A retired couple from New York who now live in Margate, Fla., celebrated their 50th anniversary by staying in the terraced room they occupied at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach on their wedding night. When they arrived, they had with them the $9 receipt issued for the room in 1948. That room, they learned, now costs $300 per night. Why? Because the Raleigh, at Collins Avenue and 17th Street, happens to be in the popular Art Deco district. The hotel, which opened in 1940, underwent a renovation in 1992, so it ended up having the same look that the couple remembered from 1948. Not incidentally: The hotel honored the couple's $9 per night rate a second time.

Exit Alfred

Driving north to San Francisco International Airport will never be the same. For the past two years, motorists on Highway 101 in Millbrae were entertained by daily puns and words of wisdom on the Clarion Hotel's huge marquee. It started with a simple message, "Hi, My Name Is Alfred," and ended with "So Long, Friends, It's Been Great." But more typical messages were "Out of My Mind, Back in Five Minutes," "Success Is an Attitude With a Plan" and "If You Obey All the Rules, You Miss All the Fun." he quotations were always signed simply "Alfred." Well, general manager Alfred Wiles recently resigned his post at the Clarion, and with him go those favorite sayings that delighted motorists. Wiles said that his fans may not have heard the last of his puns and quips, however. He is writing a book, "A Year With Alfred," containing more than 700 sayings.

All in a row

Even seasoned travelers get insecure at times. Recognizing this, the Omni Los Angeles Hotel leaves rubber ducks in a few guest rooms each night, along with notes asking for them to be returned to the front desk.

Guests who hand the ducks over get either a free appetizer or dessert at one of the hotel's four restaurants. And guests who don't turn over the ducks? They probably stash them in their carry-ons for the bathtub at home. It's a lot less bulky than a terry robe -- or so we hear.

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