Travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler magazine's Wendy Perrin.
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June 05, 2009

Hotel Deals in Seattle and the San Juans

Four Seasons Seattle

Get your third night free at the Four Seasons Seattle, a 2009 Hot List property. Photo courtesy of the hotel.

by Kathryn Maier on Travel Deals

Daily deals Wendy's headed to Seattle (among other places) this summer and, while scrounging around for the best rates, she uncovered these deals on offer from Sheri Doyle of Pacific Northwest Journeys:

* The Four Seasons Seattle has extended its Third Night Free promotion through the end of the year. It was previously available through June 30, but is now available in July and August too. This means that a three-night stay, which would ordinarily start at $422 per night (including tax), now costs $281 per night. You can book this directly through the hotel, but if you book through Sheri, she can get you additional perks such as free daily breakfast, one lunch for two at the hotel's ART restaurant (excluding alcohol and gratuity), and an upgrade at check-in on a space-available basis.

* Roche Harbor Resort and Lakedale Resort, both on San Juan Island, are offering great weekday rates in June. At Roche Harbor Resort, a luxury suite in the Quarryman Building costs $218.50 per night (including tax), instead of the usual $438, through June 25. That's 50% off! At Lakedale Resort, lodge rooms are going for $219 (including tax) versus the usual $273; "upscale camping" cabins and campsite packages are also available.  Both deals are available Sunday through Thursday nights. Sheri, who is the Pacific Northwest travel specialist in Wendy's Rolodex, can help guide you through the dizzying array of lodging options at each resort.

July 16, 2008

Top Ten San Francisco Activities My Kids Loved Most

Boys_under_golden_gate_2by Wendy Perrin

It took only 24 hours for one of you to guess--based on a single cryptic photo and clue--where my family and I vacationed in early July: San Francisco. We based ourselves in Sonoma County, actually, but popped into the city a couple of times to explore it with the kids. In case you're bound for San Francisco with four- and six-year-old boys, here were their top ten favorite activities:

(1) Riding the cable car from Powell St. to Hyde St. Tip: When you reach the front of the line to board the cable car, don't get on the one that everybody else has just boarded. All the people already up front will block your kids' view. Wait and be the first people to board the next car, so your kids can sit up front and get front-facing rather than side-facing views.

(2) Climbing around inside the giant Civil War-era playground (a.k.a. Fort Point, pictured here) that sits beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Warning to parents of toddlers: Lots of sharp edges and things to trip on!

(3) Pouncing on the hands-on exhibits at the Exploratorium. (The boys probably broke no more than three or four of them.) Tip: Make your kids wait with their father outside the gift shop.

(4) Exploring the "pirate ship"--in actuality, the 120-year-old square-rigged ship known as Balclutha--in the Maritime National Historic Park.

(5) Doing airborne somersaults on the bungy bounce at Pier 39 next to Fisherman's Wharf. Tip: Don't miss the sea lions camped out in the marina off the west side of the pier. Alas, we had no time for the Aquarium.

Continue reading "Top Ten San Francisco Activities My Kids Loved Most" »

July 11, 2008

Question About Where to Stay in L.A.

by Wendy Perrin

This one comes from reader Newhaven:

"I am booked on a cruise leaving from Los Angeles. We will be arriving 3 days ahead. Could you tell me where would be the best place to stay reasonably close to where the ship will be docked?  The hotel package that the cruise line offers seems a bit expensive for our tastes ....We have not been to Los Angeles before so are quite ignorant of the area...."

Newhaven, you definitely don't want to spend your 3 days in L.A. stuck in a hotel way out near the cruise-ship pier!  Any Angelenos have a recommendation for where to stay for 3 nights in a fun, well-located part of town and then how to get from there to the pier affordably?

July 08, 2007

WHERE'S WENDY? Contest: And The Winner Is . . .

Grand finale: "Trio of Miniature Housemade Gelato Cones" at John Ash in Santa Rosa, CA., July 5, 2007.

by Wendy Perrin

The results of the WHERE'S WENDY? contest have been tallied, and it should surprise nobody that the  grand prize -- a free three-night stay in a deluxe room at the J.W. Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa -- goes to Tracker1312.  Anyone who's been following our game from the start -- and, if you haven't, you can click here to replay it in its entirety --  knows that Tracker's ability to divine where on earth I am at any moment is superhuman.  Some WHERE'S WENDY? players even wondered if Tracker was hiding in my suitcase. Personally, I was most bowled over when she guessed which cruise-ship cabin I was in!  Tracker, please shoot me your address and I'll mail you your prize certificate.

