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Destination News - Hotel, Resort & Spa Asia / Pacific.

New York (AirGuide - Destination News - Hotel, Resort & Spa Asia / Pacific) May 20, 2012

Maui Sands will reopen for Memorial Day amid renovations The Maui Sands water park and hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, will be reopening 136 of its 300 rooms in time for Memorial Day, new owner MKSP said. The property is undergoing renovations after its previous owners abandoned construction in 2008. May 14, 2012

137 Pillars House 137 Pillars House Boutique Hotel Opens in Chiang Mai. The new 30-suite boutique hotel 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is built around a colonial homestead from the early 1800s and located minutes away from the historical Wat Gate Temple, Ping River and boutique shopping center. 137 Pillars House blends old-world charm with new amenities in their four types of suites with outdoor verandas and garden showers, Victorian baths and flat-screen televisions. There is a range of dining options, all which use organic ingredients from the hotel's own garden. 137 Pillars also has a spa, full-fitness gym center and outdoor pool. A special travel trade rate of $150 per night is valid through Oct. 31. May 15, 2012

Accor Hotels Accor to Reopen Two Earthquake-Damaged Hotels in Christchurch. New Zealand's largest hotel group, Accor Hotels, will open two of its four Christchurch hotels, which were closed following the earthquake in February 2011. Hotel Ibis Christchurch is the first hotel scheduled to reopen, with a target date of September 2012. Novotel Christchurch will follow, with a planned reopening date of April 2013. Decisions on the future of Accor's two All Seasons hotels in Christchurch are still pending as access -- particularly to the Cashel Street property -- has been severely restricted by on-going demolition work in the area. "When we reopen the Ibis and Novotel hotels they will be effectively new hotels," said Regional Manager Zayne Boon. "Both of the hotels were relatively new -- the Ibis was built in 2007 and the Novotel 2010 -- so they were built to very exacting standards and their structures received only minor damage during the earthquakes. The main problems were internal and required a complete re-fit of both hotels, so when they reopen they will have a very fresh and new feel to them. The heritage Warners Hotel wing of the Novotel had to be demolished, but the new part of the hotel survived the impact of the earthquake very well, despite being located right in the heart of Cathedral Square,O Boon said. OThere is a critical shortage of accommodation in Christchurch and the reopening of these hotels will allow significant progress to be made in reviving Christchurch's commercial and tourist fortunes. It will also provide employment and will help support the wider revival of Christchurch's central business district.O May 14, 2012

Agoda.com Favorite Online Travel Site Award goes to agoda.com. Agoda.com, AsiaOs leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group, has won the award for Favorite Online Travel Site at the TravelMole and EyeforTravel Online Travel Innovations Awards 2012. Held in conjunction with the EyeforTravel Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2012, the TravelMole & EyeforTravel Online Travel Innovation Awards pay recognition to companies that have shown online excellence in the Asia Pacific region. Agoda.com reaffirmed its position as an industry leader by being voted by travelers as their Favorite Online Travel Site. The award marks the second time Agoda.com has won industry recognition from TravelMole, having received the accolade for Best Accommodation Website in 2008. The awards are part of a growing number of recommendations from industry peers and top-tier media recognizing Agoda.com for outstanding service and great value. Chief Product Officer of Agoda.com Mr. John Brown commented: OWe are honored to be recognized with this award, and will continue to work tirelessly in the coming years to improve our product to the highest possible standard.O CEO and Publisher of TravelMole Media Group Mr. Charles Kao said: OAgodaOs win is a continuing reflection of their ability to understand the marketOs needs and meet them consistently. Having a parent company like Priceline Group that lets them move forward and is always there to support them also helps a lot. My congratulations to the Agoda.com team.O Agoda.com currently lists more than 170,000 hotels globally, more than 34,000 of which are within Asia. Customers can book deals in their choice of 37 languages and enjoy instant confirmation on all hotels. Agoda Rewards Points are earned for every booking, affording customers even greater savings. May 16, 2012

Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket Amazing value on luxurious accommodations offered by Centara Grand West Sands Resort and Villas Phuket. Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket is offering a Web Saver package that offers value deals on room rates with breakfast included for those booking Pool Suites and Villas from now until October 31, 2012. Discounts of up to 74 percent against published rates are available, making this a particularly attractive option for families and groups. The Web Saver rates range from Baht 7,750 per night for a Penthouse Three-Bedroom Pool Suite, compared to the published rate of Baht 29,700, to Baht 10,350 per night for a Luxury Three-Bedroom Pool Villa, whose usual rate is Baht 39,700. All rates are subject to a 10 percent service charge and 7 percent prevailing government tax. For details and reservations visithttp://www.centarahotelsresorts.com/package/GrandWestSandwebsaver.aspE. The discounted rates are not applicable to group reservations and reservations for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions. Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket is located on the west coast of Phuket and set in 47 acres of land with 500 meters of pristine beach frontage on Mai Khao Beach, the longest and quietest stretch of beach on this side of the island. The design focus of the resort is an extensive water park with 12 waterslides, including the huge and exhilarating Boomerango, the Super Bowl slide, and a lazy river. Although this part of Phuket is renowned for its extensive areas of natural and undisturbed beauty, the resort is only 15 minutes away from Phuket International Airport. May 16, 2012

Cheapflights.co.uk Dazzling Destinations for The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Over the long weekend from Saturday 2 through Tuesday 5 June 2012, The Queen celebrates 60 years as Monarch and her 60th year as the Head of the Commonwealth. Whether you're staying in London to enjoy the heart of the Jubilee celebrations or fancy taking advantage of the long weekend to book a holiday, Cheapflights.co.uk, the UK's online leader in travel deals publishing, points travellers in the direction of the best celebrations around the world. "It's one of this summer's most anticipated events, but, with thousands expected to stampede into London for the celebrations, an escape to enjoy them from afar in one of the other Commonwealth destinations might be just the royal ticket," says Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert for Cheapflights.co.uk. Reach for your bunting, wave your flag and get in the Jubilee spirit with these top Jubilee destinations. London is the place to be for the Diamond Jubilee. Celebrations kick off on Sunday 3 June when neighbours and friends join together for a traditional street party. Those next to the River Thames can feast their eyes on up to 1,000 boats taking part in The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and try to spot The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Barge. For music fans, the Diamond Jubilee Concert will be held on Monday 4 June -- those not lucky enough to get a ticket can watch from the comfort of their television. Also on Monday, The Queen will light the National Beacon and, at the same time, communities all over the UK and the Commonwealth will light 2,012 more Beacons. The last of the celebrations take place on Tuesday 5 June with a service at St Paul's Cathedral and a procession that culminates at Buckingham Palace where The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family take their places on the famous Balcony to watch an RAF Flypast. Australia Although on the other side of the world, Australia is still doing their bit to celebrate this rare occasion. On Monday 4 June, Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, will unite with the rest of the commonwealth and the UK by lighting a Beacon on top of Parliament House in Canberra. In support of the celebrations and in accordance with historical protocol, Parks Place in the Parliamentary zone will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace, similarly to the names of adjacent streets Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George Terraces. If you're after a collector's item, then purchase a Jubilee stamp issued by Australia Post or a Jubilee coin which will be issued by the Royal Australian Mint. Canada In honor of the 60th anniversary of The Queen's accession to the throne as Queen of Canada, a new commemorative medal named The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal has been created. The medal is a way for Canada to honour The Queen's service to the country as well as serving to honour a significant contribution or achievement by Canadians. During 2012, 60,000 Canadians will be recognised and awarded the medal. Canada will also take part by lighting Beacons as part of a commonwealth celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Scotland To mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Perth in Scotland has been awarded city status after winning a UK competition. Perth will now be Scotland's seventh city, along with Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. Twenty six towns across the UK entered the competition in a bid to win the civic honour, while only two other UK towns won the honour of becoming a city: Chelmsford in England and St Asaph in Wales. Perth based its bid on its long history as a city before the status was removed in 1975 during a local government shake up. On Monday 4 June, it has been confirmed that Beacons will be lit on Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen's official residence in Scotland. New Zealand Monday 4 June will see New Zealanders celebrate The Queen's birthday and the opening of the ski season. Around The Queen's birthday, The Queen's Honours list is released. This is a list of hundreds of recipients who are acknowledged and honoured for public service, whether it's services to television or services to prisoner welfare. This year, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee also falls on the same weekend as her birthday, so expect the celebrations to be even bigger. New Zealand will pay tribute to The Queen by lighting Beacons along with other countries in the Commonwealth. May 14, 2012

