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Hotel Report Card: The Lamb Inn, Burford, England

The Lamb Inn ★★★

Sheep Street, OX18 4LR Burford

Tel: (0)1993-823-155, Fax: (0)1993-822-228

The building that houses the Lamb is a 15th century cottage that has been beautifully restored inside and out. Rooms are comfy and stylish, several with plasma screen TV’s and other modern bits, but all without losing the essential charm of the building. Rates are on the lower end during the week, and on the upper end on Fridays and Saturdays.

Located at the southern edge of the Cotswolds, it’s an easy drive to central Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace and Oxford. Less than a two-hour drive to Heathrow makes this a nice spot for the last night before a flight back to the US.

Singles: £110 to £260, Doubles: £120 to £270, Credit Cards: MasterCard/Visa accepted.

Hotel Style: Boutique; 17 Rooms

Grades: B (Location), A+ (Property), A (Rooms)

No, the Cinque Terre is not closing

Last week the world news media picked up a story claiming the Cinque Terre would be limiting visitors, and that you would need to purchase tickets in advance to get access to the area. As with so many things, the media sensationalized this way out of proportion.

Over the past 20 years the popularity of this section of the Italian Riviera has climbed steadily. It's easy to understand why. Home to five tiny little villages, dripping with old world charm and essentially inaccessible by car, it presents an idyllic retreat from the hustle of the modern world.

But that popularity – over 2.5 million visitors last year – has put an enormous strain on the region's fragile infrastructure. Many of the tourists now visit the region as a day excursion from cruise ships, meaning they not only burden the infrastructure, they leave comparatively little money behind to support it.

The whole region is a national park, and the head of the park recently announced plans to put sensors in each village to gauge the number of tourists, to develop an app that would let people know which villages were the most congested, and, ultimately, to limit the number of visitors. Knowing how the Italian bureaucracy crawls along (see The MOSE Project), when I read the initial reports in the world media I was skeptical, to say the least, that any such project could be completed in such a short time.

The park head has now backtracked on his statements, and locals in the know have brought a little more context to the situation. For an excellent overview of the region, and up-to-date news on what's going on, check out Cinque Terre Insider, a blog run by an expat American who has been living in one of the villages for more than 10 years.

Hotel Report Card: Hotel La Pérouse, Nice, France

Hotel La Pérouse ★★★★

11 quai Rauba-Capeu, 06300 Nice

Tel: (0)4-93-62-34-63, Fax: (0)4-93-62-59-41

You too can be part of the Riviera jet-set by staying in this small hotel. Designed like a private villa, many of the rooms have balconies with sweeping views of the bay, the beaches and old town Nice. Rooms are smaller than I would expect at this price, but you may spend all of your time on the balcony anyway.

The super friendly staff seem to genuinely care about you, and anticipate every need.

Singles: €275 to €475, Doubles: €275 to €475, Triples: €305 to €505, Suites: €950

Credit Cards: All major credit cards accepted.

Hotel Style: Boutique; 62 Rooms

Grades: A+ (Location), A (Property), A (Rooms).

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