What sets us apart from other Bespoke Travel companies is our unconventional approach to uncovering the hidden treasures in a particular destination. We begin by understanding your preferences and expectations. Our travel designers and experts collaborate in order to build travel itineraries that allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and create an unforgettable experience.
Why Choose GlobeBleu
Worldwide Relationships. We have established worldwide partnerships and connections with the best of the best in the luxury travel market. Your satisfaction is our primary objective and we only create itineraries that will be enjoyable and unforgettable.
Bespoke Luxury Travel Service. As a bespoke luxury travel company, we highly value personalized service. We will create a memorable, unique travel experience to a destination where you can relax in style.
Flexible & Worry Free. If you are seeking a luxurious bespoke travel experience that is seamless and worry-free, you have come to the right place.
Travel Industry Honors, Awards and Recognition. We are honored to have received awards from Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler and Changing World. We have also received Certified Travel Industry Executive qualifications with the Travel Institute. Bob Preston, our CEO, was included in the list of the Top 25 Travel Agents of 2014.
Convenience. With operations in New York, Paris and Luang Prabang, we are available in various convenient time zones for our clients. We can also leverage technology – virtual office, video calls and social media – to facilitate your travel planning and make the experience as worry-free and seamless as possible.
Exclusive Access to Venues. Through relationships we have built and nurtured around the globe, we are able to gain exclusive access to museums and venues otherwise closed to the public, as well as private dining and culinary experiences with Michelin-starred chefs and private tours. By choosing GlobeBleu, you are assured of VIP treatment, service and access.
Value. You work hard for your money; you deserve to get the best value out of every dollar you spend. By leveraging our connections, we are able to secure exclusive complimentary amenities, such as meals, resort credits and VIP access/perks. Every aspect of your trip is thoroughly reviewed to ensure that you are getting the best of the best for your dollar. This can even include an airport butler and other services that you didn’t even know existed. Possibilities are unlimited with GlobeBleu.
Trusted, Passionate Team of Professionals. No business survives on its own. It takes a passionate, highly-skilled and knowledgeable team that genuinely cares about providing you with exceptional service. From our Travel Designer to our Back-End Travel Manager, we are confident that we can create a top-notch experience to help you create the trip of your dreams.
What Our Clients Say
Visiting Laos was a very pleasant surprise. Bob shared many restaurants, including his own Moroccan restaurant as well as local and French in both Vientiane &Luang Prabang.
Tours of many Temples in both cities and the Arc de Triumph in Vientiane.
In Luang Prabang, elephant reserve and ride with a sunset cruise on Mekong River were highlights. Thank you, Bob, for encouraging me to visit Laos!
The consensus is that it was the best ski trip we have ever done (even with missing a connection and spending the night in the Dallas airport hotel). Steamboat has had an insane amount of snow and it dumped on us 3 of the 4 days! I would love to swing one more short one like last year but work has become overwhelming and don’t see it happening.
These are kind of far out but my daughter Lydia wants to go back to NY again while my son Parker is at camp this summer and I think Emily and I are going to do a little trip for her birthday in October.
We definitely will book through you.
Thanks again – we honestly had the best time and will be setting up the same trip for the same week next year as the kids have a similar winter break!
Bob has planned a number of trips to Paris for us. We especially enjoyed the boutique left-bank hotel & spa la Belle Juliette and the chamber music concerts in small churches thisRead more “Paris Christmas/New Year’s trip Rockell and Sharon from New York”
We were THRILLED with the new Kimpton St Honoré in Paris, which Bob recommended. So much fun – Louvre/Orsay visits, Eiffel Tower, Paris Highlights, and an amazing cooking/market class.
In the Riviera, we LOVED the Belles Rives – an Art-Deco hotel on the beach – the former home of Zelda and Francis F. Fitzgerald (Great Gatsby). Wow!
The private yacht to Monaco with Champagne on my daughter’s birthday was a huge highlight.
Hi Bob- We had a great time in Santorini! Like our time in Mykonos and Naxos, the hotel, the tours and people were fabulous! The views from our hotel and Oia were breathtaking. The catamaran sunset cruise was unforgettable. We were extremely fortunate. Thanks again for planning such a memorable experience! This is such a crazy period for travel. Until our next travel adventure, wishing you all the best!
Hi Bob. The trip was fantastic. As Carolyn stated, the accommodations were great with beautiful views in each. The excursions were all very well done. The islands of Greece are phenomenal places to visit. Thanks for the tour in Athens. It was also good to have the travel concierge handy for questions. I really appreciated the handling of the transfers between tours, travel between islands, and escorts to get through the airport when heading back home. Well done!
