Gwen and her team were amazing. She listened to what we wanted (and did not want) and delivered beautifully. The hotel locations and quality were just what we asked for. The guides Gwen recommended were the absolute highlights of our trip. They brought our destinations, Vienna, Prague and Durnstein to life. The planning and logistics were flawless all the way down the small bound book with day by day itinerary sent to us in advance and the GPS with all of our designations and potential side trips pre-programmed. She thought of everything! Two pieces of advice. 1) Ask Gwen and her team to send you concert and dinner options and recommendations *early* in the planning and then make reservations or get tickets for at least one night in each city. Gwen will send you a great (invaluable) restaurant lists for each city and will make restaurant reservations. Don’t wait. 2) Be prepared for tipping. Gwen will send you recommendations via email but this was not part of the printed itinerary. It took us a day or two to figure out where the information was.
Using a WOW trusted travel advisor changed our experience. We weren’t just tourists looking at a place. We experienced and learned about our destinations. We have already booked a second trip ( to a different destination).
We had very specific requests about our trip and one of them included an “insider” visit to the Wachau and Kremstal wine region in Austria. Our guide, Martin was a gem. He was flexible to move around our original tour dates to accommodate visits with specific vintners and winery owners. With a wealth of information about the wine region and his personal friendships with vintners, he was a delight to tour with. Gwen was also able to arrange first rate seats at the ballet in Vienna and all of her hotel and dining recommendations were excellent. Cant wait to go back…
My husband and I travelled to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague the last 2 weeks of April 2016. This was our 4th European trip with a Wendy Perrin travel specialist and Gwen Kozlowski and her team were simply the best! I contacted Gwen through Wendy’s link back in November and was shocked that she actually remembered speaking with me 5 years before when we first thought we would take this trip and had kept our details available for my call back. This is the kind of organization and attention she gave to the planning of every moment of our trip.
Gwen is involved in every step of the planning process, although she does use assistants, she reads every email that her office receives, interjects when needed, and is always available to answer any question. Initially, we spent several weeks going back and forth about which cities to visit in the allotted time and the order in which to see them. Gwen was great in sorting this out for us because we originally wanted to incorporate a stop in Poland and decided (with her gentle guidance) that this would be too crazy given our 2 weeks of travel time.
What impressed us the most about Gwen is that she really listened to what we wanted to get out of our trip, our likes and dislikes, and incorporated (or didn’t) those items in both her suggestions for our itinerary and hotels. Additionally, she selected our tour guides for their particular expertise based on the things we expressed interest in – history, architecture, wine, etc. Although she recommended tours and experiences she’d used before, our trip was totally tailored to our interests. Her guides, drivers, special experiences, hotels and restaurant recommendations were all fabulous. What was especially appreciated was the way that our touring and free time was scheduled so that we never felt overwhelmingly exhausted. For example, when we were picked up at the airport in Budapest we were delivered to our hotel and didn’t have anything scheduled until the next day. This gave us time to nap, shower and enjoy an evening stroll and leisurely dinner which was very rejuvenating after a long flight. All we needed to do to make this a trip of a lifetime was board our flight and show up at the appointed times.
Our trip was totally stress-free, and that says a lot about Gwen and her team! The more information you can give Gwen about what you want to get out of your trip, the better it will be, and don’t hesitate to ask for changes if what she drafts for you isn’t exactly perfect. We will definitely use Gwen again when we go back for our tour of Poland.
My son and I are both history buffs, and for a quick father-son bonding trip, we decided to learn about WW2 and to immerse ourselves in Krakow and Berlin – with the guidance of Gwen at Exeter International. We visited Krakow for two nights and Berlin for three nights, with day excursions out of the city to see Auschwitz (from Krakow) and Potsdam from Berlin. Aside from the flawless operations, everything went without a hitch, the trip was beyond words for us. Visiting the sites and learning firsthand about the history was huge, and of course the content itself was moving. Everything from the hotel selection, itinerary planning, guide selection and all of the little details gave us just what we were hoping for…a 6-day history lesson executed with style! Specifically, their guides made it a spectacular trip as we were in the presence of true experts, historians and professional hosts. I highly recommend Gwen and the team at Exeter for any journeys in the regions where they operate. It was life-changing. Thank you Gwen!!
Gwen and her team were wonderful to work with. The trip went so well. All of the guides and drivers were on time, were so knowledgeable and made the trip so enjoyable. We would definitely work with Gwen again and would highly recommend her to others.
Gwen and her staff were fantastic, patiently crafting our wonderful vacation to Krakow, Prague and Budapest in October, 2015. Gwen’s prompt and thorough response to phone calls and emails makes you feel like you are her only client. Our itinerary, accommodations and guides were all top notch. I highly recommend Gwen and her team!
