lucky dogA peculiar thing about the Caribbean: Just about every resort has a resident cat or dog or two wandering at will about the grounds. Pavilions & Pools on St. Thomas had an unexpected guest wander in after a storm earlier this fall. The dog's left rear leg was broken, he had no collar and he was a bit battered and beaten. The resort owners fixed him up and gave him the name Tre, and he settled in to the front office. In time, whenever a guest arrived, Tre would snatch a brochure from the table and hobble over to greet the visitor with the rack rates in his mouth. This charmed everyone, especially the couple who eventually adopted him and took him home. The resident iguana at the Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, also on St. Thomas, is another story. He has a good life lurking about the outdoor cafe. Tomatoes are not safe when he's there; in fact, he can pick apart a sandwich to separate the salad fixings from the ham and cheese. No one's offered to adopt him, however. This is not a pet you curl up with.

Hold that line, chaps!

We know how much some Americans love their favorite sporting events, to the point of being -- well -- loud. So we appreciated this true story recalled by Charles Roumas, senior vice president of strategic planning at Travel One in Mount Laurel, N.J. He was on the road during this past January's Super Bowl but was happily ensconced in his hotel room where he could watch the event and -- when he deemed appropriate -- yell and shout at the screen. However, he was in London, which means he was yelling and shouting in the middle of the night. So, here came the call from the front desk asking if he were watching the Super Bowl. (We wonder how the staff figured that out!) When he said yes, he was invited to join other fans watching the game in a bar, which the property had opened at off hours to accommodate Super Bowl fans. So Roumas joined other enthusiasts, all of whom were American and male. And the hotel -- which Roumas declined to name because he is not sure the staff was authorized to do what it did -- had cleverly accomplished two things: laid on a special service for its American guests while ensuring they would not disturb those other guests who were serious about sleeping.

For dryer or for wetter

Winter resort packages get more creative each year. For example, the Jalousie Hilton Resort & Spa on St. Lucia is offering a new Dive Wedding plan in which the bridal couple take the vows and seal the vows -- accompanied by the best man, maid of honor and what's described as the "wedding liaison," or justice of the peace -- at full fathom five. And what's a wedding without a rehearsal? The package includes an underwater run-through. Let's hope it also includes plenty of towels.

His, hers and theirs

Speaking of towels: We were greeted by a smallpaper sign sitting on a shelf in our bathroom at the Stonehenge Lodge in Bedford, Ind. In a minisaga invoking family values, of a sort, the sign told of bathroom towels' being spirited away, then being replaced by "adoptees." The moral of the story is, simply, "Don't take the towels," but what a refreshing delivery.

Branson hits big time

Branson visitor interests finally made their case, and now, insets of the Branson road system are included in the 1998-99 Rand-McNally Missouri map and the new Missouri Official Highway Map. These maps are useful, but the street maps containing backroad routings and showing how to avoid peak show traffic are the most valuable, we have found. Clients arriving in town should have no problem finding these maps at any attraction or venue frequented by visitors.

Once upon a mattress

From our press release files: an opus about lovable, laudable latex. Latex Foam Products recently purchased the Coral Sands Hotel and Resort on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. The release goes on about the beauties of the newly renovated hotel, but soon the Latex Foam people are on (and on) about the mattresses and pillows provided by the parent company. "Latex is a natural substance which has a unique luxurious feel and has been scientifically proven to reduce tossing and turning improving the overall quality of sleep," says the release, which continues just as breathlessly. We also learn that "pin core construction allows the material to breathe to naturally regulate temperature." Feeling warm and toasty? We neither.

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