The only problem was with our “half day” Dubai tour. One of the stops was a hard sell for oriental rugs. As a private tour, it was just my husband and myself to decline a pretty aggressive two man team of salesmen. I kept thinking that surely our tour guide would rescue us from the situation, but she did not. I would suggest asking people if they are interested in going to these “shops” rather than just including them in the tour. There were sights we would have enjoyed much more than being led into the lair of rug dealers!
Response from Wendy:
Lindsey was very surprised to learn that Julia and her husband ended up in a carpet store, and he says he has taken corrective action to ensure that, in future, his guides communicate very clearly with guests regarding whether they want to experience a carpet shop and, if so, when they want to leave. Many guides who take travelers to shops (usually at the travelers’ request) will fear getting into trouble by pulling a traveler out of the store before the traveler has finished.
I wish Julia had expressed her disinterest and discomfort to the guide. As I advised in an email to Julia two weeks before the trip, it’s smart to sit down with your guide for five minutes at the start of your time together to discuss your planned agenda and convey your priorities, goals, likes, and dislikes.
While many carpet merchants in the world do a hard sell, sometimes such visits are fun and culturally interesting, and many travelers have them on their To Do List. As an example, my family asked to visit a carpet store when we were in Morocco, and it was a trip highlight that made my article Wendy’s Best Travel Moments of 2017 (scroll down to photos #25 and 26): The merchant and his team put on a very entertaining show that my kids still talk about.
It’s important for guides to read travelers’ signals, of course, but it’s also important for travelers to have no hesitation in expressing their wishes straightforwardly to guides, especially in foreign cultures.
This is the second trip I have had Lindsey Wallace plan for me (The first was to Dubai and The Maldives 5 years ago). He is FABULOUS! This trip was to Dubai and Seychelles with my husband and another couple to celebrate each of our 25th wedding anniversaries. His communication was great the entire time. Since this was our second trip using him, we had an idea of what we wanted. He was able to come up with interesting excursions and suggestions for everything we requested. If we asked, he delivered. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Lindsey Wallace!
The hotel/resort Lindsey Wallace picked for us in Seychelles was in the right price range and turned out to be spectacular. After looking around at other places I’m convinced we were put in the best possible location for a first-time visit there. As for planning out our activities once we were there, we were able to work with the local travel agent (who was introduced to us at pickup from the airport), and when the agent couldn’t do what we were looking for, she was able to put us in touch with another agent who delivered. Because of that last wrinkle, we ended up having to get Seychelles Rupees (which we had not anticipated because Lindsey had assumed we would work either through the hotel or the local travel agent who both took credit cards), but it was easy enough to get.
Lindsey Wallace and Alan on his team were very well informed about the resorts in the Maldives and helped us suggest the best one after considering our preferences. They helped in choosing the best villa in the resort along with the best meal plans. They worked with the resort management to reserve the best villa for us, which enabled us to stay in the villa of our choice. Since we had made the booking through Lindsey, we were even given a late check-out so that we did not have to spend a long time at the Airport. Definitely would go with Lindsey and Alan the next time we are planning our trip in the region of their expertise. All great experience, very professional and on top of all details!
My wife and I stopped off in Dubai for a few days on our way home from a safari in Kenya and we had no idea what to expect. Lindsey Wallace took our suggestions and put them into action.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi blew my mind. In forty years the two cities have grown from absolutely nothing into major metropolises. Lindsey placed us in a great hotel, understand that you have to get half board or else spend hundreds of dollars extra for meals (the Jumeira hotels gave us more than enough choices for meals) and set us up with a wonderful guide. Given how well the cities run I suspect all guides are terrific.
My only disappointment was the desert safari dune bashing. It was very touristy and probably more appropriate if we had young children. The dance performances at dinner were good but the overall experience did not seem genuine.
Lindsey’s response time in the planning stage was adequate. Maybe I’m not giving him the highest marks because I also booked two other excellent WOW List trips at the same time and he had tough competition. He did get the job done, however. I would not have a problem recommending him to others who want to travel to the UAE.
This has been the 10th trip my wife and I have been on, using Wendy Perrin recommended experts and it was SUPERB. We went to the United Arab Emirates and Oman in early-mid Dec 2017. It was a relatively last-minute decision and Lindsey Wallace did a masterful job quickly putting together a perfect itinerary. Hotels, transfers, guides, restaurants etc were all pre-planned by him. We questioned a few suggestions but we allowed him to make the final choices and we were not disappointed with anything. He alternated stays at magnificent resorts (beach, desert, and mountaintop) with city touring (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat). Each person we interacted with and every hotel and resort was superb. We have nothing but the highest praise for him and recommend him and his services without reservation!
Lindsey was a pleasure to work with and knows all the resorts in the Maldives very well. We told him that we were flying to the Maldives from a jam-packed two weeks in SE Asia and wanted a small intimate resort where we could relax for 10 days.
I wanted an OW villa with a plunge pool/spa for my experience and my husband wanted a small sailboat, scuba and snorkeling for his experience and Lindsey delivered.
