I'm not fond of big, commercial hotels. Instead, I prefer the smaller, more intimate unknowns where the guests are treated like members of a family. One in Baden-Baden, West Germany: Der Kleine Prinz (The Little Prince) is owned and operated by Norbert Rademacher and his wife, Edeleraud. Only 17 rooms in a 100-year-old building that's been renovated. Private baths, color TV, radio alarm clocks, hair dryers. Some rooms feature fireplaces. Others with balconies.
German-born Rademacher was employed for 24 years in the United States and Canada (the Plush Horse in Redondo Beach, the Waldorf-Astoria and New York Hilton in Manhattan), and before that by Le Bristol in Paris and Le Rive Reine on Lake Geneva.
Room rates at The Little Prince are guaranteed at $137.50 (double) and $90 (single). This includes a welcome cocktail and buffet breakfasts. The 1987 Guide Gault Millau gives high praise to Der Kleine Prinz. Intimate with a fine restaurant. My kind of hotel. See your travel agent or call toll-free (800) 243-9420. Der Kleine Prinz, Lichtentaler Strasse 36, D-7570 Baden-Baden, West Germany.
Motor Homes/New Zealand
New Zealand appears to have been created for motor home touring. Good roads, light traffic. Hundreds of campgrounds. A three-berth Toyota will cost $38 a day. Or there's a deluxe six-berth home with rates starting at $68. Includes a guidebook, road maps, campsite directory, sightseeing directory and discount book. Contact Ron Armstrong's World Adventures, P.O. Box 3009, Newport Beach, Calif. 92663, or call toll-free: Orange County, (800) 492-2828; Los Angeles area, (800) 492-2828; California, (800) 221-8687; nationwide, (800) 222-8687.
Summer in Wyoming will provide vacationers with the opportunity to fade into America's past by signing up for wagon train trips. No pressures, no stress. Fishing, hiking, riding. The wagons will roll through Wyoming's haunting wilderness country. Passengers will sleep on board in comfortable berths and dine chuck-wagon style. Country singing around a campfire. Other Western entertainment plus visits to the Bar J Ranch (one of the oldest in Jackson Hole). Wagons will follow the trail of Lewis and Clark. It's a chance to relive the adventure of pioneers who tamed the West.
Trips are provided by two companies. Bar T5 offers a four-day, three-night package that figures out to $398 for adults, $325 for children. Wagons West does one-nighters for $190, three nights for $360 and five nights for $495 (discounts for children). Write to Bar T5, Box 2140, Jackson, Wyo. 83001 or Wagons West, RFD, Afton, Wyo. 83110. You can also book trips with Bar T5 or Wagons West through Old West Tours, P.O. Box 423, Jackson, Wyo. 83001; call toll-free (800) 443-6846.
For details on dude ranches and other activities in the Jackson Hole area contact the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box E-LAT, Jackson, Wyo. 83001; phone (307) 733-3316.
Travelers going overseas can obtain a free pocket-size guide that charts the currency of 24 countries. Australia to Yugoslavia. Besides currency information, the guide provides details on import/export restrictions and tipping. Charts time, measurements, temperatures. Write to Foreign Currency Guide c/o Ruesch International, 1140 19th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Ruesch also produces a credit card-size currency/metric calculator for $19.95 (plus $5 for shipping). For details, call Ruesch toll-free at (800) 424-2923.
If you've got a crush on the grape, you might enjoy a trip with the Whittier Wine & Food Society to Ventura on June 20. The group will travel by bus (both Los Angeles and Orange counties). Visits to three wineries: Daume, Leeward and the Old Creek Ranch where a country barbecue will be served. Boysenberries will be picked at the ranch after a round of wine tasting. The trip will cost non-members $65. Includes transportation, a continental breakfast en route, the barbecue, tastings and a souvenir wine glass. Details from Marylee von Otteman of the Whittier Wine & Food Society, 6230 Hill Ave., Whittier, Calif. 90601. Telephone (213) 698-4527.
Students of French are invited to attend a four-week "French civilization" course at the Sorbonne in Paris this summer. A mixture of French lessons and lectures. Topics range from literature and art to economic and social issues. Classes conducted on three levels: beginning, intermediate, advanced. Ages 17 to 65. The four-week package will cost you $1,199, including enrollment fees, accommodations, two meals daily, lessons, tours and a pass good for unlimited transportation throughout Paris. Sessions begin July 1 and July 31.
The same organization is booking a one-month trip that features accommodations, meals, a cruise down the Seine, bus excursions to a dozen cities/resorts and visits to cultural points in Paris. Price: $929. Contact World Academic Holidays, 17161 Golden West St., Huntington Beach, Calif. 92647; (714) 841-7848.