PANDEMIC TRAVEL Great Recommendations and deep knowledge of the area…..
Just back from a lovely trip to French Polynesia. Kleon Howe did a great job of recommending interesting places to stay and things to do, helping us to narrow and hone our itinerary. He suggested two things in particular we would not have known about otherwise–the magical Vahine Island Resort which would not be perfect for everyone but he understood how much we would respond to its charm and also the delightful Villa Mahana restaurant on Bora Bora. Both those, and our Bora Bora hotel, the St. Regis, knew him and greeted us warmly as his clients with personal notes and welcome treats. All the connections and details were flawless and made everything easy. He also was responsive and current on Covid concerns and regulations. In addition to our travel materials, we appreciated that he provided an informative and curated packet on the islands and their history and culture with maps and resources.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL My husband, daughter (21), and I visited French Polynesia. We were there from January 1-8, 2022. Kleon Howe was our travel planner. I wanted a planner that specialized in that area and he did a remarkable job for us. I can’t imagine planning all of this myself especially during a pandemic. Omicron was just hitting the U.S. and the world right at the time we were to depart. Kleon was able to keep us informed of the constant changes in testing and vaccine requirements. Of course, he also made sure we had proper travel insurance well before our trip.
After listening to what we were looking for in this vacation, Kleon suggested spending time on 2 different islands: Le Tahaa and Bora Bora. He sent us many options for restaurants and activities. He had first hand experience with some of the resorts, restaurants, and activities. This insight was invaluable. The best thing about using Kleon and Wendy Perrin’s other agents is that every thing goes so smoothly. At every point, we had someone to greet us and lead us to the next stop. We never had to wander around and try to figure out logistics ourselves. Kleon even made notes on our local flights as to which side of the plane we should sit on to get the best view.
This was the trip of a lifetime. I won’t hesitate to use another agent on The WOW List!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Our trip to French Polynesia on October 9 to November 3, 2021 included the islands of Tahiti (Intercontinental), Huahine (Lapita, and Le Mahana), Vahine motu near Tahaa, atoll Tikehau (Pearl Resort) and Morea (Sofitel), all highly recommended.
What a pleasure it was to have Kleon arrange another vacation trip for us to French Polynesia in October 2021. Kleon had organized a memorable wedding anniversary trip to Tahiti for us two years ago, so in early 2021, expecting that the Covid-19 pandemic with its associated lock-downs would hopefully soon be over, we asked Kleon, through Wendy, to arrange another trip to Tahiti with the excuse it was to celebrate a significant birthday.
We had very specific requirements for our trip: about 4 weeks long with stays in about 5 different islands or atolls, small resorts, quiet, all within our budget, but with the option of exceeding the budget for something exceptional. Leading up to the trip, Kleon kept us informed about changing requirements for entry to French Polynesia, so we could get prepared and schedule any required tests.
Kleon provided everything we asked for, small quiet resorts on 4 islands and one atoll, ocean front & spacious bungalows with privacy, all with snorkeling, great food and wine and friendly congenial staff. Kleon also arranged for a very appropriate WOW Moment, two bottles of French wine and a massage. It was such a pleasure to make the trip arranged by Kleon, because we did not have to worry about any of the details: internal flights between the islands were all pre-booked, the transfers between the airports and the resorts mostly private…..no more having to deal with aggressive taxi drivers or overloaded vans, or wondering how to get to the next location…….It was all seamless: we got off the plane, were met by a driver and van or a boat, and were promptly delivered to our next location.
Of course, the concern about Covid-19 was everywhere, but we felt safe and secure thanks to Kleon’s advice and familiarity with the resorts. At all the resorts we visited, guests were required to wear masks when in contact with other people (even if most of the guests were double or even triple vaccinated), and certainly ALL the staff we encountered in Tahiti wore masks.
Getting our Covid-19 test before leaving Tahiti was of great concern to us. We had to get the Molecular PCR test to enter Canada, which usually takes 24-48 hours. It just so happened that we were leaving on a Tuesday evening, and the labs were closed on Sat, Sun, and Monday since it was a Tahitian holiday. Kleon overcame all obstacles about getting us the test. We were staying at the Sofitel on the island of Morea, and Kleon arranged for an early Tuesday morning taxi to take us to the testing lab for our Covid PCR tests. When we checked out of the hotel at 4 pm same day, the hotel’s reception, plus the concierge, each handed us copies of the Covid test results. We would not have been able to get that organized without Kleon.