Great group trip for mutual friends birthday. I joined for Mexico City part. Bellas Artes, walking tour finding Diegi Rivera murals on buildings. Dinners & a private tour of The Anthropology museum were highlights. Very detail oriented coordinating all activities. With some Holiday closures was Quick to find another local museum, The Tolerance Museum tour.
From where our room was located, my mom and wife, who don’t ski, were able to watch the kids come down the mountain and they loved that! Breckenridge was fabulous with a ton of fun apres-ski stuff too.
Everything went smoothly and we loved the lodging, rentals, lessons, transfers and overall experience, which was seamless.
In fact, my son loved it so much that I’m planning to take him again – this time to Steamboat next month for his birthday and will use your services for that.
Everything was first class – the guides, the amenities at hotels and safari camps. We were so happy. When Omicron hit, we could not get home. We were stuck in Windhoek. Through his local connections, Bob got us out. He was in contact constantly via WhatsApp and working extra hours.
We are so grateful. And happy to be home in NYC for the New Year. We will work and trust Bob for all of our future trips. He is there 24/7 working his connections when you need him.
We had a really great time. We enjoyed all the activities in Paris and were really glad that we went to Strasbourg too. I loved staying at the Bristol. They made everything so easy! We got there around 8am on our first day and they pretty much had our rooms ready and waiting for us. We walked down to a pharmacy and got our QR codes and were able to go everywhere.
When we left to go to Strasbourg, we left our luggage in our room and they moved it and stored it for us and had it back in our rooms when we returned. We did a tour (on Christmas) of the bread mill, cheese and chocolate production in the hotel and after they sent us two types of bread, cheeses, and chocolates to our room. We also had dinner at 114 on Christmas Eve and although expensive it was fabulous.
The hotel arranged for a nurse to come on Christmas day to do our Covid tests and that was super easy and a comfort to know that we were all negative. You did have to make an appointment to go to the gym but we didn’t have problems getting the times that we wanted and two of my girls loved the pool and the steam room. Strasbourg was great. We arrived around 9:30 and got breakfast and walked around town.
We were to meet our guide at 2 and were able to get into our rooms around 1:15. The town was great – charming and really decorated for Christmas. The markets closed at 8 and masks were required. They also had more structured areas where you had to go to eat and drink which we were told was for covid. Our guide was great and we were surprised at the historical significance of the town. It was difficult to get into the restaurants that were recommended – I should have made a reservation in advance since it was very busy and would love to go back someday and eat at Crocodile.
I will definitely recommend you to anyone that I know who is looking for a great Paris vacation. I think that Paul and I would like to do other parts of the country at some point including some wine tasting destinations so I will be in touch about that.
Thanks again! Rachel
Our family trip to Athens, Paros, Naxos and Santorini was really spectacular. Everything was perfect.
We were amazed at how flawless every aspect of the trip went.
The hotels were great (especially the Andronis in Santorini). The excursions were perfect.
Thanks again! We will probably be reaching out soon to plan Spain and Portugal!
Thank you so much for planning a wonderful trip for us! We had a ton of fun and honestly loved every part of it.
All the guides, services, experiences you arranged for us were top notch and made our trip full of highlights.
We especially loved the Louvre tour guide – he was incredibly knowledgeable.
I’m glad we did the watertaxi – that was one of my favorites from the trip!
Would love to have you help us again for our travels in the future.
Borders were closing and we needed to get back to family urgently. We tried to book tickets online, but our credit cards wouldn’t clear.
Fortunately, we met Bob from GlobeBleu. Bob helped us immensely and trusted us. He paid for our tickets back to Amsterdam.
When our Luang Prabang to Bangkok flight cancelled, he paid for another ticket to get us there the night before.
Bob was calm and reassuring at all times – he even drove us to the airport and waited at checkin to make sure we made it off!
He checked-in on us all the way to Amsterdam.
You can trust Bob!
Dear Susan and Bob,
Thank you both for helping me to fulfill a long awaited bucket list trip to Havana for our group of fourteen guests.
My grandmother who didn’t want to go, cant stop talking about the trip and all the amazing food. We were a big and slow moving group, but everyone had a good time. The 10 and 6 year olds were asking their father if they could host their birthdays in Cuba. The classic cars were a hit with all the youngsters. There was literally something for everyone!
LOVE LOVE LOVE the villa, service was magnificent, I also loved the party at the house, the salsa dancing with 21 dancers.
Some of the days were too long though. With such a big group, we probably should have done one more dinner at the house…
I can’t wait to return!
Thanks for organizing an unusual trip for us – hiking coastal trails, including the famous “sentier des douaniers”, in Normandy and Brittany.
We came to you out of desperation after several other “experts” fell short. You admitted that it was out-of-the-box but researched, went to tourism offices in Normandy and ordered trail maps and guides. It worked!
