Mr. Murat (Orsan and Fatih),
Now that I am back home, I want to let you know how pleased I am with my whole trip experience.
The gulet cruise was wonderful in every respect; Lycia is a fascinating region and Peter Sommer Travel truly unparalleled as an expert.
Contrary to the reports of the media, I found Istanbul safe, peaceful and uncrowded.
Your services were excellent and I much appreciated the reliability, punctiliousness of the CIP program, transfers, driver and guide.
As you probably heard, in some unguarded moment on the last day in Istanbul I did have a fall going down the steps in the dark Cistern; it resulted in the next day in an ugly black eye, a few scratches and sore knees. But please tell Fatih that I had a T scan and X-rays at home and I did not break or crack anything.
I enjoyed Vault-Karakoy: it is a comfortable, spotless, quiet hotel, with the welcome convenience of a lovely restaurant on the terrace overlooking the Bosphorus.
Next time I fly to Istanbul, I shall certainly ask for your help. In between, I shall recommend L'Atelier to my friends,
With best wishes,
Dr. Jacqueline Thibault Schaefer
A few years ago, Travel Atelier organized our vacation in Turkey. That is how we met Ismail Ozdemir who was our guide in Cappadocia. When we discovered that Travel Atelier was offering vacations in Greece we did not hesitate to have then organized our trip to Greece. Ismail did a wonderful and very professional job. Everything was perfect! The boutique hotels in Athens, Delphi, Naxos, Paros and Santorini were spectacular. Every single detail was taken care of. These included private transfers, organized tours, our ferry tickets in VIP class, the airplane tickets from Santorini back to Athens. Ismail made himself available and kept in touch to ensure everything was according to plan. We only contacted Ismail to share photos and to praise him for the outstanding job he had made coordinating the trip exactly as we expected and more! I recommend you contact Travel Atelier for your next Greece or Turkey vacation. They are amazing professionals! Ours was a WOW EXPERIENCE.! Thanks ISMAIL!
We had a fabulous trip and appreciate all that you organized for us! The transfers to and from the airport were all very nice and prompt. The side trip to Gallipoli, Troy, and Pergamon was very interesting and such beautiful countryside. We loved Zeynep (not sure if that is the correct spelling) as our guide and feel like we made a new friend in Turkey. She was lovely, gracious and informative. We liked Assos as our overnight spot -- such a cute fishing village. This trip added to us already love for Turkey. We will be back . . . would like to do a gulet trip one day!
As for Jordan, it was also a great experience. Our guide and driver were very nice and also knowledgeable. The hotels were great - fancier than we normally stay in. We especially liked being walking distance from our hotel, Moevenpick, to the entrance to Petra. On the first day in Amman, we saw the Citadel on the hill and the roman theater. We asked to stop and take a walk in the shopping district which they did for us. We then drove on toward Petra. We stopped at Mt. Nebo (where Moses died and the site of some well-preserved mosaic floors), Madaba for lunch at a lovely old house turned into a restaurant (best food we had in Jordan) and a quick look at the church there, again with historical mosaic floors, and then we stopped at Little Petra before arriving at our hotel in Petra. For these extra stops, we paid the driver an extra $100. It was completely worth it to us but some travelers could be put off by being asked for additional money on the tour -- just a thought for building the next client's trip.
Petra itself was simply amazing. We spent 9 hours in the archaeological park on Friday and returned Saturday morning for an additional 3 hours before departing for the airport. Depending on your clients, they may not need as much time in the archaeological park as it is lots of walking but for our family it was magical! If we had had more time, we would have liked to make it to the Dead Sea but we would have needed another night there and that was not possible for us. And then when I left my phone in the van, the driver, Qais, could not have been nicer to drive back to the airport to get it back to me before the plane left.
I am happy to send you some pictures ... let me know if you want pictures of people or just scenery.
Thank you again for helping us create cherished memories for our family.
Flew to DALAMAN in Turkey from London - restaurant stayed open for dinner for them - very good food - arrived hotel 230 am - 2-hours drive from the airport. Hotel Dionyssos very nice - would def. go there again. Rooms lovely, food good, dinners jazzy outdoors - very nice. Staff nice as can be although little English is spoken, beach club very nice to have dinner at also, beach nice - you could walk there, gym small and v hot - it was VERY hot whilst they were there. They thought this place was delightful and said they would go back. The hotel has 3 boats which are very nice and available for charter (we did not know this!) - They chartered one evening for sunset.
Transfer to BODRUM- cars fantastic
BODRUM - Mandarin - WOW - spectacular hotel. Loved their apartment room, pretty people, pretty staff, great service, food great, pools, spa, and saunas - WOW. Beach good. Best breakfast in the world!
Went to Macakizi - we were so RIGHT to tell them not to stay there. They were happy they had lunch there but happy they were not staying- a huge scene.
GULET day - ok - boat ok not glam, very nice people/owners, enjoyable but they went to one place and just anchored - they would have preferred to keep sailing or motoring around to see different places. But it was nice - they just thought somehow they would be moving around more.
BODRUM - traffic terrible - would have done the Museum on the same day as boat/gulet as the pickup for the gulet was right at the marina by the museum - and then dinner on the 3rd trip to Bodrum was also there -near the marina! Museum Tour was a highlight - absolutely great - very glad we could arrange the private person for the.
DINNERS - had dinner at the hotel one night then in Bodrum. MANDARIN - criticism for them - sort out your little buggy transfers - it is really annoying to have to wait so long. And PLEASE buy some proper tennis rackets - it was shameful the rackets they had ere terrible - get a sponsor!!!!
ISTANBUL - Ciragan was great - def felt safe. Drivers and Murat were great. Did the whole itinerary except spice market. Had the same guide as BB and MM (Togay) - boat trip with lunch on the Bosporus on the way home was fantastic- the perfect way to do it. Good lunch nice pickup in the old city and then good trip on the sea. DINNERS - Turgay in hotel ok - formal, Ottoman; HOUSE - nice walked there - fun, low key SUNSET GRILLE and ULUS 29 - excellent both of them. VOGUE on last night - not too great. Went to the St Regis is Nisantasi (sp) for lunch - lovely terrace but would not stay there - great shopping, though. Also went to the Raffles mall - horrid. Haremlique is there - LW did some damage there.
All in all fantastic - loved Turkey - loved the people - really nice to be in a Muslim country ... and re the unrest - they had no vibe of it being unsafe. Thank you for arranging all – all fabulous.
Maybe you should consider using a Turkish tour company to help you with itinerary, logistics, hotel, train, reservations etc.
We were there several years ago with our kids during Xmas break in December. We had 20 days and visited Ephesus,(stayed in Sirince 4N/5D), Cappadocia 4D/5N, Ankara 1D and Istanbul 10D where we rented an apartment.
We used one of the tour companies that Tom from Turkey Travel Planner site recommends and were so happy with them that we have since recommended them to two other families. http://travelatelier.com/
They helped us with the hotel, plane, train, car rental, driver, and a couple of guides which were excellent.
Even though it was cold, the days were shorter and it rained occasionally I would rather spend the time in Istanbul as it is a fascinating city and there will be more for you to do there than on the coast where many of the restaurants, hotels will be closed for the winter.
Whatever you choose to do I am sure you will enjoy it.
Read more at http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/17-days-in-turkey-in-december.cfm
We had a marvelous time in Turkey both on the gulet and on the trips you organized on our behalf. All the guides were excellent and even though Neil knew quite a lot already he came away with greater knowledge. The holiday was totally worry-free, (except the moment in Canakkale because I am a very panicky traveler!), due to your organization and assistance. We shall certainly complete the survey and we intend recommending your services to our friends and colleagues.
Our trip has sparked an even greater interest in the history of your country and we are both reading books by John Freely of whom you may have heard. We very much hope to return to Turkey in the future.
Thank you again
Patsy and Neil
It will be a pleasure to write a positive comment and post it to TripAdvisor. Our visit to Turkey was glorious and trouble free because of your attention to detail. And specifically, you were very gracious and conscientious.
Helping us to create a wonderful itinerary, making our hotel and dinner reservations, and your personal calls to check with us throughout our travels, all demonstrated your dedication to your clients.
We loved the transfers, drivers, and the specially chosen tours guides for Ephesus & Istanbul that you engaged for us. All were knowledgeable and helpful and did their utmost to welcome us to Turkey.
I would highly recommend Travel Atelier to my friends who are traveling to Turkey.
Distances between sights and activities in Cappadocia can be vast, but if you're not up for renting a car, you can turn to the Travel Atelier to craft customized full-day tours and itineraries, led by top notch guides.
Low-season winter rates at Argos start from $195/night for standard rooms and from $380/night for suites.
Modern-day explorer, perpetual seeker, and diligent travel scribe Elissa Richard have set out circumnavigating the globe on an ambitious 14-month adventure. Tag along on her travels through Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and Latin America—and on the high seas in between—as she reports back to fodors.com on captivating cruises, hot hotels, and timely travel trends.
We arrived home last night. Still, a little jet lagged but good. We appreciate your excellent care and attention to detail with the all the arrangements. The whole trip was excellent. We highly recommend you and Travel Atelier. We will complete a review on Trip Advisor and give you highest marks. We will also recommend you to friends and family. We hope to get back to Turkey to see you again. Please let us know if you are ever in the US.
Mark and Susan
Many apologies for disappearing on you. There were a few reasons. Firstly, I ended up traveling to California three times in the last two months (all for good reasons) but that really threw off my whole schedule. Once the travel was done in the third week of September I had to settle down and make sure that my younger one was all settles as she started high school.
So every few days I would remind myself that I need to write the review and something or the other would come up. I also just caught up on my emails.
Well, the review is up. Hope you like it. It's long but I really didn't know how else to share the level of care you all put into your work. The only regret I have is that I uploaded a few more pictures than what show on the review and unfortunately they left out the pictures of us and you all together. Not sure how to get those added.
But cannot tell you how delightful it was to write the review. It brought such superb memories back....
Hope all is well on the home front and our love to your wife and Ozum.
Please also pass on our regards to Murat and everyone else.
