eauty is in the eye of the beholder -- as the saying goes. The same could be said for balconies.

Location plays a key role in the size of balconies.

Insider has noticed that balconies in city hotels are generally smaller and narrower than, for example, balconies at resorts.

The size of the balcony is directly related to the room rate and to the floor location.

The higher the floor, the bigger the balcony.

Examples: When Insider stepped onto the balcony of a three-star hotel on the third floor of a hotel on the Left Bank in Paris last fall, she abruptly encountered the wrought-iron railing.

By contrast, she recently opened sliding glass doors of a bluffside villa at a Caribbean resort and discovered a space the size of Rhode Island.

Big, little, narrow, wide. It's definitely a topic that requires further research.

So many balconies, so little time ...

Happy landings

Insider was much amused by this question, overheard while en route to a weekend out of town: "Mom, are we on a train or a plane?"

In fact, we were riding the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express from New York to Rutland, Vt.

We figure this child, age 5 or 6, had not seen the inside of very many trains or planes. But she was not wrong to note there are some similarities in the travel experience, certainly in the seating with fold-down trays and individual overhead lights for reading, for example.

There was one aircraft feature that we missed: individual overhead vents.

Beyond that, however, we did not miss a single thing about air travel.


To celebrate Easter, Swissotel Hotels & Resorts has taken the traditional Easter egg hunt to a new level with its Eggstraordinary April packages.

The Stradivarius Faberge Egg is gold-plated sterling silver.

The plan offers guests a chance to hunt (and keep) a real Faberge egg on Saturday, April 14.

The Faberge eggs, which are provided by Ashford.com, come in a variety of styles, including the Stradivarius Violin Egg, the Labrador Retriever Egg and the Coeur de Fleur Egg.

The Stradivarius egg is made of gold-plated sterling silver, and the Coeur de Fleur (Heart of the Flower) egg is made of crystal and porcelain.

The Labrador Retriever Egg by Faberge is shown above.

In order to participate in the hunt, customers must book packages at Swissotel properties in Atlanta, New York, Washington, Boston or Chicago.

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