White Glove Service® in Action

Travel Reviews: What our clients say.

Whether you’re snorkeling with sea lions in the clear blue waters of the Galapagos Islands, or sipping sundowners on the tan-colored plains of the Serengeti, you know that we are there for you anytime.

Our 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance begins before you leave home with our pre-departure documents. You receive a welcome phone call after you arrive at your destination. Our WGS® guest assistance team maintains contact at various times throughout your journey to insure that your trip runs smoothly or address any problem that may arise. WGS® can be tailored to your particular needs and interests. Big Five is leading the way in guest relations for the travel industry.

We love to hear from you.

Peru exceeded all expectations

My clients raved about their trip and said it exceeded all expectations.  They loved it so much, we are already planning their next trip to Thailand – I am using (Destination Specialist) for this!  I am truly impressed with Big Five and truly thankful there was such attention to detail, etc. (Destination Specialist) is unbelievable at what she does.  She is so informative and efficient and I am so glad I was able to work with her.

S.L. – Travel Advisor

 

 


India – a collage of cultures

Our trip was a great success. We saw wonders and enjoyed it immensely.  Big Five did a great job.  Please tell them so.  If they want a quote for their PR purposes I would be happy to provide one.  In sum, the itineraries worked, the drivers, guides and planes worked. And the people at hotels had obviously been told treat us well.  Of course Jai made a huge difference.  Having him with us made us feel safe at each logistical step.  We would recommend him to anyone doing an extensive India trip.  He is simply a good man with a keenly developed sense of responsibility to his guests.   

I suppose the most striking thing about this India trip and the last one too, is the warmth and diversity of the population.  India is not a culture but a collage of cultures.  And even the poorest people are more friendly than a tourist has a right to expect. One does not understand India by reading some books and taking two trips.  But maybe one understands that one does not understand and glories the more for the magic.  It is sad to see the Muslim population becoming more distinct and conservative.  Alas we too have our polarization in America.

Mumbai:  This vast, teeming metropolis is a shock to the senses.  The Ambani 27 story mansion is only a block or two from slums.  There are people everywhere rich, poor and in between.  For a traveler it is hard to judge the middle class.  Only on airplanes did we see how many people live relatively well.  The Taj Mahal Palace is a truly great hotel and the suite we were assigned was awesome.  While we were not ready for a 5:00 am start the fish market is worth it and then some.  Our local guide and driver were excellent.

Cochin:  This was a great place for Christmas.  Not only is there a significant Christian population but much of the town puts out lights for the holiday.  The mass at the old Church was moving with people of all hues in attendance.  We do not know what to say about the Brunton Boat House.  It is depressingly dated to check in, but the people try and the rooms work.  Perhaps the key would be to communicate the choice of this old building in a perfect location with a city hotel that was modern and more functional.  We enjoyed the house boat trip and walking around the forth area.  We had a fine local guide.

Mysore:  This was the least interesting spot.  The silk factory interesting and the musicians we had were nice.  The Radisson is a fine hotel.  Our guide was pleasant and competent.  I think we would skip this city on a trip.

Hampi:  This city was in some ways the highlight of the trip.  We had a great guide. Both the active and the ancient temples are very interesting.  The chariot and the carvings on the old temple are priceless.  The elephant and the monkeys in the active temple are good too.  It was a pleasure to find kids and parents flirting with us for pictures.  It was also very interesting to see the people working in the fields. Evolve Back is an elegant hotel with a fantastic staff.  Hari and Swathi made the stay very special.  This hotel tries to be an Aman but it does not quite make it.  Still the people are so nice that one cannot quibble.  Hampi was our best “Hindu” experience.

Hyderabad:  The Taj is a great hotel with a fine staff.  Some people go there just for the hotel.  We can understand that.  The fort is a good half hour, but it is huge and two hours becomes a lot.  The palaces are a bit disappointing.  But I think this city belongs on trip both as a modern commercial center and as the site of a great hotel.  Our special dinner on the Jade Terrace with the dancer was wonderful. She would be an addition to anyone’s trip whether a family or a group.  

