October 1998

Hotel in Bermuda...Airline safety...Skiing the Alps...Thanksgiving in New York

q. Can you help me locate a reasonably priced hotel or resort in Bermuda?-- C.W., Dayton, Ohio
a. Though there are moderately priced hotels there, Bermuda is in no way a bargain destination. The 43-room Rosedon Hotel, surrounded by acres of gardens just outside Hamilton, is easy to mistake for a private estate (441/295-1640; doubles from $182; low-season rates -- December to April -- begin at $138). Ask for a room in the 1906 Colonial-style plantation house and enjoy afternoon tea in its antiques-filled lobby. Large modern suites are also available around the pool. Oxford House, in Hamilton, is another smart choice. This guest house may not have the facilities of a big resort, but a stay in one of the 12 airy rooms feels like a visit to a friend's house rather than a hotel (441/295-0503; doubles from $124, $110 in low season). All in all, B&B's could be your best option. Reserve well in advance at the Salt Kettle House (441/236-0407; rooms from $50 per person), a lovely B&B that overlooks Hamilton Harbour.

q. Is there any way to check a European airline's safety record?I've made a reservation and I'm curious. -- Q.R., Santa Cruz, Calif.
a. Unfortunately, there are no official rankings by any U.S. government organization. The Air Travelers Association (800/247-7233; www.1800airsafe.com) does publish an Airline Safety Report Card that ranks 260 airlines worldwide. The information is available to members (yearly dues are $49.95) for $4.95. The Federal Aviation Administration has an International Aviation Safety Assessment Web page (www.faa.gov) that rates countries on a scale of 1 to 3. A rating of 1 indicates that a country's civil aviation authority licenses and oversees any carriers operating there in accordance with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

q. My son and his wife have already skied in Colorado with their children, ages seven and five. This year they'd like to try the Alps. Do you have any suggestions? -- P.L., Princeton, N.J.
a. Most European ski areas lack the extensive children's programs that are so common in Colorado. That said, many Alpine resorts do have a great mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert runs. Mayrhofen is one of Austria's best for families, with three downhill areas, ski schools for both adults and children, cross-country trails, snowboard rental, baby-sitting services, and a special visitors' kindergarten. Call the Austrian National Tourist Office at 212/944-6880 for more information. In Switzerland's Matter Valley, 30 minutes from Zermatt, the low-key village of Grächen is another good option. Terrifically popular with European families, it has several great runs and affordable chalets. Contact Switzerland Tourism (212/757-5944) for a winter sports brochure.

q. We're spending Thanksgiving in New York City. What, besides the parade, shouldn't we miss?Where can we have a great turkey dinner?-- B.D., Greenville, N.C.
a. However you feel about the Macy's parade, you might enjoy watching the flurry of activity that takes place the night before, when the giant balloons get their fill on 77th and 81st Streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The National Museum of the American Indian (1 Bowling Green; 212/514-3700) presents The Harvest Ceremony, a play that tells the story of the Wampanoag tribe and its interaction with the Pilgrims (three performances daily, November 27-29; free). After visiting the tall ships at South Street Seaport, you might want to stop for pumpkin cheesecake at Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl St.; 212/269-0144), where George Washington dined in 1783. The luxurious Aureole (34 E. 61st St.; 212/319-1660) has a special prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner (about $80 per person) that offers traditional fare (roast New Hampshire turkey) as well as oak-smoked salmon with blini.

E-mail your questions , or mail them to: Ask T&L, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, 10th floor, New York, NY 10036. We regret that questions can be answered only in the column.