Travel recommendations from L.A. Times readers
8:00 AM PST, November 30, 2013
The Majestic Colonial Punta Cana is truly majestic. This all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic has something for everyone, but upgrade to the adults-only section and you will not be disappointed. With the upgrade you have an assigned butler 24/7 as well as two private swimming pools with Bali beds and numerous restaurant choices. The grounds are immaculate, and every employee has a smile.
6:30 AM PST, November 16, 2013
On the recommendation of friends, we hired Nesli Kilinc for a 21/2-day tour of Istanbul. Not only was she very knowledgable, she was also sweet and helpful. In addition to the historic sites (some off the beaten track), she had wonderful recommendations for restaurants and retailers. She also provided a one-day tour of Ephesus. I highly recommend Nesli at Marmara Tours.
8:00 AM PST, November 9, 2013
Hawthorn House Bed & Breakfast, in Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, is a lovely stop on a journey around the Ring of Kerry. Small and welcoming, all rooms are en suite and kept beautifully by hosts Noel and Mary O'Brien. Breakfasts are excellent, served in the cheery, sunny dining room. Kenmare itself is a treasure to be explored. Rooms from about $55 per person, double occupancy.
6:30 AM PST, November 3, 2013
Younes Farhat, owner of Zayan Travel, helped us map out a comprehensive two-week private tour of Morocco. Hafid was our driver and guide-at-large for the trip. We came to know him as a person, met his family, saw Morocco through his eyes and were introduced to people and places that transformed our long-held fantasy into a fantastical reality. Hafid, which means guardian, was true to his name. He watched over us, attended to our every wish and soon anticipated our needs. We cannot recommend more highly the Younes/Hafid team.
8:00 AM PDT, October 26, 2013
Home Hotel Buenos Aires is the first boutique hotel in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood of Buenos Aires and still its epicenter. We have stayed here for seven years in a row. It's small and intimate, with five-star service from a friendly staff. Have lunch in the English garden and watch the parade of fascinating people — both tourists and locals from the entertainment industry.
8:00 AM PDT, October 19, 2013
The Rockwell, in tranquil South Kensington, a block-and-a-half from the Earl's Court Tube station, is a great base camp in London. It's ideally suited for shopping, and Hyde Park and the Victoria and Albert Museum are near. The staff is professional but friendly. The 40 rooms are bright and restful with nice en suite bathrooms. There is a restaurant-bar where in clement weather guests dine at tables under umbrellas on the spacious private terrace. A crackling fire burns year-round in the reception area.
October 13, 2013
Tours of Tuscany offers one- and two-week stays for one to three couples in a Tuscan villa. It was a complete package with escorted day trips, all meals and wonderful company. We were delighted with Ines Fabris' attention to detail and her respect for our time and interests. A relaxing and beautiful Tuscan vacation.
8:00 AM PDT, October 5, 2013
A lovely double room with private bath and all conveniences, together with a delightful breakfast in a beautiful home in Antwerp, Belgium, for about $94 a night (about $108, double occupancy), would be remarkable enough, but add the charming hostess, the friendly and helpful Greta Stevens, and you have a travel experience not to be forgotten. It's just off the tram line and close to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the lively t'Zuid restaurant district, and a short tram hop to the central station and the old city.
September 28, 2013
The Hotel Sultanhan in Istanbul's Old City is close to most of the important sites. The hotel is a surprise in an unassuming neighborhood. It has a wonderful roof-top restaurant and a helpful, English-speaking staff. Doubles from about $350.
September 22, 2013
I cannot recommend more highly Meir Moore as a personal guide for travels throughout Israel. He kept our teens busy with outdoor sports while sneaking in all the historical spots.
8:00 AM PDT, September 14, 2013
On a trip to Istanbul last fall, we followed a Perrin's People recommendation and used Karen Fedorko Sefer at Sea Song Tours. It would not have been the same trip had we not used this excellent service. Nigar, our guide, was experienced, knowledgeable and warmly personal. We saw parts of Istanbul not available to the casual traveler. Our only mistake was not using Sea Song for Ephesus. We took the ship's tour, and it was pitiful and much more expensive. We highly recommend Sea Song Tours.
