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It Came in the Mail

Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page P08

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Portable vase.

AIMED AT: Travelers who want to personalize their hotel rooms.

HOW MUCH: $14.85 for a set of three vases of varying sizes and colors.

BUT DOES IT WORK? Nothing says "You're far from home" than those treacly floral prints hanging in your hotel room and the psychedelic fern-patterned coverlet on the bed. To bring some cheer to your generic room, you need fresh flowers. And you need to put them not in the ice bucket but a vase -- ideally one that does not break or eat up luggage space. Magellan's hotelware achieves both: It is made of lightweight plastic and packs as flat as a tie. To soften the vase (the first step in bringing it to life), we filled it with warm water, which also made it malleable, so we could contort the beaker-shape design. Then we added cold water and a bouquet of flowers and . . . Eden bloomed. The vase was just as easy to dismantle: We simply dumped the water and patted our palm hard against the vase, returning it to its flat, flowerless self.

-- Andrea Sachs

WonderVase is available through Magellan's, 800-962-4943, www.magellans.com.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


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