September 1999

Reader's Find
Anya von Bremzen's article on restaurants in Switzerland [Food, July] was outstanding; it provides my wife and me with new choices for our annual visits to that beautiful country. One stop we already consider a must is in the village of Reinach, a short drive from Lucerne. The Hotel Baren (64 Hauptstrasse; 41-62/771-1006; dinner for two $40), in the center of town, draws both locals and travelers for dinner and overnight stays (Napoleon was once a guest). A meal there, presided over by chef-owner Oski Müller and his hardworking wife, Anita, combines wonderful Swiss cuisine with extraordinary hospitality. The prices are reasonable, and the wine list is handpicked by Müller.
Paul Coen
Canton, Mich.

Cramped in Style
I read with interest your story on W hotels ["Reinventing the Chain," June]. A few months ago, I checked into the W New York for an 11-day stay. I know space is at a premium in the city, and I expected the guest rooms to be small -- but I wasn't prepared to be lodged in a closet. Picture the head of the bed against one wall and the foot of it six to eight inches from the other. I agree that the hotel is well decorated, and everyone on the staff was very nice; but this gave me my first bout of claustrophobia. As soon as I could, I checked out and moved downtown to the SoHo Grand -- whose rooms I had thought a bit small before I met the W.
Jane Schall
Los Angeles, Calif.

The Princess and Her Crew
I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Jon Lindberg's article ["Under the Bridge," July] on the new Grand Princess. Most cruise stories concentrate exclusively on the luxurious passenger facilities and the various entertainment features. This is the first time I've read about the underpinnings of a mega-ship and the goings-on behind the scenes.
Charles E. Carter
New York, N.Y.

As an 11-year veteran of cruise-ship crews, I can vouch for Peter Lindberg's descriptions. Not only is he informative about the ship, but he is right on about crew life. There is a whole other world belowdecks -- and a lot of work (and play) goes on there. Passengers are always asking, "Do you sleep on the ship?" and "What are your quarters like?" This article finally tells how the crew really lives -- and makes it clear that the crew is not on a cruise!
Penny Jarrett
Annapolis, Md.

Make Mine Maine
Thanks to Gary and Bunni Singer for their letter about Kezar Lake, in Maine [T&L Asks, April]. As a girl in the mid 1930's, I attended Camp Mudjekeewis in Center Lovell, on the shores of the lake. My fellow campers and I took a sleeper train from Grand Central Terminal in New York; from Fryeburg, Maine, we went by bus and then on foot down a big hill to camp and the lake. We swam (sometimes even skinny-dipped) in it, canoed and rowed on it. Rudy Vallee once circled my rowing shell in his high-speed motorboat. I, like the Singers, heard the loons, saw the sunsets over the White Mountains, and was hooked for life.
Betty Fuchs
Arcadia, Calif.

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