What you say about the WOW Factor!

Havana, CubaCuba, February 2017

I returned home last night from Cuba and before I get immersed in my normal routines I would like to tell you about our trip! It was wonderful except the experience at a hotel NOT BOOKED by WOW Factor!

What a difference!!

You have collected wonderful guides, our driver, and Zusel. She took such wonderful care of us. The house, Sandow and his staff were great. I can't imagine what a different experience I would have had if I had not bought our trip in Lake Placid last summer to Cuba with WOW Factor! Their guides are experts in their fields and very personable. We saw many guided tours and watched as their tourists try to listen to our guide instead, we knew that Zusel was the best!

Thank you for a wonderful experience. If you need me to tell someone about why your organization is worth the price or why he or she should book tours through you, I would love to help!

The only advice I would give is to provide your clients with some guidelines for tipping. We would like to know in advance that tipping is recommended because the Cuban team definitely deserves it! I have been on hunting and fishing trips that I would not have brought tip money to, but knew to bring it because the company provided us with that information. Providing examples for a not so great tip amount, a medium tip amount and a great tip amount for the Cuba trip would be helpful!

Guidebooks say food is terrible and costly in Cuba. We found this not true! The food is very good if you have the right people like we had helping us pick the restaurants. We stayed away from the government ran restaurants. We also found the food very reasonably priced.

In regards to the people-to-people aspect of CubaÉstaying in the ÒhomesÓ was wonderful and their food was great. We would not have interacted with people in the same way if we stayed in a hotel.

I took pictures of people who live in Cuba that I would like to frame and send to them. The tobacco farmer can't get a picture framed, so I would like to do this for him. We feel we have added family members and can not wait to return to Cuba!

Thank you.

Sara J.

February 2017

What an amazing trip and experience in Cuba! I canÕt thank you enough for all your help with the planning. You have put together an amazing team in Cuba and they made the trip unforgettable. Zusel had an answer for everything and was so well organized; everything came together without a single problem. Alex, our driver was fantastic. He was always at-least 10 minutes early, was courteous, and a very safe driver. The night that we went to the Tropicana (such a cool experience) we were standing around like lost puppies not sure where to turn our ticket in to get our receipt to be seated. Alex showed up out of nowhere and took our ticket and was back with a receipt in 2 minutesÉwe skipped the whole line. He happened to know the ÒcaptainÓ and we were in like VIPÕs. Our tour guides, Joel and Enrique were very well educated, answered all of our questions, and we learned so much about the history and culture of the areas we were in. The restaurants we ate at were great, we never had problems with any of our reservations and the food was of great quality. Breakfast and dinner at the villa was perfectÉI have never eaten a lobster that was so big and so fresh!

Laurie & Dave

Havana, Cuba Feb. 22nd, 2017

What an amazing trip and experience in Cuba! I can’t thank you enough for all your help with the planning. You have put together an amazing team in Cuba and they made the trip unforgettable. Zusel had an answer for everything and was so well organized, everything came together without a single problem. Alex, our driver was fantastic. He was always at-least 10 minutes early, was courteous, and a very safe driver. The night that we went to the Tropicana (such a cool experience) we were standing around like lost puppies not sure where to turn our ticket in to get our receipt to be seated. Alex showed up out of nowhere and took our ticket and was back with a receipt in 2 minutes…we skipped the whole line. He happened to know the “captain” and we were in like VIP’s. Our tour guides, Joel and Enrique were very well educated, answered all of our questions, and we learned so much about the history and culture of the areas we were in. The restaurants we ate at were great, we never had problems with any of our reservations and the food was of great quality. Breakfast and dinner at the villa was perfect…I have never eaten a lobster that was so big and so fresh.

I sit on the board of directors of the TLC learning center in CO. It was at our annual Kentucky Derby Party that my family bid on and purchased the Cuba trip. If you ever need any reviews or help selling the trip to other organizations please let me know. This is an experience that I hope many people get to have, and hope that they can pump some money into the Cuban people’s pockets.

Thank you again!

Biff C.

January 2017 (Costa Rica)

The most amazing and unusual thing we experienced in Costa Rica was the Wildlife! WOW Factor's on-site representatives helped with our tours and enhanced our side trips with suggestions. We had great weather and the snorkeling is a MUST DO!

January 2017 (Havana, Cuba)

WOW Factor's on-site representatives, Zusel, Joel, Michelle, and Alex (taxi) were excellent.

They were all very nice, kind and accommodating and offered to do whatever we wanted to do. They really made the experience very informative and educational.


