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I made a sentimental visit to the...

Times Travel Editor

I made a sentimental visit to the old Pioneer Inn on Maui the other day. Rooms with a stall shower for $22 single, $25 double. Share a bath and you can get by for only $19.65. The Pioneer Inn brings to mind the lusty days when Lahaina was the whaling capital of Hawaii. So long as you’re not looking for luxury, the Pioneer Inn is unbeatable. (Rooms in the new section start at $36 single, $39 double.)

Downstairs, guests still swill rum in the Old Whaler’s Saloon with its swinging doors and models of whaling ships. It’s like turning the clock back to before the missionaries arrived. At the Pioneer Inn, guests broil their own steaks in the garden patio and are served other meals in the Snug Harbor Dining Parlor. Yachts tug at the leash outside the door. Sunsets are startling.

The Pioneer Inn, 658 Wharf St., Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761. Telephone (808) 661-3636.

Maui With Glitter

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At the other extreme, Gordon and Noel Irwin-Hentschel will rent you their luxurious Maui home (four bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, two living rooms, two bars, a library and a teahouse with a live-in housekeeper) for $2,000/$3,000 a week. Overlooks the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course and the island of Lanai. A 10-minute drive from Kapalua West Maui Airport. The master bedroom features cable TV, VCR, film library. Others with sunken baths. There’s also a barbecue/garden patio. East meets West in a setting that inspires romance. For details, write to Estate Resorts, 2500 Kuhio Ave., 2nd Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815. Or call (808) 922-2380.

Mexico Giveaway

The old El Presidente Hotel on the bay of La Paz in Baja has undergone a $1.5-million face lift. Now called All Seasons La Concha Beach Resort. Opens Oct. 15 with a special $59-a-night rate (single/double). These are three-day packages. Offered through Jan. 31. Or there’s a four-day, three-night plan ($99 per guest based on double occupancy) that includes breakfast, welcoming drinks. Each room and suite has been refurbished. Tennis courts are being added. Movies will be screened nightly.

Call toll-free (800) 999-BAJA.

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Switzerland on a Shoestring

Switzerland is trying to live down its reputation as an expensive destination. Hotel prices are out of sight, but here’s an offer that’s hard to pass up. The Swiss National Tourist Office is mailing a guide listing 175 small, family-owned hotels with rates starting at $10 per person a night. These are simple, clean hotels. You’ll find them in villages loaded with Old World atmosphere. (The guide also names restaurants associated with these little hotels.)

For a free copy of the “E&G; Hotel Guide,” write to the Swiss National Tourist Office, 250 Stockton St., San Francisco 94108, or telephone (415) 362-2260.

London Theater

Jean Knox is eliminating the risk of travelers getting stuck with a poor play in London. The California-based authority on London’s show scene tracks theater in the West End and productions by national companies, opera houses. Includes fringe theaters as well. Knox maintains a computer data base from her Point Richmond headquarters, compiling capsule reviews by major London critics. Gathers other information based on her own frequent visits to Britain. Updates listings weekly. Knox then prepares individual reports for the traveler. Charges $20 for complete listings (60 to 70 productions). Shorter reports for $15. Details on the latest musicals, plays, classical reviews, dramas. Knox also offers telephone consultations for travelers in a rush. Her price includes copies of the popular “Guide to London Theater” with its tips on before/after theater dining, transportation to the theater, etc.

Contact Jean Knox c/o Good Show!, 151 Park Place, Point Richmond, Calif. 94801, (415) 236-5126.

Free Newsletter

A couple of years ago we mentioned a newsletter that spelled out savings on cruises. Copies are still free, only now the newsletter has grown from six to 24 pages. Group savings on dozens of sailings. For a free sample copy write to Cruise Pro, 2900 Townsgate Road, Suite 103, Westlake Village, Calif. 91361, or call toll-free (800) 258-SHIP (California), (800) 222-SHIP (nationwide) or (800) 433-8747 (Hawaii and Alaska). Note: A lifetime membership in the Cruise Pro’s Voyager Club with regular issues of the newsletters costs you $15.

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Biking in New Zealand

Backcountry Bicycle Tours is scheduling eight-day biker outings of New Zealand next February and March. Riders will zero in on peaceful back roads, spend the nights in farmhouses (Kiwi-style dinners). The farm-day program was developed by a New Zealand sheep farmer/bicycle buff. The $869 price tag includes lodging, all meals, tips, taxes, a support van and guide. Departure dates: Feb. 3, March 4 and March 14, 1989. Backcountry is also offering a couple of 15-day tours of New Zealand’s South Island (takes in glaciers, rain forests, waterfalls, lakes). Price: $1,599. You can bring your own bike or rent one in New Zealand. Rental costs are $118 for the eight-day outing, $199 for 15 days.

Backcountry Bicycle Tours, P.O. Box 4029-P, Bozeman, Mont. 59772, telephone (406) 586-3556.

Reader Recommendations

California--Jerry Watson, Hollywood: Raves about the Sunday symphonies by the sea at the Dana Point Resort, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, Calif. 92629. “Tables set around the pool and overlooking the beautiful bay. The 32-piece Capistrano Valley Symphony and singers perform a delightful selection to satisfy all tastes. The setting is spectacular, the scenery magnificent. Champagne and hors d’oeuvres are included in the $15 charge.”

Louisiana--Anita and Frank Halbich, Granada Hills: “A marvelous new restaurant, Princess Monaco’s Garden Cafe, 912 Royal, New Orleans. Entrees range from $7 to $16.”

New Hampshire--Paul and Sharon Leasure, Santa Ana: Enjoyed Mulbum Inn, Main Street, Bethlehem, N.H. 03574. “A real bargain at $70 a night.”

England--Diana L. Thomas, Brentwood: “If you are looking for ultimate accommodations in the Cotswolds, try Charingworth Manor, Charingworth, Near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6NS. Rates from 75 to 135.”

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England--Mr. and Mrs. William Briggs, Ventura: “We wish to share a delightful B&B.; Write to Pam and Bruce Aubry, 38 Maidstone Road, Rochester, Meiirj, Kent, England. Price: about $21 per couple per day. Excellent breakfast.”

West Germany--M. De Luca, Costa Mesa: Enjoyed Brigitte Minkes Guest House, Kuno-Fischer-Straba 13, 1000 Berlin 19. “Pleasant rooms in an older private building located in a lake and park setting. Double with breakfast was 90 DM.”

Kenya--Bertha Craft, Hermosa Beach: “Recently I enjoyed an unforgettable Kenya safari with David Read, a charming Englishman. Has authored several books on Masai life and customs. Organizes his own small group safaris, from $200 per person per day. I can’t recommend him too highly. Contact David Read, P.O. Box 122, Kitale, Kenya.”

Malaysia--J. Jefferson Poland, San Diego: “In Penang I enjoyed riding the ferryboats from downtown Georgetown (on Penang Island) to Butterworth (on the mainland). The scenic ride was free to the mainland and about 20 cents U.S. returning. A nice excursion. Note to budget travelers: Rather than flying direct to Penang it may be cheaper to fly to Singapore or Bangkok, then take the train to Butterworth. Also more fun.”

Thailand--Dick and Judie Kappes, Northridge: “If you visit Chiang Mai we recommend you stop at the Thai Tribal Craft Store, 208 Bumroongrasd, Bumrung Rat Road. One can buy needlework, hand-woven fabrics and true one-of-a-kind artifacts.”


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