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NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS | TRAVEL LOG

Waterfront hotel grows in San Diego

August 10, 2003|Jane Engle; Times Wire Services

San Diego sports a Vegas-sized hotel by the sea, now that the Manchester Grand Hyatt has added a second tower, increasing its room count to 1,625. That makes it the largest hotel in the city and among the largest on the West Coast.

The new 33-story Seaport Building has 750 rooms, nearly doubling the Hyatt's size, and sits on the downtown waterfront near the original 40-story Harbor Building. A new four-story structure connecting them has a rooftop pool and 25,000 square feet of deck -- more than three times the size of the hotel's other pool area -- overlooking the bay.

The new deck has cabanas, whirlpools, a bar and snack shop and even a live-music stage and a fire pit. A health club is next to the pool deck. A new restaurant, Redfields Bar & Bistro, serves California cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Published room rates at the hotel, rated four diamonds by AAA, begin at $169 a night. The top-priced deluxe penthouse is $4,250 a night. (619) 232-1234, www.Manchestergrand.hyatt.com.

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United and Delta

unlink frequent

flier programs

Frequent fliers on Delta or United who hope to redeem miles earned on one airline for award travel on the other have only a short time to do so because the two carriers are ending their 5-year-old frequent flier "marriage."

United's frequent fliers can earn miles and book award travel on Delta through Sept. 15. Delta's frequent fliers can earn miles and book award travel on United through Oct. 15. In either case, travel must be completed by Feb. 29.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Continental Airlines linked their frequent flier programs as of Aug. 1. Fliers on one airline can earn and redeem miles on the other; they cannot pool miles from both to get larger awards.

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Seattle center

lends helping hand to visitors

Sleepless in Seattle? Or just lost?

Drop by the new Citywide Concierge Center, the former visitors center, which is now three times as large and offers reservations for local lodging, restaurants, theater and other attractions. You can even arrange baby-sitting and order flowers.

The center is at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, 7th Avenue and Pike Street. It is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day; hours after then have not been announced. (206) 461-5888; for general queries, call (206) 461-5840 or visit www.seeseattle.org.

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Glacier National

Park reopens

areas after fires

Glacier National Park in Montana last week reopened its west entrance and the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road after wildfires that forced evacuation of park headquarters and residents in the town of West Glacier. Town residents were allowed to return. At the Travel section's deadline Tuesday, access to the western stretch of the Going-to-the-Sun Road was limited to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For updates, visit www.nps.gov/glac.

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Great Wall

hikers who stray

may have to pay

Beijing

Hikers who stray from approved paths on China's Great Wall can be fined hundreds of dollars under a law that took effect Aug. 1. Chinese officials say they are trying to protect the ancient attraction, visited by millions each year. Vast sections of the roughly 4,000-mile wall, which dates to the 3rd century BC, are crumbling and overgrown.

Times Wire Services

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Traveler's notes

Alaska Airlines will begin nonstop flights between Long Beach and Seattle on Dec. 14. The three-times-a-day service will replace flights run by its sister airline, Horizon Air. Alaska will use bigger planes, nearly doubling the available seats, and offer a first-class cabin. Economy round-trip fares on the new flights were recently $276.... In New York City, an information kiosk for visitors to Harlem has opened at the State Office Building plaza at 163 W. 125th St. at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. It is staffed 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The kiosk offers maps, directions and information on attractions.

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DEAL OF THE WEEK

Seven nights

in Tuscany

You can spend seven nights in Italy's Tuscany this fall for $329 per person, including car rental, in a package from TourCrafters, a 23-year-old tour specialist with offices in Libertyville, Ill., and Rome. Airfare is extra. The price is based on four people sharing a two-bedroom apartment in Borgo il Melone, outside Cortona. The economy car includes taxes and some insurance. The deal is good for travel Sept. 27 to Dec. 23, subject to availability. (800) 482-5995, www.tourcrafters.com. (Click on "Special Offers," then "Tuscany-Cortona.")

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FREE FOR THE ASKING

Driving through

South Australia

If you long for the open road, order "South Australian Secrets: Discover the Unwinding Roads." The 152-page booklet describes five journeys, over hundreds of miles, from the south coast to the Outback of the Australian state. (888) 768-8428, www.drive.southaustralia.com.

-- Compiled by Jane Engle

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