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Travel Questions Frequently Asked Karen

TRAVEL QUESTIONS FOR KAREN:

Dear Travelers,

I hope you will understand that because of the overwhelming number of questions received each day it is impossible for me to answer every one. I will select questions to answer based on what I believe will benefit and interest the greatest number of travelers. Also, please make your questions as specific as possible and know that I do not have the luxury of time to plan or detail personalized travel itineraries.

If your question is not selected, I sincerely apologize, as given the time, I would answer them all. If your question is selected you will be informed that it is published on our website as well as receive the answer by email.

Kindest regards,
Karen

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Category: Spain

Question:
We are looking for a really great bed and breakfast or cute boutique hotel in the Rioja wine region in Spain. We will be traveling from San Sebastian to Barcelona.
Asked by Lori mires [May 18, 2010]


Answer:

The town of Longroño is considered the heart of the wine region.  Unfortunately, we do not have a recommendation in the town itself, but do have a few recommendations in towns not too distant:

Santo Domingo: The Parador de Santo Domingo - located to the west of Longroño

Olite: The Parador de Olite - located to the east of Longroño

Sos des Rey Catolico: The Parador de Sos del Rey Catolica - located even further east of Longroño

Berute: Hotel Peruskenea (to the north east - a bit out of the way)

All of the properties are described and detailed in our published guide.  Not all of them participate on our website.

If during your own travels you discover a wonderful place to stay in the region - we would be so pleased if you would be willing to share it with the Karen Brown Community as a Reader Discovery!!!

Thank you for your interest in our recommendations!

Kindest regards,

Karen

 

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Category: France

Question:
Several years ago, we used your guide for the Champagne region. We are in France (without our guide!) and are trying to remember one of your recommended places very near Eperay. It was a chateau (not very grand) owned by a doctor.There was also a kind of menagerie of exotic animals (ostriches, etc.) Does this ring a bell? Thanks for your help.
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [May 1, 2010]


Answer:

I believe you are thinking of the Manoir de Montflambert.  It was once owned by a doctor and then was purchased by a young couple.  I took it out of our guide after it changed ownership because of the change in decor and management.  I have not honestly seen it for years and am not certain if it remains a bed & breakfasts or has reverted to a private home. 

However, I have recommended for years one (on our website) that is closer to Reims:

Hosts: Christine & Xavier Ferry
Manoir de la Semoigne
Chemin de la Ferme
Villers Agron, 02130 France

AND one that I have found in recent years (4 epis) to the south east of Epernay that I think is lovely and an exceptional value is the Le Domaine de Montgivroux. They do not participate on our website (which is a shame that they miss the exposure to our internet audience) but they are published in our guide. If you do contact them - PLEASE let them know you found them as a result of our recommendation!

Host: Laurent Carbonaro Family
Le Domaine de Montgivroux
Domaine Équestre Montgivroux
Mondement-Montgivroux, 51120 France

AND finally, a reader recommendation (on our website) that has come in also south of Epernay, sounds great!

Chez Eric & Sylvie
189 rue Ferdinand Moret
Cramant, 51530 France

Hope this helps!

Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
We are long time fans of KB guides.  Can you suggest any B&Bs in Ravello, Italy?  We bought the 2010 Hotels guide, but the hotels are pricey. Incidentally, we have stayed many times in Rome at the Hotel Portoghesi and enjoyed it always.  It's small, the people are very nice, and the location. is almost ideal:  barely a 9 iron shot from the the Piazza Navonna.    Thx!
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [May 1, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for your email and thank you for using our guide to Italy. Unfortunately, for you, Ravello is a popular destination. Demand for its location and beauty tends to push the prices up. The closest we offer to a Bed and Breakfast in Ravello is the Villa Maria. It is more of a hotel but the prices are a little less than the ritzy ones in the area. You can see our information about Villa Maria at http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Campania/Ravello/Villa_Maria/3946.php. Another thought is to move up to Positano where we have some Bed and Breakfasts that are a little kinder to the pocket. You could try; Villa La Tartana, http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Campania/Positano/Villa_La_Tartana/3932.php, La Fenice, http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Campania/Positano/La_Fenice/2304.php, Villa Rosa, http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Campania/Positano/Villa_Rosa/3975.php, or Casa Cosenza, http://www.karenbrown.com/B_and_B_Guide/Italy/Campania/Positano/Casa_Cosenza/698.php. To see a larger list of properties near Positano go to http://www.karenbrown.com/List_Nearby_Properties/Italy/Positano/C84/name.php

Thanks again and have a wonderful trip.

