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India & Shimla Extension Tour
This was quite an experience for us, we saw some fantastic sights. The hotels were 1st class as was our guide Matt Locmelis he worked tirelessly throughout . It was a nonstop trip . The only thing I felt was the trip to Shimla involves too much traveling out of 5 Days we only had 2 full days in Shimla .
Apart from that it was very enjoyable . Big thanks to Matt, Delip and the bus crew.
Review by Jane Llewellyn on 21 May 2016
My wife and I have recently returned from the Golden Triangle plus Shimla tour led by your representative, Matt Locmelis. This was our first ever organised tour and based on this experience it certainly will not be our last. We were extremely impressed by the organisation, management and quality of travel and accommodation and especially impressed with Matt’s sensitive and good humoured leadership from the moment we met at Heathrow to the moment we returned . He ensured that everyone on the tour gained the maximum from it and his tips and guidance throughout were spot on. His concern for everyone’s welfare in a land of heat, dirt and different culinary arts and practices was also impressive.
We also enjoyed greatly the services of our accompanying local guide, Dilip, whose knowledge of India’s history, culture and customs added enormously to the interest and pleasure of this trip.
It is clearly no coincidence that many of our fellow travellers were repeat customers of Riviera, as we shall be.
With thanks for a great experience
Review by Paul Gardner on 19 May 2016
We’ve just returned from India on the Incredible India tour with the Shimla extension and just wanted to say what a wonderful experience it has been. All of the places we’ve visited gave a great introduction to this fascinating and energetic country and the hotels that we stayed in exceeded our expectations. The tour manager and guide were very knowledgeable and helpful, dealing with seemingly impossible requests without any trouble. I would highly recommend this tour to get your first fix of India. Many thnaks indeed.
Review by Richard Cornish on 13 May 2016
Wow, what an amazing experience! A huge thank you to tour manager Gill, Kami our guide, Ranveer our driver and Raman who looked after us on the coach, for making our holiday so memorable. We will certainly book with Riviera again.
Review by Angela Pettit on 6 April 2016
Fantastic full on tour made special by seeing the tigress at Ranthambore. The tour was managed perfectly by Gill and the Indian guide Bhevendra was excellent.
It was our first ever tour and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
Will be booking again with Riviera Travel
Bob & Barbara
Review by Bob Heaton & Barbara Dewhurst on 4 April 2016
A full-on tour to all the popular sights in the Golden Triangle with excellent support from Riviera’s Gill and local guide Kami. A lot of travelling with hours on the coach, and trains to Shimla, but worth it when one sees tigers in Ranthambhore and the Himalayas from Shimla. Do go - it’s worth the effort.
Review by Richard Baker on 2 April 2016
Our thanks to Gill and Bhevendra for a truly wonderful holiday. Everything ran so smoothly thanks to Gill and Bhevendra’s local knowledge was fantastic. An amazing country, which we will never forget especially “our tigress”. This was our first Riviera experience and it won’t be our last.
Review by Bob and Pat Sherwin on 1 April 2016
Having just completed your India and Shimla Extension tour. I feel I must congratulate all staff and guides for a wonderful holiday. May I single out your tour guide Jill whose professional and friendly assistance really put the cherry on the cake.
Thank you so much for a memorable and enjoyable time which will forever be remembered.
Review by Howard Flatman on 31 March 2016
This was the most amazing holiday I have ever been on. India is a beautiful country and I felt we had a good all round experience of the different aspects if the country. The tour was very well done in such a way that you got so much packed in, without being rushed or herded. We didn’t have to worry about anything as it was all dealt with for us by our amazing and professional team. Our English guide Becky and Indian guide Abhi Singh kept us safe, comfortable and well informed throughout the whole trip. Our only concern was enjoying the experience. And enjoy it we did. Such a beautiful country and we got the full experience by the team at Riviera. Would do the whole thing again tomorrow. Thank you guys so much. Until the next time….
Review by Eleanor Schofield on 21 February 2016
This tour is fantastic if you want a taste of India but in comfort and style. It’s busy, lots of early starts and a fair bit of travelling but it was worth every alarm call and minute sitting on the tour coach. Our guide Tony was excellent, always totally in control and a very safe pair of hands. The experience was greatly enhanced also by having our local guide Kam with us all the time, with loads of insider knowledge about what it’s like to live in India. He really managed to turn some of my preconceptions on their head! The organisation is excellent and the hotels are lovely. Be prepared to pay hotel prices though!
It’s a wonderful trip and achieved what I want from travel, it broadened my mind. If you have ever fancied India without all the hassle that would go with trying to do it all yourself then it’s perfect.
