TESTIMONIALS: What Guests Say
Thank you so much for your care in putting together such a wonderful trip for the three of us.
We had a marvellous experience, far beyond our expectations. My mind is now opened to all matters Indian.
Apart from the itinerary which included such amazing sights and experiences, the guide and driver were superb.
Sameer Singh Rathore was outstanding as an informed, thoughtful and very considerate guide apart from being very good company. He made everything go very smoothly for us and catered to all our needs expertly. I did wonder at the beginning how we would manage being in close
proximity for three weeks constantly. There was absolutely no problem and we had a lot of fun and laughter together as well as learning such a lot.
The driver, Jai, was extremely skillful and negotiated the most extraordinary traffic very calmly. It was a great team. Your Indian representatives met us at each stop and also helped ensure that everything went as planned.
I would have enjoyed more time at the Lake Taj.
Thank you again for your expert help. I might even start thinking about a return visit.
You gave us a wonderful holiday and we were so thrilled to be part of the tour. It was an extraordinary two weeks for many reasons, due of course to your commitment to ensure that we all experienced the most varied and wonderful introduction to Inida. Your extrem thoughtfulness was very apparent, particulalry to me in the ease with which I travelled back to Delhi.
Durga was charming-exceptional in his knowledge and his ability to communicate in the delightful way he did.
In all my years of travelling and the numerous trips we have undertaken both separately and together, you Marieke, with Durga, were outstanding in your dedication to the enjoyment of us all.
My grateful thanks and all good wishes, Michael C. Sydney
“Really I thought it was the best holiday we have had but I always give generous scores. However, Peter who is a bit more thrifty with his praise also thought it was wonderful.....and we really enjoyed every minute. Devender was a fantastic driver and all the guides were good. The forts and palaces, historic cities and amazing countryside, the culture and history, arts and crafts just blew us away. The arrangements and organisation could not be faulted and the travelling pace was perfect. We especially loved Devigarh (but who wouldn’t), The Claridges was a great place to stay in Delhi, Nimaj was wonderful and Rawla Narlai so atmospheric and interesting. We also loved the haveli in Bikaner – we had the tour and being an interior design nut I was just amazed at how exquisitely and eccentrically each room was decorated. Anyway we are sold on India as a holiday destination and are telling everyone we know how wonderful it all was.. Thank you very much for all you did to help us have such a great time. Your knowledge and expertise and experience really made it all seem to come together so easily though I know that a lot of hard work went on in the background. We thought your Indian Agent was great especially Nirmal and Vishal". Thanks again. All the very best, Jan H and Peter S, Sydney
"We had a fantastic trip with a perfect organization. I will tell you all after I have settled my eldest son and daughter in France and return to Chile". Jean Marc B, Chile
1 March 2011
As my Ikat parrots fluttered in the breeze today I again felt lucky to have spent time in gorgeous Gujarat.
Thank you for more wonderful memories of India and for making the past two weeks so memorable.
Your thoughtful professionalism is deeply appreciated.
Gandhi is so right. The world has much to learn from India and I'm very grateful to have been fortunate enough to be able to be delighted by the spirit and people of it in your capable hands.
With my love, Victoria Alexander. x Sydney
30 March 2010
A note to thank you for all you and your India office did to make our holiday such a success.
I went with high expectations which resulted from my keen interest in India and the era of the Raj. Our expectations were easily exceeded.
The guides, managers and particularly Devender who drove us and did so much to enhance the whole experience, were overall excellent.
It hard to come up with a complaint but even harder to come up with a stand out highlight although I must say how much we enjoyed the villages around Narlai, Shaphura and Delwara and Jodpur (great guide) as a city. The spoil was just that.
The local people are wonderful and it was an added bonus to meet with Maya and her charming family and with Durga Singh and his family who made us feel as if we were guest in a home rather in a “hotel”.
Thank you for all your planning which fitted in well and for your recommendations as to where to stay.
Since coming home I am doing a lot of reading – Kipling, Tod and a more recent work about the 18-21st centuries in India. I think I am a bit of a romantic in this regard and I think of India in the past as much as in the presence. The trip took me back in time and that was very special.
I can’t wait for a second round.
Hugh Davies, Melbourne
“It was a truly remarkable trip, and I cannot say enough how much I admire your attention to detail, logistical prowess, standards, energy and ability to make a group cohere( inspired cocktails!) . You paced it all perfectly, calibrating the experience like a theatre director. I have made a list of eleven people I am going to write to about the trip and about the experience of traveling with you, we'll see who nibbles and says they want to know more...
I know that many things will stay with me for life about this trip, and have inspired me on so many levels about day to day living.”
