Testimonials & Client Photos


Mexico

Dear Deena, We are both so grateful to you for once again helping us to have a wonderful vacation!  You smooth out all the wrinkles and know how to make us smile when we reach our destination.  Your extra effort and attention to the smallest details in advance for us has always paid big dividends in pleasure!  Our most recent trip to Cancun that your brought together on VERY short notice was just lovely, relaxing, luxurious, and exactly what we dreamed of.  Saying thank you is not sufficient!  Please know how much we appreciate you.  (Review is below):

My daughter and I just spent 4 amazing days at the Secrets Resort in Cancun. Everything about this resort is set up to welcome you to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean. From the moment you enter the spacious contemporary lobby with it's refreshing scent, you feel pampered. The furnishings, decorations and lighting are elegantly simple and offer multiple sitting areas to gather for sipping a drink or playing a board game or just gazing at the large modern centrally located fireplace.

We stayed in a master suite with an ocean view and the room was over-the-top fantastic! Loads of space to spread out and to make ourselves at home. All the amenities were luxurious and we felt so comfortable and spoiled. We spent at least an hour each evening on our balcony watching the sunset with a lovely breeze to keep us comfortable.

There were 4 pools, so we tried them all and thoroughly loved each one! Each has a slightly different feel and gave us a new "view" and experience. The water is heated, so it's easy to stay "in" the pool for a long time to relax.  The multiple restaurants and 24 hour room service provide delicious, multi-ethnic food choices, as well as pool side menus and a wide variety of beverage choices from wherever you are. Meals are served leisurely and with such beautiful presentation. 

The spa was so fantastic...great massages and terrific relaxation areas for before and after treatments. When you exit the elevators for the floor that the spa and a few restaurants are on, you are greeted by the most enchanting scent! We commented on it EVERY time we smelled it. Well done, Secrets!  Every single staff member at Secrets made us feel special. Their kindness and service enhanced our experience by their genuine care that we were enjoying ourselves.  It was really hard to leave the gorgeous blue waters and laid back days we spent here. We both would gladly return!!  Love,

Janet & Caitlin, Naperville, IL - Mexico Adventures, May, 2017


Japan

Dear Deena, on the way to the airport.  Wow, what an incredible trip.  I have no words for your incredible organizational skills.  It was amazing.  And to coordinate all those moving parts from so far away is amazing.  

The tea ceremony was incredibly beautiful.  

And both guides were amazing.  Not only great guides but very very nice ladies.  Memories of a lifetime.  Thank you again so much for helping us create life time memories. I hope to see you upon my return and share some more feedback about our trip.  Thanks again, and I hope to see you soon.

Chef Roby, Chicago, IL - Japanese Adventures, April 2017


Tokyo & Kyoto, Japan

Hello Deena.  I just wanted to thank you so much for all the follow up for what happened at the start.  We were very happy with how everything was handled and the rest of the trip was very smooth!  I was completely blown away by this trip to Japan!  I feel that with the week we had, we were able to make every minute count and that is all thanks to you and your planning.  I have been to many places abroad, but this was just far past any expectation I had! The guides were also a huge part of this, and I want to mention their names because they really did make our vacation that much memorable as they became friends too.  Yoko and Nana were truly amazing people and made our adventure in each city special.  Again, thank you so much for the wonderful time I had in Japan with my father, it was truly the greatest adventure!  Sincerely,  

Adrian Roby, Geneva, IL - Japanese Adventures, April 2017


Thailand

Deena!  So SO sorry we have not written you sooner! Once we got back, the time adjustment was tough and catching up on work really kicked our butts, lol  Anyhow - the trip was AMAZING! Thank you - thank you - thank you for all of your hard work planning it!  We would be happy to speak with you on the phone and fill you in on our favorite parts.  There are too many to write in here!

The whole trip went on without a hitch thanks to you. Our guides were absolutely fantastic getting us everywhere and were some of the most genuine people ever that we loved spending time with, A+++ service!  I will send over more pics later, my email is having hard time getting them.

Crystal & Brad, Chicago, IL - Thailand Adventures, March, 2017


Mexico

Hi Deena.  Sorry about the delay. I’ve been beyond busy.  Yes, it was an incredible time! We absolutely loved the resort. I got the balloons and cake upon my arrival, which was very special.  Thank you! The food, service, and pools were all amazing. I would definitely go back if given the chance. We didn’t take many pictures of the actual resort, but I’ve included a few of all of us.