Club Med Club Med Reopens Phuket Property Following Renovation . Club MedOs Phuket property, set on Kata Bay in Thailand, reopened follClub Med Reopens Phuket Property Following Renovation owing an extensive renovation. The resort was renovated by French designers Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet and includes a transformation in the main lobby, a new restaurant and bar with ocean views, a specialty restaurant near the new adults-only pool as well as a designed Club Med Spa by PAYOT. May 15, 2012

Delta Vacations Delta Vacations Adds New Destinations in Australia, New Zealand. Delta Vacations added eight new destinations in Australia and New Zealand, including Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Hamilton Island and Ayers Rock. In Australia, the company already offers packages to Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney. Delta Vacations has also added New Zealand for the first time to its product offerings, including Aukland and Christchurch. The company is offering a variety of hotels, rental cars and activities as well as connections to destinations throughout Australia and New Zealand with exclusive flight inventory and the lowest air fares on Delta Air Lines with the purchase of a flight and hotel package. Delta Vacations is the official vacation brand of Delta Air Lines and is managed, operated and marketed by MLT Vacations. May 15, 2012

Expedia Expedia Releases 2012 Flip Flop Report. Study examines beachgoer behavior and preferences across five continents. Expedia.com released the results of the 2012 Flip Flop Report, an analysis of behavior and preferences among beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia.com, conducted the online study among 8,599 adults in 21 countries. Among other findings, Expedia's Flip Flop Report revealed that the beach is by far the favorite destination for the majority of the world's travelers. The average beach holiday is just about one week in length, at 7.7 days. Combined with results from Expedia's Vacation Deprivation[umlaut] study(1), we can see in the US that Americans spend a full 40% of their allotted vacation days at the beach. In fact, when Americans were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, the beach won handily. Full details on the 2012 Flip Flop Report can be found here: www.expedia.com/flipflop. A summary of the Flip Flop Report's findings can also be found on pages 2 and 3 of this press release. Expedia[umlaut] has responded to the findings in the 2012 Flip Flop Report by crafting one of the largest Summer Sales in the company's history. The 2012 Summer Sale began on May 15 and runs through August 31. Participating customers can realize savings that grow in accordance with their planned vacation. Customers that stay 1 to 4 nights can save up to 35% off at more than 12,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. Expedia also recently conducted a survey(2) of American travelers; it found that a full 41% of Americans -- and nearly 1 in 2 men (49%) -- have driven across the United States at one point, while 25% of men and 33% of women have "not done so but always wanted to." As such, Expedia has structured its Summer Sale to help more Americans experience the open road. For every $150 spent on select Summer Sale hotels this summer, consumers will earn a $25 gas card. For every $250 spent on those hotels, the gas card doubles in value to $50. Should a traveler spend $450 at one of the participating Summer Sale hotels, Expedia will give that traveler a $100 gas card. Summer travelers aren't just stopping at saving on flights and hotels. There are more ways than ever to save on car rentals. In fact, some travelers found booking their hotel and car rental together yields a savings so great they offset the cost of the car, making it feel like a "free" car rental. Additional details on Expedia's 2012 Summer Sale, including a first-of-its-kind Expedia Beachgoer App, where travel bloggers have recommended their own favorite summer destinations, are featured on page 3 and 4 of this press release. They can also be found here: www.expedia.com/summersale. "Beach vacations are such an important part of how Americans travel. We've just completed our first annual Flip Flop Report which digs deep into what people like about beach travel. Not surprisingly, what they like when they're planning a trip is saving money, so we're launching the biggest Summer Sale in Expedia's history," said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. "The report also shows that, once people are actually on vacation, they find a wide variety of ways to have their own kind of fun, whether that's sports in the sand, surfing in the waves or whatever kind of sunbathing they prefer." Flip Flop Report Findings Despite the carefree nature of a sun-drenched week at the beach, beachgoers worldwide remain cost-conscious. In the US, the most important factor for 78% of beachgoers is the total trip price. The beach itself matters too -- total vacation price and beach quality are the #1 and #2 criteria for travelers in 14 of the 21 countries surveyed -- but the cost of the visit is the top consideration. The study also found: The Popularity of the Beach is Unsurpassed More than half (52%) of respondents plan to holiday at the beach in the next 12 months, compared to 