Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: Oct. 5, 2006

YOU COULD SAY THAT BALI has gotten one jewel of a resort. On Sept. 23, Rome-based luxury jeweler Bulgari opened the 59-villa Bulgari Hotel, Bali on the Jimbaran Peninsula in Bali, Indonesia. All rooms have ocean views and feature patios with plunge pools. The resort also features a spa, two restaurants, meetings space and, of course, a Bulgari store. In 2001, luxury-goods company Bulgari teamed with Marriott International to form Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. The joint venture also operates a fashionable property in Milan, Italy. Bulgari's properties are managed by Marriott's Luxury Group, with Bulgari licensing its name and brand. For reservations and information, call (800) 6-BULGARI or visit www.bulgarihotels.com.

NINE MONTHS SINCE CLOSING for a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has reopened. Following the $140 million renovation, room rates were raised, with a standard double room charging $550 a night, up about 26%. Mandarin Oriental said that although the iconic property in the heart of Hong Kong's business district was refurbished to meet the demands of the modern traveler, the refit retains the hotel's historic charm. The hotel features 502 luxuriously-appointed rooms and suites, nine restaurants and bars, a spa, a traditional barber, a beauty salon, a sky-lit fitness center with pool and ample meetings and banquet facilities. For information, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong.

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP signed an agreement to manage its first luxury InterContinental-branded hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City's District One, the InterContinental Asiana Saigon will be part of the Kumho Asiana Plaza, a large mixed-use development with commercial, retail and dining establishments along the historical Le Duan Boulevard. Scheduled to open in 2009, the hotel will have some 300 rooms and 270 residences for extended-stay guests. The hotel also will feature extensive meetings and conference space, a spa and fitness center, and several restaurants.

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE plans to almost double its properties in greater China during the next four years as the region attracts more tourists from overseas. Starwood said it plans to have 100 hotels in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan by 2010, up from 57 now. Starwood said that of the current number, 27 are under construction. The operator of Westin and Sheraton hotels is expanding in Asia, where international tourist visitors are growing at more than twice the pace of that to the U.S. or Europe. Rising incomes and economic growth in China are also supporting domestic leisure and business tourism in the world's fastest growing major economy. The number of international tourist visits to Asia rose 7.5% in the first four months this year, versus 2.7% for North America and 2.5% for Europe, according to the World Tourism Organization. Visitor arrivals in China rose 10% last year, according to the China National Tourism Administration.

CHINA'S STRENGTHENING STATUS as the economic center of Asia was affirmed by MasterCard Worldwide's MasterIndex of Travel survey on business and personal travel trends of the urban middle class in 13 Asia/Pacific markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The survey is taken every six months and investigates travel patterns in the previous 12 months. China came in as the top destination for 28% of the business travelers surveyed, the same percentage as in the last two surveys. Singapore was the second-most preferred business destination at 19%, a slight drop from 20% in the survey six months ago. Hong Kong came in third at 15%, a slight drop from a 16% score in the previous survey. Japan was fourth at 14%, compared with 12% in the previous survey.

Asia-Pacific Editor:

Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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