Thank you, Kleon, for another great trip.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL This is the second trip that Kleon has planned for us to French Polynesia, and as expected he did not disappoint. He went above and beyond to incorporate experiences we were adamant about, while also educating us as to the best experiences in each unique place we visited. He effortlessly took all of the high points from our first trip, and built on them to give us new unique experiences catered to our preferences. We’ve traveled to many wonderful countries through Wendy Perrin’s Wow List, but Kleon is without question our favorite.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Our end of July anniversary trip to French Polynesia was awesome! We have wanted to take this trip for close to 15 years. While we didn’t necessarily choose the destination solely because of the pandemic, it was a location we felt comfortable with during the pandemic. Kleon offered us key information and great perspectives that helped us pick the St Regis in Bora Bora as we were also considering several other Bora Bora resorts. Kleon was also essential in helping us navigate the Covid 19 requirements for entry. He was on the phone with us for almost 2 hours helping us fill out the multiple online entry forms and followed up with us to make sure we received all of the necessary forms back with the approvals. We would not have wanted to manage this process on our own. The St Regis was phenomenal. It was such a beautiful setting. The villas were spectacular. The food was wonderful. The staff were amazingly attentive and friendly and they were all masked inside and almost always outside too. Kleon helped us pick two off-resort excursions. The first was a great snorkeling trip where we stopped at 4 spots and got to see manta rays, leopard rays and an amazing collection of fish and coral. There were only 2 other couples with us along with the guide. The second one was a whale watching trip that we couldn’t book until after we arrived and the first whales were spotted, as we were there at the very beginning of the season. We ultimately booked a private trip on our last day through the St Regis concierge, as Kleon had advised us to check in with them on our arrival as they would be the first to know if and when the whales were there. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any whales BUT it was a beautiful day, our guides were wonderful and we got to circle the whole island and learn quite a bit of island history and whale knowledge. A few minor disappointments: 1) the second resort pool was closed for renovations; we were disappointed that Kleon’s contacts hadn’t shared that information with him so that our expectations could have been managed ahead and 2) although our villa was truly spectacular as said above and we had the mountain view Kleon recommended, we were not as far along the dock as we would have liked and which was what Kleon requested for us. Overall, it was a phenomenal trip. It is absolutely a place we would love to return to except that there are so so many other places in the world we still want to visit! We will absolutely recommend The St Regis Bora Bora and Kleon to our friends.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Kleon was absolutely fantastic to work with! He was very responsive to questions and emails and I always felt like he had time for us and our questions or needs. We didn’t call often, but especially when we were getting our covid tests, he always answered our calls. I don’t remember ever needing to leave him a voicemail. He has a really calm and easy going demeanor that was so helpful with all the changes and restrictions due to covid. With covid, he was so helpful in making sure we had everything we needed to get in. He even filled out our paperwork online with us on the phone so that he would know how it worked for future clients (we were his first clients to go since the second closure). I am so so grateful we had Kleon to help us get through all the covid stuff, it was so helpful and he was just amazing.
We absolutely loved the trip he planned for us! I have never been on a trip where every guide was great, but that happened on this trip. There was not a single activity we scheduled that wasn’t amazing. He even helped make sure that I could go on a food tour with my dietary restrictions, and even though he never got verbal confirmation before the tour (and he offered to refund us my portion if it was not acceptable), the tour went off without a hitch. At the end of the tour, our guide told us that whoever we had hired was amazing and persistent, so clearly Kleon had really been making a huge effort for me.
I think in my mind, I always thought there was a good chance this would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip because it’s just far. Our return trip was 23 hours or so, thanks to an awful 7 hour layover in LAX. But after being there, I’m quite confident we’ll be going again, it was just too amazing. And when we go, we’ll be hiring Kleon again, no question.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL There were three areas where Kleon provided super value.
First, I would have passed on The Brando if it wasn’t for Kleon, and that would have been a mistake. Why? The price—it’s expensive. But it was well worth it. … It’s the finest resort we’ve ever stayed at anywhere in the world, in terms of service, privacy, and attention to detail.
Second, I don’t think we could have found testing, if it were not for Kleon.
And third, not huge, but we made a decision while at The Brando that we wanted to visit a pearl market, and he made those arrangements for us on the fly and organized the transportation for us.