45% who said they took a beach vacation the year prior. And while the average stay for a beach vacation is 7.7 days, this is less true of Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans, who seem more likely to prefer beach weekends to extended stays. Additionally: Argentineans are the most sun-soaked, spending an average of 11 days at a time, while Koreans spent a mere 3.2 days per trip. Americans are creatures of habit: one of the least important criteria for Americans when selecting a beach location is the desire to find a new location. For Indians, new locations were among the highest priority. For Most Beachgoers, the Most Popular Activity is No Activity At All Relaxing and sunbathing were among the top two activities for beachgoers across all five continents. The Irish, at 75%, were the most likely to relax, while Mexicans (79%) seem to be happiest with lying in the sun. Brazilians (40%) were likeliest to exercise on the beach; when doing so, they may well stumble over the Japanese, who were 14 times likelier to relax (28%) than exercise (2%). Additionally: Koreans, at 49%, were likeliest to "eat raw food" on the beach. Koreans are unlikely to draw envious stares from Norwegians, who at 1% showed the most aversion to the practice. New Zealanders (36%) and Australians (35%) were most likely to fish at the beach. Canadians were likeliest to strap on a snorkel (34%). 82% of Germans spend beach time swimming. Only 28% of the Japanese do the same. Germans are Likeliest to Sunbathe Nude Germans displayed the most permissive attitudes towards nude sunbathing. A full 15% of German respondents indicated that they sunbathed naked. Indians and Spaniards (8%) were the second-likeliest to shed their clothing, while the French (5% clothing-free) were more aligned with Americans (2%), the British (2%) and the Japanese (1%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Germans seem to be the most popular beachgoers: when asked if they'd spent beach days with strangers, the Germans (23%) and Brazilians (19%) were likeliest to say they had. Additionally: Indians (22%), Canadians (20%), Mexicans (19%), Italians (18%) and the Irish (18%) were likeliest to have participated in "beach bar games." 31% of Singaporeans had spent beach time at the spa, versus 3% of the Japanese and 5% of the Dutch. Indian (39%), Mexican (34%), Brazilian (30%) and Argentinean (27%) beachgoers were most likely to dance on the beach. Beachgoers Have Never Gotten Over "Jaws" Expedia's Flip Flop Report revealed that beachgoers remain wary of sharks. Well under 100 shark bite incidents are reported worldwide each year,(3) making shark encounters extraordinarily rare. Yet the menace prevails: 50% of travelers consider the presence of sharks when deciding where to holiday, and a full 68% of beach vacationers admit to having been afraid to swim because of sharks. Additionally: Residents of Brazil (70%) and Singapore (67%) were the most attuned to sharks when planning their beach vacation. Only 3% of Italians always think of sharks before entering the water. New Tools for Planning the Perfect Summer Trip "The sheer scope of our Summer Sale is a great feature, but can also be a little problematic for some people. The question becomes, 'With more than 12,000 hotels on sale, where do our travelers even begin?'" said Joe Megibow. "We developed two useful ways to help them out. First, we automatically feature the most popular hotels based on where each traveler lives using crowd-sourced data and then, we've created a fun app to match the wealth of travel blogger insight to the individual needs of our travelers." When travelers visit the Summer Sale site, Expedia will present them with the very best hotel deals within their geographic vicinity, ideal for last-minute local getaways, or as deals to share with incoming friends and relatives. The Expedia Beachgoer App and Blogger Recommendation Tool This summer, Expedia has partnered with some of the world's most influential travel bloggers, as a way to help travelers book the perfect summer trip. To participate, consumers can use the Expedia Beachgoer Facebook app which prompts consumers to take a fun quiz to determine their Beach Travel profile. The profiles, like Zen Beach Mama and Rockin' Surfer Dude correspond to fifteen influential travel bloggers who have provided recommended destinations to match each profile. For example, a traveler whose profile is "Foodie" would be presented with blogger recommendations to visit cities such as Tokyo, or Bangkok, or New York City. "Adventure" travelers would see blogger recommendations to visit Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to hunt with eagles, or Reykjavic, Iceland, to experience dog sledding. Survey Methodology This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com from February 14 - March 21, 2012 among 8,599 adults, 18 and older, in the following countries: the United States (501), Canada (1,249), Mexico (400), Argentina (312), Brazil (308), United Kingdom (402), Germany (423), France (414), Italy (437), Spain (418), Norway (300), Sweden (300), Denmark (300), Ireland (300), Netherlands (300), Japan (429), India (438), South Korea (346), Singapore (321), Australia (400), and New Zealand (301). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact: expediapr@hlgrp.com. May 16, 2012

