Our family of four recently stayed at Venice's Romantik Hotel Metropole (39-41/520-5044, fax 39-41/520-3679; doubles $211-$398). Our room was elegant and spacious and filled with antiques, yet it had completely modern amenities. Overlooking the lagoon not far from San Marco, the 1910 building stands on the site of an orphanage for girls where Antonio Vivaldi served as music master in the 18th century. The buffet breakfast, included in the rate, was magnificent, and the entire staff was charming and very helpful. The management even exerted its influence to assist us in a dispute with a Venetian merchant.
Bennett and Janice Ojserkis
New York, N.Y.
Burgundy's Noble Bird
Christopher Petkanas's story on the food of Burgundy ["Straight to the Source," October] was a refreshing change -- for once, the region's cuisine didn't take a back seat to the wine. The one thing he missed is the wonderful poulet de Bresse, the only breed of chicken with its own appellation d'origine.
Kent St. John
Stretching It on St. Bart's
As a certified yoga instructor, I found Ilene Rosenzweig's description of the Yoga Wave getaway on St. Bart's ["Karmic Caribbean," October] disgraceful. "The trend in yoga is toward decadence"?My students and I disagree.
Moss Beach, Calif.
Golden Arches of Prague
I loved reading Wendy Wasserstein's "An American in Prague" [November]. I'm planning a visit to that city next year, possibly solo, so I appreciated her thoughts on going it alone; the photos, as always, were super. However, it's depressing to read that yet another far-flung destination has been invaded by American restaurant chains. Ugh. Is there a country left on the planet where you can't get a Big Mac?
Last April, my husband and I spent three nights at the San Domenico Palace Hotel in Taormina. Our room, which cost $430 a night, bore no resemblance to the ones described and shown in your September Classics column. The furniture was in disrepair; the curtains and bedspreads looked 50 years old. The hall leading to the room wasn't much better. Readers should be aware that not all the rooms at the San Domenico are of comparable quality, even at top prices. Be sure to ask detailed questions when you reserve.
Renee F. Slobasky
I thoroughly enjoyed Brad Leithauser's "Where on Earth Is Pohnpei?" [September], but I was surprised that he made no mention of Pohnpei peppercorns. Whenever my friends travel to the island, I insist they bring back a bottle. My favorite is a blend of white, black, green, and pink peppercorns, which I grind over tangy spinach salads.
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
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