December 2016-January 2017 (Havana, Cuba)

Our first impression of Cuba was great people, but the infrastructure needs LOTS of attention. D?selo, the on-site rep, was VERY helpful even with 4 tour groups going that week. Our favorite tour was the trip to the tobacco farm. The people were great and very informative. Cigars are great, and the coffee they grew and gave us was good. You can say that I found Cuba EXTREMELY worthwhile and enjoyable.


December 2016-January 2017 (Havana, Cuba)

We have been telling everyone what a once in a lifetime trip we had! Cuba is a must see before the commercialization happens. The time of year was great because it was the beginning of the season where the weather was perfect. Our favorite tour was Vinales-This tour allowed us to see more of the Cuban country outside of Havana. The lunch @ Finca Paraiso (farm to Table) was an added bonus that day. The housekeeper at our location was a real GEM. She was always available to our every need (we just loved her)! We met the following people; Zusel (our in Cuba coordinator), Joaquin (Driver), Joel (old Havana and Vinales tour guide) Charley (Varadero Beach Tour guide) and Carlos (Modern Havana Convertible Tour guide). "All were exceptional" friendly and knowledgeable of Cuban history. We felt comfortable with all our interaction with them. Zusel was responsive to all our needs. Joaquin was always early for all our transportation times. I highly recommend this Cuban team that made our trip enjoyable. Cuba is a country where time stood still.


December 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

The trip was beautifully arranged and graciously delivered. The back and forth fine-tuning we did with Zusel before we left helped us have even better tours and a better sense of what to expect. The personal touch is what makes it worth the money.? Our favorite experience was the Art—it was specially arranged to go in studios with an art curator who was terrific. The weather was very pleasant and there was lots going on at this time of year.


November 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

Cuba is a country that is passionate about their revolution. Fidel Castro passed away while we were there and the government instituted nine days of mourning which put a damper on things. That being said, the people are friendly, helpful and interested in us as Americans. Zusel did a wonderful job taking care of us, translating and helping us do the unusual things we wanted to do. It was an experience for both of us, because some of our activities such as bird watching were new to her. She was enthusiastic and helpful. We loved Alex our driver who was always taking care to watch for our safety in travel. I was struck by his ingenuity when our taxi broke down; he managed to get it repaired quickly. My favorite tour was with Angel who took us bird watching; he helped me find many endemic species. It was an amazing day for me. The tours were exactly what we expected. Many were new tours; the caves, bird watching etc. The weather was wonderful; hot and sunny.


November 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

Our accommodations were clean, comfortable, and charming. The weather was nice and not too hot. I love Cuba I love the Cuban people... loveliest people I've ever met. Zusel; wonderful, organized and a delight to be with.


October 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

Our favorite tour in Cuba was the country tour including the tobacco farm. Zusel, WOW Factor's on-site rep, was there. She had each day planned with dinner based on our input.


October 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

We were extremely pleased with our accommodations. Cuba is a wonderful country with the most wonderful people. Zusel was knowledgeable and very kind.


October 2016 (Costa Rica)

Do all you can in Costa Rica because all of it is unusual and amazing!


May 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

Dinner at the Villa, Santy, Donde Lis and Cafe Del Oriente was WONDERFUL! Thank you for helping us celebrate Libby's birthday and for the lovely gift. The Villa was great and the on-site rep family was so gracious, personable and so darn cute! I will ALWAYS recommend WOW Factor to everyone I speak to about our trip.

Mary Jo

Napa Valley, California “Casa Alta” October 29-November 5, 2016

“It was a beautiful time to visit Napa Valley. The Balloon Trip is a “must do” experience!”

Napa Valley, California “Casa Alta” October 22-27, 2016

“We were extremely pleased with the accommodations provided by Wow Factor in Napa Valley, California. Our favorite winery tour was Arrowood. The head Winemaker, Kristina, was amazing. The Del Dotto cave barrel tasting is a “must do” in Napa!”


Havana, Cuba October 7-13, 2016

“We had wonderful weather in Cuba! Wow Factor’s personal tour guide had each day planned with dinner for us based on our input. Our favorite tour was the country tour including the tobacco farm.”


Roma Del Mar, Costa Rica September 17-24, 2016

“While in Costa Rica we utilized the expertise of Wow Factor’s on site representatives, Caroline and Michael. They arranged our day trips and were always available for our follow-up questions and gave us great advice. They fed us delicious dinners and we were most grateful for their willingness to chat about Costa Rica and it’s beautiful culture.”


Roma Del Mar, Costa Rica September 17-24, 2016

“The property in Costa Rica is in its own microclimate, so while much of that area was experiencing the “wet” season and low tourism, we had great weather every day! We were alone (no other tourists) on all of our adventures. The helpfulness and friendliness of the Ticas always made us feel secure. The most amazingly unusual experience was the zip-lining and listening to the Howler Monkeys and tons of birds just off of our pool deck!
While we were on Tortuga Island we watched little wild boars, deer, peacocks, peahens, guinea hens, and domestic pigs come down to feed on the discarded lunch together. IT WAS LIKE NOAH’S ARK!”


