Ask an Expert: T+L International Editor Mark Orwoll
Q: We want to rent a car in Europe. Have any money-savingtips? —Paul Demonte, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
A: You’ll find the best rates across the Continent by using a regional firm such as Sixt Rent A Car or Europcar. If you’re staying longer than three weeks, consider a cost-efficient short-term lease from AutoEurope (888/223-5555) or Renault Eurodrive (888/532-1221). Another option: joining Zipcar (866/494-7227) in the U.S., then picking up your ride in London, where loaners include Honda Insight hybrids and Audi A3’s (if you’re leaving the city, request a “vehicle on-hire” certificate from Zipcar a week before your trip). Lastly, you’ll save on fuel—and squeeze through medieval streets more easily—by choosing a small car.
Q: I’d like to book a charming hotel for my trip to the south of France. What do you recommend? —Priscilla Kauff, via e-mail
A: At the 15th-century Villa Mazarin, in the walled town of Aigues-Mortes (33-4/66-73-90-48; doubles from $172), rooms overlook a leafy central courtyard. Tiara Yaktsa (33-4/92-28-60-30; doubles from $334), in Cannes, welcomes guests with a drink of their choice upon arrival, while the cocktails at Café Marianne lure locals to Hôtel Juana (33-4/93-61-08-70; doubles from $375), at Cap d’Antibes, on the Côte d’Azur. Just up the shore, rooms in Hôtel Le Meurice (33-4/97-03-05-21; doubles from $170) recall the romanticism of Old Nice with stucco ceilings and Belle Époque lamps.
Q: Our annual trip to Cape Cod is coming up. Are there new restaurants thatwe should check out? —Suzanne Davis, Portland, Maine
A: In Dennis, Fin (508/385-2096; dinner for two from $85) is housed in a centuries-old “half Cape” house andspecializes in offbeat pairings (crab cakes with grapefruit mousse; swordfish and soba noodles). At the Cape Cod Center for the Arts, Summer Stock (Dennis; 508/385-8300; dinner for two from $60) has live music during dinner (try the Portuguese stew, made with locally caught cod and oysters and served with a grilled leek flatbread). Ten Tables Restaurant & Bar (Provincetown; 508/487-0106; dinner for two from $75) is the toast of P-town: owner Krista Kranyak sources everything—spring onion soup; braised pork cheeks—from her farmer and fisherman neighbors.
Q: Do you know of any great, small-ship cruises around New Zealand? —Ilene Aluma, Weston, Fla.
A: On Real Journeys’ two-day Fiordland Navigator (64-3/249-7416; from $410 per person, double occupancy), you can kayak the South Island’s Doubtful Sound with the world’s most agreeable tour guides: chattering bottlenose dolphins. Passengers on Coral Princess’s New Zealand Journey of Discovery (931/924-5253; 12 nights from $8,555 per person, double occupancy), aboard a 36-cabin ship, explore the volcanic isles of the far north and spot humpbacks in Kaikoura. And on Orion Expedition Cruise’s two-week New Zealand & Sub-AntarcticWildlife Adventure (877/674-6687; from $9,735 per person), guests see the rarely visited Sub-Antarctic Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where yellow-eyed penguins and 16-foot-high tree daisies dot the glacial landscape.
Plan a lake cruise on the Earnslaw, a 98-year-old steamer, or a half day of white-water rafting on the Shotover River.
Orion Expedition Cruises
Rarely seen orangutan preserves are part of the agenda with Orion Expeditions’ Faces in the Forest journey. Joining the passengers at Camp Leakey, in Kalimantan Tengah, is its founder, Dr. Birute Galdikas, who introduces guests to orangutan orphans and shares insights from decades of studying primate behavior. Other things to watch for? Hornbills and proboscis monkeys.