Commendations


Dear Lisa, Earl, Riza, Oya, Gokhan, Basri and Mehmet,

Thank you for a real team effort putting our trip together! It was wonderful, actually better than we expected.

Lisa, thank you for listening, and making adjustments to our trip, as well as suggesting places to go and sites to see. We had several revisions and we truly appreciated the time you put into making our trip exceptional! I must say, I respect your work ethic as you got back to me at various times both off and during normal business hours and days. Shows true commitment. Thank you.

To, Riza, Oya, Gokham, and Basri, you were all so wonderful. WE travel frequently and often use guides, inevitably there is always one, who doesn't measure up and we are disappointed or call the tour short. Not with any you! You were all outstanding, we not only learned, but your enthusiasm for the sites and experiences, including the food was infectious!!!! Additionally, my heart strings were pulled the way you treated our son. He is a man of the world, and very independent. But, My husband and I were truly struck how starting with Riza, you pulled Ricky aside, at end of the day and gave him your contact info and emphasized whatever, he needs, anything, anything at all, to please reach each out to you.

My sense is this didn't come down, as a mandate, but rather from each of your hearts. Wow! Thank you. Who knows, you may just hear from him.

Also, thank you to Mehmet, a very nice young man, despite our language barrier, we enjoyed his warm smile and very good driving, didn't go unnoticed.

The trip, truly exceeded our expectations- despite the travel warnings, we never felt concerned. We felt the warmth of the Turks, enjoyed the sites, our biggest surprise, was the food, fantastic! Regardless, of where we dined, or where you took us, all GREAT picks!!!

I can assure you, I have been encouraging people to go. Bottom line, if we stay away because of fear, they win. We can't let that happen.

I hope I can convince some friends to go, and I will for sure, rec. your company. Travel, makes us more compassionate, smarter and savvy. Turkey has much to offer.

As Lisa says, Turkey gets under your skin. I think that is true, I have a feeling we will be back one day. I look forward to receiving the tile picture and ceramic wine decanter and cups. Basri- we should have bought a rug! Another reason to return.

Good luck to all of you, many many thanks, if there is anything I can do, to help you, please let me know. Should your travels every bring you to The Boston area, you are always welcome.

All the best,
Cori and Rick
Massachussetts

April 16, 2016
********************************************************

I d like to commend Earl Starkey and his team at Sophisticated Travel for organizing and scheduling my family s three days in Istanbul, which came at the tail end of a Greek vacation.  They were organized and responsive to all questions.  They offered up excellent advice and suggestions, from which area of the city to stay in, the best way to get around and where to make dinner reservations.  Equally important, they were good listeners on how my family wanted to experience this fascinating city in what s obviously too short a time.  The best part was the guide they hooked us up with.  Riza is experienced.  He has a great vibe (knowledgeable, thoughtful, enthusiastic but not over the top).  He connected with me, my wife and three children ages 15, 13 and 7 (he even taught my middle one some Turkish, which the locals loved). The comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously stated, There s no such thing as fun for the whole family or something like that.  Rezi proved him wrong.  Highly recommend.  Eric W. (New York City)

September 11, 2014


********************************************************

I just wanted to drop you a note now that John and I are back to reality here in NY and wondering where the summer went and why we're not still in Turkey :-)

 

We both wanted to firstly say a huge thanks to you and your team for putting together the holiday of a lifetime for us. It was spectacular from beginning to end and it all went off flawlessly. Your recommendations were spot on and the planning was meticulous. We really can't thank you enough...it was everything we hoped for and then some.

 

I know the guides mentioned that it's sometimes helpful for you to get feedback, so I've scribbled a few thoughts, for what they're worth...although it's hard to improve on perfection!

- Overall I thought the split of the days was perfect. I wouldn't have wanted any more/less time in each place, and we didn't find the travel difficult at all.

- The cars and the drivers were amazing, but we have to give particular kudos to Ali. He is an absolute gentleman, and no matter where you looked, he seemed to be right there, with the door of the van open! He has the patience of a saint, and even gave us Turkish Delights as a gift when he dropped us off at the airport. I can't tell you how happy were were to see him when we returned to Istanbul and we'd love for you to relay our positive comments and sincere thanks to him. He was our favorite by far!

- As I said in my last note, Abo was in a league of his own as guides go. We loved our time with him. We felt he really went above and beyond the call of duty and gave us tremendous social, cultural and political context to everything that we were seeing. It was nice to learn about modern day Turkey from him, in addition to the historical tales.

