"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." ― Ernest Hemingway
Last night I was overjoyed to receive not one but two calls from very happy clients just home from trips we planned together. The first was from a good friend of mine in middle school before we moved away to other towns, and it was such a treat to reconnect in this way. She and her husband were on the inaugural sailing of the Avalon View, Avalon Waterways' newest addition to their fleet of Suite Ships. It features two full decks of award-winning Panorama Suites (with wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that transform your cabin to a balcony); at 200 square feet, they're more than 30% larger than industry standard - the kind that "ruin you" for cabins without balconies. She described her exciting excursions: hiking up to hilltop ruins, biking along the Danube with bikes from the boat, tours of cities at your doorstep, and off-the-beaten track delights like honey tasting at an apiary and a bakery visit where they handmade goodies. View staff were friendly and attentive, and Avalon's app was super helpful too. The menus matched each destination as they cruised the Danube from Budapest, and the food was excellent. We booked flights through Avalon so round-trip airport transfers were included to and from the boat. She loved how effortless the trip felt and how Avalon's itinerary was active enough to keep her happily busy and relaxed enough for her husband to relish a nap on vacation.
Still on a high from her trip report, I next got a call from a new client who returned home last week. She first went to London then ventured to explore the Cotswolds for the first time. I was elated when she started by saying she fell in love with the Cotswolds and wants to buy a cottage and move there! I'd recommended the Lygon Arms hotel in Broadway, and she adored it. Broadway (pictured above with its historic Broadway Tower) is a great home base for exploring charming nearby villages, which she took in during two days of private tours. In nearby Stratford-upon-Avon I arranged an actor-led tour of the town, since she's an actress from California, and she got to see a Royal Shakespeare Company production too. Then it was off to Windsor for a while before heading home. I helped with hotels, pre-booked transfers throughout her itinerary, dining reservations, ticketed entry to Hidcote (an enchanting Arts and Crafts style garden), and more.
The most incredible response I got from both last night was when I asked what could have been better for next time, and neither of them could think of a thing. I probe with this question because I want to hear what my clients like least and most so I continue to learn about travel preferences and ways I can improve and enhance the next travel experience. But for these two lovely ladies, the answer was basically - just more of this please! I love what I do because it brings joy to people. My favorite feedback to spot on clients' social media posts during a trip is what I call Vacation Face. It's that special sort of gleeful, glowing smile, relaxed and free from worries and cares. Vacation Face is the best - and one of my highest rewards.
For all my clients I begin with a phone consultation because I ask not only practical, logistical questions but also deeper, nuanced questions about the nature of your trip. The real secret to "luxury travel" is having a professional advisor like me listen closely and deeply to your travel desires and transforming our conversations into a trip that is perfect - for you. Nine Muses Travel specializes in custom-designed itineraries because the reasons you travel are as unique as you are. My role is helping bring your travel dreams alive - with Journeys Designed to Inspire!
WHY USE A TRAVEL ADVISOR?
Nine Muses Travel offers a premium experience with flights, guides, drivers, rental vehicles, and the best accommodations to maximize your time, with expert advice on how to get the most out of any destination. We INCLUDE amenities for you at the world's finest hotels, the BEST OF THE BEST!
Complimentary room upgrades at check-in, subject to availability
Complimentary daily breakfast
Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability
Nine Muses Travel works with exceptional suppliers who can add unparalleled value:
RISK-FREE bookings you can change penalty-free shortly before travel
World Travel & Tourism Council "Safe Travels" stamp of approval
Arrangements for PCR testing internationally before your return to the U.S.
Expert guides: artists, historians, naturalists, unique locals with insider tips & insights
Flexibility with your touring - See and do as much, or as little, as you prefer!
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Nine Muses Travel designs journeys to inspire artists, arts lovers and the culturally curious.
Founder & President