The game camp:  The accommodations are even  little more primitive than we expected but the game drives were wonderful.  We had six viewings of two different tigers (our of the 23 in the reserve).  We did not know our odds but most people get to see a tiger here. Having the all day pass made a huge difference—long days but the chance to see the tigers without 10 jeeps sharing the space.  As you know we have done four African safaris.  This is likely our last safari because we have done it.  But what a way to end the trip.  We were on several occasions within 15 to 20 feet of the tigers, getting face to face and tap on views.  They are magnificent and complete our wild life experience.

Again we thank you for the trip,… for making everything work and Big Five for excellent arrangements.

J. & J.R. – Clients


Wonderful Brazil

I wanted to circle back to you regarding our recent family vacation to Brazil.  I can’t thank you enough for the excellent customized trip that you put together for us with Big Five.  We all had a wonderful experience.  Everything that you described lived up to the description and we felt very safe and accompanied at every step. 

The trip itself was beautifully planned and everything went smoothly.  From the moment we landed in Manaus to the moment we left Iguazu, we were accompanied and assisted.  The timing of each leg of the trip was well planned and the guides and drivers were excellent and wonderfully knowledgeable.  Because of them we learned a lot and loved our experience in each location. We were happy with each of the hotel choices as well. 

Our first location was definitely the highlight.  It was both relaxing and fascinating.  We saw much wildlife both by boat and by land.  We visited a local village, scouted for wildlife by boat in the evening and saw the sunrise over the Rio Negro.  Every day had sufficient time for excursions and for relaxing.  We loved it.

In Rio, while we would have certainly enjoyed another day or two there, we had a wonderful guide who was able to show us very interesting sites around the city and recommended a very fun dance club for us to visit in the evening.  We felt that we got a very good taste of the city.

At Iguazu, we also felt that we had enough time to enjoy the falls from both Brazil and Argentina, and to relax and renew ourselves after all of the adventure.  The hotel was perfectly situated and has a fabulous view across the National Park to the falls.

Thank you again and I look forward to working with you on many more exciting trips!

W.L. – Clients

 


Life Changing Experience

You told us it would be a life changing experience. And I was not disappointed. Although I have been to Africa before, I saw and spoke with the people. I saw and spoke with people. To be able to see the Rhino face to face, was a highlight. Our guides took the time and made the efforts to make sure we were “amazed”, while comfortable. Thank you again for selecting me to be a part of this group. I am excited to be taking a group South America in January, Knowing the high standards and opportunities that will be available.

 

S.S.-Travel Advisor


Attention to detail

Big Five’s attention to and satisfying my level of detail was best part of my journey; the availability of White Glove Service®, and the service Advisor.  We have been on seven trips with Big Five, all successful.  This journey allowed us to be a part of saving eco areas.

M.P. – Client           

 


Phenomenal Tanzania

We’re at the Arusha Serena Hotel in our dayroom, about to depart for Kilimanjaro airport. THANK YOU to the entire Big Five Team for an absolutely phenomenal trip! Words truly cannot describe how wonderful this trip was – so many details were tended to and it made things easy going for me and (guest). I’ll be in Florida the first week of December and I’d love to… relay further information about our excellent experience!

C. M. – Clients


Celebrating milestones on trip of a lifetime

This was an amazing way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and (client’s) 50th birthday. We are so glad that we chose Big 5 to work with us for the trip of our lifetime. From the time we started working with our travel agent, Carolyn, and Ashish at Big 5 we felt well taken care of. Titus was a great host in Kenya and kept track of us throughout the trip to make sure we were enjoying our experiences and also followed up to see how we were doing after we flew home to Toronto! The trip was planned so well and the order of the game reserves/conservancies and lodges worked really well. We loved all of the places that we stayed in Kenya and would love to return one day. The guides that we had in each location, as well as in Tanzania, were all great (knowledgeable and friendly). Our hosts were also great and we especially liked the experience at Lewa where they had a special dinner set up for us under the stars. Our accommodation at Elephant Pepper Camp was so beautiful. The food throughout our stay was incredible and we especially liked the Gibb’s Farm experience with farm-to-table fresh good each meal. Gibb’s Farm was a beautiful place to stay and a nice way to end our trip. We were thrilled to see the Big 5 within the first few days of being on our safari and the diversity of wildlife and topography across the camps we stayed at was perfect.  We already have recommended Big 5 and would hope one day to travel with you again.

