From Philadelphia to Paris
What does it take to impress visitors to Philadelphia?A stay at the Rittenhouse Hotel [210 W. Rittenhouse Square; 800/635-1042 or 215/546-9000; www.rittenhousehotel.com; doubles from $380]. I read Francine Maroukian's article ["The Philadelphia Experiment," September] and agree with everything she wrote, but not with her omission of this great American hotel. My wife and I loved the exceptional service, the stunning new Lacroix restaurant, and the sublime massages at the spa. We both wish we had traveled to Philadelphia sooner.
—LAWRENCE TOLCHIN, WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Rittenhouse Hotel was featured in this year's T+L 500, an annual hotel guide that will appear again next month.
Thanks to Jim Glab for including Arizona's Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in September's Best Deals ["Romance in the Desert"]. After arriving at the resort, I took a guided sunset horseback ride, followed by a cookout under the stars. The next day—my birthday—I had a white-clay facial at the Aji Spa and enjoyed the sauna and steam room. I dined on the terrace of the Kai restaurant, where chef Sandy Garcia prepares indigenous foodsin a traditional French manner. Just thinking about my stay puts a smile on my face.
—PAUL LEWIS, WALNUT CREEK, CALIF.
The Spice Is Right
I've lived in Washington, D.C.'s 14th Street neighborhood for the past five years, and I was thrilled to see T+L giving us our due in the September issue ["New Kids on the Block"]. However, writer Lauren Paige Kennedy missed out by not visiting Ben's Chili Bowl [1213 U St. NW; 202/667-0909; dinner for two $10]. Not only is it the 1958 birthplace of the "chili half-smoke"—a lightly smoked sausage with spicy chile sauce—it's also the best example of how new Washington and old Washington happily coexist.
—JEFF BERMAN, WASHINGTON, D.C.
I was saddened to see that the World's Best Awards [August] ranked Cuba as the top island in the Caribbean. I emigrated from there in 1962, thanks to a visa waiver program, and have never returned. Every dollar a tourist spends goes into the hands of Fidel Castro. T+L readers are choosing a place that is best described as an island prison, where people have endured tyranny for the past 44 years.
—MANUEL DIAZ, WEST NEW YORK, N.J.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Our readers' high regard for Cuba should not be seen as an endorsement of Castro's policies, but as a celebration of the island's culture, architecture, and natural beauty. It is our hope that interest in the country will help improve the human rights situation there.
An Insider's Paris
Kate Betts's "Paris Modern" [October] was exquisite! It reminds me of what most of us who live here realize: no matter how long you stay, parts of Paris remain hidden from view. Her approach to the city, cherishing her past fashion haunts like Rue Madame while eagerly ferreting out the new "next great neighborhood," Rue Louise-Weiss, will spur me on to go to the Bibliothèque Nationale quarter soon.
—CHRIS CARD FULLER, PARIS, FRANCE
READERS' FINDS BRITISH COLUMBIA
My husband recently spent time on business in Vancouver before I joined him on our way to Alaska for a cruise vacation. He called home several evenings in a row, raving about Diva at the Met, a restaurant in the Metropolitan Hotel [645 Howe St.; 604/602-7788; dinner for two $90]. Chef Scott Baechler uses the freshest ingredients in his Pacific Northwest cuisine. The appetizer alone was worth the visit: Dungeness crab on a bed of watermelon and cantaloupe. We ate there again after our cruise—the perfect end to a great trip.
—KATHRYN GANN, NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I.
While touring Vancouver Island in August, I discovered Tigh-Na-Mara Resort [Parksville; 800/663-7373 or 250/248-2072; www.tigh-na-mara.com; doubles from $85]. I stayed in one of the new Jedidiah studios—a cozy log-cabin retreat with a stone fireplace and terrific forest views. Great service, meticulously kept grounds, and amenities such as biking, boating, and spa treatments made this one-night stopover a destination in itself.
—BRIDGET HUTCHINSON, PORTLAND, OREG.
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