Galway, Ireland July 22-30, 2016

“Galway is a beautiful place to tour. The Aran Island, Kylemore Abbey, and the sheepherding demonstration were wonderful. We also walked to the top of the Cliffs of Mohr, which was great exercise! The stone houses with thatched roofs and green countryside with sheep were beautifully nostalgic. We absolutely loved the Irish accents and the people!”


Killarney, Ireland July 30-August 2, 2016

“Killarney was beautiful, lush and green! Everything was fabulous. Nyree was amazing. She helped us plan the whole week and booked some side tours with a private car which was fabulous!”


Killarney, Ireland July 16-27, 2016

“Wow Factor’s representative, Nyree, in Killarney was fabulous from the beginning to the end. We used her expertise and she greatly enhanced our trip. Our favorite tour was the Dingle Peninsula because of the classic foggy weather and the driver who made it a great trip. Having our own personal driver was even better than we expected!”


Galway, Ireland June 11-18, 2016

“Galway was beautiful! The people were all wonderful! Wow Factor’s on-site reps, Joe and Patricia were very knowledgeable and spoke with us before our trip and met us when we first arrived in Galway. They had great suggestions for us. Kylemore Abbey was our favorite tour. It was excellent! We took a day trip to Dublin and the Guinness Plant, which was a lot of fun. There is just so much to see we can not wait to return.”


Killarney, Ireland June 12-19, 2016

“Killarney was so green! The scenery was beautiful with the rolling hills! Wow Factor’s on-site rep, Nyree was very informative, friendly and out-going. We told her what we wanted to do and she gave us suggestions regarding our requests. She showed us other ‘must see’ places as well. Very helpful!”


September 16th, 2016 (Killarney, Ireland)

Ms. Dawn Mills,

We just returned from a fabulous trip from Ireland! There were 10 people in our group and we left Ireland’s beautiful country with smiles on our faces and memories to last a lifetime!

Our Wow Factor representative was Nyree Watson. We found her extremely informative, while answering our MANY questions and emails. She was always positive and gave much more than our questions entailed. Without her, we would not have been able to use our time wisely nor eat the great food she recommended! She was the key factor in making the trip superb!

Thank you for offering this representative to us with the self-catering apartments at the Malton in Killarney.

Until next time!

Kelly F.

July 8th, 2016 (Killarney, Ireland)


Thank you so much for all of your help during our trip. We had a blast! Everyone enjoyed the trip. We really did enjoy seeing old head. Thanks so much for pulling this off! Almost all of my family has been at some point or another so now I can relate.

Hopefully we will get back to Ireland again soon. Thank you again for all your help.

Kellen and Rebecca

March 31st, 2016 (Havana, Cuba)

Dawn and Zusel:

Since we were one of your first visitors, I thought that you would appreciate some feedback. It is very positive, but I wanted to you to know the negatives as well.

Getting to Cuba. After we booked the condo, we ran into problems finding flights on the days that we needed. Ultimately it worked out by staying a night at Yanin (we actually enjoyed being able to see two places) and Zusel’s idea to coordinate our ride to Azul with the Architecture tour was fantastic.

Cuba Travel Services was helpful in arranging the Visas. We had a lot of stress and back and forth over the travel affidavit, and the amendments to the Treasury department regulations the week before we left, but ultimately it proved unnecessary (see below). This should be easier based on the changes to the regulations on March 15th. Everyone should be able to check the Person to Person educational and cultural exchange. We felt that we had that requirement fulfilled by the end of the first day based on our conversations with Zusel and Rafael!

Yanin. Fantastic Compound. Diani was a great cook. Her dinner the first night set a high bar. We were not that impressed with the “beach” and were glad that we did not stay there permanently. Azul was much more centrally located and better for all of the activities that we had planned. But we may not have been the “normal” group either. We were looking to stay active, not to lounge around by the pool for more than a few hours at a time.

Azul Penthouse. We loved it. It was rough on the outside but fantastic on the inside. It was everything that we could have asked for. Having the Beer, Water and Rum available for purchase upon arrival was a great touch. The location could not have been better (we definitely preferred it over Yanin). There were some problems in some of the showers with hot water but we expected such inconveniences. It might be helpful to try to coordinate check--in and checkout times with the flight schedules. It isn’t a hotel, so it might be possible. We had a little scare the last day because of our late (9 p.m.) flight time, but it ultimately worked out by vacating the rooms bynoon and having the pool deck until 2 p.m.