We chose Big 5 because of your commitment to sustainable travel – both social and environment. Understanding the difference between conservancy and game reserve made us look at them differently – we preferred the respect with wildlife on the conservancy (only 5 vehicles allowed around any game at a time) and the engagement with the local people (from staffing in the lodges to sharing in the profits). Two things stood out to us and we intend to stay engaged with them – one was an effort underway in Mara to help young girls with education and the second was the school we visited in Tanzania.

S. & J. W. – Clients


Hello to two fabulous tour organizations

I hope it is ok that I have sent a combined email to both Big 5 and Delfina. I felt it was important to do so because the coordination on our behalf between the two organizations was superb… 

… And to our friends at Big 5. We loved how you coordinated in Peru and our every need was anticipated, from wheelchairs in the airport to being able to check out late and rest at Inkaterra. Always the guides were focused on our comfort and I knew management was in the wings and would be present at a moment’s notice if need be (Thank you). We were so glad we could do the second half of our trip because it was amazing. We went a little slower because of our injuries but the guides were always patient and worked with our limitations. Speaking of guides, it is clear to us that you hire the top guides, Guide) and (Guide) were topnotch. We spent the most time with(Guide) because he did the Sacred Valley phase of the trip. He went up and above to respond to our specific ad hoc requests, ie visit to Seminario. I think he has to be one of the most connected people in the Sacred Valley. We somehow got in front of all the long lines, met a world-famous artist. etc. And of course he was so knowledgeable about Peru, its culture and people. A delight! And (Guide) picked us up at the end of flights and had to deal with us when we were tired and maybe even a bit cranky :). But what a wonderful way to start our second part of the vacation but to have dinner at Huaca. It was a late night for him but he was gracious and kind and it made for a memorable evening for us. And thank you Big 5 for a beautiful final dinner at Museo Larco 

Chuck and I have wonderful memories of Peru, and its people. And of course we have a great story to tell. And whenever we tell the story we are sure to praise (you). 

Again many, many thanks for all your excellent care and concern and FUN! 

C. M. – Clients


“Without A Doubt, The Best Trip Ever!!! “

Dear BigFive,

We recently returned home from what was, without a doubt, the best trip ever!!!  We enjoyed absolutely every activity we participated in, every hotel, and every wonderful  location.  It was so much more than we expected!!!   All of our guides were pleasant, personable, knowledgeable and flexible.  They  certainly did all they could to make this a trip of a lifetime.  They took  us to see everything we expressed an interest in and then some!!

Our hotels were outstanding!!!   We were upgraded at nearly all of the hotels, and they were worth the trip on their own.  The Oriental was  so nice, they celebrated my birthday with a cake, a bouquet of flowers, a note  from the manager and head of housekeeping, and finally an invitation to a cocktail party held on my birthday!!  What a memorable day. Raffles in Siem Reap was elegant and colonial with the most amazingly huge pool I have ever seen in a city hotel.  The Hotel de la Paix in Luang Prabang was so contemporary and beautiful, it was a real surprise.  In fact Luang Prabang was a very pleasant surprise. The Chedi  in Chiang Mai was gorgeous!!!  The Dusit Thani in Pattaya upgraded us to an incredible room on a private floor with an enormous balcony and an outdoor shower!!  All of the hotels were convenient and we were able to do things on our own because they were close to everything.

I wish I could give you a specific activity and call it the highlight of our trip but that would be impossible!!  There was something nearly every day that would fall in that category.  But there were 2 days that were truly highlights – the day in Siem Reap when we saw the smaller temples, went on the tethered balloon ride over Angkor Wat, and then went for an evening cruise on the moat with cocktails and canapés.  What a DAY!!!   The second fabulous day was in Chiang Mai when in one day we visited:  an elephant camp (I love elephants) and went on a long elephant ride through the hills, an orchid plantation (gorgeous), hill tribes (very interesting), and then Tiger Kingdom (a sanctuary not on the itinerary).  We felt truly lucky to have been able to enjoy so many wonderful things on one trip.