- The only snag we had on the whole trip was the visit to the Hammam on the first night. The guide that picked us up from the airport gave us great directions in terms of taking the tram etc, but the name has been changed from Roxelana's Baths to Aya Sofia Hammam, so we walked around for over an hour only to discover that it was right in front of us when we'd gotten off the tram. No one seemed to know Roxelana's etiher...but we asked in a hotel and the kid pointed us back to Aye Sofia...so that would be a good change to make.

- The guide in Cappadocia (Osay) was very nice, warm and friendly. I think he did his best to make the tours there interesting, but had a lot less to work with than Abo did. He was really great though in the underground city, and took us off the beaten path and showed us places he'd gone there as a child, which was a lot of fun. The hotel we thought was fantastic...definitely new and ironing out a few kinks but we had no problems. The room was amazing - with it's own Hammam and Sauna! The only thing I'd say is that there's a lot of steps there, so it may not be ideal for clients that have mobility issues or aren't fond of climbing up and down two plus flights for breakfast.

- We liked the La Vista...great pool and fabulous sunset. The room was nice, and fairly standard...and I'd say the food was middle of the road, but it more than sufficed.

- The guide Tan in Bodrum was also very knowledgable and fun. He was most willing to answer any questions we had...I guess if I were to contrast him to Abo, we felt that Tan did kinda what he thought would be "enough" for us...whereas Abo was going over and beyond. For example, we asked to see the house of Mother Mary, which Tan was great in getting us to and explaining but it wasn't something he had thought was worth having as part of the day before we asked. But that said, its hard to be critical, because he really is very knowledgable, his English was terrific and he was really well intended.

- The Macakizi was really nice...definitely a "scene" for the young and beautiful! The food was great and you couldn't argue with the location or view...Again, if I had to try and find a complaint the only thing I'd say is that the bed was like lying on a rock..and the birds/crickets outside were seriously noisy, as in kept me awake one of the nights...but not much you can do with nature I suppose! We were glad we stayed there and not in Bodrum itself...but I would love to go back and check out the new Mandarin Oriental etc. next time.

- The boat cruise on the Bosphorus was fantastic. The cruise in Bodrum was great and we loved our captain and skipper there...very friendly and really tried to make sure we had a super day. The ballon ride company was superbly well organized and our pilot was fantastic.

 

So all in all Earl, we really can't find fault at all with the whole thing. Your judgement was spot on and we have already recommended you and the itinerary to a few friends who have asked about our trip since we got back. John and I said we'd definitely do a return to Turkey and next time would leave everything in your hands :-)

 

Thanks again for everything you did for us. I hope the feedback is somewhat helpful.

We look forward to working with you again in the future! John just wants to know if you cover any other countries!

With kind regards,

Anita and John

August 26, 2014


********************************************************

We have safely returned home and I want to thank you for the most exceptional vacation to Turkey.  From start to finish, everything was perfectly arranged.  We met our guides and drivers on time, and we always felt fully supported as we traveled.  The guides – Yesim, Ibrahim, and Adi – were so knowledgeable and charming.  They really taught us so much about their country, and the friendliness of the people.  The hotels and activities, as well as the gulet, were beyond expectations.  Our itinerary was perfect for us.  There was really only one day we had to cut short, and that was the day of the balloon flight, only because we were so tired having risen so early.  The balloon flight, I have to say, was probably the highlight of the entire trip.  So fabulous.  And I could wax on and on about the food.  Suffice to say, barbecued octopus is my new favorite dish!  And we brought home the fantastic sour cherry preserves because I loved them so.

 

As you might imagine, we did a lot of purchasing, because everything was so beautiful and so well made.  My carpet should arrive in about a month, but we were able to carry everything else – pottery, leather goods, baklava, spices, and of course, several evil eyes.  I cannot thank you and Earl enough for making our trip so magical.  If there is a recommendation I can place somewhere for Sophisticated Travel, I am happy to do so.  As you know, this trip stretched me in terms of budget, but it was absolutely worth it.  We will never forget it.  Thank you!

MM

July 24, 2014



********************************************************


I wanted to drop a quick note to you to let you know that we had a great trip to Turkey!  I'm 100% certain that had it not been for your help with the planning/coordination of the details, it would have been a very different story!  Many thanks!

 

Second, I wanted to see if you have similar capabilities for other locales?  We are considering family travel to South Africa (safari, train from Jo-berg to Capetown, etc.) and Australia/NZ later this year and next year.

 

Thanks,

Sreekanth

July 10, 2014


********************************************************

Earl:

 

Xander and Zack had an amazing time in Turkey.  The trip you put together for them was excellent and was exactly what they had in mind.  It was a perfect combination of culture and fun, guided tours and free time to do their own thing.  Their initial reservations about where you had placed them near Bodrum disappeared completely once they got there and they both agree that you placed them in a perfect location.  They can't wait to go back.  They were especially grateful for how you helped them when they called you in Turkey.  Thanks for that.