Best always. Sarwat
Sarwat S. Patel ND
We had a wonderful trip thanks to your organization. Everything went perfectly. When we landed in Izmir we were met by our guide- Betul and driver Umit. They were both friendly, extremely knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. They were flexible and responsive to our interests- we spent over 4 hours at Ephesus but decided to skip Miletus later in the week. We appreciated the ability to go at our own pace. The hotels were comfortable and relaxing- Gullu Konak in Sirince and Su Otel in Bodrum. We liked being able to stay several nights in each hotel. The airplane trips went smoothly. Our one day trip to Troy and Gallipoli was fine. It was a long day but worthwhile.
We will be adding a report on Trip Advisor and can certainly highly recommend your company. Thank you for all your help in making our visit to Turkey terrific.
Thank you for your email.
Your organization for our Gulet trip was the first rate and everything went like clockwork.
Unfortunately, I contracted pneumonia on the second day of the trip and by the time I was able to get off the boat on the fourth day and see a doctor I was very poorly and spent the rest of my holiday in hospital in Ortaca. This obviously meant that we were not able to enjoy the trip.
However, as I said before your organization was great and so thank you for that.
Hope you're doing well! Sincerest apologies for the delay on my part - just submitted my review for your fabulous service on Tripadvisor :)
Once again, I cannot thank you and Travel Atelier enough for making our visit to Cappadocia truly incredible. We do hope to return soon and to have the opportunity to tour with you all again. I'm highly recommending Travel Atelier to everyone who asks about guides in Turkey.
I cannot overstate how much my family and I enjoyed the excellent service and professional insights that we received from Travel Teller Private Tours while vacationing in Turkey from 1 through 8 January 2015. This company is absolutely first-rate: they anticipate customer requirements, provide superb historical accounts during tours, select excellent restaurants and hotels, use modern and very comfortable cars and vans, and truly understand the importance of relaxing and taking our time to experience new things during a vacation. They also adapt quickly to changing circumstances. When my family and I plan another vacation to Turkey--and we will visit there again--we will definitely seek and enjoy the professional expertise of Travel Atelier Private Tours.
This was our second private tour. While planning and conducting our private tour of Cappadocia, we relied exclusively on our tour guide, Ismail Ozdemir. This man is a consummate professional. He is smart, honest, inquisitive, personable, and highly capable. He is also well educated and very, very well read. As a graduate of a college program that specializes in tour guide operations and regional history, Ismail knows a whole lot about the travel industry and Turkey. Better yet, Ismail knows how to use this information to assist his customers. My family and I truly enjoyed interacting with and relying on Ismail. Based on his unparalleled service, we not only grew to trust and respect Ismail, we also became his friends.
We just safely arrived in Istanbul. Another world!
Thank you so very much for the nice surprise after the balloon flight as I guess it was you who arranged the cake and candles!!
We had breakfast in Goreme, got a ride to the Love Valley and hiked back to the hotel for a siësta. Afterward, we continued through the Pigeon Valley to Goreme where we were supposed to go horseback riding but canceled it due to the weather. Instead, we went for dinner at the Top Deck Restaurant which was great.
We truly appreciate your work to make it a couple of wonderful days and enjoyed your company a lot. Thanks for everything! We hope to be back one day as it is just magical.
Every good wish,
Sorry for the delay in replying, but the last days in Turkey before our return home were hectic and at times without internet access.
Thank you so much for your assistance and support in arranging what was an unbelievable experience in Cappadocia for me and my family.
Please pass on my referral and remarks of our Guide’s, Rose (Gonca) knowledge, personality, and experience in helping make the time spent in Cappadocia enjoyable.
I would have no hesitation in recommending both Travel Atelier, you as POC and our guide, Rose, to any other groups or individual travelers in the future.
Once again, a big thankyou from myself and my family
Here is my more detailed response regarding our trip.
First and foremost I am very pleased with your travel agency for its responsiveness, attention to details and the customer-centric service. In particular, I am very happy with your individual responses. I was amazed at how quickly you responded to all my questions at all hours of the day. Thank you for all your help. Here are some specific items I would like to note in particular:
- I had many questions regarding the itinerary before I made my initial booking. You patiently answered all my questions and suggested alternatives that would satisfy my needs.
- I had originally not requested any trips in Istanbul. At the last moment, on the day I arrived in Istanbul, I asked if you could arrange a day tour for us on the very next day. With some difficulty, you managed to find a driver and a guide for us. Since we had a very short time in the city, having a guide made it easier for us to see many places in one day.
- In Cappadocia as well, you had managed to fit in all the places I wanted to visit in the two days that we had. Yasin, the tour guide was very courteous, knowledgeable and made sure that we were comfortable in our sightseeing and doing all the things we wanted to do at a reasonable pace.
- The balloon ride, of course, was the highlight of our trip. The balloon pilot, Bekir, was excellent and made us feel very safe during the trip. We are glad that we were able to make that trip on the first attempt.
- The hotels were comfortable. I liked both locations.
- It was nice of you to meet us when we were in Cappadocia, it was good to put a face to a name.
- Overall, the drivers, guides were top notch. I was impressed with their punctuality and attention to detail.
One item that may be worth pursuing you. The House Hotel in Cappadocia is a wonderful location and will surely become a very highly rated hotel. Our only concern was that the electricity went off a few times which turned off the Wi-Fi as well as the TV. I understand that this is a brand new hotel, still working out some initial "bugs". You may want to keep an eye make sure that these growing pains go away soon. Otherwise, I thought the manager of the hotel and everyone working there were extremely hospitable and kind. When we left the hotel, they stood outside to see us off -- it felt like we were leaving a family member's house! Please let them know that they truly kept up the meaning of the word "hospitality"!
I hope this feedback is useful. I look forward to visiting Turkey again and will definitely use your agency. I will also recommend it to my friends.
Thank you, once again, for all your help and for making our trip to Turkey very memorable.
Dennis and I thank you for helping to make our trip to Turkey so great. Everything you arranged worked like a (good) charm. We are especially grateful since we didn’t have to drive, something which had given us a bit of trepidation.
More important, however, thank you for the Cappadocia arrangements. Everything was perfect. We feel very lucky to have had you as our guide. We appreciated your good humor, the conversations we had, and your efforts to make the trip just we wanted. I cannot express adequately how lucky we felt to have you lead us on the two days of hiking. They were terrific, and no way would we have had as good a trip if we had tried that on our own. I wrote in my review of Travel Atelier that the Red River Valley hike was the highlight of the trip for Dennis and he ranks that hike as among the best he has taken in all his hiking days. I thought it was pretty neat, too.
And you can tell Murat that I wrote a review as I said I would. Looking over other reviews I see the agency is doing well. I hope that continues.
We would be delighted if you ever came to Washington, DC to show you around.
We had a fantastic time and a big part of that is because you were guiding us right from the beginning starting with the detailed Itinerary, the flights to take, areas to stay in and finally the attractions/sites to visit.
There were three things that really set this experience apart.
First was the extreme flexibility to design a very customized package for us. Our plans kept changing as we became more aware of what were the potential possibilities and we got educated through your emails. Your patience in hand-holding us and the close knowledge on the local areas, be it hotels, things to do and visit, and the details like transfer times, really helped us to plan for a better experience.
Second, the tour guides, they were outstanding. Deep knowledge, passion for the work they did and also the interest to ensure that the guests experienced a bit of the local culture were key contributors for a fantastic experience. In Cappadocia we enjoyed the humor, in Athens, we were simply amazed by the deep knowledge and in Istanbul, we had a fantastic time just with the passion and local cultural views from the guide. Fantastic experience all throughout.
Third, and this was significant, we all expect some issues or problems to crop up when you plan. And the best plans do sometimes go for a toss. What set you apart was the willingness to quickly fix the issues, correct as appropriate and then do what is best for the client. Not always easy in this environment and your decisions were not entirely driven by economics but by the client needs. Hats off on this.
Of course, the rest of the tour was also very professionally handled, the transfer, were always on time, drivers were professional and helpful, hotels were great picks within the budget constraints we had, each of them had something local to offer and this was great, overall had a fantastic time in both Turkey and Greece.
We would certainly look to come back to the region with you and highly recommend to our friends.
A very happy client.
Home safely and still adjusting to Australia time.
Jen and I were very impressed by Travel Atelier's attention to detail. We believe you interpreted our requirements very well and catered for our trip just as we desired. We believe we got good value for money considering we had our own personal driver and guide with each sector of our trip and stayed at some very special hotels. While we had an itinerary, your guides were flexible to meet our daily demands. Often when a trip is planned it is with an idea in mind - when you are actually there it is great to have built in flexibility so you can change things on the day. Each of the guides was prepared to make adjustments as needed and that meant we could stay longer at various places if we wanted to or have a driver take a detour to drop off gear at our hotels in the middle of the day. This attention to detail and flexibility gave our trip that extra personal touch - thank you.
As it turns out, we met Tom Brosnahan in Sirince - purely by chance. It was such a coincidence. We ended up having dinner with him one night and spoke to him about Travel Atelier. He was very generous with his time and gave us a few extra tips on shopping in Istanbul, which Jen loved.
As you know, the trip was to celebrate Jen's 50th birthday so it was important to me to make sure the holiday was special. It was - thanks to Travel Atelier.
By the time this email gets to you, your baby is probably due. We wish you all the best in your new role as a father. Thank you for arranging the trip and please pass on our thanks to Murat and Ozgur - we will treasure this trip. We will happily endorse Travel Atelier to whoever we speak to (and we have already) who might travel to Turkey and will do a separate endorsement on Trip Advisor.
Thank you so much for everything you did to put together a wonderful vacation for us! Thanks especially for arranging dinner on Thursday, which was amazing and delicious--you weren't joking about how much food there would be, though! Please let the owners know how much we enjoyed ourselves.
We will happily refer you to any friends and family who are traveling to the region, and of course, we'll be in touch when we have a chance to return. We'll also leave a glowing review on Trip Advisor.
Thanks for processing the refund. I'll be sure to let you know if there are any issues. It's a shame about the weather, but your team did a great job making sure we made the most of the snowy Cappadocia!
Good morning Ismail!
Everything has gone very well. The driver and a very nice young lady met us at the airport and got us checked into the hotel.
The hotel has also been very good.
Our driver and guide here are wonderful. Melis is great. She has so much knowledge of the area (of all Turkey actually) and is able to share it in an interesting way. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time both in Cappadocia and the Aegean region so far.