Halekulani, WaikikiOs beachfront hotel WaikikiOs Halekulani Features Master Chefs Package . Halekulani, WaikikiOs beachfront hotel, is celebrating its indigenous surroundings and culture by inviting travelers to experience its Master Chefs Gala Series room package. In conjunction with the Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival on Sept. 6 to 9, guests of Halekulani are afforded exclusive access to participate in a three-day epicurean experience featuring a roster of international master chefs, culinary personalities and wine and spirit producers. Co-chaired by two of HawaiiOs own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the event showcases dishes using the stateOs bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry. The Halekulani Masters Chef Gala Series is available Sept. 5 to 10 with package rates starting at $2,400. The four-night stay features access to the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival and HalekulaniOs OFor You EverythingO program, including complimentary admission to Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum and Honolulu Museum of Arts. The package also includes a welcome amenity, daily breakfast, twice daily turndown service, courtesy daily newspaper, local telephone calls and Internet. May 17, 2012

Hilton Hotels Hilton Announces Opening of DoubleTree Property in India. Hilton Worldwide announced the opening of a new DoubleTree by Hilton in India, in Gurgaon, Delhi National Capital Region (NCR). The DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon-New Delhi NCR is located on the Golf Course Road and within easy access of the business and commercial establishments in the business center of Gurgaon. The 184-room hotel is the sixth hotel in the Delhi National Capital Region. In India, Hilton anticipates increasing its presence to 14 hotels by the end of this year. In 2011, Hilton opened six hotels in India. Owned by the JMD Group and managed by Hilton Worldwide, DoubleTree by Hilton Gurgaon-New Delhi NCR features 45 Executive Rooms, 11 Junior Suites and two Terrace Suites. All guestrooms and suites are equipped with wired and wireless Internet access, remote printing, LCD satellite television, electronic safe, refrigerated private bar, in-room tea and coffee making service, a radio alarm clock with MP3 player connection and a refreshing collection of bath and body products. Additional amenities include 24-hour in-room dining, laundry, concierge and travel desk services. The hotel has four restaurants and bars, and a 24-hour business center. Conference and banqueting facilities at the hotel can accommodate up to 300 persons in a variety of flexible settings ideal for business meetings, training seminars, banquets and social gatherings. Recreational options at the hotel include an outdoor pool, a Fitness Centre by Precor and AristoRejuv, a foot spa. May 15, 2012