Namaste! " Caro xx
“I am still trying to get a bunch of Bermudians together to go on one of your tours….
will be in touch; it was an unalloyed pleasure meeting you and having a Marieke experience.
Much love...........” John Connell (New York)
I can't be sure whether or not I sent you a thank you after I returned from India last fall. I loved India and I thank you for organizing all the details for my trip with my colleagues. India is quite magical and I do look forward to visiting again. Your ground agents out of Delhi were very good and the guides terrific.
As I said above, I hope to return to experience more of the magic of India…
I hope you are well. Best wishes, Judith
While it's still fresh here is our feedback.
Overall it was a fantastic journey; well paced, varied accommodations and excellent touring.
Our driver, Jaipal, who I think you know, was excellent. (omigod - the roads, the driving!!!!) ….Rest of the guides were terrific but would have liked their business cards so I could pronounce their names.
Mandawa and Bikaner great. Loved the havellis. The guide in Mandawa took us to a local village - our first interaction with the locals and would gladly have stayed there for hours. Adored the kids!
Absolutely loved Jaisalmer and Killa Bhawan - what a location! Owners and staff were great fun. …
Aman Bagh - felt like I'd found nirvana. Had the best time there and glad we had two nights. Particularly loved the laundry basket where anything I dropped in it disappeared and came back clean! After living with three men who generate quite a bit of laundry this was a tiny highlight! Staff were sensational. I'd go back there in a flash.
A wonderfully memorable holiday - thank you so much Marieke!
Trudy x (Sydney)
Loved our week in Normandy ! Memorably special. And you are such a talent!
Many thanks for your email and the promise of recipes to come soon.
Having surfed your site a couple of weeks ago, I happily happened upon the tomato tarte tatin recipe. And wot a success! In my experience tis the recipe that paves the way . . . So welcome home and love to you and to Baxter.
Best Virginia (London)
Thank you very much for organizing such a great trip. I was very happy with everything you have arranged for me in Ahmedebad: hotel, car and an excellent guide. Your service was absolutely incomparable-excellent and professional.
I enjoyed India very much, with all the beautiful colors, textiles, great architecture, polite and friendly people. Thank you again.
I am sorry I missed you in Jaipur …. Perhaps…next time.
Yes, I would like to go back again. I will give your contact information to all who, I know, would like to go to India . I will certainly leave it with our museum’s Travel Desk.
Thank you again, Janina
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
We did enjoy our time with you...really unforgettable
Will send some copies of photos I only had printed today. Hope our paths cross again soon.......you added a zest and excitement with your enthusiasm which lifted us all.
Best Wishes, Brian Melbourne
Hello Marieke & Baxter,
Thankyou for your email and the news of your trip. Brought up great visions.
What a great time I had at Bosgouet. Have had much fun making stock and tarte tatin (tomato & pear – the first one a success, the latter a total failure, but it tasted great). You are fabulous teachers and I feel very privileged to have been one of your students. To say nothing of the company we kept. What a terrific group of people.
With kindest regards
Hi there you beaut gals,
Raylee and I now back in the land of reality called Sydney after THE most wonderful holiday – thanks in no small way to the part each of you played during our week at Bosgouet. Thank you again both so so so much!!
We are keen to commence our new style of cooking and try to turn on for our friends some of the fantastic recipes you introduced us to.
Malcolm Williams (Sydney)
Thanks so much for a fabulous week in Bali, it really was the most relaxing, luxurious, interesting holiday I could have hoped for.
Albert's yoga was wonderful and I felt that my yoga really progressed under his guidance, please pass on my heartfelt thanks. Also plenty of scope and space for self development under Alberts guidance - again thanks. Therapy for the mind and body!
Hope to catch up again soon, and would love to join that trip again.
I have a few photos that albert and some of the others wanted, do you have a contacts list that I would be able to have?
Jenny XX (Mansfield)
Have just returned from a week at Margaret River and received your welcome email. Many thanks for the photos.
We are still re-living our wonderful time in India - thankyou for a fantastic experience which we will always treasure.
The food is foremost in our minds and Tim is acquiring various implements and ingredients to start experimenting!!
He has perfected the chapati which has now become our breakfast staple - in fact a supplement to most meals!!
I'm looking forward to something a little more sophisticated!
Warm wishes to yourself and the gorgeous Kylie B.
Thankyou once again for introducing us to magical India and the heavenly massage!
Kay and Tim (Perth)
Many thanks. The photos are sweet reminders of our exotic, intriguing journey. Where friends are willing to listen, I go on about the fabulous adventure in South India . You are a remarkable resource and planner. I love your outlook and energy. You created a very positive group environment that facilitated our compatibility. And that is quite a challenge!
