- Although Nino, our tour leader was very pleasant and helpful, with interesting facts about Georgia, she had a poor knowledge of the mountains, which was disappointing on a walking holiday. The local mountain guides who accompanied us were useless, spoke no English, showed no interest in the walks and did not stop to keep the group together unless phoned by our leader. The walks often did not match the dossier description, being too short. The standard of accommodation was variable, being very good in Tbilisi and unacceptable in Becho, where our group had to share two bathrooms with the family of about 20, even having to wait until the family had finished using the bathrooms themselves. The owners were quite rude and unwelcoming, unlike the delightful Meri in Mestia, who couldn't do enough for us. It was noticeable that our group was allocated the worst accommodation of all the Visit Georgia groups we saw and given the fact that the majority of guesthouses were charging £20 to £25 for full board, we felt that this tour was vastly overpriced and represented the poorest value for money we have ever experienced in 40 years of travelling. In our opinion the pricing should be on a par with the Moroccan trips. Moreover, only 2 of the hotels named in the final documentation were actually used by the group. We should be given a correct list or no list at all. We were quite surprised that the tip kitty had to be in US dollars rather than local currency, and had to intervene when Nino wanted to give the first mountain guide 30 dollars as she did not understand that tips are given for good Service! This review sounds very negative, but these aspects need to be addressed. On the other hand, Levan our driver was excellent, the food was plentiful and delicious everywhere we went, Georgia is a beautiful country and we enjoyed the trip very much.
Published on: 26 August 2016
Thank you for your feedback Leigh and I’m also incorporating Marilyn’s (below) views in my response as you’ve shared the same feedback. While I’m glad that you enjoyed your trip in Georgia, I am sorry to hear that there were certain things you were not entirely satisfied with. Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains are one of our more off-beat and adventurous destinations and as such we recommend a certain level of expectation that things may be different from Western Europe and not always go strictly to plan. The guesthouses we use in Svaneti are also family homes. We believe that staying there gives our customers an insight in life in this remote area as well as helping to support the local economy. Very little English is spoken in these villages but the Explore leader is always on hand to help out. Your leader Nino has been trained by Explore and our operations manager felt she performed very well. She enjoys walking and was experienced on all bar one of the trails taken where she had the support of the local guide. Although they do not speak English, which makes it difficult for them to interact with the group, the local mountain guide fulfils an important role in escorting the group. On your particular trip, Nino advised us how helpful the guide was to some of the customers on the Mount Ushba walk. On a positive note, I’m pleased that the trip rated well for you overall, and I hope we’ll have the opportunity to welcome you on another one soon.