Review by A.Jago on 28 January 2016
I travelled to India’s Golden Triangle. What a wonderful experience - my first with Riviera Travel and it is not the last! Throughout the tour, our tour manager, our local guide, our driver and ‘bus-boy’ were superb with their care of the group and attention to detail. (Note that I say ‘our’ - from first introductions, although a solo traveller, I felt I was part of a ‘family’.) Each hotel was more than comfortable, with its own character and varied facilities - from 5* city to rural, ‘heritage’ hotels. Each hotel’s welcome made me feel ‘special’ - so much so that I cannot say one hotel was better than another. The entire holiday arrangement, including connecting flights from Scotland and a transit hotel at Heathrow, was seamless and efficient. Thank you Riviera Travel staff. I had an excellent trip. You folks tick all the boxes! Travelled on 14/05/2012
Review by Ron Munro, Dunfermline on 14 July 2012
A fantastic trip! Our third long haul trip with Riviera and another success. Our tour manager and our local guide made sure everyone was well looked after and able to enjoy the busy but interesting schedule. Shimla and the Oberoi Cecil provided a quality end to this memorable trip to India. Thank you Riviera. Travelled on 05/03/2012
Review by Alan & Sue Hodgkinson, Leicestershire on 27 March 2012
We toured India with Riviera and fully enjoyed the itinerary. Having Shimla at the end is perfect. Our tour guide was friendly and efficient from the word go.Our Indian guide was extremely knowledgeable and professional and the driver superb at all times. The sights were all we hoped for and the hotels of excellent quality. Altogether a superb experience. Thank you. Travelled on 09/11/2011
Review by Mrs Sue Murty on 23 January 2012
We did the Golden Triangle and Shimla extension in October 2011 and had such a wonderful trip. I am quite a nervous traveller but our Tour Manager immediately made me feel that we were in safe hands We had an excellent guide who was very knowledgable on history and religion and so interesting. The hotels were excellent and the travel first rate. This was our first escorted tour but it won’t be our last and the future ones will be with Riviera. The itinerary was very well planned and paced. We saw so much but never felt too tired. There were so many highlights it is difficult to choose but obviously the Taj Mahal, the lanes of Old Delhi and Shimla. The lowpoints? Well actually there were none! Thank you Riviera, for the first time in my life I did not want to come home! Travelled on 13/10/2011
Review by Liz Maliphant, Beckenham on 22 December 2011
My husband and I have just returned from our first escorted tour and our first booking with Riviera. I would like to congratulate you on your excellent organisation. All arrangements were superb and your choice of hotels were wonderful. I would like to make a special mention of our tour Rep, who went above and beyond to ensure we had a good time. Also I would like to commend our guide. His command of English and his sense of humour made to tour very enjoyable. Well done Riviera. I am so pleased we will be travelling with you again later in the year. Travelled on 02/03/2011
Review by Mrs Sussman, London on 21 March 2011
We really enjoyed this varied and interesting tour of a small area of Northern India and an amazing train ride up to Shimla. We had excellent guides - Sue and Mayank were very good fun and very knowledgeable. We also had excellent drivers and our bus boy Raj, looked after us with lots of water and many smiles! All the hotels were excellent and I am very fussy on the beds! We loved all the sights and sounds of India - the Camels, Bullocks and even the Monkeys! The amazing sights for us were the Himalayas with snow, but also the Taj Mahal, the streets of Jaipur and the noise and bustle of Old Delhi. Above all, the Indian people were so welcoming to us and we enjoyed our brief exchanges with them.
Review by Kathleen and Peter Kirby on 9 March 2013
Thank you to all at Riviera Travel who organised and were involved in the India and Shimla tour starting on 22nd Feb 2013, especially our tour guide Susan who was excellent. I travelled with my son (23) daughter (25) and my daughter’s boyfriend (29). We all had a wonderful holiday. The tour was very well put together with a great blend of fascinating historical sights, the nature reserve, and visits to see artisans at work and appreciate traditional crafts. We loved our time in Shimla, it was well worth adding on this bit to the holiday. We had rides on horses, camels, yaks and autorickshaws, and loved it all. The hotels were all lovely, clean, comfortable and very luxurious in some instances. All the staff were exceptionally helpful and polite. The food was delicious. Our coach driver was amazing aided by the bus boy who looked after us very well. The tour guide always interesting, helpful and informative, and ready and willing to answer all sorts of questions. I learnt a lot! This was a marvellous visit to India and met all our (very high) expectations, and added extra value too. I thoroughly recommend it.
Review by Caroline Bailey on 17 March 2013
My husband, son (in his 30s) and I had a wonderful time on our fortnight in India. The tour manager (Matt) was brilliant and ensured that everything ran smoothly and without any fuss. Parul, an Indian guide, supplied us with fascinating information about the places we visited and the culture and traditions of India, and our driver, Jessie, and Khan, the bus boy, were excellent. The variety of the places in which we stayed made the trip very interesting and, although we had several early morning starts and were travelling around a lot, we were never tired as there was always so much to see and learn about. The hotels were of a very high standard and we were very well throughout the 2 weeks and didn’t need any of the medication we took with us!! Congratulations Riviera, on planning a really varied and exciting tour of the Golden Triangle and Shimla.
Review by Jennie Henderson on 3 April 2013
We had a wonderful trip to India. The Tour Manager Chris arranged everything beautifully and our Indian guide Mike was immensely well-informed. We felt very welcome wherever we stayed and we spent 2 weeks in the best of health. The group got on really well and we had a lot of fun together. I will certainly recommend it. Riviera took good care of us and didn’t wear us out.
Review by Marion Johnson on 7 April 2013
This tour was an ideal introduction to India and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the exotic architecture, the bustling bazaars and the day to day life in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and the many places between them. Riding on cycle and auto rickshaws was an unforgettable experience and it was interesting using the trains and seeing the life that went on in and around the railways. Being driven on Indian roads, even in a large coach, was often, not for the faint hearted! Rural Rajasthan and Rathambore National Park added another dimension to an already varied itinery. No good views of tigers this time though but plenty of other wildlife. The long journey to Shimla on the narrow gauge toy train provided yet another outstanding experience and in Shimla itself with perfect weather conditions, being able to see the Himalayas so clearly was another highlight of this trip. All of the hotels were excellent as was the service they provided with the Shimla Oberoi Cecil, Rathambore Regency and especially the heritage hotel Castle Mandawa(the old fort) having the most character. Mention must be made of our team who made this trip run so smoothly. Sue, our tour manager with her keen sense of humour, had everything under control and was always very helpful. Mayank, our Indian guide was highly knowledgeable and explained everything with great clarity and enthusiasm whilst Raj, the bus boy kept us supplied with water and other essentials, always with a smile. The very challenging roads and traffic was handled admirably by our driver Chanchal. They needed to be! All in all an excellent tour and thanks to all concerned.