Zaida and Alina were fantastic. Unfortunately we lost Zaida to her medical condition, but Alina took care of what we needed, including a special birthday Dinner for Julia.

Joel / Architecture Tour. Joel was great. He was highly informative, and he really knew his material regarding the architecture. This was probably our most educational tour.

Rafael / Vinales / Angel (the farmer). We greatly enjoyed our time with Rafael and we loved his approach to the mural where he gave his views very subtlety and let us draw our own conclusions. Angel was fantastic. He was very friendly and welcoming. Getting to see how he and his family lived was a highlight. All that said, the ride was a little too long for our taste and I’m not sure that we would select it again due to the 6 hours of round trip driving time. But we do not regret doing it once. Some suggestions for improvement include adding a stop in the town (but I understood the reasons for not doing it) and doing more of a cigar tasting with a few branded cigars to compare to Angel’s organic cigars. It might also help to be a little more detailed in the descriptions of the touring. I’m not sure that we would have selected this one if we knew that it would require 6 hours of driving.

Yuly / Old Havana / Independent touring. We loved Yuly and enjoyed her personal story. She did not have the same expertise as Joel and our old Havana time was interrupted by President Obama (Finally, we can actually blame Obama for something and actually mean it.). I’m glad that we saw old Havana, but I suspect that it is going to become even more touristy in the near future as the cruise ships fill the harbor. The independent touring was a bust -- but that was our fault. I would suggest that people not pick this option unless they have very specific plans in mind. We did not, and as a result it was not as good as it could have been. Yuly found some good places to take us, but I think that we could have done better with more planning.

Beach day. The weather did not cooperate, but Zusel and Yuly’s efforts to find something that would work for everyone were fantastic. Santa Maria was a beautiful beach, and we had a good lunch before the weather became too windy.

Buena Vista Social Club. We left early. The food was the worst that we experienced (and we tried gas station street food and the Kefeteria). The music was great, but there was no salsa dancing and Yuly was kept off in a corner by herself. We wanted to have her with us. This felt like a tourist trap, and it felt like a cruise ship had emptied into the restaurant.

Convertible Tour. Fantastic. That was a great way to see the city. I would put this at the beginning of the week so that people can get a better feel for the city. I definitely have an email where we discussed combining this with the architecture tour, but that would NOT have been a good way to do this. One of our divers was a little more knowledgeable that the other and we had seen some of the sights previously, but we really enjoyed this tour.

The Rolling Stones. Bucket List Item Checked Off! Zusel went above and beyond to find that house for us. We had every intention to go into the concert, but our spot was too good to leave. Enough said.

Alejando. We loved him. We just wish that he could have been with us all week.

Zusel. Zusel went above and beyond in many ways and has an expertise in coordinating schedules and simply getting things done that is simply a gift. I won’t belabor it because apparently we gave Brendan enough information to ensure Zusel’s job future -- I understand that she was immediately promoted during the concert.

As a more general matter, we would have preferred to have our Cuban hosts join us at meals. We enjoyed their company and we learned something new in every conversation. It was well worth an additional few bucks to have them join us, and I would encourage you to make that a “suggestion” as part of the tour packages. But again, our group may be a little “not normal.”

Airport Issues. STRONGLY encourage guests NOT to check bags on the way to Cuba. If they need to check on the way home to bring home their purchases, that is fine. We waited over 2 hours for mine upon our arrival. The airport just can’t handle it and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Once we finally had our bags, Zusel made us feel very comfortable as soon as we met her. That was well executed.

Wifi is now available in the parks. But don’t just give people cards. Make them work for it the way that we had to. It made it more interesting.

Leaving Cuba. We lightened our load by donating some of our clothes to our Cuban friends. I often bring older clothes on vacation and leave them there. This time, they served a purpose. This is a good recommendation for other travelers.

I think that arriving 4 hours in advance for departure was excessive. 2 hours would have been more than enough time. There simply are not many flights in and out of that terminal so it should not back up excessively. Bring books for the wait. There are money changes before and after passport control and there is food available. Some of the shops close, but we were told that the currency exchange does not.

Tips. We wanted to give something to everyone, but when you spread it out, like that it adds up. Suggestions for future travelers would be welcome.

US Customs in Miami. They looked at my travel affidavit and laughed. They said that you don’t need it. Only 3 of the 150 people on our flight were non-Americans. 5 of us went through separately and none of us had any issues -- or even questions about rum or cigars.

Again, thank you for helping us arrange an unforgettable and enriching trip. I can’t wait to go back (with Christine) in a few years. As much as we enjoyed ourselves, we hope to find that some things are very different at that time.

