PANDEMIC TRAVEL We took our first helicopter skiing trip February 26th through March 8th and have decided that was the most fun vacation we’ve ever had! We started with a phone conversation with Marc Telio to explain our interest in heli-skiing combined with fine dining restaurants and luxury accommodations. Our biggest concern was that most heli-ski trips appear to involve staying in remote accommodations for a week with a small group of strangers and a common dining room, but no restaurants or other activities on-property for the bad weather days. Marc suggested we try staying in the Whistler-Blackcomb Village in Canada at the Four Seasons Hotel and utilize the Whistler Heli-Skiing company that leaves daily directly from the Village. The best decision we made was to go with his recommendation. Marc’s staff, Beatrice and Andrea, did an amazing job of handling the trip details. Private transportation was arranged to take us from the airport to Whistler and back. They made dinner reservations every night of our trip at the best fine dining restaurants and Andrea even called the restaurants every day to reconfirm. One of our scheduled heli-ski days got cancelled due to weather and Andrea immediately rescheduled our day including spa reservations to ensure we didn’t miss a beat. We were able to heli-ski two other days and it was a blast! It was so nice knowing our trip planner was following up all the way through our trip. There was even a surprise cheese board that arrived in our hotel room shortly after arrival with a special note from our trip planners. Covid was not really an issue on this trip. We had to take the tests to enter and exit the country, but those were easy. The level of details that were thought through for this trip were outstanding and more than we could have done on our own. They even provided an itinerary with all the spa/travel/hotel/heli-ski details that we needed to know for each day, so we could just relax and have fun.
We will definitely do this trip and utilize this planning team again!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Marc Telio planned our trip to British Columbia from October 7 – 17th, 2019. Our planning conversation with Marc set the tone for the trip. Marc managed to align our adventurous expectations with our budget and suggested two outstanding resorts for our trip. The first was Sonora Bay Resort on an isolated island northwest of Vancouver. We chose to pick up a rental car in Vancouver to better see the island (Edith met us at baggage claim to smooth the way through to the rental car), spent the night at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel (lovely room overlooking the cruise ship dock and tasty welcome amenity from Entree), then ferried over to Vancouver Island the next morning to Nanaimo. It turned out to be a tighter connection than anticipated to make the next water taxi over to Sonora Bay Resort; probably would do differently next time.
Sonora Resort exceeded all expectations. The accommodation was again lovely with fireplace and great view over the smaller of two helipads. The small sitting room next door was a nice place to curl up and read in front of that fireplace. We also enjoyed messing around in the two computer golf rooms. The resort’s all inclusive meals extended to fun snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine all of the time and included a bag to put them in on excursions. The grizzly bear tour with First Nation guides was the highlight of the trip for me. Great access with particular care not to intrude on the animal’s natural habitat. The complimentary Zodiac Cruise was also a highlight of the trip. A transient male orca whale appeared, and we followed him from an appropriate distance for an hour or so. The second hour we looked at the huge Stellar Sea Lions and learned about their lifestyle, diet, mating, etc. It was a well spent couple of hours, and we were able to get great pictures. All weather gear is provided. I would add water resistant smart gloves that allow you to take pictures with your phone and warm stocking hat and neck gaiter if you are there in the fall. Later that afternoon, we had our WOW moment. It was another boat ride around the same areas we had seen previously, but it is always pleasant to be on the water. We ordered the resort’s special crab dinner for two, and it lived up to its name. It was, indeed, special.
On Friday, Bart was scheduled to do a river fly fishing trip; however, a landslide eliminated that option. Instead, he did a half day trolling for salmon and caught our dinner which the talented chef prepared that night for us.
The food at Sonora Bay deserves a special commendation. Every meal was beautifully presented, well seasoned and tasty, and complicated in construction, nothing like what one might create at home. Buying their cookbook was a no brainer!
While Bart fished, I had a massage and manicure in the Spa where the staff rearranged times and services to correspond with Bart’s fishing.
