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October 7, 2012
Irish eyes truly smiling After reading Andrew McCarthy's article ["Optimism Is in the Air," Sept. 30], I was most pleasantly depressed. Having just been to Ireland in June, it snared my heart, and I long to return. The photos chosen provided the perfect contrast of present and past, and let nobody suggest these were doctored: It truly is that green. An entire series could be devoted to this wonderful country, whose inhabitants sing when they speak, and whose actual songs are as evocative as the country itself.
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NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Las Vegas is the No. 1 destination for spring break in the West followed by L.A. and Phoenix, according to bookings at Hotwire. For college kids and adults who want to be where the crowds are, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, the Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur offer entertainment extras with stays through June. Go online to Spring Break Unleashed and browse the "available dates" calendar for each hotel-casino to find the cheapest nights. Midweek is the best time to go; rooms shoot up to more than double on weekends.
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TRAVEL
September 23, 2012 | By Catharine Hamm
Question: I recently booked two nights' stay at a hotel in Las Vegas and paid for it online. Upon checking in, my husband and I were taken aback when the desk clerk told us that a resort fee of $40.32 had to be paid before we could check in. After some discussion with the online booking agencies, I received a credit for 10% of the total fee. It is really not about the money. It really is the principle. I had no choice but to pay the fee. Is this a trend, and can anything be done about it?
NEWS
March 12, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Families seeking a spring break escape with pool time, hiking, cycling, old school games and s'mores but have no time to plan should look for vacation packages with with built-in fun. Here are five in the West that fit the bill. Deal 1: The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., offers a destination amid the Rocky Mountains with lots of kid fun stuff. The Spring Break Getaway package includes free movie tickets to the on-site movie theater, 15% off bowling lane rentals, 15% off some stores, a free fitness class (for one person)
NEWS
October 17, 2012 | By Christopher Reynolds
Maybe I should take my tax preparer to Palm Springs for the weekend. Not because my tax preparer needs the rest, but because the way things are going, consumers like me will soon need an expert just to understand who's really charging us what. I'm talking about resort fees and hotel taxes. Those are issues in plenty of lodgings beyond Palm Springs, especially in Arizona. But Palm Springs is where I happened to be a week ago. I'd booked a room at the Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, a colorful revival of a former Holiday Inn on East Palm Canyon Drive.
TRAVEL
December 9, 2012
THE BEST WAY TO MAMMOTH LAKES From LAX, Alaska has one nonstop flight daily (through April 14) to Mammoth Yosemite Airport. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $236. Beginning Dec. 20, United offers nonstop service from Orange County; restricted round-trip fares begin at $230. The drive to Mammoth from Los Angeles is about 300 miles, mostly on U.S. 395. WHERE TO STAY Westin Monache Resort Mammoth, 50 Hillside Drive, Mammoth Lakes; (760) 934-0400, http://www.westinmammoth.com . Some 230 rooms (all with kitchenettes)
NEWS
September 19, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
What can you get in Las Vegas for less than $50? A room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, if you play your cards right. The hotel is offering rooms starting as low as $45 from now through February for those who make reservations this month. The deal: This offer will work well for those who plan to spend the holidays in Las Vegas and want to save a bundle. Rooms go for $45, $65 and $85 on selected nights for a casino tower room with a king-sized bed. Tax and the daily $22 resort fee are extra, and some blackout dates apply.
NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Las Vegas is the No. 1 destination for spring break in the West followed by L.A. and Phoenix, according to bookings at Hotwire. For college kids and adults who want to be where the crowds are, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, the Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur offer entertainment extras with stays through June. Go online to Spring Break Unleashed and browse the "available dates" calendar for each hotel-casino to find the cheapest nights. Midweek is the best time to go; rooms shoot up to more than double on weekends.
NEWS
May 17, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Water parks are big drawing cards for kids when it comes to summer vacations. The Oasis Water Park comes with a stay at Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. The park features a big-wave pool, river tubing, an eight-story tower with water slides, and a hot tub. And now you can get a package that includes tickets to Legoland California . The deal: The Grand Playcation Package comes with four tickets (two adults, two children) to Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif.
NEWS
July 18, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Aston Hotels & Resorts have kicked off a sale at some of their Hawaii hotels, with room rates ranging from $79 to $159 a night on four islands. This deal, especially if paired with an affordable flight, works for a summer or winter vacation. [ For the Record at 1:50 p.m. July 18 : An earlier version of this post erroneously said the Aston Waikiki Beachside Hotel on Oahu charges a $10 resort fee; the hotel does not charge a resort fee. However, selected Aston Hotels & Resorts in this promotion do charge a resort fee.]
NEWS
September 19, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
What can you get in Las Vegas for less than $50? A room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, if you play your cards right. The hotel is offering rooms starting as low as $45 from now through February for those who make reservations this month. The deal: This offer will work well for those who plan to spend the holidays in Las Vegas and want to save a bundle. Rooms go for $45, $65 and $85 on selected nights for a casino tower room with a king-sized bed. Tax and the daily $22 resort fee are extra, and some blackout dates apply.
