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.

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

 

Gillian Lam, Singapore
Discover Croatia Private Program

May 2014

 

Dear Diana

Thank you for meeting us in Split! Our team arrived back safely in Singapore today. We all enjoyed the Croatian tour tremendously as it gave us varied and interesting experiences so different from those we had in other countries. Your country is so beautiful. We wished we had those beautiful places in Singapore! Your tour guides were very knowledgeable and professional. We felt very at home with them. We especially like the experiences we had in Trogir and Split – the visits to the ancient monuments, the private lunch at Tatjana’s place and the tour by motor boat to the islands. We were glad that we chose Secret Dalmatia to organise the tour for us and would strongly recommend your company to our friends who are interested in visiting Croatia.

Thank you for the photos – they certainly captured us in very good spirits.

Best regards

Gillian, Edwin, Judith, Garick and Peggy

 

David Isaacson, USA
Private Agent Fam Trip

March 2014

 

Hi Alan:

Thank you so much for the experiences you arranged for me in Croatia and Montenegro. I am impressed with your Company, and these special tours that you arranged tailored to my interests. You provided a special way for me to see Croatia and Montenegro; one that I could not have done on my own. Each tour was special and unique in its character and design.

A warm thanks to the guides, Ante, Mario and Floria. All so knowledgeable and talented in what they do, and how they showed me their special areas of interest. It also felt like I was traveling with a friend each time.

Diana is a real asset and great representative for your Company. Always made great arrangements for me, answering my questions, and making sure that my experiences were the best possible. Please let her know how much I appreciated her work.

Croatia is definitely a destination that my sophisticated travel clients would be interested in. And, Secret Dalmatia is the Company to arrange those special experiences that all search for when traveling. Again, thank you, and much success with your work and Secret Dalmatia.

Best regards - David Isaacson

 

May 2014

 

Dear Mirna,


We did enjoy the visit to Croatia immensely. Of course each of us had different “special days” or experiences, but we all raved about the truffle experience and the cooking class.
Zagreb was briefer for me, but our guide was excellent and we truly enjoyed the welcome dinner. The waiter was both entertaining and informative, and he also accommodated our need to try everything by bringing us “split dishes.” Hotel Esplanade was lovely. I had an upgraded room that was terrific—loved the space and the amenities.
Our guide in Rovinj was lovely and so very informative and did so much to accommodate our interests. The hilltop towns were very interesting, but I will say again that the truffle tasting was the highlight.
The Pelegrini restaurant was –as you predicted—another highlight. The chef was eager to explain his creations which were delicious and unique. The Hotel Lone was also a lovely place and the one meal we ate there in the dining room was excellent. We did have a cheese board one evening that was also very good. (Service in all the hotels was excellent.)
The Hotel Pasike was very centrally located and we loved being able to stroll through the town-witnessed a wedding and all the accompanying celebration. I know you cannot arrange that for all, but we did appreciate it!
Tatjana was so very special. We enjoyed every moment with her from the trip to the market to our last minutes with Tatjana and her husband. We stayed well beyond our scheduled time but never felt rushed or unwelcome. The food was spectacular and she accommodated the wide range of skills and tastes without every ceasing her commentary or every letting on any frustration with us!
Mario was very entertaining and like all of guides a great conversationalist! We enjoyed seeing and hearing of the ways a small wine maker operates. He presented a lovely lunch.
The trip to Mostar was interesting –longer drive than we expected—but the contrast to Croatia provided by the guide and the chance to see the restored city was well worth the time.
In general the food was extraordinary and the people were wonderful. Breakfasts in every place were plentiful and with a great variety. Proto and 36 restaurants were outstanding meal experiences as well.
All of our guides and chauffeurs were always on time, friendly, informative, and engaging.
These are my quick and unedited reactions. We would certainly recommend this trip to others enthusiastically so feel free to use my name as a reference. And we did appreciate your patience with us in the planning.
Of course, there is always a suggestion. We felt uneasy with the determining appropriate tips since we did not have individual costs for meals, tours, etc. It would be helpful to present some guidance to travelers on this issue.
Thanks so much for providing a wonderful experience for us.
Carolyn

Dr. Carolyn M. Callahan

 

September 2013

 

Alan

Your email prompted me to write a long overdue thank you for the trip that you organized for us and the Pasternaks in September. We had a wonderful time. The organization of the trip was superb - not a single hitch or a single moment of doubt about that we were doing or when. That takes all the difficult and annoying parts out o f travel.