Saturday we departed Sonora Bay by water taxi, and the boat driver was kind enough to move up our departure by an hour (we were the only passengers) to allow us to have dinner at a reasonable time in Tofino. The drive was difficult due to extensive construction (not ending until June, 2020) and slow and crowded as it was Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend. We were able to change our reservation for Sobo in Tofino and enjoyed a good dinner there.
Arriving at the Wickaninnish Inn was another pleasant surprise. Again, a nice room with a fireplace and a great view from the third floor. We enjoyed their included Sunday morning special Thanksgiving brunch which actually provided both breakfast and luncheon appropriate foods, and we joined them for Thanksgiving dinner that evening. Their food was delicious and creative, but I think good old fashioned Southern mashed potatoes would have been better. The black Bear and whale (gray whales) excursions were fun, but you definitely need transportation to get to the outfitter. Also, one might want to carefully check your tour times. (The fact that the bear tour had a 6:30 am check in time might have made me reconsider my choices.)
On Tuesday we left for Nanaimo to catch a ferry back to Vancouver. Once again, we found ourselves rescheduling our ferry time in order to have a more convenient dinner time and a much easier rental car return. We spent two more nights at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel on the waterfront, this time overlooking the seaplane port from our room on the 22nd floor. Wednesday, we had a six hour tour of Vancouver scheduled, but the weather did not cooperate. The guide compensated well when he understood my limited mobility and the danger of me falling on slippery surfaces due to rain. We had a comprehensive tour of Vancouver by car with good commentary on history, architecture, and the diverse population. After getting to know us a bit, Brian took us to the Fish Hatchery. It was a fascinating look at the Chinook and Coho salmon. The walk through the woods along the river was doable and beautiful. The included box lunch was not there so we treated our guide to fish and chips at a very local diner. Our last meal was at Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca. Perfect ending to a great trip.
Marc and his team did a really good job on selecting the resorts, excursions, and restaurants. More thought could have gone into the timing of ferries, but overall, it was a five star trip! Thanks, we’ll be back. Jacqueline and Barton Cox Abilene, Texas
We wanted a vacation with a focus on the outdoors. We came across a number of interesting options in British Columbia and contacted Marc to help us sort it out. Marc personally gave us much time helping us plan our trip to British Columbia. He provided thoughtful advice on the pros and cons of the various lodges and resorts we were interested in and worked to keep us within our budget. Marc and his staff remained in touch with us before we had left and during our trip: answering questions, making additional reservations and handling glitches as they arose. Marc and his staff’s advice was spot on and we had a fantastic time.
Marc got back to us right away while he was on holiday in Nepal. He sent an email to let us know he would be happy to assist us with our trip to British Columbia. He called us and spoke with us at length about what we wanted from our experience. He arranged everything for us so that all we had to do was show up. He arranged for a driver to pick us up from the hotel and take our extra luggage to the next location, so we didn’t have to cart that with us. His selection of local activities for us went above our expectations. We took an excursion with a local touring company and were wowed by the knowledge of the skipper on our boat. The accommodations were superb! The Long Beach Lodge suite was gorgeous with fabulous views of the beach. It was a lovely, laid back lodge with wonderful amenities. We kept the sliding glass doors open at night so we could listen to the surf and smell the fresh air. The whole experience was fantastic and we cannot say enough good things about Marc and his associates.
I cannot say enough good things about Marc Telio and his entire organization. Our family of four had an amazing time in Vancouver, Whistler, & Sonora.
The initial planning stages were really good, with Marc carefully paying attention to our interests and desires and I felt like we were really getting a bespoke experience, rather than a cookie-cutter trip. Marc put together an itinerary that met the various wish-list items of everyone in the family with the right mix of adventure, nature, fun & relaxation.
We can’t say enough about the Vancouver & Whistler area. For an active family there is no end to the amazing experiences that can be had. We particularly enjoyed the zip-line & whitewater rafting experiences in Whistler, and added a tree-top adventure course which was a big hit as well. The second half of the trip was at the Sonora Island resort and it was everything Marc said it would be and more. Hiking, photography, fishing, eco-tours, fine dining and a wonderful relaxing time to reconnect as a family – it truly was a wonderful experience.