Grace & Friends, Oklahoma City, OK - Cancun, Mexico, February, 2017 


France & Italy Coastal

Hi Deena.  We had an awesome time in France and Italy.  Everything was amazing and went smoothly!  We enjoyed each of the hotels and the transfers were great!  When we arrived in Nice, we immediately saw our driver, Jean.  He picked us up in a black Mercedes and had water for us.  He got us checked into our hotel and let us know that he would be our driver that night.  He recommended a restaurant for dinner and made reservations for us.  He was great to work with and recommended some places to see on our 4 hours together. We settled in to our hotel and were surprised by a knock at the door with two decadent deserts and a personal note to make us feel special.   Jean took us to Eze, a charming hilltop town and gave us some time to explore, then gave us a driving tour of Monaco and Monte Carlo.  He took extra time with us allowing us time to eat without cutting into much of our tour time.  We loved the sea views from the hotel in Nice.  It was an amazing place.  The staff was very friendly, accommodating and service oriented.   Loved it!

The second day we slept in until noon and spent the afternoon exploring Nice further.  We walked to a Russian Cathedral and then to a fort lookout called Belanda Tower that had panoramic views of the area.  We walked through a market area to get there and stopped to eat outdoors on the way back.  In the morning our same driver, Jean, picked us up and took us to the train station.  He parked and took us in and directed us to where we would catch the train.  He was a great guy and we enjoyed getting to know him.

Once we arrived at the train station in Genova, we were greeted by Nicolas. He picked us up in a black Mercedes and had water and towelettes for us.  He was extremely friendly, knowledgable and easy to understand.  He drove us through Genova (Genoa) and through his town of Santa Margherita to Portofino.  After eating along the water, we hiked up to the church and out to the lighthouse.  We took time to peek into a store or two on the way.  Then we hopped back in the car and headed to Portovenere, our home base for the next two nights.  The junior suite we had had a wonderful balcony and amazing views out both windows.  On one side we could see the sea and the other side we could see the town of Portovenere.  They gave us your sweet welcome note and a bottle of wine with some fresh fruit.  After settling in we headed out into town and walked along the narrow interior streets and explored the church and cliff edge.  We had a nice dinner along the water enjoying some local fish.  The next day we took the early ferry to Cinque Terre.  We felt like we did the Amazing Race at Cinque Terre.  We arrived at the farthest town, Monterosso, by ferry and worked our way back using the train.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at a recommended place called Gianni Franci in Vernazza.  We spent our wisest 1.50 Euro and took a bus to the top of Corniglia and then walked the steps to come down.  We headed to Manarola next, one of our favorites and hit Riomaggiore last.  

When we got up the next morning we headed to the airport.  We were excited to see Nicolas again.  He had water for us and provided us with a nice scenic drive and lots of information on our way to the airport.  He was a great driver and extremely personable.  He dropped us off at the terminal and we spent the rest of the day flying.  Our next driver was waiting outside baggage claim.  When we arrived at Capri, we were met at the end of the dock by a driver from our hotel who transferred us to Anacapri.  Such an interesting ride with the extremely narrow streets - smallest traffic circle I have ever seen.  When we arrived at our hotel, we were welcomed like family and shown around.  What an amazing place.  Spectacular views and so welcoming, and many places to sit and relax.  You felt as if you were visiting their home, which is the way Fransisco explained it when he welcomed us.  We loved our room and everything about the place was amazing!!!  The food was delicious, very special!  

We had just missed the sunset when we arrived but made it in time for a wonderful dinner.  It rained hard during the night and so we woke up to an overcast day. The concierge felt it would be too rough for a boat tour around the island, so we walked into town and had a delicious calzone.  We took a taxi to the Blue Grotto and due to the weather, we were able to quickly see and experience the boat ride through the small opening.  We took a bus back into town and then rode the chair lift to the summit of Monte Solaro. It was beautiful on the way up and back.  Upon our return we took a hike recommended by the concierge out to the lookout way above the lighthouse at the far end.  By the time we got back it was starting to shower again. We headed back and relaxed, excited for another delicious dinner.  It rained again during the night and so we chose to just relax at the resort in the morning and scheduled our transfer for around noon.  

It was a quick ride to Sorrento.   We had a nice room overlooking  the water.  They had a plate of petit fours waiting for us when we arrived and made a dinner reservation for us in the hotel.  Once we settled in, we walked around the shopping area and grabbed a late lunch.  We shopped and relaxed until dinner.  We enjoyed the 5 course menu option by their chef who they said had earned a Michelin Star.  The meal was exquisite.

