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Desert hotel sprouts amid cactus forest

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A $174-million resort — among the largest in southern Arizona, its owners say — is scheduled to open Jan. 17 in the high desert outside Tucson.

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, with 575 rooms, offers the usual luxuries of mega-hotels: a golf course, a 20,000-square-foot spa, two swimming pools and several restaurants.

But what makes it unusual is its location, 5 1/2 miles west of downtown Tucson in Pima County's 20,000-acre Tucson Mountain Park, home to one of the world's greatest forests of saguaro, the stately desert cactus. Hiking and biking trails lead from the Marriott property into the park.

Under an introductory special, room rates start at $189 a night. Regular rates start at $399 in the winter and $129 in the summer. (888) 527-8989; http://www.jwmarriottstarrpass.com .

Airlines doing relief work

Airlines responded to the recent tsunami disaster in South Asia by ferrying supplies, funneling donations and providing other aid.

Delta's frequent fliers can donate miles to CARE, UNICEF and the American Red Cross to help send relief workers to the region. The minimum donation is 5,000 miles. For details, visit http://www.delta.com/skywish . Some other carriers made similar offers; check yours for details. For a list of airline contacts, visit latimes.com/airlines.

Cathay Pacific, which collects in-flight donations of foreign currency from passengers on behalf of UNICEF, said it would use all proceeds through March for disaster relief.

Northwest, Singapore, Cathay Pacific and other airlines offered to ferry supplies and aid workers.

Several carriers posted links to relief organizations on their websites.

Vegas rail line reopensThe Las Vegas Monorail, which was shut down Sept. 8 after a series of mishaps, reopened Dec. 24. The nearly 4-mile-long elevated track links the Convention Center and several large hotels on the eastern side of the Las Vegas Strip.

DOT sets up gripe lineUS Airways and Comair passengers whose holiday travel was disrupted can register complaints and describe their experiences by calling a toll-free hotline.

The hotline, (866) 670-3341, was set up by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which is investigating flight cancellations, delays and baggage snafus at US Airways and a computer failure that forced Comair, a Delta connection carrier, to cancel hundreds of flights. The phone line is staffed 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

To complain online, visit the website of the department's Office of Inspector General, http://www.oig.dot.gov , and click on text in the "Focus On" box.

Aloha files Chapter 11Honolulu-based Aloha Airgroup Inc., the parent company of Aloha Airlines, which operates hundreds of flights each week within the Hawaiian Islands and between Hawaii and California, among other routes, has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.

David A. Banmiller, president and chief executive, said in a Dec. 30 statement that the airline would continue to operate normally while it reorganized.

Aloha's main competitor, Hawaiian Airlines, has been under Chapter 11 protection since early 2003.

— Compiled by Jane Engle

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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