Dennis and Liz Jenkins
Review by Mr D Jenkins on 18 April 2013
A thoroughly enjoyable holiday, very well organized and excellent value for money. We were extremely well looked after by our capable and friendly guide, Rebecca and our local guide, Bhuvendra Singh, who covered all facets of Indian life and culture. Our guide in Shimla, Sanjay, was also friendly and helpful and full of interesting facts. Despite the challenges of Indian driving we felt safe with our driver Jitender and the bus boy Raj kept us well supplied with water and other goodies. Memorable for the sights and sounds, excellent hotels, food, the smells, the rubbish (sadly) and the TIGER! Well done all round - another star in Riviera’s crown.
Andy & Angela Williams
Review by A P & F A Williams on 27 April 2013
Our third trip with Riviera (and another one already booked) - so far, all first class. This India experience was really enjoyable, everything seemed to go like clockwork, which we are sure is due to Riviera’s attention to detail, and was enhanced by the super efforts of our Tour Manager Matt Locmelis (a gem of humour, patience and outward calm), our drivers (how can that coach be free of scratches and dints?), local guides and helpers. The Shimla extension is not to be missed; the contrast to the earlier days, the train journey climbing through the hills to the excellent Oberoi Cecil and the return taxi ride, safely (thanks to our excellent and careful drivers) back to Kalka. Not to be missed.
Review by Mary & Ron Weston on 5 May 2013
What an amazing holiday - I am still raving about it to our friends. Everything went so smoothly due to great organization and our fantastic tour guide Rebecca. She was full of such useful information and nothing was too much trouble. The hotels were superb, the local guides were very informative on the sights, customs and lifestyle of the country. Thanks to the driver of the coach and the water boy - they did a great job.
Review by lesley stroud on 9 May 2013
My first trip with Riviera. We had an amazing time in India and the Shimla extension experience was just brilliant, not to be missed. Enjoyed the different type of hotels. Every day we were excited with varied experiences. All the arrangements were planned very well. Our tour guide Sue was simply fantastic. She made our lives so much easier at every step of the way. Sue is a very friendly person who loves India and all the people. Kam our Indian tour guide was very knowledgeable and his SOH was great!! Well done Riviera for an excellent itinerary covering a lot of historic places. A wonderful trip of a life time which will be treasured. Cheers.
Review by Mary Connor on 20 October 2013
I am writing on behalf of my wife and myself to say how much we enjoyed our recent tour with your company to India, From initially meeting up with tour manager Sue Fairweather in Delhi we were looked after superbly with wonderful hotel accommodation and food, faultless travel arrangements, an informative local guide with a great sense of humour, Kamendra Singh plus our driver Sharma and bus boy Whisky who kept us safe and watered throughout. We were also fortunate in that the group all gelled together really well, which was very much helped by Sue’s personality and communication skills. It was a great delight for us to celebrate our golden wedding in such a beautiful and fascinating country and being spoon fed along the way so we could sit back , relax and enjoy. Thank you so much. Derek & Moira Barlow
Review by Derek & Moira Barlow on 31 October 2013
We have just returned from 2 weeks in India on your Delhi - Shimla holiday. in common with every other member of that tour, we absolutely loved it! The tour covered a lot of ground and at times was quite tiring, but there was not a single part that we would have cut. The hotels and the organisation were excellent and our tour guide, Susan, really went out of her way to look after us. We will not hesitate to recommend Riviera travel to others and will certainly be looking to you for future holidays. thank you Graham and Judy Massey
Review by Graham and Judy Massey on 31 October 2013
My husband and I recently went on the Shimla extension trip to India 26th September and just wanted to let you know how completely satisfied we were with this holiday. The arrangements were superb, the hotels lovely and comfortable and the content of the holiday was very well balanced - the magnificent sights and also the moments when we really got to see the real India. In particular we would like to praise our guides Sue and Kam for their endless patience and good humour and our driver Sharma who got us everywhere safely and our busboy Whisky for keeping us hydrated! We are already looking at your website for the future and look forward to booking with you again in a couple of years.
Review by Karen and Richard Wentworth on 7 November 2013
I have just been on the Golden Triangle tour of India with extension to Shimla with your company. Just to say how wonderful it was. The hotels were top rate, as was the itinerary. Most of all however the highest possible praise must go to our tour guide Rebecca and to Myank who looked after us so well without being intrusive. Myanks local knowledge added so much to the tour and to understanding Indian culture and customs that I cannot compliment him enough - what an asset! The experience has made me certain to use your company again in the future. A very satisfied customer
Review by Jeff Roberts on 14 November 2013
Just back from a wonderful tour of India and Shimla. Amazing sights which kept us enthralled throughout the tour. What made such a difference to the tour was our Tour Manager REBECCA who was absolutely outstanding in making the tour go so smoothly. Also the local guides were so informative and helpful. This was the first time we have travelled with Riviera and it was a first class experience.