Hilton Hotels Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi to Mark BrandOs Debut in Southeast Asia. Hilton Worldwide signed a management agreement with Hoan Kiem Tourism & Trading Company Limited to introduce the first Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton WorldwideOs second property in Vietnam. Scheduled to open in the second half of 2012, the 86-room Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi marks the debut of Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton WorldwideOs award-winning, mid-priced brand, in Southeast Asia. Located at the intersection of Tran Hung Dao and Phan Chu Trinh avenues, Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi is in the French Quarter of Hanoi. The 11-story Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi will have 86 bedrooms and an all-day dining restaurant and a lounge bar, a 100-square-meter meeting room, a spa and onsite car parking facilities. Hilton Worldwide currently manages one other hotel, the Hilton Hanoi Opera, in Vietnam. May 14, 2012

HotelTravel.com HotelTravel.com partners with Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts. HotelTravel.com has signed a partnership agreement with Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts that will add a growing network of hotels in one of HotelTravel.com's top selling countries in Southeast Asia. Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts currently operates 43 hotels around Indonesia, including seven on Bali, in four brand categories. The group also plans to open an additional 22 hotels before the end of 2012 including the Amaris Hotel Singapore, Santika IndonesiaOs first overseas property. HotelTravel.com Chief Information Officer, Olivier Dombey, said: OWe are very proud to welcome Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts to our growing portfolio of hotel partners. Their addition is important as Indonesia, and Bali in particular, is a top-selling destination on HotelTravel.com. Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts Corporate Director of E-Commerce, Andy Khen, said: OThe opportunity to partner with HotelTravel.com opens up an immediate new global audience to our fast-growing network of hotels as we launch our expansion outside of Indonesia. In addition to HotelTravel.comOs outstanding Asian customer base, their reputation in Europe and beyond is very impressive indeed. "We believe that our partnership with HotelTravel.com will expand our reach into new customer segments.O May 14, 2012

HotelTravel.com HotelTravel.com goes OGagaO in Bangkok. HotelTravel.com is discounting hotel rates to create unique deals just in time for Lady Gaga's Bangkok debut concert on May 25 at the Rajamangala National Stadium. Indonesian-based fans of the reigning pop princess might be tempted to fly to Bangkok's capital city for the show, after the country's National Police banned Lady Gaga's concert in Jakarta scheduled for June 3. HotelTravel.com Chief Information Officer, Olivier Dombey, said that Lady Gaga's dubious honor of becoming the first foreign artist to be denied a concert permit by Indonesian authorities would only increase the already huge level of interest for fansEstaying in Bangkok. "While it is unfortunate that the Jakarta concert was cancelled, it is not going to stop Lady Gaga followers from attending other Asian concert dates for her OBorn This Way BallO tour in Bangkok and Singapore. "If anything, Lady Gaga's 'Little Monsters' around Asia, as she likes to call her legion of fans, will be more motivated than ever to travel to catch her other concert dates around Asia Pacific. Right now, HotelTravel.com is slashing rates around her Bangkok event, and the three Lady Gaga shows scheduled in Singapore from May 28 to 31," Mr. Dombey added. Those wanting to learn more aboutELady Gaga on tourEcan go to HotelTravel.com and read all about it. Discounted promotional rates forEhotels in BangkokEandSingapore hotelsEare still available and offer additional savings on HotelTravel.com's already low rates. May 16, 2012

