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Entries during 2013-09

Spinning Four Wheeler

Q. Can you recommend a brand of “spinner” (i.e., four-wheeled) hard-sided luggage that can take the abuse of luggage handlers?

A. You may be interested to know that airline baggage handlers typically “toss” bags down the bellies of smaller jets such as the 757, 737, and Airbus 319, but they can “roll” four-wheeled bags down to the back, so those bags tend to get less wear and tear (on larger planes, bags are loaded in containers). So it’s not a bad idea to buy a spinner, and yes, hard-sided bags, although heavier, will protect your contents better than soft-sided ones. My favorite in this category is the Salsa line from Rimowa. They’re expensive, but very durable, and the best part is that any authorized dealer can make repairs to the wheels, locks and other parts on the spot without sending the bags back to the factory (they’re made in Germany). They also come with a five-year warranty. There are several copycats out there, for much less money, such as the Traveler’s Choice line. Both are made of tough and lightweight polycarbonate.

Hawaiian huts to hang your hat

Q. We fly to Hawaii every year or so, and one of my favorite resorts of all time is (or actually was, since it’s now closed) the Kona Village Resort on the Big Island The resort was damaged by the Japanese tsunami, according to its website, and has yet to reopen, although they say they hope to reopen someday. So my question is, where else in Hawaii is like this? That is, a luxury resort that is “unplugged” with individual  “huts” or cabins, no TV or phones in the rooms, no air conditioning, but a level of service and flair that matches any five-star resort anywhere. We’d rather not stay in a Hilton or even a Four Seasons. Can you recommend something, either on the Big Island or elsewhere?
A. I can’t think of anything like Kona Village on the Big Island but on Maui, in the town of Hana, there’s an excellent alternative: the Travaasa Hana Resort. The “sea ranch” cottages are where you want to book. They’re cooled by sea breezes only (no AC is needed), most with hypnotic views of the ocean. No TVs in rooms, although there are phones. The cottages are located in an “adults-only” enclave separate from the rest of the property, which means the large pool is serene and seldom crowded. There’s a fantastic restaurant offering a small but locally-sourced menu. It’s not cheap, but neither was Kona Village. Even if you stay just a couple of nights, as I did on a visit earlier this year, I think you’ll find it a worthy option.

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