Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: April 25, 2005

SITA WORLD TRAVEL will operate a tour to Libya March 25 to April 1, 2006, to view a total solar eclipse that will block out the sun for over four minutes on March 29. The trip will be led by Rhodes University astronomy professor and Mercury magazine editor Jay White, who led Sitas eclipse expedition to Zambia in 2001. The itinerary will include a number of Libyan points of interest before and after the eclipse. For more information, visit www.eclipsetours.net or www.sitatours.com or call (800) 421-5643.

THE HILTON MALDIVES Resort & Spa opened Ithaa, what the hotel calls the worlds first undersea restaurant. Ithaa, which is Maldivian for pearl, is 16 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean. Hilton adapts aquarium technology to place diners under a clear, acrylic, cylindrical covering that affords a panoramic view of the ocean life surrounding the nearby coral reef. The restaurant seats 14. It will serve contemporary Maldivian cuisine.

RAFFLES INTERNATIONAL signed an agreement with the Beijing Hotel, a hotel under the Beijing Tourism Group (BTG), to rebrand and manage it under the Raffles brand. Plans call for relaunching the hotel in 2006 as the Raffles Beijing. Raffles said the contract marks the entry of luxury Raffles brand into China.

AIR TAHITI NUI is showcasing its new nonstop route from New York with a Tahitian Long Weekend getaway for $1,000 per person, including nonstop roundtrip economy air from New York. The offer goes on sale starting July 7. Flights will depart every Thursday at 5:15 p.m. and arrive in Tahiti at 11:55 p.m. local time the same day. Returns depart on Sundays at 9:15 p.m. and arrive in New York on Monday. The fare is available July 7 to Dec. 15. Flights must be ticketed by June 30 and can be booked online at www.airtahitinui-usa.com or by calling (877) 824-4846.

FOUR SEASONS Hotels and Resorts opened a 91-room property in Langkawi, Malaysia. It includes 20 beach villas. The feature that Four Seasons is promoting most vigorously is its spa, consisting of six treatment rooms, called spa pavilions. The spa offers yoga lessons, Malay or Thai massages, Ayurvedic treatments from India and Chinese therapies. Private outdoor plunge pools and soaking tubs are available. Each villa has its own spa room. Four restaurants are on site, offering dishes inspired by Malaysian, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Indian cuisines. Boating tours, cave exploration, diving and horseback riding are available. For reservations, call (800) 819-5053 or log onto www.fourseasons.com/langkawi
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