2002 Summer Resort Guide

Thinking about where to go this summer?

Family vacations have become more complicated than simply packing the suitcases and the kids in the minivan and heading to the nearest beach. Vacationers not only want an excellent beach within walking distance, of course, but also excellent service, a nearby spa and outdoor activities.

Food has also become a top priority, as people are planning their vacations around where to eat. Say "resort food" and most people cringe, thinking of fast-food burgers or bland chicken that has been sitting in mystery sauce all day. Not anymore.

Forbes.com has selected the best hotels and restaurants in summer resort towns, from Napa and Martha's Vineyard to the French Riviera and Cyprus. Start you next tour here:

Newport

Vanderbilt Hall Hotel: Newport is known for its mansions, but due to taxes and the fact that brains are not always hereditary, most of the homes have been opened to the public or converted into hotels. One of the best places to stay while vacationing in Newport (especially around the Newport Regatta) is the Vanderbilt Hall Hotel. Built in 1909 by Alfred Vanderbilt (son of Cornelius, aka "The Commodore"). The building was used as the Newport Men's Social Club. At one point the building was also the Newport YMCA, but Doris Duke purchased the building and restored it. Today, Vanderbilt Hall Hotel has 50 guest rooms, which are decorated with period reproductions and canopied beds. A butler greets arriving guests, and a musician solos nightly at the grand piano in the center of the lobby. While the Vanderbilt does not have the sprawling lawn that is typical of other Newport cottages, it does have a sauna, fitness rooms, business facilities, a billiards room and large indoor pool that was built when the building housed the YMCA. Rates range from $295 to $795 per night from May to October. Vanderbilt Hall Hotel, 41 Mary St., Newport, R.I., Phone: (401) 846-6200, Fax: (401) 846-0701, E-mail: info@vanderbilthall.com.

White Horse Tavern: The White Horse Tavern has quite a few claims to fame. The pub is one of the nation's oldest taverns and was built in 1673 as a two-room, two-story residence. During the early 1700s the tavern was owned by a notorious pirate, who is credited with obtaining its liquor license. Later, the tavern became the ad hoc meeting place for the colony's General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council. Members used to dine here and charge their meals to the public treasury. We can't say whether local politicians are still fiddling with their White Horse Tavern expenses, but the restaurant is a perennial favorite with both locals and tourists. With its giant beams, small stairway and clapboard walls, the White Horse is an excellent example of 17th-century American architecture. Luckily, the food has moved up a few centuries. The White Horse serves American and continental cuisine, such as watercress and beef tenderloin salad; peeky toe crab Napoleon; lobster; grilled mahi-mahi; and New Zealand rack of lamb. White Horse Tavern, 26 Marlborough St., Newport, R.I. 02840, Phone: (401) 849-3600, Fax: (401)849-7317, E-mail: whitehorse-tavern@travelbase.com.

San Juan Islands

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