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In Hawaii, May Day is Lei Day, and the state will celebrate

Celebrations will be held throughout Hawaii on May 1 as the 50th state celebrates Lei Day, a long-standing tradition.

Lei Day got its start in 1928 in Honolulu as a way of keeping alive the centuries-old practice of presenting people with floral wreaths to say “Aloha.” The custom is observed every May Day.

Honolulu’s Lei Day Celebration will be from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in Queen Kapiolani Park near Waikiki Beach.

Award-winning leis will be displayed and members of the lei court will be presented to the public. There will also be live entertainment, including hula performances.

Info: (808) 768-3041.

On Kauai, Paul and Noelani Pomroy will carry on a tradition Paul’s mother started 35 years ago with their annual lei contest at the Kauai Museum  in Lihue.

“It’s done to perpetuate the culture,” Paul told me, adding that May Day Lei Day has become so popular that some tourists plan their vacations to coincide with the event.

About 100 lei makers are expected to present their finest work to judges,...

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$99 rooms at Standard Hotels with new same-night booking app

Hey hipsters, now you can grab the lowest-priced, last-minute room at any of the five Standard Hotels by using a mobile app exclusive to the hotel company.

Those who use the free app also may find a room -- any room or suite in the hotel, actually -- for $99 a night until May 3. (It's on a first-come, first-served basis.)

The One Night Standard app operates like HotelTonight or other discounted same-night booking services except there's no middleman.

Download the app, sign in and you'll see the lowest same-day room prices for properties in downtown L.A. and Hollywood, New York City (High Line and East Village) and Miami Beach.

You can book a room starting at 3 p.m. the day of your stay until 5 the following morning; regular checkout time is noon, but you can push it to 3 p.m. You can even score a second night, depending on availability.

And as for the $99 rooms, they're a steal -- if you snag one. I checked online and found prices for a Tuesday night stay starting at $221 in downtown L.A....

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MSC Cruises previews Meraviglia, its first Vista class cruise ship

When it sails in 2017, the MSC Meraviglia will feature "cluster cabins" for families traveling together, a digital sky along the ceiling of an inside promenade deck, and a linked-up amusement and outdoor water park.

MSC Cruises unveiled plans Monday for the first of its new generation of Vista megaships during a steel-cutting ceremony -- the first step in the shipbuilding process -- at STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The ship will have bigger luxury areas with duplex suites, a solarium and private lounge in the self-contained MSC Yacht Club area in the front of the ship.

A large theater and a three-story inside promenade deck are among other features of the ship that will hold 4,500 guests (presuming two people per cabin), a cruise line statement says.

The ship also will make use of what's called "near field communication." Passengers will be able to open their cabins or locate (GPS-wise) their kids with a cruise card, high-tech wearable or smartphone.

The Meraviglia will be joined...

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2 California hotels make Conde Nast's Hot List of 60 best in the world

Two California hotels have made Conde Nast Traveler's 2015 Hot List of the 60 best new hotels in the world.

The Rose Hotel in Venice and the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage joined a list that also included the Delano Las Vegas, formerly THEHotel.

For travelers, the Hot List could provide some fresh new places to try on their next getaway.

The California selections couldn't be more different. The Rose Hotel is a stylish lodging with just 14 rooms that's a few blocks from the Venice Beach boardwalk.

"We never set out to create the perfect hotel; our walls are thin, and the building is wonky," the hotel's website says. "But its not like any other hotel. And we like it just like it is."

The hotel also received list love for being affordable (less than $200 a night).

The Ritz-Carlton is a desert resort with 244 rooms and suites. After a redo, the luxury hotel overcame financial obstacles and reopened last year. It received Hot List points for being family-friendly.

The Hot List selections in the...

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Scant snow means Crater Lake, Ore., cabins, campground will open early

Cabins and facilities inside Oregon's Crater Lake National Park will open Friday, a month earlier than usual, thanks to light snow and dry conditions.

Usually officials wait for the snow to melt before opening facilities at Crater Lake, which is 1,943 feet deep.

But the cold white stuff was in short supply this year.

The Cabins at Mazama Village and Annie Creek Restaurant & Gift Shop will open Friday instead of the scheduled May 22 date, Xanterra Parks & Resorts said.

Cabins are in a pine forest and start at $144 a night, plus $10 for each extra person.

The Mazama Village Campground and store, usually not open to visitors until mid-June, will open May 8. It has 214 tent and RV sites.

The main Crater Lake Lodge, which turns 100 this year, will open May 15. The historic building has 71 rooms and great views of the lake.

Crater Lake is America's fifth national park, created in 1902. Admission to the park costs $10 per car.

Info: Mazama Village and Crater Lake Lodge reservations, (888) 774-2728

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Taking your pet on vacation? Which U.S. cities have the most dog parks

More proof it's good to be a dog: The number of off-leash dog parks is growing faster than any other type of park in American cities, a recent Trust for Public Land report says.

Portland, Ore., takes the top spot, while Las Vegas and San Francisco make the top 10. It's good news too for travelers who like to take their pets when they go on vacation.

Where to go first?

If you want plenty of open spaces options for your dog, head to Portland. The 2015 City Parks Facts released last week says it leads the per capita pack with 5.4 dog parks per 100,000.

The website BringFido recommends Sellwood Riverfront Park (Southeast Spokane Street and Oaks Parkway) on the Willamette River (it rates five bones), 200-acre Mt. Tabor Park (Southeast 60th Avenue and Salmon Street) and Chimney Park (9360 N. Columbia Blvd.).

Other cities that received high marks for the per-capita number of dog parks:

2. Norfolk, Va.

3. Madison, Wis.

4. Henderson, Nev.

5. Las Vegas

6. Arlington, Va.

7. San Francisco

8. Tampa,...

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