The next day we met our driver, Dale, and began our tour of the Amalfi Coast.  He was a great driver and very nice.  It was drizzling all morning.  He gave us some time at Positano and Amalfi where we could walk the streets and check out some shops.  Then we headed to Ravello and he made a reservation for us at a nice restaurant with amazing views and delicious cuisine.  He recommended that after lunch we walk to the see the gardens of Villa Rufolo.  It provided us with views of the beautiful garden and wonderful elevated views of the coast.  He also took us to the neighboring town of Scala to see a church that was over 1000 years old, a simple building on the outside, but quite large and interesting to see inside.  The rain stopped around lunch time. When we got back, we were tired from a day of touring and had eaten a large lunch at a fine restaurant so we chose to eat pizza via room service and relax for the evening.  On our last day in Italy, we got up and took a train to see Pompeii.  We were so close, why not!  We found the station easily and got to Pompeii in great time.  We paid for the audio tour and took a good amount of time seeing the sights.  After we had the feel of it we headed back to Sorrento.  We grabbed a late lunch and shopped for any remaining souvenirs we needed for our family.  After a brief rest, we headed back out for our last dinner in Italy at a restaurant about a block away.  We were treated to a piano player right outside our balcony playing the live music on the veranda.  We packed up and were greeted the next morning by our last driver who dropped us at the Naples airport for our journey home.

Every part of our trip was amazing, Deena.  All the connections were seamless.  The drivers were terrific.   The accommodations were gorgeous.  It was an amazing trip.  The only thing we would have changed was the weather.  Anacapri and the Amalfi Coast were  so beautiful, but to have seen them on a beautiful day with sunshine, would have been amazing.  However, there are just certain things beyond our control. 

We were so thankful to get to go on this trip.  I have wanted to do it for so long.  We were thrilled with every part of it.  Galen got a little travel weary on the day we flew from Genova to Naples, but when we arrived in Anacapri, he agreed it was all worth it.  Anacapri was our favorite place.  This hotel was truly special!  Thanks for all the time, effort and thought you put into our trip. It was a trip we will never forget!  We can’t thank you enough for making it so easy and enjoyable and looking out for us in every way.  You are AMAZING, Deena!  We appreciated all your hand written notes and the special welcome that we received at each accommodation.  It was an outstanding trip.  we can’t thank you enough for all your efforts!!!

When I get some time, I’ll forward some pictures or a link.  It is hard to capture the beauty but it triggers our minds to remember.:)  Hope you have a great weekend!

Galen and Kim Eby, Lancaster, PA - France & Italy European Adventures, October, 2016


Kenya Safari & the Seychelles

Hi Deena!  Sorry for the delay in responding.  We have been meaning to write to you about what an AMAZING time we had.  The trip was unbelievable!  
Your planning and ordering of everything was impeccable!  Having someone meet us at each place made us feel so relaxed that we could just enjoy and be escorted to where we needed to be. 
 
Our first camp was one of my favorite places.  The tents were so beautiful and the little details such as rabbit covered water jugs in bed at night, hot embers to keep the room warm, copper bathroom fixtures, the unbelievable organic farm!  And then of course the people.  Sue, Willy, Alice, Mats, and India did a great job making us feel like we’d been welcomed into their home.  But best of all was our tour guide, Legei.  I think Patrick and I both walked away feeling like we had made a new friend and wish our paths would cross again.  He was so knowledgeable but light hearted and just so much fun to spend the days with!  I got a little choked up saying bye to him when we headed to Masai Mara.  Specific highlights from Lewa:

  • Found a rhino horn driving into camp that had been lost by a male battling Sonya (female) to mate with her.  Horn was turned over to the authorities immediately but so cool to see.
  • Saw baby cubs, a lioness chased up into a tree from a failed water buffalo attack, cheetah brothers hunting at night, grevyz and zebras everywhere, and the resident giraffe that came up to say hello.
  • We hiked into Ngare Ndare and saw several amazing waterfalls, swam in one of them, and gave some local girls a ride.  Patrick loved waving and yelling ‘Jamboooo!!’ to everyone along the way; all of whom kindly waved back.
  • Hearing our tent unzipped in the morning and spying the “cheeky monkeys” looking for the cookies then promptly rezipping our tent when they made eye contact with us.
  • A surprise lunch set up after a canopy walk and a surprise sundowner – they went above and beyond to add little touches and surprises 

Onto Masai Mara which was such a different beautiful place than Lewa.  It really came across as a five star hotel with an incredibly attentive and kind staff, run perfectly by Maurice, and facilities that were gorgeous, especially with the hippos just hanging out.  Benson, our awesome guide here, was wonderful about finding many opportunities to share information or facts about the land and people.  For example, why there are “umbrella trees” everywhere, the traditions of the Masai, animal behaviors, etc.  Our highlights from there:

  • Balloon ride!!! We both loved this so much!  It was so cool to float over everything and then have breakfast out in the open.
  • Saw cheetahs that were eating a fresh kill, watched the crossing at one of the most photographed points and saw a baby wildebeest taken by a crocodile, found 13 lions on one single day.  The game viewing here was unbelievable!  While we never saw a leopard on our trip, we saw so many animals we didn’t even think of initially and some that I’ve never seen such as jackals, hyenas, exotic birds, etc.
  • The meals were excellent!  All five star and felt so luxurious – Big John outdid himself every time!
  • We did a village visit where Patrick engaged in a jumping contest and I got to dance and sing with the women…eally I just tried to move while I took it all in. 

