Bonniejoy- I would not say its "resolved" as the itinerary included adding a few more "pricey" nights at Inkaterra properties to smooth it along- and take up days before availability in my winning package ( They had a lot of odd days available between the two --with time between I needed to ADD ON. . I decided I would "fill in" the add ons my self and notified Inkaterra. Of course I have had NO reply, nor did they offer any help on transitioning between the properties. . Yet, I proceeded - logging in hours on the internet, but actually found it fulfilling to accomplish this on my own. I booked the international air, inter-country flights, trains, accommodations and guides through Cusco and Sacred Valley, and of course accommodations inCusco (as there are numerouschoices) Ink's are $600 per night;so I studied internet sites, etc. and found my own "luxury" available (and there are plenty!) If you are interested, I will pass along my itinerary.
Don't get me wrong,I am SO excited about Inkaterra Amazonica and Inkaterra MP - but one stop in SV in their "villa" is definitely not enough time to see such a beautiful, historical area so I researched and read other forums and found a most enchanting place, with the most unbelievable customer service . I have probably received l0 emails from them with details and help- from obtaining my rail tickets, to suggestions on what to see and what to avoid and horseback riding through the valley which I really wanted to do. (Maybe its because they are much smaller than Inkaterra) . Like I said, I would haveNEVER been able to go on this trip in these properties without LL, so I am indeed enthusiastic about seeing Peru and staying in theINK properties. Iam just disappointed with their customer service ( for such a large, Luxury-oriented company who is trying to give Orient-Express a run for their $$$) My expectations are not real high at the moment but we are hoping to be able to give a glowing report upon our return.
.We travel extensively and I guess I am just accustomed to "luxury" properties providing EXCEPTIONALcustomer service. I have received it from Relais/Chateau properties, Orient, CCA (in Africa - unbelievable)4Seasons, etc. Like you, I love great lodgings no matter how little time I am sleeping there. So I think LL bidders just need to be "aware" that a lot of work may go into finalizing their winning bid.
Then of course, maybe I just got the "wrong" agent for my personality!
I definitely do not want to put anyone "off" on the Luxury Link's partners. I am just keeping a journal ofMY personal experiences. Others may have had totally different experiences and I am thrilled for them, but I think its only fair to hear all - good and bad.
Dana: Your information was quite helpful, fair and open minded.I appreciate you going into detail of your issues. Just for my understanding and my future reference....If the package was 7 nights, you might have had to find additinal accommodations because you couldn't go from property to property? If I understood correctly that is definitely a problem. It adds on to the cost of the trip.
Where will you be flying from? I had researched flying out of Dulles. They have direct flights (with one stop in Panama) and the times looked great. It flew into Lima.
Thank you for your information. Are you using any of the Orient Express properties for any other part of your trip?
Hi Bonniejoy, Our package (Adventure and Luxury in Machu Pichu - something like that) was for SIX nights, 3 in Amazonica (which we really wanted); ONE in Sacred Valley and TWO in Machu Pichu. Definitely not enough to transition if you want to see any of CUSCO &SACRED VALLEY before Machu. They of course offered properties realizing this was not a great transition at these prices: 2 nights in Cusco at their new Inkaterra properies - $600 a night!
Additional night at Villa in Sacred Valley, $300
There was no way we were paying those prices when everything in SV is in the 50-150 range.
Cusco also has a variety of lodgings, low end to high end.
So I have spent hours planning the transition. Once again, without the package I could not even think of going to these properties, but Inkaterra was hoping to sell me additional nights.
I also never received any information on inter flights, trains, etc. which are NECESSARY, not an option.
I planned and booked them myself.
Upon arrival in Lima you also need an overnight lodging to catch the plane to Puerto Maldonado to Amazonica. Another costly hotel.
The Sacred Valley is very important part of the trip so staying in Cusco (at least a night) and several in SV are very important. I am still one night short to really seeall theruins, which some say are even better than MP, but it was all I could do to add the extra Lima night, 2 Sacred Valley nights, and 1 (which I wish were two) Cusco nights.
If I can change my international air, already booked via internet, I will try to add another night in Cusco. Needless to say, I am a bit weary by now.
I see they have a new auction out, including two nights in Cusco and two in Sacred Valley before the two in Machu, which are really necessary. However, it does not include Amazonica. Ifthat packagewasout forbid when I booked, I would have bid on that, and added Amazonica myself as it is not as expensive as their other properties!
Good luck if you decide to bid. Just hope you get an Inkaterra agent who is interested in customer service and assistance.
Hi Whipper-in, did you get an InKakerra package on LL, or another. tripaltogether. I noticed they now include 2 nights in Cusco on their auctions, which is a great addition as it makes the transition so much easier to get from Amazon to MP. I was offered the Cusco property when I inquired as to how to get to MP - for an additional $600 per night!
