Excellence is an assumed standard in the "All-Suite Hotel Guide," by Pamela Lanier. The book lists more than 800 places that offer such amenities as separate bedrooms, microwave kitchenettes, in-room spas and wood-burning fireplaces.
Business types, the primary users of the all-suite accommodations, are being joined by families whose children can watch TV in one room while the folks adjourn to another with their own TV. Also, breakfast in the room helps create a relaxing, homelike atmosphere. Most of all, the hotels offer abundant recreational facilities and superb cuisine on the grounds or nearby.
The guide is cross-referenced and arranged alphabetically by state, and within a state by cities and towns. Prices, amenities, locations and distances from key attractions are detailed.
The cost of staying in a suite is just a little more than the price of an ordinary room (John Muir: $13.95).
More than a few who have skied Vail and thought it was too fragmented have changed their minds after discovering the "Insider's Guide to Skiing Vail" by Craig Sparks, in conjunction with longtime residents and former ski school instructors Terry Silverly and Ben Rose. The book is much more than a how-to manual, with its suggestions and tips for getting the most from Vail's vast terrain.
The guide includes nine illustrated maps, with ratings of 126 trails according to six levels of ability. It also describes lifts, trails, lengths and vertical drops. Its compact size makes it ideal to carry along for quick reference.
It's available for $14.95 from most ski retailers or rental shops, or add $1.50 for handling and send to Quandry Peak, 2040 Meidinger Tower, Louisville, Ky. 40202. If you're in a hurry, call toll-free (800) 336-3367, extension 801.
"The Best Spas" by Theodore B. Van Itallie MD and Leila Hadley is a vacation guide on where to go for weight loss, fitness programs and pure pleasure in the United States and abroad. It helps you choose the spa for your specific needs.
The guide lists the advantages of each spa, including monitored programs, fitness assessments, motivation, change of pace and opportunities to concentrate. The no-frills budget spas are reviewed, as well as the lavish resorts.
The book offers some exciting vacation alternatives to help solve the where-shall-we-go-next syndrome (Harper & Row: $21.95).
"22 Days in California: The Itinerary Planner" by Roger Rapoport encourages exchanging the interstate highways for treks into more exotic areas. The 22-day format skips the predictable tourist traps and directs you to a plethora of more personable and affordable accommodations. There are maps, daily plans, sightseeing highlights and driving directions that include above-average cultural insights. The book provides a choice of trip options if you have fewer than three weeks. The rating system details priorities to potential destinations, allowing for time out to enjoy some gourmet food or taste the bubbly on a winery tour. Following the same format, John Muir Publications also has two similar guides--"22 Days in Hawaii" by Arnold Schuchter and "22 Days in Europe" by Rick Steves. All three are $6.95.