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About Us

We’re an eclectic bunch who have a few things in common – a passion for city breaks, the niceties in life and great coffee. We also love working with people and providing an excellent, hands-on service. So we figured we should start up a business that combines our passions, and came up with Scertified Stays – Stays that guarantee you will enjoy your city break even more, because of the accommodation, and not in spite of.

We all occasionally get it badly wrong, misled by beautiful photos, only to arrive at our destination to discover the accommodation is nothing like described. Scertified Stays helps fellow travelers avoid the pitfalls of online bookings. Here’s a bit more about the people behind Scertified Stays:

Jules Kragen, President & Co-Founder

juleskragenJules began his career as an attorney for several prestigious California law firms but could never resist his other callings. An avid gourmet, he became the owner and CEO of one of San Francisco’s premier coffee importers and roasters. After visiting Europe for the first time in 1974 he became hooked on European travel. He has been actively renting vacation apartments since 2006. He co-founded European Vacation Experience in 2011 and then Scertified Stays. As President of the Scertified Stays Group, his main interest is in securing the high level of trust that rewards discerning travelers with a positive and rewarding experience. Jules is an active volunteer and board member with many organizations including Meals on Wheels and Living Jazz.


Ron Katz, Chief Scertification Officer & Co-Founder

ronkatz-250x250Ron is the author of three patents and a book, is responsible for product and business development. Ron has worked in travel and entertainment sectors for three decades. His early experience was with STA travel where he worked as a travel agent. Later he formed a joint venture with CTM, a travel data aggregator, and started his own firm providing financial transaction services to many sectors including hotels, international airlines and cruise lines. His company was among the first 25 non-bank firms in the United States to be certified as a Visa USA and MasterCard International Member Service Provider. His articles have appeared in a variety of travel and professional publications. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.


Lesley Anne Rubenstein-Pessok, Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder

lido-3Lesley studied electronics, natural sciences, medical sciences & business management, and spent all of her career working with technology and innovation led startups and SMEs, often becoming part of their team in order to help them to survive and grow. She established and managed three technology and innovation centers in the United Kingdom and overseas. Mostly she spends her time in international business development, creating strategic partnerships and managing special projects on behalf of her clients, as well as mentoring companies from startup through to turnaround & high growth. She loves keeping fit by following Ayurveda, dancing Zumba, Katak/Bollywood and weight-lifting at the gym. Her main vice is drinking way too much coffee!