S. Hirzel

March 15th, 2016 (Kinsale, Ireland)

Jim Good and the Shearwater condos were the perfect combination of location and that warm "Irish" welcome! Jim provided in depth knowledge of the area to us and provide a fun and fact filled 1.5 hour tour around Kinsale. When we had a slight medical emergency while in Kinsale he took charge and got us into a doctor's office and provided transport to us. He is a wonderful resource and his nickname of the "the Mayor" is well suited to him. He knows everyone!

K. Byrd

March 16th, 2016 (Costa Rica)

We had a fabulous time on our Girls Trip to Roma Del Mar. The Villa was perfect and the views were breath taking and panoramic of the beach and the mountains. The food and service at the Restaurant Aroma was spectacular! We really enjoyed the personal touches that you and Michael provided to us on our stay. The Costa Rica locals were lovely as well. We met quit a few as we ventured out every day for excursions. We highly recommend Thomas for the Snorkeling and beach excursion as well as the Zip Line through the 11 waterfalls and the horseback riding in the mountains! What a lovely paradise you have created and get to live in.

K. Malaret

Sept 9th, 2015 (Kinsale, Ireland)


We had a fabulous time on our trip thanks to Jim. I did not get to say goodbye or thank you to him, could you please pass this along to him. The accommodations were fabulous, Kinsale was everything my imagination dreamed of. Hiring of Elite cars was the best suggestion and their drivers were so informative and made each trip great, and the rates were great!!!!!!!

There is nothing I would do different, and will be looking to hopefully plan a trip with WOW factor again in the future!

Amy F.

July 17th, 2015 Sheena C. (visited England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)

Hi Nyree,

I just found this email from you down in the bottom of my LONG list of emails. Thanks so much for all your tips while in Killarney - I do actually think Ireland was the best part. I would indeed be back! Loved the entire area!


June 2015 From Kim & Kurt M., Visting Killarney

We have been having a wonderful time in Ireland, Nyree. The countryside is absolutely stunning and the people here are some of the nicest ever! We have been told that we have had the "luck of the Irish" on our side with the weather, too!

Our driver for the Ring of Kerry, Con, was such a nice man. Full of interesting facts and stories. Well worth our money. Thank you so much for recommending and setting it up. Our trip has far exceeded our expectations! And by the way, your treat box was gone days ago!

We made it home safely after 30 hours of some sort of travel…planes, trains, and automobiles! The weather did not cooperate and we experienced several delays. But, travel aside, we truly enjoyed our Ireland experience so much. We met some wonderful people, saw some great sights, and felt very much at home. Thanks again for meeting with us and guiding us in the right direction. We will most definitely pass your name along and highly recommend a trip to Ireland to our friends and family. Hope you enjoy your summer as well.


June 2015 Nancy P., Visting Killarney

So good to hear from you, Nyree! I had planned to email you on the way home but got wrapped up in other things.

It was lovely finally getting a chance to meet you and your partner, Niall. Your advice came in handy-- I got my glass of Murphys at the pub Niall recommended. Later I noticed that the pub was listed on a poster of top pubs in Ireland. I also watched the Gaelic football match in a pub on Sunday and had the game explained to me. Quite a celebration afterwards. It was funneling in Killarney on such an eventful weekend and The Malton is very centrally located for either walking or driving. I had a great time with my brother and his wife--and we covered a lot of ground together -- a day up to theCliffs of Moher, a nice weather day around the Ring of Kerry, a day in Killarney National Park and a day to Cork/Blarney Castle. Only had one really rainy day, so we were lucky. Didn't get to Dingle orGalway so I will have to come back, hopefully with my husband! Would love to chat more! If you all come to DC, contact me!

Best, Nancy

June 2015 Bruce P., Visting Killarney

Hi Nyree!

We loved our trip and would love to come back some day. Our expectations were exceeded in every way. I felt bad for Niall because I think we kept him out longer than expected, especially since he had to double back and retrieve the supposed lost cell phone that really wasn’t lost! I hope he wasn’t too tired from the long day, we sure loved it, it’s my favorite part of the trip. Thank you both so much for everything and I have your card and contact info that I will share with others should anyone around here get that way.

It was a trip of a lifetime. Best of luck and good health to you and Niall!


July 2015 Mike B. & Cindy C., Visting Killarney

Hi Nyree,

We had an absolutely amazing time in the Kingdom of Kerry. The accommodations were outstanding as were all of the folks we encountered in our travels. Ireland holds a special place in our hearts and we were honored to have you be a part of this journey.

All our best, Mike and Cindy

June 2015 David F., Visting St. Andrews


I replied yesterday, but did have a couple of additional comments. The accommodations were very good. The location was what made them excellent.

