Galaxy Macau VIP guests can ride in style in real London taxis

Galaxy Macau, one of the Chinese territory's newest casino resort properties, has introduced a fleet of authentic London taxicabs to transport its VIP guests.

The $2 billion resort opened last May in Cotai, a wedge of reclaimed land that is home to most of Macau's newest casino properties. Galaxy Macau boasts a 13-acre, outdoor Grand Resort Deck, with a 350-ton, white-sand beach and what's billed as the world's largest rooftop wave pool; more than 50 food and beverage outlets; two high-end shopping arcades; a nine-screen cinema; and three upscale hotels: the Galaxy Hotel, Banyan Tree Macau and Hotel Okura Macau.

The resort's six London black cabs initially will be available only to VIP clientele, including Black Card Galaxy Privilege Club members. See www.galaxymacau.com.  

Hong Kong has record year

Hong Kong attracted nearly 42 million visitors in 2011, a jump of 16.4% from the year before and an all-time record for the Chinese special administrative region, according to preliminary numbers from the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Visits from the Americas grew by 4.1%, to 1.8 million; from South and Southeast Asia by 7.1%; and from northern Asia by 4.4%. But the most spectacular growth was from mainland China itself, which sent almost 24% more visitors, or 28 million-plus, across the border. Arrivals from Taiwan, Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Middle East fell slightly, however.

Overnight visitor arrivals rose by 11.1% year over year, to 22.3 million, representing 53.2% of total visitor arrivals. Meanwhile, total visitor expenditure in 2011 is expected to exceed $33 billion, 20.5% more than in 2010. Per capita spending is also expected to rise for both overnight and same-day visitors, by 9%, to $946, and 4%, to $248, respectively. See www.discoverhongkong.com/usa.  

Peninsula Hong Kong gets face-lift

The Peninsula Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui is in the midst of a two-phase program to revamp each of the property's 297 guestrooms.

Hotel officials said the program will initially focus on rooms in the 18-year-old Peninsula Tower, due to reopen in August, with renovation to guestrooms in the historical hotel's circa-1928 Original Building to be completed sometime in early 2013.

The enhanced rooms will "showcase the finest materials and craftsmanship, boasting a bespoke luxury residential feel, with an accent on classic modernity, simplicity and chic elegance," hotel officials said. "Revolutionary" in-room technology will also be introduced to guest units. See www.peninsula.com.

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