We are a group of 13 couples who just came home from a week-long trip to Switzerland  in early August that Magic Switzerland/ Pepe organized and led for us.  It was perfect in every way.

One spouse from each of the couples were all section mates at Harvard Business School 40 years ago and we have remained great friends who love to travel together. We’ve previously traveled to France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Russia, Israel and Alaska—by land, by barge, river boat.  I’m  the organizer who finds, partners with and then participates in this group vacation every year  (our 2013 trip was our fifteenth).  As organizer, I conducted very thorough due diligence and references  before selecting Magic Switzerland as the travel partner to create our 2013 trip to Switzerland.  Pepe and I worked closely with another HBS classmate/ trip participant who had spent many years living/ working in Switzerland.    While this long-time Swiss resident advised Pepe in terms of which parts of Switzerland we should visit and suggested some of our programmed activities and many of the restaurants, Pepe provided considerable added value at each step of the process to make it even stronger and packaged the program seamlessly and within finely tuned budget parameters.

We had the pleasure of having Pepe (and his wife Gina) personally be our tour guides/ leaders throughout the week.  They both fit in  very well  with our group and were a pleasure to travel with.  They  paid careful attention to all the details to make sure everything went seamlessly.  Pepe is one of the most service-oriented and professional of the travel consultants  I’ve ever worked with.  Both during the planning stage and throughout the vacation, he was enthusiastic, flexible and reflected a “can-do”, proactive approach.

We really lucked out! The weather was fabulous—sunny with comfortable temperatures all week.  The two hotels—in Zurich and Salouf– were exactly what we wanted—informal, boutique hotels with lovely ambiance, with great water or Alp views and very conveniently located.   The restaurants were excellent, reflecting  a nice variety of traditional Swiss, Italian, German and modern cuisine. The wines—almost all Swiss at our request– were consistently good and even higher quality than we had anticipated.   In addition to balanced tour exposure to Swiss history, culture, Switzerland’s amazing alpine scenery, requisite churches and soft adventure experiences, Pepe made sure we experienced a high end chocolate tasting, a very authentic cheese making tour/ tasting and two vineyard visits/ tastings.

We also had a couple of “curve balls” that he handled very well.

  • During an all day white water rafting adventure, a participant had a minor medical emergency.  Pepe arranged for quick medical assistance.
  • We had the pleasure of dining at a fabulous 3 star Michelin restaurant but never anticipated that the dinner (11 courses/ 10 wines!!!!) would last over five hours.  Pepe, on the spot, coordinated alternative transportation back to the hotel for us (we got home at 2 AM)   and even tried to personally absorb our incremental cost.  We all agreed it was the best meal we had ever had and worth the loss of sleep!

I hope we have the opportunity to hire Magic Switzerland again to plan and execute another trip for us.  We haven’t been to Costa Rica, Panama, or Alsace Lorraine which are all areas Pepe knows well.  We will definitely reach out to him again if we have the right travel opportunity.  FYI-our 2014 trip will be to Morocco!