We are currently driving to Aphrodisias.
Thank you again. All of your greeters, drivers, and guides have been wonderful. I am very grateful to you for setting it all up for us.
Thank you again!
Sent from my iPhone
Happy New Year and Warm greetings from Central Asia!
Thank you very much for your warm hospitality during our week long stay in Istanbul. What a pleasure it was meeting you and talking to you during the hustle and bustle of getting our documents in order. This is a trip that Shukrona and I will never forget and you made it all the more special for us. You were most helpful and very accommodating with any request we had and I want to extend my congratulations to you this. Our welcome experience was seamless and furthermore, your assistance with coordinating the running around to complete the formalities was most appreciative! Karim mentioned that he contacted you while on his last minute trip to Cappadocia?
Should you ever travel to Central Asia or Canada, you know who to look up!
My sincere vote of thanks again in your very kind assistance during our special time in Istanbul. The memories will last forever! I have attached a photo that we have taken outside of the municipality office and the one you took of us in the Center of Taksim Square. Once I receive the ones from the professional photographer, I shall for sure send this to you.
I wanted to take a minute to let you know that we had an absolutely amazing time on our trip and it was mostly thanks to you and all of your advice, coordination, help, etc. I greatly appreciate your prompt responses and it was a pleasure communicating with you.
Hopefully, we will find an occasion to do so again in the future. In the meantime, I hope you stay well. :-)
Hope all is well with you.
Now that we are home from Turkey, I thought I’d take a few minutes to give you some more feedback on our experience.
First, thank you and your colleagues very much for your help and advice planning our trip. I was very impressed with how professional and patient you were with all those hundreds of emails we exchanged. It was truly great to work with you and I’m glad we all had the opportunity to meet you in Urgup. As soon as I have the time, I will write a glowing review on TripAdvisor.
Hotels: I have already told you how much we enjoyed Esbelli Evi. That is a great place, with superb service, and I’m very glad you encouraged us to stay there. The La Vista was okay – although we thought the food (both breakfast and dinner) was not very good and the service was just average, the pool and view were lovely and we were happy to not be in the center of town. As Kusadasi appears to be a place without truly good hotels, I think it was the best we could do, so thank you for suggesting that, too.
We loved the Ida Costa Otel in Assos. You should not hesitate to recommend it, and if no one from your company has ever been there, someone should go personally to check it out. The location, food, and service are all wonderful, the rooms are comfortable, everything is spotlessly clean, and it would even be a good honeymoon destination (or even, possibly a good place for a small wedding to take over completely), as the setting right on the Aegean is very romantic. The only possible caution is that most staff do not speak English, and although that was not a problem for us, the kind of American tourists who prefer to be with other Americans all the time might not be so happy there. But, as I said, we thought it was a very special place—absolutely on a par with Esbelli Evi.
We also stayed in two places we found on our own. The Casa Villa Hotel in Eceabat is quite small, really a pension; it was clean, comfortable, and well-located for touring Gallipoli Peninsula, with a decent breakfast and pleasant staff. Despite over-the-top decorating, it was just fine for one night. We also stayed one night at the Rys Hotel in Edirne – I don’t imagine very many travelers go to Edirne (although we found it fascinating and the mosques are especially beautiful there), but the Rys Hotel is very modern, staff speaks good English, and it has a nice rooftop restaurant—don’t hesitate to recommend it if anyone is looking for a place there.
Guides: We loved Yasin and Tugrul. They were professional, knowledgeable, and flexible and we enjoyed being with and learning from both of them. We also hired an excellent guide for Gallipoli, whom you may already know about – his name is Kenan Celik: I can recommend him very highly.
We found the driving pretty easy and ended up spending even less on the car than I thought we would. We had a big, comfortable Peugeot, and the total cost (excluding gas) for 7 days (including drop off and tolls) was just $668 US Dollars. I rented it from Enterprise through Auto Europe—I am not sure this is an option for you, but you might check them out.
That’s probably more than you want to know. Turkey was a great adventure – we loved the place, the history, the people, the food – all of it, really, and we learned so much. Thank you again, Vedat, for helping to make our trip such a great success. I look forward to recommending you and Travel Atelier to our friends and hope you will share this email with the owners of your company so that they know how satisfied we are.
My comments (please feel free to use in any publications etc.) and I will add to the sites below:
"We had a phenomenal trip to Turkey! The best decision we made was to entrust Travel Atelier with our travel plans. Their staff is knowledgeable, reliable, speaks perfect English, and responds very quickly to email and telephone inquiries. They gave perfect advice regarding our travel plans.
They provided transportation (which always showed up on time), showed great taste in suggesting hotel and restaurant arrangements, and provided tour guides who were knowledgeable, pleasant, and spoke perfect English. Using Travel Atelier made this trip completely stress-free. I give them my very highest recommendation."
I hope you are well. It was great to meet you in person at Goreme, even if very briefly.
Just wanted to let you know that we all thoroughly enjoyed our vacation in Turkey. We have left with wonderful lifetime memories of your country - it's long history, diverse culture, historic sites, natural beauty, warm people, and amazing food. I have a feeling some of us may be back in Istanbul for a few day stopover during a trip to India perhaps.
We also wanted to thank you for all the arrangements you made for us. Everything worked out very well. You were very responsive to our needs and requests right from the beginning when I first contacted you via email, all the way thru to our last days in Turkey. If you want, we can give you separate feedback about the hotels, guides, etc. But overall everything was great. I will be recommending you and Travel Atelier to my other friends and relatives who want to visit Turkey in coming years.
Please keep up the good work and wish you the very best!
We are now on the way back to Istanbul and just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful stay in Cappadocia!! All your effort to help plan this 2 day trip for us is much appreciated. The balloon ride this morning was great... We were upgraded to the 12 persons basket deluxe ride and I feel like you may have had some influence on that so thank you, it was like nothing we have experienced before!
Also your guidance yesterday was wonderful. Having been on many guided tours before I can honestly say the difference is you are very passionate about what you are doing and can tell you love it.
All the best and hope we cross paths again!
- Jameel & Sonia
We've been meaning to provide some feedback about our tour.
We wanted to tell you what an absolutely fantastic time we had on our tour. Tayfun was a great guide and we really appreciated all of the efforts that he had gone to make our tour memorable especially the BBQ lunch with his wife's homemade kofta patties and salad.
We liked that Tayfun never made us feel as though we needed to hurry at any of the places we visited and would remind us that we had all day to wander around the historical sites.
We also appreciated that he provided us with little information packs to read on our way to the sites. I think that as he does the tour more times than he will be able to ad lib a little more and rely less on his notes but, for us, it was not a problem.
Importantly, we also appreciated Tayfun's careful driving style especially since we were in the car for a long time.
Overall we both agreed that it was the best tour that we've been on because of the amazing Hittite sites we visited and also because of the thoughtful preparation that Tayfun had done to make sure we had a great time.
We also really appreciated your help in organizing a much cheaper tour than we otherwise would have found.
Marissa and Luke
We had a great trip. Thanks for all the help.
My comments -
You are super responsive and definitely, have an extremely good network in Turkey.
We always felt safe that we could call you (anytime 24x7) if we have any problems while in Turkey.
The hotels you recommended and we booked were all very good.
We did not book any tours through you as we like to be independent and be adventurous so I cannot comment on the tours.
Also, all your tour prices were quite expensive but I am sure they are very good quality.
We were happy doing tours with local operators (when needed), which were quite cheaper than the prices that you quoted. Same for the tour guide at Ephesus, which you had quoted Euro 150 and we could get a reasonably good local guide at the gate for Euro 50.
When we started our conversation with you, we had intended to stay in hotels which were not very expensive, but I think you basically specialize in hotels which are a bit in the premium category. It was the fact that you were so good in your responsiveness that we decided to go ahead and book all our hotels through you, and we were not disappointed.
Summing up - great experience in dealing with you. There was never any pressure to book anything extra through you. We always had the freedom to book only what we wanted. The hotels were all unique and great experiences to stay in.
I would definitely recommend your services to all friends and family with the caveat that they should be ready to pay the premium that goes with the extremely good service that you are providing.
Thanks again. Will be in touch.
Dear Travel Atelier Team,
Kiki and I arrived home safe and sound after one of the best vacation trips we have ever taken. Your help made the trip as special as it turned out to be. All of the arrangements you made for us worked out perfectly. Your help removed all of the stress from us. Getting a cake for Kiki's birthday was also a wonderful gift.
However, even more importantly, I so much appreciate the time you spent communicating with us before we left for the trip. Your explanation of what was really happening in Taksim Square and Turkey made us feel so much more comfortable in coming on the trip. We both love Turkey and a big part of that was the people we met. We consider you our friend. Thanks again for everything and I will give Kiki your regards.
In a couple of days when we recover from our jet lag, we are planning to go onto Trip Advisor to say what a great tourist agency you have. That will be easy for us to do.
Your friend, Jim.
Dear Travel Atelier Team,
I just want to again tell you how great a job you did for June and me in planning our time in Istanbul. Suleyman, Ismail, and chauffeur were absolutely fantastic! June had sciatica and balance issues, and all three of them went out of their way – far above what could be expected, to help her and ensure that she was able to see and do everything. Their helpfulness and kindness is something we’ll remember and treasure forever. Also, thank you for arranging all the transfers & airline fares. It made life so easy. Also, we were both very impressed with the knowledge & professionalism of Suleyman & Ismail. Their knowledge of facts and figures was incredible. I’ll write a condensed version of what I said above, below – but feel free to put any or all of it on your website as a testimonial. I’ll also try to find you on Trip Advisor and FB and do the same.
“Our trip to Istanbul and Cappadocia was one we’ll remember for a lifetime, thanks to working with you. You made what could have been very difficult, a joy. The professional guides (Suleyman in Istanbul, and Ismail in Cappadocia) were exceptional – not only in their knowledge of the sights but the exceptional care that they showed to my wife. The travel arrangements to and from the airports, as well as the airfares, were carried out to perfection. Also, your recommendation of the Kalekonak Cave Hotel in Cappadocia was excellent! You can be sure that we’ll recommend you to all our friends.”
Both May and I had a great time in Turkey, many thanks to your help in recommending and setting up our tours. I will certainly pass on my recommendation of Travel Atelier to any friends visiting Turkey as well as contacting you guys for my second trip to see the other sites.