It would be an improvement if you could come up with a less expensive way to make the security deposit on the apartment. I had to pay a $50 fee for my bank and a $25 fee for the Bank of Scotland to wire a £150 deposit. Electronic check or some alternative would be less expensive.

Thanks again for this lodging- our week in St Andrews was fabulous.


July 2015 Mary Jo G., Visting Killarney


I just want you to know that we have returned from our WONDERFUL TRIP to Ireland!!!! The Condo was ABOSLUTELY PERFECT!!! It was Very Accommodating for our Family of 7. And the location and the VIEW was Beautiful!!! J Only, Only thing was ‘just a bit cool’ for a Southern Girl….but Very Grateful for ‘no rain’. Until the last day in Dublin and Only for a brief time at that!!! And Mr Jim Good was a TREMENDOUS Help and a very Kind Man!!! And you were also a tremendous help to me as I planned for our trip. Thank you and I will certainly recommend ‘Wow Factor’…. Do you have properties in other countries?

Sincerely Mary Jo

March 2015 Eric C., Visting Costa Rica

Hi Jordan

Thanks for the note. We had a great experience at Roma Del Mar! It's hard to explain, as we are more used to being either in a large resort or traveling in larger cities when we go abroad. This one was totally different and one we'll always cherish. We WILL go back. I believe it was a combination of the hospitality directly at Roma, but also being submersed in the culture as much as we were. AND, the house was fantastic as well.

The destination was excellent from the home perspective. While we were aware that this was not a location near a large city, I don't think any of us were aware just hot remote it was. So, at first, we were a bit surprised. But, this ended up being one of the biggest advantages and what we'll remember the most.

Accomodations: As I mentioned the home was great. Not super well appointed in the kitchen, but we got by. The pool area was awesome, the view spectacular and every day when we came back from whatever we were doing that day, it was just fantastic to come back and relax there. Perfect....

Customer Service: First of all, there are not enough superlatives to describe Arlene! From the start, before we embarked, she was so accommodating in setting up our itinerary. But even more importantly, once there, she (and Adrian) became a major reason why our stay there was so positive. Honestly, we were so sad to leave them and our house. I'm generally ready to head home after a vacation week, but within a week, I felt like this WAS home. It was absolutely a great experience because of Arlene's hospitality!

We did several planned activities through the Roma del Mar program. We went snorkeling and through the Curu forest one day, Offshore fishing another, and kayaking a third day. Then we had "down" days in between. One of those days we went on our own to the beach at Samara. We also went down to nearby Playa Blanca the second day we were there and made lots of friends! Then we ended the week (on Friday) with massage therapy from Anna (awesome).

It's hard to say any one of these were our favorites, because each were enjoyable. If I had to pick I'd say the day we went to Curu and snorkeling. This is because the guide for that was really great (Milton)! He was so kind and so knowledgeable it made the day for us.

But again, it really was everything tied together that made this such a great experience.

In regards to improvements, again, possibly some of the appointments in the house (especially kitchen) could have been better. And, there were light bulbs missing. But that did not take away from our experience!

Thanks for checking in and Pura Vida!


March 26th, 2014

Hello Jim,

Just a quick note to thank you for your generosity while we were in Kinsale a few weeks back! We enjoyed meeting you and appreciate your kindness in showing us around your wonderful town. We know we saw things we would not have otherwise, and that includes Patrick! At your recommendation, we dined at Man Friday that night as you know, and have that in the book as the best dinner we had the entire time we were in Ireland. The Spaniard was up there as one of the best pubs, and of course the Trident was great as well…..but most of all, we enjoyed meeting you and hope to see you again sometime in Kinsale. Many thanks!.

Donna DeRoche
John McGovern (Julie McGovern’s cousin)
Karen & Doug

Oct 9th, 2013

We had the best trip ever!!!! it couldn't have been better. We had a few questions about "the equipment" in the flat. We Americans had trouble trying to figure out how to turn on the hot water for the shower, use the fancy coffee pot, and even turn on the dish washer and the mircowave.lol. so our guide helped us and so did Nikki. We left "suggestions" so they could perhaps share with other guest who don't use the same wonderful systems. Other than those kinks, the trip was Fabulous!!!! Many thanks to your organization for making it possible. It was indeed a WOW experience. Blessings to you Dawn and to all those that provide this experience. With much appreciation,

Mary Pat

Aug 26th, 2013

Hi Arlene,

We just made it home and heading for bed before I am right back at work but...

Once More, thank you very much for a lovely vacation. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely. Please see below for my review and please use this as my permission to use it online or in other marketing materials you will use.

Roma del Mar in Costa Rica was a fabulous place to stay. The villas are gorgeous and well kept. The villa we stayed in had the most beautiful view, as well. I highly recommend you experience Costa Rica in general and even better if you stay at Roma del Mar.

