QUESTION: Can you provide information about biking tours of the Loire Valley in France? When are they offered?
ANSWER: Here are some the companies offering bicycle tours of the Loire Valley. The trips all include accommodations, usually in small hotels or in chateaus along the route. Unless noted otherwise, the use of a bicycle is included in the price.Butterfield & Robinson, 70 Bond Street, Suite 300, Toronto M5B 1X3, Ontario, Canada; (800) 387-1147 or, in Canada, (800) 268-8415.
With its six-day upper Loire tour, Tours to Noizay, this company seems to have the earliest departures, with the first May 19, and 13 other trips, with the last Oct. 13. The cost is $1,895 a person (single supplement $275).
The first of a nine-day tour, Tours to Angers, departs May 26, with 14 other trips until Oct. 4. The cost is $2,995 a person (single supplement $600). Included are all dinners but one.
Travent, Post Office Box 305, Waterbury Center, Vt. 05677; (800) 325-3009. The first Loire Valley Tour, eight days starting near Tours and ending near Bourgueil, starts June 16. There are six other departures, with the last on Sept. 8. The cost is $2,525 single supplement $400), all dinners and breakfasts included.
Backroads Bicycle Touring, 1516 Fifth Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94710; (800) 245-3874. The first of the eight-day Loire Valley tours, starting near Chinon and ending at Onzain, is June 14. There are eight other tours, the last Oct. 4. The cost is $2,569, including all breakfasts and dinners, and one lunch. Bike rental is $145.
Country Cycling Tours, 140 West 83d Street, New York, N.Y. 10024; (212) 874-5151. The first of the nine-day tours from Ste.-Dye, near Orl'eans, to Saumur, is June 21, with six others to Sept. 27. The cost is $1,895, including seven dinners and all breakfasts; bike rental is $130.
QUESTION: What options are there for kosher hotel packages this Passover in this country and the Caribbean?
ANSWER: A company called World of Ambassador specializes in kosher hotel packages for Passover, which begins this year at sundown on March 29.
The company makes arrangements for hotel kitchens to prepare kosher food and works with chefs, cantors and rabbis to conduct seders. Each package includes all meals and snacks, which are glatt kosher (stringently kosher), two seder services, daily synagogue services and entertainment.
In all cases there is a four-night minimum charge. Most people stay for the whole holiday, eight nights, the company says, so they do not have to make arrangements at home for special food and separate dishes for Passover.
This year, with the holiday beginning on a Friday evening, some may stay over an extra night and leave the following Sunday. Here are the Passover packages. Prices are are per person and do not include 23 percent for tax and service charges.
At the Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami Beach, four nights are $959 to $1,259, depending on room, in double occupancy, and eight nights are $1,599 to $2,099. Also in Miami, at the Sans Souci, eight nights, the minimum, is $869 to $1,229.
At the Golden Tulip Resort & Casino in Aruba, four nights are $899 to $1,199 a person, and nine nights start at $1,499.
At the P.G.A. National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., four nights are $459 to $649, and eight nights are $1,159 to $1,499.
At the Scottsdale Princess, in Scottsdale, Ariz., four nights are $899 to $1,259 and eight nights are $1,499 to $2,099.
At Marriott's Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, Calif., four nights are $899 to $1,259 and nine nights are $1,499 to $2,099.
At the Nordic Hills Resort and Conference Center in Itasca, Ill., four nights are $479 to $609 and nine nights, March 29 to April 7, are $799 to $1,015.
The Tara Hyannis in Cape Cod, Mass., four nights are $539 to $679 and nine nights are $899 to $1,125.
At the Tamiment Resort in the Poconos, four nights are $479 to $609 and nine nights are $799 to $1,015, including transportation from New York.
At the Ocean Place Hilton in Long Branch, N.J., four nights are $599 to $709 and nine nights are $999 to $1,175. And at the Rye Town Hilton, in Rye, N.Y., four nights are $769 to $233 and nine nights are $1,279 to $1,549.
Information: World of Ambassador Tours, 38 West 32d Street, New York, N.Y. 10001; (212) 971-6010.
QUESTION: Do you know of any hotel-and-hockey packages in Montreal or Toronto?
ANSWER: There is such a package available in Montreal, offered by the Hotel Maritime, 1155 Guy Street, Montreal H3H 2K5; (800) 363-6255. The hotel, about a 10-minute walk from the Montreal Forum arena, buys blocks of Montreal Canadiens season tickets each year and offers them as part of two package options. One includes dinner the night before the game, a game ticket, a night's accommodation and full breafast the next day, for $72 a person, with two in a room.
The other option includes two nights in the hotel, a ticket and two breakfasts, for $103 a person. Add $31 a night if there is only one person in a room. There are no packages remaining for this month.
Those available for the rest of the regular season, with Montreal's opponent, are: March 9, Vancouver; March 10, Los Angeles; March 16, Buffalo; March 17, Edmonton; March 23, New Jersey; March 25, Hartford, and March 30, Quebec. The hotel will also have tickets for playoff games, which follow in April.
Ontario tourism officials and the Toronto Maple Leafs know of no packages in Toronto. Games are almost always sold out, the team says. Tickets may be available from Ticket Master, (416) 870-8000, or at the box office at 60 Carlton Street.-
Information about tours such as these is also available from your travel agent.