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From VIENNA, Austria, Oct. 28

• For EuroHotel Vienna Airport (1 Marco-Polo-Strasse, Fischamend, Austria), our reservations were made through Call Box Customer Contact Solutions (Encino, CA; 888/810-7464) on behalf of Allresnet.com (Phoenix, AZ; 800/892-2108).

Since the hotel at the Vienna Airport was expensive and did not have consistently good reviews, I found this off-site location, which is only eight minutes away by hotel shuttle. 

Three times we found the reception at the front desk ice cold, but don’t let that deter you. This 3-star hotel had clean, quiet rooms and the most comfortable beds of our trip. Recommended.

The rate for two people was $126 including tax. Breakfast was not included but was available for purchase. Round-trip transfers were included in the room price. Additional airport transfers were an expensive €14 (near $20) per person.

The village of Fischamend is apparently a long walk, so there is nothing to do nearby.

— Jim Simpson, Wilmington, DE

 

From BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, Oct. 25, 2007. . .

Venturska Residence (3 Venturska St., Bratislava, Slovakia; phone 421-908-817-220 or e-mail info@ hotels-in-bratislava.com) — in a perfect location for sightseeing. It does not have automobile access, since this area is a pedestrian zone, but it is only a 3-minute walk from parking.

Five self-catering apartments in a courtyard in Bratislava’s Old Town. Highly recommended. We had a one-bedroom apartment, which was spacious, quiet and very clean. Studio, SKK2,500 (about $104); one bedroom, SKK2,700, or 2-bedroom, SKK3,400, plus city tax of SKK30 per person per night. 

Managed by Matej and Jan, who are prompt in responding to e-mail in perfect English.

— Jim Simpson, Wilmington, DE

 

From VELIKO TURNOVO, Bulgaria, Oct. 24, 2007. . .

Hotel Gurko (33 Gurko St., Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria; phone 359-62-627838, www.hotelgurko.hit. bg) has a great location and a beautiful view of the cliffside buildings of the Old Town.

We enjoyed this inn and restaurant for two nights. Comfortable rooms with some minor inconveniences (such as no surface in the bathroom on which to place toiletries and no racks in the bedroom to get luggage off the floor).

A charming stay, with excellent food in the typical Bulgarian mextana (tavern). Friendly and accommodating hosts. They packed a breakfast for our 6:30 a.m. departure.

Our stay was included in a tour. (46 single or 62 for a double.)

Highly recommended. The addition next door is due to open in 2008 and will double the current size.

— Jim Simpson, Wilmington DE 

 

From TUNIS, Tunisia, Oct. 6

• My husband, Tom, and I took the “Timeless Tunisia” tour with Spiekermann Travel (18421 E. Nine Mile Rd., Eastpointe, MI 48021; 800/645-3233, www.mideasttrvl.com), Sept. 22-Oct. 6. From New York, the price was $4,195 for one person.

Anyone interested in an in-depth, small-group visit to a fascinating country should take this tour — Roman ruins, mosaics, beaches, desert experience, etc.

The highlight was our guide, Mohamed Halouani, a native Tunisian. Well organized and professional, he’s extremely knowledgeable and imparts that knowledge in an interesting manner. He also is fun to be with. He is absolutely the best guide we have ever had. We think he is Tunisia’s national treasure.

— Peggy Robinson, Centennial, CO

 

From FLORENCE, Italy, Sept. 30, 2007. . .

• I contacted Auto Europe online at www.autoeurope.com and we rented a car for two weeks in Tuscany, Italy, Sept. 15-30, picking up and returning the car at the Florence airport. We used them at the recommendation of several ITN readers and I would like to second their recommendation.

We had a 4-door Fiat with a standard transmission and paid $715, with all insurance included. Italy requires that you take insurance and that was fine with us. All charges were prepaid except for a couple of taxes, which they informed us about with our contract.

Auto Europe subcontracts with various agencies in each country. The subcontracted agency tried to charge us for an extra driver after we had returned, and the charge showed up on our credit card. I contacted Auto Europe and they took care of the situation in a timely manner; we got a refund within a couple of weeks.

Auto Europe’s people were very knowledgeable and courteous. Kudos to all, especially Molly Douglas at the customer service department online.

— Ann White, Concord, CA

 

From FOUGAX ET BARRI­NEUF, France, Sept. 20, 2007. . .