We loved Castelbrac and the guide in Dinard and St Malo. Had a great day on the coastal trail and at Mont St Michel — the guide there was wonderful and kept us there until 6! Restaurants there are tourist traps though – just thought I’d mention.
We loved the D-Day tour with Marie And La Chaumière in Honfleur. Êtretat was also scenic – we loved the cliff-walk.
Our driver Timothy was great – very helpful and flexible.
You did a great job and we will book with you again!
It’s hard for me to tease apart all the elements of exceptionalism. Let me try to name a few off the top of my head:
Beaune – Started off great when Patrick, our driver, who was super kind and patient with me as I tried to speak French after sleeping not a wink.
Hotel Le Cep – cozy and quaint
Both wine tours – the more casual cycling tour of Côte de Beaune and the more intimate tour of Côte des Nuits. Perfect way to see up close the landscapes and to experience the wine (and food!) of the area. All of our favorite things.
Lyon – Hotel had perfect location. We loved opening the windows and looking on to summer night dancing and film screenings in the square. Martine was a great tour guide. Both knowledgeable and good company. She told us about the Resistance Museum which we went to during our down time. Heavy content but so worthwhile. Kind of fell in love with the city.
Nice – First, thanks for going to the extra effort on the hotel room. The view…wow. And great energy around this location. The bike tour was lovely introduction to the city (only potential change is for the tour company to consider regular bikes in densely populated areas). And the cooking class I would highly recommend. The inclusion of the market tour beforehand was almost as valuable as the cooking lesson itself (I brought some things like fig jam back with me and have since recreated). The lesson was well calibrated in terms of complexity, breadth, and teamwork. The other gentleman joining us was a hoot and we had a great time.
We really LOVED the trip and are so happy we connected with you after to speaking to multiple people who offered us a trite itinerary biased around their limited knowledge. Your ability to really hear where we wanted to go, to match us to these very particular experiences, to suggest places we wouldn’t know to look for, and to help us be both fancy and frugal…it all was exactly what we needed.
We look forward to speaking with you about our next big trip. Thank you!
Barry B from Atlanta
The guides were great! We enjoyed spending almost 4 full days with Norma. She is friendly, outgoing, respectful, warm, has a sense of humour, and shows no arrogance at all. She proved to be very knowledgeable about French history. She was a very good anthropologist of the French way of life dating back hundreds of years.
Frederico is a wonderful fellow, charming friendly, self deprecating, warm and has a sense of humour. We loved this guy. Probably one of the best guides we have ever spent time with. His knowledge of art, and his interpretations of the art bought the Louvre and the Orsay to life for us. We could not get enough of him, as we so focused on everything he was teaching us.
Our driver Gonzalo was wonderful fellow, attentive, contributed knowledge, was always on time and ready to pick us up. Best driver we have ever enjoyed. I would hire him again in a heartbeat.
The lunches you arranged were terrific. We especially enjoyed the Barbizon lunch. Quintessentially French village and restaurant and delicious French food.
The wine and cheese tasting was spectacular. One of our best events. The sommelier Vincent, was amazing and knowledgeable. The cheese and wines delicious. Thank you.
The Park Hyatt was great. Attentive service, delicious breakfast, great comfortable rooms, excellent location. They gave us a connected room for our suite which was great. We loved this hotel. My wife commented she liked it better then the George V.
The Parisien boat cruise was a very special way to end our trip. We had the front table at the bow, THANK YOU!!! We thoroughly enjoyed our last evening in Paris with the cruise.
All the venues were interesting and we enjoyed them all. Thank you for doing a great job of putting this trip together. I am very happy with the services you provided.
The car service was impeccable and allowed us to see even more of the city swiftly and safely.
The experience with Chef Thomas was one of the major highlights of our trip; it is quite inspirational to witness greatness, attention to detail, passion and excellence while experiencing amazing food delights in the most fascinating settings.
I will always connect with Bob before going to Paris!
My driver/guide to the Loire Valley was fabulous. I really enjoyed her and she did a great job explaining the two chateaux, their differences, and not rushing me from place to place. I was especially pleased with the lunch reservation at Auberge du Bon Laboureur – a much better selection than the original one at L’Orangerie.
Olivier, our driver/guide in Normandy, was amazing. Faced with a “strike” by the guides at Mont St. Michel, he took us around himself, explaining the various bits and pieces of the church. He was very flexible on our second day when I asked him to arrange a visit to a cheese farm/factory rather than our original plan to go to Honfleur. With just a few minutes’ notice, he had called an organic farm, arranged a tour, then proceeded to “fill the gap” between our visit to the Bayeux tapestry and the farm with a stop at the Pegasus Memorial and lunch at the first building liberated by the British. The D-Day visits were well-thought out – especially as I hadn’t thought to visit other cemeteries than the American – and yet, the most chilling aspect of my visit was the stop at the German cemetery. Last, but not least, he did a great job at Giverny, getting us past the crowds quickly and explaining the key points of Monet’s home.
