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Catalina: New operator sought for Inn at Mt. Ada

The search is on for a new operator for the Inn on Mt. Ada on Santa Catalina Island.

The iconic bed-and-breakfast inn, onetime home of chewing gum industrialist William Wrigley Jr., is closing Nov. 30. All rooms are booked for the remaining nights, but cancellations are possible.

"The operators did not want to continue to operate the inn," said Bob Reid, chief development and communications officer for Catalina Island Conservancy, which oversees the property along with USC.

Brian League, executive director of Real Estate Development at USC, said the university is working with the conservancy to find an operator to run the inn, adding that the current innkeepers indicated that they did not wish to continue their lease.

League said the university and the conservancy want the inn to stay open.

The hillside Avalon mansion was completed in 1921 and overlooks the town and its harbor. Wrigley, who bought Catalina Island in 1919, named the home after his wife, Ada.

During their heyday, the...

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Travel deals: Why you should book Thanksgiving flights by Labor Day

If you haven't bought airline tickets for Thanksgiving yet, get searching. Travel planning websites say airfares drop around Labor Day -- and those who wait until October or November could pay a lot more for their Turkey Day getaway.

It's also a time when bargain hunters planning year-end and winter vacations could score discounts on hotels, ski lift tickets and tours.

Airfares: Consider booking your airfare now. Travel booking website

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SLS Las Vegas, the newest Strip resort, opens its doors

Prepare to be impressed at the Strip’s newest resort, the 1,600-room SLS Las Vegas, which welcomed its first guests during the weekend.

Southland residents  may feel as though they never left home.

Aug. 26, 3:12 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled the last name of the president and chief operating officer of the SLS Las Vegas. It is Rob Oseland, not Oselund. 

SLS is the result of a $415-million renovation of the old Sahara resort, which opened in 1952 and closed in 2011. In homage to the original hotel, the new carpeting just inside the valet entrance features the Sahara’s iconic logo. But beyond the old parking garage, most of the property has been gutted and rebuilt.

Owing to smaller size of early resorts, the SLS Las Vegas is about half the size of many newer properties. That alleviates the seemingly endless hikes you have to make at other resorts. All of the restaurants and clubs are on the edges of the casino, and it, too, is...

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Hawaii: Pro surfer Ian Walsh will teach amateurs through Andaz Maui

If you’re an amateur surfer, pro Ian Walsh plans to improve your skills and confidence in several upcoming classes on Maui.

The first students will hit the waves along Mokapu Beach on Sept. 27; a second class will be Oct. 25. Other dates will be announced later.

Walsh, a Maui native who has tackled 70-foot waves and graced the cover of surfing magazines, will provide four-hour lessons in partnership with the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.

Morning and afternoon classes will be offered, including an opportunity to have breakfast or lunch with Walsh before facing the ocean. In the evening, Walsh will join students and hotel guests at a cocktail reception.

The classes, which will be limited to 10 students, are open to all experience levels. Besides Walsh, other instructors will be on hand to ensure maximum attention as well as safety.

The hotel will have boards available for rent, and Fox Head will provide complimentary use of wet suits. The company will also present each student with a bag...

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Napa quake: 3 hotels shut after shaker; wine train to restart Tuesday

If you were planning to head for Napa Valley's wine country over Labor Day weekend, don't cancel plans until you check with your hotel. The 6.0 earthquake that shook the wine country early Sunday temporarily closed three hotels and halted the popular gourmet wine train, but other areas say they remain only marginally affected.

Aftershocks continued Monday after the 3:20 a.m. quake Sunday that was centered about nine miles south of Napa. Hotels affected by the quake are telling travelers via social media and website that they expect to reopen soon.

The Andaz Napa at 1450 First St. says on its Facebook page that the hotel as well as the restaurants and bars were closed Monday (today) and will remain closed until further notice. The hotel asks guests to call (800) 323-7249 or contact @hyattconcierge on Twitter to check on their reservations.

The Napa Valley Marriott Hotel

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Rubber Duck extends its stay at the Port of L.A. till Sept. 6

The public has spoken: The duck has extended its stay in L.A. until Sept. 6.

The six-story-tall bathtub toy has proved so popular — thousands were drawn to the waterfront to see it -- that it will stay longer. It spent part of last week at Los Angeles harbor making a special guest appearance at the Tall Ships Festival, and its last day was to have been Sunday.

“We were floored by the response,” said Phillip Sanfield, spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles. “It struck a chord to see this enormous duck with the backdrop of the nation’s busiest container port.”

The duck will, however, take off for the Labor Day weekend to give everyone associated with the piece by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman a rest.

And then it's back to making people smile —and apparently making people propose marriage. At least it appears one man did, based on a photo on the LA Waterfront Facebook page.

