Caribbean, Cont'd

LAST November, we came home to a message that our next-day (Saturday) flight to Aruba was canceled and that BWIA had rescheduled us to fly out on Sunday -- meaning that we would lose a day of vacation [Message Center, Nov. 6]. We had already paid for our Saturday-night hotel and it was too late to get a refund. I called BWIA and they said a flight was leaving that night at around 11:30 and we could get on it -- otherwise they had no other alternative. We rushed to Dulles and made the flight, but it was a disconcerting way to start a vacation.

Linda Limberger

Silver Spring

WE TRAVELED through St. John on the jitneys and public buses and had a great time -- and we visited East End beaches ["Taking It Slow, From Eco to Luxe," Oct. 23]. When gas is a precious resource, I urge you to at least mention the possibility of using public transportation, if not the outright encouragement of taking advantage of it.

Barbara Francisco

Silver Spring

Apartments Abroad

I JUST HAD to write after reading your wonderful article ["Flat Sweet Flat," Oct. 16]. Last May, I traveled to Paris for 10 days and rented an apartment in the 6th arrondissment across from the Jardin du Luxembourg. I wanted to experience living with the locals in a less trendy, less-tourist-ridden part of the city. It was a charming two-bedroom walk-up.

I starting planning this adventure almost a year before the departure date. I did it all on the Internet and decided on a company that had a base in the United States, Rentals in Paris (rentals-paris.com). It offered photographs of the apartments as well as the proximity of public transportation, sites and grocery stores. I learned my way aound quickly and became a familiar face in the grocers. Believe it or not, I was stopped twice for directions.

I am already planning to return to Paris next summer and will be renting a studio apartment around the corner from Notre Dame Cathedral. This time I will be traveling to Normandy, Lyon and Strasbourg, as well as taking day trips to Chartres and Chateau Rambouillette, with my studio apartment as my "home" base.

Brenda McPherson-Norris

Temple Hills

WE HAVE stayed at five London apartments and have found them to be far superior to tourist-class hotels in terms of space, location and flexibility in meals. The John Howard Hotel (4 Queensgate, www.johnhowardhotel.com) is a Best Western property that also has four two-bedroom and four one-bedroom apartments, with the amenities of a full-service hotel. Through November, the apartments go for $250 and $388 a night, respectively.

Michael Bristow

Ruckersville, Va.

I WOULD LIKE to share an excellent experience we had renting apartments in London at Christmas 2000 for a 36-person family get-together. We rented two- and three-bedroom apartments at the Crowne Plaza London-St. James (45-51 Buckingham Gate, www.london.crowneplaza.com). The apartments were located in three buildings just across the court at the rear of the hotel. The address indicates how convenient the location was. In addition, there were many small grocery stores, bakeries and a couple of pubs in the neighborhood. We had our one big planned dinner on Christmas Eve across Green Park in the Stafford Hotel's winecellar/private dining room. The five-day experience was A+.

Julia Dunstan

Charlottesville

Reader Recommendations

WE TOOK A chance on your hotel recommendation ["For Hotels, You'reACritic.com," Sept. 25] at the Daphne Inn in Rome (www.daphne-rome.com). You did not give it enough credit! We loved it. The Daphne Inn is more than just a comfortable bed, although we did sleep like babies.

The lovely appointed room and tiled bath was newly renovated, clean and quiet. The air conditioning, cell phone and small refrigerator came in handy. The location is superb, within walking distance from the Spanish Steps, Trevi fountain, Metro and restaurants.

Breakfast is plentiful and delicious as you mentioned, complete with a cup or two of fresh cappuccino. It gets better than that. The staff bend over backward to help you with the best tours, restaurants and gelato (a daily must-have), train tickets, etc.

Wendy Sundquist

Denton, Md.

I WANTED TO send along my recommendation that you include the Rocking Z Guest Ranch in Wolf Creek, Mont. (406-458-3890) the next time you do a story on dude/guest ranches or a visit to Lewis and Clark's route in Montana. We visited there in August and enjoyed the ranch and environs greatly.

John P. Scott

Hyattsville

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