Everything was seamless, well organized and planned and the whole trip went without a hitch – and we would definitely plan another trip with Marc and his team again.
Our trip to British Columbia (Sonora Island and Vancouver) with Marc Telio was seamless and his suggestion of the Sonora Resort was perfect as this special property would have never been on our radar. All transfers and reservations were on time and we had no issues. We loved the helicopter ride to the resort and sea plane for excursion and day trip to Victoria. It was a very relaxing trip and we were well taken care of. This is a place where everyone should spend some time.
Marc assembled a fantastic four-day itinerary for my family (husband, myself and two sons aged 16 and 20). All of the components of the trip came together flawlessly. We had a full day in Whistler with a seaplane trip (a member of his team met us at our hotel and walked us to the seaplane terminal), hiking, ziplining, dinner and a limousine ride back to Vancouver. We also spent time in Vancouver sightseeing, biking, and eating. It was an extremely busy weekend (Sea Wheeze event, Vancouver marathon, and a mountain biking convention in Whistler) but we were swept through all of the crowds and had a wonderful time in a glorious city. The extra touches such as a representative meeting our plane upon arrival with a copy of the menu for that night’s Chinese restaurant and calling each restaurant with information about my husband’s allergies really went above and beyond. We highly recommend this agency for your travels to British Columbia.
We connected with Marc Telio through Wendy Perrin to create a wonderful trip to the Canadian Rockies. Marc and his team were outstanding! We are active travelers with high expectations, who enjoy unique adventures along with experiencing local highlights and culture. Marc took the time to understand our interests and goals for this trip, offering numerous exciting and diverse options. We used Marc’s expertise to design a custom itinerary that provided an amazing setting to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary and recreate a visit to this region 35 years ago. Marc and his team went above and beyond to secure beautiful lodging, the most talented private guides and a few surprises along the way! The entire trip was managed flawlessly, with every detail covered. We received a comprehensive daily itinerary including details for transportation, accommodations, guides, recommended restaurants and reservations. From the very first day we arrived in Calgary to begin our road trip to Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, we felt secure knowing Marc and his team were with us if we needed anything at all. Even though we rented a car, we were met at the airport by one of Marc’s representative who expedited the rental process, provided advice on the ground and sent us on our way with a road trip bag of goodies. We created wonderful memories for our 38th wedding anniversary including a Wendy WOW moment where we had a stunning helicopter sight-seeing tour and a romantic lunch next to a waterfall! I would highly recommend Marc Telio if you are looking for an amazing travel experience in Canada!
Marc and his team planned our trip to the Yukon to view the “northern lights”. Everything worked really well, and their suggestions of renting heavy cold-weather clothing and having a professional photographer to provide guidance were valuable. All the connections worked perfectly. All the staff at the lodge and at the dog sledding and snowmobiling venues were really friendly and helpful. The only downside was the Inn on the Lake, which—while clean—was rather worn and tired. Several in our party felt this distracted from their stay.
Response from Wendy:
I’m glad Richard made this point about accommodations in the Yukon because there are two things that travelers seeking the Northern Lights should be aware of. First, the Yukon is very rustic. Second, trips there need to be booked far in advance. For instance, the Northern Lights Resort and Spa, sells out a year in advance. The Inn on the Lake, another one of the nicest properties in the area—was the best available when Richard started planning this trip eight months ahead. Marc recommended it because it works well for a large family, as it provides nice gathering spaces.
I went to Wendy’s List a few years ago looking for someone to help me with a trip to the Canadian Maritimes. No one was listed for Eastern Canada, but Marc Telio was there to help with Western Canada. I contacted Marc, who told me that he has a friend who specialized in Eastern Canada and he felt that she would do a great job. Most travel agents would have jumped at the chance to book a trip. Marc wanted us to have the best possible experience, so he gave the booking to Jill Curran. Jill, who is now on Wendy’s WOW List as the top travel specialist for the Maritimes, planned a wonderful trip for us.
We came back the following year to have Marc put together a trip to Vancouver Island. Every day of that Vancouver trip was a WOW experience. I still dream about the places we stayed and the little stops along the way.