 

Next Turkey trip I ask for help with will be for me.  It's been years since I was there and I cant wait to go back.

 

I hope all is well with you and that you are having a great summer.

 

Warm regards, and again, many thanks

 

Tony

 July 8, 2014 


********************************************************

This is Aanchal! I just wanted to write you a quick note to say hello and thank you so much again for the time you spent with us the past two days and for all of your wonderful recommendations, as well as your insights and knowledge into Turkey's history and culture! We really enjoyed our time with you and learned so much.

 We finally found our way to Meze, Gencay's restaurant, for our reservation at 7pm. We ordered about 4 mezes and two of the fish dishes - it was absolutely delicious! We thoroughly enjoyed every dish we got! Thank you so much for the recommendation and for getting us the reservation. It was a truly unique and wonderful experience!

 By the way, we also went to Mastbah last night which we also really enjoyed! The food was very unique and delicious and it was very cool to have the food of the Ottoman royal kitchen.

 Thanks to you, our experience in Istanbul was really very exceptional and we walked away with some absolutely incredible memories, as well as a very good understanding of the wonderful people and history of this great city! Thank you again and I truly hope to stay in touch. Please do email me anytime, just to chat, and maybe we can meet up the next time you are in NYC!

 Sincerely,

Aancha

June 23, 2014

l


********************************************************

Hi Earl & Team,

 

We had a wonderful time in Turkey. Thank you to you and your staff for organizing such a lovely trip.  We were sad to leave. It's such an amazing country.

 

Warmly,

Reema

 June 23, 2014


********************************************************

I was planning on writing you today anyway to thank you for everything.  Our Turkey trip was truly a dream come true- everything was perfect.  We loved the country so much and all of the guides, drivers, activities, and hotels surpassed our expectations.

 


Best regards,

 

Meryl

June 23, 2014


********************************************************

I was planning on writing you today anyway to thank you for everything.  Our Turkey trip was truly a dream come true- everything was perfect.  We loved the country so much and all of the guides, drivers, activities, and hotels surpassed our expectations.

 


Best regards,

 

Meryl

June 23, 2014


********************************************************

We loved Turkey & the people & culture  & the entire itinerary you put together. Especially enjoyed staying at Pera Palace & exploring in Beyoglu for the last part of our trip.

 

Look forward to returning to Istanbul, as well as, exploring other regions in Turkey.

 

Thanks so much for making our trip very special & memorable.

 

Darcy & Spencer

June 6, 2014


********************************************************

Thank you for a fabulous trip! We thoroughly enjoyed every moment! All went went well without a single hitch!


More later,

 Fran

May 2, 2014



********************************************************

I loved this feedback from a very eccentric heiress who was visiting Istanbul with her son and grandson during the height of the protests in Turkey, Earl Starkey June 25, 2013

It was a Fine Trip! In Newark before parting, we did a critique and
all agreed it was a perfect trip with just the right amount of bricks and mortar, free time, and countryside. In the end, Grant said his favorite was the bicycle trip, Connor's the Bosporus, and mine the rare treat of extended quality time with my two favorite guys.

Added aside was having a young man in Istanbul who was tour guide
by day and protestor by night with a daily morning report of intrigue!

Each hotel was special and location was prime in each case. My teenage grandson Connor excelled at getting out and about on his own and returning to home
base without a hitch. I was impressed with his navigation given the narrow cow paths that over centuries have evolved into streets.

We survived on the food though we're into very healthful eating and
just realize that when traveling, it's going to be less but it was all
quite tasty.

For the first time in my life, I didn't spend even a dime on anything
but our food. Sad! but one does reach a point in one's life when it
all becomes just stuff and I have enough stuff for two millenniums!

THANK YOU for a job superbly well done! There were no glitches, no
accidents and I'll never again have to wonder how it is to experience
tear gas!

