At this point, I'd book it myself honestly. First and last time using zicasso, and first and last time using a travel agency. As I said before, a honeymoon is something we don't really get a "do over" on and not trusting my instincts and booking everything myself is a regret I will carry for the rest of my life. The fact that we had this sort of experience, the fact that 8500 Euro seems to have vanished into thin air, and the fact that zicasso claims to only use the "top 10% of travel agencies" simply means that I can't really trust any sort of agency at this point. As my father would say, "if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself."
Travel Company Comments
Dear Jennifer & Jonathon,I am so sorry and at the same time quite surprised to read your travel review:
As you detailed, you spent 8500 Euro for a 14-day vacation to Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples & Sicily. For two travelers this amount is a total of 607 Euro per day, 303 Euro per person. Your 8500 Euro that you state 'seemed to have vanished' covered:
Transportation in Air-conditioned Mercedes Sedan or Van with English speaking driver
Private boat transfers
English speaking assistants
Fast Ferrari Bullet trains to the major cities in Economy Class
4 - private guided tours
Direct ticket 'no line' entry to all museums and galleries
1 small-group food and wine walking tour with max 12 guests
Car rental in Sicily with 100% insurance
A variety of accommodations in 5-star, 4-star Boutique, 3-star and family-run residences with double room, breakfast, and all taxes
24-hour concierge services personally from me the agency owner during your vacation
As we extensively discussed at the beginning of your trip planning, Hotel Star Ratings in Italy can greatly differ from those in the US. This is why I always take time to set expectations and explained that several of your hotels are not typical hotels, rather a Historical Residences belonging to local families and curated like a high-end Hotel. Further, we personally visit and meet the owners of every residence where our guests stay to ensure the best possible experience for our guests.The 2-star hotel we chose for you is a typical example of the star rating in Italy - the hotel belongs to a Family and is a charming residence two minutes walking from Piazza San Marco. The rooms are small like most rooms in Venice as the hotel is a former medieval building.
We love working hand-in-hand with travelers and our Tailor-Made itineraries can always be altered - this is why we send all of the websites of every Hotel so our guests have the opportunity to review and decide on and change any of the accommodations/services proposed. We also send every traveler their Welcome Pack a few weeks before departure with a few recommendations. This list includes restaurant recommendations to allow our guests to feel relaxed and not confined to any reservations. While I am very happy you looked at my recommendations it is unfortunate that you did not respond to my daily check-in message asking if you need additional assistance or recommendations.
On Day 10, your Taormina Hotel called to tell me you had checked out. The Hotel explained they had given you the best room possible yet you decided to leave, book your own stay near Etna, preferred to speak to me when you returned home, and asked if you could be refunded for the rest of your stay in Taormina, in addition to the following two nights in Agrigento as well as for your private guide and tickets for the Valley of the Temples that was scheduled for the following day...a nearly impossible request; significant refund less than 24 hours out due to a ‘change of heart.’ The hardest part about this review is that I had no idea you were not happy with the accommodations until the Hotel contacted me on Day 10 in Taormina. I wrote messages daily to ask how everything was going. I contacted the Hotels, guides, and drivers to ensure your vacation was going great and every service provided confirmed you were having a wonderful time.
I am happy to hear that you appreciate the private tours that included local historians, architects, archeologists and visits to places you can not find on your own like the ancient squero to meet four-generation gondola makers. Sadly, you wrote the worst review I have ever received in my 25-year travel industry career. I hope our extensive post-trip conversations, as well as your significant refund, bring some closure to the situation. I can only hope that you and Jonathon have the chance again to visit Italy and you consider Zicasso as your provider. Kindest regards!
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