The title of Runner-up goes to LoriB, who won 3 rounds and showed great sportsmanship throughout. LoriB, you get lunch or dinner with me at the restaurant of your choice. Honorable mention goes to the two players from New Zealand, Kiwiwriter and TheGlobalTraveller, who hung in there till the end, despite sleep and travel schedules that made any thought of winning virtually impossible.

Good job, everybody, and happy travels until our next contest!

July 06, 2007

WHERE'S WENDY? Final Round, Take 2

The dining room at John Ash & Co., where I always dine when I'm in Sonoma County, CA.



by Wendy Perrin

Congrats to LoriB, who aced half of the final round of the WHERE'S WENDY? contest by guessing I was at John Ash, a culinary mainstay of Santa Rosa, CA.  But nobody has managed to guess what I was drinking. In other words, I finally stumped the WHERE'S WENDY? crew  --  about time, huh? -- and I did it by choosing a cocktail that is no longer on the menu!  Pictured at left is the mystery drink, should anyone care to take another stab at it.  At right: Another treat not on the regular menu: peach, plum, and apricot crisp with vanilla gelato. And, below, one of my favorite things on the menu:

The Ahi Tuna Tartare Tower, comprised of wasabi potato salad and guacamole topped with tuna and tobiko caviar, and served with wonton chips. Yum!

July 05, 2007

WHERE'S WENDY? Final Round!

At Safari West near Santa Rosa, California, giraffes come right up to you . . .

. . . and may try to give you kisses.

by Wendy Perrin

Kudos to Kiwiwriter, who won yesterday's WHERE'S WENDY? round by guessing I was at Safari West, a wildlife park in Sonoma County where the kids had a blast:

Continue reading "WHERE'S WENDY? Final Round!" »

July 04, 2007


Here's a close-up of the plane I landed next to yesterday, July 3, 2007.

by Wendy Perrin

Okay, folks, I'm finding this WHERE'S WENDY? contest a little frustrating:  You guys are too clever! Try as I might, I never manage to stump you.  TheGlobalTraveller and Tracker1312 both figured out where I was yesterday: The Sonoma County Airport in Windsor, California. In case you're wondering what airborne vehicle I landed in:

My husband gave me a balloon ride for my birthday. Two balloons went up at once (which helps one's photos enormously).

Look who joined in the fun:

Continue reading "WHERE'S WENDY? Round 14" »

July 03, 2007


by Wendy Perrin

I shot this picture as we were landing here this morning, July 3, 2007.

There are only 3 rounds left to the WHERE'S WENDY? contest, so it's time for me to get really tough. 

Where am I?  Please name the place, city, and state.

July 02, 2007


Doug, 3, and Charlie, 5, all geared up for a local parade, July 1, 2007.

by Wendy Perrin

I'm still in a state of astonishment that Tracker1312 managed to figure out, in fewer than 40 minutes, where I was in the last WHERE'S WENDY? round.  After a week-long business trip spent first on a ship in the Mediterranean and then driving through Spain, I'm now reunited with my husband and kids.

In the boys' wagon were 50 pounds of Tootsie Rolls (each wrapped in American-flag wrapping, naturally), which Tim helped the boys throw to the kids watching yesterday's early-July-4th parade.

Where am I?  A couple more clues:

Continue reading "WHERE'S WENDY? Round 12" »

July 01, 2007


by Wendy Perrin

I spent today among more vineyards and rolling hills.

Lunch was prosciutto and mozzarella on focaccia, with a glass of Chardonnay.

Continue reading "WHERE'S WENDY? Round 11" »

January 31, 2007

Cheap Hotel In Beverly Hills

Cheap Hotel in Beverly Hills
The exterior of the Wilshire Crest Inn in Los Angeles (Orange St. and Crescent Heights) is as aesthetically appealing as this hotel gets. Its interior is so cheaply and drearily furnished that to post a photo of the room I slept in
would be just too embarrassing. Photo taken Jan. 27, 2007

By Wendy Perrin

As a big fan of TripAdvisor, many's the time I've read its hotel reviews, written by fellow unbiased travelers, and felt they were on target. But what to do when the critiques of a hotel you're considering are diametrically opposed?