This year, Marc suggested Nimmo Bay. He and his team attended to every detail. The transfers were handled beautifully, even with airline delays. His hotel suggestion put us in the heart of the city, with easy access to everything. We had a wonderful city tour of Vancouver. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and a great storyteller. We hated to have the day end. Marc had built in a half day to wander the city on our own before we took off for Nimmo Bay. We wanted a tour of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. One call to Kate on Marc’s team made it happen.
Wendy had given us a WOW Moment that we would be receiving on this trip. We could not imagine what Wendy would come up with. Our only instruction was to be in the hotel lobby at 7 pm for our WOW Moment. That’s when Marc showed up — and not only did we finally get to meet him in person, but he took us for dinner at his favorite restaurant in Vancouver. The food was wonderful, and the conversation was lively. It was such a pleasure to get to know the man behind the ideas. There were many phone calls and email exchanges planning our trips, but getting to spend an evening with this remarkable man was the best.
I have used Wendy’s list of travel experts for decades. I can say without any hesitation that Marc is the best of the best.
When I first contacted Marc Telio, I told him that I wanted to go to British Columbia. We (my husband and I and our 2 teenage daughters) wanted to avoid Banff and other really crowded areas. Marc suggested we spend a few days in Whistler, a few days at the Sonora Resort and end in Vancouver. Although our plane had a late arrival, we were met promptly at the airport by our driver and a representative from Entree Destinations. We felt like VIPs and were given a welcome bag with reusable water bottles, bug spray, Lululemon headbands and more! Our driver accommodated our wishes to stop to see Shannon Falls on the way to Whistler.
At Marc’s suggestion, we stayed at the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler. It was a nice location, walkable to the main village, with a great restaurant for breakfast (which we ate at every day). Marc was very conscientious about keeping me within budget and would let me know when something (such as room choice) was not worth the extra price. We again felt like VIPs when we reached our hotel rooms. My husband and I had a welcome gift of handmade chocolates, cheeses, and fruit, while my daughters had a ski slope made from chocolate and the best macaroons we had ever tasted. (The only negative was that we were put in room 648, which was across from the room where all dining and housekeeping services went through, so it was a little noisy at times. My recommendation to anyone staying at the Fairmont is to ask not to be in a room ending in 48.)
While at Whistler, Marc set us up for various fun activities—RZR cars, white-water rafting, and zip lining. We also did the Peak-to-Peak gondola and some hiking on our own. On our last day in Whistler, we were treated to a WOW Moment: Brad Kasselman, the Managing Director of Coast Mountain Photography, met us at our hotel and gave us a personal tour of several waterfalls, giving us photography tips along the way and taking family photos. He also treated us to a delicious lakeside lunch. Although I am the photography buff in the family, Brad was able to engage the whole family and everyone really enjoyed the experience (thank you, Wendy!).
Brad returned us to our hotel in time to meet our driver to take us to the seaplane we were taking to Sonora Resort. Sonora Resort is not accessible by car, so Marc suggested a seaplane (as opposed to hours of driving and several ferries and taxis). The downside to using a seaplane is a strict luggage restriction. Marc and his associate Sandra were very helpful and patient during my multiple calls and emails about what clothes were necessary so we could make the luggage restriction, but our packing was perfect and we had no issues.
The entire family agreed that Sonora Resort was heavenly. So remote, beautiful scenery and gourmet food. The kids especially loved the snack room, which was filled with various snacks, drinks, and lunch for people to take on their excursions or just because they were hungry. As a perk of being one of Marc’s clients, we received a free 2-hour Eco-Adventure tour, where we were lucky enough to be in the middle of a pod of about 100 dolphins. Marc also planned several other excursions for us — sea kayaking and Blind Channel tour — both of which we loved. The food was so delicious that on the first night at dinner our daughter said: “thank you for bringing me here”. We would never have thought to visit Sonora island had we planned the trip on our own. I definitely hope to return one day.
