Testimonials

“They are group of enthusiastic and passionate professionals.”

Written by the people who have explored this stunning region with us, the selection of testimonials below highlights the places, the people and the feelings you are bound to experience on your journey. Honest and unrevised, they give you a clear idea of the personal efforts and virtue which go into crafting each individual itinerary and have over time become the trademark of travelling with Secret Dalmatia.

Oldham family, Australia
Discover Dalmatia Sailing

July 2014

 

Mirna – we have just returned home after our wonderful holiday.

I’ve just posted a very glowing review on Trip Advisor (see below) but want to thank you personally for making this holiday so very special.

Everything was perfect and we are certainly spruiking the virtues of you and your company to all our friends.

Thank you!

Cheers

Sandy

Posted on Trip Advisor (17/7/14)

We have just returned from 11 days in Croatia which included 6 days on land (Rojniv, Split & Dubrovnik) and 5 days sailing the islands. After consultation via email, Mirna from Secret Dalmatia put together what looked to be a superb itinerary.

From the outset, all dealings with Mirna/Secret Dalmatia were highly professional and responsive. The itinerary provided was very detailed and informative. Alll pick-ups/transfers were timely and efficient and the quality of the hotels excellent. I'd like to make particular reference to Judita Palace in Split where the hospitality of Andreas, Maria (senior), Maria (junior) and Anton was very personal and absolutely exceptional.

Having enjoyed a special few nights on land in Rojniv and Split we were very much looking fwd to our 5 days on the Adriatic Sea exploring the isles of Croatia. We were not disappointed. Our incredibly knowledgeable, responsible and accommodating skipper, Vinko Buble was fabulous. In 5 days we managed to see some of the best Croatia has to offer in terms of scenery, culture and food. Vinko took us to some of the most incredible eateries which I suppose you'd classify as agritourism. We would never hope to have found such marvellous, out of the way places situated in remarkable surroundings run by locals, frequented by locals and serving the most delicious local food and wine. Thank you Vinko!

To Mirna and the broader Secret Dalmatia Team - thank you so much for making our holiday so incredibly special. It will live in our memories for always.

 

Wakeman Family, USA
Croatia Explorer

June 2014

Dear Alan,

I'm writing because I'd like to thank you and your staff for what is already a very memorable family holiday.
Let me start with Mirna... What a jewel you have there! She was always responsive, efficient and attentive and never minimized a single one of our requests and desires. She even took the time to meet us in person in Zagreb which was a thoughtful detail on her part. Please let her know that my daughter is very grateful about the fact that thanks to her and Dom, who went out of their way to please us, she was able to appreciate first hand a lavender field and that meant a lot to her.
When you can, also extend our gratitude to everyone that contributed to make our experience in Croatia an unforgettable one (I hope I'm not forgetting anyone and if so, my apologies in advance):
Nevin, Max and Igor who showed us the best Zagreb has to offer;
Marian with whom we experienced spelunking in Zadar for the first time in our lives;
Nevies (wonderful person and professional) and Dom ( funny, adventurous and great host) in Split;
the staff at Mali Stone Bay for an oyster and clam tasting that was out of this world
.... and last but not least Marija (tour guide) and Nicholas (kayak instructor) in Dubrovnik.
All of them will always be part of our memories and stories in your beautiful country.
It will certainly not be our last time there... Croatia is definitely a wonderful part of the world you should be very proud of.
We'll make sure to keep your contact details very close and recommend Secret Dalmatia to our friends and family.
Looking forward to being back in Hrvatska in the near future!!!
All the best to you all and thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Fondest regards,
Glen, Carla, Valentina and Matteo Wakeman