8:00 AM PDT, September 7, 2013
I fly internationally and am 6 feet, 5 inches tall. It was hard for me to get comfortable in any seat, much less to sit for 12 to 15 hours in coach, until I found AlignMed and its Align Therapy "posture shirt." It is a must for flying. I call it a flight suit because it allows me to get off the plane and feel human. I am not wracked with pain or stiffness. It is a travel secret; I know pilots wear them, but they should be in everyone's wardrobe.
8:00 AM PDT, August 31, 2013
One of the highlights of our four weeks in Italy was the Alberghetto la Marianna, a B&B on the shores of Lake Como just 10 minutes by ferry from Bellagio. It's immaculate and affordable, with wonderful innkeepers. Breakfast is served lakeside every morning, and Paola's husband prepares the most delicious dinners every night in the restaurant downstairs. The ferry is a short walk away; Villa Carlotta is a bit farther but an enjoyable walk because it's all lakeside.
8:00 AM PDT, August 10, 2013
Over the years on trips to the Monterey Peninsula, I've stayed with my Brittany, Barnaby, at the Lighthouse Lodge in Pacific Grove. It's in a forested area, the staff welcomes dogs, and it's within walking distance of the ocean. And it's reasonable for man and dog.
8:00 AM PDT, August 3, 2013
I actually live in Las Vegas and did a staycation at the Rio. The $18 resort fee, more reasonable than some, includes use of the gym and the hotel's luxurious spa. I spent hours in the spa — whirlpool, steam room, sauna —and it was all included in the per-night fee.
8:00 AM PDT, July 27, 2013
The Spirit of Olive Wood, on the Greek island of Corfu, offers a great selection of handmade wood products and will ship to the U.S.
8:00 AM PDT, July 20, 2013
I highly recommend the Lazy J Ranch Motel, about three hours from Los Angeles. It's a wonderful place to stay with your dog. There is a large, grassy area next to the pool where the dog can run and play. The Kaweah River, a short walking distance away, provides a beautiful walk for both man and dog. Lake Kaweah, a 10-minute drive, has picnic boat rentals that perfectly accommodate the pooch. Much fun for all. Rooms from about $145 a night.
8:00 AM PDT, July 13, 2013
For a bargain price at a central location in New York City, try Hotel 17, four blocks from Union Square. This hotel appeals to everyone from students to seniors. The inexpensive rooms all have shared coed bathrooms. In-room safes come with all accommodations, but in a "senior moment" I left mine open with all valuables on display. I returned to find them intact. Doubles, with shared bath, from $137.75
8:00 AM PDT, June 29, 2013
I highly recommend the all-day Discover Yosemite tour. It picked us up at Tenaya Lodge, where we were staying, at 8:30 a.m. and took us to all the major lookouts on what turned out to be a picture-perfect day. The driver-guide was very knowledgeable about the history and geology of the region. We returned to the lodge at 5 p.m. The price was $118 for adults (age 16 and older) and included a box lunch that we ate near Yosemite Falls. It was wonderful to have someone else do the driving (and parking).
6:30 AM PDT, June 22, 2013
We just returned from a trip to Sedona, Ariz., where we contacted longtime resident and musician Peter Sterling for a red rock tour. At one spot, we lay down on the flat red rocks. Then he played a rose quartz crystal bowl over us during a guided meditation. At another site, we sat out on the ledge of the rock. There, he held his "wind" harp over us and the wind danced over the strings. We could feel its vibration. That was a beautiful highlight of my trip. The next day we both got massages from his partner, Crystal Bliss, that were absolutely heavenly.
8:00 AM PDT, June 8, 2013
Angkor Wat was the highlight of our Cambodia tour, and the beautiful lobby, gardens and pool with a swim-up bar at the Somadevi Angkor Hotel added to our experience. The hotel is an easy walk to restaurants and the night markets. The lobby and bar had ample seating and free Wi-Fi, with more outdoor sitting areas overlooking the gardens surrounding a large pool. Our clean, spacious room overlooked the pool and included a safe and mini-bar. Doubles from about $51.
8:00 AM PDT, May 25, 2013
Our favorite gift shop is in the heart of Tremezzo, Italy, on Lake Como. Items include custom jewelry made by the owner and handbags by her mother. There's also a selection of Murano glass. Nice selection and moderate prices.
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