A double room in a five-star hotel in Zürich for $88? Amazing but true. It's at the Hotel Inter-Continental, about two kilometers northwest of the Zürich Bahnhof. The hotel's normal rack rate for a double room is about $270. The $88 deal can be found at TravelWeb on the Internet. At the site, go to "Clickit weekends" for a worldwide list of hotels that offer special rates for the coming weekend. In mid-November we found these prices:

  • Berlin: Forum Hotel, 132 DM ($78)
  • Berlin: Inter-Continental, 197 DM ($116)
  • Frankfurt: Forum Hotel, 197 DM ($116)
  • Frankfurt: Inter-Continental, 232 DM ($136)
  • Geneva: Inter-Continental, 290 Sfr. ($209)
  • Leipzig: Inter-Continental, 190 DM ($112)
  • Montreux: Royal Plaza Inter-Continental, 137 Sfr. ($99)
  • Stuttgart: Inter-Continental, 167 DM ($98)
  • Vienna: Bristol, 2200 AS ($183)
  • Vienna: Imperial, 2700 AS ($225)
  • Vienna: Inter-Continental, 1625 AS ($135)
  • Zürich: Inter-Continental, 122 Sfr. ($88)
  • Zürich: Sheraton Atlantis, 185 Sfr. ($183)

Each weekends listings are posted the previous Monday.

Visitors to the site can determine availability and making bookings online.

Another interesting feature allows site visitors to register for e-mail alerts on a variety of discount travel deals. For example, each Tuesday morning since registering at the site we have been sent a list of the hotels offering discounts for the following weekend.

Those who can't get on the Internet, or are using insecure browsers or ones that do not support forms, can book directly with the hotels.

The Swiss Travel System has announced prices for 1998. There is a 40% companion discount for the Swiss Pass and the Swiss Flexi Pass.

Swiss Pass

Single Pass Per Person Price for 2 1-C 2-C 1-C 2-C
4 days $264 $188 $211 $150
8 days $316 $238 $253 $190
15 days $368 $288 $294 $230
21 days $403 $320 $322 $256
1 month $508 $400 $406 $320

Swiss Flexi Pass

Single Pass Per Person Price for 2 1-C 2-C 1-C 2-C
Three days $264 $176 $211 $141
Add'l days $30 $24 $24 $19

Good for three or more days (maximum 6) travel in one month.

KD River Cruises of Europe is offering a 10% discount for 1998 bookings paid in full by December 31, 1997. The discount can be added to seasonal discounts of 15% for April and May cruises and 10% discounts for July cruises.

Fares for the company's Rhine river Connoisseur Cruises, for example, which range from $815 to $1,170, can be reduced by early booking to $624 and $1,308. Two and three-night, "Three River Cruises" on the Rhine, Mosel and Main rivers, normally $315 to $665, drop to as low as $241 and $509 using the discounts. KD also offers cruises on the Danube and Elbe rivers.

Contact: KD River Cruises of Europe, 914-696-3600 or 800-346-6525 from the eastern U.S. In the west, phone 415-392-8817 or 858-8587. Web site: http://www.rivercruises.com.

The luxurious Le Mirador Hotel and Spa, located above the east end of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and the town of Vevey, is the first five-star European hotel to ban smoking throughout its public areas.

Well, almost. According to the hotel's U.S. public relations firm, one "separately-ventilated" lounge will remain for smokers as will a few guest rooms, also "separately-ventilated."

Rooms rates at Le Mirador range from 310 to 610 Sfr. ($223-$439). Contact: Le Mirador Hotel and Spa, CH-1801 Le Mont-Plerin, tel. +41/021/925 1111, fax 925 1112.

How about a week's vacation to Switzerland that includes hotel, breakfasts, dinners, rental car and roundtrip airfare for less than $1000? That and similarly-priced packages are available this winter to both Switzerland and Austria from Austria Ski, for many years a reliable seller of vacation packages to the Alpine countries.

The under $1,000 Switzerland package ($959) is available from New York to Davos, Switzerland, in March. The company has also introduced a one-week arrangement to "Brig-The Matterhorn State" for from $779 to $949 (not including dinners) depending on the city of departure.

Other rates include $959 to $1129 St. Moritz; $799 to $1039 Interlaken; $799 to $1099 Zermatt; $729 to $1059 Kitzbühel; $699 to $939 Salzburg; $699 to $949; Innsbruck and $799 to $1099 St. Anton. Prices depend on gateway city and hotel category. Accommodations are in three or four star hotels, all with private bath.

Though designed as ski vacations, the nonskier will find plenty to do in most of these cities.

Contact: Austria Ski, tel. 800-333-5533.