I have prepared my first recipe of Nimmy Paul's -- her father's favourite sweet-sour ginger curry. At my local Indian grocery, I found a well-informed South Indian store keeper who makes and sells her own dosa batter. Funny what you find when you know a little something.
I'll be eager to stay in touch with your travels. It would be lovely if there were another together. My best to "B".
Well what can I say?!! Absolutely fabulous seems too trite! I just loved the trip, life changing! I feel the next stage of my life is about to begin!
So thankyou, thankyou for such an amazing experience.
The group was great and such fun. Durga’s expertise and wisdom fantastic!
My feet haven’t touched the ground since we last met! I’ve only spent about 8 days in Auckland
I have been meaning to send you all an email attaching the fab photos I have of our trip. This of course has not happened and will probably be at least another couple of weeks as I am off to Sydney today for a couple of weeks, a little Opera, dance, theatre and of course eating!
What a brilliant time we had, friends here must get sick of me raving on about it!
Look forward to catching up with everyone’s goss and sharing photos in a couple of weeks.
Margaret xx (Auckland, New Zealand)
Thanks again for a wonderful day Marieke,
Your enthusiasm for fantastic food experiences is infectious - I went in search of Fresh yeast in Ivanhoe the very next day and so far have drawn a total blank.
Very disappointing discovery though easily overcome I'm sure.
I just have to travel further afield!!
We will all be heading to Da Noi sometime in the near future. Piero's willingness to share his tips/experiences/secrets and hints must be rewarded
by our support - any excuse for an excellent meal prepared by such a master! ( I might even let Ian come too!!)
Look forward to sharing more tables with you in the future
Lorraine Godfrey (Melbourne)
It was lovely to hear from you, adjusting back to civilian life has not been easy. Life here feels rather drab compared to India and the utter spoilation you treated us all to.
I saw David at the Mosman shops and like all of us raved about our Indian adventures. I hear James was regaling his fellow judges at the Sydney Show with tales of India so your fame is spreading far and wide.
The trip to Agra was fabulous I only wished I had added an extra day so much to see it all whirrs past. I can't even nominate my favourite thing as everything was so wonderful.
Many thanks also for the photos. We would love to see you in July.
Again one thousand thanks for sharing the wonders of India with us.
A very belated THANK YOU for that wonderful lunch in Sorrento 10 days ago.
It was just marvellous, and is giving as much retrospective pleasure as on the actual day.
We reminisce about it often, and try to remember the delicate composition of flavours in every dish.
It was such an incredible experience !
We both met such interesting people to chat with, and the setting was pretty unbeatable in Fiona and David's beautiful house and garden.
Thank you so much, Marieke, for an unforgettable event.
Warmest regards, Glenda Stewart (Sorrento)
I thought that I had sent you an e-mail summarizing our trip. If it didn't get there, I'll try to jog my memory now.
We had a wonderful trip. Durga’s replacement was a wonderful young man and he did a great job logistically and otherwise. I'm quite convinced that we lost something in terms of missing Durga's sophisticated touring skills, but what's done is done and we had a wonderful time with our guide and driver.
I don't have to tell you how wonderful all of the hotels are. The addition of the Aman hotel and the tented camp were both perfect and I would heartily recommend both of them to anyone. They added a unique pacing factor while having there own unique charms.
You were completely correct in holding off the South for another trip. By the way, do you any China trips?
I just want to thank you on behalf of the Bielers and the Goldens for the great job you did in preparing such a wonderful itinerary. I really do hope that we can find a way to work with you again.
Warmest Regards...Mark (and Gloria, Jerry and Lin) (New York)
I am very happy to share my thoughts on The South Indian Kitchen Tour. To answer your specific questions -
1. I expected to gain an insight into the culinary style of the south. After travelling in the North of India 6 months before this tour I developed a fascination with the "coconut culture" of the south. It wasn't only the cooking I was interested in. To learn some of the history and see the lives of the southerners was also what I wanted to experience.
2. The trip was everyhing I hoped it would be plus a bit more. There are always like minded people on a tour such as this so it was fun as well as the bonus of meeting interesting people.
When travelling with Marieke and Durgha they can entertain, enlighten and educate you to whatever level you wish. They are very sensitive to the interests of the group and individuals.
The cooking/culinary side of the trip was well balanced. Visits to markets, herb and vegetable gardens, spice plantations, cooking demos as well as hands on cooking were all enjoyed immensely. We also had meals at very special places with interesting hosts who shared their culinary journeys with us.
3. I read the itinerary very carefully before I booked so there were no aspects that were less than I anticipated. With Marieke's tours there are always unexpected highlights/ bonuses on top of what is in the itinerary!
4. My background includes a love of geography and travel; food and cooking; seeing food growing and meeting new people.
I have no hesitation in recommending the tour to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Sarah H (Victoria)