I really enjoyed the tours and the flexibility we had of moving the events (balloon ride) around, picking up a little later the restaurant recommendations, and squeezing in the extra views. May really like staying at Argos and it was a unique experience indeed.
I suppose it would have been nice to have the wine event on the first or second night in Cappadocia, to enjoy the wine and any leftover bottles more instead of heading off to the airport right after. Other than that, I don't have much other feedback other than the trip was great and the service was great all around!
We'll be contacting you guys again when ready to plan my return trip. Happy New Year!
I want to thank you for all of us --and especially for me because you were so patient with ALL my emails and our changes of plans. We had a great time in Turkey. Literally, everything about the trip worked. The gullet was wonderful and we loved the crew. Our guide for Ephesus (Tugrul) was smart and well informed and sensitive to our various needs. We needed one more day to truly enjoy that fabulous Inn at Sirince but our schedules simply did not permit that luxury. He’s a great guide. Our time in Cappadocia was as special as we’d each hoped. Thank you for the wine tasting at the end of the trail. You (and Pinar, your wife). I missed the introductions, so I hope I have her name right.) are a delight. We also loved Istanbul. Murat the guide was not at his best (and I stand by my concern that his temperament is not a good fit for guiding) but Curtis and I genuinely appreciated him. Staying on the Asian side was a perfect way for us to end our trip=Sumahan on the Water is wonderful with its quiet and fabulous view and thoughtful staff. It was an ideal counterpoint to the bustle of Sultanahmet but would never have worked while we were touring with the group. You were “right on” about that. FYI, we also loved Empress Zoe. She has a very good staff and that place has such a distinctive character.
It was all simply perfect and that’s because you are so very good at what you do.
We appreciate all your effort.
My best to you and Pinar,
We are back home in Dallas, Texas after a long but fun journey to Turkey. Thank you again for setting us up with Burcu, such a wonderful guide. In addition, our friends, Leslie and Brent Cornwell, were thrilled she was also available for them. I saw Leslie at work yesterday, and she said they had a wonderful tour. Please let Burcu know. She is a wealth of knowledge, and she also knows how to select delicious restaurants!
I am so happy that Heddy Roth recommended you! Everything worked out beautifully, and we are most appreciated. I will certainly pass your and Burcu's name along to any of our friends and family who travel to Istanbul.
Thanks for everything. We were lucky to get you as our guide. We just loved being in Turkey. Your country has so much to offer.
Sudhir actually got quite sick through the night in Antalya. We ended up in the emergency room at 3:30 in the morning. He needed intravenous fluids and antibiotics. We were nervous about traveling back but it went ok. So now we are back to work and it is not fun.
Thanks for the history and timeline information. It is good to have it as a reference when we share our trip experiences with our friends.
Take care and do contact us when you come to the US.
Deepa and Sudhir
Thank you Ismail,
We did arrive home safely.. after a very long couple of flights. We actually had 7 hours in Japan to walk around and get lunch.
Thank you so much, again, for showing us around your beautiful countryside. (also for the pictures of the Open Air Museum... I forwarded them to Tara). I know that I will be back one day. I have already written a "trip report" on Fodors and told everyone about our adventures there. I will write a review on Trip Advisor as soon as I can. Right now, I'm getting used to being home and back to work.
I was reading through your website again and noticed something I wanted to ask you about. It said every guest of Proper Travel will receive a complimentary evil eye as our present.. I was wondering why we weren't given one. I did purchase some keychains for friends, but I'm sure they are not very good ones. Matter of fact, two broke in transit. Anyway, I was just wondering.
I hope when I return, I will be able to take you and your wife out for lunch. Along with Murat and his wife. I always say he is one of the most gracious people I have never met.
It was so good to meet you and have very wonderful memories! If you see a "crossing" sign and can stop, please send me a picture of it for my collection. :o)
Thanks for the photos.
We got back only yesterday and are still recovering from the 9 hour time change.
It's a little crazy here right now, without daughter coming in today to pick out some surplus furniture we have, and on Thursday, we'll put in a truck and drive it 600 miles to Seattle.
But you literally 'made' our trip to the east, and it's a trip we will never forget. Nor will we forget you. The invitation holds to visit us anytime either in Miami or Montana (we are in Whitehall, close to Yellowstone, and almost as close to Glacier National Park, with Zion, Capitol Reef, the Grand Canyon all within a day's drive). I'll attach a picture of our place here. It's in the middle of the 2,000,000 acres Deerlodge National Forest, (we have 320 acres), and you'd love it.
I hope your wife liked our small token of apology, for stealing you away.
As soon as time permits, I plan to write a letter to Murat and one to you personally regarding your abilities, in addition to a 5-star post on Trip Advisor. You are the best!
(It will be a month before I get through the 2800 photos I took, but I will send some eventually.)
All the best,
Jerry and Britt
Dear Alkan and company,
We arrived home and spent a few days babysitting for our grandchildren so I apologize for just getting to writing to you. But we have already recommended you to a few of our friends for their future plans!
I want to begin by saying that EVERYTHING... every tour guide, every driver, every transfer arrangement, every itinerary, every hotel... everything was perfect. We couldn't have asked for a better first visit to Turkey.
Alkan, your detailed itinerary was exactly what we wanted and you were so attentive to every part of the delivery. Friends have asked us how we knew your company was reputable when we found you online. I couldn't really pinpoint it, but the way we developed the trip collaboratively certainly gave me confidence. Then, from the minute we arrived at the airport and we were met immediately, we knew we were in good hands.
We are not fussy travelers. We don't like to feel "waited on". Your guides were our fellow travelers, easy to converse with and incredibly knowledgeable. Togay, Ismail and Tugrul all were truly interested in the history, politics, and aesthetics of the sites we visited and the country in general. They were able to discuss any question we raised and their presentations did not feel tired or routine. They were proud of their heritage and eager to share what they knew. They were conversant with current politics and culture. We have had guides in other countries but have never had any as well educated as these young men. We learned as much as we could absorb and they knew when we could not take in any more information. Their choices of restaurants, when needed, were excellent and they steered us toward good quality merchants for purchases. They all seemed to be well liked by the business people we came in contact with. They helped us choose music CD's and recommended museums and helped us navigate on our own on the days we had no need for a guide.
I would like to say a word about your drivers as well. Although most had very little English (and we had no Turkish) they were patient and very courteous. All were careful drivers and the vehicles were in excellent condition and very comfortable. There were drivers who simply picked us up at a hotel or bus station and drove us to another place. They were always punctual and every arrangement was perfect.
The hotels you selected were all unusual and first class. We enjoyed their breakfasts and even chose to have dinner in a few. The hotel staffs were very friendly and seemed to love their jobs. Every hotel was extremely comfortable, clean and in a beautiful setting.
When we came to Turkey, we thought that two weeks would be enough and that we probably would not return in the future. After our trip, we are sure we will visit again to see all that we were not able to fit into our first visit. And when we plan our return, you will definitely be hearing from us. Thank you so much for all of your services.
Please feel free to have any potential guest contact us for a reference.
Please thank Ismail for the images. Much better than I could have taken!
Susan and Richard Goldman
Dear Travel Atelier Team,
I apologize that it has taken me so long to write you. We got home and the following week the kids started school. It has been SO VERY busy since then!
We really had a great time in Turkey and I definitely have you to thank for that. You took constant care of us. Following up to make sure everything was on track. I really appreciate that care...especially since I was traveling with my children.
It was really great to get to meet you in person. We enjoyed the dinner together. I know you had to be completely exhausted from that wedding. Thank you for taking the time with us. Would love to do it again sometime.
I will be following up with my letters this weekend. Feel free to stay in touch, and if you are in the New York area we would love to do dinner or something.
We were very happy with our trip to Turkey and with the services received from Travel Atelier. Specific things that we liked included:
- Flexibility and responsiveness during the time we were planning our itinerary. I asked 5 agencies in Turkey for itineraries, and after considering all my options, I felt most comfortable with Travel Atelier
- The quality of the hotel selected; we were particularly impressed by the Sacred House in Cappadocia. This hotel is amazing!!
- Royal balloon – this also an awesome recommendation. The level of service was of the same standard as the hotels
- Timeliness of transport services – nice cars and friendly drivers
- Last, but not least, Ismail was looking after us since the moment we first arrived at the hotel until the very last night. This made us feel like we had someone to call in case we had trouble.
Our experience with the quality Gullet was less satisfactory, but overall we had a good time – good company, good food, and incredible sites.
We have been telling our friends lots of good things about Turkey and recommending Travel Atelier as a travel agency. When we go back; we will definitely contact Ismail again.
All the best,
The reputation of Cappadocia, Turkey as one of this planet’s most beautiful regions is not without merit. And since we only had a few days to explore it, we knew we’d need some professional help. Travel Atelier offer fully personalized private tours and came to our rescue. This was perfect for us as we could tailor the flexible itinerary around our 2 young kids, who have a habit of falling asleep at the most inopportune times. Our friendly guide, Ismail, was extremely knowledgeable about the area and organized a fabulous 2-day tour that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Read more: http://travelwithbender.com/travel-blog/turkey/2-day-whirlwind-tour-of-cappadocia-turkey-day-1/
Hi, it's Ilana (Greg's girlfriend), who you gave a tour of Cappadocia to a few weeks ago. We had a wonderful time with you. From the time we were greeted at the airport with yummy snacks all the way to the end of our stay, we truly enjoyed our experience. We learned so many interesting stories about Cappadocia's history and saw gorgeous sites.
You really catered our experience to our desires, and we really appreciate how flexible you were. Thank you so much! We wish we were still there!
Goreme Open Air Museum
Our day started again at 10 am with Ismail of Travel Atelier picking us up from our hotel. The Goreme Open Air Museum was located less than 10 minutes away. It is regarded as one of the most popular attractions in the region and is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site. The complex contains numerous rock-hewn churches and houses as well as incredibly intricate frescoes (wall paintings). Most of the structures date between the 10th and 12th centuries, but Christians lived in the area from as early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
We decided to start with the museum first in the morning as the kids would have the most energy and there was quite a bit of walking to do (for little legs). Each cavern contains a host of interesting stories behind them, the people that lived there and the events that took place. Whilst there was some signage, having an experienced guide made the walk much more enjoyable. Read more: http://travelwithbender.com/travel-blog/turkey/2-day-whirlwind-tour-of-cappadocia-turkey-day-2/
You were fantastic! You took great care of me and family. Long I learned that things don't always go absolutely perfectly. The mark of a good agent is that they solve the problem and get rolling. That's exactly what you did; you made my life so smooth. I would gladly give you great recommendations to anyone looking to enjoy Turkey. Thank you, Thank you Thank you.