Most Sincerely
Barbara June 25, 2013


********************************************************

We used Sophisticated Traveler to plan our Turkey trip last week. They did a great job! The hotels were fabulous. Beautiful old small hotels with antiques and authentic Turkish linens, beautiful views and fabulous service. The waiter in the hotel in Sirence even invited us to join him at an outdoor theater production! We didn't understand much but the setting was beautiful. Our guides were on time, professional and knowledgable. I would highly recommend them and plan to return to Turkey and use them again for a different itinerary.
Anne Kushwaha

July 26, 2012


********************************************************

Each summer my husband and I take one of our grandsons on safari and "stop somewhere new on the way". This year was Alex's turn (age 11). As we did with his father and uncle, we asked him for some ideas. Istanbul. Istanbul? How did you pick that? I found it on the internet , it's one of the great cities of the World! OK, so it was Istanbul. We had never been to Istanbul. Turkish Air is part of the Star Alliance and a number of my clients are using their United miles to fly to Nairobi on Turkish Air, stopping in Istanbul. Perfect , I need to check it out! Email Earl Starkey, the Conde Nast specialist. Earl's knowledge of each hotel (and each room) helped me decide which one was best for the three of us in one room, without being on top of each other, with a view of the Bosphorus, and chocolate twice a day (see below). Earl and I spoke at length as he got an idea of Alex's interests. Earl's staff at Sophisticated-Travel in Istanbul is fabulous! From the first delightful welcome to the last sad good bye (over Turkish coffee , see below) we thoroughly enjoyed everyone we met. Max, the airport rep/customer service was so helpful. Our luggage did not arrive in Istanbul (along with many others that day). No problem. Max was on it. Luggage arrived 24 hours later. Max is delightful - full of enthusiasm pointing out many of the sights we would see during our stay. The Ciragan Palace was perfect. A lovely young woman named Pinar showed us to our room which had an enormous arrangement of Turkish chocolates and sweets for Alex , he was in love both with Pinar and the surprises he would find twice a day under a glass cover. Pinar arranged for an "Kempinski Survival Kit" to be sent to our room as we had no luggage. What a smart idea - pajamas, underwear, t-shirts, toiletries, etc. at no charge! Both the Concierge and Pinar, along with Earl's office were on the lost luggage. The room was huge and what a view! Watching the boats, ships, and yachts from our window and balcony was wonderful. The breakfast. Words and/or photos cannot describe that breakfast. We told our waiter that we would need to stay a month to sample everything. We met our guide, Serhan Gungor, the next morning, ready for three full days in Istanbul. Before we were off in our vehicle Serhan gave us a short briefing, showing us where we were on a map and what he had planned for us for the three days. Most important , everything was flexible. So if anyone was tired or wanted more/less time somewhere it was possible. He also got to know us a little bit before we were off in the car. And he was on the lost luggage - checking in with Max and the Concierge. Priority to purchase that day - soccer shirts for Alex (his usual souvenir) and bathing suits for Jim and Alex so they could swim in the stunning pool at the Ciragan Palace later that afternoon. All three of us loved everything about Istanbul. We were pleasantly surprised how clean the city is and the fact that with so many cars, taxis, etc. there was no pollution. Photos do not capture the magnificent Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia or Suleymaniye's Mosque. Lunch with Serhan at a place where the locals eat doner kebab, then off to the Spice Market where we met a 3rd generation spice merchant and Serhan found soccer jerseys for Alex. Did you know that Turkeys star player is named Alex? And, for the bargain price of USD $7.50 for 2 at the spice market Jim and Alex had matching swim suits. The next morning Earl arranged for us to have a private cooking class with his friend Selin Rozanes of Turkish Flavors in her apartment. She's such an interesting woman and a fantastic cook! Our lunch was delicious. We had fun learning to roll the phyllo dough. Alex and I have decided to make her ground meat in phyllo dough twisted into the shape of 'snails' for the Jewish New Year. That afternoon we had a private yacht (WOW) cruise on the Bosphorus. Seeing Istanbul from that vantage point was thrilling. The Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, and Underground Cistern - we saw everything we wanted to see. Serhan guided us through the maze of lines, avoiding the crowds. The sightseeing took my breath away. Suleymaniye's Mosque for me, Hagia Sophia for Jim and Alex. The underground cistern was a total surprise - I had no idea it was that enormous!Lunch the last day was at a local meatball place. No credit cards, cash only, 5 items on the menu. The meatballs are not round! They are more oblong. Delicious? Melt in your mouth. And last but not least, we drive over the bridge so Alex could say he had been in Asia. We dropped Serhan off in his neighborhood but not before we went to his favorite coffee shop where he treated us to some real Turkish Coffee! How much caffeine is in Turkish coffee? Just ask an 11-year old who loves coffee, and don't tell his parents! Istanbul is a great city for kids. Serhan showed us his Istanbul - we totally fell in love with Istanbul and him. He is so knowledgeable and it is obvious he loves what he does. We are all eager to visit Istanbul again and are talking about a longer trip to Turkey with friends. Earl arranged the most wonderful trip for us. JIm and I are so grateful that we were able to spend some wonderful days in Istanbul with Alex thanks to his perfect planning and his great team on the ground.
Linda Friedman

