Italy hotel, restaurants; South Africa restaurant, and Austria apartments

This item appears on page 4 of the November 2010 issue.


• Located in Aosta, Hotel Ristorante Cecchin (Via Ponte Romano, 27, 11100 Aosta, Italy; phone 39 016545262, fax 39 016531736, is an easy walk from the pedestrian area and near the Arco d’Augusto.

Our room, booked through at €90 (about $115) for Sept. 2, 2010, was spotless and roomy and had a balcony. The proprietor spoke English and was very helpful.

A city with much art and history, Aosta has many churches, museums, Roman ruins and a surrounding Roman wall with towers. It’s easy to walk around in.

• We ate two wonderful meals there. The first was at Ristorante Praetoria (Via Sant’ Anselmo 9, 11100 Aosta [AO], Italy; phone 39 0165 44356), near the Praetorian Gate. For about $100 for the two of us, we had the full four courses and a bottle of the local, limited-production Mueller Thurgau wine, which was outstanding.

• The second evening, having eaten too much the night before, we ate lightly at Al Dente Trattoria Italiana (Via Croce di Citta 34, 11100 Aosta, Italy; phone 39 0165194596). We had one antipasto, two orders of spaghetti Bolognese and two desserts plus wine for about $43.

• Another highlight of Aosta was Grom Gelateria. We think Grom has some of the best gelato in the world. Grom can be found at locations throughout Europe.

• Located 20 minutes up a mountain from the A5 Autostrada in Valle d’Aosta, the three-star Hotel Saint Nicholas (Fossaz Dessous 4, 11010 Saint Nicholas [AO], Italy; phone 39 0165908924, fax 39 0165908927 or e-mail is in a great location for visiting Aosta, area castles, the valleys of Gran Paradiso National Park and the Italian Alps.

Our room was clean, basically furnished and reasonably priced. For Sept. 4, booking through, we paid €45 ($59). Breakfast was included.

The two dinners we had there were very good, served in a pleasant dining room for €15 ($20) each plus $6 per person for wine and water. The hotel had many families staying there.

— Kay & Vince Meleski, Cullman, AL


In Cape Town in September 2010, we stumbled across this great, French/international restaurant by accident: La Mouette (78 Regent Rd., Seapoint 8005, Cape Town, South Africa; phone 021 433 0856,

For $24 per person, including wine, we had a seven-course “taster dinner,” meaning that we got small portions; however, it was more than sufficient for us. The presentation was beautiful and the food, outstanding. A great restaurant with great service!

— Carolyn Jones, Modesto, CA


We spent six nights in Vienna, Sept. 11-17, 2010, staying in an apartment in the Seventh District that we booked online from Kramer Apartments (Liebhartsgasse 22/4, A-1160 Vienna, Austria; phone +43 [0] 699 18 04 80 30,

We selected apartment Neustiftgasse B, which is one of six represented by the Kramers. Its location was excellent, within a block of two separate streetcar lines and within two blocks of an underground line. By public transit, it took about 10 minutes to reach central Vienna or the Westbanhof station. At the end of our street was a grocery store and a bakery.

Our apartment, which could sleep six people, had two bedrooms, a living room with sofabed, a balcony, a dining area and a kitchen with all necessary appliances and utensils as well as a clothes washer. One warning — in the bathroom, the shower and bathtub are elevated and could be difficult to enter for somebody with mobility problems. Free WiFi service.

We paid €95 (near $129) per night, with a 20% deposit payable by PayPal and the rest due in cash on arrival. The Kramers were very good about answering questions regarding the apartment, and the booking went very smoothly.

— Neil Johnson, San Jose, CA