Testimonials 2017-10-25T03:33:38+00:00

Testimonials from Non Profits:

“As the director of a small nonprofit that is constantly fundraising, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sojourn Ventures for over 5 years now. Working with Stacey and Rob has been easy for us and the packages generate a great return on our investment. I’ve spoken with many donors (including my in-laws) who have purchased trips to either Italy or Bali and they report that both Stacey and Rob are on point and always go the extra mile to help the traveler feel well taken care of and prepared to travel”.

– Pete MacFadyen, Executive Director , Big Sky Youth Empowerment, Bozeman, MT

“Sojourn Ventures offers beautiful properties to enhance our fundraising events.  We have worked with the Sojourn Ventures team for a number of years, and Stacey and Rob have been professional, timely in their responsiveness and helpful with our fundraising.  All of our guests who have stayed in the Sojourn Ventures properties have been delighted with their experiences.

We are grateful to have partners like Sojourn Ventures! Thank you, Stacey and Rob!”

– Derenda Schubert, Ph.D., Executive Director

“Our House of Portland was delighted to spotlight the Casa San Marco property, presented by Sojourn Ventures, at our 2013 auction.

Known for incredible travel experiences, our guests have come to expect exceptional destinations at our auction and Stacey and Rob didn’t disappoint!

When this package was presented you could feel the energy in the room change – people had been waiting for this opportunity.  The bidding was shift and impressive.  Thanks to the flexibility of booking we were able to sell four packages resulting in a record breaking Live Auction.

Since the event, Stacey and Rob have been a delight to work with and all our supporters who have worked with them and stayed at Casa San Marco only come back with praises.

At Our House, we cannot wait to work to Sojourn Ventures again and offer even more exciting travel packages for our guests.”

-Andrew Tweedie, Our House Director of Development, Portland OR

“I have been co-chairing the charity auctions for the San Diego Alzheimer’s Association for six years. I understand the challenge to provide to attendees unique items to purchase that also net a nice profit for the organization. Two years ago, our committee began including villas in Italy and Bali that are managed through Sojourn Ventures Properties. They have proven to be an excellent product that meets both of our goals. Bidding is energetic and people are excited by the notion of traveling to a luxury accommodation the country of their dreams.

During the two years, our organization sold a total of fifteen weeks. Approximately half went to Bali, half to Italy. My co-chair and her extended family had an amazing reunion in Cortona, Italy and plan to head to Bali in 2012. My husband and I, along with three other couples spent a week last April at Villa Paradiso located in Amed, Bali. The property is beautiful, very luxurious and spacious. This experience was like none we had ever previously enjoyed. The staff kept the fridge stocked with cold beer and made sure every crazy wish we could come up with came true. We asked to be dropped at the beginning of a hike and picked up a different location. Response, “We can do that.” We wanted a feast for ten on our back patio.

We were ridiculously spoiled by week’s end and plotting how to return.

On a more practical topic, we found Stacy and Rob to be very easy to work with. They respond in a timely and informative manner. Our organization put no money up front. We were expected to meet their reserve prices only after our event was concluded. They allow two years to use the prize, rather than the customary one year. All of this just took the worry out of including these items in our auctions. I recommend them and Sojourn Ventures Properties without hesitation.”

– Lyn S. Granger, San Diego Alzheimer’s Association

Testimonials from Bali Guests:

“First off let me say that Bali was on the bucket list and the country in no way failed to meet our expectations. Just a beautiful island and people. We went for 16 days staying 8 days in Nua Dusa and the rest in Amed at the Villa. Our stay at the Villa was beyond real. The minute we walked in to the grounds we were blown away. The staff had flower pedals on the steps spelled out “Welcome to Villa Paradiso. The pool, the bedrooms, the courtyard, private cottage with outdoor shower which I used often and of course the staff were truly amazing. I have an 8 and 11 year old and they played in the pool everyday. We felt honestly like royalty as the staff were always there to help us for anything. Komang Asih is kind of the main contact for food and anything else you need in the Villa. She is just a truly wonderful person. My kids even played with her son. Wis from across the street at Pazzo which is their sister restaurant is a great guy too. He helped for getting snorkeling gear and anything else we needed. Then there was Adi our driver. He was there on our beck and call. We made daily trips to snorkel and see the water palace which is a must see. The massages which are done right there in the courtyard were also incredible. The Balinese people and culture are so affectionate and family oriented its infectious. But truly we all felt the people in Amed had such a laid back, carefree and above all “good” quality to them that we felt we just lived there. I think thats what you want from a vacation to another country.