We just returned from our trip to Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Vienna, & Budapest. I found Gwen and Exeter International through the WOW list, and we could not be happier with our experience. I had detailed interaction with Gwen in planning our trip, and she and her team came up with a fabulous trip. We had a few uniquely arranged experiences in every location. The guides were friendly, personable, knowledgeable, and spoke English perfectly. Beyond the guides, there was also great in-country support with her contacts that responded to some changes we wanted to make as well. They were all flexible and responsive to our requests. We loved our hotels, not big chain properties but pretty places with nice sized rooms, fitness centers, and very good service. Gwen suggested great restaurants and truly, as “foodies”, we were thrilled with the restaurants that were suggested and chosen. Everything was SEAMLESS and great and I recommend Gwen and Exeter VERY highly!!
WOW! Wow is right on spot to describe our Austria trip planned and handled by Gwen Kozlowski and the Exeter International team from October 15 – 26. From the beginning, our needs were all taken into account, including working within our budget, and more importantly, making sure all accommodations, restaurants, sites chosen, and tours were as handicap accessible as possible. (This means wheelchairs were ready and available when needed, and a legal and a valid handicapped parking permit was obtained for the days when we were self-driving in the country side.)
I told Gwen we are interested in food, wine, history, and art. Our itinerary reflected these interests perfectly. Her selection of accommodations were top notch and varied from the well-known, perfectly located, grand Hotel Sacher Salzburg with its congenial, yet professional staff to the beautiful, shabby chic B & B, Mooslechners Bürgerhaus, in Rust. However, my two favorites turned out to be the exquisite, historical Schloss Dürnstein, where we felt like royalty (and their decor, service, food, and entertainment was the basis for that). The most surprising was the flamboyant, funky, and perfectly located, in Museum Quarter, Hotel Sans Souci in Vienna. Surprising was the purple velvet, purple paint, and purple lighting, all very modern, yet baroque at the same time and the most beautiful indoor swimming pool and excellent spa.
So, obviously, Gwen knows her clients’ tastes, and she takes care of any problem immediately. We only had one bauble, contacted her, and it was resolved in less than two hours. She has some serious stroke in Austria!
Our private tours and excellent guides were the highlight of the trip. Both my husband and I agree that our favorite experience on the trip was with Martin, a third generation member of a local wine making family, who was able to take us to the incredible Nikolaihof Winery in the Wachau Valley above the Danube which produces my favorite Grüner Veltliner wine. We toured the unpicked grapes in their vineyard, their wine making facility, the beautiful and historical cellars, and met the family at lunch on site. The family matriarch sold and autographed her latest cookbook (available in German or English) to me. My husband also really enjoyed the walkability, friendliness, and history of the town of Salzburg. Other special places not to be missed were the Melk Abbey, and the Catholic Cathedral on the grounds of the State Psychiatric Hospital in Vienna. And, I can’t leave out our wonderful wine tasting without mentioning the kind and generous visit with wine maker, Heidi Schröck in Rust. We have already figured out how to buy both her wines and those from Nikolaihof here in the states.
Two Exeter services especially added to our trip. First, were the daily restaurant recommendations and reservations. The food was invariably good, and there was a lot of variety in the food and style. We did cancel several nights and just caved in to street food. Our two favorites were Carpe Diem Finest Finger food, which reflects the current food scene in Salzburg, and Vestibul in Vienna where the famous owner/chef made sure we had an all-around special experience from personally matching our wines to our food to autographing and selling me his cookbook. The second service was the provision of the pre-programmed GPS for our rental car. The mere touch of a button got us to every hotel, restaurant, tour site, etc. Big help and stress reducer!
We would highly recommend Gwen and Exeter International. A great travel experience.
We used both Alex and Gwen for this trip to Eastern Europe and they were very helpful in planning our trip. I would not hesitate to use them again and would recommend them highly. The order they set to see the cities we visited was perfect and the hotels they picked were terrific, as were their guides.
Gwen and her team did an awesome job coordinating a trip to Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic for us. It was a big trip, which included several biking excursions, visits to small towns where my grandparents lived, castles, gardens, concerts, museums, galleries, wineries, and even a strudel-making lesson! There were well-informed guides for each country, and good, dependable drivers available for those activities and days when we were on our own. We were blessed with excellent weather, and we got lots of exercise, which we needed to work off the incredible food. Gwen and her team were responsive and flexible in helping to plan and execute this complicated trip, and I recommend her highly!
I recently returned from at trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague that was planned by Gwen Kozlowski and Lori Hinkle of Exeter International. My wife, daughter, and I had a marvelous experience. Gwen and Lori were helpful in the planning stages, both suggesting options and accommodating our requests. Our guides were good or (mostly) excellent; they not only showed the sights to us, but shared their cities and histories. Highlights were the private tour of the Strahov Monastery Library which is typically not open to visitors, and a visit to two family wineries in Durnstein. Our hotels in Budapest and Vienna couldn’t have been nicer and all our hotels were well-situated for our roamings. I would have no hesitations working with Gwen and Lori again.