Moshe, our driver in Paris, was a dream. I’m not sure if he had spider-sense, but he was always there whenever we exited our restaurant – we never had to call him on his cell. He got us in and out and to our destinations on time and with no stress. He confirmed our dinner reservations whenever we were running late or made them earlier if the boys were starting to starve. Further, he was very accommodating when I decided to visit the Orsay on Sunday morning rather than go to mass. I really can’t say enough about him – he was professional, polite, and a pleasure to spend time with.
Overall, I would have to say that this was one of our best trips ever! There was just enough for us to do without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Things were well planned out, yet there was room for flexibility. I loved how the dinner reservations were taken care of and I didn’t have to worry about what I was doing when.
Thank you so very much for an excellent trip that we will be talking about for years to come.
Anne and John U. from New York
Our clients loved the tours!! They were very impressed with the guides, they loved the locations that they were brought to…and they raved about the wines. Very impressed with the quality of the wines they were able to test – I don’t think they really understood until someone on their barge mentioned something about the winery/wines they visited – so then they were doubly pleased!!
So I very much look forward to working with you again….
This couple was a referral to me and you have won me a new client, I so appreciate that!
All the best,
Our driver/guide here in the Riviera, Anthony, was excellent! He was very nice and knowledgeable and we thoroughly enjoyed him. Also, Moshe and Beatrice were awesome.
We are heading back to reality tomorrow and I really appreciate everything you’ve done to make our anniversary trip so memorable. It truly exceed our expectations!
I’m sure we will be going back at some point and when we do I will get back in touch.
Bobby B from Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I ran into our clients at a party – they had a very nice time on the trip. Highlight was the hot air balloon. The guides and your team’s services were fantastic.
Thanks for all of your efforts!
We especially liked the hotel in Burgundy. So beautiful and the owners were so nice!
Thank you again for all of your help!
Rudi Steele Travel in Dallas
I did want to let you know I heard from our clients. She said they had an amazing time!
The kids enjoyed every bit of it.
She thanked me and you very much for helping her arrange the tour and that she loved all four properties.
Thanks for all your help!
Angela Malek, Travel Consultant from Corporate Travel Services in Dearborn, MI
Back to Testimonials
Have a look at the client’s feedback!
Now that I’m slowly getting back to life in Dallas I wanted to stop and say THANKS for a great trip to France!! We had such a wonderful time. The hotels were awesome and the places we visited were fantastic! The last hotel was beautiful and in the middle of horse country, loved it!!
The tour guide was also so awesome.If you ever have anyone that needs a guide through Normandy I would highly recommend him. You may know him already, but if not we were so impressed!
Kyle and Laura also had a GREAT time and now what to move to France! Thanks again for all you did to make this trip so special and a memory we will carry with us forever!
Best regards, Laura May CTC, Luxury Travel Advisor from Precision Travel (Virtuoso) in Dallas
The client LOVED the touring – especially the guides!
I’ve been meaning to write you about our trip; we sort of hit the ground running when we returned and haven’t stopped since! Our flight from Dulles was delayed because of heavy rain, but that was the only significant problem we had. All of the private tours and drivers you and Diana arranged were superb. In fact, we all agree the tour of Tivoli with Paola and the two days with Annie were the highlights of our trip. Paola was just a delight; she reminds me of a good friend who is from Poland. They both have the same engaging personality and sense of humor. She was a fantastic guide for Hadrian’s villa and Villa D’Este. Certainly our lunch with her at Ciocco in Tivoli was one of my favorite moments. The other favorite is our visit to Monet’s garden in Giverny–what a lovely place. Annie was an amazing guide as well, and Madison in particular appreciated her knowledge of French history and art. She gave us an excellent chronological survey of French art in the Louvre. Madison said he was familiar with most of the paintings she showed us and was very glad to see them in person. We were glad to have the private tour of the highlights of Paris as well since it did rain that day. Personally, I thought Paris was beautiful in the rain!
Thank you for all your input and work to arrange the trip. We had a grand time and look forward to our next trip!
Just wanted to let you know that our clients RAVED about Globe Bleu, and were especially complimentary about their Paris driver Eric. Thank you so much for taking such good care of them and making us look good!!
Christine C from Platinum Travel (Virtuoso) in Louisville, Kentucky
Today is my day!!! Many thanks for everything you did for this group of 40 – because of your excellent service, now I am very very relieved and happy! I just received an email from the head coach and look at the great comments.
