anyone do a tour with SMtours.com?

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by wbb2, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. wbb2

    wbb2 Adventurer

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    #1
  2. wbb2

    wbb2 Adventurer

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  3. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Adventurer

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    Did the "Adriatic Riviera" tour last summer, and it was great. This was my twelfth Euro tour, either "guided" or solo so that gives me some perspective. It's a beautiful country, the riding is good, and the accommodations first-rate. The tour guides, Rozele and Klemen were a real kick, and Rozele went out of his way to show us a bit of the "real" Croatia: he arranged lunch at a small place where he stays when kite-surfing, and also a boat trip from Hvar to a great sea-food restaurant down the coast. We also got to travel through Bosnia on the way down to Dubrovnik, where there still reminders of the war, although it's perfectly safe.
    Matej, who runs the company, told me that he does have a problem with those who suspect a "scam", but his operation is the real thing, and again, very well run. An additional advantage to me was that you can go off "on your own", as well as ride on the "rest days" if you prefer, which I did, and I was able to pick my bike up a day early for an extra day of riding.
    The tour is reasonably priced, with the additional advantage that Croatia is not (yet) a member of the EU, so things are 10-15% cheaper that they would be in the EU. Perhaps the best endorsement I can give is that I plan to do this tour again this year.
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  4. wbb2

    wbb2 Adventurer

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    really? adriatic riveria is the one i was planning on doing as well...what date are you thinking? sept 10 or sept 24?
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  5. adventuremax

    adventuremax n00b

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    Not for me. Went on a tour with these guys this year and found the guide Rozle to be a big negative on the trip. If you want to go on a tour where the guide tells you everything you need to do and expects you to follow with exact precision and timing, then this is the tour company for you. I know that it is a lot of work to keep track of a group of people, but Rozle seemed more interested in keeping us all in line than making sure we were enjoying ourselves. So if you like to ride on your own, this isn’t the tour company for you. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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  6. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Adventurer

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    Interesting comment, but completely the opposite of my experience on both of the tours that I did with AMT. (Adriatic Riveara 2010 and 2011; it's a long story). I often went off "own my own", especially on "rest days", going as far as the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Also, both years I picked the bike up a day or two early and headed off into Italy and Austria (finally got to ride Monte Zoncolon). In fairness to Rozele, it only takes one person wandering off and needing to be retrieved to screw up everybody's day, so it pays for him to keep everybody in a group. Granted that I've been lucky enough to do several tours, either guided or "solo", and once Rozele figured out that I could find my way around he relaxed, which might not othertwise be the case. If you want to "go off on your own", then the best thing would be to talk to Matej and set up a "self guided" tour: tell him where you want to go, and he'll map out routes, arrange lodging, and be available by phone if the need arises. This is still a relatively new company, but Matej goes well out of his way to take care of his customers, right up to pick up and drop off at the airport. Again I'd have no reservations recommending them, and plan on either the Tuscany-Corsica or Romania trip next year.
    #6
  7. plotoman

    plotoman n00b

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    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style> <![endif]--> I found that these guys are pretty young and inexperienced. I sent a deposit in and didn’t get a receipt back. Then I sent my full payment in and didn’t get a receipt or any kind of confirmation of payment for that either. When I picked up the bike there was very little paperwork and then when I returned it they said there was alot of damage that wasn’t there when I picked it up. So I had to spend alot of time on email with the owner negotiating back and forth over charging me for the so-called damage. So get them to take a picture of the bike (or you take a picture) before you take it. They should be doing this anyway like other rental companies but they don’t. And make sure you are clear on what is normal wear and tear because they will charge you for this too. So just protect yourself with some pictures or some sort of damage contract, since they don’t provide you with much and its all at your risk.
    #7
  8. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Adventurer

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    Plotoman: Sorry to hear you had an unpleasant experience. On both of my tours with AMT, I picked the bike up early, and Blas, the shop manager, was careful to go over the bike with me, and noted any damage, even nicks and scrapes. Usually, rental agencies use a form with a drawing of a bike, and you can mark that to document any pre-existing damage (or, as you suggest, take photos). If you were picking up the bike at the same time as several other people, this might have been overlooked in the confusion, but I'd be sure to ask for the form and fill it out, which would save a lot of grief.
    I was renting a bike in Munich, and was down on one knee, looking at the underside of the rocker box (GS-1200) when the owner came out, saw me and said "I can see that you've done this before".
    Plus, AMT offers "V.I.P." insurance, which lowers the "deductible" down to $100 or so, and even if you totaled the bike, that's the most you'd pay, so it's a worthwhile investment.
    #8
  9. Ken Fritz

    Ken Fritz Long timer

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    Sorry if you guys didn't get what you wanted and had a bad time.