We reviewed about three resorts with Lindsey and COMO checked all the boxes for us. The planning and execution of this trip was very good and once we landed in Male, the COMO team whisked us to the Sea Plane for the 1 hour trip to COMO.
TIP: One piece of advice if taking seaplane– not air conditioned and the fans did not work on the way back to Male, so it can be very hot. Lindsey warned us about this before the trip. On the way out we took cold small cans of coke to put on our necks from the beautiful COMO lounge in Male. We asked COMO for cold hand towels and that solved the problem before we got on the plane on the way back to Male.
Lindsey had arranged dinner at their sister resort which was a great idea, but rough weather prevented us from going to Cocoa Island and instead, we went straight back to Male. I would recommend going to Cocoa/ or another resort that can take you back by speedboat if staying at COMO since the Male airport is not somewhere you want to be for many hours. COMO was kind enough to keep their lounge open for us and another couple, but try to avoid going back to Male airport for a long layover of time before your international flight
We plan to combine another Asia/Maldives trip with Lindsey. Thank you, Lindsey!
Traveled to the Maldives in December 2017
Wendy, you were RIGHT on ALL accounts. Thank you so much for your suggestion to stay at the Address Boulevard and what we would have time to do during our short 20-hour layover in Dubai. Lindsey and Alan booked our stay at the Address Boulevard—in a room with a balcony with a view of the Burj Khalifa and overlooking the pool—and made us a reservation at the Burj Khalifa for a window table at sunset/twilight. The hotel was great … location was perfect for the 20 hours we had and was perfect for our taste sensibility. And the service was excellent. The staff could not do enough! Went to the Dubai Mall, which I, in particular, got a kick out of since I do research for a hedge fund covering the retail sector so am in malls all over the US. It is big! After our sunset drinks at the Burj Khalifa, we went over to the Mall of the Emirates and I actually went skiing. So much fun!!! Next time we come through, we’ll be sure to stay longer. Once again, thanks. We would use Lindsey and his team in a heartbeat when we’re ready to book any further stay to that area of the world.
Planning was smooth with Lindsey Wallace. The trip went well and we were happy with his restaurant recommendations in Dubai. The guide was good, the driver was really nice and polite, clean car, and made the trip hassle free.
We enjoyed the trip overall.
Lindsey Wallace is extremely knowledgeable on the Maldives, which is very helpful given how difficult it was for me to find any credible / reliable information on my own from the U.S. He also has very competitive prices vs. what I could find online. He can be difficult to reach / slow to respond but I don’t think I could have booked this trip without his help.
We are a family of 4 with 2 pre teen boys that travel out of the USA about 3-4 times a year. Lindsey Wallace was the first agent we have ever worked with that we felt heard what we wanted out of a trip and made it happen. Not a single email felt prewritten or part of a form letter. The accommodations were over the top and the service was stellar. Lindsey arranged for us to charter a private Dhoni which we loved and then we followed up at a resort. The combination of the 2 experiences made for a great trip to fully experience the Maldives. Lindsey’s connections in the area allowed us to stay in accommodations of a better class than what we would have been able to secure ourselves and the staff at the resort could not have been more welcoming knowing we were guests of Lindsey’s. We cannot wait to come back!
My husband and I traveled October 29, 2015, from Indianapolis to Praslin and Mahe in The Seychelles with a 3-night stopover in Abu Dhabi on the way and a 1-night stopover after our ten nights there. I believe that our room at the Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi and our bungalows at Raflles on Praslin and at The Four Seasons on Mahe were much better because Lindsey Wallace reserved them for us than if we had done this independently. The trip was my husband’s birthday gift, and we received champagne and a wonderful chocolate birthday cake at The Four Seasons only because Lindsey arranged for them. He arranged for two full-day tours while we were in Abu Dhabi, one in the city and one to Al Ain. Both were marvelous with an excellent guide; he was very quick to figure out what interested us and what did not. We were met at the Mahe airport by a representative of 7 Degrees South, and she was able to get us on an earlier flight to Praslin than we expected. We had two good tours provided through 7 Degrees South for which Lindsey arranged while we stayed on Praslin and another excellent tour while were on Mahe. My advice for a traveler who wishes to go to the United Arab Emirates and/or to The Seychelles is to begin planning early and to be certain to get a confirmed itinerary at least two weeks before the trip begins.
Lindsey arranged our trip to the Maldives following our stay in the UAE. He gave us a good description of all of the alternatives and used his experience and abilities to find us the best possible price as well. Everything went very smoothly. Also, his website for Linara Travel, has excellent descriptions of many resorts in the Maldives.
We used Lindsey Wallace of Linara Travel to book our honeymoon. The trip was excellent. While I was referred to Lindsey because of his knowledge regarding the Maldives, he set up a fantastic stay in Dubai and Sri Lanka. I would definitely recommend combining a visit to the Maldives with a visit to another country in the region of the world. Highly recommended!