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11/21/2009Provided by Citysearch -
Hi Kayla & team:
I just returned from my 17 day trip to Europe that you and your team put together for me and it was incredible. I got to visit Rome, Venice, Lake Como, Amsterdam, and Paris. This is the most time that I?ve taken off work in 17 years and thanks to you and your staff I was able to totally relax and enjoy myself. The hotels were beautiful, the tours were wonderful, and everything you and your staff suggested was perfect for what I wanted to see and do. I can?t wait for you to plan my next trip to Europe, which I hope is real soon. I have already recommended your company to several people who are planning a European vacation. Thanks to you and your staff this vacation far exceeded all my expectations, and it?s one I will never forget.
I truly can?t thank you enough for everything you and your staff did for me..
I am so sorry for the delay in sending this email. I just wanted to express our sincere appreciation for all the hard work and effort you put into our trip, it really showed, almost as if you had planned the trip for yourself. Everything went so smoothly and just as outlined in our package, we didn't have to worry about a thing, all we had to do was enjoy our holiday in Berlin, Prague, Greece, Samos and Istanbul, which we did!
The hotels you picked for us in Prague and and Istanbul were so charming - we really loved them. They were so connected with the country that we really felt like we were natives, just so cozy and comfortable. We made it to each country without a hitch, which is impressive in itself considering the amount of countries we wanted to visit in 3 weeks. We truly enjoyed each and every place we visited,they were unique and beautiful each in it's own way.
Prague was just so amazing and romantic. Each and every building was prettier the next and there was just so much to see and take in I never knew where to look first, even the sidewalks were beautiful in Prague. Athens was an adventure, it truly was impressive to be walking down the street and all of sudden in the horizon you catch a glimpse of the Acropolis, one of the new seven wonders of the world. Istanbul was truly breathtaking not only in beauty but for the historical factor. I never would have thought that I would ever see the Blue Mosque, let along go inside or visit the Grand Bazar and spices from the Spice Market. When I think back on it now, I feel like a dream but if you had not been so willing to work with us and stay within our budget, we wouldn't have been able to take this trip of a lifetime and have all the wonderful memories and pictures.
I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that not only would I gladly and readily recommend your services to everyone I know, when I am ready to travel again, which I can honestly tell you I am hoping to go back to Istanbul, you will be the first person I contact.
I've attached some pictures of our travels.
Thanks again for everything!!!!!
Thank you so much for assisting us with our recent trip to Europe. Even though we are all frequent travelers, traveling with 2 teenagers in the busy summer season and visiting 5 cities and 4 countries in less than 2 weeks was more than we could have handled on our own.
Paris ? Lake Como ? Venice ? Salzburg ? Prague! Destination Europe?s smooth transitions allowed us to enjoy making memories that will last a lifetime. What a treat to have a driver waiting every time we checked out of a hotel or arrived at a train station in the next city. Your choice of hotels were so perfectly placed geographically that we never had to take a cab and could easily walk wherever we wanted to go.
The excursions were well chosen also. What better way to see the highlights of Paris than floating down the Seine in a 1 hour cruise? And after a full day of sightseeing on our own and visiting museums and cathedrals, the Moulin Rouge show was a perfect way to spend an evening! The night train from Paris to Italy was unique and exciting? also thanks to the 1-day train strike that had many trains canceled and delayed. However, we were armed with your emergency numbers and although we missed our morning connections, your team was still ready and waiting when we finally arrived in Como.
Lake Como was picture perfect! Not only did we have rooms with views of the lake, but if we dropped a euro off our balcony it would have landed in the water! The local ferry allowed us to spend the day hopping from Lenno, to Bellagio, to Verenna, to Managgio and back to Tremezzo?very peaceful and scenic, with many stops for vino and shopping throughout the day.
Venice was hot and crowded but we escaped the chaos - our 2 hour private motor boat tour with our fabulous American tour guide, Talia, was the highlight of our vacation! In addition to the Grand Canal, we saw many of the smaller canals, popped over to Murano and really got a feel for the flavor of the city ? away from San Marco square.
