Mexico posada, Italy B&B, Madagascar guest house, London hotel, Czech Republic restaurant

REPORT FROM MEXICO…

My wife and I stayed at lovely Posada Casa Candiles (65 Paseo de las Golondrinas, IXTAPA, Gro., C.P 40880, Mexico; phone, in US, 717/207-8471, www.casacandiles.com), a small inn with just three large and artistically decorated rooms, Oct. 10-15, 2010. In our many travel experiences, few places have come close to Casa Candiles.

The beautiful tropical garden was a spectacular “cinematic” setting for the house, swimming pool and our alfresco breakfasts. The delicious breakfasts were always different and beautifully presented. Roberto, the innkeeper, is certainly a highly skilled chef. Our leisurely mornings lingering over our coffee and watching the many types of butterflies will always be in our memories.

An unexpected bonus — Roberto had an uncanny knack of presenting special treats, such as homemade ice cream or flan, at just the right moment. He seemed to know that that was just what we were craving in the mid-afternoon!

In our opinion, Posada Casa Candiles is a five-star in every category — an incredible bargain at $125 per room, year-round.

— Dan Strohl, Oakland, CA

REPORT FROM ITALY…

Our family of three adults stayed two nights at the Cancabaia B&B (Via Martiri delle Libertà, No. 70, 43037, S. Maria del Piano, Lesignano dé Bagni, PARMA, Italy; phone +39 0521 350586, www.cancabaia.it) in early October 2010. Part of Italy’s Agriturismo program, the B&B is located on the compound of a working dairy farm.

This place is a treasure, and the owners, Simona and Bruno, are the sweetest, most helpful people you will ever meet. They both speak very good English and are quite knowledgeable of the Parma area, with maps and brochures for side trips.

A stay includes a tour of their small Parmesan cheese factory and a tour to the nearby Medici Ermete winery (www.medici.it), which also produces balsamic vinegar. (Aged for 12 to 25 years, the best grades of vinegar are liquid gold, as the cheapest 100ml bottle costs €40, or about $56.)

Our room was on the second floor of a new building and quite spacious, with all modern amenities. A special rate, we paid €90 ($126) per day for a triple room. (Regular rates are €30-€35 per person, double, and €40 single.)

Breakfast was amazing — hams, salamis, several kinds of aged cheeses, a different egg dish each day, pastries, bread, typical Italian sweets, cereal, yogurt, homemade jams, juice and coffee or tea. A truly groaning table!

One word of caution — a car is a necessity, and GPS may not help you find the farm, but Bruno tells us he has not lost a guest yet. We highly recommend a stay here; it’s a visit you will not forget.

Parma, itself, is a lovely city with a historic center that can be walked at a leisurely pace in a few hours. We saw no large tour groups, and there were plenty of museums plus a busy opera house.

— Jack, Liz & Jenny Kaufman, Lake Quivira, KS

MADAGASCAR REPORT…

I stayed for several days in September 2010 at Guesthouse Tana-Jacaranda (24, Arabe Rainitsarovy, ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar; phone [+261 20] 22 562 39, www.tana-jacaranda.com).

Ideally located in the city center, this super-inexpensive, small, family-run guest house was a real find. Madam Noro Ranaivo-Harisoa welcomed me, and it seemed she, her family and her employees couldn’t do enough for their guests — and they did it with genuine smiles.

No elevator, but a porter will cheerfully carry your luggage to your room.

For the equivalent of $13 per night, with taxes, my single room had a single bed, night table, lamp, small desk, chair, color TV and closet. Clean towels daily. The shared bathroom was small but adequate, with commode, sink, shower and telephone. Traffic noise was minimal during the day and nonexistent in the evening. I slept like a baby!

The American breakfast cost $3.50, and food and drinks could be purchased.

The entire guest house was kept spotless. The third floor had a dining room with color TV, magazines in various languages and a balcony with a wonderful view of the city. Free use of an Internet terminal plus WiFi for laptops.

Airport transfers ($15 each way) and laundry service available.

I give this guest house my very highest recommendation.

— Jim Hendrickson, Lynden, WA

REPORT FROM UK…

I highly recommend a stay at the St. David’s Hotels (14-20 Norfolk Square, Paddington, LONDON, W2 1RS, U.K.; phone +44 [0] 20 7706 2701, www.stdavidshotels.com).

The family owners, Alex and his mother and brother, were very helpful with information related to theater and the best way to get around in London and to the airports.

The hotel is located on a quiet street bordering a park and just one block from the Paddington Underground station, from which you can get a direct train to Heathrow or the Underground to Victoria Station and then the train to Gatwick.

During a stay in October 2010, the room rate for two nights for a twin with full bath was £198 (near $311). This included a FULL English breakfast prepared in their kitchen, where the dad is the head chef!

— Cecile Gayzik, Clearwater, FL

REPORT FROM CZECH REP.

We ate at the Park Restaurant (Poštovní 195, MARIÁNSKÉ LÁZNEˇ, 353 01, West Bohemia, Czech Republic; phone +420 354 600 924, www.parkrestaurant.eu), Sept. 24, 2010.

Our satisfying and scrumptious dinner consisted of one entrée of wild boar tournedo with cranberry sauce and spicy roast potato wedges and a second entrée of grilled trout with potatoes. Both entrées included a unique, lace-cut cabbage that was superb.

Dessert was a mouthwatering Park Sundae of hazelnut, caramel and chocolate ice creams with the usual sundae trimmings.

Including one draft beer and one Czech white wine, the total cost of this fantastic meal was 575 korunas (about $32).

— A.J. Goodhead, La Jolla, CA