We just returned from a 2 week trip to Oahu and Kauai on 8/1/13, and Susan Tanzman helped plan the entire trip. Beginning with a phone call in early June, Susan was able to glean from us what our expectations and hopes were. She absolutely helped us choose the right hotels and activities during our stay.
The St. Regis Princeville suite was truly one of a kind. Waking up on the first morning to see a rainbow spanning Hanalei Bay was remarkable. The butler service at the hotel was outstanding, although we didn't use them to their full potential. A getaway to this hotel in paradise leaves you wishing and wanting to extend or return for another visit. The staff was outstanding, always making us feel like we were the only guests at their hotel.
We had to experience a Luau, and Susan chose the "Smiths Family Luau". Smith you say, doesn't sound native? Rest assured, this family is truly from Hawaii, and they are in to the 2nd or 3rd generation of family members running and hosting the event. The Me was seen busing tables with the rest of the staff as the night went on. Good Polynesian show, completely worth the very reasonable fare charged.
My wife is terrified when flying, but we did have Susan set up a helicopter tour of Kauai. There is only one operator that is allowed to land at (aka "The Jurassic Falls"). You guessed it, that's the tour we were on. What an experience, dropping down from 2000 feet to land in an area the size of a picnic table, you walk about 100 yards to the actual falls. Helicopter is the only way to access this area, as it is privately owned. After spending 20 minutes or so taking photographs and listening for dinosaurs, we soared off to the west side of the island, flying over Waimea Canyon. After the canyon, you pop out on to the Na Pali coast. Absolutely breathtaking, not many other ways to describe this deserted and hard to access part of Kauai.
The only real problem on Kauai was deciding what time to leave the pool/beach area at the hotel. Very relaxing and laid back.
Flew in to Honolulu on Saturday afternoon, Susan had us booked at the Kahala Hotel and Resort. The hotel has a very private feel, away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The limousine driver that picked us up from the airport had lived on Oahu all his life, and gave us a great tour through Waikiki and other parts of town you would not find if traffic wasn't horrible.
The staff at the Kahala was equal to or slightly better than the folks at the SI. Regis. They addressed every need promptly, and we were escorted to our suite by the hotel manager. Arriving in the room, we were able to see the ocean, Koko Head, and the Kahala dolphins in their pond below. These dolphins were interesting and fun to watch, but we had no idea what was in store the next morning.
Susan booked us on a "Wildside" tour, where we got to snorkel with spinner dolphins and sea turtles. Truly a lifetime experience and we enjoyed it with a family from Denmark. There were only 6 passengers on the boat, and we had plenty of time to have questions answered and to see everything we wanted during the tour. Exceeded our expectations, and would do it again up on our return.
We were also set up to take a tour of Pearl Harbor, and Susan had the tour company pick us up at the hotel. Great day, getting to see the history of the and the battleship Missouri. Definitely the tourist thing to do on Oahu.
The last few days were spent without much of an itinerary, although we quickly discovered that when traveling the south coast to the east coast, do not miss an opportunity to pullover and take in the sights at every location that is marked. Fantastic scenery and getting to watch the surfers during Tropical Storm Flossie made the waves that much better. Found the shrimp trucks on the north shore the next day, what a great lunch and fun time. Only regret is that we didn't have time to snorkel near Shark Cove, we'll have to do that the next time.
Anyone considering a trip to Hawaii would be well served to allow Susan Tanzman and Martin Travel assist with their planning. One stop, very easy, and they know what they're doing.
I would like to write to you on behalf of myself and my wife Diana to express our heartfelt thanks at respect for our Conde Nast Specialist Susan Tanzman.
We embarked on our 2 week long trip to Hawaii only based on an article I had read in the January edition of Conde Nast where Susan described her ideal Hawaiian vacation.
I read the article while in transit at Istanbul International airport on the 6th of January this year on a business trip.
I travel extensively and enjoy personalized luxury travel which unfortunately does not exist in Romania where I am presently living (I am a Canadian expat).
We enjoy staying at the best hotels and resorts, but do not like "canned" vacations even though we are talking about 5 star properties...
Susan's article showed a very personal flair that appealed to us, so much so that upon my return to Bucharest, while having a coffee at a local bistro, I cold called her and asked if she could make an itinerary for me and my wife to travel in May.
True to her word, not only did she help us by planning an itinerary via email and telephone conversations, she personalized it to the point of having our dinners/transfers/activities/excursions, basically everything included.
This was a bit of a surprise for us as she did not know us at all before and the fact that we were doing everything remotely from half way around the world...