Beyond the villa itself, the people that you work with to get settled are the most friendly people you will ever meet. They make sure you are comfortable and ensure you are not missing anything to make your stay complete. During our stay we decided to do a few excursions off site. Each was booked on our behalf, all directions supplied and it was the smoothest process we could have asked for. Arlene was perfect in her suggestions on what to see and for all the arrangements that she made on our behalf.

Don’t hesitate to enjoy a personal chef for a night or two. The food was out of this world and our evening was so enjoyable. If a little relaxation if also needed, massages at your villa can be arranged. Again, great value and well worth the few extra dollars for this.

I took my family of 4 plus my parents on this vacation. It worked well for the young and old alike J. I highly recommend a villa at Roma del Mar. Pura Vida!

Kay Stanish.

Aug 26th, 2013

Brendan and Jim (via Wendy):

The press of business upon return has passed so it is time to thank each of you for making the WOW! experience in Kinsale pretty much a wow from our perspective. We enjoyed ourselves very much. Jim was a gracious and concerned host who was able to answer even our most obtuse questions regarding Kinsale and Ireland.

The car in lieu of golf also worked well. We came up a little short but not an issue at all. By car is a great way to see and touch Ireland.

Thank you very much for the experience.
Best regards,
Van and Jayne

Aug, 2013


We had a fantastic trip to Ireland! We are now thinking about our return trip since we could not visit many destination! Kinsale was lovely and Jim Good was a treat – he did a nice job orienting us to Kinsale. The golf at Old Head was unbelievable!!! I wish we could have stayed longer but as you know – work and kids called us home…..

Thank you so much for working with us. We will look for more Wowfactor at our charity events! Cheers, The Shelby

July 22, 2013


I just wanted to let you know we had a great time in Kinsale. Jim Good was a blessing!! If it were not for him, our trip would have been average but his sincere effort to make sure we hit all the right spots spots was a blessing. Also, Eugene's driving service was awesome. He was very professional and made our trips around Kinsale very enjoyable! His driving service was definitely the right decision! Thanks again.

June 12, 2013

Dear Brendan,

The Petersen’s (and party) had a wonderful time in Kinsale and southwestern Ireland. On top of that (according to several people we talked to) it was the best weather that Ireland experienced in a very long time. I think what made the trip very special for all of us was… Jim Good. I am sure that this comes as no surprise, but we all felt that he personally took care of us from the very beginning to the last few moments of our visit to Kinsale. He is such a wonderful person and wish we could have “bottled him up” to take home with us. Jim would fit right in with our Texan hospitality.

All six of us want to thank you, Jim and The People of Ireland for a wonderful visit. You have made all of us lifelong fans of your beautiful country and can’t wait for a return trip.

All the best,

Mark and Margaret Petersen

Mark Petersen

May 27th, 2013

The villa was beautiful and just as advertised as far as facilities. The hosts were wonderful as well. So helpful. The only recommendation I have is to inform people that if they fly from the US and catch the ferry they will get to Roma Del Mar after dark and the place to check in will be closed, so it's a very good idea to have a usable cell phone to call the hosts when you arrive. We were lucky that we rented a local cell phone from our car rental agency. Our AT&T phones did not work well down there and we probably would have been in a lot of trouble without it. Also, it should be noted that Roma Del Mar is Not in a tourist heavy area which we liked but could also cause problems for some people. It was an adventure. We took a 4 year old 2 year fold 1 year old and 4 month old and had a great time. Thinks about repeating the trip sometime in the future Also, the massage and the chef that are available were awesome.


May 6, 2013

Just a note to tell you how much Maureen and I enjoyed the Kinsale trip.

Could not have asked for a better time. The accomodations were first rate, and Jim Good, Mr. Lillis' contact in Kinsale was superb.

Jim took the time to find out our interests, and arranged for us a spectacular time.

I would highly recommend Brendan Lillis and his trips to anyone. Feel free to use me as a recommendation.

Steve Nunan

July 31, 2012

Hello Jim - A note to say 'Thank you so much for your amazing Irish hospitality. This has been such a memorable vacation here in Kinsale, & I know it wouldn't have been possible without all the tours and conversations of how to make thisan experience we absolutely will not forget. Thank you for booking the guys golf at Old Head and our Spa day.

The entire trip has been a trip of a lifetime, and you have been a great part of our experience here

Love, Chris & Julie

Sir Jim!

Wishing you all the best with many thanks for your gifts of hospitality. You are a man of many talents and we were blessed to be the recipients of these and your time.

Thank you for making our stay the very best it could be.

May you continue to go far with many friends!

Sincere Regards, Joe and Lori

Jim, Thanks so much for your gracious help. We have had a wonderful trip & hope to be back soon!