“Rose, great job on the trip. The second week in Caen was unbelievable. Joseph worked hard and the guide was tremendous. I want to compliment Joseph on his ability to get things done and his positive attitude. He was an asset to have on the trip. The guide you provided in the Normandy region is second to none. She was in depth when she had to be. She read the group extremely well and was very energetic. The guides in Paris were very good; however, I think that Joseph made the difference in Paris. He adjusted their style and made them more understanding of the group they were dealing with. I will sit down with you and do a complete review; however, this is to say “great job”. Many thanks for everything.”
Rose La, Voyages LaPara, Montréal
Recently my wife and I spent three weeks in France celebrating our 50th anniversary. Wanting to make this a very special occasion I researched the web extensively, and using your CNT article of 12/2012 contacted Bob Preston to put together and coordinate our trip. We wanted an itinerary that included everything from air travel, hotels, sightseeing, ground transportation etc. Bob responded immediately, and by both phone and Emails we constructed a trip that more than met our expectations. It even included a six day private barge cruise in the South of France. Working with Bob and his company before we left was a real pleasure as he and his staff gave us the information we needed to make us feel comfortable before departure.
We wanted a trip that had a combination of guides and structured sightseeing with plenty of free time to explore on our own. Having lived in Europe for four years, and traveled extensively for a number of years this was important. We hit a few small glitches during the trip (not due to Globe Bleu), and Bob or his people responded immediately when contacted. In fact, one evening I contacted him by Email before going to bed and he responded by phone to me within five minutes with an answer. I was amazed. My wife became ill a few days into the trip, and he was very helpful with some advice for a doctor etc.
All in all the trip was fantastic. The written itinerary that had our hotel reservations, train tickets and times, car drivers cell nos. and times of pickup and all of the information we need for each day. It was seamless, and gave us the opportunity to enjoy our trip to the fullest without worrying about the details that usually accompany a trip of this magnitude. Our drivers were friendly and knowledgeable and the hotels that Bob chose all met our expectations. The guides for some private sightseeing in Paris were exceptional.
We would highly recommend Bob Preston and Globe Bleu for anyone wanting a great travel experience handled by professional specialists.
I had a lovely call from the client yesterday and she couldn’t sing your praises highly enough!! They had a wonderful time in Chicago and were particularly impressed with the guides and drivers you arranged for them. They enjoyed the restaurants you suggested and also the “Book of Mormon” although she did say it was right out there!!! The architectural tour of Chicago was also wonderful and she said the entire stay was a true highlight of their holiday.
Thanks again for the effort and personal touches you made with their itinerary. They were extremely happy which makes me happy too as the client is a personal friend and also a valued client who has been very supportive for years.
I look forward to working with you again in the near future.
Cheers and Best Regards
Anna W from Lidstrom & Clyne Travel in Melbourne, Australia
I have just had a meeting with the clients, now that they are over the tough jet lag.
The itinerary, guide and hotels you arranged for them in the Loire Valley, Brittany, Normandy and Paris were perfect. They could not have been happier.
They enjoyed that region of France and would love to return. The Australian guide in Normandy they enjoyed particularly, and all got along very well.
Thank you for everything, and I hope they get the chance to return to France.
We will certainly use your services again.
Dianne R from Travel & Cruising Expert in Robina, Queensland – Australia
Thank you for your email regarding our recent trip. I had intended to email you this week to report that all was excellent. I have only recently returned from the USA.
All three guides were excellent, and I wish to commend them all. The accommodation at Yosemite was excellent, and happy to report that we visited and departed just in time, although photos reveal a little smoke haze at end of the day. Our guide, Ashley, enabled us to see the best of Yosemite in a day and that would not have been achieved if we were on our own. Her excellent guiding made the day so productive, pleasant and interesting.
Our guide in Washington DC was exceptional, and made a very enjoyable evening on our walking tour.
Cliff, who guided us in NY, also enabled us to see many places of interest and the best of NY within 4 hours.
When travelling on a time schedule, as most of us do, a private guided tour enables one to see the best of a destination and learn the facts in a short time. This also enables one to obtain the best out of their travels.
Thanks, Aaron, for arranging this programme for us.
Thanks to Globe Bleu for a most enjoyable and entertaining dinner at VTW, Las Vegas.
Sandy M from MTA Travel in Australia
Rita G from Stellar Travel (Virtuoso) in Bellevue, WA
Just a quick note to say thank you for your great work in making my client’s trip to France a success and magical experience. The clients had a WONDERFUL trip! Here is what they wrote me:
We truly had a trip of a lifetime! Spending four nights in Nice was a great way to kick off the trip. The hotel was perfectly located. Our day trips with guide, Ingrid, took us to Antibes, St. Paul de Vence and Monaco. We spent plenty of time at the beach and relaxed. The wine tasting and lunch at Bruno were phenomenal. The accommodations and staff at the Auberge were super. We had an amazing dinner there and relaxed at the pool. The day trip with guide Sebastian to Aix en Provence and the Luberon region where we stopped off at Loumarin, Roussillon and Gordes was among our trip highlights.