    Yojimbo and others have spoken truthfully, especially the part about one guy screwing it up for the others. We've seen that, too, but was his problem, not ours. Maybe you should rent and go on your own - Matej does a great job of setting that up for his clients with hotels, routes, a local trip guide and just about whatever you want.

    My wife and I had such a good time on the Beautiful Balkans trip in 2009 we extended for a week on our own with his help setting up some places to stay. It was fabulous. He even helped download the extra routes onto the GPS I rented with the bike. The GS was booked that week, so I swapped over to an RT that another couple had been riding on the group tour. And this was before the group got back to Ljubljana. NO sweat - easy as pie and everybody was happy throughout the trip, even though we knew no one prior to the tour.

    We went back the following year for their first trip out of Belgrade down through Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, back to Belgrade. Again, we met nice people, had great riding and hotels, and we never had to stay with the group - just tell them in the morning that you're going off on your own. If you want to go to dinner with the group (it's included in the tour price), be at the hotel on time. We found that rule easy to live with - it was our money and the dining was always great.

    That's pretty simple. If you want to dine on your own, say so early and do it. NO problem. They do like to have you meet with them for breakfast so they know what your daily plans are - one couple made it clear from the beginning that they would never ride with the group. They ate breakfast early (before we did), they left early and arrived at the destination early each day and we nearly always had dinner together. No problem.

    Regarding damage to the bikes, Matej saw me do the "GS at a dead stop-too slow in the off-road ruts fall over" on one of his 1200GS's twice in one day. No damage, just some dirt and hurt feelings (mine) and he was nice about it. Of course, there was no damage, so my experinece may be different than that of others, but he sure didn't nit pick at me about anything.

    Rozle and I had a minor issue a few times when I followed him: he rides faster than my pillion wanted to go in some sections. We discussed it and I slowed down some. Big deal....Rozle and I rode, drank, joked, ate and swam together often and he slowed down a tad - sometimes. Heck, he and I even walked into village taverns bar hopping a couple of nights - he's a good guy. :dutch :beer :drums We had a lot of trust in both Matej and Rozle and we saw things we'd have missed without their knowledge. I even learned a bit of the Cryllic alphabet - translation, pronunciation, etc., from Rozle.

    As for riding off on our own while on tour during the day - we did it plenty of times after telling them hasta la vista. Usually another bike or 2 would follow us as we led a mini-tour that ended up at the destination hotel.

    We'd go on a tour with Rozle or Matej anywhere anytime. In fact, we recommend Adriatic MotoTours to anyone who wants to see the real Balkans.

    Last month we bought a bike in Ireland to leave in Europe and we'll be joining one of their tours next year because the riding, the routes, food and hotels they arrange are top notch.

    This year it'll be just us riding 2-up in Ireland, southern Britain, France, Andorra, and the Spanish Costa Brava -with friends from Paris for the latter part of our trip. We'll leave our Euro bike with friends in Paris this year and ride it to Slovenia to go someplace with Matej and Rozle next year. We like their tours, we like them and the SMTours has always exceeded our highest expectations at every turn (and I'm tough to please, believe me). :thumbup

    **NO, they didn't pay for this endorsement. PM me if you want more specifics about one of the two tours we went on. If you ride Slovenia, don't miss the Brda region for great roads and fine wines.
    #9
  10. plotoman

    plotoman n00b

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    No it doesn't sound like they paid you. But it does sound like you are a friend of the owner.
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  11. Gorilla King

    Gorilla King Dobar Skorz!

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    I've done two tours with Adriatic. A self guided Slovenia and Dolomites the first time and just got back from the Tuscany, Sardian, Cosrica tour with Rozle as the guide. Sardinia and Corsica were pleasant surprises. Great roads and spectacular scenery.
    Who doesn't like Tuscany? :dunno

    Had great time both trips and will use them again. Matej, the owner is, big on customer feed back is always trying to improve his services.
    #11
  12. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    #12