July 23, 2012


********************************************************

I wanted to thank Earl for the magnificent tours he organized for us in Ephesus and Istanbul. We have completely fallen in love with Turkey! Tan and Gokhan were excellent guides and passionate teachers about their country and culture and treated us with such warmth and welcome. Gokhan, in particular, went out of his way for our family over the four days we were in one another's company; he not only suggested exceptional places for lunch, but he also helped us find items that we were looking to buy, translated when necessary, and, in general, providing an extraordinary experience for a group with a wide range of interests and energy levels. Our only regret (-and it is fairly easily remedied!) is that we didn't have more time to see even more. What we saw-mosques, palaces, ruins, art, architecture, cityscapes-was unforgettable and illuminating. The people we met were kind, infinitely hospitable and innately gracious. We look forward to returning.
Catherine Matthews

July 3, 2012


********************************************************

Just a note to say that Earl Starkey and Lisa Blackman set up a great, but much too short (four days), tour for me a couple weeks ago, one that included a trip to Ephesus (and a small country village nearby) as well as Istanbul. The guides in both places-Abdullah in Istanbul and Tan in Ephesus-were very knowledgeable, hospitable, and fun people. And Earl even accompanied me on the flight home! Will never forget the trip, and hope to go back for a much longer trip with family.
Don Chew

June 25, 2012


********************************************************

My wife and I recently took our three children ages 20, 22 and 24 with us to Turkey for a week shortly after one of my sons graduated college and just prior to my daughter starting her summer internship. Since I do not know when we will be able to get together for a trip like this anytime soon given everyone's busy schedules I wanted it to be special. I searched on the internet for travel specialist for Turkey and discovered Earl Starkey and Sophisticated Travel. At first glance Earl seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I explained to Earl that we are a well traveled family so he had an idea of how to meet our expectations. My first issue was choosing a hotel. I had done some research on Turkey and knew there are some fabulous hotels in Istanbul but they are quite expensive. Earl persuaded me to consider a boutique hotel, Tom Tom Suites, at nearly half the price and we were not disappointed. The rooms were extremely spacious and modern, the staff could not have been more accommodating and the breakfast was fantastic. He saved us a lot of money! We did however splurge on our last night and stay at the newly renovated Pera Palace Hotel where the Orient Express travelers used to stay and it was fabulous as well. The itinerary was the next issue since we only had 7 days and nights. Most of the one week "packaged" trips to Turkey have you stay a couple of days in Istanbul, a couple of days in Iszmir and a couple of days in Cappadochia. Earl asked me if we had seen ruins before in our prior travels and I said yes and he said save Izmir for another time and spend more time in Istanbul which is an absolutely fascinating city and go to Cappadochia because there you will experience something truly unique. Again, his suggestion was perfect as we loved Istanbul and definitely did not think that 4.5 days and 5 nights was too much. Plus, he made a number of restaurant recommendations to us that were great and I was in email contact with him almost daily asking about this or that restaurant. Our guides and drivers were fantastic and we saw all the major sites but for me what really stood out was the confidence that someone took the time to understand the kind of trip we wanted and made sure it met our expectations. Cappadochia was unbelievable and so was our 90 minute balloon ride. Last but not least, my son who had just graduated college was going to meet a friend in Brazil the day he left Turkey and he suddenly realized 4 days before our departure that he needed a visa for Brazil which normally takes 5 business days and must be issued by the consulate where you reside, which in our case was Los Angeles! Long story short, my son and I went to the Brazilian consulate the next morning and they agreed to get him the visa if he jumped through numerous hoops later that day (e.g. photo ID, wire transfer at a particular bank, etc.). Seemed simple, right? It should have been but because there was a general strike that day the government office that he needed to go to shut down and if it weren't for the phone assistance provided by our guide my son would never have gotten his visa. In the end, the visa was going to be made available on a Friday before our Monday early morning departure and we were in Cappadochia that day. No problem says Earl. He personally went to the Brazilian consulate for us and picked up my son's visa and dropped it off at the Pera palace Hotel so it was waiting for my son when we arrived back from Cappadochia. Now that's service! I would highly recommend Earl Starkey and Sophisticated Travel to anyone visiting Turkey.

