Cyprus Kitchen: Because of Cyprus' strategic location, it has been invaded by just about everyone — Greeks, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans and Byzantines — and since 1974 the island has been divided under Greek and Turkish rule. While we would not suggest striking up a political debate with the locals, there is one positive result from all the invasions — eclectic cuisine. Greek, Turkish, French, Japanese and Mexican food are all available on the island. But when in Cyprus … it's best to eat Cypriot food. One of the best restaurants in town is the Cyprus Kitchen, which serves traditional Cypriot meze (starters) and grilled meat. Most of the menu highlights locally caught fish. The interior is crammed with mementos of village life, from a plough and loom to handicrafts. Reservations are essential. Cyprus Kitchen, Ataturk Caddesi 39, Gonyeli, Lefkosa (Nicosia), Northern Cyprus, Cyprus, Phone: 392/223-1694.
Marbella Club: Fans of Spain's Costa del Sol will tell you the only place to stay there is the Marbella Club. The structure was originally the private home of Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe. Because he had so many houseguests, he enlarged the property and wanted to turn it into a private club. The result? The exclusive Marbella Club. This beachfront resort has 121 rooms and suites housed in Andalusian-style villas. The club recently added an 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Dave Thomas, which overlooks Gibraltar, the African coastline and the surrounding mountains. Guests can also enjoy the beachfront Thalasso Spa, which has an indoor seawater pool, steam baths and saunas, solarium and 12 treatment rooms. Rates range from 235 euros ($216) for a standard room to 3,275 euros ($3,010) for a five-bedroom villa. Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, Bulevar Principe Alfonso von Hohenlohe, s/n 29600 Marbella (Malaga), Spain, Phone: 34 95 282 2211, Fax: 34 95 282 9884.
Hostería del Mar: While you may not want to leave the Marbella Club at all during your stay, one incentive is the restaurant Hostería del Mar. Both the setting and the food are exemplary. The dining room has beamed ceilings and is decorated with hand-painted porcelain. But during the summer you'll want to sit on the tree-shaded patio. Dinner might include calves' sweetbreads in mustard sauce; clams stuffed with ratatouille; roast duck with roasted-fig-and-cassis sauce; Catalan-style shrimp with chicken; and a casserole of monkfish with white wine sauce, clams and fresh asparagus. Desserts include a selection of cold soufflés. Hostería del Mar, Cánovas del Castillo, Marbella, Spain, Phone: 95-277-02-18.