Phil Barber review 28 Feb 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
There were many monuments and well known attractions that we found interesting to look at but the most memorable trip was to the safari park. We were lucky enough to park within 20 yards of a herd of wild elephants who were just enjoying themselves.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Get more assurances before you commit to a vacation that the Driver /Guide you will be allocated has been fully tested and has proven abilities. Get an
assurance that if you find your Driver /Guide unacceptable, that a different driver will be assigned.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
I really didn't want to be in the position of having to write a bad review but circumstances have given me no option.
The communication with Rajiv who runs the vacations up to the start (and even now) of our vacation was first class.
The problems started when we arrived and immediately recognised that the Driver /Guide that we had been allocated was poor at both tasks. On day one we requested a different driver but we were told this was not possible.
Our driver never used 5th gear in the 18 days I was in the vehicle. For long periods he would stay in 3rd gear accelerating and braking to make the journey
seem endless. He got lost on a number of occasions. He took us to places off our itinerary that we didn't want to go to (that would have involved 1864 steps)
without giving us any background information why we were there or the significants of the venue.
This driver had not been tested but was hired on the basis of references that I can only believe were false. He spoilt our vacation. I don't think the vacation provider should make a profit based on our misery but as yet there has been no guarantee that the profit element will be given to a children's charity in Sri Lanka.
Rajiv told us that this is the first problem he has had of this kind. This could be true, however if he employs drivers based on a reference rather than a practical test, then he has just been lucky. Rajiv has avoided giving a commitment to paying his profit into a charity. He has fired the driver but this cannot bring back our lost opportunities. I hope in future Rajiv does his own testing before hiring a driver but I am not sure this is going to happen. I am afraid I can do no more than suggest you avoid this company.
Read the operator's response here:
Dear Phil, Linda, Michael and Hazel
I would like to thank all of you sincerely for visiting Sri Lanka and choosing our services. For me it was both rewarding and a pleasure working with you all in planning your vacation.
Phil the incident and negative experience you had with your chauffeur is a first for us and we never expect this to happen, every vacation we book is considered personal and we do our utmost to give our clients a vacation of a lifetime. Your vacation unfortunately was disrupted by a series of unforeseen situations which forced us to make a last minute vehicle and chauffeur change.
Every single chauffeur we employ has to have a minimum of 8 to 10 years experience in the both driving and guiding, the chauffeur you were allocated had well over the required amount of experience for both driving and guiding plus had worked for many different companies.
It goes without saying how sorry we are for the negative experience all of you had with your chauffeur, this kind of a situation has never taken place in any of our vacations but there is a first for everything and unfortunately it had to happen to you.
I personally am extremely disappointed with what happened to you and take it as a personal failure, I am hopeful that all of you would extend your understanding of this most unfortunate incident which was never our intention for you, we love Sri Lanka and make it our personal mission to deliver a vacation to remember (Good memories of a lifetime) to each of our clients.
We have not forgotten nor are avoiding your request for compensation, on your request a compensation would be paid to a children charity in the near future and a a copy of receipt will be emailed you.
Finally, Phil, Linda, Michael and Hazel if you ever decide to visit Sri Lanka as a group or individually and would like to give us a second chance once again please do get in touch, and we assure you that we will offer you a considerable discount.
I would like to extend my sincere thank you to all of you for putting up with your chauffeur and allowing us to operate your vacation as planned.
Please email me if you need anything from Sri Lanka and during my visit this year to the UK I would be happy to bring it by for you all...