Just wanted to post a quick note. We used Travel Atelier (which we found through this website)--and they did an unbelievably great job. From start to finish Travel Atelier (our agent) was attentive, offered ideas and opinions when asked, and was incredibly responsive to our needs. She went way above and beyond what was expected--getting us upgrades on our boat rental and changing some plans for us last minute as well. We could not have asked for a kinder and more competent person to handle our trip to Turkey. Her prices on hotels were better than we could get on our own--as were her prices on internal airfare. The entire experience was delightful and well organized. I highly recommend the services of Travel Atelier. They made our honeymoon completely stress free. We couldn't have done it without them.
Dear Travel Atelier,
Thank you for your help in organizing our trip to Turkey. We had a great time! The hospitality and service and the very welcoming smiles and chats from anyone you meet are very nice indeed.
I have good feedback for the hotels and trips you booked for us.
El Vino - definitely one to keep on your books. While the hotel is at the top of the hill and the legs get a little bit of a workout walking up and down the stairs (if you need to go to reception) the hotel is great. Good location, very well organized, clean, good food and drinks. The pool area is great and we spent a few afternoons there. The rooms were good too. A big room really and very modern. The TV was broken when we first arrived but I called reception and they sent a technician to fix it that night and all was good after that.
Raymond Hotel - excellent location for all the most frequented tourist spots in Istanbul. Very easy walking to restaurants and markets etc. The room was smaller than that at El Vino but that's to be expected in the main city. The air conditioning was a blessing. The bed was a little small for the two of us because it was so hot but this is very very minor. This isn't really a 4-star hotel more like a 2.5 or 3 star but it is neat, tidy, the staff were very nice, and the breakfast was ok (we only had the breakfast on one of the mornings). It is a good hotel for the price.
Tours - the tour was really good and my husband says it was the highlight for him. My only suggestion is that the transfer person tells the guests what to expect, like, we will take you all the way to Gallipoli Peninsula in this van and then you will meet the guide there. That's about all that's needed. The small number of people on the trip to Gallipoli was really good too - better than a big bus full of others.
Thanks again for your help in arranging our holiday. I hope this feedback is helpful for you too.
Hope you are well. We are back and through our jet lag! First I want to thank you for the amazing honeymoon we had. Everything that you set up, help set up, or changed at the last minute for us was AMAZING! We cannot thank you enough.
Next--I wanted to see what sites you would like us to go online to write reviews about your services to help more people come your way? Please let me know.
On another note--The Karakoy rooms was lovely. It was very conveniently located and, in fact, in the rooms, it was much quieter than the House Hotel.
I would recommend the Karakoy rooms to anyone in the future.
Be well, and thank you again!
Peter and Athena
Dear Travel Atelier,
We had a wonderful vacation in Turkey – one of our best vacations ever.
We think your service was truly outstanding – exceptional! We thank you so very much for all the superb help you gave us throughout our time in Turkey. The problem during the drive to Sirince was minor and in some ways amusing. Taken in the context of all you did for us, it is not even worth thinking about. But I do understand how frustrating it was for you to have the transfer company do an inadequate job.
We were happy with all your ideas and your excellent follow-through. The Prime Class service at Ataturk was a revelation; I hope we find similar services at other airports in the future. The Gullu Konaklari was beautiful, serene and relaxing; I hope to return someday just to enjoy the hotel. Our guide for Ephesus, Uzay Taner, was excellent and flexible. All in all, your help was a major part of making our vacation memorable. Haley is particularly impressed with the fact that you were available to help us anytime, including evenings and weekends.
With your permission, I would like to write an email to Murat and Pinar Soyata Ozguc, telling them how extremely happy we were with all your help.
Please let us know if you come to Los Angeles.
Thank you again for everything!
We are back home now after Istanbul and a few days in Paris. We saw a lot of my family in Paris and wandered around some of our favorite places and then had to say goodbye to our vacation and come home.
The bummer was that both Jimmy and I got terrible coughs/colds once we got home so have been struggling to breathe without coughing fits and feeling pretty terrible. It will go away, though.
When we checked Jimmy's camera, he had just short of 1000 photos! We deleted some but still have about 840! We will send you some of our time together and the photos of you and I and I think there is one of you and Jimmy, though I think that is on my phone. But we'll send them so you don't forget us!
We emailed Kazim and thanked him for connecting us with you (and with Esra) and told him how fabulous you are. That person who told you that you weren't passionate enough about Cappadocia needs to have his head examined!
I imagine that your days will be getting busier as the tourist season really gets going. I hope you find time to email us and stay in touch. We so enjoyed meeting you and I have been telling everyone here that we have a new friend in Turkey!
Much love and to your father, too!
Lynne and Jim
Merhaba Ismail – I want to thank you for our best trip ever. The planning could not have been better. Mary and I enjoyed all the days we spent with you, Suleyman and Tugrul. We really appreciated that you and Tugrul took us to some of the best restaurants we have ever eaten in as that is always a highlight for us on any trip.
Would you mind sending me the name of the restaurant we ate in on the last night?
Thanks again and I hope we make it back to Turkey soon.
Randall and Mary
I didn't have my phone with me while we were gone. It was great meeting you and we had a wonderful trip to Turkey. We loved Istanbul and are now happy to be home with the girls.
We raved to everyone we met about Cappadocia to the point where they were sick of looking at pictures! We will recommend you to anyone else that travels to Turkey! You and your staff were wonderful and all of your recommendations were fantastic!
Hope all is well,
To our Turkish friends,
I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’, both personally and on behalf of our journalist team, Mark, Kerry, and Sarah. We enjoyed your warm hospitality from the moment we arrived at the airport, and we felt both well looked after and continually entertained by the fantastic program you arranged for us.
With so many exciting activities, enthusiastic guides, welcoming hosts, fine cuisine, stunning scenery and world-class accommodation, it is impossible for me to pick just one highlight. I know each of us has brought home wonderful memories to share with friends, family, and the UK public, to encourage them all to visit Cappadocia as well.
Please keep in touch and I will send you details when each of the articles is published. If there is anything I can do to help, please get in touch anytime.
Thanks and regards, Rob
Attached to this email is PDF of my Guest Survey Report. Just a few details I would like to add.
Guides: Tugrul and Faruk were fantastic! Ismail was good but seemed to be less experienced than the other two. He also seemed not to have planned/followed the visit itinerary as efficiently as might be hoped. We did a lot of driving back and forth and backtracking.
Vehicles: In Efes and Cappadocia, I did not find the tour vehicles to be as comfortable as the one in Istanbul. Of course, because of my back problems, I am probably more sensitive to this than others might be. With only two tourists, a sedan may have been more comfortable than a large minibus. All three drivers were great, though.
Hotels: El Vino: Hotel is cute, comfortable, quiet and a good value. Wish we could have stayed longer. Restaurant and breakfast were also delicious.
Gullu Konak: Hotel is very nice and staff helpful. Breakfast is great. Food quality at dinner was good but not as good as the El Vino.
Esbelli Evi: Perfect! The location is great. The cave rooms are whimsical, comfortable, unique and enormous (we stayed in the Volcano Suite). The breakfast is delicious and served in surroundings with unmatched comfort and view. The convenience of the free snacks and inexpensive honor bar ($2 beers) is more than generous. But best of all, the people are wonderful.
The owners, Yasemin, Suha and all their staff simply could not be more cordial or welcoming. You feel like you are invited into a family home. If you visit Cappadocia, you simply must stay here! There is no way that you will leave with anything but a smile on your face.
Sultanhan: The location is convenient and the lobby is impressive, but little else is worth the 230 euros/night. Room size is average, no view from half the rooms, and the front desk clerk is unhelpful (a statement that doesn't apply to the bellboys). Here is an example. We asked the desk clerk to make a dinner reservation for us at the Balikci Sabahattin.
He first said you don't need reservations there. I asked him to call anyway. He makes a call, talks for a few seconds, hangs up and tells me that no reservation is required. He also says he believes the restaurant to be unprofessional. We go to the restaurant and the first thing we are asked is whether we have a reservation. We say no and are told they have only two tables left. Luckily, we get one, right by the door. Another couple shows up and gets the last table. Over the next two hours, numerous people show up and are told there is no more space. Therefore, it is clear to me that this restaurant does require a reservation, and the desk clerk was not being honest with me. Indeed, this clerk was the ONLY person we met in Turkey who was less than completely helpful and friendly to us. Everyone else we met or dealt with was a complete delight.
Further, you can't even control the heat/cooling in your room. It remained a constant 30 degrees. While there is a thermostat, it just doesn't function. The Sultanhan prices itself as a luxury hotel but delivers only a very average experience. It seemed that better or equal places were available for equal or less cost. I wouldn't recommend this place.
Finally, Barbara and I had a wonderful visit to Turkey, only it was too short. We think Travel Atelier did an excellent job and would recommend you to others. We remain interested in the Blue Voyage. We will be asking some of our friends to see if they are interested. The possible date would be in September 2013. If we can recruit some people, I will be back in touch.
My humble apologies for writing this email so long after we returned home. Firstly, huge thanks to you for all of your assistance whilst we were in Turkey. Your organization made our stay one of the best holidays we have had and we would highly recommend Travel Atelier to everyone. We both loved Cappadocia, the magnificent countryside, and the food. I have been practicing from the cookbook and our Black Sea Cruise Group are having a reunion in a couple of weeks and we are all taking a Turkish Dish.
My sincere thanks to both Ismail and Togay for being our guides and special thanks to Ilhan who made our days so much fun in Cappadocia. Please say special thanks for my Turkish pants and they will be worn to the Turkish reunion dinner.
Also to Ismail and Ilhan; thank you for waiting!!!... The pain of selecting the carpet runner was well worth it as it looks great in the hallway of our home in Chelmer.