Review by Eric melton on 17 November 2013
Rob and I went to India on Golden Triangle tour plus the Shimla extension, departure 28th October. Our tour guide Matt was second to none. He informed us what exactly was happening, when and where we were to meet and interspersed all the instructions with an amazing sense of humour- much appreciated by all on the coach. He was good at crisis management- when the train to Shimla broke down he quickly arranged for taxis to pick us up, avoiding a cold couple of hours extra onto our journey. Similarly he effortlessly manipulated our luggage and catered for our every request. Kam our Indian Tour guide for the triangle was excellent. He was informative and amusing and enriched our knowledge of what it was like to live in India. First rate guides. This was our first “guided” tour as in the past we have organised our own travel, but we thought India would prove more difficult. We were very pleased with the trip, which was action packed, but that is what we wanted! The standard of accommodation was excellent- especially the Taj Palace and Cecil. The food became rather repetitive- the Indian buffets tended to be the same in various hotels. Though the buffet food in the Ramthambore Regency was very good. Overall we were impressed and would certainly think about using your company again.
Review by Jean Nicolas on 19 November 2013
A brilliant trip, made all the better by Riviera’s own tour leader Rebecca, whose confident and wonderful organisation made for a stress free and untroubled holiday. In addition our local Indian guide Myanke gave the whole group a wonderful and humorous insight into the Indian ways of life we came across, and the country’s colourful history. The Taj Mahal day in Agra and the visit to the Amber Fort outside Jaipur were the jewels in the tour itinerary. However, tiger hunting in Ranthambore National Park provided great excitement and the peace and quiet of Castle Mandawa was a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi. The extension up to Shimla was well worth the long and tiring train journey, and is a must for those interested in the British military and colonial history of this part of India. All the hotels were very comfortable with good food, beds and facilities to pamper the tired trippers at the end of busy days. A memorable trip, and we shall use Riviera Travel again.
Review by Richard Lawton on 21 November 2013
Thank you Riviera for putting together a varied and very well organised trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of India: the smells, sounds, colours and hustle and bustle. Hotels were great and can’t fault the staff. A big thanks to the drivers and local guides and bus boy. This is a full on trip, very tiring and not for the faint hearted! My only complaint is that I found the tour manager was not up to standard. Although she did an excellent job in getting us to where we needed to be and on time, she didn’t seem to have much interest in the welfare of the group. I also found her commentaries on the coach to be confusing and rambling.
Review by Carole Shelton on 23 November 2013
A well constructed holiday that we enjoyed. Memorable experiences. The Shimla Extension was particularly well worth while and should not be missed!! Quite a bit of travelling….but much to hold your interest. Guides were of high quality and added value. This was our second Riviera tour and we would recommend both the Company and the culture it operates. Friendly but not over intrusive.
Review by Malcolm & Pat NEAL on 25 November 2013
We have just returned from the India with Shimla add on. We travelled from 4th -18th November. We had a wonderful time. Everything was so well organised. All our hotel transfers and transport was seamless an there was always the right transport and guides available. Even the weather was marvelous which is beyond your control. The hotels were absolutely fabulous. This is the first time we have travelled with Riviera and would certainly recommend you. We have booked to go to Venice with Reader Travel and it turns out it is with Riviera! Your tour guide was very patient as some fellow travellers were quite demanding. have just passes a Riviera brochure to a friend!! Thank you once again
Review by Steph and Terry Beckett. on 27 November 2013
A fantastic trip! From meeting our tour manager Anne at Heathrow where she swapped seats with us so we could travel together, to sorting out a tooth problem on day 2, it just got better and better. All the hotels were as described in the booking information, especially luxurious were the Taj Palace in Delhi and the Cecil Oberoi in Shimla. The organisation of 36 of us on and off coaches, in and out of hotels, on and off trains, went like clockwork. The Indian tour manager, driver and bus boy played their part also. The variety in the holiday was exhausting and magnificent - tigers, mountains, street scenes, historic monuments, country life. We thought the trip was extremely good value. At no time did we see Anne get flustered or panic - she was totally professional and knowledgeable about the important things and the more trivial (loo stops, chemist needs etc). Her ‘management’ of street vendors was amazing! A friendly expert Tour manager.
Review by John and Penelope Perkins on 21 April 2014
We have just returned from your India and Shimla tour, and we wanted to thank you for providing us with the best holiday that we have ever had! Everything was perfect: accommodation, itinerary, security, organisation, weather, and being in the company of the nicest group of people that we have ever met on an escorted tour. When booking for India we wanted to make sure that our safety was paramount, and this was certainly the case with this tour. We also wanted to eliminate as much hassle as possible, and Riviera achieved this perfectly. At each hotel we were met with drinks and garlands, the key handover was flawless and speedy, and our luggage was ready for us, which meant that we were able to settle into our rooms quickly and enjoy some of the facilities of each new location. In our opinion the highlight of our tour was the visit to Ranthambore National Park, where we were told that we “might be lucky enough to see a tiger”....... well…..we saw SEVEN!!! We saw the first male within the first five minutes of entering the park, but he was partially obscured by bushes. Nevertheless, we were happy that we had experienced a ‘tiger encounter’. However, after an hour or so of searching, a few of our party spotted a female tiger coming towards us down a dry river bed. We then realised that she was being followed by four cubs. Our ranger was ecstatic because the park authorities had previously recorded that the tigress had only three cubs. This was considered to be such an important event that we made the local Ranthambore newspapers and TV news. Later that day we returned to the park and saw another tiger, and then a leopard. It was perfect! Our English guide Anne was friendly, efficient, knowledgeable, and gave us plenty of laughs. She provided excellent information on our approach to each new hotel and destination; including supplying us with the locations of the nearest toilets (together with ‘star’ ratings) when we had just completed a long journey! Our Indian guide (Mayank) was better than a guide book! His knowledge of local history, monuments etc. could not be faulted. Together with our lovely driver (Mr Babbar) and our bus boy (Bahadur) who kept us supplied with cold drinks, they made the perfect team. This tour is so full of highlights that we feel it will be several months before we come to terms with all that we have experienced, and we can assure you that it will not be the last time that we use Riviera Travel. A HUGE “thank you” to you all.