Travel was made super easy with all of the transfers. In Paris, Regina had a perfect location. We went to the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Invalides, Rodin, and L’Orangerie in Paris. We also spent time on the Seine, went to the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triumph and Notre Dame. Lunch at St. Germain and taking the kids by Hotel De L’Academie, where we spent a part of our honeymoon in 1999 was fun! The park across the street from the hotel had a carnival, so our final activity was taking the kids on a huge ferris wheel at night overlooking the sights.
It was a fantastic trip, with a perfect balance of activities/relaxation, that has left numerous lasting impressions on all family members. Merci beaucoup from the bottom of our hearts!!!
I really enjoyed working with Globe Bleu and I hope we get a chance to work together again soon!
LuAnn B, Travel Consultant from Let’s Travel Together in Houston, Texas
The clients loved you!!!! And Catherine…thank you very much! Here is what they had to say:
“I just wanted to assure you that we had a spectacular trip, even with the flight change and luggage snafus. Thank you so much for all of your hard work. By the way, the tour guides were impeccable, especially Catherine. They were always early for our excursions, and they were helpful and congenial.
Catherine took us to Eze, Villefranche, St. Paul De Vence, Antibes, a winery tour, the old town in Nice and just was very knowledgeable and fun. We all really liked her. Not that we didn’t like the others, we just spent more time with Catherine.”
Rebecca F from Corporate Travel Service in Dearborn Heights, Michigan
We recently traveled to Paris for six days with our 6-year-old son. Both my wife and I have traveled extensively around the world and have stayed in everything from the Peninsula Hong Kong and Villa Feltrinelli to B&B’s and hotels we would rather forget and from Mombo Camp to a camp in the middle of the Amazon whose name I can’t even remember. Especially with the advent of the Internet, we take some pride in making almost all of our own travel arrangements.
Having said that, being long time readers of Condé Nast Traveler, we have always wondered exactly what these A List travel agents bring to the table and if they would be worth the premium we were certain they would charge. So when we decided to take a trip to Paris this summer, we started our research, took the plunge and ended up getting in touch with Bob Preston.
Although we booked our own hotel, Bob arranged the following for us:
– VIP airport transfers including plane side pick up
– half day trip to Giverny
– private after hours tour of the Opera Garnier
– full day for fashion and jewelry shopping
– half day for shopping at Clignancourt
– private kids tour of the Louvre
Needless to say the trip was outstanding. Everyone we worked with was professional, knowledgeable, personable, etc. However, I would like to point out that at this level, those were just my minimum expectations. Again, we have never worked with an A List travel agent before so I have no reference as to what is “normal” at this level. I can only give feedback on my expectations (which are pretty high) and what Bob delivered.
Here are what I think were the highlights of Bob’s services and what he brought to the table:
1. Efficiency. This trip was probably the most efficient trip we have ever taken. We read a lot about how a travel agent can make your trip “seamless” but it is something that we had to experience to truly understand. It was so efficient that I think we were probably able to knock two days off the trip, which was a savings for us both financially and perhaps more importantly time-wise.
The time efficiency is important to us in two ways. (1) We cannot afford to go on vacation for a month so our time is important and efficient use of that time without getting exhausted is crucial. (2) We were also traveling with our 6-year-old son and we have always believed that if you travel with a child and you bring him to places like museums, you need to plan your day – especially transfers – carefully because the kids will get tired and exhaust their attention span. The extra 30 minutes you spend on a bus or hailing a cab could have been better spent inside the museum.
In a nutshell, time is money and Bob certainly maximized whatever time we had, without exhausting us.
2. Part of what I think contributes to the above mentioned efficiency is having an “efficient team” working with you. It is a great help when the driver knows all the guides and they can call each other to make arrangements for you on the fly.
For example, during our “shopping” day, we decided to make an extra unscheduled stop at another store. This is nothing that we could not have done if we had our own private car. However, getting to the store required the crossing of a square. When coming out, our guide noticed that the store had a back door to the street. She called our driver to come around and pick us up at the back entrance so we would not have to walk back to the parking lot.
3. Pre-screening and selection of “appropriate” guides. We can go to a city and select guides from recommendations on the Internet, books or magazines. However, there is always an element of uncertainty as you never really know what you will get. And even if you get a “good” guide, you never really know if that person is the best or not.
Bob did a fabulous job selecting guides for us. They were all obviously very qualified but also importantly, completely fluent in English. It may not matter as much if it were all adults on the trip but as we had a child, complete fluency in English is more important so that he has easy communication with the guides to maximize his experience.
Our guide for the fashion shopping day was superlative. Bob told us that he felt that she was the best in Paris and I find it hard to disagree.