We really maximized our safari days to the point staff was commenting on it at both Lewa and the Mara.  Doing the private tour was definitely the right choice for us! 
 
And then the Seychelles!  The Four Seasons accommodations are hard to even describe!  We spent almost all of our time relaxing in our villa even to the point we were ordering room service just so we didn’t have to leave that spectacular situation.  There’s not a lot for me to write about on this part of the trip because we really just chilled out, read a lot and walked around every now and then.  We did one day trip to snorkel and visit some of the other islands which was nice. 
 
I’ll send pics once we get them all downloaded.  Again, we can’t thank you enough for everything!  We are wondering if you handle planning for other areas or if Africa is really your specialty?  We don’t take many trips of that magnitude but would love to work with you again in the future and will no doubt recommend you to anyone looking at Africa. 

Patrick & Anne Dickinson, Chicago, IL - African Safari & Seychelles Honeymoon Adventure, Sept., 2016


East African Safari & Seychelles

"Hi Deena! We were waiting to get a couple of days under our belt before writing to let you know just how much we're loving EVERY minute!! The details of this trip you've put together for us could not have been more perfect! And the accommodations, sights, animals and excursions have been some of the most beautiful in my life... Only topped by the people who seem to make this country the vibrant and warm place it is. I'll write with more details when we get back but this has been the most amazing trip of my life so far!! We can't thank you enough!"

Anonymous, Chicago, IL - African Safari & Seychelles Beach Adventure, Aug, 2016


Thailand

"Hi Deena.  So sorry I haven't sent you feedback, you were on my to-do list! It's been hectic getting back into real life.  The highlight for both of us was the elephant excursion. So cool, and even better than expected.  Phuket was amazing; that hotel was incredible!  We both want to go back to that specific Anantara, but we're definitely a fan of the hotel chain now.  Laying by the pool all day just can't be beat. I've also attached a couple photos, feel free to share!

You were wonderful to work with, we'll let you know if any other big trips are on our radar. Have a great rest of the week!"

Adam and Ali S., Chicago, IL - Thailand Elephant & Beach Birthday Celebration, 2016


Mexico

"Deena, thanks for checking in on us.  Also, thanks for providing such timely feedback in regards to our delayed transfer.  The transfer was there at the proper time for pick up.  In regards to Le Blanc, we were blown away.  Talk about a vacation experience!  We thought is was a perfect selection for a perfect honeymoon.  The weather was perfect, the service could not be beat, the staff was friendly, the food was amazing (and did not get old), and we just overall did truly feel spoiled to be a guest there.  We ended up choosing to do the spa package, the professional photos, and romantic dinner with our resort credits.  Once again, thank you for everything.  We could not thank you more for an unforgettable experience.  All the best."

-Stephen and Kelly, Chicago IL - Mexico Honeymoon, 2016


Thailand Wedding & Honeymoon

Excerpts from client's excellent review - 

"Hi Deena.  Thank you for touching base!  The trip was amazing overall. The heat took some getting used to.  All that aside, it was great. 

Chiang Mai - we really loved the trips to ENP and while PEF is much more interactive, I had some concerns given they ride the elephants (although better with one adult bareback than 2-3 on a heavy iron seat). We liked that they gave us photos and look forward to seeing them once we get home. 

We also did a Thai Farm Cooking class which we loved, a trip to Doi Inthanon and spent part of a day roaming and checking out temples. Le Meridien is a beautiful hotel and in a convenient location but I think I was really surprised Chiang Mai would be such a big city. Not knowing alot about it, we expected it to be more rural. 

Bangkok - We went to Wat Poh but opted out of the Grand Palace given the heat and crazy crowds. The highlights for us was probably our dinner at Banyan Tree. We also went to Lebua but it was even more pricy and the ambiance at Banyan was much better. 

Koh Samui - we loved it! We were sooooooo happy to get to the beach. Anantara is stunning and we loved the night market / walking street. It was really cute. The only thing we found is they cleaned our room pretty late so they wanted to clean when we were getting back from our day trips. 

Khao Lak - we loved it and The Sarojin!!!! It was so calm and peaceful compared to everywhere else. Aside from the wedding, we just did one trip to snorkel at Surin Islands. This was fabulous. The resort was expensive but there were other spots to eat along the beach. The wedding and waterfall dinner along with our pool Villa was unreal. We were so happy with how it turned out. I've attached a few photos for you - we don't have professional ones yet.

Krabi - we enjoyed Rayavadee and Krabi.  We loved the assortment of monkeys. We saw some macaques really close after we did the viewpoint climb. I've attached a photo of one with a baby :-) 

We really just relaxed for a couple days then had our private boat from the hotel to PhiPhi, Maya Bay and Bamboo Island. This was an amazing day.  Maya Bay was amazing. The tide was going down as we arrived so almost all the boats had to leave. I can see how nuts it can be but we really lucked out. We also had a champagne sunset on Bamboo Island before returning back. 