Without Kleon, the trip would have been a much less enjoyable experience—or we might not have been able to go at all. That’s because French Polynesia’s entry requirements changed while we were going through the planning process. Just having Kleon hold our hand through it and make sure we did it correctly was very reassuring.
Editor’s note: You can read a full interview with the Gobles here.
Kleon went truly above and beyond….to understand our interests and desires and then craft a perfect travel experience. To begin, we spoke on the phone for 45 minutes–building confidence and trust, through great communication. My adult daughter and I are fairly seasoned international travelers. It was Kleon who suggested the Cook Islands. (…..and what a super destination. The islands were not on our radar, at all.) We had a wonderful Christmas, beside the world’s MOST lovely lagoon. We loved meeting the Cook Islands folks and learning some new crafts. We are completely hooked on using a Wendy Perrin recommended travel expert to help us plan our future trips. The most delightful and unexpected moments of a lifetime are just around the corner.
Kleon is extremely knowledgeable about French Polynesia and the options available to explore the islands. With his guidance, our family of 4 chose an amazing 9 night catamaran charter followed by a luxurious 5 night stay at the Intercontinental Thalasso in Bora Bora. At the Intercontinental, we received special treatment that can be attributed to Kleon’s influence.
Thanks to Kleon, each portion of our trip surpassed our expectations, and we will remember it forever.
Kleon is very easy to work with and is great about clearly sharing the rationale for his recommendations. We only made a few tweaks to his original recommendations, In retrospect, I could have been clearer with about our family’s willingness to get up early – we had one connection that required a 5:40 am wake-up – but this was a minor glitch in what was otherwise an awesome trip.
Kleon designed our 50th Anniversary celebration trip exactly as we requested, and within our budget. We stayed in small boutique resorts on six different islands (Tahiti Iti, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Fakarava, Rangiroa), always in a beachfront chalet, once in an over water bungalow and once on a steep mountainside with spectacular views of the lagoon, reef and ocean beyond. Each accommodation and setting was different from the previous ones, so we had a chance to experience a broad range of seashores, mountains and culture.The associated restaurants were mostly excellent, serving fresh fish and seafood. Only once we were assigned an unsuitable bungalow and Kleon immediately responded to our e-mail and arranged for a change.
In the past 30 years, we usually planned and organized our trips ourselves (including a trip to French Polynesia and Cook Islands 20 years ago). This time we were looking for a bit upscale treatment. Designing this trip on our own would have been a real challenge, choosing the right accommodation and coordinating all the flights and transfers. Kleon was always very responsive to our multiple queries and questions and we would highly recommend his services.
Kleon planned an extraordinary adventure for our 50th wedding anniversary!
He asked very specific questions and was meticulous about making sure that out trip to Tahiti catered to our wishes and contained everything we requested and more.
We stayed at two very different hotels (one on Bora Bora and a second on Tetiaroa). The service at each was impeccable. Everyone seemed to know our names and go out of their way to help.
There was never a “glitch”- each day was perfect!
I cannot imagine a better way to celebrate a life event.
Thank you Kleon!
This was our second trip with Kleon Howe, and it lived up to the expectations created by the first trip. This time we were returning to Samoa, where we first visited 25 years ago. This was a little different than the first trip Kleon did for us, where we didn’t have a clue about what we wanted to do; this time we had some knowledge of the place and at least a general idea of where we did and did not want to go. Working with Kleon was just as satisfying under these circumstances. It’s easy to assume that a specialist agent won’t be as helpful when you are on a return trip than he was when you were in terra incognita, but this is absolutely not the case. Kleon steered us toward the best kind of car, hotels that weren’t under construction or where the beach was better, and helped us stay away from the flash but generic resorts we dislike, without resorting to “garden toilets.” With his help, we were able to appreciate what is new about Samoa, but also to re-experience the things that led us to return, to begin with.
Kleon listened closely to our interests and did an excellent job planning appropriately. He matched us up to excellent whale tour operators. In fact, he helped add additional whale watching trips while we were there, during his weekend off. I was able to swim we have a whale for 2 1/2 hours, some time getting as close as 10 yards. The trip flowed smoothly . He recommended excellent accommodations on the three islands we visited, each with very good snorkeling.