This was made even better when she was able to secure for us, business class air tickets at a very substantial savings from what we were able to find here locally (over 30-40% cheaper)
We cannot begin to tell you how fantastic all the accommodations were especially the St.Regis in Princeville. We were treated like royalty from the moment we stepped into the hotel. Our room was upgraded, we were invited to an intimate reception where we met the hotel manager who proceeded to talk with us for over 45 minutes, during which time he also introduced us to his executive chef and other staff.
Even though the weather was not great, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and received excellent service and attention from all the staff involved,from Brittani the food service manager to the guys who would park our vehicle every day, exceptional personal care and attention that was genuine and not just canned lip service... truly a 5 star experience.
All other accommodations both at the Mauna Kea in Hawaii and the Kahala in Oahu were also very nice.
To put our accolades in perspective, we travel regularly to Asia as I own a company now based in Hong Kong and regularly stay at Shangri La hotels, We are also regularly in Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich etc...enjoy dining in Michelin Star rated restaurants and other fine establishments receiving services that are generally hard to come by in the United States... Hence our genuine surprise and joy to find that Susan had ensured that we received the type of services, accommodations, meal arrangements and extras that "we" were used to ...personalized world class travel.
Susan also insisted that we have a personal private tour in Hawaii from Hilo, we were not so sure at first, but after having one of the nicest local tour guides (Emma) take us and drive us around, she made us feel like family, not customers...that is priceless.
Another thing Susan insisted on a lot was a particular dolphin swimming excursion in Oahu "wild side"...let me tell you, nothing during our experiences all over the world was as enjoyable as this excursion, for the few hours we were there we were transplanted to never never land, we swam with dolphins, many of them, mothers with babies, young and old, then, if that was not enough the captain took us into the open ocean to a large pod of dolphins who we played with for over 30 minutes...an absolute dream...and a moving experience.
We strongly believe that Ms.Tanzman is a very valuable asset for your brand and we would strongly recommend both your magazine and her agency to everyone as this is what we think identifies both Conde Nast and Martin's Travel and Tours properly; truly a cut above the rest.
I had never been to Hawaii. My beautiful wife and her family have been going ever since she was a child, and she was very excited for us to vacation there together. This was back in 2011, we were newly engaged. My then fiance made it clear we would be traveling in style, all thanks to our new travel agent, Susan Tanzman. She had found Susan's name through Conde Nast Magazine, and it turned out that Susan was something of an expert on Hawaii. Well, the experience was amazing. We stayed at The Kahala and were treated like royalty. We saw so much of what the island had to offer, including a trek into a rain forest, and a hike up to the top of Diamond Head, where you can see in every direction for miles. The trip was such a success, that when it came time to plan our honeymoon, we could think of no one else we would rather handle our trip then Susan. After discussing it with her, we decided that rather than go back to Hawaii so soon, we would explore the Caribbean.
So in the beginning of November 2012, my wife and I visited two islands for our honeymoon; St Martin and St Bart. Each was lovely, each had it's own specific feel. As before, we were showered with special treatment, room upgrades and amenities where ever we went.
We first stayed at the La Samanna Resort, and literally had the best room in the house. The suite was gigantic, the ocean views were breath taking, and the outdoor "cool" tub on the vast balcony was the perfect compliment to a lazy nap in the sun. Most days after breakfast, complimentary, thanks to Susan, we would stroll down to the private beach, lay out and relax to the sound of the waves. Then in the afternoons it was back up to our private balcony, to appreciate hand in hand, listening to what felt like our own personal palm tree, swaying in the breeze.
On St Bart, Susan booked us in at at Le Christopher Hotel, an absolutely charming spot, with modern rooms, a wonderful swimming pool and tanning deck that is just feet from the water. Again here we got the special treatment from the beginning from the very friendly staff. There were multiple restaurants and several activities, we felt like we never had to leave the resort. Many days we played tennis on the professional size courts, and worked up a nice sweat before heading down to the water. One night Susan arranged a romantic candlelit dinner for two out on the beach. There were candles in the sand leading us to our beautifully set table. We ate amazing food and drank champagne, all served by our own private server, and all of it under the shinning stars. That night was very special. Each island was its own mini vacation, and I am so thankful that Susan planned it that way.
So many of us, myself included, just click a button on the internet, get some deal, and hope for the best. This method of planning a vacation seems easier then hiring a professional, but honestly, Susan made sure we never had to lift a finger. Everything was planned and coordinated with the venues and local transport down to the last detail.
I had never realized the influence of a proper travel agent before, how someone with a long relationship with a resort or hotel can ensure that the vacation is more than just a quick getaway from the daily grind, but truly a special memory that you can treasure forever. That's what we wanted our honeymoon to be, memorable and wonderful, and I thank Susan for making both of those things come true.