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My mom had the good fortune of having a totally clear scan recently, and she couldn’t wait to celebrate. For her, a celebration is a perfectly planned trip somewhere. She wants to travel, but would prefer to just show up and have someone else take the reins. She tends to prefer a higher end tour operator with lots of culture and less than 30 people. Typically, she sticks with what she knows, but her usual tour operator sold out for the year. After various searches of what would work with her budget and time constraints, we settled on Classic Journeys for a tour operator.
Why Choose Classic Journeys?
At first, my mom was supposed to be traveling with my brother to somewhere in Europe. She was looking for the month of September, and something for less than ten days. Planning this in June, many of the tours for September 2019 were already sold out. We found a few Classic Journeys Tours that were available and called to speak with their customer service team. They confirmed that luxury lodging in 4-star hotels was the norm, and that all transfers and tours would be handled by a local guide.
My mom decided on a three country tour in Europe. When she went to book, she was told by Classic Journeys that she and my brother would be the first two to sign up for the tour and if there weren’t at least four people on tour, then it would be canceled. With flights getting more and more expensive, it was too much of a gamble.
Luckily, the customer service representatives of Classic Journeys were forthcoming about this requirement, and searched for viable alternatives that would secure a trip. They found a six-day trip to the province of Québec that met all of the criteria my mom was searching for: luxury accommodations, small group size, and an equal mix of cultural interaction and moderate physical activity. This Classic Journeys review will evaluate how well the actual tour compared to the planned itinerary.
Classic Journeys Review : Luxury Accomodations ? Yep.
Across our six-day trip, we stayed in three different hotels. In order to ensure our arrival for the start of the tour, we elected to arrive a day early. This allowed us to make our tour on-time and spend a little free time in our first destination, Québec City. When we told Classic Journeys about our need for an extra night at the first hotel, they were able to seamlessly add an additional night onto our stay, and adjusted the cost of our tour accordingly.
Of the three hotels we stayed at, two were part of a Québecois family of hotels named Le Germain. We previously had stayed at the modern, millennial-geared tier of Le Germain hotels, the Alt Hotel Montreal Griffintown. The flagship Le Germain hotels are nothing short of perfection. First, the rooms are pretty large, with plenty of room to put your luggage and toiletries. The showers and baths are gorgeous, with excellent water pressure, clean and updated facilities, and good lighting. Most importantly, the rooms were nicely soundproofed and the beds were outstanding. And I mean outstanding. Le Germain hotels partnered with Canadian department store Simons to design the ultimate luxury bedding and mattresses, specifically for Le Germain hotels. Each night, it felt as if we were nestling into a bed of cotton puffs, proportionately providing a firm support and enveloping softness.
Le Germain Québec is housed in a former stock broker office, next to the former commodities trading floor. High ceilings and rich wood trims are enhanced with up-to-date amenities and modern styling. In room Nespresso machines and nightly chocolate caramels on the bed were only outdone by the daily breakfast spread. Local cheeses, fresh muddled jams, and rabbit-apple rillet were Quèbecois additions to already decadent quiche, baked breads, and pastries. A comprehensive review would not be complete without a mention of the incredible staff at Le Germain Quebec City. Attentive and approachable, they greeted us by name each day, offered suggestions and enhancements to our meals, and were quick to offer complimentary umbrellas when rain was in the forecast.
The Le Germain Charlevoix however, was nothing like the classical building of its Quebec City brother. Located in a countryside farm, it housed not only the town’s train station, but also a 4-star Spa Nordique. Multiple buildings housed different styles of travelers: families, pet friendly, bathers, and business travel. In order to get a room with a bathtub, ask for a room in the Le Clou building. It is right behind the alpaca pen. What a treat it was to see those little guys frolick each morning!
Classic Journeys Review: Small Group Size? Is Five Small Enough?
Classic Journeys tours bill themselves as small group tours. That certainly was the case with our group! A total of five guests, including my mom and I, were on our tour. The ladies were all similar in age, over 60, and I was the youthful oddball. We gelled well together, and were able to explore different sights without any embarrassing flags or earpieces. Of note: if there are fewer than four people signed up for a tour, Classic Journeys has the right to cancel the tour and provide a full refund. Although unfortunate, it does mean that you should opt for a non-refundable flight.
Classic Journeys Review: An Even Mix of Cultural and Physical Activities
One of the non-negotiables when my mom tours is a nice mix of physical activity and cultural interaction. We weren’t able to read any Classic Journeys review that went too in-depth about the activities planned, so we hoped for the best.
Because Classic Journeys tailors tours toward the active, mature traveler, the physical activity varied between moderate and moderately hard! In six days, we logged 42 miles of walking, saw two national parks of Quebec, and went whale watching six km from shore. It certainly met my requirements for being active, but didn’t have me fatigued beyond my limits. While our visit to Les Hautes-Gorges was pretty flat, Les Grands Jardins was an intense climb! With differing levels of mobility on the trip, guests could participate in whatever portion of the hikes that they wanted.
Our active days sandwiched more passive, cultural jaunts. A visit to a cotton paper mill, whale watching, a cheese and wine farm, and a walking historical tour of Québec City were equal parts entertainment and education.
My Classic Journeys Review: Highly Recommend!
Taking a Classic Journeys trip with my mom was magnificent. Our local leader knew all the right detours, restaurants, and local outfitters to make sure our trip was a success. Six days was ideal for us, and so the Québec tour was a no-brainer. I highly recommend a trip with Classic Journeys.
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