An update: Last week I received an email from another person in the "international sales" (apparently my "case" has been re-assigned) and I must say she was quick to respond and gave me more info when I asked questions. The problem I am facing is I am not sure I am asking all the right questions about the trip in general and it would have been nice for the Inkaterra group to even send a "fact" sheet on travel in Peru - the Rainforest and MP... I do not know how I am getting from one place to another, although the Info from LL states they (Inkaterra) are there to help me.No one ever offered and when I asked in one of my many emails it was never addressed. Finally another lodging that I needed to book between the Amazon property and MP helped me out - even with the Train tickets to get to MP. Something Inkaterra should have done immediately.
I have posted this saga on Trip Advisor and one of the regular contributors who knows the owner of Inkaterra was going to passitalong. Maybe things will get sorted out better if upper management is made aware of some of the problems incurred.
This has made me a bit wary of obtaining a package through an auction site. I don't know how many staff they have just working on this kind of travel, but clearly it is new to them and kinks have not been worked out.
I just hope I have a ride, a room, and a guide when I get to Peru!
Keep us advised as to how your travels progress and good luck; hope it is a fantastic trip for you.
I know mine will be because I am heading into it with low expectations! (Unfortunately there have been a few negative postings about Ink on T/A and the staff at Machu Picchu) so I am trying to get all my ducks in a row before I get there.
So unexpected good surprises will be a bonus.
Anyway, anytime I get to travel is a good thing; so I will be extremely happy to get to see MP!
I like the LL idea of auctioning trips; I just don't think all the companies involved may know how to handle it. Adding the phone number for assistance was a great idea. My phone calls were to Lima, and unfortunately between the lack of spanish on my part and english on theirs, it was all for naught. Perhaps if I could have planned the entire trip over the phone this thread would not even be running. That's hindsight for me.
My advice for travel to Machu Picchu is to stay one night or two at the Sanctuary Lodge at MP. In is downhill from Cuzco so altitude sickness should abate. The first day, check-in the hotel and explore the local remnants and pathways. An added special treat is the ability to explore at night. Do it. The ticket office provides lanterns. The next morning be first in and head for Huayna Picchu, the mountain in the background in most postcards. Bring sandwiches and water from the hotel and climb slowly. It is not difficult if you watch where you put your feet and rest when necessary. The path is clearly marked although thesteps are unorthodox. When you get to what seems to be the last building, go up another few steps. There you can sit and watch the clouds go by with a stunning view of the park. You can explore the Valley of the Sun in the afternoon or walk along the Inka Trail. Of course, bring a map and kleenex.
Lastly, while in Lima go to the Lovers' Park (not far from the Marriott).There you will find a bench reminescent of Gaudi.
Hi Pat, thanks for the info. We received an Inkaterra package and Sanctuary Lodge is not included, the Inkaterra MP Pueblo lodge is, but I sure hope they provide access to MP in the evening. That would be so special.
Of course I have written asking tons of questions about the two days we are at MP - how and when we tour, times, tickets.etc. NO response yet. That seems to be the M.O. of Inkaterra. But, once again, I am sure it will all work out.
As always, I will keep the LL community informed! D.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no you will not have access to MP in the evenings when staying at the InkaTerra property. But if it makes you feel better you wouldn't have evening access even from Sanctuary Lodge - that privilege ended months ago. The park closes to everybody at sundown. No matter, any visit to Machu Picchu is well worth it and even if you must stand in the standard bus lines to get there first thing in the morning or leave as late as possible in the day, you will not be disappointed.
I'm sorry to hear that things have not gone smoothly with the Inkaterra operators. It is too bad LL no longer carries the Orient Express packages, those of us who used them have nothing but wonderful things to say. I am confident, however, that you will work it all out in the end. Have you bought a Peru guidebook yet? Perhaps you should step back and take a look at this as a collaborative planning venture, relying a bit less on InkaTerra to put every little step in for you and work out some of the details yourself. As you said, you paid half what you were planning on paying initially, it sounds like they aren't helping you as much as you like but that may not be how they operate. It may be time to rely less on their responses and for you to tell them, not ask them, exactly what you want to do in terms of flights, transfers, hotels, etc....
I have gone ahead and made all my plans without Inkaterra's help; however after reading several other forums I realized if they had indeed made some of the plans for me (planes, tickets, etc) it would not have cost nearly as much. So what if I saved one-half or so with an auction, they still should have provided the services that they printed on the actual winning bid sheet that was sent to me. If they did not want to do it, they should not offer it.
I have had email conversations with the owner/ceo of Inkaterra lately and he was as surprised as I was that his sales dept. did not follow through. So perhaps I was able to shake things up a bit for better customer service. Some people sit back and accept things - others do not; I personally believe if someone tells you they are going to do something..than do it.
I was interested in reading your experience with InkaTerra as mine is similar. I found them basically unresponsive. Afterseveral phonemessages and two emails, they finallyemailed they could help put together our 9 day trip. I emailed back our dates and desires but we never got aresponse. That was over two weeks ago so we moved on to another vacation planner.