Looking Back on Bodrum
Peter Jon Lindberg’s “Touring Turkey’s Bodrum Peninsula” was most interesting to me, but the glamorous beach resort he describes is not the Bodrum I remember: I arrived there on a sailboat while traveling with a friend from Alexandria, Egypt, to Piraeus, Greece. We hitched a ride with a student who spoke English and he took us to the top of a hill overlooking Bodrum where the pavement ended. Then, it was just a tiny fishing village. —Carl Bryant, Mercer Island, Wash.
Affordable Villa Rentals?
Is your “Best Villa Rental Agencies” for real? The perfect place in Tuscany for a mere $20,000 a week! Or perhaps a stay in Sicily for $50,850? How about including some more affordable options? —Sandra Mai, Jordan, Ontario
Editor’s Note: “Best Villa Rental Agencies” provided options for every budget (from $780 a week and up). While we did highlight many truly outstanding rentals, the companies listed also offer more affordable ones on their websites.
I enjoyed “Literary Guide to London;” however, I don’t understand how you could not include Hatchards, the city’s oldest surviving bookshop. It was founded in 1797 and holds three royal warrants. Hatchards is an institution, and one of my favorite places. —Christine Nelson, Las Vegas, Nev.
Verlyn Klinkenborg missed my favorite bookshop in London: Heywood Hill, in Mayfair. British writer Nancy Mitford worked there from 1942 to 1945 and effectively ran it when Heywood Hill was called up for war service. The two were great friends and corresponded regularly; some of their letters were even published in The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street, a terrific read. —Tillie Page Laird, Washington Depot, Conn.
Writer’s Response: Any reader who’s been to London will be able to add many favorite bookstores to those I mentioned. That’s the beauty of London for the book shopper—so much variety, so much specialization.
Hot Topic: Highway Robbery
To Pay or Not to Pay?
Before heading to Italy last year, I was warned about the possibility of returning home to find a ticket in the mail. I was a very cautious driver, but I recently noticed a $35 charge from the car-rental company—for providing my info to the police! Ten months later I haven’t received a ticket, but I understand that the clock is still ticking. If I do get fined, what would happen if I didn’t pay? In any case, I’m leery of ever driving in Italy again. —Karen Collum, Petaluma, Calif.
Mark Orwoll Replies: There are a few possibilities: the fine might be doubled and handed over to a collection agency; the rental company might pay it—and then bill you; or it might eventually be forgotten. Best of luck, and let’s hope this practice is abandoned in the future.
Congested in the U.K.
Last spring I rented a car in Edinburgh, to be dropped off in Manchester after a week in London, where it remained parked—so I was surprised to get a $145 fine from the city for “congest.” There wasn’t any contact information to dispute the charge—only an invoice from the rental company, which never warned me that you have to buy a special permit to drive into central London. —Murray Walker, via E-Mail
Best investment: a Garmin Nüvi 255W GPS ($180) for Europe, which has a map of traffic camera locations everywhere but Germany (where they’re outlawed) and alerts you when you’re approaching them. —Mark E. Haas, Houston, Tex.
Reader’s Find: A Sustainable Costa Rican Retreat
While driving around Lake Arenal last May, I came upon a sign for Rancho Margot (doubles from $140, including breakfast, a ranch tour, and yoga classes), a “self-sufficient organic ranch.” It’s also a totally off-the-grid resort with 18 beautifully appointed, terraced bungalows. It sits right on the lake, in the middle of a breathtaking river valley surrounded by 148,263 acres of forest. Yoga, horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, and rappelling are just some of the things you can do there. But what I found most inspiring about Rancho Margot is its sustainable approach. It creates its own electricity with hydroelectric turbines and uses energy generated by composting to heat water for showers and a pool (with a swim-up wet bar). Most of the food is produced on the ranch, which has a chicken coop for fresh eggs and a dairy where guests can help make cheese. I’d recommend this place to anyone looking for paradise off the beaten path. —Tomas Loebel, Daytona Beach, Fla.
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On the Beach, All the Time For our lists of top American beaches, affordable beach resorts, and seaside inns, go to TravelandLeisure.com/ideas/beaches-resorts.
Feel the Adrenaline Summer is here, which means it’s time to get outdoors and get moving. Find your next adventure—and top outfitters—at TravelandLeisure.com/ideas/adventure.
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T+L Asks: If You Could Live at Any Hotel in the World, Which One Would You Choose—and Why?
La Locanda di San Francesco (doubles from $265), a 14th-century palazzo, has the most magnificent views of the countryside. —Anne Bingham, Austin, Tex.
I’d love to wake up each morning with the sun shining into my cottage at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff (doubles from $650)—simple yet luxurious. —Blake Miller Vossekuil, Charlotte, N.C.
Las Casitas del Colca (doubles from $395, including meals and activities), in Colca Canyon. Fresh air, fantastic food, amazing spa, plus beautiful views. —Michelle Guy Nicholson, Fort Rucker, Ala.
I’d choose Grand Wailea (doubles from $564), on Maui. To swim in the ocean and sit under whispering palm trees every day would be magical. —Laurie Workman Malenfant, Colchester, Vt.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet (doubles from $585), a prison turned five-star hotel with the best beds—you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. —Caroline Roe, Madison, Wis.
Coming Next Month: If you were to plan an entire trip around food, where would you go—and what would you eat?
Your Hotels Hit List
Here, the most clicked-on hotels on TravelandLeisure.com at press time.
1. Kaawa Loa Plantation, Kealakekua, Hawaii
2. Hôtel l’Oursin, St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
3. Çirağan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul
4. L’Oustau de Baumanière, Les Baux de Provence, France
5. Relais Sant’Elena, Bibbona, Italy
6. Art’Otel, Berlin
7. W Retreat & Spa Maldives, Fesdu Island, the Maldives
8. Sapibenega—The Kuna Lodge, Panama
9. Cavallo Point—The Lodge at the Golden Gate, Sausalito, California
10. Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Lincolnville, Maine