A few travel odds and ends this week:
* New hotels Hilton has opened two hotels under one roof near Arundel Mills. The 11-story, 250-room hotel complex, a first of its kind, combines a Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites in the same building, but with separate entrances and floors. The hotels are at 7491 New Ridge Road in Hanover. Call 410-878-7200 (Hilton Garden Inn) or 410-878-7201 (Homewood Suites).
Also at Arundel Mills, Starwood in May will open Aloft, a boutique-style hotel that aims to be more affordable - while still being more stylish - than most. Room rates will average $150 per night. The hotel offers a communal lounge with pool table, rooms with 9-foot ceilings, wireless Internet, indoor pool and eco-friendly amenities. A second Aloft hotel will open at BWI Marshall Airport this summer.
* New guide The Maryland Office of Tourism has released 2009's Destination Maryland, a free travel guide and magazine highlighting Maryland events, itineraries, attractions, parks, lodging and more. The guide also includes a passport to savings valued at $3,500 for 250 attractions, restaurants, retailers etc. To receive a copy, call 800-719-5900 or go to visitmaryland.org.
* City poll If you at least like Baltimore a little, you might consider voting for our charming city in Travel + Leisure's annual America's Favorite Cities poll. The travel magazine is adding five new cities to the list this year, and it's asking readers to choose among Anchorage, Alaska; Baltimore; Cleveland; Detroit; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.;Memphis, Providence, R.I.; Salt Lake City; and St. Louis. The magazine ranks the cities in various categories. For example, Washington ranked No. 1 in historical sites/monuments in the 2008 poll. Miami ranked No. 1 in attractive people. Vote by May 15 at travelandleisure.com/afc/2009/newcitiesvote.cfm.
* Michener moments The Eastern Shore cottage once owned by author James Michener - and the place where he ruminated about his epic novel Chesapeake - is now a vacation rental. The restored two-bedroom house has magnificent water views and a private marina. Rates are $360 per night with a two-night minimum. Call 866-398-2722 or go to easternshorevacations.com.