Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

My older child kept exclaiming, "Mom, Croatia is paradise!" They're not wrong.
Kim Segal | September 14, 2023

My husband, two children (ages 4 and 6) and I just returned from a 2.5-week trip through Croatia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro, coordinated by Ala and her fabulous team. The trip was, in a word, perfection—so thoughtfully planned out and orchestrated, with amazing guides, fabulous restaurant recommendations, and superb on-the-ground service. It was the first large international trip we’ve taken with our two kids, and it ended up surpassing all our expectations. My older child kept exclaiming, “Mom, Croatia is paradise!” They’re not wrong.

Ala did a wonderful job of recommending hotels that were family-friendly, given the constraints she was working with (some areas in Croatia really just don’t have true luxury hotels yet like I am used to). One highlight was the Relais & Chateaux property Maslina, on the island of Hvar, which is a true gem—everyone should splurge and stay there. It’s located a 20-minute walk from Stari Grad (there’s a beautiful paved path that winds along the coast), had exceptional food, great rooms with gorgeous views, a truly attentive staff who took care of everything, and two great pools for the kids to enjoy—along with a kids’ club which my two children loved. While on the island we also had an incredible full-day private boat charter to the Pakleni Islands, fully arranged by Ala, and it was magical—we swam in beautiful azure waters, saw fish (it was my older child’s first time donning goggles to “snorkel” and they loved it!); and took in incredible views. Many times, we were one of only a few boats located in our swimming area. We also enjoyed an amazing meal at a restaurant in Hvar town with a beautiful, quaint outdoor terrace area, which was easy to settle on as Ala’s team provided a full suite of restaurant recommendations in each area we visited.

One of the things our family most appreciated about Ala was her ability to pivot on the fly and suggest plans that would work best for our younger children, as we were not sure what would and wouldn’t work for our kids. In Split, for example, Ala put us in a charming hotel right in the historic palace area, but its size and location meant it lacked the amenities my kids like (think pools, beach access, etc.). When I inquired about a good public beach to visit, knowing my kids would want some beach time on this stop, Ala was quick to help us set up an afternoon at Le Meridien outside of town (and coordinate transportation for us as well)—all on an hour’s notice. While not a traditional activity that most would plan—and not something I would have found on my own—it was perfect for my family, as the kids spent the day being fishes and I spent the afternoon reading a book seaside.

As I mentioned above, this was our first large, multi-country trip with our children and we didn’t know exactly what to expect—we were learning as we went. Ala made herself and her team available at all times—via WhatsApp or phone—to pivot and make changes as I requested. And, while I didn’t expect to, I ended up making multiple change requests! We were able to shift tour start times to better align with our schedule once we ended up on-continent, and we added / subtracted items as we realized what worked best for our family. On our drive to Herzegovina, Ala was happy to flex our schedule on a day’s notice so that we could stop at Kravica waterfall, where one can swim at the base of the falls—something that our two kids really enjoyed! We bought small nets from the vendor at the base of the waterfall and one of my kids “caught” their first fish—a huge moment for them! Our tour guides flexed their schedules to accommodate our children’s interests (or lack of interest in history), and were quick to share advice with us about local restaurants, things to see or do, etc.—in Mostar we ended up attending a Bosnian Street Food festival one evening, complete with a DJ and a bouncy house (something my kids were thrilled about!) because our guide made sure to mention it to us and show us where it was set up—it wasn’t something we ever would have found on our own. Our guide in Mostar also took us back down the residential streets to our hotel, passing a huge street art installation she knew was being worked on that day, simply because I mentioned how much I was enjoying the street art we passed.

The level of attention to detail and full-service offerings from Ala and team just made this trip such a dream. Our family had the best time and our two children are already asking to go back (especially to Maslina and the One&Only in Montenegro!). While there are many other places on the planet I long to visit, I am sure that we will return to Croatia in the future and when we do, Ala will be the first person I reach out to. If you’re considering a trip to Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, or Montenegro, do yourself a favor and contact Ala—she will ensure it is the trip of a lifetime.

All travel went seamlessly, which seems near impossible in this travel climate...
Elizabeth Breen | August 25, 2023

We had a wonderful trip to Croatia with our college-aged son. Ala’s team arranged every transfer, hotel and tour. All travel went seamlessly, which seems near impossible in this travel climate. We appreciated both of our very knowledgable tour guides (Split and Dubrovnik) and learned a great deal about the history of the area and some Game of Thrones filming sites. Hvar was charming and gorgeous. Our final day on a chartered sailboat was truly special. I would recommend Ala and her team with high marks!

One fun excursion Ala planned was a trip to a family farm near Dubrovnik, where we took a cooking class
Candy Vidovich | August 10, 2023

We had a great family heritage trip to Croatia. My husband Mark Vidovich’s family is from Lovran, Croatia. We traveled from July 1- July 9 with our kids. Our travel planner, Ala Osmond, did a fantastic job planning and arranging the experience. The hotels, especially the Grand Park Hotel in Rovinj, were spectacular. Croatia is a beautiful country, and the people are wonderful. One fun excursion Ala planned was a trip to a family farm near Dubrovnik, where we took a cooking class. We all really enjoyed ourselves and the family was so warm and inviting. I highly recommend this to anyone visiting that area. Restaurant 360 in Dubrovnik was a must-do. The food and service were the best.

We did 3 boat trips (1 sailboat and 2 motorboats), 2 cooking classes, and several wine tastings
Jeffrey Cohen | July 16, 2023

My wife and I traveled to Croatia from June 25, 2023, returning July 4, 2023. We worked with Ala Osmond. We stayed in Dubrovnik (Hotel Excelsior) for 3 nights, HVAR (Maslina Resort in Stari Grad) for 4 nights and Split (Santa Lucia Heritage Hotel) for 2 nights. All 3 hotels were excellent, and the Excelsior and Maslina Resort were both on the water. The Santa Lucia Hotel was in the main square about 3 blocks from the water. We wanted to relax, so we did minimal sightseeing. Instead we did 3 boat trips (1 sailboat and 2 motorboats), 2 cooking classes, and several wine tastings, which we enjoyed very much. The people of Croatia are very warm and genuine people, and we loved the country. The drivers and tour guides selected by Ala were on time, very knowledgeable, and very nice. One day we were scheduled to leave at 10 AM for an 8-hour boat trip to Vis Island. The night before I received an e-mail from Ala’s team that there would be bad weather the next day, so she pushed the boat trip to start at 2 PM. We woke up to thunder, lightning and rain, but it was clear when we left at 2 PM, and we had a great afternoon. We received a refund for the lost time on the boat before we arrived home from our vacation. The whole trip was a highlight, but I would say the top 2 were an 8-hour sailboat, where we then stopped for lunch on a small island, and the cooking class in Split. The food was excellent throughout. The best 2 restaurants we went to were Restaurant 360 in Dubrovnik and Zoi in Split. I would highly recommend Croatia, and specifically Ala and her team, to anyone who is considering their next vacation.

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