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Walking in Tuscany Sept 2017
Post: #1
Having yet to receive the promised questionnaire - I have now decided to put my thoughts down in this review.  As both a first time solo traveller and first time using JY - I spent a lot of time considering whether I wanted to go on such a holiday and what it would be like - and there seemed to be very good reviews in the past re the JY holidays.

I have always fancied travelling to Tuscany and the hotel that was advertised when booking the holiday back in January looked idyllic - with the hills of Tuscany surrounding the hotel.  I was looking forward to getting out seeing some fantastic scenery, as well as having some relax time by the pool - and some great Italian food.....For me the perfect holiday.

Unfortunately a few weeks before the holiday - we were advised that there was a hotel change - it would still be a 4* hotel - but the original hotel had gone into liquidation.  This change of hotel made a huge difference to the overall holiday experience - and I already note this hotel is not being used for other Walking in Tuscany tours.

The holiday was half board for the whole 7 days. The food both at breakfast and the evening was poor to say the least.....I don't do watered down fruit juice of an indescribable colour!  The evening meals (which we had to order at breakfast) were very much a lottery between getting a poor meal and a really poor meal, and as the week progressed seemed to decline.....perhaps because so many of the meals looked like the ones from the previous evenings.

On Day 6 some of us rebelled to get a decent meal in town - and one fellow traveller made the comment - I now feel I am on holiday - having had a good meal.

The final nights gala meal was a classic - one more course a small appetiser - but then no choice for the rest of the meal - and again along the lines of the rest of the week - only this time we had the chefs parading in front of us (twice!)- for us to show them our appreciation - you couldn't make it up!  The second appearance of the chefs was after the "saltiest" meal I have ever been asked to eat.

I could say a lot more about the hotel - but just one final comment for here and that is to repeat a comment from one of my fellow travellers at dinner one evening "I just feel we are like 2nd class citizens here the way we are being treated".

The other downside to the change of hotel - was the location - which was quite a way from the location of the original hotel - this led to very long coach journeys to most of our walks. I really wasn't expecting to be spending 5 hours on some days in a coach! Really wasn't expecting to be leaving hotel at 7.30 for one of the walks.... and most days we were getting back with less than a hour before our allotted dinner time.

Now to the positives of the holiday - the places we went to and saw were brilliant - we had a fantastic Tour Manager - Sylvia - who for me made the holiday - so much energy so much enthusiasm - still laughing at the memory of her - lightening up one particular long coach journey by teaching us how to communicate in Italian by throwing our arms around in different ways!

In terms of the walks - I would say beware re the comment "some walks will be slightly more strenuous and may involve moderate slopes, tracks and hills, which may be rough underfoot at times".  In my terms - the walk in the forest was more than a "moderate slope".  It may have been moderate but it was a very long walk up the slope!!!

So in summary - my view as a first JY and solo traveller - loved the days out - loved the company of my fellow travellers - and the TM was fantastic.  However, I will be a lot more wary and questioning about the hotels used in future - the length of the days out/start times  - after all it is supposed to be a holiday!!!
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Post: #2
Hi Chaz

Sorry to hear about your bad hotel experience on your first Just You tour. Glad to know that despite this you had a nice time. Hopefully this will not put you off travelling with Just You again.

Kind regards

Jaya
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Post: #3
I too was on the tour with Chaz and agree with all she has said - but she is more polite than I am ! I thought the hotel although pleasant enough was just not good enough and if you were a vegetarian your choice of meal was omelette or omelette!! The most disappointing element for me was the amount of time spent on a coach on a motorway !! 3 hours to go for a walk in a forest, up a mountain road that had no respite until you reached the top - then you made your way back down very challenging underfoot terrain to say the least ! This wasn't a stroll through Tuscan countryside - couldn't see any countryside for the trees and the fact you had to concentrate so avidly to ensure staying safe you couldn't risk looking anywhere but on the ground !
The change of hotel was vey disappointing- and I feel was the reason i felt as if I was on a coach tour not a walking holiday ! I know it's not JY's fault the original hotel had to be pulled but the replacement was just not like for like other than it was a 4 star !!!!

The people made the holiday for me not JY !!! And Sienna and our other 2 walks were lovely - the last one to Pienza was how I imagined Tuscany to be. My other positive is that I tried this holiday withJY before I booked a long haul tour next year to New Zealand - I certainly won't be booking with JY now !!
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Post: #4
(11/10/2017, 04:43 PM)Jaya Wrote: Hi Chaz

Sorry to hear about your bad hotel experience on your first Just You tour.  Glad to know that despite this you had a nice time.  Hopefully this will not put you off travelling with Just You again.

Kind regards

Jaya

Hi Jaya

Unfortunately - this experience will put me off travelling with JY again ...not helped by the lack of interest in understanding our views of the holiday..... I feel so sorry for the TM's who seem to be putting so much into us having a good holiday - and not backed up by the company behind it making sure that everything else it OK.

