My signs span a range of hotels, from the expensive (Burj Al Arab, Dubai) to the infamous (Excelsior Hotel, Little Rock, of Bill Clinton fame). Some I got while traveling, but the majority are from friends, many of whom have encountered unusual situations on my behalf: one was chased by a Laotian concierge while leaving with a carved-wood specimen; another took the notice from his neighbor's door and later heard shouting when housekeeping entered the room. Keeps's essay let me know I'm not the only one spellbound by these signs of our times.
—EDOARDO FLORES, TURIN, ITALY
Taking It to the Mattress
"Battle of the Beds" by Andrea Bennett [June] was informative. But what about the large percentage of the U.S. population with allergies?Down is one of the triggers of symptoms in afflicted persons, and hotels are mindlessly adding down pillows and duvets. Will they help me pay my medical bills?
—DIANE LABONTE, VIA E-MAIL
T+L TIP If you suffer from allergies, be sure to call ahead and alert the hotel to your needs.
In the Lufthansa Flight Report [Update, May], I found Laura Begley's comments overly critical. Today's air-travel experience leaves much to be desired, but when you fly business class and are served venison at 35,000 feet, that's something special. Sure, the venison may have been a bit bland, but our sense of taste and smell is reduced significantly at that altitude and there is neither a full kitchen nor a chef on board. And by the way, what kind of seasoned traveler goes on an international flight without hand lotion and lip balm?
—THOMAS MINNICH, THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF.
By the Book
I devoured Valerie Waterhouse's piece about secondhand bookshops in Scotland and Wales ["Shelf Life," May]. My travel companions groan every time we pass a used-book store, flea market, or antiques shop because they know I'll disappear for hours. There's something about leafing through old leather-bound volumes that I find irresistible. Was the book a special gift?Where did it come from before it landed on this particular bookshelf?On my next trip to the U.K. I plan to retrace Valerie's steps and visit all of these shops—the article is already torn out and ready to go.
—BETH ARVIDSON, LAKE ZURICH, ILL.
I was dismayed by the paean to smoking penned by Bruno Maddox in May's issue ["Smoke Across the Water," Update]. It is irresponsible to continue to portray smoking as glamorous and sophisticated. Unless there is something glamorous and sophisticated about lung cancer, emphysema, and the other very real consequences of smoking (to both the smoker and those unfortunate enough to be in the immediate vicinity), we should actually be applauding moves to curtail the practice—on both sides of the pond.
—JULIAN ASHER, OXFORD, ENGLAND
What's On Your Mind? This month we received an overwhelming response from readers to the T+L Martini Index [Update, May]. Some expressed sticker shock, while others shared prices from their favorite bars. We appreciate your feedback. Please let us know what other kinds of stories you'd like to read in Travel + Leisure.
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