Rob, Stacey, and Wayan Menu who own / run the place have something really special here. I highly recommend the Villa or Golden Buddha which is on the same grounds. If you plan to go to Amed then this is the place to stay. The whole experience is truly unreal and the staff make it just perfect in every way. We plan to go back for sure!

The pictures don’t do it justice. Seeing the place is believing :)”

–Ron T, Portland OR

“Hi there,
I just wanted to send a follow up with feedback on our stay. We had the best time at Villa Paradiso. The villa was beautiful and the staff was extraordinary. Komang (I think that’s how you spell her name-sorry, Bali names are difficult) was beyond fantastic. That girl went above and beyond. Aldi? (our driver) was so helpful and drove us around and the other girls on the property were wonderful. They taught me how to make the little offerings basket and showed me how to make those beautiful flower crowns. They let us borrow sarongs and Komang let me wear one of her personal Balinese shirts the night of the full moon dinner.

I can’t believe she brought her family out to perform for us and the special dinner that night was great starting off with the blessing at the temple and the food. She decorated the table outside with these beautiful banana leaf decorations, and I brought back some of the decorations to hang around my house. We had coffee across the street at the restaurant and the staff was wonderful there, and we had dinner at Apa Kabar one night, too. We trekked out to the white temple, went snorkeling and everyone was so helpful getting us set up and helping us get around.

Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about the accommodations and staff. I love Bali so much. The people are so wonderful. I hope we can go back. Not sure if I can get it in another auction, but I hope so, because we would love to return. Thanks so much to everyone for all your help getting us set up and for picking us up and dropping us at locations other than the airport.”


“Thank you so much for the hospitality during our honeymoon stay at the Golden Buddha. Our driver was great at getting us to The Golden Buddha from the airport and attending to our travel needs throughout our stay, including arranging trips to the beach for snorkeling, to Ubud shopping district, elephant riding and cultural exposures; but especially a predawn fishing trip with an experienced and fun guide. We caught 4 Mahi-mahi and the staff at the Golden Buddha prepared one for dinner – It was an all around awesome experience!

The actual stay in the beautiful chateaux, with access to the pool, the poolside bar and the excellent food from the onsite restaurant – was a dream come true. The staff was so attentive, entertaining and yet provided that feeling that we were the only ones there. It truly is one of Bali’s hidden golden treasures: The Golden Buddha!

Thank you for a wonderful honeymoon spot and experiences to remember the rest of our lives! Hope to return again!

–Erich and Katie

“Hi Rob,

WE ARE BACK!   We had such an incredible time at your Golden Buddha Resort.  Everything was so perfectly suited to a relaxing, enjoyable vacation for us.  We very much relished time with the other guests who had purchased their packages at varying non-profit fundraising events.  We shared email addresses and have been corresponding since our return home!

As you can well imagine, we adored Komang and all the staff, the massages were heavenly, Rio (our main driver) was so reliable and informative, the breakfasts were a treat every morning…….I could go on and on and on!  But suffice it to say, we can’t thank you enough, not only for our experience, but also for the generosity you have bestowed upon so many non-profits.  What a gift!

–Dave and Sally

“My husband Steve and I were lucky enough to have the winning bid for a week’s stay at the Golden Buddha Resort when we attended NW Dance Project’s annual fundraising gala in Portland back in 2015.  We made the trip this past September and had an amazing experience.  The resort is lovely and what made our stay extraordinary were two things – the staff (especially Komang) and the good friendships that spontaneously emerged with the other guests – all of whom had winning bids at fundraisers across North America.  To this day, we still follow each other on Instagram.  Two events were especially memorable – the cooking class that Komang and the staff led for us and one other couple and the special dinner as we all prepared to take our leave.  We have incorporated Balinese meals into our weekly meal plans and have used the recipes and techniques for nights when we cook for friends and family – to amazing reviews.  Many of these same recipes were part of the special dinner, which truly was special – from the decorations to the food to the warmth and appreciation of the staff, and most uniquely, the young women who came and performed traditional Balinese dance for the 10 of us.  We will always cherish the memories of our stay, so I wanted to be sure to let you know the impact that this aspect of your business – supporting fundraising activities for non-profits has had for us as individuals and the money it raised for an organization that I believe in.

–Jane Tighe, NW Dance Project Board Member

Just spent 5.5 days in the beautifully charming Villa Paradiso in Amed. The staff was warm and welcoming from the moment we arrived, greeting us with local fruits and cool tropical drinks. The staff were unobtrusive in our private villa while still tending to every detail.