• On our trip to southern France, we found the ideal bed-and-breakfast. Nestled down in the French Pyrénées in the tiny village of Fougax et Barrineuf is the B&B of Roger and Linda Tindley: Tindleys Chambres et Tables d’Hôtes (10 Quartier de la Poesie, 09300 Fougax et Barrineuf, France; phone 05 61 01 34 87, www. tindleys.com).

It is one of the most beautiful and restful locations we have ever visited in Europe — only a few miles to Montségur (the famous, top-of-the-mountain Cathar castle/fortress) and easy driving distance from Toulouse, Carcassonne, Andorra and Barcelona, Spain.

We spent eight days in this warm and inviting 18th-century home and were deeply satisfied with the experience. The cost was very reasonable: €45 (near $63) per night for a double room.

There are restaurants in the nearby villages, but nothing that we have experienced can beat Linda’s gourmet meals.

For a day off, there are nearby hiking trails and relaxing in Linda’s garden near a lovely stream. Roger was especially helpful with maps and directions.

We would be pleased to give reference. Contact us at ecbalb1@ verizon.net.

— Clayton Burgess, South Glens Falls, NY

 

On France, August ’07. . .

• The B&B/hotel La Maison d’Hôtes - La Corne d’Or (1, Place Guy Mollet, 62000 Arras, France; phone 33 [0] 3 21 58 85 94, e-mail franck@lamaisondhotes.com or visit www.lamaisondhotes.com).

This is one of the best places we have stayed. Everything was beyond expectation. Franck and Isabelle are wonderful hosts. The rooms were spotless and all differently decorated. €90-€115 (near $127-$162).

Contact the hotel directly. Mr. Smal answers quickly regarding availability and reservation procedures and helps with any other concerns.

Parking is available, and the location in Arras is easy to get to and convenient for touring the area (WWI and WWII battlefields, lovely villages, coastal areas. . .).

Best of all is the city of Arras — lots of wonderful restaurants and shopping all close to the hotel (no driving needed in the evening!).

I would recommend this hotel and the area for a long weekend from Paris, as a convenient stop in northern France and for, as we did, touring the area.

— K.A. McComb, Stillwater, MN

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

From VIENNA, Austria, Oct. 28

• For EuroHotel Vienna Airport (1 Marco-Polo-Strasse, Fischamend, Austria), our reservations were made through Call Box Customer Contact Solutions (Encino, CA; 888/810-7464) on behalf of Allresnet.com (Phoenix, AZ; 800/892-2108).

Since the hotel at the Vienna Airport was expensive and did not have consistently good reviews, I found this off-site location, which is only eight minutes away by hotel shuttle. 

Three times we found the reception at the front desk ice cold, but don’t let that deter you. This 3-star hotel had clean, quiet rooms and the most comfortable beds of our trip. Recommended.

The rate for two people was $126 including tax. Breakfast was not included but was available for purchase. Round-trip transfers were included in the room price. Additional airport transfers were an expensive €14 (near $20) per person.

The village of Fischamend is apparently a long walk, so there is nothing to do nearby.

— Jim Simpson, Wilmington, DE

 

From BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, Oct. 25, 2007. . .

Venturska Residence (3 Venturska St., Bratislava, Slovakia; phone 421-908-817-220 or e-mail info@ hotels-in-bratislava.com) — in a perfect location for sightseeing. It does not have automobile access, since this area is a pedestrian zone, but it is only a 3-minute walk from parking.

Five self-catering apartments in a courtyard in Bratislava’s Old Town. Highly recommended. We had a one-bedroom apartment, which was spacious, quiet and very clean. Studio, SKK2,500 (about $104); one bedroom, SKK2,700, or 2-bedroom, SKK3,400, plus city tax of SKK30 per person per night. 

Managed by Matej and Jan, who are prompt in responding to e-mail in perfect English.

— Jim Simpson, Wilmington, DE

 

From VELIKO TURNOVO, Bulgaria, Oct. 24, 2007. . .

Hotel Gurko (33 Gurko St., Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria; phone 359-62-627838, www.hotelgurko.hit. bg) has a great location and a beautiful view of the cliffside buildings of the Old Town.

We enjoyed this inn and restaurant for two nights. Comfortable rooms with some minor inconveniences (such as no surface in the bathroom on which to place toiletries and no racks in the bedroom to get luggage off the floor).