All of the transfers were smooth. We only had to call one in Chiang Mai who wasn't there but JR had gotten a local SIM so it wasn't an issue.  We also really loved the Thai people. They are really sweet and soft spoken. They seem very protective of their environment so it's too bad a lot of tourists don't have this same respect. We are really glad we decided to go this route for our honeymoon and special day. It was the trip of a life time. 

Thank you for all of your help planning it! I know I had tons of questions along the way." 

-Serena S., Ontario, Canada - Thailand Wedding & Beach Honeymoon, 2016


Chile, Argentina, & Patagonia

"Deena, sorry for not getting back to you sooner.  Outside of a few minor bumps (Jenny's lost passport and contacts) the trip was terrific and everything we could have asked for.  It was truly a once in a lifetime trip and I speak for both of us in saying that we couldn't be happier with our choice of Chile as a honeymoon destination.  Each part of the trip was memorable in its own way and as you said, we'll have stories that we'll be telling people for the rest of our lives.

I'm still adjusting to not being in a South American summer climate and those late summer sunsets.  I'd say that out of the four locations we visited, Patagonia and Valparaiso were our favorites.  Patagonia is incredibly easy to love and probably the most picturesque area that we visited. Our cameras were put to very good work at all stops but Patagonia brought out our inner photographer most frequently.

We kayaked to a glacier (drinking cocktails with glacier ice), stood at the windiest point in the Torres del Paine Park (and almost flew away), hiked up to the base of the Towers (Jenny's favorite!!), almost got stampeded by some guanacos, saw the sun set at midnight, and were blown away by the unique scenery and landscape.  I was also impressed by how quickly the entire staff at Patagonia Camp calmed Jenny down and allowed us to enjoy the stay there and not worry too much about the passport issue.  The yurt we had in Patagonia Camp was terrific as well, the bed was incredibly comfortable, and we slept great down there. 

Valparaiso is a very cool city that is fun and full of great restaurants and neat little art shops.  I'm pretty sure that Jenny and I have been turned into seafood snobs thanks to the amazingly delicious and fresh fish that we had in every single part of Chile.  (I'm only half kidding; it will be tough to order fish in Chicago any time soon).

The Matetic Winery Tour with Lunch was excellent, very beautiful area with great food and wine.  I have to say that I'm not a big wine drinker but all of the wines that we had in Chile were terrific and I wish we could have brought back more than the 5 bottles we slipped through Customs.  Our last few days in Valparaiso were very relaxing and an excellent way to wrap up the honeymoon.

I don't want to short change our stay in the Atacama Desert because that was a terrific and unique experience but Patagonia is Patagonia, tough to top that.  The Tierra Atacama Resort was very nice and the staff was great.  They have a terrific place and the view of the mountains was amazing.  The only issues we had in the desert were the altitude and the insanely dry air and neither of them had anything to do with the resort or the staff.  The Atacama Desert was full of surprises and cool stuff to see like the Moon and Rainbow Valleys, the Salt Flats, lots of flamingos, vicunas (and their babies), hot springs, and geysers.  

It was 100% worth waking up at the crack of dawn for the geysers excursion.  We saw a ton of wildlife and even saw some newborn llamas.  My personal favorite was the stargazing just because of how clear the sky is and all of the stars and constellations that we'll never get to see in Chicago/the Northern Hemisphere.  The food everywhere was delicious.  We especially enjoyed having fresh bread and butter being served with nearly every meal.  The Pisco Sours were terrific at every stop, and I was personally impressed with the good beer selections as well.  All of the guides were very helpful and couldn't have been nicer.  Everyone we ran into was very open and friendly regardless of our lack of Spanish.

Thank you very much for all of your help and for putting together this incredible trip with us.  We definitely owe you dinner or a nice bottle of Chilean wine at some point in the future.  If you have any questions about things I left off this email, please don't hesitate to email me back and I'll answer them to the best of my abilities and memory.  Thanks again and talk to you soon."

-Dan & Jenny, Chicago, IL - Chile & Argentina Honeymoon, 2016


Thailand

Hi Deena, I hope all is well!   Thank you for checking in! We just got back last night and had the BEST time. Everything on our itinerary was executed flawlessly. We loved all of our activities and had so much fun - we especially loved the elephant home and the cooking class! Also, the drivers and guides were amazing - so helpful, always on time, and totally going above and beyond for us. 

We cannot thank you enough for your help. This was honestly the trip of a lifetime and we are so grateful for your assistance in making it so special!  Spencer and I are looking to book another trip and we just had to come back to you! We had such an amazing time in Thailand, we want to do it all over again in a new location.

