Gini Alhadeff’s piece on Egypt [“Cruising the Nile by Luxury Riverboat”] brought back memories of our trip to the country last year. My wife and I traveled on the Movenpick with Gate 1 Travel, led by a terrific guide who had a master’s in Egyptology. Whenever the captain docked, we toured neighboring boats. There is such a variety, and as Alhadeff describes, the steamer is an experience in itself. —Lorelee Mogg, Moraga, Calif.
Thank you for “2008 Worldwide Guide to Tipping”—especially Peter Post’s emphasis that diners should tip “even if the soup ended up in someone’s lap.” Not mentioned is another reason to reward your server: waiters often have to “tip out” as much as five percent to support staff such as food runners. So if a server has generated $1,000 for service tips on a given day, five percent of that is $50 in tip-outs. Clearly, a 15- to 20-percent gratuity is more than appreciated. It’s their livelihood. —D. Nicole Mccoy, Plantation, Fla.
I have no problem tipping for good service, but when did the gesture become required?If staff members live off their tips because their employers don’t pay enough, patrons shouldn’t be asked to make up the difference. —Sam Giamendi, Los Angeles, Calif.
Austrian Favorite Revealed
We wish you hadn’t exposed our secret hideaway in “Austria’s Traditional Cuisine.” We stayed at Christopher Petkanas’s pick, Burg Oberranna, on the way to Vienna two years ago, and were so taken by it that we almost canceled the second leg of our journey to extend our stay. The 16th-century building’s mural ceilings and downstairs chapel are beautiful. —Mark, Sherri, and Caitlin Mcintyre, Houston, Tex.
2008 World’s Best Sweepstakes Winners!
Flynn and Jo Ellen Fuller from Vienna, Virginia, won one of two first-prize dream trips. Here, a brief account of their 10 days in Dublin and the Irish countryside, planned by a T+L A-List travel agent.
This was our first visit to Ireland, and staying at Barbertown Castle and Castlemartyr was the way to go. At the first property, we were escorted to an exquisite room with a four-poster bed, antiques, and a crystal chandelier. We celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary that night, toasting with wine and veal paired with potatoes and sweet onions. At Castlemartyr, the service was exceptional: we were greeted by our own (very dapper) valet, and the staff knew us by name. Our favorite adventure—a drive through the Dingle Peninsula—was suggested by Carol Cornell from Covington Travel, our T+L A-List travel agent. We spotted sheep on the sprawling meadows, visited Celtic churches and, of course, the Blarney Stone.
Watch this page for more on the 2009 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Sweepstakes.
Reader’s Find: Paris
On our latest stay in France this summer, my wife and I discovered a charming restaurant called La Corte (dinner for two $140), located in the city’s hip Golden Triangle. It’s not visible from the street: one enters through a doorway into a courtyard adjacent to the intimate 16-table restaurant. We had a marvelous dinner of calamari over arugula, and striped bass. The next evening we returned and feasted on one of the many seasonal specials, baked clams, and a fresh fruit salad with amaretto for dessert. —S. Edmund Resciniti, New York, N.Y.