I thought long and hard about doing a holiday on my own - (over a year) and really not impressed
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Post: #5
(11/10/2017, 11:20 PM)Ellie B Wrote: I too was on the tour with Chaz and agree with all she has said - but she is more polite than I am ! I thought the hotel although pleasant enough was just not good enough and if you were a vegetarian your choice of meal was omelette or omelette!! The most disappointing element for me was the amount of time spent on a coach on a motorway !! 3 hours to go for a walk in a forest, up a mountain road that had no respite until you reached the top - then you made your way back down very challenging underfoot terrain to say the least ! This wasn't a stroll through Tuscan countryside - couldn't see any countryside for the trees and the fact you had to concentrate so avidly to ensure staying safe you couldn't risk looking anywhere but on the ground !
The change of hotel was vey disappointing- and I feel was the reason i felt as if I was on a coach tour not a walking holiday ! I know it's not JY's fault the original hotel had to be pulled but the replacement was just not like for like other than it was a 4 star !!!!

The people made the holiday for me not JY !!! And Sienna and our other 2 walks were lovely - the last one to Pienza was how I imagined Tuscany to be. My other positive is that I tried this holiday withJY before I booked a long haul tour next year to New Zealand - I certainly won't be booking with JY now !!

Good Morning Ellie B,

I'm so sorry that you have had this sort of experience with JY on your holiday.

Please do not feel put off by our holidays. Like always, we will review our holidays to ensure that they are better for you and other like-minded travellers in the future.

Kindest Regards,
Amy
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Post: #6
(11/10/2017, 11:35 PM)Chaz65 Wrote:
(11/10/2017, 04:43 PM)Jaya Wrote: Hi Chaz

Sorry to hear about your bad hotel experience on your first Just You tour.  Glad to know that despite this you had a nice time.  Hopefully this will not put you off travelling with Just You again.

Kind regards

Jaya

Hi Jaya

Unfortunately - this experience will put me off travelling with JY again ...not helped by the lack of interest in understanding our views of the holiday..... I feel so sorry for the TM's who seem to be putting so much into us having a good holiday - and not backed up by the company behind it making sure that everything else it OK.

I thought long and hard about doing a holiday on my own - (over a year) and really not impressed

Hi Chaz,

We hate to disappoint our travellers and always review our customers' travel experiences.

Please do not feel like you cannot travel with us again as we are constantly looking at ways to improve our holidays.

Kindest Regards,
Amy
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Post: #7
Hi All

Thanks for the comprehensive and useful review, Karen.  I haven't received my HQ despite a reminder on 4 October [Ed: please do not request another].  I agree completely about the increased journey time resulting from a change to an out-of-area hotel.  I agree with Eileen that this was a coach trip through beautiful Tuscany with a little bit of walking: a material change from the contract and we should have been given full information and an option to change holiday without extra cost.  The spin I was given was that this was good news because the airport transfer was shorter!  Sorry, but 45 minutes on 2 transfer days does not compensate for 90 minutes extra coach journey on each of days 2-6.  
I thought the hotel and its food were fine (but half the group opted to eat out on one evening and at least one had to change from an unacceptable room).  The point about second class citizens was made to me before we had our gala dinner; also a la carte was available. My only complaint was that the food was not hot but then the coldest dish I had was at the Camaldoli restaurant.  Plus the hotel back stairs were unlit one morning (only switch at the bottom!) but I knew about the extra step. The plusses for me were: the very helpful and friendly staff; great bar area (too cold for the balcony) with seating in the lobby and large lounge for quiz night.
I know most people found the forest uphill challenging (we were warned and offered a coach up) but for me and at least one other it was a pleasure to have at last (day 4) a (short) strenuous bit.
I had a great holiday with one of the best TMs ever, marred (because of the extra coach journey time)  by too little time walking, at Florence etc and the rush before dinner.
Paul
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Post: #8
Good Morning Paul W,

I'm sorry to hear that the food at the hotel was not hot enough and that the hotel back stairs were unlit one morning. We will take this into consideration for future travellers on this trip.

Kind Regards,
Amy
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Post: #9
Food in Italy, is generally served warm rather than hot as in the UK.Something I would have expected your tour manager to explain
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Post: #10
(11/10/2017, 11:20 PM)Ellie B Wrote: I too was on the tour with Chaz and agree with all she has said - but she is more polite than I am ! I thought the hotel although pleasant enough was just not good enough and if you were a vegetarian your choice of meal was omelette or omelette!! The most disappointing element for me was the amount of time spent on a coach on a motorway !! 3 hours to go for a walk in a forest, up a mountain road that had no respite until you reached the top - then you made your way back down very challenging underfoot terrain to say the least ! This wasn't a stroll through Tuscan countryside - couldn't see any countryside for the trees and the fact you had to concentrate so avidly to ensure staying safe you couldn't risk looking anywhere but on the ground !
The change of hotel was vey disappointing- and I feel was the reason i felt as if I was on a coach tour not a walking holiday ! I know it's not JY's fault the original hotel had to be pulled but the replacement was just not like for like other than it was a 4 star !!!!

The people made the holiday for me not JY !!! And Sienna and our other 2 walks were lovely - the last one to Pienza was how I imagined Tuscany to be. My other positive is that I tried this holiday withJY before I booked a long haul tour next year to New Zealand - I certainly won't be booking with JY now !!


Please, Ellie B, don't let this experience put you off going on other JY holidays.   I've been on 14 so far and only one was disappointing (not JY's fault).   Do go ahead and book the holiday in New Zealand - it's been going for enough years now for any gremlins to have been dispersed and always had very good reviews.  

Ann F
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