Hope you and your family enjoy Thailand as much as we did!!

Spencer & Courtney Larkin, Chicago, IL - Thailand Adventures, 2015


Italy

"Italy is a treat for the eyes and stomach and soul.  There is much beauty to see and the cities are very different looking than here in the States, which is just plain FUN.  We did not run around to every tourist attraction and didn't feel that we needed to see everything!  We explored and got lost and ate when we wanted and rested in the afternoons and soaked up the experience.  We thoroughly enjoyed all three of our cooking classes and highly recommend them.  We found beautiful leather gloves at Madova, just on the far side of the Ponte Vecchio.  Also found lovely leather jackets in Piazza Santa Croce.  In Venice, we ate twice at both Osteria San Marco and Marciano Ristorante, which were close to our hotel and had delicious pasta and Osso Bucco.

The first thing we tell our friends and family about our trip?  That it was amazing and that Deena Gainor did our travel plans and if you go, you should have her plan for you!!  Really, that is what I say!  Then I tell them how delicious the food was and how much Caitlin and I loved everything we did.  Do I sound like a broken record?  Would I recommend Global Getaways to others?  YES, YES, YES, I already have."

-Janet & Caitlin, Naperville, IL - Italian Adventures, 2015


East African Safari & Seychelles

 "I would highly recommend you reach out to Deena and tell her what you're looking for.  She is awesome.  We flew into Nairobi then took a smaller plane out to Safari.  We did a few nights in Amboseli and saw tons of animals - mostly elephants, giraffe, lions, zebra, etc. We also went to a local village one day to see how the locals live.

After that, we took another small plane down to Masai Mara and saw more amazing animals including all of the above plus hippos, leopards, water buffalo, rhino, etc.  This was another amazing place with an amazing lodge.  The food was unbelievable and the people were so nice.  They really took amazing care of you, and our travel agent had it set up so that we didn't have to worry about a thing. We also did a sunrise hot air balloon ride which was amazing.  We landed in the bush where we then had a champagne breakfast.

After a few days here, we went back to Nairobi where we then flew out to Seychelles, and stayed at the Four Seasons….WOW this place was so unbelievable.  Unlike anything I've ever seen.  Very expensive, but very worth it.  Everyone has private villas that are built in the mountainside with stunning views of the ocean.  Each place also has it's own private infinity pool.  You get around here with golf carts and the customer service is amazing.  I'm happy to chat more, as I could go on and on with the details.  Let me know if you need any other information or want to chat further.  Have fun planning!"

Andrea, Chicago, IL - East African Safari & Seychelles Honeymoon, 2015


St. Lucia

Hi Deena, Thank you! Our wedding was wonderful and so was the honeymoon in St. Lucia. The Sandals Grande resort was nice.  A few comments below that might help you guide further clients:

  • Weather ended up being perfect all week long! 80-85 and sunny.
  • Room itself was more beachy than modern
  • Service was 7 out of 10. The staff was very welcoming when we got there. Additionally, with out butler service, guests are not served drinks by the pool. All guests had to get their own drinks/food from the bar.
  • Lots of honeymooners ages 25-35
  • Gorgeous views of the island
  • Dinners were good. It was nice that we got to take the complimentary shuttle to the other Sandals resorts to try their restaurants for dinner
  • Lunch food was just okay (limited menu options got old after a few days)
  • The private car to and from the airport was nice due to the 1.5 hr drive

Hopefully the above feedback helps. Overall, it was a wonderful vacation and we recommend the resort to young newlyweds like us! Attached please find some pictures. Feel free to use them and my feedback on your blog.  Thanks!

Liza & Jacob Wilson, Chicago, IL - St. Lucia Sandals Honeymoon, 2015


Kenyan Safari & Seychelles

"Thanks, Deena!  We had an amazing time (on Safari in Kenya and at the Four Seasons in the Seychelles).  We didn't have to worry once about where to be or who was picking us up.  It was wonderful and we can't thank you enough!"

- Zack, Chicago, IL - Kenya Safari & Seychelles Honeymoon, 2015


Charleston, South Carolina

"Hello Deena. I wanted to let you know we have finally arrived to the hotel and want to thank you so much for the very nice amenity.  You are so wonderful!  Just wanted to thank you again. We absolutely love this place!  Charleston is so charming and quaint I feel like I am in France, so many details everywhere!  Amazing food and people. Just a little cold these days but tomorrow should be a bit warmer, then again I know how bad it is in Chicago!  Cant wait to tell you more when i see you.  Ciao Ciao."

- Chef and Esther Roby, Geneva, IL - Charleston, South Carolina, 2014


Caribbean and Mexico

"Deena is the only travel agent I will call for my travel arrangements.  She is someone I can trust with all my travel, and is always trying to find the best prices on travel for our family.  Deena is very personable and at all times is working for the best interest of her clients."