Steve & Wendy

Jim, Thank you for making our visit so enjoyable. I loved every minute of our Ireland experience.


Jim, You have such a wonderful country!. Thank you for all your help. We sure had a great time here and would love to come back!.


October 28, 2011

A Thank You Letter from Community Grief Support Service

Carol A. MacMillian

October 20, 2011

Dear Brendan

"Thank you again, Brendan, for allowing us to use these packages. They continue to be a huge hit."

NAA Auctioneer

June 28 ,2011

Dear Brendan

Hope all is well where ever you are in the world. Marianne and I finally arrived back home yesterday evening after having an amazing vacation. We truly believe that are time in South Africa will be difficult to top. Everything at Zulu Nyala couldn't have been more perfect than it was. Everything from the staff, accommodations, AMAZING GAME DRIVES, meals, scenery, etc was just breathtaking and we already miss it. We did however take over 2000 photographs that will take me the better part of a few dedicated days of editing and deleting, but will remind of us of our time in South Africa. 

Furthermore, we just wanted to say a final thank you as this vacation was made possible with your assistance. From the endless emails we sent back and forth to you taking care of the bookings, Marianne and I were truly satisfied by this wonderful experience that we hope one day we can venture off and do it again.

Thank you and Safe Travels,

Zack and Marianne

May 4,2011

Dear Mr. Lillis,

On behalf ofthe Southeast Cancer Foundation, I want to thank you for making the trip to Ireland possible for our recent James Bond Gala Live Auction. Thanks to your generosity, Jack Granger and Associates were able to raise a total of$14,500 for the trip by selling it twice, to the two top bidders!

Needless to say, we are just overjoyed to have made this much money for cancer research, where doctors in the Southeast are working hard towards better treatment options for patients and finding a cure. We are happy to be a part ofthis very important environment and feel that we are making a difference for mankind.

Because of friends like you, we will be able to net close to $250,000 from our Gala and help these researchers in their advancement towards finding a cure -in our lifetime. We appreciated your kindness to us and wish you success in your endeavors as well.

Sincerely, Yvonne Pope

View the Letter

Oct 22, 2010

We would like to thank you for arranging a fantastic trip for us to Zulu Nyala, Johannesburg and Victoria Falls. Each place was special with wonderful accommodations. We would particularly like to commend Sandile at Zulu Nyala and Patrick at the Country Manor for making our experience memorable and educational.

Both are knowledgeable, delightful to be with, and true ambassadors for your beautiful country. Seeing Victoria Falls is an awesome experience.

We’re already missing our daily game drives

Sincerely Naomi and Ivan

Nov 6th, 2010

We are still flying high from our trip to Zulu Nyala! Everything went so beautifully and all your arrangements worked perfectly. Our guides were wonderful and the accommodations were spectacular. Thank you for all your hard work and diligence. This was the trip of a lifetime for us and one we will never forget.

Thank you for making it so memorable and seamless

Leslie and Bill

Nov 15th, 2010

As I reflect upon my 3 weeks in Kinsale I am so very grateful to you. Upon my first moments until my final departure you were with me every step of the way and I feel it is important to acknowledge this sort of hospitality. Never in my life have I met someone so committed to hospitality.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did for me; stocking the apartment with essential groceries that I might have needed my first 24 hours, to giving me outstanding recommendations to the restaurant and sightseeing amenities, guiding me through the many apartment heating and appliance instructions, to checking in with me to ensure my comfort, to driving me to the train and actually getting me and my many bags on the train upon my departure.

I have never travelled alone and I never for one second felt alone. I will never forget all that you did for me and my family and I want you to know how much it meant. You made me feel so very welcome and a part of an extraordinary community which I have come to treasure in a very special way. I don’t know if you will understand how important that was to me.

So, to conclude we may never know what another person’s needs are in life. Maybe they need a comfortable place to be: a place to work for a while, maybe they need a safe haven from life’s hardships, or maybe they need a place to celebrate the best of life which for me was in Kinsale! You are a person that covered it all and so very graciously! I thank you Jim Good for all you did to make my time in a foreign country as one of the most pleasurable experiences of my life. I do hope to return and extend up my most blessings to you and all that I think I know you to be – a very honorable man of distinction! May God Bless you and if it ever were that I could extend hospitality to you or your family please let me know.

Anne Sharkey

This was a great experience. The staff couldn’t have been nicer. Our guide Philemon was just terrific. We met some wonderful people to share our experiences as well.

Thank you again for helping with choices and decisions during the many months preceding our trip. You were a wonderful resource and I greatly appreciated your patience with my various inquiries! Look forward to hearing from you.

With warmest regards,


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