But perhaps the bigger surprise was how I was equally impressed with the guide we had at the Opera Garnier. As I mentioned, we were with a 6-year-old. When touring a “non kid-friendly” place like the Opera, a 6-year-old presents a challenge to the tour guide. Needless to say he had his moments of running around or otherwise just acting like a 6-year-old. The guide was amazing in that not only did she try to make the tour interesting for our son, but at no point could you ever see any sign of irritation or bother on her that there was a 6-year-old “disrupting” her tour. I think it is different for something like the Louvre kids tour which is really meant for children. But giving us someone who can handle a 6-year-old was the perfect example of not only choosing an excellent guide but an appropriate one as well.
4. Access. One of my expectations from Bob was to give us access to things that we otherwise would not have access to.
Our visit to Cartier was highlighted by their bringing out items from a special exhibition they were having of vintage pieces from the 1910s and 1920s. Hermes and Chanel treated us like royalty even if their stores were filled with customers and were literally like markets. And perhaps most impressively, Bob was able to get us access to the showroom of Joel Arthur Rosenthal, which is something we had asked for but were not sure he would be able to deliver.
At the end of the day, I think the obvious questions are if I would recommend Bob to someone and if I would use him again.
Recommend? I think it depends. As is often pointed out in the magazine, the use of A List travel agents is not for everyone. It is for a specific clientele. But for that clientele, without a doubt I would recommend his services.
Would I use him again? Absolutely. As I emailed him after our trip, he has demonstrated to me that it is worth our time and money to enlist the services of an A List travel agent, with the caveat that he has set the bar extremely high for anyone else that we might consider engaging with in the future.
Miguel R. from Manila (Philippines)
I have heard back from our esteemed wine-aficionados. As you can see from the note below they had a wonderful time! Thanks again, so much! I will be offering the similar itinerary to other club members and will of course be in touch.
It all was great. The driver/guide in Avignon was terrific and the places we visited were perfect for us. The hotel accomodations were perfect and the two big dinners were delicious. We really enjoyed our visit to Lyon. It is a real find for us. So, thanks for the help and the trip. We really appreciated all the effort and thought that went into the itinerary.
Ken N – Manager at Cardoza Bungey Travel in Palo Alto
I have just spoken to Bob and Gwen, they returned to Melbourne yesterday.
He was absolutely full to the brim of praise for the way the whole itinerary went. He said that everything went really smoothly, all the people they dealt with were really professional and friendly.
He commented on the tour of the World Trade Centre Site, that they had priority entrance, just to mention one of the things they loved.
He loved the combination of cities, San Diego, New Orleans then New York and was hard pressed to name a favourite place or event because it was all so good.
I can’t thank you enough for putting this together for them. Their son is a favourite client of mine and I really wanted this trip for his parents to run smoothly.
I will definitely be passing on this feedback to my team.
All the best
Kate, Mary Rossi Travel.
Have been meaning to e-mail you. Had a great trip. The guides were excellent. Very informative and just what I wanted.
In Paris I was upgraded to a wonderful junior suite with three balconies overlooking the city (Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc.) and wondered if you had anything to do with it.
All in all it was near perfect. I can’t think of too much I would have changed.
Thank you so very much for all your help!
Happy new year!
Dan D from Rudi Steele Travel in Dallas
I have just finished working with Denise at Globe Bleu.
I had a group of high profile Chinese Real Estate investors visiting the Southeast. Most of them did not speak English. Their primary focus was visiting Senior Real Estate developments and shopping centers. They visited Kiawah Island, Charleston and Miami.
Denise was amazing. She found Mandarin interpreters and guides. She set up various real estate visits including senior developments and shopping centers.
In addition planned evening cruise in Miami plus full day of fishing. There were changes along the way. Nothing was too difficult . Every request was met.
Restaurant reservations were made..and changed. Movie tickets acquired. Changes were made. Her one objective was to keep the clients happy.
The goings and comings were monitored and I got a full report . I cannot recommend Denise more highly. She is professional, caring and a delight to work with.
I look forward to working with Denise again when the group comes back to visit the Northeast and anywhere else in the states. I am eager to try the services of Globe Bleu in France.
Any questions, feel free to ask me. Denise is a true find!
Paula K from New Act Travel in Los Angeles (Virtuoso)
Greetings from today almost sunny Lucerne and I hope you are doing fine….we have heard from our clients and I am very happy to send their feedback:
We had a perfect trip to France. Thank you so much for helping me put together a last minute trip and all the special details that were included to make us feel like a princess. It was a bit fancier that my usual trips so I hope I can come back to reality soon . The hotels were just lovely. Have you been to them? If not, you should take a trip and visit. I did get a little nervous the night before our TGV train was to leave for Paris with the strikes but our particular train fortunately was not affected. I stayed awake that night trying to determine a Plan B all for nothing!! All the ladies were very happy and so a BIG thank you for your work.