When recently planning a long trip to Australia, we contacted Kleon Howe when it became clear that we did not have a good way of sorting out and coordinating the many, many possible destinations, activities, hotel choices, and options so that they would fit into the allotted time, flow reasonably from one to the next, allow enough time (but not too much) at each destination so that we could really get to know it without getting bored, and satisfy our desire for detailed, flexibly-paced encounters with nature and culture and our wish to avoid groups and crowds. The trip Kleon put together for us was practically perfect in every way. He found us great hotels, wonderful guides who seemingly knew everything (including the names of the koalas and who had a new joey), and created a pace that suited us exactly. We were not overscheduled or rushed, we were never bored, and we saw and learned so much more than we expected! As an example, it would never have occurred to us to book three days with a guide at Uluru—as far as we could tell, it was a big rock, right? Instead of a superficial glance, we had long excursions over terrain that varied culturally as well as geologically, and learned about the many factors that have shaped this region. We saw vistas and differences in the texture of the rock from place to place, and we learned how the land is managed. By the end, we saw the outback with completely different eyes than we had coming in. The same thing happened everywhere we went—thanks to Kleon, we spent our time with guides who had deep knowledge of and affection for the places they showed us. Our WOW moment in Cairns was a wonderful gift—dinner under ancient trees, with stories and lessons on didgeridoo technique from our indigenous hosts. This kind of trip planning takes time and team work, but the end in our case was OUR trip, and not anyone else’s. We had a wonderful, wonderful time.
Hi my name is Patricia Ilisu, on your recommendation I have used the services of Kleon Howe to assist us with the organization of a once in a lifetime trip to French Polynesia. This was very short notice and Kleon was wonderful in lining up a lovely trip in a very short period of time. I told him our style of travel, no crowds, no touristy stuff just experience nature, culture, food and photography. His recommendations were perfect. Had I organized this I would have never picked Huahine as an island to visit and it was beautiful and the hotel, although rustic, had the best food we had on the entire trip. The highlight of the vacation was the catamaran sail from Huahine to Taha, Rangiroa and Bora. A boat picked us up from the hotel dock in Huahine and dropped us at the hotel dock in Bora. The crew was fantastic Tamatoa the skipper took us to amazing snorkeling sites and Virginie our hostess cooked most amazing meals and made sure we had a memorable experience. Bora Bora is a must do the first time around but I would not go back if we decide to go back to French Polynesia, and that is just because it is so darn expensive and touristy. The only thing Keon could not fix was the weather :))), we had an unusual amount of rain for the period.
Kleon was an excellent resource during the planning, scheduling and actual trip we took during the holidays. We knew we wanted to go to the South Pacific but had no idea where to start. Kleon “interviewed” our wants and budget and put together the perfect package. During our almost 3 week adventure, we enjoyed both the Cook and Tahiti Islands (5 islands total) with virtually NO issues. Our favorites were Aitutaki and of course, Bora Bora. Each resort stay was perfect with extra touches like flowers on the bed and complimentary champagne/wine. My birthday is New Year’s Day, so Kleon arranged for us to stay at the perfect place to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Rangiroa where the buffet and fireworks were AMAZING!!! If you are considering traveling to this area, I HIGHLY recommend Kleon.
Kleon listened to our desires for the details on how we like to vacation, such as quiet locations, no cities or crowds, and to have a relaxing schedule. Not having been to French Polynesia, we had no idea where to go, or even if our timeframe made sense. He explained all those specifics to us, to help in our date planning. He even suggested airlines and routes. The trip was planned end to end, so we didn’t have to figure out the maze of airport to hotel to ferry, etc, which made for a very stress free trip. He documented the specifics of our trip in our itinerary so that we knew what to expect every step of the way, including phone numbers if something went awry – it didn’t! He provided restaurant and activity suggestions that were included with our package. Made it very nice to not have to remember all the details, we could always refer to the package.
One big item he suggested, that we never would have thought of ourselves, was to charter a catamaran. What a wonderful suggestion! Our captain and cook were so nice and knowledgeable. We were on the boat for 5 nights, and our only regret is that we didn’t have the catamaran booked for longer! What was truly wonderful is they took us to many coral gardens that we never would have made it to ourselves, and we were typically the only people there. We also got to see sharks, and feed the sting rays. The crew was very excited to share the spots with us, and to provide us with an amazing trip.
We highly recommend Kleon!