Wondra Family, USA
Private Croatian Holiday

June 2014

Hi Vlasta,

We’ve been home for over a week now, though our hearts are still in Croatia. We had a wonderful, relaxing trip and we appreciated the quality and professionalism of the people that worked with us throughout our travels. Vanja went out of his way to help us buy some special ingredients for Croatian cooking at home, Sonja knows Split like none other, and stayed with us after her tour so that we could continue our conversation about our families, and Frano was amazing in Dubrovnik - he grew up in the old town, fought to defend the city during the Homeland war, and lived in the area his whole life - this led to many conversations that gave us even more insight into life in Croatia. Also, he took us to many places that aren’t visited by tourists, so we literally experienced secret Dalmatia. Since we are Game of Thrones fans, it was a bonus to learn that Frano drives the cast around whenever they are filming in Dubrovnik :)

Over the years we have arranged private tours with several in-country travel professionals around the world. While our past experiences have been very good, we have never experienced the high level of care that you provided during our trip. We know that you regularly checked in with our guides and drivers, and I appreciated your phone call to speak with me directly as well. Because of this, I was able to totally relax and enjoy the trip (instead of worrying about any of the arrangements).

I feel fortunate that I found Secret Dalmatia, and I hope to work with you again in the future!

Regards,
Dave

Cairy Holtby & friends, USA
Dalmatian discovery land & sea private program

June 2014

 

Hi Diana,

Just returned home yesterday. Our trip was absolutely fabulously! You did an amazing job and I would certainly recommend your services in the future. We liked it so much I hope to come back.
Thanks again for everything that you did for us. Let me know if you need any formal feedback.
All the best,
Cairy

 

Linda Silverman & Ashley Pony, USA
Croatia Discovery Private Program

June 2014

 

Mariana. We had a great time. Thank you !!!! everything was wonderful. The
drivers were beyond lovely and informative. The tour to Havar was something
I'll remember always !!!! I told Alan.

I will post on Trip Advisor

See you next time. Croatia is now my most fabulous place to be in

Best. Linda

 

Christopher and Rebecca Phelan, USA
Private Honeymoon Program

April 2014

Diana,

Thank you for an amazing honeymoon! Everything worked out wonderfully. We didn't have to worry about anything and just enjoy the experience! Croatia is an incredibly beautiful country with every city being different and special. We are so happy that we choose Croatia and Secret Dalmatia! Everyone that we met was very helpful, friendly, and professional. Igor in Zagreb was fantastic. He really made the experience in Zagreb and our journey to Split. All the hotels were a great selection and we loved the locations. We loved the island of Hvar with the wine tour and bike tour! I think that was our favorite place!

One suggestion we would have would have been to either switch the wine tour with bike tour or have the bike tour later in the day. It was hard to wake up for a bike tour early after drinking such great wine the night before!

Thank you for all your help! You made an amazing honeymoon for us!

Take care,
Becky

Catherine & Randy Verhoff, USA
Croatia Discovery Private Program

April 2014

Dear Mirna and Alan,

We really don't know how to thank you enough for the wonderful trip that you planned for Randy and me. As you know, this was a special trip, because we were celebrating Randy's 60th birthday. He wanted to go to Croatia, because his grandparents had come from Croatia and we had never been there. It was a world-class itinerary! Really!

Your tour guides were great. They were so knowledgeable and we loved every one of them. Highlights of the trip that you crafted for us included the following:

We enjoyed the wonderful meals and hospitality of Villa Meneghetti (and we loved Vladimir).
Sonja (in Split) is very sweet and informative and Paradox Wine Bar was lots of fun.
The wine tastings at Dubokovic and Tomic were very professional and the traditional dinner in the deserted village above Hvar was really special. The local guide, Mario, was very pleasant and really understood the wines at Dubokovic.
Maris has an astounding knowledge of Croatian history and her tour of Dubrovnik was so educational.
Villa Dubrovnik is a beautiful boutique hotel with very nice breakfasts (and dinner with Mirna was a lovely treat for us),
Mario Bartulovic was a terrific host and we had a great lunch with him at his family konoba. Such a nice guy!
Ivana was very warm, smart and funny. We loved walking through Krka National Park with her.
The dinner at Bibic Winery was perhaps the best meal that we have ever had. We are foodies and we live outside New York City. We have eaten at many fine restaurants around the world, including Alinea, the French Laundry and Taillevent. The meal at Bibic was truly amazing and inventive -- and we totally loved Simon.
We also loved the wine pairing dinner at San Rocco.