Extra events have been added for the coming days.  “We’re running with it and having fun,” Sanfield said.

The fun...

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On the Spot: Taking a stand when airplane seat mate has stinky feet

Question: The last two times I traveled internationally, my seat companions removed their shoes, and the stench from their feet was unbearable. Since the airplanes are filled, asking to change seats is impossible. What options do I have? The cabin attendants wrinkled their noses but said nothing. I have another trip planned and would like to avoid a repeat. What options do I have? Any suggestions?

B. Hogue

Los Angeles


Answer: Before trying to find solutions, I asked for help with the science of why this happens.

Two issues are at work: one's sense of smell and possible issues with the owner of the offending feet.

"The nose has multiple receptors for smell," said Dr. Allis Cho, an otolaryngologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. "We have millions of neurons … and you can smell millions of types of odors." Stinky feet presumably are among those.

Even people who have lost their sense of smell can still be jolted by a nerve that senses pain. Said another...

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Hello Kitty Con 2014 in Los Angeles marks 40 years of you-know-who

Hello Kitty is having a milestone birthday. The Japanese cartoon-turned-icon turns 40 this year with her very first fan fest. Toy maker Sanrio will hold Hello Kitty Con 2014 to celebrate every Kitty thing this fall at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in downtown Los Angeles.

Hello Kitty head designer Yuko Yamaguchi as well as tokidoki brand designer Simone Legno will appear on a panel and answer questions during the convention that runs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. Yamaguchi will be available for daily signings too.

Fans will be able to see the first Hello Kitty item ever made, a coin purse, in a retrospective show that features vintage products of the big-headed white feline who brings in about $7 billion a year for Sanrio.

Collectible items, a Hello Kitty house designed inside and out with the cat character, workshops on scrapbooking and cookie decorating, lectures and art classes are some of the highlights. There also will be a booth where fans can get a tattoo (a real one) of Hello Kitty...

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Feel like leasing a private plane? Download the JetSmarter app first

If you want to avoid the hassle of commercial air travel, you can always lease a private jet. Don't know where to look? Try this new travel app for fliers with deep pockets.

Name: JetSmarter

Available: iOS, Android

Cost: Free

What it does: It wants to be the Uber of private aviation. The JetSmarter app lets you book a seat on a private plane from your smartphone for flights around the world. Find deals at a steep discount or book your own charter flight.

What's hot: I was surprised by how many options there were and how easy it was to use and compare planes and prices (I know very little about private jets). If you're looking to charter a flight, plug in your dates and departure times, let the app search for planes, then review your options. For a weekend L.A.-San Francisco round-trip flight, I found five options for booking a turbo-prop, four options for "entry-level" jets and dozens more options for bigger jets — even airliners. The deals are marked with a green tag. Click on the...

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Travel letters: The joys of visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lodging and more at Lassen

I loved the article on Lassen Volcanic National Park ["That Wow Moment" by Rosemary McClure, Aug. 10]. My husband and I enjoyed several days there over Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Although the road past the visitor center was closed, we were able to snowshoe and ski for miles on trails and the road. We pretty much had the park to ourselves.

McClure missed one place to stay: Lassen Mineral Lodge is about nine miles from the southern entrance to the park. It's a quirky little place, but very clean, and the hosts could not be more accommodating. Although we were the only guests, they opened the diner each morning and evening so we would have somewhere to eat (there is nothing else in Mineral, Calif.). Rooms were reasonable, and the cooking was good!

I hope McClure's article encourages folks to get to the park. It is truly spectacular, no matter what season you go.

Kathy Behrens



My wife and I had a wonderful time at Lassen in 2011. However,...

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Travel workshops



Backpacker Magazine representatives Rebecca Scholand and Samantha Brady will host a 75-minute seminar that will cover challenges that women face while hiking, camping and backpacking as well as specialized equipment designed for women.

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Adventure 16 store, 11161 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

Admission, info: Free. (310) 473-4574.




REI experts will discuss itineraries and offer tips and strategies for hiking the rim-to-rim trails.

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the REI store in Huntington Beach, 7777 Edinger Ave.

Admission, info: Free. (714) 379-1938.


Please email announcements at least three weeks before the event to

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Czech Republic: Tour Prague with expert private guide

My husband and I recently spent three days in Prague, Czech Republic. We had never been there so we hired private guide and native Dana Jungrova. She took us on a different walking tour each day. The first day we toured the Old Town section of the city. The second day we walked the Castle District, and the third day she took us to the Jewish section of Prague. She was knowledgeable and presented the city in an interesting manner. The first two tours were three hours long and the third tour was 1 1/2 hours long, at a cost of about $40 an hour. She also told us about the best places to eat and listen to music. She made sure that our experience was one we would remember always.

Dana Jungrova,

Susan Salot Granison


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