I have only just downloaded the photos and have attached couple....
Thank you, Murat, for the cookbook and I have delivered Helen and Ross theirs.
Again our special thanks and best wishes to you all.
Dear Travel Atelier,
Kiki and I arrived home safe and sound after one of the best vacation trips we have ever taken. Your help made the trip as special as it turned out to be. All of the arrangements you made for us worked out perfectly. Your help removed all of the stress from us. Getting a cake for Kiki's birthday was also a wonderful gift.
However, even more importantly, I so much appreciate the time you spent communicating with us before we left for the trip. Your explanation of what was really happening in Taksim Square and Turkey made us feel so much more comfortable in coming on the trip. We both love Turkey and a big part of that was the people we met. We consider you our friend. Thanks again for everything and I will give Kiki your regards.
In a couple of days when we recover from our jet lag, we are planning to go onto Trip Advisor to say what a great tourist agency you have. That will be easy for us to do.
Your friend, Jim
It was indeed a pleasure meeting you as well. Thanks for all your patience and many emails and attention to detail that made sure that we had the most amazing holiday.
Our impression of Travel Atelier was excellent, the transfers, tours, tour guides, hotel recommendations were all excellent. We will remember this holiday for years to come.
Thanks for going the extra mile in returning my glasses that I left in the car.
You made the holiday that we envisioned come true.
Ernie & Elna Blom
John & Susan de Beer
Just wanted to let you know what a wonderful time we had in Turkey! You and the team really planned a great trip for us. We really enjoyed our guide Fatih, who educated us on all the history of the country. All the drivers and guides were prompt and professional. At some time in the future when I return to visit eastern Turkey, I wouldn't hesitate to contact you again.
" Travel Atelier provided travel agency services to us in several parts of Turkey. They were incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and responsive. He even told us to call him anytime of the day or night while we were in Turkey if we had any problems or questions. Fortunately, we did not need to take him up on his offer, but I have no doubt he would have been there if we needed him. "
".......If you plan to take a trip to Turkey, not with the group, but you think arranging everything by yourself is a little tiring. Maybe you can make it easier for us, asking Travel Atelier to make the itinerary tailored for you.
How did I find Travel Atelier?
I reviewed Fodor's forums and found Murat posted some passionate writings to defend his country. He’s so proud of Turkey. I also read some satisfying reviews about Murat’s services. Then I checked TripAdvisor forums and other travel websites I usually visit to make sure Travel Atelier really exists. As Xmas_ trip said, Cappadocia is a long way from Taipei, Taiwan, too.
Why did I choose Travel Atelier?
Unlike Xmas_trip, I only chose Travel Atelier. I contacted Murat via email on Jan.10 and soon received a reply. Then they helped me to plan our itinerary, through constant communication, discussion, modification, we finally confirmed all the details on Jan. 18. I’m impressed by Murat attitudes: they don’t recommend their customers any hotels or restaurants they are not familiar. I paid 30% deposit on Jan. 21, 30% more two weeks prior to the departure, and 40% due amount on arrival.
Do we enjoy our trip to Turkey?
Absolutely! We, 10 people, are all satisfied with what Travel Atelier Travel Agency arranged for us, the hotels, tour guides, drivers, minivans, etc. Hotels are unique. Most of the cars are very good. Four guides in different regions do a good job, and our favorites are Mehmet and Yasin, who are friendly, responsible, and knowledgeable. Drivers’ driving skills are very good, so we all feel safe and comfortable. They keep in touch with us by phone all the way to understand our situation, just like he stated in emails: “don’t worry; I’m always with you 24 hours/ 7days.” It’s hard to believe he was only 28. Before meeting him, I thought he must be over 40 for being thoughtful, stable, and so considerate. Thank you.
What are we impressed most?
We planned to visit Kos Island in Greece by ferry. In early morning Mehmet sent us to Bodrum Cruise Port, and then we lined up, waiting to check-in. The customs official hesitated for a while, for a single visa with multiple entry visas issue. Greece is the member state of European Union, and Taiwanese passport holders don’t need a visa to travel to the EU. But we couldn’t go back to Turkey this afternoon because we only applied for a single Turkish visa. What a terrible mistake I made! I immediately collected all the ferry tickets, thinking about what to do and where to go next because Mehmet would pick us up at 17:45. But ah! A miracle happened! Mehmet didn’t leave yet. He waited outside the building for about 1 hour! He’s so responsible! He asked my plan B for the rest of the day. I told him that we still wanted to take a boat sailing on the Aegean Sea. He contacted with Travel Atelier immediately. Less than 10 minutes, we got on the bus, ready to go Kusadasi. When arriving in Kusadasi port, a “huge” boat greeted us! That was a private boat for 10 of us, and we didn’t have to pay any extra cost! Taking the private boat, sailing on the Aegean Sea for about two hours is a rare, luxurious, and unforgettable experience! Amazing Travel Atelier!
Amazing Travel Atelier! Amazing Turkey!
Travel Atelier office is in Cappadocia, which is a fabulous area to visit. Murat invited us to visit his office. We were chatting, and enjoying Turkish coffee and tea they served there. Their warm welcome made us feel like being home. This is our first time to visit Turkey, and we can’t help falling in love with it for its friendly people, beautiful scenery. It’s a young and dynamic country, traditional yet free and open. Amazing Travel Atelier! Amazing Turkey! "
"Firstly just a few facts - around 45 countries visited in the past 7 years, mostly arranged by ourselves, without travel agencies or agents, no reviews written on TripAdvisor by us (I know...terrible, but true)...until now...
Once planning our very short trip to Cappadocia, I knew it is going to be unforgettable stay because of Cappadocia unique landscape...which we just loved. I would never have believed that we remember it also because of the travel agent. Traveling around the world very very often and always determinedly just by our own, I am happy I changed my mind, in this case, decided to ask for assistance and mainly - found Travel Atelier....
All superlatives of these people and their professional services were already written in others' reviews. I just want to address this message to all independent travelers - change your mind for a once and just do it...Travel Atelier shows you the difference....
We do thank Ismail for perfect schedule and all arrangements, our guide for perfect day tour through the history, his father Ali for the safe journey, Murat for unique wine tasting and our chief pilot from Royal Balloon Co for another superb view of Cappadocia from the air. You made our private wandering through this amazing land just incredible....Many thanks for the chance to meet & know you and all the best to all of you....
Five friends and I just came back from a splendid trip to Turkey. I had been to Turkey many times but I realized early on that I needed technical assistance in the execution of the trip. Early on, I contacted Y Murat Ozguc, the managing partner of Travel Atelier, and his able assistant, Ismail Ozdemir, who were invaluable in helping me organize this trip. I could have picked any number of travel agencies but I am so pleased that I chose Travel Atelier. At all times, they were professional, honest and prompt in their responses, giving excellent answers and advice to all our concerns and questions. Above all, Murat and Ismail were personifications of the Turkish hospitality that I am so used to. We went to Istanbul, Izmir, Pamukkale, and Urgup in Cappadocia using each place as a hub for our excursions. Ismail arranged for our hotels, in-country transportation including mini-vans, internal flights, and drivers. When we got to Urgup, the location of their office, Ismail was there to meet us with gifts, brochures, and tour information. He arranged for two of our members to take early morning balloon flights with a very safe, professional balloon company. When one of our parties became ill, he arranged for her to do a private tour with a taxi and later meet up with the rest of the group. We were pleased with the selection of hotels and suggested restaurants. When we met Murat at his office, he turned out to be just as charming, warm and gracious as Ismail. On our last night, they had arranged a surprise wine tasting for the group at sunset on the rim of one of the beautiful canyons. It was an unforgettably beautiful event with delicious wine and h'ordeurves and delightful conversation. The very last "piece de resistance" was their parting gift: each of us was given a certificate of appreciation whereby a sapling was donated in our name to be planted to combat soil erosion for reforestation. We were quite touched. We are looking forward to returning to Turkey one day soon. I have no hesitation in highly recommending the wonderful team at Travel Atelier for any and all of your travel needs. Lynda Ozgur"
"As part of a recent two-week vacation in Turkey, I chose to spend one week on a gulet cruise. Travel Atelier responded to my email request for information about the cruise, and I am very appreciative of Alkan's courtesy and professionalism is answering all my questions, booking my travel, and in assuring my safe arrival at the Marmaris Marina. I did not have any information about which company I would be traveling with until a few days prior to my arrival at the marina; I was completely confident that Travel Atelier would only deal with excellent providers. I was not disappointed. The cruise was exceptional in cleanliness, food quality, crew attentiveness, and safety. Travelers should be aware that the weather can change suddenly on the Aegean. We did have rain and the wind, but it did not negatively impact our relaxation - there were many opportunities, despite the rain, to read, play games and get to know fellow passengers. All the meals were delicious and eaten family style and there were plenty of interesting discussions while we ate together. I recommend the services of Travel Atelier when choosing a blue cruise or any other travel services in Turkey."
"Our holiday started in April 2012 with our 17-year-old son saying he wanted to go to ANZAC Day in Gallipoli (2013) for his 18th birthday, which is on the 26th April.
I started reviewing TripAdvisor on how to make the perfect holiday work. 5 of us traveling, wife and I, 2 teenage children and my mother in law (Grandma, 74yr.).
I reviewed all the forums and from that chose 4 travel agents to contact with our basic needs. Only 2 bothered to reply, (Am still waiting for the other 2).
The email I got from Travel Atelier was fantastic. He filled in some of the gaps in my first itinerary, made some suggestions that reflected our traveling parties’ needs and was written in a way that I felt I could trust him.
But I still reviewed our options elsewhere (local agencies) as Cappadocia is a long way from Perth Western Australia.
Over the next few months from initial contact, we worked together via email and we built a fantastic holiday. They suggested hotels, I checked them out online. They suggested daily tours, I checked them out online. It’s always hard to get the full picture online, but from what I was seeing they had it 100% correct.
So, I went with Travel Atelier in Cappadocia, central Turkey.
When I sent my deposit, I was nervous. As mentioned, Cappadocia is a long way from Perth.
I guess once the deposit was paid, they knew I was a legitimate traveler and his service only got better, which sounded impossible, how can he get better than he already had!
We still worked on the itinerary, tweaked this, altered that, I paid the final payment.
