April 1998

soaking suites... spa bonding...bed-and-breakfast books...extra alaska

I loved my bathtub with a view at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. Do you know of any others in the United States?
-- T.M., Rochester, Minn.

What do you want to look at?Something rustic?The Blackberry inn in Walland, Tennessee (423/984-9850, fax 423/681-7753; tub-with-a-view suites from $695, including all meals and activities), recently added eight rooms with bathtub views of the surrounding woodlands and mountains. If you're lucky enough to book the Whiteface Room at New York's Lake Placid Lodge (518/523-2700, fax 518/523-1124; $500), your tub will overlook the lake and the Adirondacks. Urban types might prefer San Francisco's Mandarin Oriental (800/526-6566 or 415/885-0999, fax 415/433-0289; from $475): 22 rooms have skyline-view tubs, though the Transamerica Pyramid may be a little close for comfort. New York's Four Seasons (800/332-3442 or 212/758-5700, fax 212/758-5711; $5,000) and Rihga Royal (800/937-5454 or 212/307-5000, fax 212/765-6530; $2,700) have a handful of high-in-the-sky suites where you can soak in the view.

I'd like to take my daughter to a spa. Can you suggest one in the Northeast or mid-Atlantic region?We're interested in fitness.
-- J.J., Chester, Pa.

Through June 24, Canyon Ranch's Lenox, Massachusetts, outpost -- which has 40 exercise classes, from yoga to line dancing -- offers a parent-and-child special: the parent pays $1,553 for three nights and two free treatments; the child gets half off, but treatments are extra (800/726-9900 or 413/637-4100, fax 413/637-0057). The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa (724/329-8555, fax 724/329-6153; doubles from $180) in Farmington, Pennsylvania, has 60 different treatments, a great golf course, and an equestrian program. For more, Spa Finders travel agency (888/255-7727 or 212/924-6800) can help you find your bliss.

There are so many guidebooks to American B&B's. Which are best?
-- C.S., Columbus, Ga.

Tops on the shelf is America's Best Bed & Breakfasts (Fodor's; 800/533-6478): it lists more than 2,000 places in the 50 states. Half receive detailed entries; the other half get briefer ones that are still as comprehensive as those in other books; all include information on rates, amenities, and restrictions. For more listings -- but shorter blurbs -- try Rik Barnes's Complete Guide to America's Bed & Breakfasts (Pelican Publishing; 800/843-1724). Each volume in the new Recommended Bed & Breakfasts series -- New England, the mid-Atlantic, and California -- contains profiles of the best B&B's, chatty descriptions, sample breakfasts, even room recommendations (Globe Pequot Press; 800/243-0495).

My wife and I want to take a cruise to Alaska, and then tack on another week. Where should we go?
-- L.C., Flagstaff, Ariz.

Most cruise lines -- knowing that you're going to want to see as much as you can -- offer optional excursions. Gray Line of Alaska, which sails from Vancouver to Seward (800/544-2206; from $1,279 per person, double), sets up such extensions as train trips to Mount McKinley (included in the cruise rate), Arctic Circle adventures to Nome and Kotzebue ($520), and wildlife excursions to Katmai National Park ($673) and Kodiak Island ($427), where bears, caribou, and moose abound. Special Expeditions sells an optional weeklong Denali National Park addendum ($2,980) on its Juneau-to-Sitka cruise (800/397-3348; from $3,070 per person, double), featuring three nights at the Denali Backcountry Lodge and rafting and hiking with naturalists. You could also plan such trips on your own: for more information, check out Travel Alaska, an exhaustive source of phone numbers, ferry and rail tips, maps, and suggestions.

Fax your travel queries to 800/926-1748, E-mail them to , 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.