Gwen and Sylvia on her team were very receptive to our ideas and were also forthcoming with their own suggestions. We spent a week in Prague at the Augustine hotel, recommended by the travel agent. And, it was wonderful: excellent service, large room, good food both at breakfast and at dinner and perfect location for wandering around this beautiful city. And two of our days, we took guided tours; and our guides were wonderful, informative, educational, and very personable. We would definitely use them again; appreciated their willingness to work with us even though we were only going to be traveling for one week; and, we did not want to book tours for every day. They made wonderful suggestions about what we could do on our own. We had a great week!
My husband and I just returned from our third private trip with the Exeter team to Eastern Europe. This time we visited Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, and Gdansk and just as before, it could not have been easier to plan or better to experience. We contacted Gwen Kozlowski just 6 weeks before we wanted to travel but Dasha and Gwen made it all happen. We exchanged some ideas on the itinerary and in no time at all, everything was confirmed. As always, they gave us great recommendations on what we should do and also adjusted for some special requests/interests. All 4 hotels were terrific, all the guides and drivers were excellent and even when we had a seriously delayed flight from Vilnius to Gdansk, Gwen’s representative in Poland contacted us, updated the plan, reassured us about timing, and adjusted seamlessly so that we did not miss a thing. Eastern Europe is fascinating and we can’t wait to visit some new places with their help. A fabulous trip, filled with educational and memorable experiences!
Gwen was terrific from our first email until we returned. She helped plan an excellent trip, the guides were terrific as were the drivers. The contact in Poland was responsive immediately when we had 2 issues with pickups. Gwen helped with reservations for hotels and meals even beyond the Poland portion of our trip. One of the important things was her quick responses and always making us feel our trip was important to her. I have already recommended her to several friends.
Wendy, thank you for providing your WOW List. I had always used a travel agent in Chicago who recently retired. We travel a great deal and do some trips ad hoc, but felt Poland and the important history made having guides important. Often, I use context tours, but when I contacted them, they said they do not do Poland and recommended I go to your website..it all worked out perfectly. Poland is a very emotionally straining trip, but I felt we had wonderful insight and experiences. Gwen must remain on your list.
We loved our local guides…..they were wonderful. Our driver, in Tivat, was a professional basketball player who had traveled the world. He was so good with kids. Our guide in Belgrade was so great he helped me organize other outings and he was great with kids. The bread museum was so cool! The owners let us into their house to show my girls 3-day old kittens. It was so sweet.
Gwen Kozlowski planned and executed an absolutely amazing trip to Vienna and Prague for my family. During our first phone conversation, Gwen asked questions to understand how we like to travel (the type of hotel, things to do, the food we like, etc.), especially when it came to what would interest our 17-year-old son. I told her that our son is passionate about playing piano, particularly the music of classical and romantic era composers. Gwen put together an itinerary that included visits to Mozart’s and Beethoven’s apartments in Vienna, and a visit to the cemetery in Vienna where Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, and Schönberg are buried. She also arranged for us to go to an exhibit that included one of Mozart’s original manuscripts. In Prague she included visits to a collection that included the original score to Beethoven’s third symphony, as well as access to Strahov Library that tourists typically only get to view from a distance – we got to wander among the stacks! We also got spray paint our “tags” on the famous Lennon Wall! Gwen paired us with fabulous guides who, by the time we left, felt more like friends than mere guides. One bonus was our guide in Vienna is from a musical family so she had unique insights into Viennese musical history. Gwen also recommended great restaurants and even made our dinner reservations before we left so we never had to worry about where to have great dinners. All in all, once our plane landed in Vienna everything happened smoothly and seamlessly. I would not hesitate to use Gwen again or to recommend her to anyone traveling to Central or Eastern Europe.
1. The logistics were flawless. We had multiple airport/train pickups and drop-offs, some of them at unusual hours. Multiple restaurant reservations and hotel check-ins, multiple meetings with guides. Everyone they used was on time and waiting for us when we needed them. They made it extremely easy and took the stress out of the trip.
2. The hotel rooms we got were great – I realize we were the ones paying for them, but they clearly knew the properties and got us good rooms with great views.
3. The guides were good – one of them very good.
4. Everything else they told us, ranging from restaurant recommendations, ability to use Uber, itinerary suggestions, etc., was spot on in terms of accuracy and quality. Their food recommendations were particularly good. Gwen clearly knows Poland extremely well.
We went to Prague in December. The guide provided was wonderful and helpful. The schedule was worked out reflecting our interests and the VIP tours were exceptional experiences.
The guide was excellent, interesting with great insights. Helped to skip the lines as well. Everyone was very responsive by email, even to random questions.
We could not have been happier with our experience from the planning stage on. Gwen talked with us to find out our interests then arranged an itinerary and suggested restaurants that were perfect. All the travel arrangements from airport pickup to drop off were smooth with all the drivers there ahead of time. We want to give special credit to the guide Gwen arranged for our first day. Claudia was knowledgeable about the art and architecture and history of the Hapsburgs and managed to convey a sense of it all in a memorable way.