Lebua Hotels & Resorts BangkokOs Lebua Hotels Offers Thai Cooking Package . BangkokOs lebua Hotels & Resorts is now offering guests the opportunity to shop and cook like a local with its new Thai cooking package. The culinary package includes a two-night stay in a Tower Club Suite, a 5 percent discount card valid for Bangkok's Emporium and Paragon shopping centers, and an exclusive three-hour Thai cooking class at the hotel's poolside Caf Mozu. Conducted by Thai Chef de Cuisine Prayong Khundongling, the class teaches guests about local ingredients and how to taste and prepare traditional Thai dishes. Hotel guests prepare a traditional five-course Thai meal at Caf Mozu, the poolside hotel restaurant. The package includes two nights in a Signature Tower Club Suite, including daily breakfast, buffet lunch and cocktail hour in the Club Lounge as well as complimentary Wi-Fi and non-alcoholic in-suite mini bar; one three-hour traditional Thai cooking class at Caf Mozu; and 5 percent savings at Bangkok's Emporium and Paragon shopping centers. Rates start at $769. The cooking class is available to up to four guests when a two-bedroom suite is booked, and up to six when a three-bedroom suite is booked. The package is available through Nov. 30. May 17, 2012

Odysseys Unlimited Odysseys Unlimited Offers 21-Day Tour of Australia, New Zealand. Odysseys Unlimited is offering a 21-day small group tour of Australia and New Zealand, designed to do the destination justice for those who can muster three weeksO vacation time. The itinerary starts with two nights in Cairns, the gateway to AustraliaOs northern outback, where the group will travel by steam train to the mountain village of Kuranda, then descend by gondola, gliding over the rain forest canopy to Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park. The groupOs next adventure is a day-long boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef, anchoring at Michaelmas Cay, for swimming, snorkeling, a ride in a semi-submersible vessel or a guided birding tour. The trip journey continues with a flight to Alice Springs with an onward journey to Ayers Rock (Uluru), with a dinner in the bush, an Aboriginal dreamtime tour and sunset at Uluru. The last four days in Australia are spent exploring celebrated Sydney, including a harbor cruise by catamaran, an excursion to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Bondi Beach, and Koala Sanctuary Park where the animals roam free, and deluxe accommodations in Circular Quay, the hub of Sydney Harbor. The program includes eight days in New Zealand with visits to Christchurch, Mount Cook National Park, Queenstown, Rotorua and Auckland, with a sheep-shearing demonstration, a visit to RotoruaOs bubbling mud pools and hot thermal springs, a nature cruise through the fjords of Milford Sound and a traditional Maori hangi dinner. The program is priced from $7,593 (including air, land, and all taxes and fees). Departures are Sept. 8 and 29 and Oct. 6, 13, 20 and 31. There are an additional nine departures in early 2013. May 15, 2012

Pacific Delight Tours Pacific Delight Tours Expands Product Portfolio to India . Pacific Delight Tours is expanding its product portfolio with two new escorted journeys to India for the 2012-13 season -- the Inspirational India and the India Cultural & Safari Experience. The upscale tour company has also bolstered its Dreams of the Taj-India Experience for the coming year. Each Pacific Delight Tours India package includes trans-Atlantic roundtrip flights on Air India from New YorkOs JFK International Airport; all intra-India air and ground transportation, including transfers to and from the airport; accommodations in deluxe or five-star hotels for the duration of the trip; meals per the itinerary; the expert services of English-speaking tour guides; sightseeing to some of IndiaOs most historical and noteworthy attractions; and all fuel charges, taxes and fees. All departures are guaranteed with a minimum of two passengers. The three tours feature 10-, 13-, and 15-day itineraries. Each tour begins in Delhi with visits to Raj Ghat, the memorial site of the Mahatma Gandhi, and Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Other highlights include a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, the market of the old city, plus stops at historic monuments and temples. Also included in each tour is a stop in Agra, where travelers will visit the Taj Mahal. In Jaipur, all Pacific Delight India programs visit the City Palace Museum, where participants can observe Rajasthani and Mughal art, including a collection of royal princess robes, finely detailed carpets, an armory of old weapons and miniature paintings portraying court scenes, battles and processions. Additional tour highlights vary according to the itinerary selected. The 13-day Inspirational India adds visits to the River Ganges and Varanasi, Sarnath, Khajuraho, Udaipur and more, and starts at $4,799 per person, double occupancy. Departure dates are April 19, Oct. 11, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6, 2012, as well as Jan. 10 and Feb. 7, 2013. The 15-day India Cultural & Safari Experience features the famous National Park -- Ranthambore as well as Khajuraho and Varanasi. Pricing for this itinerary starts at $4,499 with departure dates of April 16, Oct. 8, and Dec. 3, 2012, as well as Jan. 14 and Feb. 18, 2013. The 10-day Dreams of the Taj-India Experience visits Samode, where guests will spend a night in a luxuriously furnished, air-conditioned tented encampment in the romantic garden of Samode Bagh, nestled on 20 acres of beautiful grounds near Samode Palace. Participants will visit Samode Village, where they will experience a camel cart excursion. The tour also features a jeep ride up to Amber Fort, a marvelous example of Rajput architecture, decorated in intricate ivory, mirror and glasswork overlooking scenic Maota Lake. Pricing for this itinerary starts at $2,899. Departure dates are April 15, Oct. 14, Nov. 18, and Dec. 2, 2012, as well as Jan. 13, Feb. 17 and March 10, 2013. May 15, 2012