For us, the only very minor disappointment was the Hotel Amphorae in Hvar -- but the wine tasting and dinner in the deserted village above Hvar more than made up for that. We were also not blown away by Hotel Boskinac -- which was my idea and not yours. The food and service was good, but they had construction and pre-season clean up work going on all around us. We felt like they hardly knew we were there. I just thought we should let you know that, in case other folks asked you to book them there as well.

That said, it was truly a spectacular vacation. Many, many thanks to both of you. We will be recommending Secret Dalmatia to all of our friends!

Warmest regards.
Cathy and Randy

June 2014

Hello Diana,
Thank you for your note. Yes, Ivona was really superb, not only a great skippper but
she managed to show us places some others may not see. She even helped a group
of argentines in a catamaran whom we met in one of our stops. She has connections
everywhere and can arrange docking when things are tight.
The weather was quite bad for the first 3 or 4 days, but we managed a bit of sun and
swimming at the end. Only complaint is that the TV set on Vana was not working and
I missed a series of good futbol games at the World Cup!! For an argentine, that is
tragic.
We are now at our cottage in Canada for the summer, on a lake and sorrounded by
trees. We love it here.
Our very best to you and Alan and perhaps next time you'll guarantee more sun...
Nonetheless, we will recommend Secret Dalmatia to our friends, as the organization
and planning was excellent, sailing, Hotel, transportation, etc.
Thank you for your efforts.
With kind regards
Miguel ( and Liz) Fernandez

Radha Vora, India
Discover Croatia Private Program

May 2014

Hi Mirna

We just got back on the weekend from our holiday. Just want to take a few minutes to thank you for all the arrangements made by you and secret Dalmatia. All the arrangements were excellent. The cars provided were extremely comfortable and the drivers were extremely helpful and could speak English fluently which made the long car journeys extremely comfortable and enjoyable as they gave us a lot of interesting information about Croatia.
I am extremely keen to promote as a tourist destination to Indians. I will remain I touch with secret Dalmatia for any future queries that I receive.
One more request- please send me the number of the driver who took us to Montenegro and to the airport (same person). He had requested us to inform him when we reach Zurich as there was a concern about our visa. So we just need to inform him that there was no problem anywhere and the visa was fine for Zurich since Croatia is not part of the schengen countries.

Thank you
Radha Vora

 

Bhandari Family, USA
Discover Dalmatia Private Program

May 2014

 

