From the Bahamas to Barcelona
I loved the October issue of Travel + Leisure, especially Michael Gross's article about Harbour Island ["The New St. Bart's?"]. I went to Briland for the first time in 1986 at the age of 16. What initially seemed primitive to a teenager— there was no phone or television—soon became a relaxing paradise. My family and I went snorkeling and scuba diving at the Romora Bay Club, ate fresh conch salad while watching the sunset, and periodically lunched at Pink Sands, which had a TV in the bar, to catch up on the news. Harbour Island had a welcoming, small-town atmosphere. I look forward to returning and I only hope that it does not become too overrun by tourists.
—ALYLEEPER, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
Michael Gross's article about Harbour Island was a captivating read, but, as the son of Pink Sands founder J. Allen Malcolm, I must object to Philippa "Pip" Simmons's claim that her ability to attract the French fashion set to the Oceanview Club in the late 1970's put Harbour Island on the map. Opened in 1951, Pink Sands laid the foundation for tourism with a clientele that included movie stars and former prime ministers. Furthermore, island resident Basil Albury established the Dunmore Beach Club in 1963, and Brett and Sharon King have been receiving guests at the Coral Sands Hotel since 1968. The irony is that none of us is responsible for the island's success. As charming as our accommodations may be, the borderline-hysterical fascination with Briland would not be possible without the Bahamians themselves.
—RICHARD MALCOLM, HARBOUR ISLAND, THE BAHAMAS
Sin City Spa
I was so inspired by Guy Trebay's article on massages around the world ["Where's the Rub?" September] that I have to tell you about the Elemis Spa at the Aladdin Casino & Resort in Las Vegas [866/935-3647; www.aladdincasino.com]. I'm an aesthetician at the Peninsula Chicago and very picky when it comes to spas, so I was pleasantly surprised by the Elemis's approach. Each treatment incorporates techniques from 10 schools of therapy, from Chinese tuina to Hawaiian lomilomi. I enjoyed a coconut-and-milk-rub ritual float—during which the table dropped away and I "floated" on a water bed. And the spa's design—from arched doorways to intricate wall sconces—made me feel like a Moroccan princess.
—REBECCA TARAS, ELMHURST, ILL.
Thank you for your "Best of Barcelona" article by James Patrick Herman [May]. On his recommendation, we stayed at the wonderful Hotel Banys Orientals in the heart of El Born, a hip neighborhood with relaxed yet vibrant nightlife—the perfect place for people-watching and evening strolls. The restaurant next door, Senyor Parellada [37 Carrer Argenteria; 34/9331-05094; dinner for two $53], was an unexpected treat. The roast lamb with 12 heads of garlic was so moist it could be cut with a fork, and the bacalao in a delicate mousseline sauce was delicious.
—THERESA SARTORI, COLUMBUS, GA.
CORRECTION: The handbags pictured in "T+L's Ultimate Vintage Guide," on page 92 of the October issue, were misattributed; in fact, they are by Mary Frances Accessories (800/616-7776; www.maryfrancesaccessories.com.)
READER'S FIND FLORIDA
I first visited Fort Walton Beach in northwestern Florida in 1993, and the town's hospitable nature and beautiful coastline have kept me coming back ever since. In 1999, my mother and I spotted a small restaurant called Caffè Italia [189 S.E. Brooks St.; 850/376-0463; dinner for two $56]. Che bella sorpresa! The food and wine—penne with shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes, plus hard-to-find northern vintages—made us feel as if we'd never left Italy. The backyard garden terrace is our favorite place to dine, surrounded by roses and hibiscus. I return to Caffè Italia almost every year; I feel lucky to have discovered this hidden pearl.
—CRISTINA MINIUCCHI, CASTIGLIONE DELLE STIVIERE, ITALY
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