Thank you for taking your time to write this review.
We value our travelers reviews and try to improve if there anything to do. Though we wouldn't want to discredit your views on your experience, we and our guide are saddened by this review and we just wanted to clarify the services rendered for your so our future travelers can get an idea if the this service can be compared to any complimentary service that you suggested.
- Draft Itinerary: Once we have recieved a tour booking confirmation/request, we provide a tentative plan for giving a general idea of the time and places to visit and some other required informations including Visa and meeting point instructions to connect our staff easily and clarify any point that our travelers have any questions about their booking. We believe that it is not possible to get such a service on free tours as there is no any commitment on personal level. We believe that you have had recieved the information saying that Blue Mosque is under restoration as you replied "sounds perfect". You might have missed that.
- Meeting at the Airport & Pick-Up: We were supposed to meet you at 12.00 pm at the airport and luckily your flight arrived earlier and you were able to show up at 11.15 am. As we were tracking the flight momentarily, we were there and Meet and Greet Staff was ready to meet you as well as the driver. You were handed to the driver and the first stop was your hotel to drop off your bags. We wouldn't have mentioned it but just underline the extras that you recieved; We had to detour and drive more than half than the regular distance that we would normally cover because the hotel was not in the old city. That's fine for us but you can't do that with a bus, full of 40+ people unless you hijack it. We believe that we deserve another + for perfect meeting point instructions, timely pick-up and going out of the way and driving a lot more which is not in the scope of the service.
- Tour Guide and Tour: In the tour, you managed to cover Byzantine Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace (there are many artifects hall; Armory, kitchens, antique clocks, pavillions. You decided to skip only the holy relics sectioned due to the line), Suleymaniye Mosque, Spice Market and Ferry Ride to Asian and transfered back to Hotel. We are sorry for the line at the the artifact hall inside of the palace museum which is out of our control but we would like to remind you that you had to wait in that line if you were in a group tour. However, you were able to skip and decide your own schedule. Your proffesional licensed guide walked with you through all these places for almost 9 hours entire time and skipped the ticket line as the guides have priority at the ticket desks. He only used his phone to communicate with driver and the office, especially once you have asked him to buy a free Turkish coffee and a few bottle of waters during the tour. That's fine, it is our hospitality and we confirmed that we could pay for it and covered in the price. The guide also had to call the driver to give a rough idea about the location for return pick-up and arranged most convenient location for you. You had a delicious meal in a lovely restaurant by our guide's recommendation and he was happy for you even though our guide had to tip the staff at the resturant on behalf of you.
We are agree with that private tours can be relatively expensive but it is definitely the best way to experience the local life, local food and culture in a relaxed & organized way without being chained to a big group. Honestly, it would be too optimistic to be able to cover such a ground and experience the city by yourself or in a group tour together with 40 people.
We hope that you will get a chance to join in one of the free tours in future so you can see the difference in quality and personal attention.
Istanbul Layover Tours