We were scheduled to travel to Vancouver by helicopter but the hotel’s instructions told us we were leaving by seaplane. I contacted Sandra and the hotel had not told her, but she was able to change our pick up in Vancouver to the new location. (The only thing we wished she also had done was to suggest that the pilot take us to Canada Place instead of the Vancouver Airport. The pilot told us that he would have been able to if he had known ahead of time. We could have walked to our hotel from there as opposed to a 30-minute ride.)
In Vancouver, Marc suggested the Fairmont Pacific Rim, which also was in a fabulous location. Since we are foodies, Marc planned a food tour on Granville Island. My daughters had asked why we needed a tour rather than just walk around on our own. After the tour we realized why: There are so many booths that it was helpful to have an expert direct us and have samples of the items. If we had gone on our own, we would have bought one or two things…the tour allowed us to try more things in small quantities.
After our food tour, Marc had arranged a 4-hour tour of Vancouver. This is the only activity that we should not have done. It involved riding around in a car for most of the time. We would have preferred to explore the city on our own. (Lesson learned for our next trip.) Our tour guide was very good, though, and he was very flexible. My daughter wanted to go to the science museum after we passed it, so he was able to get us there for an hour before it closed. He waited while we were there and then drove us back to our hotel, even though it was past the time of our original tour.
Although I was very involved with the details of the trip, I didn’t have to figure out where to go, how to get there or worry about the logistics during my vacation. Marc and Sandra took care of all that, which made it a true vacation for me.
Marc and Kate on his team, did a great job making the trip special for my wife and me by selecting outstanding guides and drivers, making hotel and dinner reservations at memorable places, touching base with us before, during, and after our trip, and surprising me at the end of the trip with a dessert they knew I especially liked.
Marc and his team did an absolutely fabulous job with the trip he planned for us. I can’t say enough good things about them both – TOTALLY AWESOME. Efficient and completely professional but also warm, personalized and a cut above “standard VIP” level service I would not hesitate to refer to even my most discriminating friends and colleagues. They are a fantastic bunch of folks and I can’t thank you enough for recommending them!! Thanks again!!
Marc Telio and his friendly/knowledgeable staff planned and executed a very memorable trip to beautiful British Columbia for my family of four this summer. Since we have two very active teenage children, like Marc, he understood our need to balance adventure with a little relaxation. Several of our favorite activities that Marc and his team orchestrated included a family cooking lesson with a pastry chef, a private foodie tour of Granville Island Market with a personal chef, and a very memorable trip to Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort.
Marc recommended for us to experience a private heli-fishing tour during our stay at Nimmo Bay, a very remote luxury resort in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. We were first a little hesitant due to the cost, but now we can honestly say that this was by far the highlight of our trip to BC! Our heli-adventure with our pilot/guide, Trevor, began with a very scenic ride out to an isolated stream where we fished for pink salmon under the watchful eyes of bald eagles that were nesting in the trees above. The looks on our daughter’s faces were priceless as a mama black bear and her cub ventured to the other side of the stream for a drink. Next we flew past majestic waterfalls to a glacier where we ate a delicious, gourmet picnic lunch followed by a short hike around the fields of flowers and streams. Our adventure continued as the helicopter landed on a very small sandbar on the side of a rushing river to fish for coho salmon followed by another scenic ride back to the resort. Thanks, Marc, for helping to give us memories that will last a lifetime!
It’s these little touches from Marc and his relationships with his service providers that made our vacation to Canada go from good to GREAT…hotel room upgrades, restaurant recommendations and reservations, a personalized foodie tour of Granville Island Market with a personal chef, a candy bar and birthday celebrations for our girls, and a delicious cheese/fruit tray for my husband and I.
In the past, I have typically researched, planned, and executed our own trips, but for the last five vacations we have taken, I have utilized the services of the travel experts recommended by Wendy Perrin’s WOW List (which have included Judith Root, Michael Kaye, Andrea Grisdale, Pierre Gedeon, and most recently Marc). I HIGHLY recommend the personalized services of Marc Telio and these other travel experts to anyone looking for a unique, customized travel experience. I’m looking forward to working with another expert from Wendy’s WOW List to begin planning my daughter’s high school graduation trip along the California coast this summer! Safe travels.