Second rate performance by the travel agency. Trip with my teenage daughter to Mykonos and Santorini, with an emphasis on a great experience in Santorini. It's hard to have a bad time in Santorini, and we didn't - the sunsets are awesome and the views are great. But that was in spite of the arrangements there, not because of them.
Didn't start so well. Got off the boat, met by the local agent, and had to wait for 30 minutes in the heat for the pre-arranged taxi. It's not as if a taxi is hard to find there - plenty of offers for a ride.
Then the hotel had no idea we were coming ("Do you have a voucher?" "No, an itinerary.") They gave us a tiny room that looked out at the generator in the back - with one bed for my daughter and me. No sofa bed as an alternative: just a bench about a foot wide with a thin cushion.
We asked politely - once - for another room. They said they didn't have one right then, but did find one early the next morning with a lovely view. The staff were very nice but the manager kept giving us funny looks. And even that room had only the one bed and another one of those benches. I asked for a sheet, and I toughed it out. I'm getting a little old to sleep on a bench, but I wanted my daughter to have a good experience.
For the record, I did send an e-mail to the travel agent right away. "Most rooms in Greece have only one bed." And I have sent this feedback to the agency: no response.
As above, we did have a good time. I wasn't looking for 5-star luxury; in fact, I prefer small and cozy places, even if they don't have all the amenities. But I don't think 2 beds and a view of the volcano in Santorini is too much to expect. Isn't that what a travel agency is supposed to be able to arrange for you?
Oia is a better place to stay than Fira in Santorini - great sunset views. And the catamaran boat trip to the volcano was awesome.
I guess I would have called to make sure there were 2 beds ....
Having been there this time, I probably could do what the agency did for me myself the next time. Arranging for rides to and from ports and airports isn't that hard, and arranging for daily expeditions once you are there is pretty straightforward as well. Making sure the hotel accommodations are good - well, I could have used some help there ....
Travel Company's Comments
We value every single review and we strive for excellence. Thank you, Steve, for taking the time to write your comments and concerns. By reading your review I understand that your overall experience was actually great because your trip had many components (Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, transfers, hydrofoils, cruise, flights) that went very well and were smooth. The biggest concern was the hotel in Santorini.
I would like to address the following:
This was a trip for father and daughter. This was considered a last minute booking as we have had clients booking trips to Greece since the year before. All the “good” 3*s or 4*s hotels in Santorini were sold out completely. There were either extremely expensive 5*s hotels still available (their higher room categories) or the hotel that we (finally after a long search of hotels) were able to find.
We were able to find a hotel close to the travel budget and also on the cliff side which was very important. We also advised the client that this hotel was *not* one of our preferred hotels. We also gave him the hotel's website and he agreed to stay there.
As per the clients review the 2*s is not directed really to our travel company but to the hotel.
In the mean time, we had been in correspondence with the client at all times. We were contacted about the room in Santorini, and we were able to work our magic and communicated with the hotel and demanded a better room with a view.
Regarding the bed issue. ALL of Santorini’s hotels on the cliff side do not offer twin beds. Only double beds and sofa beds are available. As locals, we know this and we also communicated this very well. It seemed that the client was finding it difficult to accept this.
Regarding the taxi, we had arranged a private transfer because July is extremely busy at the port. Santorini port is very unpredictable. It’s very congested. In this case to get down to the port our transfer person was a little late indeed because of extreme traffic but he was there to meet our clients. There are “limited” taxis at the port as there are only 33 taxis to cater the whole island!!
As far as the client saying that he could have arranged this itinerary on his own, I will have to disagree as it takes an experienced agent to work the logistics of the whole trip. We took a long while to find a decent property in Santorini including all the things that he wished he would experience.
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