You probably do not recognize this email address. I am Rick Mann’s wife, Elaine. We just returned last night from the most perfect vacation we have ever had. I could not wait to tell you how much everything from the moment we arrived until our last minute in Italy was truly a dream come true. I am meeting with my cousin next week who is planning to go to Italy with her husband. I will certainly be recommending her to you as I will to anyone who plans to travel to Italy.
Everything ran on schedule and everyone was so polite and so knowledgeable. I felt as if I were being treated as someone very special–a VIP. Our driver who showed us the Amalfi Cost summed it up very well. He said, “We are all very rich in Italy because of our heritage, our culture, and our heart.”
I plan to write to you again to give you very specific feedback on the various tours and accommodations. I thought you might find it helpful as you work with future clients.
Thank you for the excellent planning and the quality of service we received everyday for three weeks.
With much appreciation,
As I said in my last email, I would write to you to give you specific feedback that might be of some use to you in working with future clients. Of course, everyone has different interests so I realize that what may appeal to me may not appeal as much to someone else. So here are a few of my thoughts:
• Having a private tour guide is the only way to go. There was not a single one that I would have eliminated. I wish we had had a private one for the Vatican but we figured out that you had to be there by 7:30 AM to have a private tour. We would have made the extra effort to get up early to have our own tour guide. This is not a complaint–just information. Every one of our guides was polite, knowledgeable, able to answer all of my questions, and really seemed to love their jobs.
• I made it a point to ask all of our tour guides for restaurant recommendations. All of them made great recommendations. (In Roma was only a couple of blocks from Hotel 47 in Rome. We ate there twice. We sat outside in the evening & it was beautiful.) Salvatore (who drove us along the Amalfi Coast) made reservations for us (at my request) at Fatorria la Tagliata–high above Positano with a great view, great atmosphere (open air) & great service. Barbara told us about a FABULOUS restaurant (family owned) in Tivoli–Ristorante L’Angolino di Mirko. Downstairs was casual & upstairs was elegant. We ate upstairs. The menu was the same in both settings & the food was some of the best I ate in Italy. Our driver was so accommodating. He told us to take our time, that it was no problem for us to eat in Tivoli after our tour. We discovered Due Porto in Siena & ate there twice–once outside & once inside. There were many other fabulous recommendations and discoveries.
• If I were going again, I do not think I would have any prepaid dinners. We just cannot eat that much food. However, we enjoyed both of the pre-arranged dinners (Florence and Rome).
• The one hotel room that seemed not to be of the same quality as all of the others was the one in Florence. It was OK and the location was great. I thought perhaps that rooms were more expensive in Florence and may have explained why it was more basic (and a view of the parking lot). Again, not a complaint.
• I loved everything but some of the activities that really stood out were the cooking lesson in Florence (what fun!), the lunch at the villa in Radda in Chianti (royal treatment & great food), Pompeii, Tivoli Gardens (I would strongly recommend that tour for anyone staying in Rome), the Borromeo Islands (so beautiful, even though it was raining all day), the duomo in Milan, the day exploring Le Cinque Terre, the Forum & Colosseum, the gondola ride, the blue grotto (we were able to get in), and the Amalfi Coast. I guess I mentioned almost everything. I loved it all!
• I loved staying in all different types of hotels–from hotels in very old buildings (Venice & Siena), to nostalgic (La Palma), to the mountainside (Levanto), to boutique (Rome), to contemporary (Sorrento). Our hotels in Stresa, Levanto, Rome & Sorrento had breath-taking views.
• This might sound trivial, but I would let clients know that the hairdryers in most of the hotels are not nearly as powerful as the ones we are used to in the US. (Makes it difficult to style your hair.)
• I realize I already mentioned it, but Tivoli is truly a treasure & so easy to get to from Rome.
I could go on and on. It was all so wonderful. Several years ago, I led a training session on leadership and used a book about why the Magic Kingdom (Disney World) is such a success. One of the lessons about its success was the “fantastic attention [that is paid] to detail.” You certainly understand the importance of this. Thank you to you and your staff for planning in great detail. You made my first trip to Europe one that will be remembered for the rest of my life as the perfect vacation!
With much appreciation,
Rick and Elaine Mann (Atlantic Beach, FL), APRIL/MAY 2013