Salzburg was a surprise! The Wolf-Dietrich did not disappoint ? luxurious 2 story suite with friendly staff, delicious breakfast, free DVD library, complimentary tea-time, free spa facilities with steam, sauna, and pool for those aching travelers, and computers for the kids to check email. This cozy town can be canvassed from one end to the other in about a 20 minute walk. Great food, welcoming people and all of the beautiful Sound of Music scenery we know so well. The Mozart dinner concert was fun, but we were much over-dressed in our ?jackets required, formal attire?. There were both adults and teens present in shorts, flip flops, and tee-shirts ? so word to the wise, double check the ?required? dress code.
The Euro Rail Pass and all of the tickets and reservations for seats were clearly marked and easy to keep up with. Train travel was simple and carefree, and we got the hang of taking our own food, snacks and wine to enjoy along the way. Typically American, we packed too much and would have been happier with less weight in the luggage department.
Prague was hit with heavy rain during most of our visit, but even wet, Prague?s unique beauty was breathtaking. The Hotel Retezova was blocks from the Charles Bridge and minutes from Old Town Square, and the Wenchelas Square offered some great rainy-day retail therapy for our teenagers to take advantage of the weak Koruna vs. US dollar!
Well done! Overall, things went smoothly from start to finish thanks to your expert management of all the minor details. It was nice to have all of the transfers, lodging and excursions taken care of in advance so that we were not always pulling out payment.
Again, thank you for the part you played in making our European vacation a collection of fond memories. We would (and will) gladly recommend you to others who are considering European travel.
The Moore Family - Dallas, Texas
We had the Honeymoon and trip of a lifetime these last three weeks! Thank you for all your superb planning--your knowledge and experience certainly shows.
London was fantastic! The driver met us on time and took us right to our hotel. Our hotel was right on the edge of Hyde Park and we were able to see all the major sights, thanks to the Hop-on Hop-off Tour. Our train trip to Amsterdam went smoothly, and it was a great experience traveling by train across France.
We loved the hotel in Amsterdam and would recommend it highly! The hotel management was exceptional--helpful, attentive, and pleasant. We got to see many of the major points of interest in Amsterdam, and had a lovely, romantic night on the Candlelit Tour of Amsterdam's canals. The bike tour across the Frieslands was set up perfectly and we highly recommend the company.
We enjoyed the overnight train to Munich -- the staff was very helpful and helped us into our bunk for the night. We were pleasantly surprised by our room on the train; the private quarters with room to stretch out and sleep through the night. We loved our two days in Munich--we only wish we'd had more time there!
The island of Rhodes was beautiful. We had a little trouble with our flights home. Our flight out of Rhodes was delayed which made catching our flight to Frankfurt a bit nerve wracking. Once we arrived in Frankfurt we had to rush to catch our plane to the US. The time between flights was a little short, but we understand it may have been the only option available.
Thank you, Kayla Zeigler, for planning a fantastic trip to Europe for us. We will certainly use Destination Europe next time we go to Europe, as well as recommend your services to our friends and family.
Kevin and Claire Matta
Finally found the time to write back to you!
We had a wonderful trip that went as smooth as silk! The only minor hick up was when the train from Como was late and we would have missed the Eurostar had it left on time! Just as well we weren?t in Switzerland where trains do leave on time!!
The hotels and staff were great ? especially the staff at Antiche Figure (Carlo in particular). We were extremely lucky with the weather and had a really fabulous time. The trip up to Jungfraujoch was amazing ? my favorite country was Switzerland and I would love to go back. It was fun to see the hang gliders landing in the grass square in the middle of Interlaken. Lake Como was beautiful and the hotel location unbelievable. Town of Bellagio was my favorite ? so so pretty.
