Laraine and Ashley Tresser, of Gemmaway Travel, met Ferretti Hotels’ general manager Gianleone Salvadori at the 2018 exhibition, held at the NEC. Following their conversations, Gianleone invited the couple on a five-day tour of the Rimin & Cattolica region to discover what their group could do, and where they could stay.
The group travel organisers have shared their experience with the following article, including personal highlights:
Many of us of a certain age may well remember these resorts on the north Adriatic coast of Italy with fondness and nostalgia, with their wonderful beaches and exciting night life. However, for the past 20 years or so it seems that we Brits have moved on to new destinations.
We were therefore delighted to meet Gianleone from Ferretti, at last year’s excellent Group Leisure and Travel show and accept his invitation to explore what the region has to offer groups. Here’s our schedule which you may find of interest:
We arrived at Rimini Airport in the early afternoon after a short flight from Stansted where Gianleone was waiting to take us to the impressively fortified medieval castle of Gradara, about a half an hour’s (scenic) drive from our base in Cattolica.
We started the day with a very scenic drive to San Leo, another medieval town set high in the hills, and boasting another impressive castle. The views were spectacular and reminded us very much of Tuscany. From here we drove on for lunch and a guided tour of the beautiful Principality of San Marino – surrounded on all sides by Italy, but proudly independent! This is one of the world’s oldest republics, known for its medieval walled old town and narrow cobbled streets.
A morning guided tour of Rimini’s old town was followed by a visit to the university City of Urbino, nestling on a high sloping hillside. The city is a world heritage site and is the birthplace of the Renaissance. We finished our day with a visit to the beautiful village of Santarcangelo di Romagna to try some local wine and their famous cheese, ripened in a natural cave.
Our last day was a fascinating one spent in the unique city of Ravenna. This city, which houses a total of eight world heritage sites, is a showcase of art, history and culture. It is home to some of the most colourful wall mosaics and frescoes that we have ever seen. All the more remarkable as most of them date from the 5th and 6th Centuries AD. Ravenna is a must for all groups!
All in all, it was a very useful and interesting trip. Gianleone also managed to show us around a selection of 3 & 4 star Ferretti hotels in Cattolica and Rimini, each with its own character. All the staff were very friendly and efficient. We stayed in the Cristallo Hotel and had our dinner in the Kursaal Hotel.
The newly renovated 4-star Kursaal Hotel was our personal favourite. This landmark hotel is situated on the sea front of Cattolica; all of the rooms were of a good size, have been beautifully decorated and many have sea views.
The elegant restaurant served an excellent choice of dishes, many using local ingredients. From the restaurant there are lovely views over the beach and offering spectacular sunsets. For tighter budgets, there were also some very nice 3-star hotels, although the rates for all the hotels were very competitive and a positive bargain off season!
So if you want an alternative to the ever popular Italian destinations of Rome, Tuscany and Venice, we think you will be as surprised and delighted as we were with this area.
Meet exhibitors like Ferretti Hotels
This year’s Group Leisure & Travel Show takes place on 10th October at the Marshall Arena, Stadium MK, Milton Keynes. There will be a diverse and specialist range of exhibitors to help group travel including attractions, hotels, tour operators, venues and services, all offering inspiration, exclusive show offers as well as specialist planning advice and practical tips.
Register now for free entry and benefits: www.grouptravelshow.com/register.