Review by Sue Wray & Collette Collinge on 23 April 2014
Thanks to the Riviera team (the office, Kate, Perul, Raj and his safe-driving brother) for an utterly memorable tour. Always well-informed, safe, our bags mysteriously always turning up at the right time at the right place, we had an introduction to India that could not be better. Frankly, when I look at the list-price at some of those hotels I don’t see how Riviera do it at the price, but we’re glad they do! The tour was marvellous, and we have described that elsewhere. We are now seriously considering other Riviera tours, for we know we will be in safe hands.
Review by Jon and Claire Cole on 3 May 2014
My recent trip to India with your company was one of the best holidays I have ever had with a group. Our tour manager, our Indian guide, the amazing bus driver and the helpful bus boy all contributed to the experience - as did my fellow travellers who were such a friendly and interesting bunch! We were expertly guided around the sights, moving apparently seamlessly from one place to another by coach or train. The hotels were very good but the Taj in Dehli and the Oberoi Cecil in Shimla, arrived at by the toy train, were exceptional. Anne, our tour manager, was one of the most informative and knowledgeable people I ever met, friendly but very firm when dealing with the day to day issues of shepherding the group. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wanted a taste of India and I am looking forward to travelling with your company again.
Review by Orla Nolan on 5 July 2014
I have been meaning to write since we got back from our tour of India and Shimla extension back in February. We thought the holiday was wonderful - all the arrangements went like clockwork, mostly thanks to our terrific tour manager, Chris Pook, who dealt with everything calmly and efficiently. There may be people who would like a sort of “Hi-di-Hi” tour manager, but we greatly appreciated Chris’s dry sense of humour and laid-back manner. Also, our local guide, Kam, was a wonderful source of fascinating information about all sorts of things, I only wish I could have recorded everything he said and listened to it again when we got home. The local guide in Shimla, whose name I can’t remember, was excellent too. Also beyond praise was our driver, Kurdip, who negotiated the traffic with immense skill - I thought the traffic in Rome was the worst I’d ever come across but that’s like a quiet country road compared to India! The young man who looked after us on the coach (Sanjay, Vijay? sorry, my ancient memory is letting me down) was lovely too.
India is an extraordinary country, nothing can prepare you for it. I actually lived there as a child (a very long time ago) and always wanted to go back, it took me a long time but I hope to return again very soon, to the South and Kerala maybe.
If we ever do this kind of long-haul holiday again we would definitely use Riviera and I would have no hesitation in recommending you to others. In fact I already have, some friends are doing the same India trip as we did, in November.
Thanks again for your excellent service
Review by Cath Challands on 14 August 2014
We returned from our India & Shimla extension tour on Monday 20th October 2014. We had the most wonderful time. We were told right at the start of our travels that this would be more of an experience than a holiday it it certainly lived up to that. We would first of all like to thank our wonderful tour manager - Julie Jarvis. She made the tour that extra bit special, going out of her way to ensure all went smoothly and it did!! Nothing was too much trouble for her and we can say, hand on heart that she was outstanding. We should also like to congratulate Riviera on the choice of our wonderful Indian lady guide - Perul. She was our ‘Guide to India’ not only explaining about all the wonderful places we visited but also giving us all a great insight into the Indian way of life, its culture, its ethos, the way it thinks and survives in the modern world. Our Bus Driver and Bus Boy were also outstanding. The way our tour bus negotiated the Dehli and Jaipur traffic not to mention the camel wagons, the goats and of course the wandering cows was truly amazing. All the hotels were First Class and everywhere we stayed we were made to feel very special. So Riviera - WELL DONE!!! We have returned to UK with so many wonderful memories, from seeing the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, the pedal rickshaw ride through the back street bazaars of Old Dehli, the amazing Mogul Palaces, the TukTuk ride through the Jaipur rush hour, a camel ride at Castle Mandawa and having breakfast in the Himalya foothills with the snow capped mountains as a backdrop. Absolutely Fabulous. Again special thanks to Julie for pulling it all together and keeping us safe.
Review by Stephanie and Bob Reeves on 27 October 2014
Still buzzing after such an exciting holiday experience. Riviera you certainly have this one perfected! Your tour manager Julie Jarvis did an exceptional job in keeping us all together and safe. She was very calm and supportive when my husband (who is blind) managed to get himself stuck in the toilet on the train out of Dehli. Her knowledge of India was amazing. Our Indian lady guide Parul was also amazing, there was nothing she didn’t know. Our tour was made very interesting because of this. She also had a very good understanding of the English sense of humour and we had quite a number of laughs with this lovely lady. A big thank you to the very careful and safe driver Sergit, how he managed to get us through the traffic was unbelievable. Not forgetting our little bus boy Sanjay A lovely young boy who took his job very seriously and always appeared at just the right time with cool drinks. We stayed in fabulous hotels, exceptional doesn’t even begin to describe them all. We were upgraded at the last minute in Shimla and stayed at the Wildflower Hall. We have never before stayed in such a luxurious hotel. Breakfast on the terrace each morning with the snow capped Himalayas in the background… Fantastic! Staff were amazing and nothing was too much trouble. Thoroughly enjoyed the Tuk Tuk ride in rush hour traffic, brilliant rickshaw ride in back streets of Old Dehli and despite not seeing a tiger, the trip at Ranthambore was brilliant. Cannot fault one single thing on this holiday. Well done to all who played a part in making this such an amazing fortnight for us all. This has to be the best holiday we have been on and will certainly recommend to everyone. We will certainly use Riviera Travel again. Thank you .