NEWS
September 11, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Hyatt Escala Lodge at Park City, Utah, offers a package for skiers and snowboarders that comes with two-day lift tickets at Canyons Resort and a $50 food credit. Make a reservation before the end of October and save 25% off the package price. The deal: The Ski and Dine Package provides two two-day adult lift tickets and a $50 credit per stay at the resort's restaurants and bars. The deal requires a three-night minimum stay. The sprawling lodge has 150 rooms, from one- to four-bedroom suites, with fireplaces, kitchenettes and ski in-ski out access to one of the chairlifts at Canyons . When: The offer is good through Oct. 31. Tested: I found availability for the package for three nights starting Dec. 6. The cost came to $255 a night plus fees and tax for a room with two queen- or one king-size beds.
NEWS
July 30, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
When heat in Phoenix reaches triple-digits, some resorts drop prices to double digits. Rooms start at $89 at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and $109 at Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort until early September. The deal: Both resorts are in the northern part of the Arizona city. Summer Splash at Tapatio Cliffs offers a stay at one of the 584 rooms and suites at the AAA Four Diamond resort. It has eight pools, a 40-foot waterfall and a 138-foot waterslide as well as a golf course and spa.  All-suite rooms at Squaw Peak are set on a 27-acre Spanish Mediterranean-style spread with a lazy river, waterfalls, 18-hole mini-golf course as well as free sport camps for children in August and dive-in movies on Friday nights.
NEWS
July 9, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
The Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad recently completed a $50-million renovation that features a new adults-only pool, a new sports lounge and the addition of beehives that produce honey used in menu and spa items. Those who want to experience what's new can save with a third-night-free offer. The deal: The deal requires two paid nights at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa to receive a third night free. This resort isn't cheap, but the free night takes the edge off the price of a long weekend or midweek stay.
NEWS
July 8, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Now that Independence Day has passed, it's not too early to plan a Labor Day getaway. If Hawaii is on the horizon, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on Hawaii's Big Island has discounted rooms to $179 a night through late September. The deal: The 555-room hotel is located on 15 acres facing Anaehoomalu Bay, less than 20 miles from Kona International Airport. There's no special code needed to find this deal; it came up easily when I checked online. When: The offer is good through July 31 for stays through Sept.
NEWS
July 4, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
The Phoenician at the base of Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., wants to share its 25th birthday celebration with guests. Reserve one night starting at $199 and stay every other night for $25. The deal: The AAA five diamond resort turns 25 on Oct. 1, but this offer extends through the end of summer. It's hot in Scottsdale at this time of year, but there are nine pools and a water slide to keep things cool. The first night is prepaid, and there's no discount if you stay one night.
NEWS
March 6, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
I recently wrote about 21 things to do in Las Vegas for less than $21 . Now here's a way to keep your room rates on the cheap side too: MGM hotels' spring break special means staying in Vegas for two nights plus discounts on shopping and spa services for as little as $100 at Excalibur. The chain's pricier digs such as the Signature are on sale too, and all packages come with nice extras. The deal: The Vegas Spring Break Escape 2012 packages vary by hotel; check out the different amenities for the MGM Grand, the Signature, Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Luxor and Excalibur.
NEWS
May 22, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, This post has been corrected. See note below for details.
Phoenix heats up in summer, but maybe air-conditioning and pool fun can offset triple-digit heat. That and an inexpensive room. For $149 a night in summer at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa , you can do a lot (or a little) at the resort and cash in on a $50 daily credit too. The deal: The wow factor for the Family Fling & Swing package is all the extras, not the least of which is a $50 resort credit each day and no resort fee (usually $25 a day). Rooms start at $149 a night plus tax and include free Wi-Fi or Internet access and free parking; free golf (after noon)
NEWS
May 23, 2013 | By Jay Jones
One of the classiest hotels on the Las Vegas strip - the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter - is offering a tempting “three nights for the price of two” offer through Sept. 5. The five-star property's Extra Fun Day Away package includes a third night free following a paid, consecutive two-night stay. The deal is subject to availability - for example, it's not offered for arrivals on July 4, Independence Day - and guests booking online need to be aware that the price quoted per night is for three nights, not two. Here's how it works out. We found the deal available for a Strip View room with a king bed for three nights arriving Monday, June 17 and checking out on Thursday, June 20. The rate quoted is $176 per night, but clicking on the “price breakdown” link reveals that the sub-total for three nights is $530.
NEWS
April 26, 2013 | By Jane Engle
Here's a vacation that can keep two generations happy: a stay in California's Napa Valley wine region combined with a daily sports program for teens and pre-teens. The 1,200-acre Silverado Resort & Spa , 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, includes two 18-hole PGA championship golf courses, 13 tennis courts, swimming pools, a spa, a restaurant, an 1870s mansion and more. In the summer, the resort offers a four-day Silverado Golf Tennis Swim Camp for ages 11 to 16, at all skill levels.
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