Sincerely,

Rick Herbert

Karen Brown's Guides

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Category: Switzerland

Question:
I am finding it impossible to choose between the Hotel Schoenegg and Hotel Alpenrose in Wengen. Can you offer any advice?? I originally purchased your books in the late 80's for travel in Austria, Switzerland and France. Love your recommendations. Your help would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you.
Asked by Lucia Motta [Apr 29, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Lucia,

This is a tough question - however, I think I would choose the Alpenrose as the decor is a bit more alpine-traditional and the family is wonderful!   For spectacular views (and to confuse you further!) you might want to consider the Regina - reminds me of a traditional British hotel and if you can secure a view room of the Jungfrauhoch - if you are blessed with clear skies, the views are incredible.

Hope this helps and I apologize for adding in another choice!

Thank you so much for using our guides and your kind note!

Best,

Karen

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Category: Greece

Question:
Do you have any Karen Brown books on Greece????
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Apr 28, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Frances,

Thank you for your email. It is currently raining outside my window and the thought of traveling to Greece for research is quite appealing. Unfortunately, we do not currently have a guide. We have always felt that small is better and hiring a lot of editors like other guides would dilute the quality of our recommendations.

In an effort to help travelers plan trips to areas we do not currently have guides we have added some property affiliations that we feel best meet our standards. With this in mind we have posted individual properties from the Yades Heritage & Hospitality group. You can find information on our website. You can easily begin from our website page about Greece. The link to this page is:

http://www.karenbrown.com/Destination_Travel_Guide_Hotels/Greece/15.php

Enjoy the Mediterranean Sun!

Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
I have used your guides almost exclusively for many years and I have always appreciated your recommendations. This August my wife and I are going to Sicily for a 2 week vacation to celebrate our 45th anniversary. I have both your Hotel and Bed and Breakfast guides to Italy. I am hoping, however, that you could recommend three of your most favorite places to stay in Sicily, ideally across the island. Villa Taormina appears to be one of them. We prefer small, Inns or B&B's and $'s are not an issue. Thank you very much. As an architect I can't tell you how much of a difference you have made to our travels in Europe. Cecil Baker
Asked by Cecil Baker [Apr 27, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Mr. Baker,

Thank you for your kind note and appreciation of our research and recommendations!!!  The timing for your question is ideal.  I was just speaking with Nicole Franchini who lives in Italy, researches and contributes to our guides and she said she had just been to Siciliy and had lots to share!  So I asked her to detail her thoughts and I will include them below:

Per Nicole: Favorite Sicily accommodation suggestions for Cecil Baker:

TAORMINA:  Yes, the Villa Taormina for charm, location and size, otherwise the Quartucci family's places:  Villa Ducale or Villa Carlotta are wonderful for warm welcome and reknown breakfast Sicilian style.

SIRACUSE: 

L' Approdo delle Sirene :  sweet and simple BB if you want to stay right in the historical center of Siracusa-Ortigia

Caol Ishka:  5 km out of town with pool and gardens, farm property with contemporary décor, warm hospitality.

MODICA: L'Orangerie in the center of historic town if you are planning on exploring the southeast corner of Sicily, choose either Modica or Ragusa as base.

RAGUSA:  Romantik Hotel Locanda Don Serafino

ARGRIGENTO:  Hotel Villa Athena:  New discovery, a worthwhile splurge, within the archaeological park with all rooms looking on to the magical Concordia Temple

BUSETO:  over to the western coast, the Baglio Fontana farm is a nice choice for location and authentic Sicilian house.

PETTINEO:  On the northern coast is an all-time favorite of the guides, Casa Migliaca, very authentic countryside accommodation.

 

Hope this helps!  Wishing you a very special anniversary vacation.

Kindest regards,

Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hi Karen I am honored that you responded to my e-mail regarding Malvarina in Umbria. We are 4 women traveling together. Arriving October 2, 2010 and departing October 6th, 2010. I would like to know if they have a availability. If so how many beds and there sizes as well as the cost. I appreciate you trying to contact them on our behalf. I firstt used your guides 12 years ago on a trip to France. Your descriptions of accommodations were exactly what we found upon arrival. Thank you again for such outstanding guides. I look forward to hearing from you when you get a response from Malvarina. Mary
Asked by Mary Chait [Apr 26, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Mary,

Can you please forward on to me the original email request that you sent and I will include it when I contact them.  Thank you for your kind note! You made my Monday morning!  Best, Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Hi I am having trouble getting a response from Malvarina in Umbria. I have e-mailed 3 times and faxed. Do you know if this property is taking reservations? Thank you Mary
Asked by Mary Chait [Apr 25, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Mary,

As far as I know they are open (year round) and are taking reservations. Perhaps, if you send me your reservation request, I can forward it on and make the personal request that they get back to you.

