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Hotels and inns can pack you a picnic.

For a traveler, buying a picnic from a hotel or bed-and-breakfast inn can be a pleasant way to enjoy the scenery at greater leisure. Many hostelries put up portable lunches-from simple boxes to sumptuous spreads. And the use of such services is not necessarily restricted to guests.

A hotel-purchased picnic lets you sample the chef's accomplishments in the setting of your choice, so you can take advantage of appealing weather and sights. And spirited children can romp more freely.

How does it work?

Not every hotel has a picnic service, but upper-end ones both chains and private-and bed-and-breakfast inns often do. At small places, you usually arrange the meal with the proprietor. At larger hotels, work with the catering department, room service, or the concierge (if you aren't a guest). Most establishments require overnight to 24-hour notice. Some hotels pack lunches regularly and have a special menu. Others provide picnics if asked. Choose from the regular fare, or suggest your own plan; the hotel may stipulate a minimum or maximum number of picnickers.

The containers available influence your meal's content as well as its style: will you have appropriate leakproof containers for a marinated salad, for example, or would a piece of fruit be a better choice?

Most hotels ask you to pick up your order, but may deliver for an additional charge.

How much-and who does the dishes?

Picnics we priced were comparable to food from the hotels' dining rooms-plus tax, and in some cases, a 15-percent service fee. Prices are usually per person. More elegant take-out may include a deposit on basket and dishes. Plan to return them within 24 hours (no need to wash dishes; a quick scrape is fine).
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Aug 1, 1988
Words:283
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