Thank you so much for doing such great work for us and I do look forward to working with you on many more projects.
My clients just returned from France and had a WONDERFUL time. Thank you so much for making “the trip of a lifetime!”.
They LOVED all of their guides and felt that each of them went above and beyond. She told me about their guide in Paris who had not been to the Escadrille de Lafayette, and completely went out of his way to contract this sight and was able to procure a private tour with the curator. He also studied up on this sight to make sure he knew it extremely well. They were very impressed.
The guide in Normandy was great and had a passion for WWII history, which they loved. He was a very lively character which they thoroughly enjoyed. He too went above and beyond and spent time over the 8 hours with them on one of their tour days.
The female guide was very knowledgeable and they very much enjoyed meeting with the wine makers in the Loire Valley…she said they were FABULOUS!
So thank you again for your assistance. I very much appreciate the attention to detail and personal care that they received.
Rayanna C from Santa Barbara Travel
Thank you again for all of your hard work and as you can see below, it worked!!!
I hope your fall season is beautiful and bountiful. My husband and I returned from our Europe trip 5 days ago; I am now over jet lag. This email is to thank you for the work you did. We had a fabulous time. Please extend my appreciation to Norma at Globe Bleu as well, for I know she played a significant role. Everything was quite perfect. We were so very impressed with the drivers and guides we had, and the hotels were great as well.
On our last night in Rome, we returned to the Regina Hotel Baglioni. The welcomed us with a great surprise: a complimentary upgrade to the Penthouse Suite!! For this, my additional and eternal thanks are coming your way. It was a fantastic way to end our trip and we felt like royalty!
It was a pleasure working with you and Globe Bleu again. You make my life so easy and also make me look good in the process. I look forward to working with you again soon. All the best,
Kathleen S from Altour in Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Marcelo from Buenos Aires
Just a quick note with comments from our clients on the Cannes Film Festival. “Susan, just a quick note to say that Cannes was AMAZING – the screening was definitely a “wow”. We splurged (again) and got an official car/driver and had them take us right up to the red carpet, got out in front of the paparazzi, and walked the stairs like the stars do. It was surreal – Brad Pitt sat 2 rows behind us and we got some awesome photos – will send those asap. Globe Bleu could not have been more helpful. We had some mixup with our American Pavilion passes, so they comped us dinner that night at the Majestic Hotel – a 7 course meal, wine, etc. – it was over-the-top. Then they got us another day pass to the pavilion in addition to that. They were always just a phone call away and I can’t compliment them enough. Thanks for all your help – we love everything so far, including the Monaco Grand Prix and Roland Garros.” They were very happy with your services! Thank you so much for taking good care of them!
Susan W, Custom Travel Advisors (Virtuoso)
I spoke to the client yesterday and wanted to share our conversation. She said “This was the best week of my life.” They loved everything and said the trip went like clockwork. She thought La Cheneviere was wonderful and the dinner excellent. Of course, they were thrilled with Le Bristol in Paris. The guides and drivers were great and being in Normandy for D-Day was an added touch!
Thank you for planning this!
Suzanne T from Blue Sky Excursions in Boca Raton
Their stay in New York was a huge success and they were really delighted with everything that Globe Bleu did for them. They were especially glad to meet Laura on their arrival day (this went down very well) and were conscious that she had waited due to their delayed arrival. I understand that she also personally escorted them to one of the galleries one day, so thank you for the special attention.
The NYC guide Cliff seemed to be a star – as were the drivers who they said were faultless. They also commented that the art expert who escorted them at the galleries was fabulous, and that she really knew her work. The opera and theatre was a success – and they even seemed to enjoy the musical Memphis! All dinners and restaurants that you recommended went well, and they enjoyed their dining out.
They felt that they saw more than they ever hoped to see given their age & mobility level, so you really made it happen for them!
Thanks again for everything.
Michael N from Brighton, VIC Australia (Virtuoso)
Just heard from our clients, they had a wonderful time and said the guide was excellent. Here is what they had to say:
“Our trip to the Loire was excellent! Frederic was great. He found out about a friends death during our day but stuck with us and remained very professional. He got us into a French restaurant after the tour and we had a memorable meal.. He was excellent with the kids and was very knowledgeable. He told many interesting stories to keep us interested and of course the scenery was amazing. Thanks for the great recommendation.”
Wendy van T from TierOne Travel in Calgary
I wanted to let you know that I just spoke with our client. He and his family enjoyed their trip to Normandy, and especially appreciated the guide Philippe. Thank you for arranging such an excellent trip!
Marybeth H from San Juan Capistrano, CA
Michael W. from New York
Gail R from Largay Travel in Wellesly, Massachusetts
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