By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
Best known for her roles on "Living Single," "Frasier" and "In Living Color," actress Kim Coles is now co-hosting the new game show, "Are You Normal, America?" for the Oprah Winfrey Network. An avid traveler who enjoys salad buffets as much as she does high-end resorts, Coles admits that her guilty pleasure is "taking extra lotions and soap from the hotel's housekeeping cart. I tip, though, so I kinda pay for it!" Recently, the Los Angeles resident celebrated her 50th birthday by jumping off a 50-foot cliff at South Point in Naalehu, Hawaii, and she has the video to prove it: http://www.youtube.com/watch(QUESTIONMARK)v(EQUALSIGN)CdmQ5ol71Y0&feature(EQUALSIGN)fvst. For updated info on Coles, follow her on Twitter@kimcoles.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I have sampled many of the Hawaiian Islands. After spending quite a bit of time in Hilo, the Big Island is by far my favorite. It's stunning and pristine. I discovered eco-friendly resorts that were off the beaten path.
Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. Go to the Turtle Bay Resort (http://www.turtlebayresort.com/) or the Four Seasons (http://www.fourseasons.com). They're places where you can just breathe, relax and enjoy the sunsets while sipping on POGs (which are made from pineapple, orange and guava) and taking in all the local charm. If you make it to Oahu, the Dole Plantation (http://www.dole-plantation.com/) is a must-see. Be sure to get their frozen pineapple dessert. It's yummy and refreshing. And get ready to get "lei'd" a lot!
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. I went to Raleigh, N.C., to visit family. It was very memorable. I loved the accents! It's also the first place that I discovered Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Spas! In California, go to the Oaks at Ojai (http://www.oaksspa.com/) and afterward there's plenty of antiquing to do in Ojai. I also like the Green Valley Spa (http://www.greenvalleyspa.com/) in St. George, Utah. It's unforgettable. If staying overnight, the Red Mountain Resort (http://www.redmountainresort.com/) in nearby Ivins, Utah, is my top choice. But if I can't actually get away, I'm the queen of a quick facial or massage. It's the next best thing to actually getting away.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I absolutely love the W (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels). It's always my first choice. Their lobbies are sexy, the beds are comfortable and the Bliss Spa and the Bliss products in the bathrooms are the recipes for a very happy Kim! A close second is a Westin (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/) for its class, charm and the comfortable beds. And, of course, what diva doesn't love the Four Seasons?
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. New York, my hometown. I love the energy, easy mix of cultures and that anything can happen at any moment spirit! Chicago is a big city that feels like a small town, because the people are so friendly and helpful. It's a great town for foodies. London reminds me of New York, because it's so cosmopolitan, chic and hip. San Francisco is sophisticated and vibrant, and I love Fisherman's Wharf. And Palm Springs, for outlet shopping and radiant desert heat.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. London and San Francisco.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Scotland, Italy, Africa, Greece, China and India.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My own lotions and potions and earplugs.
Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?
A. Any trip where I didn't have to lift luggage myself ever.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Anything Asian or Italian. And salad buffet restaurants like the Soup Plantation (http://www.souplantation.com/).
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I always check the weather and, if possible, check for a local spa and where the closest Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is located.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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