5-day self-drive tour - Jun 10 - Jun 15, 2018

Traveler: Samuel A. - Local specialist: Preeti Bhide

My experience with kimkim looks a lot like the daily temperature chart on my weather app: high at the very outset when a friendly woman in Tennessee took down the personal particulars of our well-traveled four person group (whose ages ranged from 84 to 78), descending to a series of lows when the first agent assigned to our group persistently erred in the details of our trip (how many days and nights, how many days for car rental, etc., and ultimately sent us a final bill before ever providing us with an itinerary). The temperature graph went up dramatically when competent Preeti arrived on the scene, and stayed up during our first 4 nights in Iceland, all on the incredibly beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula. It’s hard to pick a single high point, but the setting and lunch at Budir, and the setting (amidst hundreds of breeding Arctic Terns in the fields and Kittiwakes in the cliffs) and the elegantly restrained rooms in the cottages at Arnarstapi, our lobster lunch at Hraun, and the wide, wide waterfalls at Hraunfossar and Barnafoss- these things come to mind immediately.
We were incredibly happy travelers, in fact, until having picked our way through a maze of small and smaller roads, we arrived in the rain at the doorstep of the Hotel Kriunes, replete in all its faded southwestern/Mexican splendor. Construction in progress, extremely unwelcoming owners, gloomy corridors, no handicapped access to the badly lit lower level, etc., etc. I’ve been through all this before at some length with Preeti, so refer you to that correspondence for details. Whatever Preeti and the owners may say or think (and i’m not sure whether Preeti has ever seen the place), the Kriunes was nowhere near the level of quality that any of our group would ever find acceptable, nor could the offer of a $50 discount and free sandwiches, or even free rooms, have ever made any difference. Preeti says it was three-star, and maybe it once was, but i have to say that the ambience of the place was positively disagreeable; it did not measure up in any way to the charming little places we stayed in all the other nights. So, not wanting to ruin our entire visit during an endless argument pitting my opinion against Preeti’s and the owners, we made alternate arrangements on the spur of the moment, cancelled our rooms, paid for our sandwiches, tipped the helpful women at the reception desk. And found our way to a very nice hotel in Reykjavik’s city center.
So what did we think of kimkim’s services? We loved almost every minute of our short stay in Iceland, and we have Preeti to thank for much of what we enjoyed, but the gigantic mistake with the Kriunes - and her failure to understand why we felt the way we did and most particularly her inability to fix things for us (she appeared to be taking the side of the hotel, not we who were her direct clients), leaves me with decidedly mixed feelings about what added benefit we got from kimkim’s management of our travel arrangements in Iceland. I hope to hear back from you.