Brad Shapiro
June 16, 2012
********************************************************

After a week on business in Istanbul, we had a wonderful trip, geared to our particular interests, with excellent drivers, comfortable cars and knowledgable guides. But the most important part for us turned out to be the solid ground support from Istanbul: when our 9 am flight was cancelled with no other until 4 pm, she had us take a 10:30 flight to a town an hour away and had our car and guide meet us there; when I realized that we had a very early morning arrival in Ankara, she arranged for early check in and we adjusted our schedule there to our great benefit; and when I broke my wrist in Eastern Turkey, she arranged with our guide in Izmir to set up an appointment with an orthopedist when we arrived there three days later to check my cast. Wrist did well and we continued our trip. Earl Sharkey and Sophisticated Travel did very well for us.
Constance Christensen

June 8, 2012


********************************************************

We contacted Earl at Sophisticated Travel based on the recommendation from CN Traveler. This was the first time we used a travel agent and also the first time we used a recommendation from CN Traveler. Without a doubt I must say that from start to finish this trip was an outstanding success. Earl was attentive to our desires, price point, as well as very attentive to detail. The itinerary that he developed gave us exactly what we requested; wonderful boutique hotels, very knowledgeable and friendly guides and a broad taste of Turkey. Oh, did I mention the FOOD?!?! Delicious!! We came away with a much better understanding of the richness and history of Turkey...it is truly a marvelous country. This was one of the best vacations we have ever had. By the way, one of Earl's best recommendations was Turkey Airlines. The comfort coach on Turkey Airlines is better than business class on American Airlines and a fraction of the cost! Without reservation, I fully recommend Earl and Sophisticated Travel to anyone that may be planning a trip to Turkey. Both he and his staff, in the US and Turkey, are professional, knowledgeable and provide excellent value for the cost.
Kathleen Langford

June 7, 2012


********************************************************

If you want the "best of the best" to organize your personally guided trip in Turkey, there is only one person to engage...and that is Earl Starkey of Sophisticated Travel, or "Sultan Starkey" as he is affectionately called by some! I arrived to settle into a beautiful suite overlooking all of the action on the Bosphorus at the Four Seasons Bosphorus Hotel...a bit outside of the old part of the city but a calming oasis after a busy day of sightseeing and, of course, a little shopping. This is where the East meets the West and was the perfect introduction to Istanbul. My guide in Istanbul was very thoughtful about the pace of viewing major historical sites, stopping for a little baklava and tea to fortify us before the next adventure. Restaurant recommendations were fantastic. Be advised, the food in Turkey is phenomenal so budget the calories accordingly! All of the guides in each location were extremely knowledgeable, two with over 20 years of guiding experience and willing to modify the schedule to accommodate any of my wishes, including more time in a location or a specific shopping request. My travels took me to Cappadocia where I was also in a suite. One of the highlights was a beautiful, hot air ballooning experience with Royal Balloons. Our pilot was so skilled that we would descend to specifically look at frescoes in some of the ancient caves and then rise to high, panoramic views. Since I had mentioned that I loved the water and wanted to experience Ephesus, Earl suggested that I stay in a small, boutique hotel on the water in Foca, Bulbul Yuvasi, where the food and service could not have been better. My room overlooked the harbor. Although it was a bit of a drive to Ephesus, it was just what I needed at the end of the day...a beautiful view of the sun sinking into the sea. And, I barely even noticed the driving distance because I was so interested in listening to my well-spoken and knowledgeable guide, Tan. Tan was even kind enough to give some food to a young, stray dog roaming Sardis. In fact, he has kept me abreast of her well being! When I returned to Istanbul, Earl took the time out of his busy schedule to take me to lunch to enjoy more fabulous culinary specialties of the country. Such graciousness and personalized service is hard to find these days, at any price. I can't wait to return knowing that I have only scratched the surface.
Lynne Whyte Barnard

June 5, 2012


********************************************************

Earl's and his team's service were terrific. Our destinations were Istanbul, Ephesus, Bodrum, and Fethiye. His hotel picks were excellent, and the guides were personable, flexible, and very knowledgeable. Earl was quite responsive to questions we posed before the trip, and his colleagues in Turkey were able to deal with last-minute changes in touring arrangements we made after we arrived. I'm happy to recommend him for your Turkey trip.
Randy

May 30, 2012


********************************************************

Thanks Earl - you and your Turkey "crew" were fantastic! Everything went so smoothly, the guides were terrific, the boat on the Aegean (and her crew) were such a treat. We loved Turkey and plan on returning in the future. While I was the one pushing Turkey inititally, the rest of my family came around after such an exceptional visit.

I will definitely recommend you to any friends/family who desire to travel to Turkey.

Thanks again!

Robin McManamin September. 2, 2011


********************************************************

:

the Turkey trip was fabulous!

We will use his agency again when we tour in Turkey again (much to see there) and will recommend him to others. If you do travel other than Turkey, please let me know as they were quite happy with your level of service.

