Philly Liberty Bell area to get new hotel

The Kimpton hotel chain plans to revitalize an old building just a short walk away from the famed American icon. Guest rooms will have a clear view of the famed Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in downtown Philadelphia.

The 11-story Lafayette Building on the Fifth Street side of Independence Mall will be fully refurbished at a cost estimated to be $70 million to become a 270-room boutique hotel.

The closest major chain hotel in the very busy tourist area is the Omni at 5th and Chestnut Streets. No actual construction has started on the new hotel, and no opening date has been announced yet.

Travel advice: When booking, get TOTAL price PDF Print E-mail

Cat complaint

We won’t advise travelers to cancel their plans this season because of this problem, but we’re getting many complaints about confusing prices. For various reasons, airlines, hotels, cruise lines and other travel-related sources quote one price in their ads, and then heap on all kinds of extra charges when the customer gets the bill.

Those $99 flights, cruise cabin or hotel room promotions look good with all the colorful photos and promises. By now, seasoned travelers know that the quote is virtually meaningless, because actual charges will go up at least another 25% when it’s time to pay the bill.

There are many reasons for those extra charges, and you’ll understand as you dig deeper into the figures and your pocket. Therefore, if you don’t want a big shock, get the full price before you book. When you inquire with an online or hometown travel agency, or book on your own, insist on the total truth. Get the total out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay. Then take the very best deal you can get.

Ireland: All signs point to great scenes & people PDF Print E-mail

Irish road signs

Flight ban: Ecigarettes may become illegal PDF Print E-mail

On some airlines, those new smokeless electronic cigarettes are permitted. Smokers can get their nicotine hit by puffing and breathing in a small cloud of chemicals. Allegedly they don’t bother people sitting next to them, although the jury is still out on that question.

Smokeless Ecigarette

Now, the Department of Transportation is considering a total ban on the Ecigarettes on all flights originating in the U.S. The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association is objecting to the plan, claiming that the devices only emit water vapor and create nothing like second-hand smoke.

If the total ban goes into effect, Ecigarette users will just have to join regular smokers in those little rooms provided for them in airports. Then, whether their flights are for one or a dozen hours, they’ll have to refrain from their habit in the air, get a patch or chew some nicotine gum.

Sorry, smokers, but you may be in a losing battle. Amtrak now forbids Ecigarettes on trains, and the U.S. Navy won’t permit them on submerged submarines.

Carmel CA: Clint and Doris invite you inn PDF Print E-mail

Carmel CA

About 90 miles south of San Francisco is Carmel, one of the most beautiful towns in the U.S. Movie stars and other celebrities have been frequent visitors there for the past century. Two who’ve put down roots as local citizens are Clint Eastwood and Doris Day.

Several years ago, Clint served as mayor of Carmel, and now he runs an inn there called Mission Ranch. It’s a seaside resort composed of quaint 150-year-old bungalows on a cliff featuring breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. For information, go to www.missionranchcarmel.com

Doris Day is the owner of Cypress Inn, a seaside resort that gives visitors the feeling they’re at a French Riviera vintage millionaire’s estate. Because the singing star is known for her advocacy for animals, guests with pets are always welcome and given royal treatment. For more information, go to www.cypress-inn.com

Hollywood CA: Hillside sign beckons showbiz hopefuls PDF Print E-mail

Hollywood sign


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