For the last 25 years, that is what [Hans Hofer] has been doing with his Insight Guides. He discovered his formula in Bali in 1970 when he couldn't find a book that, as he said in Boston last week, "provided the insight I sought on its incredible cultural vitality." Each of his more than 200 guidebooks now follow the same format -- a section on the history and culture, places that should be included in any itinerary, special features of the destination with essays by local writers, and travel tips.
A German by birth, Hofer now calls Singapore home, and from there runs a totally integrated company that not only produces each guide from scratch, but also prints them in nine languages and distributes them throughout the world. Because of this the system, the Insight Guides are quickly updated -- his Florida guide already has post-Hurricane Andrew information. Asia is one of the fastest-growing areas for his books: "They have the same curiosity of the world and there are more Asians traveling to the West than Westerners traveling to Asia."
Temperate room rates are what seven inns in Carmel and Monterey, Calif., are pitching now through Jan. 31. The Inns by the Sea are basing their Sunday to Thursday room rates on the day's temperature. At Carmel inns, today's high temperature will be tomorrow's low rate; while at inns in Monterey, the day's lowest temperature will be that day's room rate. Rooms normally going for $119 a night might be $57 or less under this plan, and for $10 additional, guests can book a room with a fireplace. For information, call (800) 433-4732.
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