Ask T+L: All-Inclusive, River Cruise, Allergies
My husband and I are looking for an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Any ideas? —Francine Shaffer, Irvine, Calif.
In Mexico, three all-inclusive hotel brands stand out from the rest. On the Baja Peninsula, Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa has 308 suites, each with a private terrace; three swimming pools; and five restaurants. On the Riviera Maya bordering the eco-archaeological Xcaret Park, Occidental Grand Xcaret offers everything from snorkeling to spa treatments. Also on the Riviera Maya, the 97-room Azul Beach Hotel by Karisma has an extensive list of activities, including Spanish classes and dance lessons.
Can you recommend a river cruise along the Danube?—George Morales, Miami, Fla.
Cruising along the 1,770-mile-long Danube, you’ll take in storied landscapes and centuries-old castles. Viking Cruises has an eight-day Danube Delight trip that travels between Passau, Germany, and Vienna, Austria, with stops at medieval towns along the way (800/304- 9616; vikingrivercruises.com; from $1,898 per person, double). As part of the five-country, 13-day Blue Danube itinerary offered by Tauck (800/788-7885; tauck.com; from $3,990 per person, double), you’ll clink glasses with Czech nobles at a Renaissance-era château.
My severe allergies make it difficult to find a suitable hotel room. Any recommendations? —Petra Baum, Columbia, MD.
Hotels are going beyond the hypoallergenic pillow to accommodate allergy sufferers. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts (877/999-3223; wyndham.com) recently announced an initiative to designate at least 25 rooms at each of its 92 properties as allergy-sensitive. In a similar effort, Nylo (866/206-6956; nylohotels.com) has devoted an entire floor to allergy-friendly rooms at each of its two U.S. properties, with three more hotels opening by next summer. When planning these types of rooms (expect to pay an additional $10–$20 for them), Wyndham and Nylo—along with some Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, and Four Seasons properties—consult Pure Solutions. The Buffalo-based company sanitizes air systems and soft surfaces, and outfits rooms with hypoallergenic bed linens. If an allergy-friendly hotel is not an option, bring your own pillow and mattress cover, suggests Dr. Robert G. Hamilton, an allergy specialist and professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
I’ll be visiting Seattle and Vancouver this month. Which new restaurants should I try? —Pamela Fontane, Corpus Christi, Tex.
The Pacific Northwest has seen a culinary boom in recent years, including a handful of new restaurants that serve small plates. Among our favorites is Licorous , in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, where chef John Sundstrom, who made his name with sister institution (and next-door neighbor) Lark, serves smoked white-bean tartine and tuna crudo with lemon. Also consider Seattle’s newly opened, Basque-themed tapas bar Txori, where you can sample octopus imported from Valencia and kalimotxo, a drink made from red wine and Coke. In Vancouver, locals adore Salt Tasting Room, which specializes in artisanal cheeses, from Shropshire Blue to Isle of Mull cheddar; cured meats, such as wild-boar salami; and a selection of locally sourced wines.