Guide& driver were great. The trip was a great success. The visit to Catalhyouk sponsored in part by the Global Heritage Fund was 1 of the fantastic highlights.

Thank you,
Meryl and Charles Zegar August 3, 2011


********************************************************

Hi, Earl,
I wanted to thank you for all of the planning that you and your staff did relative to our trip to Turkey. It was perfect from beginning to end. Your guides were excellent, your drivers were punctual and professional, and the itinerary was perfect. Your restaurant recommendations were all excellent! The balloon ride in Cappadocia was a true highlight, as was the lunch in the home of a local couple in the area to which our guide took us to. Thank you so much for all of your work in sculpting this trip to truly fit what we were looking for. It was wonderful and we so appreciate your efforts. I am already thinking of my next trip abroad and I only wish I knew that there would be someone as detail oriented and knowledgeable as you who could put it together for us! I promise I will refer you to all of our friends and colleagues who wish to travel to Turkey (-we already referred you to one!).
Best regards, Nancy

Nancy L. Dennis August 1, 2011


********************************************************

!
Hi, Earl,
I wanted to thank you for all of the planning that you and your staff did relative to our trip to Turkey. It was perfect from beginning to end. Your guides were excellent, your drivers were punctual and professional, and the itinerary was perfect. Your restaurant recommendations were all excellent! The balloon ride in Cappadocia was a true highlight, as was the lunch in the home of a local couple in the area to which our guide took us to. Thank you so much for all of your work in sculpting this trip to truly fit what we were looking for. It was wonderful and we so appreciate your efforts. I am already thinking of my next trip abroad and I only wish I knew that there would be someone as detail oriented and knowledgeable as you who could put it together for us! I promise I will refer you to all of our friends and colleagues who wish to travel to Turkey (-we already referred you to one!).
Best regards, Nancy

Nancy L. Dennis August 1, 2011


********************************************************

Earl,
Turkey was the hi-light of our trip. Your guides were fantastic, we couldn't have enjoyed more.
Thanks again.
The Scarano's and Turner's July 24, 2011

Dear Earl, Turkey was terrific. Thank you for a wonderful trip, in a fascinating country. In particular, we thought the guides were superb - smart, energetic, responsive, easy to be with - they added so much to the experience. The drivers were great as well, safe and smart and very helpful. We are very grateful for your lifetime of experience that made this trip so successful. All best,

David Trainer

July 24, 2011


********************************************************

Dear Earl,
We had a wonderful and unforgettable vacation! All of the guides were excellent and great company, and everything went along seamlessly. Certainly İstanbul was a highlight, but I think my Dad and I both agreed that one of the most impressive days for us was our time spent in Hattuşaş and Yazılıkaya: we had the entire ancient capital to ourselves! Similarly the acropolis in Pergamon was amazing.
Thank you for a trip we will always remember, and thank you for your thoughtful e-mail
Best regards,
Drew Weston March 29, 2011

Earl,
Turkey was the hi-light of our trip. Your guides were fantastic, we couldn't have enjoyed more.
Thanks again.
The Scarano's and Turner's JUNE 24, 2011


********************************************************

Earl,
Our trip to Turkey was a really terrific experience. We were very happy with all of your choices on hotels and destinations.
If possible, can you send me electronic copy of the article about your tours that I saw in Conde Naste last Nov? I would like to pass along to some friends that have expressed interest.
Best and thanks again,

Richard McKinney June 24, 2011
From: Parisa Golestaneh [mailto:parisa.golestaneh@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 3:33 PM
To: Tricia Townsend-Mitchell
Subject: Turkey trip
Hi Tricia,

I just wanted to let you know that we had a fabulous time on the trip!! Turkey is really such a beautiful, sophisticated, and varied country. The itinerary went off without a hitch and my mom and I loved all the accommodations, the guides were very knowledgeable and a pleasure to spend time with, and the itinerary was well executed by all involved. I wanted to also make a special acknowledgement of our guide in Cappadocia, who was by far the most enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun guide I've ever had. He really went above and beyond to accommodate every request of ours, even the 'off itinerary' ones. I'm hoping you can pass this along to his employer.

Thank you again for a terrific job done and can't wait to work with you again soon!!