Thank you so much for everything, it was incredible and I know trips like that do not just ‘happen’.  You did an amazing job putting this together and we appreciate the effort it took to make this trip absolutely wonderful!!!

Thank you, thank you!!
 Clients


South Africa & Botswana revealed

The camps were unique. We had different experiences at each site. It was great to have 2 safaris with such different experiences, but excellent service, accommodations and hosts in both locations. The travel logistics were smooth and Big Five was always available to help as needed.  I didn’t know what to expect, and this trip exceeded everything! Seeing these amazing animals so close in their environments and having the Elephant Experience at Jabulani truly made me appreciate the need to protect and preserve the animals and their habitats.

B.B., C. & G.B. – Clients


Everything was fantastic

Back from our latest big adventure to the Galápagos Islands and exploring the area of the capital of Ecuador, Quito.  Hard to summarize such a trip in a few words and a few photos. Seven days in the Galápagos, split between five days hiking and exploring four of the islands, with an opportunity to snorkel and kayak, while staying on the 48 passenger boat La Pinta. That was followed by two days of hiking, exploring and a little kayaking in several areas of Santa Cruz island, while staying at the amazing Galápagos Safari Camp in the highlands area of Santa Cruz.  The naturalists guides where exceptional and made all the difference in our amazing adventure.

 


East Africa Our second adventure with the Big Five

John D.

This was our second adventure with the Big Five. The first was a few years back to Machu Pichiu & the Amazon, which was a life-changing event for us but this trip to witness the Great Migration was even better. These trips take a year or more to plan but our travel agent did a great job in coordinating with the Big Five to see everything we wanted and more. The lodging was terrific especially The Manor (5 star) and the personal attention everyone gave us. All went off without a hitch and it couldn’t have gone any better. Absolutely nothing and no complaints. Having your personnel pick us up at every scheduled airport/location we felt very secure, which is important to traveling to unknown locations and the adventures that follow. The meals were very good, the different National Parks & Sanctuaries were a nice surprise (especially the crater & lake (bird sanctuary) were just astounding! Our drivers were very professional, knowledgeable, spoke good English, timely and personable.  After our second successful trip with the Big Five I would refer you to any/all family and friends who have the adventurous spirit like our family does.

When you see the long-history of culture in the local Villages in Peru & Africa and unfortunately some of the poverty that goes with it including the lack of schools & medical facilities and even shoes/clothing, it really makes one appreciate what we have and want to give back to them (and the protection of their parks/sanctuaries, sacred lands) whenever possible.  I will probably look into a trip in the future with the Big Five.

M., S. & M. G. – Clients


What a fantastic

I called you yesterday to tell you what a fantastic trip we had, but your line was busy, so here it goes. Just wanted to tell you how perfectly all  arrangements worked; we felt well looked after at every step and we had an absolutely fantastic trip. Kudos to Big Five. We have seen four of the big 5 only, the leopards did not cooperate, but what we have seen was spectacular. Travel arrangements, accommodations, food, tour guides, locations, everything was perfect. I have about 800 photos and videos to bore my friends with and I am attaching one of them here, hope you will like it. 

 

If you want detailed feedback on anything, such as hotel in Cape Town or comparison between Kwandwe Ecca lodge and Madikwe Jamala, please let me know I will be happy to call you. 

 


The very best

Big Five, fabulous, the tours that we took in Cape Town, with our driver/guide was the very best that we have ever experienced. The wine tour, beautiful!  Please let her employer know what a good job she did for us.  We loved the Cape Grace Hotel and our hotel in Amsterdam, was amazing.  The restaurant that you booked for us for New Year’s Eve, was just exactly right….beautiful walk to go there.  The Anne Frank museum, it’s a must.  I want to go back and do a safari with Big Five….we will see….