Tom and Helen King of the Babbling Brook Inn at Santa Cruz have a virulent case of the Christmas spirit. A note from the Kings warns that it's contagious. "The old-fashioned wooden wheelbarrow at our front door is already filled with pumpkins and Indian corn. Hot pumpkin soup and hot spiced cider will be waiting for guests on chilly afternoons, and a plate of Helen's freshly baked cookies will be on the cart as usual. Each of our rooms will have its own Christmas tree."
The Babbling Brook (circa 1909) rises on an acre surrounded by gardens, pines, redwoods. A dozen rooms (some with fireplaces are offered at midweek rates of $75 a day plus tax (two-day minimum). Includes a country breakfast, wine in the evening, champagne and flowers in your room. The inn is an hour north of Monterey off California 1.
Babbling Brook Inn, 1025 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, Calif. 95060. Telephone (408) 427-2437.
Reserving accommodations for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada, is going to be about as challenging as hitting the Lotto, but it's not hopeless. Here are a couple of possibilities. Pathfinder Vacations will rent you a motor home in an RV park for $175 a day. These homes sleep up to six guests. Stereos, kitchens, linens, blankets, TVs. Some parks offer the use of saunas, whirlpools. When you fly into Calgary International Airport, Pathfinder will pick you up, deliver you to your motor home. For reservations call toll-free (800) 663-7848.
Meanwhile, Lavonne Miel of Los Angeles is renting rooms in her Calgary home. Rates ($50/$275) with shared bath seems a trifle steep, but with accommodations scarce it's something to consider. Miel's home is about 25 minutes from downtown Calgary. Cross-country skiing out the back door. A sauna and fireplace. Contact Miel, 12540 Braddock, No. 234, Los Angeles 90066, or telephone (213) 305-8770.
A Small Hotel
With the declining buying power of the dollar, hotels in London are expensive--but there are exceptions. A room at the little Westland Hotel on Bayswater Road will cost you 43 (about $78 U.S.) for a single, 53 ($96 U.S.) for a double. Less expensive rooms are available in the annex.
The Westland faces Kensington Gardens, which is adjacent to Hyde Park (a great place to jog). The hotel has been in the family of Chris and Bertie Isseyegh for 38 years. (I've been making it my London home since 1951). Clean, friendly, with a caring staff. Jimmy the porter will help you map out your tours, tell you all about bus schedules, the Underground, inexpensive restaurants. An unpretentious hotel at reasonable prices.
The Westland, 154 Bayswater Road, London W2 4HP. From the United States, telephone 011-44-1-229-9191.
The Hotel Martinez in Cannes was renovated, redecorated recently. This is one of the grand hotels on the French Riviera. Owned by the Champagne-producing Taittinger family, operators of the world-renowned Crillon Hotel in Paris. Rose Dosti, food writer for The Times, gives it high praise. She particularly enjoyed the restaurant, La Palme d'Or, and describes Richard Duvauchelle, the director, as "one of the friendliest Frenchmen you'll ever meet." Duvauchelle dropped by the other day to tell us about the hotel's new spring rates. Six nights for about $500 per person (double occupancy) or $800 for a single. For a top hotel along the Riviera (faces La Croisette), it's a good buy these days. The Martinez is a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World, 6151 W. Century Blvd., Suite 402, Los Angeles 90045. Leading Hotels will mail you a brochure.
Speaking of France, Jet Vacations (mentioned here last week in connection with Air Inter's Le France Pass) has come up with another bargain called Flexi-Plan Hotels. For $30 per person (double occupancy) it covers hotels in Paris and Nice. Prices are even cheaper in Cannes ($25 per guest). This is for a room with private bath. Rates include a continental breakfast, taxes, service. Contact Jet Vacations toll-free at (800) 538-0999 or (213) 652-0999.
You can rent a four-bedroom villa in Acapulco for $260 a night, which figures out to $65 per couple. Each room with its own private bath. The villa is fully staffed. Cook, maid, laundress. Off-season rates (Easter through November) drop to $180 a night. A minimum seven-day rental is required during the high season, four days in the low season. For an extra $10/$12 per person a day the cook provides breakfast, lunch and a seven-course dinner. For reservations contact Earl and Shirley Jeansonne, 1213 Aurora Ave., Metairie, La. 70005, or telephone (504) 837-1121. Casa Rey Sol, with its swimming pool, faces the bay from a hilltop perch six blocks from the water.