Dear Diana,


Please excuse my late reply. As Anil mentioned, I am working on my travel blog with complete details of our Croatia trip. That is taking much longer than I expected. In the meantime I wanted to sincerely thank you and Alan for organizing an impeccable trip for us. Your suggestions were spot on and we were completely satisfied with the quality of service you provided for us.
We travel extensively all over the world and half the fun is the actual planning and researching and I look forward to getting involved with that. This time however I had less free time due to a few weddings in the family and graduations and life in general was getting in the way. I am not even sure how I ended up with Secret Dalmatia because initially I was researching other contacts and tour agents that I was recommended or happened to come across in my search. One contact led to another and ultimately I ended up emailing with Alan. We haven’t looked back since....
The meticulous care you took to find the right guides and drivers for us really impressed us. The itinerary was good - we loved everything so I don’t know if we should have added something else or removed a day or an attraction somewhere. We might have missed something but we came away very happy and satisfied and loved, loved, loved Croatia and the warm, beautiful people, and the stunning clear waters of the Adriatic.
Our guides Katya and Ivana were lovely. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic, they were happy to talk about the history and just as happy to answer our many questions. They were mindful of our family’s different tastes and energy levels and we were very comfortable with them.
We managed to build a great rapport with the wonderful drivers who were taking us from place to place. Tijo ( please excuse me if I spell their names wrong) was a very nice young man, very polite and respectful and a pleasure to talk to. Leo was full of energy and information and we were fascinated with his details and descriptions and his discipline. Frano was also very courteous, friendly and informative and through him we got to hear and understand so many nuances of the country’s history. The only driver who was just as efficient but we did not get much time to interact with him directly was Tomas because on the drive to Piltvice, Ivana was with us and all our question were directed to her. He also did drive us from Zadar to Split but that was too early in the morning and while everyone slept, I was ‘forbidden’ to ask him any questions and disturb everyone’s deep slumber!
I don’t have a single complaint about any of the drivers. They were all very safe and accomplished drivers. They came with clean cars and they were very talented and highly educated. They were a wealth of information which is exactly what we wanted and we were not disappointed at all. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet these gracious young men and women who are so proud of their culture and history.
I already submitted my reviews on Trip Advisor for all the hotels and restaurants we went to.
We loved Hotel Marmont and were extremely happy with the hotel, the location, the rooms and the quality of service. I particularly loved the restaurant with its wide open doors that gave us the ambience of practically dining on the streets. The hotel took pains to train their staff and everything was elegant and well presented.
We also liked Hotel Bastion very much but perhaps a slight notch under Hotel Marmont. I guess the rooms were a bit more formal and small and the bathrooms seemed to have been renovated but not designed to be very functional. I loved the location and the breakfast staff were very pleasant and helpful. I almost felt that because this hotel is under the Relais and Chateaux brand, the front desk wanted to personify this accomplishment in their attitude and even though they were very polite, they seemed a bit stand offish and a bit less friendly.
At Hvar, you are aware of our concern and misgivings at Hotel Park. It had a lovely location and I loved the old world charm of the hotel. But when we checked in, there was just this one solitary desk in the ‘lobby’ and the lady there really didn’t have any answers to any of our questions. When we went back a bit later to move our luggage, there was another gentleman at the desk and he might have been the manager perhaps, but he was very kind and understanding and gave out much better vibes. The gentleman from hotel Park who helped us with our luggage from the ferry and then also to move the luggage to hotel Amfora was extremely gracious and very obliging.
Hotel Amfora is this huge American type resort- large and loud and busy. We had no complaints. We had good rooms. The first night we were put in a two bedroom suite because thats all they had available. It was an older room, with dated furnishings but plenty of space. The next day we were moved to two sea facing rooms. The rooms had beautiful views but they were a bit small. The bathrooms were perplexing and oddly designed again. The front desk staff were very pleasant and helpful. We got to meet and spend time with Igor Tabac, the general manager there as well as Marieta who was in charge of the banquets and events. We got to spend time at the Adriana hotel as well and Nikolina who was the manager at the restaurants and cafes was so kind and chatty and friendly. We used the spa at the the Adriana and when one of the masseuses performed very poorly, the reception at the spa was very considerate and understanding.
Hotel Lapad in Dubrovnik had an interesting location. Initially we thought we were away from the action, but like every other guest in the hotel, when we discovered the bus no. 6, going back and forth to the old town was no problem at all. Walking around the old harbor was very nice as well. The rooms were a bit small and hard to get to via a couple of elevators and corridors. The bathrooms had clear doors and that was very odd. Our keys would stop working very often and we would have to trudge back to the reception several times. The staff at the front desk were not particularly warm. They were not impolite but they were not too friendly. Maybe it was just the fact that we were now in a big city and the employees are more frazzled and busy. I am not sure what it was but they preferred to keep their distance. Even the staff in the breakfast restaurant were grim and aloof. The staff at the poolside cafe and bar were courteous and efficient.

In a nutshell, we have become die-hard fans of Secret Dalmatia and will be more than happy to recommend you to any of our friends heading to Croatia. As you are well aware that Croatia is a hot destination right now and I will generously share your name and contacts with anyone planning Croatia.
Diana, we sincerely appreciate the time you spent with us going over everything and alleviating any apprehensions we might have and answering all our questions. Alan, for you to find those two minutes to meet us just before leaping on to a departing ferry was very gracious and thoughtful and we appreciated that very much.
Thank you again guys and we are around if you need any thing from here.

Best,
Natasha