From the Riviera to Costa Rica
Julie mautner's article "Affordable Riviera" in the May issue arrived at the perfect moment; I was just about to leave for Europe. One of my destinations was Monte Carlo, so I took her advice and went to Stock Griffe for discounted designer clothes. It was a bit tricky to find, but the amazing bargains were well worth the search.
—DEBBY MAGLIARO, GLEN COVE, N.Y.
At Your Service, Monsieur
My wife and I recently returned from France and a delightful experience at Boyer Les Crayères, the property T+L readers rated number one overall in "World's Best Service" [June]. After asking the waiter at the hotel's restaurant if there were any off-the-menu specials, we were surprised to have the chef de cuisine visit our table and prepare an impromptu potato galette stuffed with mushrooms and sweetbreads. The following morning, we left Reims for Chantilly; my wife realized that she had left a necklace of great sentimental value in our room. The staff at Boyer Les Crayères had it delivered to our new hotel the very next day.
—GREGORY BOGEN, NEW YORK, N.Y.
The Right Treatment
The update about deep vein thrombosis by Barbara Benham ["Economy-Class Syndrome?" May] might have saved my life. I was being treated for pneumonia when I read the issue, and had the DVT symptoms the article described. I returned to my doctor and suggested the possibility of a blood clot in my lung. Further testing confirmed my suspicion. I'm thankful I read your article and received the proper medical treatment in time.
—BONNIE HOOD, GIRARD, OHIO
Running Around the World
Thank you for Marion Winik's article on destination marathons ["Going the Distance," April]. My family and friends thought I was crazy when I traveled to Anchorage in 1996 to compete in my first marathon, but it was an excellent way to combine my two loves—running and travel. I made sure I visited Denali and Kenai Fjords national parks afterward.
—KATHY DAVIES, NORTHBORO, MASS.
Now that we've read "Tastes of Italy" by Anya von Bremzen [July], my husband and I have to weigh in with our favorite restaurant: the family-run Albergo Ristorante Silvio on Lake Como, in Bellagio [12 Via Carcano; 39-031/950-322; www.bellagiosilvio.com; dinner for two $68]. The owners are among the few people who have a right to fish on the lake—a privilege that has been passed down for generations—and the seafood is caught fresh daily. We enjoyed pike-stuffed ravioli and fried perch while overlooking the water.
—KRISTINE D'ERRICO, MANHATTAN BEACH, CALIF.
How could Anya von Bremzen explore Liguria for the best pesto and not include Trattoria Tripoli in Portofino [49 Piazza Martiri dell'Olivetta; 39-0185/269-011; dinner for two $100]?My husband and I discovered the restaurant on our honeymoon and, after 32 years of marriage and many summers spent in Italy, still regard it as one of our favorite stops.
—CORKY HALE STOLLER, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
July's "25 Great Ecolodges" by David Hochman failed to mention Lapa Rios in Costa Rica [Puerto Jimenez, Peninsula de Osa; 011-506/735-5130; www.laparios.com; doubles from $334]. I stayed in one of its 16 luxurious cabins with a private garden and indoor-outdoor shower last October. Built by a Minnesota couple as a nature reserve in 1993, Lapa Rios protects 1,000 acres of rain forest and is the largest employer on the Osa Peninsula.
—PHYLLIS HIRSHORN, NEW YORK, N.Y.
READER'S FIND MASSACHUSETTS
My husband and I have stayed at bed-and-breakfasts all over the world, and one of our absolute favorites is La Maison Cappellari at Mostly Hall in Falmouth, Massachusetts [27 Main St.; 508/548-3786; www.mostlyhall.com; doubles from $165]. It is a beautifully restored Italianate villa built in 1849 for a sea captain's bride. All six rooms have trompe l'oeil paintings by the owner, Christina Simcic. The house is situated in a large, peaceful garden close to the shops and restaurants of Falmouth and a few blocks from the Shining Sea Bikeway. Bicycles can be borrowed from the inn—a must after a lavish breakfast of crêpes and blackberry ice cream.
—KATHY STEWART, LAFAYETTE, CALIF.
WRITE TO US
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Albergo Ristorante Silvio
Every morning owner Cristian Ponzini sails out on Como to catch lavarello and other native fish to serve at his glass-walled restaurant. Ponzini is one of the few who have fishing rights on the lake—a privilege that has been passed down through his family for generations.
La Maison Cappellari at Mostly Hall
If the idea of open-sided, thatched-roof bungalows with netted teak beds, private decks with hammocks, and secluded outdoor showers stirs you, you’ll get your fix here. Lapa Rios, built on high ground to catch the Pacific breezes (and provide glorious vistas), is set amid 1,000 acres of protected virgin rainforest. Both the building materials (hardwood, stone, bamboo) used for the 16 bungalows and many of the property’s staffers are indigenous to the area—but being ecologically conscious doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort here. The locally sourced cuisine is inventive; birds perch in a flowering tree right outside your bungalow; and the cool stone bathroom floors, the bamboo and teak furniture, and warm service can make you forget you’re doing the right thing.
Room to Book: Secluded bungalows 13 and 14 are ideal for a private retreat, though ones with lower numbers require less of an uphill hike.