Thank you for recommending Gwen and her team.
Gwen and her team were extremely responsive and knowledgeable. We would highly recommend them.
Although Gwen only helped us with a day and one half in Budapest and in Prague bookending our Backroads bike trip, she was very helpful. She even helped me choose my hotels which I was booking on points. We had some special experiences, the wine district outside Budapest and visiting with the Holocaust survivor in Prague that we would not have had on our own. I would recommend Gwen without hesitation.
The guides hired by Gwen were all excellent, well-informed about history in each locale, personable, experienced and good communicators. Gwen’s team responded quickly to questions I had during the trip. We traveled in October 2017.
Gwen Kozlowski crafted a five week itinerary that allowed my
wife and I to travel throughout Croatia and Slovenia and to get an overview of Bosnia &
Herzegovina. This historical and cultural tour was ideal. We had outstanding guides, the
same driver throughout the trip, excellent hotels, the opportunity to tour many wineries
as well as the chance to visit several islands by boat. We visited each of the places of
historical significance within these countries. Our in-country support was monitored and coordinated by Natasha Lovric who ensured that everything proceeded as planned. After all, the devil is always in the details and there were many arrangements on this trip and all were executed flawlessly. Special thanks for my birthday celebration. Unfortunately, we had to curtail our adventure for health reasons and we very much appreciated the supporting arrangements made by Gwen to get us home early. This is our 3rd lengthy trip planned by Gwen and each has exceeded our expectations. We highly recommend Gwen and her team for travel to the Balkans, to Eastern Europe, to Russia and to Scandinavia.
This is the second time that my wife and I have used Gwen and her staff. Our trip to Romania and Bulgaria (September 2017 for two weeks) was just as well orchestrated as our prior trip to Russia. Gwen and Silvia are tops in customizing to meet the special needs and interests of their clients. Their firm excels because they do not attempt to be all things to all people. Their specialization and expertise results in exceptional and flawless execution. Excellent guides, well thought out itineraries, good property selection creating unique experiences…..the real deal.
We could not have been more pleased. Highly recommended.
We had a wonderful trip to Poland and Austria. We expected to like Austria — we just stayed in Vienna — more than Poland but ended up loving the food and experiences we had in Warsaw and Krakow. Our guides in both countries were phenomenal — deeply knowledgeable, flexible and fun. We would highly recommend both countries.
Gwen did a great job with our trip, and we had a fabulous time. Her guides were excellent, and her hotels were varied and interesting. We liked that she had local contacts in each country, and her well-organized guidebook/itinerary was very useful. Her help booking the rental car and recommending concerts worked very well also. We booked our trip last-minute, and communication was a little spotty (I could tell she was very busy as we got into summer), but she absolutely came through in the end.
Utilized Gwen and her team for our recent visit to Lithuania and would do so again. My son and I had a unique, customized adventure which was well executed and benefited from the first-hand experience of Gwen and her team. We would utilize her again and recommend to others.
We used the recommendation of Wendy Perrin and used Gwen Kozlowski and Silva on her team for our three days stay in Berlin this past April/May. They were able to get us to the sites we wanted to see all the while working around our tight schedule and a major European holiday, May Day. Additionally, a surprise to us was that most stores and such are closed on Sunday as well. It was unfortunate that we could not change our travel dates so be aware of holidays in other countries before you book anything. However, they were able to help us plan and maximize our time with seeing the sites we wanted to see. Gwen and Silvia were able to provide us with hotel recommendations that were able to make use of our time in that the hotels were in the hub of ‘tourist/historic’ area. Easy walk to the Brandenburg Gate at sunset. Easy walk to the Island Museums, which were open on Sunday and the holiday!
Also, the guide that was arraigned for us was excellent. I cannot say enough positive things about Daniel. His excellent command of English, his in-depth knowledge of history and culture of Berlin and Germany were a highlight of our trip. He helped us navigate the subway, trains and other transportation as well. Some of the little-known facts about Potsdam and St. Catherine’s Palace, Daniel could relate them and provide insight that you just can’t get from a book. And for me, Daniel was able to fit in a stop at the wonderful department store KaDaWe. Fabulous!
I would definitely use Gwen and Silvia again. Silvia is a foodie like me so do schedule enough time to enjoy the food at KaDeWe. And Silvia was also able to get a reservation for us at the top of the Reichstag for lunch at the restaurant and enjoy the view on a beautiful spring day.
Just got back from Prague (March 2017). It was only one day yet Gwen was to put together a program that fit our needs perfectly. We were at a conference in Wroclaw and on our own, planned a visit Auschwitz on our way to Prague. Even though we had not hired Gwen for that portion of the trip, she made several suggestions on transportation and lodging that we found invaluable – and never would have figured it out on our own (or at least not nearly as well). Thanks again Gwen.
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. Can’t 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.