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Wellington Society; Stephen Drake-Jones

Mr. Drake-Jones of the supposed Wellington Society cast a pall on our otherwise marvelous two-week holiday in Spain.

A month in advance, five of us arranged to partake of his Hemingway walking tour (including tapas and wine) of Madrid. We paid him 400 euro in advance. He confirmed shortly thereafter and noted that "the Society's January Calendar (is) in front of me and down for the 3rd is my singular Hemingway´s Madrid tour."

When the day came, we raced from Barcelona to Madrid by train. We waited at the appointed place (in our hotel lobby) at the appointed hour (7:00 p.m.).

Infuriatingly, Mr. Drake-Jones never appeared to give us the tour. While we were cooling our heels, we emailed him, tried to text him and left a voice mail on his phone- all to no avail. Finally, after waiting nearly an hour, we struck off on our own on a Saturday night to find a place to dine and wonder what could have been.

When Mr. Drake-Jones finally contacted us he had some lame excuse for standing us up, but at the same time, trying to deflect his absolute culpability, referred to it as a "mix-up." . He claimed internet issues- an excuse belied by his previous month's message that he had written us into his calendar. There was no "mix-up." He chose to do something else and would not take responsibility for it.

After a week, we were finally partially refunded our money. I say "partially" because, despite repeated requests (to which we did not even receive a lip service reply) to reimburse us for our direct out-of-pocket expenses and the significant exchange rate differential between when we paid him and his delayed refund, we received nothing.

Mr. Drake-Jones is not someone to whom you should trust your enjoyment of the fine city of Madrid. Our disappointment and anger is palpable and continues to this day. Drake-Jones and his Wellington Society showed us to be untrustworthy and, later, even disingenuous.

To paraphrase Papa, "It was not a good night in Madrid, and that was it."

Posted by
2 posts

Unfortunately judgeslavin has chosen to try and convict Mr Drake-Jones without presentation of facts. Below is one of the communications that Mr. Drake-Jones sent to the reviewer. Please take a look other recent posts on this and other forums. Rick Steve's continues to trust and recommend the Wellington Society of Madrid and if you join one of his tours will find out why.

I realize how disappointed you and your family were that I was not there at the agreed upon time. I did in fact lose, for the first time, my on-line scheduling system for a short period of time. When contacted, I responded immediately and went directly to the hotel, but you had understandingly, made alternate plans for this, your last evening in Madrid. There was never any question about refunding your money, which was completed within a week and accompanied by a note of apology. It is important to me that I lead my life with high moral and ethical standards and find your characterization upsetting and without basis.

Posted by
22892 posts

I appreciated your comments as someone who has taken a couple of Mr. Drake-Jones tours. It did sound a little out of character. But things happen. I am always a little suspicious of posters who first posting on this site is a long rant about something that went wrong. And you know there is always a couple of sides to a story. If he paid 400 euro and received 400 euro back as you claim, then how is that a partial refund?