A charming stay, with excellent food in the typical Bulgarian mextana (tavern). Friendly and accommodating hosts. They packed a breakfast for our 6:30 a.m. departure.

Our stay was included in a tour. (46 single or 62 for a double.)

Highly recommended. The addition next door is due to open in 2008 and will double the current size.

— Jim Simpson, Wilmington DE 

 

From TUNIS, Tunisia, Oct. 6

• My husband, Tom, and I took the “Timeless Tunisia” tour with Spiekermann Travel (18421 E. Nine Mile Rd., Eastpointe, MI 48021; 800/645-3233, www.mideasttrvl.com), Sept. 22-Oct. 6. From New York, the price was $4,195 for one person.

Anyone interested in an in-depth, small-group visit to a fascinating country should take this tour — Roman ruins, mosaics, beaches, desert experience, etc.

The highlight was our guide, Mohamed Halouani, a native Tunisian. Well organized and professional, he’s extremely knowledgeable and imparts that knowledge in an interesting manner. He also is fun to be with. He is absolutely the best guide we have ever had. We think he is Tunisia’s national treasure.

— Peggy Robinson, Centennial, CO

 

From FLORENCE, Italy, Sept. 30, 2007. . .

• I contacted Auto Europe online at www.autoeurope.com and we rented a car for two weeks in Tuscany, Italy, Sept. 15-30, picking up and returning the car at the Florence airport. We used them at the recommendation of several ITN readers and I would like to second their recommendation.

We had a 4-door Fiat with a standard transmission and paid $715, with all insurance included. Italy requires that you take insurance and that was fine with us. All charges were prepaid except for a couple of taxes, which they informed us about with our contract.

Auto Europe subcontracts with various agencies in each country. The subcontracted agency tried to charge us for an extra driver after we had returned, and the charge showed up on our credit card. I contacted Auto Europe and they took care of the situation in a timely manner; we got a refund within a couple of weeks.

Auto Europe’s people were very knowledgeable and courteous. Kudos to all, especially Molly Douglas at the customer service department online.

— Ann White, Concord, CA

 

From FOUGAX ET BARRI­NEUF, France, Sept. 20, 2007. . .

• On our trip to southern France, we found the ideal bed-and-breakfast. Nestled down in the French Pyrénées in the tiny village of Fougax et Barrineuf is the B&B of Roger and Linda Tindley: Tindleys Chambres et Tables d’Hôtes (10 Quartier de la Poesie, 09300 Fougax et Barrineuf, France; phone 05 61 01 34 87, www. tindleys.com).

It is one of the most beautiful and restful locations we have ever visited in Europe — only a few miles to Montségur (the famous, top-of-the-mountain Cathar castle/fortress) and easy driving distance from Toulouse, Carcassonne, Andorra and Barcelona, Spain.

We spent eight days in this warm and inviting 18th-century home and were deeply satisfied with the experience. The cost was very reasonable: €45 (near $63) per night for a double room.

There are restaurants in the nearby villages, but nothing that we have experienced can beat Linda’s gourmet meals.

For a day off, there are nearby hiking trails and relaxing in Linda’s garden near a lovely stream. Roger was especially helpful with maps and directions.

We would be pleased to give reference. Contact us at ecbalb1@ verizon.net.

— Clayton Burgess, South Glens Falls, NY

 

On France, August ’07. . .

• The B&B/hotel La Maison d’Hôtes - La Corne d’Or (1, Place Guy Mollet, 62000 Arras, France; phone 33 [0] 3 21 58 85 94, e-mail franck@lamaisondhotes.com or visit www.lamaisondhotes.com).

This is one of the best places we have stayed. Everything was beyond expectation. Franck and Isabelle are wonderful hosts. The rooms were spotless and all differently decorated. €90-€115 (near $127-$162).

Contact the hotel directly. Mr. Smal answers quickly regarding availability and reservation procedures and helps with any other concerns.

Parking is available, and the location in Arras is easy to get to and convenient for touring the area (WWI and WWII battlefields, lovely villages, coastal areas. . .).

Best of all is the city of Arras — lots of wonderful restaurants and shopping all close to the hotel (no driving needed in the evening!).

I would recommend this hotel and the area for a long weekend from Paris, as a convenient stop in northern France and for, as we did, touring the area.

— K.A. McComb, Stillwater, MN