The choices of places that you took us to - wine tasting and cooking on Trogir and so on were excellent. There was not a single day that we did not enjoy to the fullest.

And your guides were wonderful. I found them all very knowledgeable and helpful. I particularly remember our guide in Zagreb - Antonja if I remember correctly. Many guides will give a good tour (hers was superb) but she was able to answer any questions in depth and without a moment’s hesitation. It is so much better when there dis a depth of knowledge behind what the tour guide is saying.

Once again, thank you for a wonderful holiday.

David McKee

 

Rita Wong, USA
Croatia Discovery

November 2013

Dear Mirna,

Thank you for your email.

Our Croatia journey was very wonderful -- thanks to you and your incredible team. Everybody was friendly, helpful and professional and helped to make our week in Croatia truly memorable. I would have no hesitation recommending Secret Dalmatia to all friends and associates who wish to visit Croatia!

Thank you,

Regards,
Rita Wong

Jeryn Freeman, USA
Croatia Private Program

September 2013

 

Alan, thank you so much for our wonderful visit to Croatia!


First, out of five stars, you are a 10. Everything was stress free & perfectly planned. Our tour guides, Doris, Leo, and Timea could not have been any better. Doris also led us to a wonderful wine shop in Split where we spent a couple of hours talking to the owner about everything from culture to sports to governments to health care to wine - delightful. The wine tour with Leo in Hvar was amazing. And the lunch at a private setting in Hvar was wonderful - I took so many pictures of the beautiful setting there. Timea was engaging & knowledgeable - great personality. Our drivers & ferry transfers were seamless and stress free.


The lunch during the drive from Split to Dubrovnik was wonderful, as was our driver.
The Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik was incredible, world class.


We absolutely loved the country & everyone we met there. Every restaurant server & taxi driver amazed us with their intelligence, their knowledge of the country and its history, and their pride of the country. Our last night before flying home, we ate at a restaurant in the Frankfurt airport & the server was Croatian, charming & engaging.


We plan on returning to your lovely country. My husband wants to retire there - we'll see how that works out….
Thank you so much for your amazing service. I would be glad to communicate with anyone who wants a person-to person chat about your company. You have my contact information, so feel free to share that.


Jeryn Freeman (USA, North Carolina)

 

William Waybourn, USA
Croatia Private Group Tour

October 2013

 

Alan and Diana,

After a much delayed BA flight from London to Washington, we arrived home in one group. The journey was a blast and we really appreciated all of the people who made our trip fun and exciting. As I'm sure Drew told Alan, the guides, the drivers, the hotel staffs and the participants at each venue were all the best and way beyond our expectations. It must be quite a challenge to find so many capable people, and so our hats are off to you.

I will have the photos processed later next week and will send a link for you to see just how much fun we had. Also, feel free to use any of them of them for your marketing purposes.

William

 

Puja Chhabra
Croatia Discovery

September 2013

 


Hello Alan!

Well we're back home, recovered from our jetlag and still dreaming about Croatia. Just wanted to say Thank you. Our vacation was so perfect and memorable. I could never had planned any of the amazing experiences without you.

Until next time :)

Puja

 

October 2013

Alan and Diana,

I would like to say we enjoyed our trip so much and the itinerary/events/lodging was all amazing.

We are just so thankful for your time and suggestions on all aspects of the trip.

Please note a few items:

The 6 course wine pared meal at Peligrini was really a 10 course just wow, Chef Rudi was just so so amazing.

The wine tasting was so special along with the meal in the ghost town above Milna.

I would add that in Hvar at that season most restaurants you recommended were closed because the season was done and the whole town was shutting down. We did find wonderful places to eat at, but we were hoping the Hotel restaurant would have been open, but it was not.

All the companies you work with were so knowledgeable and convenient we are so glad you have setup such contacts.

I have been telling people to travel to Croatia and will always recommend your company for their travel.

Thanks again for making our honeymoon that special.

Jered and Elaine.