Hotel Near Berchtesgaden
Julie and Bill Wood
Hobe Sound, FL
Red Guide Comments
As always, your comments about the Michelin Red Guides are right on target. For any of the countries Michelin covers, all other guides are at best a distant second.
Although Michelin has yet to dedicate a guide to Austria, parts of Austria are indeed included in the Germany Red Guide. I recall that the area covered abuts Southern Germany, including Salzburg and the surrounding towns.
Thanks to the Red Guide, we had an extraordinary dinner at Obauer in Werfen, which is about 20 minutes south of Salzburg.
The other point you allude to in your comments relates to the restaurants noted with the 'Bib Gourmand' designation. Michelin calls them good meals at reasonable prices. That is an understatement. A listing in Michelin is by itself a recommendation and the red listing for those warranting a 'Bib Gourmand' means the restaurants are distinguished in one or more ways and may well be en route to one-star status. On all our trips, we try to build our meal plans around the 'Bib Gourmand', with an occasional starred restaurant along the way. After having eaten at dozens of these and an equal number of one, two, and three stars, I cannot overemphasize the value of giving the 'Bib Gourmand' special attention. They're easily the best bang for the buck in any of the countries that Michelin has rated.
No Vote for We Recommend
Since you ask, I, for one, find the We Recommend section of Gemütlichkeit so much wasted space. If I need help with accommodations for any of those places listed, I refer to those back issues featuring said places.
Not only will those back issues provide me with in-depth coverage, but allow me to compare hotels/inns, etc., of comparable or near-comparable quality. Let's have more reporting or readers letters.
On another subject, would you address the issue of smoking in European restaurants, perhaps in a Dear Subscriber piece? There are legions of us, I'm sure, who find cigarette smoking downright offensive, or cannot tolerate it for health reasons.
(Ed. Note: Until Mr. Polcari's comments, we had had only a handful of responses, all favorable, to the Gemütlichkeit Recommends feature. We'd like to hear from more readers. The idea is to provide a quick reference to hotels we particularly like in popular destinations.
As to smoking in European restaurants, we, too, find it unpleasant. On our recent month-long trip, we were continually assaulted by secondhand smoke. Worst of all were three restaurants in which cigars polluted the atmosphere to virtually untenable levels. In one, we left before the meal was finished and advised restaurant management of the reason for our departure.
As Mr. Polcari and most readers are well aware, smoking in restaurants and other public places is still part of Europe's culture, though there are a few encouraging signs; nonsmoking hotel rooms, sections of rail cars and even a few restaurants now offer no-smoking areas. In fact, the World Health Organization says smoking is decreasing in Western Europe. Sadly, the tobacco companies' marketing efforts in Eastern Europe have more than offset gains in the West to the extent that there are now more smokers in Europe than there were five years ago.
The European hotel and restaurant operators we know are well aware of American attitudes regarding smoking and surprisingly sympathetic to them. But among their clientèle, we are alone. The Japanese, the Brits and Aussies, seem to have no problem with smoking and, of course, their biggest customers, Europeans, still light up in large numbers.
Gemütlichkeit has no solution expect to urge readers to congratulate and patronize those hotels and restaurants that exercise smoking controls and to politely make their feelings known to those who do not.)