Tourists like having free hotel breakfast

Complimentary breakfast, in-room refrigerators and coffee-makers, pillow-top mattresses and high-speed Internet access are the five most important amenities in a hotel stay, according to a new consumer survey.

The annual survey by J.D. Power and Associates, in its ninth year, was conducted among 37,431 people who stayed at hotels between December and May. Results were released July 26.

Consumers picked free breakfast as the No. 1 amenity from a list of 34.

Lunar phenomenon: An unusual lunar phenomenon can be viewed from the Chimney Rock Archeological Area in Colorado over several nights in the next few months.

As part of its natural cycle of movement across the sky, the full moon will appear to rise between two natural stone pillars in the park. Visitors can see the phenomenon from a fire tower observation deck.

Archaeoastromers – who study what was known about astronomy in ancient times – believe that the Great House Pueblo, an ancient ruin in the park, was built by a tribe of puebloan people to watch this celestial event.

The park is hosting a 21/2-hour program to see it, including an orientation session and a short drive followed by a hike past the Great House ruins to the fire tower.

Chimney Rock is in the San Juan National Forest, 44 miles east of Durango and 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs, Colo.

Cost: $50; children under 12 not admitted. Dates are Aug. 27, with visitors admitted at 11 p.m.; Sept. 24, at 10 p.m.; Oct. 21, at 7:40 p.m.; Nov. 17, at 4:30 p.m., and Dec. 15, at 3 p.m.

Information: Call 970-264-2287 between 10 a.m. and noon Mondays or Tuesdays.

Spanish museums: Visit the museums of Spain on an art appreciation tour led by Louise Lewis, an art professor at California State University, Northridge. The two-week tour, which begins Nov. 9, focuses on Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona.

The group tours the Guggenheim-Bilbao Museum and takes a trip to San Sebastian on the Bay of Biscay.

Participants will see the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums in Madrid and travel to the Valley of the Fallen and El Escorial. In Barcelona, they stop at the Miro and Picasso museums, the Museum of Catalan Art and tour the unfinished basilica La Sagrada Familia, considered Antonio Gaudi’s masterpiece.

Day trips to other cities include Malaga, Seville, Granada and Toledo.

Cost: $4,200 ($750 single surcharge), including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles and internal air fare in Spain, hotels, some meals, ground transportation, guides, hotel and air taxes.

Contact: Louise Lewis, Cal State Northridge; 818-677-2210. Or Altour Classic Cruise &Travel, Los Angeles; 818-346-8747.

Begonia fest: Flower festivals are usually associated with the start of spring, not the end of summer.

But the Begonia Festival has been held Labor Day weekend for 53 years in Capitola, Calif., in honor of the town’s unique floral heritage: From the 1930s to the 1970s, about 90 percent of the world’s begonia plants were grown in Capitola.

Activities at the festival, which takes place Sept. 3 to 5, include a sand sculpture contest, live entertainment, a floating parade on Soquel Creek, a fishing derby and rowboat races.

Information: Check details online at or call the Capitola Chamber of Commerce, 831-476-3566. Capitola is about 75 miles from San Francisco in the Monterey Bay area near Santa Cruz.

Information, prices and availability are not guaranteed. Confirm all information before booking travel.

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