We were welcomed to a private, well-appointed villa decorated in flowers, and the hospitality continued throughout our stay. We were included in local customs such as the full moon prayer festival and an artfully-prepared farewell dinner that included traditional Balinese dancing by some beautiful local children.

The Villa itself is quite lovely, with local art and a stunning private pool. The lush grounds provide poolside shade and allow a peek at the local flora and fauna with flowering trees, butterflies, birds, and the occasional gecko. But more than this, the trip was made most memorable by the warmth and generosity of the staff, who made us feel more like guests in their own home. We were even taught a few local words and greetings! We leave with a bit of sadness, tempered by the many happy memories and warm thoughts of our new friends.”

Chad E. Becker and Dr. Shelly Van Scoyk

“I just wanted you to know what a great time we had in Bali.  Villa Paradiso was very comfortable and had all the amenities we needed.  As much as we enjoyed the villa and relaxing by the perfectly maintained grounds and pool, it was your staff that really made it special.  What a great group of dedicated and caring people.   We cannot say enough about the quality of service and attentiveness.  We all fell in love with the ladies at Pazzo Restaurant who went out of their way to make sure we had exceptional service.  The food there was so good that we seldom felt the need to visit other restaurants. From the banana pancakes for breakfast to the fresh fish for lunch and dinner, we all were extremely pleased with each meal.  Whenever we were ready to venture out, one of the young men from your staff was always available to take us wherever we wanted to go.  The location near several world-class diving sites made the entire experience one we will always appreciate.  Our entire group looks forward to visiting again in the future.”

Phil and Angie Fogg, Portland OR

“I have recently returned from my travels to Bali and Lombok and loved every moment of my time in Amed. Golden Buddha is an AMAZING place and I am so grateful that you connected me to Wayan and his people. Not only was the stay lovely, but the people of Amed, in particular the people at Golden Buddha/Pazzo/Apa Kabar, were so wonderful to me and showed me the best that Amed and Bali have to offer.

One night I was treated to an amazing Balinese evening, including a delicious traditional dinner, Balinese decor and two very special dances performed by several lovely and beautiful local girls…the experience brought tears to my eyes and made me fall more in love with the country. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and treatment of the staff towards me.  Having traveled the world as a single female, I was touched by the attention of the staff…from making sure I was always comfortable, that I was well fed and that I made it back to the property safely every evening – this was above and beyond expectations.  I felt like the staff took me under the wings and made sure I enjoyed experiencing the local vibe, hanging out at Pazzo, going to their local hangouts rather than just where the tourists spend time and soaking up the relaxing lifestyle Bali has to offer.

I can’t thank you, Wayan and all the people of Amed enough for offering me such an amazing experience…I hope to return some day!!  And I will certainly forward Sojourn Ventures information to any and all of my friends that may get the travel bug!!”

– Christl Holtzel, Sun Valley

“We won an auction for a week in Bali and spent Christmas week 2013 there.  I just wanted to let you know that our stay was beyond wonderful.  In fact our week in Amed was the best part of our trip.  The people who worked at Golden Buddha and Pazzo were amazing.  The special dinner was our best in Bali.  The food was incredibly delicious and all the work that went into decorating was awesome.  Our daughter Jai enjoyed helping make some of the decorations.   We so enjoyed the dancing as well.  We didn’t want to leave and it has been a bit hard to adjust back to our life in Alaska!!  It was one of our best vacations ever.”

Jami Earsley

“My wife and I have traveled to many destinations in the world over the years. This April we had  the opportunity to go to Apakabar Villas in Amed, Bali. In one visit, this has become one of our top two destinations in the World to visit. The friendliness of the people and the beautiful surroundings are just amazing. It is a wonderfully peaceful place that takes you back in time. The Villas are a perfect blend of rustic comfort that represent the true feel of the island and are well maintained. The staff goes out of their way to make sure your needs were always taken care of and create a sense of ‘family’ throughout your stay.

We quickly befriended some of the local fisherman that keep their boats on the beach in front of the Villas. They generously took us fishing,snorkeling and sailing Balinese style. We visited homes and met their families and got a better understanding of their daily lives.

We were also able to enjoy the surrounding country side, hiking in the hills and visiting local markets and various temples. Time stood still during our time on Bali. All of the people we met so impressed us that we  decided to bring our children back so they would have a chance to experience Bali and the people too. We have already booked the Villas for April 2013!