Days before we leave and I get a phone call from Travel Atelier. He made a small mistake in his planning and was calling to let me know he had fixed it and that we were not to worry. What a guy :-)
It's always reassuring to land in a foreign country, go through all the customs and baggage rigmarole to see your name on a piece of paper when you exit the customs area. Our driver was waiting..... phew. And what a car we were picked up in...... luxury. Thanks, Travel Atelier.
Our hotel in Istanbul, the Yasmak Sultan, was a fair drive from the airport but tucked away nicely in the middle of it all. Clean, tidy, friendly, everything we expected. All of our needs were met and most importantly Grandma was happy. Thanks, Travel Atelier.
That evening Murat phones and informs us of what to expect over the next few days, pick up time, what we will be doing and what to expect. I was so pleased to get the call, just to confirm that the notes I had brought along were correct. That call happened every evening, informing us of what to expect the next day.
Berrin was our tour guide for the following 2 days in Istanbul. She was better than fantastic, she was brilliant! So knowledgeable, so friendly and so caring to Grandma. We had a great 2 days.
Honestly, I could go on about the whole 15 days we spent in Turkey, writing a full trip review, but this is really about Travel Atelier.
Every detail, every tour, every guide, every driver, all accommodation (Nazlihan Hotel in Assos..... WOW!!!!!), every transfer was perfectly organized by Travel Atelier.
I cannot sing your praises enough!
We had a fantastic holiday.
Thank you, Travel Atelier.
"We had come to Turkey for our honeymoon in April 2013
We had booked the trip through Ismail and he made the best arrangements for us
He suggested the best of hotels and we loved it
He would respond to my emails post-midnight also which shows how professional and dedicated he is.
If we were stuck anywhere he would help us out immediately
I suggest Travel Atelier private tours for a perfect honeymoon in Turkey *****"
Hi Murat and Pinar:
We never got to say a proper good-bye, but we wanted you to know we had the best vacation in Turkey and Cappadocia in particular, in part thanks to you.
Mark and I will be recommending you (and Turkey) to all our friends, and we hope to get back sooner than later.
Right now I am eating a salad at my desk, rather than cop shish…but that’s the way it is. We need to earn more money so we can plan another visit.
Best to you, and tell Mehmet we say hello.
Kiss, kiss (that’s one for each cheek),
I am writing to thank you for arranging our trip to Turkey. My daughter and I really did have our "dream vacation" and created memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We are already contemplating our next trip! The arrangements you made for our transportation, guides, and hotels were outstanding, and you gave us terrific advice as to which activities and sites to consider. It was wonderful to meet you when we were in Cappadocia, and we appreciated your "check-ins" with us along the way. It was reassuring to know we could count on you and all of our drivers, guides, and hotels.
I wrote the note above so you can use it as a testimonial if you like and I mean every word! But separately, I'd like to share a few ideas and comments for your consideration.
- You were so wonderful about all your check-ins with us along the way and I thank you for that. I had never traveled in Turkey before or relied on guides, transfers as occur in Turkey. For your US clients like me, it would be good to explain in a little more detail in advance as to how that works. For instance - that you will be in phone contact with the drivers and hotels along the way and that the drivers/guides will check in with the hotel the evenings before to confirm times of arrival, etc. This sort of thing does not commonly occur in the U.S. so I did not know how that would happen in advance.
- Explain to US clients that guiding is highly regulated and licensed in Turkey and that it is your major "industry" - there is nothing to compare to this is the U.S. that I or other U.S. citizens would know about or have previous experience with. There are museum guides, outfitters for a camping trip, etc. - but the use of guides is not common.
- Explain to U.S. clients that you are also licensed, those travel agencies are also highly regulated and that interested persons can check the Turkey Travel websites. When I first started looking for help, I did not know if the websites were even legitimate! (Seems silly now...)
- Most U.S. customers will want more of an itemized statement and to understand the actual costs of the tour components.
- It would have reduced some anxiety for me to have more information about what sort of tips are customary for the drivers and guides. I found myself worrying a lot about that, and not being sure what a good guide would expect. It is less of a concern if the guide under-performed, of course.
- It would be good to give guidance about what sort of tipping for guides and drivers is customary - the common range for a day, or hours of continuance driving, the high and the low ends. Most U.S. clients will want to tip in a reasonable way and it reduces the quality of the experience if you are worried about undertipping or spending more than is really necessary. Help reduce the anxiety by letting them know the custom in advance.
- Advice about the "culture" of the street sellers and carpet salesman would be helpful. It is easy to be taken advantage of by the carpet vendors in Istanbul - they were really devious with us a couple of times. And understanding how the vendors view their conversations with tourists, how to negotiate would be helpful. We don't really have this in the US except to some extent in New York where there are a lot of immigrants - that is the only place I've run into the sort of solicitation that occurs in Turkey. Getting advice ahead of time would prepare us, and make the experience more fun and relaxing instead of a little threatening.
- Our best guide was Mehmet in Cappadocia. He was really wonderful. Other guides were "OK" after him. The last guide - we had him for the last four days - I would not choose to work with again and suggest you consider other options for that leg of the trip with your other clients. The drivers were all great. I enjoyed Mustafa in Cappadocia despite our language barrier. Our last driver, who drove for us for 5 days, named Hakan - who is a relatively newer driver but very enthusiastic and hardworking. He was friendly and congenial and I would highly recommend him.
I'm sending these comments with the hope they will help you build your business. You did a great job for us and I hope to see you again someday!
Just back from two awesome weeks in Turkey. Istanbul-Cappadocia-Antalya-Ephesus-Istanbul. I don't have the ambition to post a long trip report, but in an effort to give something back to this forum, which helped me so much in my travel planning, let me share my thoughts on travel agents and guides. I'm sure someone will strongly disagree.
All our in-country arrangements were handled by Murat of Proper Travel. He was recommended by others on this forum and I can see why. He was awesome.
But before I further sing Murat's praises, I'll share my thoughts on travel agents in general. It is quite illogical to think that a US-based travel agent can be an expert on the 200 +/- countries of the world. I had never really given that any thought until a nearly disastrous trip to So. America. The short version is that my travel agent had me flying directly from sea level to 13,000 feet, even though I questioned the wisdom of that plan. I ended up spending two days in bed, under a doctor's care. I have almost no memory of those two days.
Thinking back through the travel planning, I came to realize that my US agent was booking our private trip through an NYC-based tour operator, which in turn was dealing with an agency in Peru. No wonder most of my planning questions went unanswered. And of course, each company along the chain has to get a bit of profit from me. I could go on and on as to how this extended chain led to my High Altitude Edema, but by now you have enough of my tale of woes.
On that trip, I met another couple who had recently been to Tanzania, my next dream vacation. They recommended a local agency, which turned out to be super. The next trip was Argentina, where Isabel Llobet (recommended on a Fodor's forum) turned out to be wonderful (and tied with Murat for the best travel planner of my life).
Traveling through Turkey with Murat as my agent as like having my mother follows me around. At several key points, he called our hotel and resolved issues. We were on a "private" tour (just my wife and me).
What did this great service cost me? Zero. I don't know the exact economics of the travel biz, and someone may correct me, but I think the agent gets about 10% from the hotel. And you don't get a better price by booking directly. I don't know about the four internal flights we took -Murat and staff handled all of that.
Now, some praise for local guides. All of our guides were arranged by Murat. All were very good. Our favorite was Togay, in Istanbul, who was so enthusiastic about local subjects had he been a dog he would have been running in circles yapping.
I think we paid about 175 Euros per day for guiding (inc. car and driver) in Istanbul and around 100 in Cappadocia. Not sure about Ephesus. These are all approximate. Plus tip. Not cheap, but in view of the total trip cost well worth it to us. And infinitely better being a private group of two, rather than one of forty tourists, following the guy with the umbrella.
We didn't have a guide in Antalya (Aspendos and Termessos ruins), which gave me a chance to compare the experience. In that city, we rented a car and drove to the sites. We got lost getting there and getting back...that wasn't traumatic but did waste a lot of precious time. More importantly, in Turkey, a lot of historical sites are poorly labeled. And walking around with your copy of Fodor's guidebook can't compare to having a local guide point out what the Ancients did and why they did it.
While this isn't a "trip report" by any means, I'll conclude by saying Turkey is a wonderful country full of nice people. Highly recommended.
Tod and I really enjoyed you as our guide. You were a fountain of historical information! I'm so glad you summarized everything for us. Thank you for sending the summary.
We loved Turkey. Every bit of it.
Tod, as you know, was getting quite sick when we were in Cappadocia. He got even worse when we got to Ephesus. Fortunately, the tour operator in Ephesus got us to his doctor, where Tod underwent three rounds of IV treatments, followed by several days of medication. We did not think we would be able to make the cruise, but Dr. Karabulet patched Tod up so that he was able to make, and enjoy the cruise. Tod did lose a lot of weight in the process!
Hope you are having a great summer. I have attached a few photos, as promised.
If you get to the US (like for a honeymoon, perhaps? :)), we would love to have you visit.
How are you?
We just wanted to thank you for arranging a wonderful holiday for us. We really enjoyed our visit and your itinerary showed us the rich culture and heritage of Turkey.
In retrospect, my family would have like a few more days by the sea. The hotel and location in Bodrum were just wonderful. But then again we also enjoyed the cave hotel and the mountain village. If we are honest with you, we didn't enjoy Istanbul that much, it's very much like any other big city.
We shall remember our visit to Turkey and all the wonderful people that we meet, especially you.
As we said if you ever find yourself in the Netherlands please do not hesitate to contact us. There will always be a warm welcome waiting for you and your wife (to be).
Keep in touch.
Take care & thank you for everything.
Shyamal, Jui & Shalene
We are home safe and sound...and missing Turkey already! Thank you SOOOO MUCH for your assistance during this holiday. You were such a wonderful resource, and I am so very happy we could meet. It was interesting receiving all of the correspondence from Rachel during the year, but not knowing who exactly you were. So glad we all could have dinner together.
I will definitely recommend your agency to any friends/family traveling to Turkey. You have an amazing service, wonderful recommendations, and are so very kind. I hope we all can meet again one day.
God bless you!