- Leslie Holtzclaw, Greater Los Angeles area - Caribbean & Cancun


Italy

Hi Deena. I’d like to thank you for your help and to let you know Becky and I had a GREAT trip. We spent 5 days in Rome, 2 days in Siena, and a day in Trivoli. Then our time with the kids in the Sorrento area. Our Marble house was beautiful and we enjoyed it very much. I would highly recommend it. We had a lot of fun and happy memory’s there.

Thanks again.
— Bill, Harrisburg, PA - An Italian Villa in Sorrento, Italy

Caribbean Cruise

Hi Deena. We had a wonderful cruise! Thanks for all you did to make it possible. The bus ride to NYC was a bit of an adventure since the route the bus company had “rerouted” had to be rerouted again when we got to our exit and discovered it was CLOSED! We arrived in NYC at 2pm instead of noon, but still in plenty of time to get on board. The Noordam was fantastic. Pretty much the same ship as the Zuiderdam, but even nicer. A bit more updated. The rooms all had DVD/CD players as well as the TV’s. (We didn’t bring any CD’s since they didn’t last year! Our balcony room was fantastic. The gym was awesome. Brand new, state-of-the-art equipment. Very nice. We both worked out there every day. (I think Julie may have gained about one pound on the whole cruise. I gained closer to 5, but have already lost some of that after two vigorous gym workouts since being home.)

We were both pleasantly surprised at how healthily you can eat on a cruise, if that’s what you’re looking for. Of course, they had an incredible assortment of fruits/veggies, but we didn’t remember that they also had available no-sugar added ice cream, no-sugar added desserts and a host of other foods for those trying to watch their weight. That was remarkable to us.

We had a great time getting to know the other four couples at our evening dining table. Three couples were from Staten Island...all friends. This cruise was #89 for one of those couples! The other three couples had all been on at least 40-50 cruises! Amazing... Holland America certainly does a fantastic job providing an exceptional cruise experience and we’d highly recommend it to others! The beds on Holland America are absolutely amazingly comfortable! Everyone was talking about how nice the mattresses were and what a great night’s sleep they got on them!

The fine dining was at least as good as last year, if not better. We still marvel at the overall value of cruising when one considers the exquisite food and service and the quality of the entertainment. I must run, but thanks again, Deena, for your help in making this cruise possible. It’ll probably be a while before we’ll be able to do another cruise, but you’ll be the first to know when we’re ready!
— David, Mechanicsburg, PA - Caribbean Cruise/Holland America ms. Noordam and ms. Zuiderdam

Las Vegas

Hey Deena,
Thanks for your card! We have been so thrilled with your service…I’ve been bragging to everyone (Kevin, of course, is bragging about the guy with the name card at the airport)!! Thanks for your restaurant suggestions, they are VERY helpful. 
Let me know if there is anything else you need from us. Again, thank you SO much for all your help!! 

Thanks!!
Take Care!
— Kristen, Mt. Orab, OH - Bellagio Las Vegas Penthouse Suite

Hawaii

Deena! Everything went great! We had a fantastic and memorable time. We know how all of this works and everything you did to make it special. Thanks for all your efforts!!
— Ron, San Diego, CA - Four Seasons Maui, Hawaii

Mexico

Hey Deena, I'm up early so I thought I'd send this to you now, since it's all fresh in my head.

Beach - beautiful, gorgeous and the water looked amazing!  The water was warm and very refreshing.  Service was great!  We loved the cabanas.  We enjoyed our time at the beach greatly!!

Pools -  Thursday we went to the smaller quiet pool which was shaded.  Very relaxing over there.  Not the partying going on like the main pool.  People were sleeping in the chairs all afternoon.  It was great!  The big pool was fun.  Lots to participate in, people bringing you fruit in water, fun to jump between warm, hot & cool water.  

Room - Suite 308 was Fantastic! Beautiful view as you saw.  Towel animals at turn down were cool. Swans & doves kissing.  Mini bar was awesome and was included!  Laundry basket, nice touch.  Shower, roomy.  Whirlpool tub, HUGE!  Plenty of space to move around.  

Spa - Haircut was great!   It was hard to communicate but I eventually got what I wanted and it was EXACTLY what I wanted, which was fabulous.

Concierge - When we checked in, we had 100 questions and Matthieau was great at answering them.  He took his time and armed us with great information.  He warned us to only pay in Pesos when shopping on the street.  I wish he would have also warned us that the street sellers see the wristbands, and will try to get you to believe they work at the hotel, then get you to buy something from their Mother's, or brother's shop.  It's a scam, so I'm giving you warning.  Don't fall for it!  About 5 people approached us that way.

Romance Concierge - We purchased a Romantic Evening Package.  We really wanted the strawberries & sparkling grape juice.  The rest was icing and the cost was very inexpensive.  I loved the rose petals everywhere and the whirlpool being filled for us.  The strawberries were fantastic too!

