Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

December 2007 Archives

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago narrowly edged out another Chicago hotel from claiming the top spot in the recent Conde Nast Traveler magazine's annual readers' poll.

Be the first one to send me the name of that hotel and you'll win yourself a cookbook full of great wine-related recipes.

The Associated Press recently put the word out about a deal that expires Dec. 31 on European rail travel.

If you treat yourself to a premier-class ticket on the Eurostar train, Rail Europe will throw in a three-country five-day rail pass for free. Premier class one-way tickets on Eurostar, which connects London with Paris and Brussels, start at $417. Second-class tickets start at $94, so you’ll be paying significantly more for your train ride, but the free rail pass has a $428 value.

The rail pass, good for travel in France, Italy and the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), is a ‘‘flexipass,’’ meaning that travel days need not be consecutive as long as they take place by the end of February.

Certain trains (such as French TGVs) require reservations, which may also be purchased online from Rail Europe. Overnight trains require a separate supplement for sleeping compartments.

On the Eurostar, premier class ticket-holders have exclusive use of Le Salon, the executive lounge at Eurostar terminals in London, Paris and Brussels with complimentary Wi-Fi access. A dedicated express check-in area allows you to arrive just 10 minutes prior to boarding. Premier class seats are in their own car and have power outlets, and a meal with champagne and wine are included in the ticket price.

The offer can only be booked online at while supplies last. Tickets must be purchased by Dec. 31, and the Eurostar and rail pass must also be issued to the same person.

Costa Rica is considered one of the leaders in Latin America when it comes to promoting conservation and eco-tourism.

During a recent visit, I learned that the roots for this commitment can be traced back in large part to a North American religious group that helped settle the beautiful community of Monteverde in the 1950s. They set aside land in the cloud forest to protect it.

Be the first to tell me the name of this religious group, and I'll send you a free copy of Pauline Frommer's new Costa Rica guidebook.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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