Review by Yvonne & John Anderson on 5 November 2014
Our 7th trip with Riviera and it lived up to all expectations. Everything went like clockwork -and the logistics of all the arrangements are mind-blowing. The experiences were fantastic, even though we did not see a tiger-the one disappointment and not in the control of Riviera !!! Hotels were wonderful. So many great memories it is difficult to pick out the best. I am running out of superlatives to describe the trip but cannot finish without saying how brilliant our tour leader -Maggie -was-superbly efficient but with a sense of humour and a great love of India. Our local guide Prem was also excellent as was the driver and bus boy. We can thoroughly recommend this trip.Brilliant !!!
Review by Margaret and Robin Nelson on 13 November 2014
We departed on October 17th for our much awaited first trip to India and our first trip with Riviera Travel. From the moment that the lovely Paul and later Manjit our local guide met us it was a fabulous, deeply absorbing, exciting, incredible, extraordinary holiday. After Paul had ‘knocked us all into shape’ (not literally of course) - but mainly timing wise; our mantra being ‘Om - oh my - be there on time’ , we all relaxed and were total devotees of the lovely pair plus our fabulous driver, whose name I cannot remember. Paul, being Anglo-Indian, knew so much about the country and culture, and Manjit with his non-stop, often saucy jokes, kept us royally entertained!! We were a great group of 38 lovely people in an amazingly vibrant country, full of contrasts. The highlight was, of course the Taj Mahal with the hair-raising rickshaw ride through Old Delhi coming a close second. The trip up to Shimla on the ‘Toy Train’ was a great add-on and to be recommended. Amazing Gaiety Theatre, now a Unesco heritage site and such lovely people. The Cecil Oberoi Hotel was divine ( as was the Ayurvedic massage!!) and we both loved the Castle Mandawa Hotel in deepest Rajastan where our coach broke down for about 30 minutes and Paul was so calm, so cool, that we barely noticed the air-conditioning had stopped working!! Thank you Riviera, and the lovely Paul and Manjit for a fabulous, never to be forgotten holiday. Love and hugs -Pamela and Annie xx
Review by Pamela Quinn and Annie Tappenden on 13 November 2014
What a fantastic colourful experience! Not relaxing enough to call it a holiday, we needed a rest to get over it when we got back, but we rank it as one of our favourite trips. The organisation was very good and the only thing we had to worry about in the entire 2 weeks was getting out of bed in the morning for the early starts. We always felt safe in the hands of our tour guide (Chris) and excellent coach driver. The other reviews say it all about the sight-seeing and hotels on this tour. All we can add is that India was everything we expected and a whole lot more. Thank you to Chris, all our India guides and fellow travellers who made it so enjoyable.
Review by Chris & Jacqui Beirne on 17 November 2014
My husband and I were so very impressed with the entire tour. A fantastic tour guide, Paul who solved all problems with good humour and common sense. Excellent local guides, whether traveling by coach, taxi, rick-shaw or train we were never waiting. Hotel choices excellent. There were 38 of us on this trip which is a large number…..but it caused no problems We would certainly take another trip with this company.
Review by Patricia Wanklyn on 19 November 2014
We have just returned from a most enjoyable trip expertly led by Kate de Witt who was the consummate tour leader: warm and friendly whilst also meticulous in her organisation. The hotels were all comfortable whilst each one had it’s own character. At no point did we feel unsafe despite the Indian style of driving, whether that be in the coach or in the cars returning from Shimla to Kalka. Dilip Singh, our guide provided us with a wealth of knowledge about India’s history and the present day structure of his homeland. A trip to remember!
Review by Hugh & Sue Yarwood Smith on 19 November 2014
We returned from the India tour with Shimla extension on 17/11/2014. We had never been to India and the tour was a terrific introduction to this fascinating country. It was superbly well organised, the hotels excellent and the travel arrangements very well managed. Tour guide Kate de Witt was the consummate professional; she struck the perfect balance between being there when needed but not obtrusive and was kind, funny and always two steps ahead with all arrangements. Local guide Dileep was a mine of information and possessed of a very dry sense of humour. The different sights were very well balanced with enough free time to relax and enjoy just being there - an unforgettable holiday.
Review by Liz Beddow on 23 November 2014
We have recently returned from our first trip to India and our first holiday with Riviera Travel. Our tour manager Paul and local guide Manjit were excellent, very knowledgeable and professional but also good company and fun. We thoroughly enjoyed India and will return in the future. Everything was extremely well organised and the hotels were of a high standard. The only disappointment was not seeing a tiger in Ranthambore National Park! We were impressed with Riviera Travel so much so that we have booked another holiday next year (to Russia) which we are looking forward to.
Review by Jane & Geoff Kay on 26 November 2014
We returned from a most wonderful glimpse of India with Riviera on 17th November. Thanks to our Tour Manager Kate de Witt who managed our group with finesse, skill and a great sense of humour, and Dullip Singh our guide who informed and educated us with tales of India past and present, our drinks man and driver who avoided any accidents on the often chaotic roads. We enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers and the standard of our hotels and left with a fond view of India.
Review by Christopher and Gillian Spokes on 27 November 2014
I returned from the tour of India with Shimla extension on 17/11/14 and have submitted a testimonial in respect of the holiday generally. However on a personal note, I would like to thank Riviera very much for the flowers and chocolates sent to my hotel room at the Taj Palace in Delhi on my birthday which was on 12/11.