PS. I don't know if I spelled "thank you" correctly, but I tried! =)
PPS. I will send Mehmet an email as well, but if you ever talk to our driver, Mustafa, please convey to him how much Rachel and I loved him as well. Mustafa felt like a dad to us and we loved him!!
I wanted to write and tell you what an AMAZING vacation I had!!! I am sorry for some of the changes and I hope we did not step on anyone's toes! It is always hard to travel with someone else because you do not always agree on things and that was sometimes the case for Jacqui and I. I am so thankful to have met you and I hope that when you come to the states I can be as generous with my hospitality as you were for us! Again I thank you for all of your patience and hard work; I will send pictures when I get them downloaded. I am also planning on contacting trip advisor to tell them what a fabulous travel agency you work for, but specifically to mention YOU as a contact person :-)
Hugs and Kisses,
Firstly I must say that we have had a truly amazing time here in Turkey. A big part of that has been your knowledge and professionalism, matched by the rest of your team. We have been incredibly impressed with every part of our trip - thank you!
We will definitely work with you again when we return next year and will refer you to our many friends who travel.
On a practical level, I did mean to ask you the other evening if you did advise our driver for today that we will want to stop for a traditional Turkish lunch on our way to Bodrum? Can you confirm this for me?
Hello Alkan! I can't believe it has been two months since we returned from Turkey. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write to you and your boss (see below), to thank you for making our trip an amazing experience. We tell all of our friends about Alkan, who was always looking out for us! One of our fondest memories is the day that you took us for the hike through Rose Valley. Thank you so much for your dedication and generosity.
Hope you are well, and please consider visiting San Francisco someday! We promise to drive you to the airport ;)
Stay in touch,
Excellent!! Our tour of Ephesus lived up to everything my husband and I experienced with your Cappadocia tour last year and far surpassed the tour my husband and I arranged in Ephesus last year.
Everyone thought that our guide in Ephesus was the best of all the guides we had on our 10 days of touring. Unfortunately, I can't remember the correct spelling of his name. The lunch was great!! It gave everyone an opportunity to experience local cuisine, which can be difficult when you are only in port for a day and you are trying to squeeze so much in. Your company is the only company we have used that includes lunch with the tour; definitely a big plus. Although no purchases were made, everyone enjoyed learning about how rugs are made and experiencing Turkish hospitality of tea, Turkish coffee, rocket and or wine.
Thank you for arranging such a great tour and following-up.
Dear Ismail –
Thank you so much for the excellent photos, far better than anything Margaret or I could do, and thanks again for your wonderfully informative guidance. Our regret was that we didn’t spend a bit longer in Cappadocia, as both of us loved the walk by the river and would have liked to complete the whole length
The flights to Istanbul and Ercan were fine, although we got the same meal on each flight (a stale chicken sandwich and rather nasty salad!) but it didn’t matter. Our flight home to London was awful, the plane was late and it was also full, and there was a woman sitting in front of us who did not stop talking and shrieking with laughter for the entire 4.5 hours, and gave us both a headache! The weather in Cyprus was far too hot for us and we didn’t really like the island that much as we thought that it would not have been spoiled by developers, but there are new houses and roads being built everywhere, so we probably won’t go there again. I would like to come back to Turkey, though, and see Lake Van and Mount Ararat, and the village with the round houses near the border with Syria. Your country is so interesting, Ismail
Good luck for the future, and thanks to you and Mustafa once again for all your help – we hope that we’ll see you again sometimes, too, and hope all goes well with your wedding. Please send us some photos of the day if you remember
Best wishes and coc sogul (Best I can do, I don’t have a Turkish keyboard, and I lost my phrasebook!)
Rob & Margaret
Just a quick message to pass on a little report from our recent travels -
For a wonderful cruise, stimulating and interesting company, glorious weather, excellent food, perfect organization, great crew of the Sultan A
- 5 stars to Peter Sommer Travels
For an interesting host and ambassador for Turkey - 5 stars to Cem Yucesoy
For our guide to archaeology and history - 5 stars to Nigey Spivey
For extra organization in Turkey, hotel and transfer bookings, air bookings, advice, and rescue -5 stars to Alkan from Travel Atelier
Our list of both recommended and accidental hotel choices - all 5 stars as far as we were concerned -
Art City Hotel Istanbul for friendly and helpful attention;
Hotel Kalehan, Selcuk, great food, great location, good value, peaceful garden oasis off busy road and a retreat from the hectic tourism at Ephesus;
Kervansaray Hotel, Cannakale, great location, peaceful garden retreat, friendly and helpful people, such good value we extended from 2 days to 6;
Kale Konak Cave Guesthouse, Cappadocia, best host, great food, perfect location, spacious and charming, well worth 4 days.
For restaurants - we enjoyed the food wherever we went, whether street food or 5-star restaurants, but we'd go back again, and indeed did go back, to Cin Bal, "Cem's choice", somewhere inland and above Fethiye; lunch on the terrace of the Topkapi Palace; and a backstreet bistro named Amazon in Selcuk. Anytime to Kale Konak dining cave. Just to name a few.
Wherever we ventured, mostly hitting the smaller places, we found Turkey to be friendly, rich in history, traditions, and culture - and so easy to travel in that we abandoned plans to hop across to Greece, and spent our entire 5 weeks in the lands of the Assyrians, Byzantines, Ottomans, Romans, Greeks, Hittites Seljuk, Lycian et al.
(Might get around to passing through some photos although I am sure there were better photographers on board than my humble efforts)
Best regards, and thank you, Julie
-Lynne and Roger Sheen
I am now back in New York and can write to you properly. I had difficulty with the Turkish keyboard and did not always have access to my email.
Thank you so much for sending Ozlem to us. This was exactly what we wanted to do, and it worked out well. We got in at 9:30 a.m. or so and were met and driven to the hotel but had to wait for our bags.
When I called her, I had seen her in the lobby but did not know who she was. As you know, she met us while I was telephoning you. She took us to the Sultans' palace and to Kora church and then the spice market. She suggested the Hamdi restaurant for us later, and we and others did go there and were all pleased.
The rest of my trip was arranged by a group in the US called Odyssey Tours. We had a wonderful time and I fell in love with your country.
I knew I would like it, but I didn't know I would love it. I have every intention of returning.
We spent 3 days in Istanbul, and then went to Assos, then 2 days in Izmir, then 4 days on a gulet and then 3 days in Antalya. Some of the group went on to Cappadocia but we did not. We returned yesterday.
Ozlem was professional, knowledgeable, and was the perfect guide for us. The other people we traveled with missed the Kora church and the Dolmabahce Palace, so we were especially pleased that we were able to go with her. Please give her our best regards and thank her.
I cannot say enough about what a wonderful time we had. I hope very much to return someday and will certainly contact you before I come.
Thank you again for contributing to our wonderful time!
Thank you for organizing a wonderful tour in Istanbul in September. Your Exploring Istanbul tour was our very first experience on a guided tour and we were somewhat fearful of participating in an organized group experience. Your tour leader, Prof Jim Crow, has convinced us this is the ‘way to go’. His passion for Turkey and its history ensured we were captivated by descriptions of eras previously beyond our imagination. Jim’s sense of humor brought group members together in a fun and enjoyable environment. Each day commenced promptly at 9 am and was packed with well-planned sightseeing and wonderful commentary, interspersed with timely refreshment breaks in delightful traditional venues. Lunch in the heart of the Grand Bazaar was a highlight. Restaurants were carefully selected to provide a variety of food and locations and it was bliss to have these well-informed decisions made for us. Our trip up the Bosphorus was truly memorable and we really appreciated our visit to the amazing private family collection of antiquities. We now feel we know Istanbul intimately. Our group was fun, our discussions lively and the dancing at dinner on our final night was indicative of a really fun week. Our experience with Peter Sommer Travel in 2011 has us anticipating your Greek Island gulet cruise for 2012. Thanks for your careful attention to detail and ensuring we enjoyed the highlights of this fascinating city.
Jayne and Maurice Pitard
Dear Murat--we are back home--but filled with wonderful memories of your magnificent country! We can't thank you enough for the
Terrific arrangements you made for us that made the trip so special--thank you!
It was lovely too to get to spend time with you and Pinar --I hope that we inspired you to visit California and that someday soon we will be able to return your hospitality. We had a lovely lunch and visit our last day in Istanbul with Ahu Senter. She is a gem --and seems interested in visiting Lux when she comes to the States next month to await the birth of her baby. I hope she does because I think she'd be very interested in the way the residency program works here. Thank you very much for that introduction--I think it will turn out to be a valuable one for us both. Rest assured that all of our friends that express an interest in visiting Turkey will be told who to call!!
With all best regards--Reesey
Once again we want to thank you for the excellent job you did by coordinating all the details our trip Your careful attention to all details is outstanding and like Alfonso said the rating is not five stars but an entire galaxy.
We absolutely love Turkey and will definitely consider visiting again Give our best to Ismail, Pinar, Mustafa and everyone that made our Turkey experience unforgettable Will share some photos as soon as we get a chance organize them. Regards, Julie and Alfonso
Thank you Alkan for the arrangements made. It was one holiday where all of us felt sad that it had to come to an end and that we had to leave your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay particularly in Cappadocia and our visit to Mom Hatijah's cozy cave house and not forgetting the time you spent with us there. Fatih is a fabulous guide, providing us with good and factual insight into the historical sites we visited and making good recommendations to us on the local and specialty dishes and beverages we should try. For Mr. Mehmet, although quiet, he is helpful and a steady and experienced driver.
I have shared this wonderful trip with my staff and my boss and hopefully, some of them may wish to make Turkey their next holiday destination. I will, of course, provide them with your contract details should they wish to enjoy the same holiday arrangements and level of service provided by Travel Atelier.
Once again, thank you and wishing you, Mr. Murat and family a very Happy and Successful 2012. I have also conveyed Mr. Murat's best regards to my colleague Mr. Lam Man Choong and his wife.
Just a quick note to say "Thanks" for everything you did to make our visit to Turkey a huge success! Please find attached the photo sheet we have just sent to our clients announcing our proposed trip to Turkey for 2013.
We would like you to prepare an itinerary with an additional 2 days in the area of Ephesus. We think our clients would spending more time seeing the additional ruins in that area….So the same itinerary with the addition of two days in the Ephesus area.
Hi to Murat and everyone in the office!
Very best regards,
Leks and Linda