Kleon helped us plan a superb trip to French Polynesia. He listened carefully to our requests and arranged things seamlessly. He offered suggestions that we hadn’t considered— several days on a catamaran were a highlight.
He added extra touches. Our overwater bungalow in Bora Bora was at the end of a row of several bungalows, looking out at what seemed to be our own private lagoon—we could watch colorful fish pass by right from the deck—and we found several surprise amenities upon check-in (including champagne). He got us a perfect table at Villa Mahana, on the third level of a Mediterranean-style villa—very private, overlooking a reflecting pool and the candlelit tables of the other diners below. And our beach bungalow on Vahine Island (one of only nine bungalows on the island) was ideal—and spacious, with multiple areas to lounge in, including a front and back lanai and several seating areas inside. We wouldn’t have been able to know of these fine points without Kleon’s expertise.
He was supremely accessible both before and during the trip. When our flight was delayed he arranged for updated arrangements such that everything continued to go smoothly, greatly soothing my anxieties. On the return home, we decided to spend an extra night in Papeete in order to guarantee timely travel home – he handled this without a hitch. I would highly recommend Kleon and look forward to traveling again using Wendy’s recommended agents.
Kleon did an amazing job coordinating my trip to Tikehau, French Polynesia. He considered my strict timeline and added value by coordinating all transfers and choosing the perfect resort. Because he’s a diver himself he knew the right questions to ask to help me pick the right scuba club, and the capstone of my trip was two interactions with a wild dolphin on my second day of diving. I wouldn’t hesitate to book with Kleon again and recommended him highly.
There were so many specifics that warranted the across-the-board excellence of planning our trip to Tahiti with Kleon. Overall, he really got to know myself and my husband, our travel style, and what we were looking for out of our trip. Because we were planning this with short notice, just over two weeks, he was able to apply his expertise in finding new activities and locations when our first choices were already booked. Beyond the planning aspect of our trip, he also taught us a lot about the local culture so that we were able to enjoy it more. To give you an example of how well he got to know us and apply that knowledge to our trip, he was even able to give me a list of unique local oils produced only in the Islands that I should bring home after mentioning that I hated generic souvenirs.
Just returned from a month in the South Pacific planned for us by Kleon Howe. After a conversation between the two of us where he asked about our travel style, he made many suggestions as to where to go, what to see, where to stay, etc. After we chose our itinerary he sent a list of what to do at each stop and even made restaurant recommendations. It’s clear that Kleon is very experienced and knowledgeable about this part of the world. We divided our time between French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. We stayed in several different places and with all those different flights, ferries, transfers etc. everything went off without a hitch. I highly recommend Kleon to anyone thinking of visiting his neck of the woods.
Kleon Howe planned our trip perfectly. The first part of the trip was a no-brainer. We stayed at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora as this was the one request my 12- year-old daughter made. However, our family is more adventurous than that and the trip only got better from then on. For the next portion of our trip, Kleon persuaded us to charter a catamaran. I was skeptical about this as I was concerned we would not have enough to do or that we would be bored. Kleon assured me otherwise. He advised me that we would experience the culture and geography much differently by doing this. He was right. We loved this portion of our trip. The final part of our stay at a high-end eco resort was extraordinary. Kleon was always informative, collaborative and cheerful in my dealings with him. He knows the area extremely well. He had many suggestions but carefully listened to what each family member wanted from our trip and then came up with an itinerary that suited us well.
Highly recommend Kleon. Every detail was exactly as planned, his recommendations were spot on, the people he referred us to were exactly what we needed. Kleon has clout! Upon arriving at a restaurant that he reserved, we were escorted to the very best table. Not sure how he could have done better!
Kleon Howe took our thoughts and ideas about traveling to Tahiti and made it a reality…and he didn’t have much notice considering we wanted to travel over Christmas and New Years! We are a family group of 5 who travel frequently together but rarely use the services and support of a Travel Agent/Planner so the ease we all experienced on this trip made it all that more enjoyable. Kleon listened to what we were looking for, considered our style of travel and budget then worked his magic with the destination, flights, room configurations and availability. We so appreciated his creativity and willingness to rework and revise the details until we were satisfied. We all were especially grateful for the extra effort Kleon took to ensure that my oldest nephew who has autism, would have certain needs met. Rangiroa and Le Sauvage hold some very special memories for all of us. Thank You Kleon!