There were 6 birthdays on the tour and everyone was marked by Kate de Witt, the tour manger. It was a very nice touch and much appreciated.
Review by Liz Beddow on 28 November 2014
I have been fortunate in being able to travel to many parts of the world, but my first visit to India certainly comes very near the top of my list of fabulous experiences. Due to the seamless organisation by Riviera travel, we were able to experience a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and huge contrasts, which are part of Indian life. Our guide opened our eyes to many aspects of history and Culture, and our tour leader Anne made sure that we were in the right place at the right time, and eased our journey with her knowledge of local customs . Fabulous hotels provided an oasis of calm and comfort after the long days, which required a level of physical strength and also the willingness to keep an open mind. As a single traveller for the first time, I found my companions interesting, funny and above all friendly, so I am already planning future journeys . Kerala here I come ! Jenny Hobson
Review by Jenny Hobson on 8 December 2014
Many thanks for a wonderful trip to India. We could have not asked for more to an insight to this fascinating country. Our guide Anne is a credit to your organisation, there were a few health problems with our group, and she dealt with all of them with compassion. We have travelled with several tour operators and have found Riviera to be the best. We look forward to travelling with you again soon.
Review by Sandra Morby on 10 December 2014
Another great trip with Riviera, after much anticipation the tour was much more than we could have hoped for. Our tour guide Anne was a marvel with the organisation and we knew things would be good as soon as we met her on the flight out (we were with her several years ago in Barcelona when the ash cloud hit). The local guide Dilip Singh was an absolute mine of information and had a great sense of humour. The hotels were all good and a pleasant mix of modern 5 star and Indian heritage each one a palace in it’s own right. The extension trip to Shimla was a long journey but well worth the experience, especially the “Toy Train” winding it’s way up the mountain side. It was a great trip with a great group of people and now we have to decide where we are going next with Riviera. Best regards Richard and Jacqui Mason
Review by Richard and Jacqui Mason on 11 December 2014
Wow. What can I say? This was one of the best holidays we have ever had. And to think I did not really want to go on it! I am so pleased I did. I would not have missed it for the world. The whole trip was magical and one of the best experiences of my life. The trip was incredibly well organised and everything ran like clockwork. I must mention our tour guide Ann. She was absolutely superb. We couldn’t have been looked after better. She was a real star. I could go on forever about this trip. We have had such a positive experience and will definitely be using Riviera again. Please consider putting the Peru trip back on. We would love to do it with you. Thank you so much for looking after us.
Sarah and John Weir
Review by Sarah Weir on 13 December 2014
We had a wonderful trip to India,especially enjoyed the Taj Mahal on my husband’s birthday. Our hotel provided a birthday cake and token candle’s. Our guides Kate and Dilip were great also our driver and Harry his helper. Shimla was wonderful, the hotel there amazing! Thank you very much, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Review by Kathy and Vyron Evans on 5 January 2015
We have just returned from a holiday in India, taking in the ‘golden triangle’ and Shimla from 12-26th February, 2015. We had heard various complimentary accounts of Riviera from friends but this holiday exceeded all expectations. All arrangements were perfectly planned and we cannot speak too highly of Caroline, our tour manager. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she ensured that each day ran smoothly and according to plan. We certainly hope to book with Riviera again. Thank you.
Review by Byron Thomas on 5 March 2015
Sorry about the belated review, not enough time in retirement! Our second trip with Riviera and our first to India. As before, it was superbly organised. Our guides, Paul and Manjit, were both excellent, friendly, informative and funny which went well with our large and disparate group. By the end of the trip we were a well informed and happy team of souls. This was also down to our coach driver and his bus boy who manoeuvred us safely around India with great skill. Even the one short breakdown on a road detour was fun, especially as it was next to some slow camel ploughing! We also had the best decorated coach in Jaipur, where we celebrated Diwali. Each day we were rotated around the coach so we have new viewpoints and different company – what a good idea.
All our hotels were excellent with delicious and varied food to suit all tastes, especially the bread and butter pudding. Highlights included the mad rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, wonderful temples, elephants, camels but sadly no tigers in the game reserve that day. There was a great and atmospheric welcome at the Castle Mandawa, while the Cecil Oberoi Hotel and Shimla itself was the best part of the trip. The Toy Train ride up to Shimla and the car ride back down was an unforgettable experience.
So we have booked another Riviera tour – they must be doing something right. Thank you.
Review by Terry Morgan on 26 March 2015
This was a truly memorable and remarkable experience. We had wanted to do this trip for a long time but were concerned about keeping well whilst travelling, it was not a problem for us, and our fellow travellers, health issues were dealt with promptly and kindly by Anne our wonderful Riviera guide. Anne was very capable always there to help and advise and field us through the crowded frenetic experience that is India. I wish we had done this trip years ago, as I would love to go back . Everything was extremely well organised,never ending supplies of cold bottled water cheerfully given out by Achee our bus attendant, wonderful and safe driving by Jagdish our driver, and masses of information about all aspects of India and the places we visited by Manjit our local guide. Do this trip and you will see the Taj Mahal, it is stunning!! We saw four tigers a mother with her 12 month old cubs in Ranthambore Park,thanks again to a wonderful local guide. Yes, it is tiring, and very busy all the time, but what a wonderful chance to see an amazing country.Thank you Riviera travel and all your fantastic staff! By the way, great hotels with amazing service.