I would highly recommend staying at Apakabar Villas and slow life down for awhile.  ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL.”

– Greg Jones

“Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the Villa in Amed.  What a great house you have.  I would definitely like to go back sometime.  As there was only two of us, we certainly felt like we had enough space.  We decided to sit at each location, the back yard, both the front and back areas upstairs and of course made good use of the pool.

We named the gecko Larry, just as an FYI…and then it turned out that Larry had family.  The people at the restaurant were lovely and fun to hang with.  It turns out that they liked our music, so I was bringing them over my CD’s for their listening pleasure.  It was cute to see how they lit up with the music. I am going to burn the CD’s and send to them, so next time you go, if you hear Sugarland or Blake Shelton you can thank the two girls from Washington. We did however want to strangle the frog in the front yard, who felt is necessary to croak all night…. Again, just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed your home away from home.”

–  Cheryl Fisher

“Hi Rob!  The trip to Bali was wonderful!  Even on crutches, we did about everything you could do!  The villa was wonderful with the pool steps away and especially the beach so close that we could watch the comings and goings of the locals.

Wayan the driver was absolutely the best and also the little gal in the restaurant were people you can be extremely proud of.  All those we met were beyond kind and helpful.  All your staff did a great job.  The trips out and about around the hills in the little van was perfect for our group of 6. My daughter asked if they were to go would I recommend this place and I said absolutely.  It is away from the commercial areas and laid back and perfect and the things you see are more typical than than hustle and bustle of Denpasar area.  We went to the water palaces, elephant ride, markets, temples, (I climbed all the way on crutches, because I didn’t realize how far it was.) Snorkeling, dinners out and at your place, were wonderful…prices very cheap!  Massages and Bensing and water to  cool off in…we all had a great time.  We would definitely stay at your place again and we would highly recommend it to anyone!  We met others at the villa from our area to and they seemed equally as happy at your place as we were.”

–Patsy and gang

“Thank you and all the Apakabar staff for a wonderful stay. From the diving, to the sightseeing, to the spa treatments, to the food – to the sketches that I created and photos!   Great trip and so relaxing.  I am telling everyone in Seattle that I know and will be sure to send them your way.”

– Melanie

“Thank you so much for an amazing experience in Bali.  As a business owner, I know how much great employees mean to any business.  Your staff is incredible!!! Each and everyone of them went above and beyond to make our stay memorable.  I know you consider them all family and after our stay, we do too. I wish all of you the best and hopefully I will be in touch soon about arranging our next trip to your home in Italy.”

Sharon Ramirez

“Well we’re back from Bali and missing the beautiful villa, the pool and more importantly the folks who took care of us during our stay. You have a great staff, we are especially fond of Rege, Dex, Koman and Rio, they really made us feel at home. We left behind new friends, thank goodness for Facebook!

And this year at the Dress for Success I bid on one of your Italy apartments. We’re hoping to go in the spring next year. I’m not sure which one as I haven’t received the certificate yet but we were thinking late May.”


“WOW. First, thank you for making your home available. Our group had an amazing trip and wonderful vacation.  Your properties and team in Amed are world class. I just got back after 3 weeks on that amazing island, what a paradise. I have already begun work on the story (which will run in this falls magazine) and the Amed stories will dominate!

I cannot tell you enough time how thankful we are for the people you have working for you in Amed, they made our trip extra special.”


Testimonials from Italy Guests:

“To Sojourn Ventures and Together in Tuscany~

The trip to Tuscany was OUTSTANDING!

The entire team at Together in Tuscany was superb!

Arrival was friendly even though they had many arrivals at the very same time. They handled it well, taking us on to the villa and meeting us there later to go over the paperwork. The tours and driver arranged were VERY well done – they genuinely heard the types of places we would like to visit and accommodated those wishes. The driver was superb – he was with us all week. The chef that came for the cooking lesson was just darling – very fun and enjoyable! I truly cannot say enough good. My husband was “on the fence” about the trip – initially just went for me….he ended up having one of the best trips ever!

Denyse has put together such a great team and she is excellent at what she does.

The owners of the villa was so hospitable and made themselves available in a friendly welcoming way.

Altogether SPLENDID!

