ON THE ELEVATOR after checking into the Ahwahnee Hotel, I met a man attending a Chef's Holiday event. He had made the same trip every January for the past 13 years. “Never been here before?” he inquired, in that friendly tone that visitors seem to pick up almost immediately. “You're going to love it. This is absolutely the best hotel in the world.” And I hadn't even made it to my room yet. What a beautiful room it was, elegant and gracious without being pretentious, with American Indian ...

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