Venice is such a different city ? hotel was a little far from the ?tourist spots? so we did an awful lot of walking and map reading! Ljubljana was definitely worth visiting ? lovely city ? very alive at night. The mayor closed the city center to cars so restaurants, located on these cobbled streets have put out tables and chairs and you can eat outside. Plus at several spots there are musicians playing and in the central square there is a big bar area with couches etc protected by marques so you can sit, drink and listen to music. Slovenia is a lovely country ? over 60% forest which is where Venice got all its trees from to build the city!
So thank you Kayla for doing an amazing job. Must admit I was a little nervous never having seen, met or talked to you but everything was great and so well organized. You are obviously a master of detail! Should we be lucky enough to do a similar trip again I would without hesitation contact you immediately!
Hope you have a wonderful summer and many thanks for making our family vacation so enjoyable. Even the weather co-operated and we only saw a couple of rain showers at night!
PS Haven?t looked at the photos yet ? when I do I will see if there is a good one to send you!
Yes, our trip was just amazing...from the boutique hotels to the multitude of sights and sounds of Europe. Everything was awesome, especially all the infinite details that you so very carefully arranged. It was an experience that my husband and I will truly remember and share with our friends! Thanks so much! I'll write more later and do the blog when my mind is finer tuned. Thanks so very, very much! ~Suzy & Gary
Our European vacation to London, Paris, Luzern, Zermatt, and Lake Como area was absolutely fantastic! We had a good visit with our friends in their English cottage, along with a taste for everyday life in England.
In Paris, we loved the bike ride to Versailles, especially seeing the beautiful grounds and inside the gorgeous palace. No wonder they had the French Revolution. The morning we left for Switzerland was early, and again our driver was very punctual. Having another smiling face to meet us and take us to the train station was perfect.
We made it to Luzern without a hitch. Luzern is so magical. The Hotel Des Balances can be seen from just outside the train station, with a short, 10 minute walk to the entrance. This hotel is the best for service and the room with a view of the river was awesome. Our balcony was huge! We loved looking at the historical church across the way...truly a work of art. The surrounding area, bridge and tower were awesome. We really felt like we were reading a fairy tale and it came true! The room and balcony were perfect, as was the very comfy bed and bathroom. There were even little stars on the ceiling. This hotel is very special indeed. Both of us could have spent several more days here, but Zermatt was calling.
We made all three trains to Zermatt, even the 7 minutes between Bern and Visp. However, it was worth having time to check into our gorgeous room and large balcony in Zermatt. Our room was decorated in chocolate hearts and sprinkles of red shinny hearts. How very romantic that was. Yes, we could see the Matterhorn from our window and balcony! The food at the Hotel Alex was excellent from breakfast to dinner. They catered to our every need. Again, we were sad to leave, but little did we know our Mercedes and drivers would be waiting in Milano/Lake Como.
Outside the train station, our driver, took us to our beautiful boutique hotel in Tremezzo, Italy. La Darsena has even entertained one of our previous vice presidents for lunch. The owners were absolutely wonderful, assisting us with all kinds of details. Again, our balcony was at lake's edge. We took the ferry to Bellagio that afternoon. The ferry station was only a five minute walk, if that! One of the most memorable aspects of this fantastic journey through Europe was our private car (Mercedes) tour around parts of Lake Como. Seeing the exact spot where Mussolini was shot made our skin cringe. On a lighter note, George Clooney's villa was spectacular. We also loved the little, quaint restaurant on the lake for a delicious lunch and all the small, back stairways we used to get to it! Furthermore, we went into the Villa Este for a look at the grounds and inside this eloquent and very exclusive place to stay - WOW! Andrea, our driver, was the very best of the best!
Kayla-thank you so much for all of these details that made our trip to Europe so very special! Your abilities to coordinate activities are fantastic and will be recommended to our friends who really want to enjoy every minute of their European vacations. Details do make the difference!
