I really enjoyed Charles Gandee’s story on reinventing the budget hotel. As a twentysomething who likes to travel, I can tell you that Ace’s philosophy is right on. While I don’t need to be pampered, I definitely appreciate good design. Hopefully more hoteliers will follow their lead and recognize that “cheap” and “chic” are not mutually exclusive. —Sara Himeles, Ridgewood, N.J.
To Steal or Not to Steal?
Lynn Yaeger’s article about swiping hotel amenities brought to mind the wonderful coconut bath products from Caneel Bay that I took home with me after a trip to the Virgin Islands 13 years ago. They smelled like the actual fruit—not sickeningly, artificially sweet—and allowed me to appreciate the lingering scent of paradise back home. I confess I put the containers in my suitcase each day so that house-keeping would keep replacing them! —Caroline Wallinger, Charleston, S.C.
Please explain the difference between Bernie Madoff’s ideas about stealing and the ones presented in your “Stealing Hotel Amenities: Right or Wrong?” story. At what point does right become wrong? The article is cute, but that doesn’t rationalize anything. Staying at a hotel does not mean that its property is yours. —Norman Hurwitz, Miami, Fla.
By the Seashore
I loved seeing the Oregon coast in your June issue, but you missed a great restaurant: Yummy Wine Bar & Bistro (dinner for two $65), in the Gilbert district of Seaside. I know, I know—Seaside is the land of honky-tonk, not high cuisine, but this place stands out with a local, seasonal theme: the dishes, wines, and artworks in the adjoining gallery all come from the area and change four times a year. Give it a try, won’t you? —Tracy Chang, Seattle, Wash.
Art of the Deal
I tried your online hotel-booking tips while planning a trip to the southern coast of the U.S., and must say that I’ve uncovered better deals than the ones on cheapostay.com. In my experience, if you put in some time and effort, you’ll find the best prices through the hotels’ own websites. I check my favorites every day to see when rates drop and also register to receive e-mails about specials. I’ll admit that I spend hours doing research, but to me, it’s worth it. —Larene Odell, Kuna, Idaho
Shane Mitchell’s article on hotel cheeseburgers was a great idea. They’re just so satisfying. My favorite is the Kobe-beef-and-cheddar burger at Surf and Sand Resort (lunch for two $70), in Laguna Beach. It’s plump, juicy, and served with garlic-herb pommes frites–style fries. —Dean Lycas, Poway, Calif.
As a longtime Travel + Leisure reader, I noticed that my favorite restaurant has never been noted in your magazine and is missing from your online listings. I discovered it while vacationing in Valencia last year. It’s called Kaymus (dinner for two $80), near the new stadium in the city’s business district (it has a separate VIP lounge with wireless Internet and plasma TV’s). Chef Nacho Romero, originally from Valencia, has worked in top kitchens throughout Spain and Switzerland. In this stylish, modern space, he shines with traditional Mediterranean dishes, including a rossejat of fried noodles with Iberian ham and extraordinary desserts like chocolate soup with caramelized pear and coconut sorbet. And the paella is excellent. I highly recommend it. —Olga Danilove, Bat Yam, Israel