All the best,
Parisa Golasteneh June 24, 2011


********************************************************

Mr. Starkey, we just returned from our trip last night, exhausted, but with full souls. Our entire trip completely exceeded our expectations. Your staff and all of our guides were fantastic. We felt in excellent hands, and are so appreciative of your professional service. Thank you! Nancy Davis

Nancy L. Davis, RN, MA, MN June 9, 2011


********************************************************

Earl,

Ned and I returned from our wonderful trip a week ago tomorrow. We wanted to let you know that we had a truly memorable journey and thank you for everything - including the advise on plantar fascilitis. Ned was able to see someone here a day prior to leaving. The pain just went away...
We also wanted to let you know how very much we enjoyed both our driver and our guide. We couldn't have been more pleased. Our guide was brilliant and really listened to what we wanted and responded accordingly. Our guide, despite the language barrier was incredible fun, amazingly patient, and the best driver ever!
Thank you!
Yours,

Nancy Kolliner and Ned Long June 1, 2011


********************************************************

Earl:

Just a quick note to let you know every thing worked perfectly. Your firm and contractors took GREAT care of us and we had a fabulous trip!!

Thanks

Paul Ostrander May 4, 2011
********************************************************

Earl-
As I told you on the telephone, my wife, my grandson,and I had a wonderful time on our trip to Turkey. Everything went like clockwork. The hotels were all the best, and the itinerery was well thought out and interesting. Most importantly, however, the guides at each of our stops were superb. They were all well informed as to the history of the sites they showed us, were friendly and accommodaitng, and related well to our 14 year old grandson, making this trip a lifetime experience for him.
Best regards,
Steve and Mary Feldman May 1, 2011
********************************************************

Everything about the trip Earl planned was perfect - knowledgeable tour guides, wonderful hotels, great restaurant recommendations, etc. We had a really lovely time and can't wait to go back. Also thank you for all the personal touches. The staff at the Open House were so welcoming and it was very sweet of Anthony to invite me to a private party in a beautiful shop/home.

Some highlights - my only "regret" of the trip was not staying an extra night in Sirince. The hotel was so charming and it was the most relaxing part of the trip (hard to go to the hotel in Pumakalea after that but you warned me). The views every morning from the Argo's hotel were stunning (I met the designers at the party Anthony invited me too). The Terrace Houses in Esphesus and fresco's in Cappadocia were a definite not to be missed. Lastly, Risa was a top notch guide. Not only was he very knowledgeable and flexible, he treated us like we were old friends visiting from out of town. All three of us highly recommend him.

Kevin

April 5, 2011


********************************************************

Dear Earl,
We had a wonderful and unforgettable vacation! All of the guides were excellent and great company, and everything went along seamlessly. Certainly İstanbul was a highlight, but I think my Dad and I both agreed that one of the most impressive days for us was our time spent in Hattuşaş and Yazılıkaya: we had the entire ancient capital to ourselves! Similarly the acropolis in Pergamon was amazing.
Thank you for a trip we will always remember, and thank you for your thoughtful e-mail
Best regards,
Drew Weston March 28,2011
********************************************************

First, thanks so much for all you did to make my trip to Turkey as wonderful as it was. The hotel was comfortable and so close to everything, the restaurant was delicious and I LOVE our guide. He was wonderful. Wednesday afternoon, when he was with me for a half day, several of my friends were with us and they all loved him.
Thanks so much. Enjoy your week.

Best,
Felicity Nitz March 27, 2011
********************************************************

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful 10 day trip to Turkey that Earl arranged for us. We spent 3 days touring with Serhan in Istanbul (Serhan was featured in the Conde Nast Iconic Trip article about Turkey). He is a fabulous guide, and he and his wife even hosted us for cocktails at their home! We then flew to Izmir where our guide was Tan Ergen. We visited three archeology sites with Tan. I loved spending time with Tan, since he played trivia archeology/history games with us. It was so educational, and so much fun! The great thing about having Earl arrange your trips is the flexibility. We could change itineraries on the fly with the guides, so if we saw something we were really interested in, we could spend more time there. Overall it was a fabulous trip, and we will definitely book our next trip to Turkey through Earl.
Liz

February 25, 2011


********************************************************

I cannot recommend Earl enough. He has been wonderful at arranging trips for our small business but his expertise came in very handy recently when he helped evacuate my parents from Cairo. The major riots started on Friday which was when my parents landed back in Cairo with their tour company. The tour company was not particularly organized and were not going to have my parents on a flight until Monday (they eventually chartered a plane on Tuesday to evacuate all the passengers). Earl watched the flights carefully, found them one on Sunday and they were successfully enroute to Milan while the rest of their group remained in Cairo. While a day or two may not seem a long time to wait, given there were tanks and gun shots around their hotel, having them out of Cairo as soon as possible was very important. Earl clearly cares for his clients and his expertise at finding a needle in a haystack cannot be emphasized enough.
Shannon Cross

February 15, 2011


********************************************************