Olympus - They definitely had orange shirts on and were easy to find.  They took us where we needed to go and were very friendly. 

Food - Room service was great!  They call when your food is delivered which is a bit annoying, but it was fast & good.

The restaurants were great!  We had some very interesting foods & enjoyed most of them.  We loved that we could customize our orders.  We also loved that we could try new things risk free.  Just order something else if we don't like it.

Overall, we knew we were on a budget & that this was NOT the Bellagio going in.  We got the relaxation and quiet time we wanted and we enjoyed our stay here.  The location was perfect and the view spectacular.  It was what we expected and we really like the all inclusive thing!  We loved not having to tally expenses.  We also loved the food!

- Kristen, Dayton, OH - The Royal Playa del Carmen, Mexico


China, Caribbean, & Paris

Deena is a pleasure to work with and a wonderful travel agent. She checks what we like to do on vacation and puts together several great options that we can choose from. The first time she helped us, she got us an amazing deal for an outdoor balcony cabin on one of the better cruise ships.

Her recommendations are always valuable and we’ve never had to worry about anything when she books us. Any time we plan a trip, we’ll always book with her.

Thanks so much for your help, Deena!!
— Anne Abraham, Raleigh-Durham, NC - China, Caribbean, Paris/Christmas Market

Mexico

Thanks, Deena for the homecoming message. We had a really nice time and the weather was perfect! I hope you had a good week and I will definitely call when I want to travel again, Deena. Thank you so much for everything!
— Sue, Westport, CT - Fiesta Americana Condesa, Cancun

Jamaica

Deena, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

We had such a wonderfully relaxing time in Jamaica. We so appreciate all you did to make our anniversary so memorable.

I don’t have the time right now to give you all of the details of the trip…but the one thing I can say (on behalf of the both of us) Dunn’s River was a perfect choice for us…THANK YOU!!! Talk to you soon.
— Brian, Denver, CO - Sandals Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Aruba

Thanks, Deena. I can’t imagine any thing better than our time in Aruba at the Bucuti. They really spoiled us. Everyone was so friendly and nice to us. The service was wonderful. The room was spectacular. We were on the 3rd floor and I think we may have seen one other couple on our floor, so very quiet, didn’t hear anything from any other rooms the whole time we were there—that was so nice. The view was just wonderful—a tropical paradise, truly.

Our full breakfast was great too - meats, cheeses, pastries, fresh fruit, 10 coffees and 10 teas to choose from, juices, cereal, yogurts, fruit cup. I had something different every morning and we ate at the restaurant outside, so we could see the beach as we ate. Dan and I ate there for an evening meal too. Very nice and to eat right there on the beach! I know Lee and Lisa said they really enjoyed it so much. So nice to be spoiled after living in a 3rd world country!

Mostly to go to town we took the taxi - $8 to downtown Oranjestad and $8 to the high rise section. There was plenty of shopping. Actually, Lisa and I took the bus downtown to shop. That was fun. We got to eat some of the local food that day too. We did rent a 4 wheel drive car one day and drove around the island. Well, we got almost all the way around. That was great because we were able to stop and snorkel as often as we wanted and for however long we wanted. I think we would have missed so much if we didn’t snorkel/dive there! It’s like another world down there. We put sunscreen on constantly as hats were a no go - it’s was windy that day. They have a great pool there. They had to cancel one of the dives because a strong wind came up one afternoon, so Dan was disappointed, but then the next AM we went up north of the high rise area and got in more snorkeling. That was the morning that we left.

As far as the food goes, there are even Subway, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut, etc. if you want to eat cheap American fast food. The hotel suggests lots of expensive restaurants, but you can find places more reasonable. You just have to ask the locals!

It was so nice to be able to stay right on the beach. The sunsets were amazing. God is so good to us. We were really refreshed by the trip and enjoyed it so much. 6 nights was great. We didn’t feel rushed to “get it all in”. Some days we planned out, but some we just did whatever. I’m sure we enjoyed it more because we were with good friends! Once again, thanks for your part in getting us there and back.
— Karen, Strasburg, PA - Bucuti Beach Resort, Aruba

Las Vegas, New York, & New Orleans

I have relied on Deena to help me put together three anniversary trips. Usually, it’s a place I’ve never been, don’t know much about, and don’t have time to figure out the best places to stay, etc. I give her certain parameters to follow and she always comes in matching or exceeding my expectations for the price.

Once I had an issue with a hotel and she personally called them, while we were there, to complain. We were well taken care of after that.

Deena goes the extra mile, works well with picky people, and is great at helping you create the experience you want to get from any trip. I highly recommend Deena and I know I’ll rely on her again.
— Kristen Beireis, OH - Las Vegas, New York, & New Orleans