May 16, 2021   5:49pm

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Giftworthy … Guidebooks with focus

Our “Travel” expert Susan gives you her travel book selects that fill special interest niches and make great gifts many of them we’ve linked directly to Amazon …

There’s a wealth of wonderful guidebooks that focus on very special interests and needs. Here are some that this traveler has found useful, intriguing and, sometimes, just plain beautiful. They’ll help you find that very special place to see, stay, eat, and shop. Many also make neat gifts for traveling friends or a lovely thought for those you love. Why not stay in touch with architecture/design and style worldwide? These you’ll find noted as “gift worthy“.

For the Design/Style Enthusiast:

  • Hip Hotels (Herbert Ypma, Photographer): Published by Thames & Hudson, these books were probably the first style guides to hip lodgings around the world. The series covers a wide range: Atlas, Escape, Beach, Budget and also specific cities/regions worldwide (London, Paris, USA, Orient, etc). Gift worthy – a hotel guide that is coffee table ready!
  • teNeues Cool Shops and Cool Restaurants (selected cities worldwide): Great photos show off stylish, and sometimes edgy, retail and dining establishments, coded to location maps. Not pocket-size, but slim enough to carry. Deserving a repeat mention: teNeues Architecture and Design and:guides (cities worldwide): Pocket-size, including hotels, dining, retail and other venues of design merit. All are “gift-worthy.”
  • StyleCity (selected cities worldwide): Harry Abrams publishes these good looking books, with high style sights organized by area, followed by hotels and dining recommendations. Too heavy to carry, but could perhaps be fun for the arm-chair traveler, so I give it a guarded “gift-worthy” recommendation.
  • Pocket sized with emphasis on hip style: Wallpaper City Guides (selected cities worldwide), published by Phaidon press and the editors of Wallpaper Magazine – need I say more? And LUXE City Guides, pamphlets published by LUXE Asia Ltd., also to selected cities worldwide, with concise summaries of the hip places to stay, dine and see. Both are “gift-worthy.”

For the City Walker:

  • City Walks: 50 Adventures On Foot (Packs of cards, for selected cities worldwide): Harriett has already touted Chronicle Books’ nifty sets of cards, each card containing a walking tour for an area of a city. Put those cards in your pocket that match the area you would like to explore and you are set for the day. Each card’s flip side suggests where to eat, stop, shop along the way. Gift-worthy!
  • Frommer’s Memorable Walks (Selected cities worldwide): Pocket-size books with Frommer’s take on the best walking tours in each city, with accompanying historical notes as well as where to stop or eat en-route.
  • Streetwise Maps (many cities worldwide): Laminated maps to entire cities, which become pocket-size when folded. Great for overall city orientation and way finding.

For the Culture Enthusiast:

  • Knopf Guides and Knopf City Guides (worldwide): Although intended as a general guidebooks, these guides excel in their coverage of arts, architecture, even literature, all from a historical perspective – published at coffee table book quality. Sumptuous to have and hold (even after your trip), and gift-worthy!
  • Art/Shop/Eat (selected cities worldwide): Published by W.W. Norton, these pocket-size books guide you to the best museums and galleries in the city, plus where to eat or shop nearby. Great for the art lover and any visitor short on time who wants to key into art related experiences. Gift-worthy.

For the Driver:

  • Michelin Red Guides and Michelin Green Guides: Although useful for almost any traveler, Red Guides (hotels and restaurants) and Green Guides (sights) are designed with the road traveler in mind – they’re published by a tire company after all. Red Guides (countries and sometimes cities) contain city maps which show the direction of one way streets. Tip: photocopy and enlarge these maps and you might actually be able to drive into that teeny town or into downtown Paris. Green Guides (countries, regions, cities) have suggested driving itineraries and rank sights by “Worth a detour” or “Interesting.” Michelin Guides are helpfully coded to corresponding Michelin Road Maps (country or region).
  • Karen Brown’s Guides (countries and regions, Europe and America): Several different series, including Exceptional Places to Stay & Itineraries, Charming Inns & Itineraries, Bed & Breakfasts & Itineraries; all updated annually. Great driving itineraries with suggestions on where to stay along the way from simple B&B’s to much fancier country inns and special hotels within charming cities.
  • Frommer’s Best-Loved Driving Tours (countries worldwide): As one would expect from Frommer’s, everything you need to know to plan and enjoy your driving trip from route planning to what to see and do along the way and where to stay.

As always, give us your thoughts. Tell us books you’ve used and how they’ve worked out, by typing that info into our comment box (below) and clicking submit. Happy travels!

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