From Guatemala to Connecticut

The social and political twist Bob Morris gives his article about Guatemala ["Under the Volcanoes," March] is unacceptable. In reference to the repercussions of the country's 36-year civil war, Morris writes, "In Guatemala, it doesn't take long to see the darkness lurking beneath the beauty." Does the sex trade in Thailand detract from its overall charm?Must we speak of the drug problem in Española when traveling to New Mexico?Morris's myopic attitude only discourages travelers from visiting nations that are working to bring about comprehensive reforms. Political sensationalism is a cheap shot in light of the positive atmosphere following our elections last November.

BOB MORRIS REPLIES: Guatemala is a stunning country. In the piece, I clearly recommend that readers travel there. However, to have portrayed it without a strong political element would have been disingenuous. If I were to write about Sri Lanka right now, I would approach it in the same way.

Brazilian Beauties
I read Connie McCabe's January story about Hotel Fasano [Reports, "Made in Brazil"] just before my girlfriend and I left for São Paulo. We loved our stay: the modern décor (blond wood, soft lighting) was superb, but most impressive was the hotel's extraordinary service. We e-mailed the concierge in advance about going to a beach outside the city, and he gave us five options, including a property we had never visited before—the Maison Joly on the island of Ilhabela. The Fasano staff helped us rent a car, gave us a map, and even dropped us off at the rental agency. We felt like celebrities!

Philadelphia Pulls Rank
It is a complete outrage that the AOL/T+L poll ["America's Favorite Cities," April] ranked Philadelphia the worst city for attractiveness and stylishness. Our club scene has been featured on E!'s Wild On, the spa-salon Pileggi on the Square was written up in Allure magazine, and Cameron Diaz just filmed a movie here, on Rittenhouse Square. Will Smith, Patti LaBelle, and Pink are all from Philadelphia; I doubt that anyone would accuse them of being unattractive or lacking style. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I learned about Philadelphia's low ranking in the T+L poll when KYW-TV, the local CBS station, encouraged viewers to contact the magazine in protest. Having visited 21 of the 25 cities listed, I think the assessment of Philadelphia is accurate and objective, and am certain many of my neighbors would agree.

Hamburger Standout
Nothing could have been more unexpected, or more welcome, than the article "Beyond Apple Pie" by Ken Chowder in the April issue. My cousin and I read the section about Clamp's burgers in Connecticut with sentimentality. My grandfather introduced us to that magical stand when we were kids; like Chowder, we've measured all burgers by the perfection of Clamp's ever since. It's nice to know that one thing from our childhood has remained. Thank you for bringing back sweet memories of summer nights and happy tummies.

I have been a T+L subscriber for years, and I'm pleased that I can finally contribute to the magazine. I just returned from a trip with my husband and sister to Thailand, where we stayed at a 40-villa oasis called the Mangosteen [99-4 Moo 7, Soi Mangosteen, Phuket; 66-76/289-399;; doubles from $115]. A little more than a year old, the resort sits on a hill on the south side of Phuket Island, affording expansive views of the surrounding beaches and mountains—visible even when we were sipping drinks poolside. Even better, the staff was wonderful and the cost amazingly reasonable.

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