On my two-night jaunt to L.A. last week, I stayed at L'Ermitage the first night. On the second night, I wanted to find a good cheap hotel in Beverly Hills. (People are always asking me for cheap hotels in expensive cities. I have great ones to recommend in Paris, Vienna, and any number of other pricey places, so I thought I should have one up my sleeve for Beverly Hills too.)

Continue reading "Cheap Hotel In Beverly Hills" »

January 27, 2007

More L.A. Hot Spots

People stand outside Toast Bakery Cafe in Los Angeles
The typical scene outside L.A.'s Toast Bakery Cafe, on Third St. & Harper

By Wendy Perrin

The last thing I did in L.A. before heading to the airport this morning for my flight home was to eat a scrumptious breakfast at Beverly Hills hot spot Toast.  Angelenos reading this will be shocked when I say that there was NO LINE.

The scene inside Toast Bakery Cafe in Los Angeles
It seems the way to get an instant table at Toast is to show up at the decidedly unhip hour of 8 a.m. on a Saturday.

Continue reading "More L.A. Hot Spots" »

January 27, 2007

Art and Pizza in L.A.

The Magritte and Contemporary Art exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo: LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art)

By Wendy Perrin

On my flight to L.A. yesterday, I happened to share an empty middle seat in coach with Milton Esterow, the editor and publisher of ARTnews. He was on his way to L.A. to give a lecture at the Los Angeles Art Show on "How to Look at Art Without Feeling Inferior." The topic of his speech was on my mind today as I tried to make sense of the cryptic curatorial explications at LACMA's exhibition on Rene Magritte, the Belgian surrealist painter. The show's highlight, in my opinion, was the guards dressed in bowler hats, dark business suits, and red ties to look like the famous bowler-hat men of Magritte's paintings. Never before have I seen museum guards costumed to match the theme of an art exhibition!

After LACMA, I took the advice posted on this blog yesterday by L.A.-based reader Crashbpm:

"The best new restaurant here is Mozza, which Mario Batali opened with
Nancy Silverton. Great for a late lunch (it opened in December and is PACKED at night)."

Hot new pizzeria Mozza at Melrose and Highland, Los Angeles, Jan. 26, 2007

Crashbpm, you'll be happy to know I ate lunch there today at 2:30. First I swung by the offices of Variety and asked Dana Harris, who writes The Knife -- the restaurant blog for Variety's movie-mogul readership -- what to order. She insisted we try the bruschetta with chicken livers, pancetta, and capers; the littleneck clam pizza; the prosciutto and arugula pizza; and, for dessert, the butterscotch budino (pudding). She was right on target, as were you in recommending the restaurant. Many thanks for the excellent tip!

Dessert at Mozza: butterscotch budino (left) and caramel coppetta, Jan. 26, 2007

January 27, 2007

Free WiFi, Part 2

My $448-per-night room at Raffles' L'Ermitage, Beverly Hills, Jan. 25, 2007

By Wendy Perrin

If, like me and the rest of Conde Nast Traveler's staff, you're always on the look-out for free WiFi, and you liked yesterday's tip about snagging free hot spots in airports by parking yourself outside an airline's club lounge, this might interest you too: JetBlue's terminal at J.F.K. provides FREE WIRELESS, not to mention a DAY SPA . . . . 

Continue reading "Free WiFi, Part 2" »

September 23, 2006

Woodstock Revisited

My kids outside the Warm Puppy Cafe at the Charles M. Schulz Museum complex, Santa Rosa, California, July 2006

By Wendy Perrin

When we were in Sonoma County last summer, the kids were enchanted by the 76 one-of-a-kind Woodstock statues, each 5 feet tall and 700 pounds, standing on street corners all over Santa Rosa.  Tomorrow these Woodstocks, each given a different personality by local artists, will be auctioned off at Santa Rosa's Charles M. Schulz Museum (you know: the guy who created Snoopy and the "Peanuts" comic strip). So I thought I'd use Sunday's Woodstock Festival (which includes food, entertainment, and arts and crafts from 11:00 to 3:30) as an excuse to post more photos of the kids.
Charlie, 4, and Doug, 2, in Santa Rosa, CA., July 2006.

The Museum complex includes the Warm Puppy Cafe (where kids' meals are served in cardboard dog dishes), an indoor ice arena,  and a gift shop filled with Snoopy paraphernalia. The highlight of the Museum is a 17-by-22-foot mural composed of 3,588 Peanuts comic strips:

The kids checked out a few of the comic strips up close.

They also attended one of the Museum's cartooning workshops with Museum docent and family friend Geets Vincent.