G & S. Coler, Carson City, Nevada - June 2009
For Kayla Zeigler (Destination Europe)
We had a wonderful trip. It went smoothly for first time travelers to Italy. We had only one problem with the train. Of course it was on the day we were to change trains three times. The first train of the day was late by 20 minutes and then it broke down on the tracks. This caused us to miss the following three trains of the day. The problem was solved by a very nice man at the ticket window who helped us get to Venice and only a couple of hours later than originally planned to arrive.
The tours were great-small groups minimal waiting in line. We even took a couple of side trips on our own (Pisa and Lugano, Switzerland). Your itinerary was great-big city with lots to do and then little town with lots of relaxing, big city, little town. Doug and I both had a wonderful, romantic time. Just what we wanted for our 25th anniversary. Thank you for your help. Couldn't have done it without you. We look forward to working with you in the future.
Dan Hesler here. You sent my wife (Jill) and I on a two week vacation to Italy and Greece last month. It was absolutely wonderful. I wrote 50 pages of narrative while traveling, but I think that would be a little more feedback than you really want. I thought I would give you my impressions on the various hotels and expeditions we used, for the sake of future travelers. It was all great, but you probably could use something a little more nuanced than that.
Florence: The Residenza Vespucci was just as charming as it could be. The location was fine; it was a little noisy at night, but I think all of Florence is probably like that. Aurelia and her family were charming, and the room was excellent. I suppose that if someone were looking for a generic ""four seasons"" experience, it might have seemed a little casual, but if that's what you want, why go overseas? We loved the Residenza Vezpucci, and would recommend it highly.
The cooking class we took with Francesca Di Leonardi was one of the highlights of the trip. Even if you don't care about cooking (which I don't), it was tremendous experience. Whatever it was that we were doing for 3.5 hours, we talked, laughed, and drank wine while we were doing it, and it ended up with a nice meal. What's not to like?
If I had to do it over again, I would completely discard any American tastes I might have in cars, and rent the smallest thing they rent out. With the streets in Florence and Sienna, as well as the way people drive and park there, our Mercedes diesel might have been bigger than it needed to be. It wasn't a problem, but it is a thought.
Our hotel in Sienna, the Borgo Grondaie, was very nice, the staff were helpful, and the grounds were gorgeous. The wine tour was tremendous, and Valentina was wonderful. Like the cooking class, I would recommend it highly for anyone, whether they are particularly into wine or not. Getting into the backroads of tuscany and hanging out with Italians, even if we were paying them for the experience, would up being more memorable than cathedrals, which start to all blend together.
I liked taking the train into Rome. It was relatively stress free. I am sure I could have driven into Rome, but it might have been stressful. Our Vatican tour (and tour guide) were wonderful. That is an experience that you really want someone to tell you the stories as you see the sights.
Our hotel in Rome, the Suites Piazza del Popolo, was tremendous. The room was fine, Marco was great, but we adored the neighborhood. In a city full of tourists, it felt like there weren't many when we went home at night. The restaurants were wonderful, we met lots of nice people, and I can't say enough about it. Marco's bed and breakfast, like Aurelia's in Florence, was totally charming. In general, we fell in love with Italy.
Santorini, we had slightly mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it is stunning beautiful. On the other hand, even though it is clearly a ""couples"" destination, it still had something of a Daytona-Beach-at-spring-break feeling to it. That's great if you like that sort of thing. (Jill would go back again, I am not so sure.) The coolest thing we did at Santorini was walk from Fira to Oia. It was a serious three hour walk, through hills, but it was secluded and beautiful. The hotel Ira (on Santorini) was nice. Manish was lovely to us, and he says hello. The room was great, and the view was spectacular.
In Athens, the Hotel Amalia was spectacular. It did feel like the four seasons. Of course, that is a different experience than the idiosyncrasies of a family owned bed and breakfast, but it was marvelous.
All in all, everything was great, and thank you so much for putting it all together. I do not know when we will next travel overseas again, but we will not hesitate to call you again, nor to recommend you to anyone. Kayla Zeigler at Destination Europe - You have been wonderful