“I just wanted to tell you that your Villa is simply out of this world!!  Our family was elated with the beauty, the view, and with Cortona itself.  We had an outstanding time…Christmas dinner around the table was such a treat.  We cooked, laughed, drank Asti, and ate!!  Thank you for making this available through the Blanchet auction.  I probably would never have discovered it otherwise.  My hope is that we can rent it from you again in the future!!!  Dolce Maria was fabulous as well. Paola was so accommodating and nice to us; her dinner was out of this world.  We really bonded with her!!  Denyse was wonderful as well, so our whole experience was outstanding!!”

– Gayle Caldarazzo

“Hello Denyse and Guilia!!

Thank you for helping make our time in Cortona so wonderful.  It was an amazing and special trip for our family and we have come away with so many great memories!!

I wanted you both to know how much we all enjoyed the tour guides you set up for us.  Janet, who lead us on the wine tours in Montepulciano, was so much fun and so knowledgeable.  We loved the little town and our lunch that day was delicious!

Marco, who took us through Florence, was also lots of fun and taught us so much about the city.  We loved his accent and will always remember how he lead us through the crowds – loved using the microphones!  Again, lunch and wine were outstanding!

Pete and Hayley and I had the most wonderful day in Rome with Giuliano.  Certainly well worth the cost of the tour – amazing!!  We feel like we made a friend in him – I would certainly give him five stars for his tour!

And, of course, Enzo and his son, made our touring and getting around so easy.  We all felt very special being chauffeured around by them!  We will all remember our cooking class with Ivan as being an amazing evening with so much delicious food – thank you, too, Denyse for being there that night as well!

Always happy to be home but we will never forget Cortona and staying in such a special spot.  Casa San Marco was a little piece of heaven!  Hugs.”

– Susan Anderson

“We have just returned from our visit to Cortona and our one week stay at Casa di Bacco (Oct 4-11).  It was a truly enjoyable experience.  All our expectations were exceeded.The planning assistance provided by Denyse and Guilia was helpful and greatly appreciated.  Most of the interaction was via Guilia, who did an outstanding job! We would highly recommend Sojourn-Ventures and Together in Tuscany to our friends and other interested parties.”

David Wilson 

“Our stay at Sojourn Venture’s property in Cortona was amazing! With the helpful guides written by Stacey and Rob, we were able to experience Cortona like the locals do. From giving us the insider tip on where the best butcher and produce could be found to how to best experience the rich culture and history of Cortona. Our accommodations were impeccable – a beautiful apartment right in the heart of town. What’s more, when the unexpected befell us and we were in need of a Doctor, Stacey made herself available to us by phone to help us navigate medical care. Thank you Stacey and Rob for your hospitality and for introducing us to our new favorite city in Tuscany!”

– Niki and Vince Yarnot, Snohomish, WA

“Your place is wonderful.  Cortona is a gem.  Ivan is a gem.  He had his mama make us ALL some homemade pasta and a yummy cake, plus her homemade basil pesto, which was to die for.  Thank goodness there are all those hills to walk or I would have come back 10 lbs. heavier. Our cooking class was so much fun.  Celebrated four birthdays.  Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The memories my family and I made those 2 weeks no one could put a price on.  So very, very special.”

Virginia Kantor

Just wanted to let you know what a splendid time we had in the medieval fairy tale town of Cortona!  We have the most wonderful memories to get us through our often dreary Pac. NW winter and spring.  I think we walked the whole town over and enjoyed every street and establishment.  We introduced ourselves to all the locals and their establishments. Although I think they are used to hearing about you, they always smiled.  What a delightful group of people.  When our rented car broke down  and we decided that we were not going to use that mode of transportation, the local travel agency put us on their winetasting tour of the little towns nearby, so without driving we did end up seeing the countryside as well as tasting the best wines of the region.  What a great vacation!  The weather was perfect every day. Thank you for all your great tips and expertise.  We have many notes about other places around the Cortona area we are curious to visit and can’t wait to go back

–Jean and Michael Best

“Thank you so much for our wonderful stay at Casa Bacco.  It was a very relaxing and fun week.  We spent hours eating wonderful cheeses, meats, breads, and pasta and drinking wonderful vino in the kitchen at Casa Bacco, all purchased from the great shops in Cortona.  We loved exploring every part of Cortona and meeting some of the locals.   The unique shops and the wonderful restaurants were truly charming.  The information you sent us really helped us enjoy our stay.  Italy is such a beautiful place to visit we cant wait to come back. Denyse was a great help in getting us settled and with taxi arrangements. And Miro was very helpful and patient with us (our Italian is a bit limited), making the villa a warm and inviting place for us to stay.”

-John and Cheryl Beem