Thank you for using our recommendations.

I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Karen

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Category: General

Question:
Karen: Some of my absolute favorite, ecstatic hotel experiences have been at the Ruedihus in Kandersteg, Switzerland, the Grandhotel Geissbach on Lake Brienz, the Hostellerie de Chevalier in Gruyeres. Switzerland, and the Auf Schonberg castle hotel in Oberwesel Germany. We are planning a return trip to Germany, Switzerland, and possibly Austria. The debate is whether to return to these favorites, or to go for new experiences. Do you have any recommendations that would rival these hotels, in terms of having off the path, jaw-dropping cinematic settings, and interiors that have old world, medieval, or rustic Alpine charm? ( no contemporary decorating for me--- it's all about carved wood, paneling, stone walls, folk-art etc.)
Asked by Marilyn Clark [Apr 24, 2010]


Answer:

Dear Marilyn,

You truly present a challenge as almost every property you have experienced is honestly a personal favorite! It is always hard to know whether or not to simply return to a property you love - but, I am always concerned if it will be as good as memory serves - or add to your collection of favorites....is a difficult decision.  If you want to create new memories, based on the places you have shared that you love, I would recommend:

SWITZERLAND

Regensburg: The Rote Rose (to the north of Zurich - incredible walled town and wonderful inn)

Stein am Rhein: Hotel Rheinfels (their apartment independent from the hotel is great)

Guarda: Hotel Meisser - Fabulous!!!!

Sils-Maria: Wonderful!

AUSTRIA

St Wolfgang: Landhaus zu Appesbach - gorgeous lake setting, 1 hr from Salzburg

Hallstatt: Deehotel Gruner Baum - one of Austria's most beautiful towns, set against lake and mountain - wonderful hotel on lake

Kapfenstein: Schloss Kaptentstein - wonderful family, gorgeous inn, fabulous restaurant and winery

GERMANY

Beilstein: Hotel Haus Lipman - the main six rooms overlook the river - love the Mosel

Meersburg: either hotel!

Rothenburg: Romantik Hotel Markusturm-great town and inn that focuses on attention to customer service and comfort

Enjoy your travels where-ever you lay your head!  Thank you for following our recommendations and please give our wonderful friends our warmest regards!

Karen

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Category: Italy

Question:
Can I get an itinerary as follows:  Arrive Linate AP-Milan 6/4-  I need to get to Bergamo 6/4-6/5- then I want to travel to Aosta 6/6-and then back to Como (Varrena )-on 6/9.  I am staying at Le Moulin in Pontbosset. Got it from your travel guide.  I was going to rent a Hertz car at the airport and drive...is there an easier way to do this?   Train? Is there a shuttle bus to Bergamo Airport from Linate? Is there a train from Bergamo into the area of Pontbosset where I can rent a car and drive the Aosta area?   Please advise if you can give me some information.   Thank You
Asked by A Karen Brown Traveler [Apr 22, 2010]


Answer:

I would recommend you contact Rail Europe directly as they can best advise you of train schedules and fares for the journeys you need.  They have a staff that offers live help 7 days a week: Monday - Friday, 9:00am to 8:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:00am to 5:00pm Eastern Time. Call 1-800-622-8600 in the USA, 1-800-361-RAIL (7245) in Canada, 001-800-726-1936 in Mexico.

In terms of how best to travel the region, I would recommend renting a car as you have planned.  You might want to combine train and car - Rail Europe offers this to allow you to cover long distances by rail and then rent a car for local explorations. Unfortunately, once you reach the lake Districts, the train network is not extensive enough to allow you to explore all the wonderful villages and scenic waterfront drives - you would be limited to the larger towns. 

Concerning transportation between the Milan Airports (Linate and Bergamo specific to your request) there is a website that details all your options.  It is:

http://www.aboutmilan.com/airport-milan.html

Have a wonderful trip and thank you for using our guides!  Karen

 

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