. It is all completely included. Every lunch is something special. We pre-plan all of the menus with the restaurants because we go to places that are not made for mass tourism... the good places, usually with a grandma in the kitchen preparing farm-to-table food. You can rest assured that every meal will be phenomenal, and your only complaint will be that it is too much. Wine is always on the table, of course, and it is all part of the all-inclusive pricing.
Every night dinner is like lunch. Always included, and always something special.
The wine served is always the local wine where we are, so when we are in Umbria, we will be having Umbrian wines at the table. When we are in Tuscany, we will have Tuscan wines, etc.
We do have what we define as a 'soft limit' on wine at the meals. Simply put, it is 1/4 bottle of wine per person at lunch, and 1/2 bottle at dinner. We don't really monitor this, to be honest. We have never actually enforced this limit, but it is there in case one day we get someone that thinks they can order a dozen bottles of $1,000 wine on us :-).
In addition to the meals, in-between snacks are sometimes included, and sometimes not. The simple rule is that if we list it on the itinerary, we include it. So if we say that we are stopping for Gelato one afternoon, that means we are paying. But if we are walking down the street and you run into a place to grab a gelato for yourself, that one is on you.
Everything about all of the cooking classes is included in the price. The food, the classes, the teachers, the transportation... everything.
When we are not cooking and eating, there is always something going on. We'll go on sightseeing excursions, winery tours & tastings, olive mill visits, etc. Everything about all of these things is included. We provide all of the transportation & guides. We pay for tickets required for any entrance fees we incur. We pay for the winery tasting & tours, etc. It is all included in the price you pay in advance.
3rd Party Tipping
When a tour company says "All Tips Are Included," they are referring to 3rd party tips. For example, If we use a local guide for an excursion, we take care of the tipping. The same goes for waiters in restaurants, housekeeping in the accommodations, special transportation, etc.
What's NOT Included
If you read everything above, it should be obvious this will be a short section. Everything you read below will seem pretty obvious to just about everyone, but it is important to be perfectly clear.
At Arrivals & Departures
We don't pay for your airfare or any transportation that you need to get to the airport pickup. If you miss our scheduled time, you will be responsible for any costs you will have to get to our location. Similarly, we know that our departure time at the end of the week is early (we don't like it either), but we have to take care of people leaving on early flights. The morning departure is included, but if you want to leave later (or earlier), transportation costs will be on you.
- Room Upgrades. Some of the hotels we stay in have the ability to upgrade to a suite. If this is possible, we list it on the tour, and you would pay the difference.
- Everything is completely included with respect to the accommodations, but if you break something, the hotel will charge you.
- Your hotel room may have a mini-bar. While we almost always have the complimentary refreshment area at all times in one of the lounges, anything you use in the mini bar will be charged to you directly by the hotel.
WIFI Internet access at the accommodations is included in the price. However, if you use the phone in your hotel room for any calls, the hotel will charge you directly based on their rates.
Food & Wine
- As explained above, it is all included within limits. If we are having dinner tonight, and the wine on the table is a Rosso di Montepulciano, but you are dying for Brunello, we'll arrange for it, but you will pay the restaurant for the Brunello. The same goes for food. Our meals are always huge and they are the best the local area has to offer... always. But if we are in a restaurant having Saltimbocca, and you are just craving a Florentine Steak, as long as they have it, go for it... but they will bring you a bill for the steak. This is simply a time management issue for us... If everyone is ordering different items for multi-course meals, it becomes impossible to manage the order, and the small restaurants are not set up for it... so we discourage it. Still, this is an issue that has never come up, but we have the policy in place just in case.
- Other food that is not included is anything between meals that is not on our itinerary. For example, you walk into a pastry shop while we are on an excursion and get yourself a bite to eat. Don't bring us the receipt. Like everything else, this is just never an issue. We won't leave you much opportunity to say you are hungry ;-).
- Any "bar purchases" you make in the hotel on your own will be charged to you directly by the hotel.
We can't think of anything that could possibly be excluded from the cooking classes. That is unless you are hoping to take home appliances from the kitchen :-).
- Our excursions are always planned out in detail, and everything is included. However, if there is something that has a price, and is not part of our plan that you want to do, it is not included. For example, if we have shopping time set aside in Assisi, and you choose to use that time to visit a museum on your own, you are responsible for any costs associated with the entrance to the museum.
- On the subject of shopping, any purchases of a personal nature (gifts, souvenirs, etc.) will be at your expense, of course. How's that for being detailed? That said, we always remain very unbiased about these things. We maintain a strict policy to make no special financial arrangements with any vendors, so we will never try to motivate you into purchasing a certain wine, for example.
CDV Staff Tipping
In Italy, tipping drivers, guides, etc. is customary but not mandatory. Our hosts, chefs, driver, etc. all happily accept tips, but they are never expected. We have seen guests leave huge tips for our staff, and we have seen guests leave no tip at all. Either way, both of those guests are equally appreciated. Please note that our staff is paid significantly higher than standard rates because our company forbids any form of kickbacks, shop-steering, or up-selling. However, we do allow them to accept tips at the end of a vacation. Usually, guests will give one tip to the tour host, and they will divide it with the driver, chefs, and assistants according to the amount of work they did on a tour.