Review by Tom / Caroline Byatt on 29 March 2015
A truly amazing experience in a country full of contrasts. This tour must be the best way of seeing northern India. The travelling is tough but it is worth it to see all the sights. The high spot for us was the Taj Mahal at dawn but there were so many other fascinating forts and palaces included in the itinerary and Shimla is a real gem - especially the Bazaar where the locals shop. We would like to say a massive thank you to Caroline, our tour manager. Nothing seems to phase her even when things are not going to plan. Our local guide for the Golden Triangle part of the tour was Bhuvendra who kept us well entertained and informed and of course our driver Mukesh and his assistant Deepak deserve a mention. We will never forget off-roading in the coach and Deepak with his hand sanitiser at the ready whenever we came back from sightseeing! We are looking forward to our next Riviera tour but it will be hard to beat this one.
Review by Alyson Oliver on 3 April 2015
Our second trip with Riviera lived up to expectations. Well organized, with hardly a hitch, we could relax and enjoy. We spent many hours in coach, train and car - but then, with such a large country to cover, how else can you fit it all in? But we were well entertained along the way by Kam, our local guide, who regaled us with tales of Indian life and culture, incredibly extensive knowledge of the history of places we visited and many funny stories, particularly about Indian drivers - who are totally manic!! The hotels were excellent especially the Taj Palace in Delhi and the Oberoi Cecil in Shimla and we are happy to report that we did not suffer from Delhi Belly! Three high spots: Taj Mahal - stunning in early morning sunlight; Ranthambhore National Park where we saw five tigers; and the absolutely breath-taking view of the High Himalayas from Viceroyal Lodge gardens at Shimla. India is noisy, dirty, crowded, colourful, exciting and full of life in all aspects. Loved it all.
On a practical point, the idea of rotating the seating in the coach is excellent, but moving only one row at a time means that people who start half way down the coach never get to the front on a trip of less than 10 days. Perhaps you could make it Company policy to move three rows at a time there by taking and pressure off you local representative. But overall another brilliant Riviera holiday. Thank you. Now where is that Riviera brochure? Time to line up our next trip….........
Review by Vivian and Kate Oliver on 6 April 2015
Hello Riviera I would like to thank all your staff for a fantastic trip to India, with Shimla extension. The tour was well organised; the tour guide, Sue Fairweather was efficient, good tempered, empathetic and had a great love of the people and country of India. We got good explanations of the sites, history and the current situation of society and politics in India, from our local guide Sakhet. I also enjoyed the very beautiful hotels, especially the Alsisar Hotel and village tour. Thank you all Linda Williamson
Review by Linda Williamson on 16 April 2015
Everything that other people have said and more. What a fantastic two weeks. Amazing sights, wonderful hotels and a superb tour manager. Sarah you were a marvel, ensuring that every day went smoothly. This wasn’t just a tour, it was a house party on wheels. The sights, the sounds, the smells and the Indian driving will be a lasting memory.
John and Chris Brunning
Review by John brunning on 3 May 2015
Not fans of package holidays! However, everything about this trip gelled. A good itinerary executed superbly and totally professionally by our Indian guide; Mayank and the tour manager ‘Jules’ Jarvis. The balance of travel and rest was well conceived bearing in mind India is huge? We had the advantage of a relatively small party (25) as it was the last trip this season. That helped too. We have no hesitation in recommending Riviera Travel based on this one-off experience. Thank you. Tim and Sally
Review by Tim and Sally on 4 May 2015
Just returned from our trip to India and Shimla. Was a fantastic trip. Thanks to our guides Sarah and Kanal. All the drivers were fantastic. Will remember our holiday with fondness .
Review by Beverley on 6 May 2015
Recently back from our trip to India, only one way to describe it ‘amazing’. What a great holiday. Seeing tigers at Ranthambore was a big bonus. Our tour guide Sarah was fantastic, she looked after each and every one of us. Our local guide Kunal was so knowledgeable and helpful. We also need thank our driver Rakesh and the bus boy Hary for keeping us safe and looking after us. We would definitely recommend Riviera and plan to use them again.
Review by Brenda on 14 May 2015
Just returned from this wonderful tour. We were a little apprehensive about going as we had no prior experience of this type of holiday. We loved it from start to finish. You do require a modicom of fitness as it covers a lot of ground, at a reasonable pace it has to be said.
Our guide Gill was fabulous and is a credit to Riviera, along with the local staff. We could cover the tour in detail but we would just say if your musing over this tour, take it, you will not be dissapointed.
Review by Steve & Elspeth on 19 October 2015
Still waiting to get home from having just been on this tour but feel the need to say that this tour was fantastic and cannot recommend it enough. As a single traveller I was a little nervous of going by myself but our guide, Sarah, was excellent and the others in the group made me feel so welcome. A lot to fit in and some travelling involved but India is a huge country and travel by coach and train is an experience in itself! Cannot explain the traffic in India is like apart from you need to experience it to believe it. Cows, sheep, goats etc mingle with the tuk-tuks and rickshaws! Will definitely go back to India hopefully soon
Review by Andrea Brocklebank on 5 November 2015
Just a note to say - a really good package, all very well organised. A lot of travelling but all worked like clock work through good planning. Both guides (Simon and Bevindra) were excellent. Simon took care of all arrangements, Bivindra was most knowledgeable on all the local sights and wonders. Also very good value. Thanks.
Review by Derek Harwood on 21 November 2015
We would like to put on record our thank you to Susan, the Riviera tour guide for our recent India tour. Her organisational ability and patience, enthusiasm and boundless energy made sure that the very full and concentrated programme went off without a hitch. Her in depth knowledge of all aspects on Indian life and culture, and her articulate, humorous commentary made our trip a very memorable experience.
Please pass on our very best wishes to Susan, and hope that she continues with her passion for travel, and sharing it with others.