Park Hotels IndiaOs Park Hotels Offers Packages in Kerala and Goa. The Park Hotels in India has introduced new value-added summer packages at The Park on Holiday Beach, Goa and The Park on Vembanad Lake, Kerala Backwaters, valid for bookings and travel now through Sept. 30. Additional nights can be added and the packages can be combined together for a lengthier travel experience in India (or with stays at other hotels in The Park collection). The Goa four-day/three-night package at The Park on Holiday Beach includes two-way airport or train transfers; buffet/set-menu for breakfast and lunch, or dinner for up to two people daily; 15 percent discount on all food and beverage during stay (excluding happy hour); a half-day sightseeing trip of Goa by car/coach (as available); evening boat cruise on Mandovi River; and all taxes. Rates start at $490 per room based on double occupancy. A Continental Plan package is also available from $411 per room, double, and includes all of the above features except guests will receive a daily buffet/set-menu for breakfast only (no lunch or dinner included in the cost). The Park on Vembanad Lake three-day/two-night summer holiday features two-way airport transfers; upgrade to the next higher room category (subject to room availability); daily breakfast, lunch and dinner; a three-hour cruise in the Vembanad backwaters on a traditional Shikara boat; 15 percent off all spa treatments at the onsite spa; and all taxes. Rates start at $470 per room based on double occupancy. For more information, email sales.usa@theparkhotels.com. May 14, 2012

Peninsula Hotels Peninsula Hotels is offering summer values for families, promotions celebrating ChicagoOs 175th birthday, and the launch of an exclusive new line of facials at The Peninsula New YorkOs Spa. The Peninsula Hong Kong will unveil the first phase of a sweeping room enhancement program in August with redesigned guestrooms in The Peninsula Tower. The rooms will feature a more contemporary design and feature pioneering new in-room technology that will set new standards of guest personalization. Guestrooms in the Original Building will be renovated in early 2013. With The Peninsula HotelsO new Family Moments program, families receive 50 percent off the cost of an additional room; 12 and under eat free with kid-friendly cultural activities such as trishaw tours in Beijing, Chinese brush-writing in Hong Kong and shopping with PeninsulaOs Toy Concierge to the Hakukinkan Toy Park in Tokyo; and OPen 10O Insider Guides of the top 10 things to do in each city for kids, created by local kids, such as exploring the Bangkok Butterfly Garden, a trip to TokyoOs Monkey Park at Mount Takao or grabbing treats at Cupcakes by Sonja in Taguig City in Manila. In addition, the summer offers have returned with the Summer Splendour promotion offering breakfast and a guaranteed room upgrade, and up to a 30 percent hotel credit. The Suite Life promotion offers a complimentary second night with the purchase of a first night suite stay. Each of The Peninsula Hotels has put its own spin on local street food favorites with OSnacks & The City,O available in room 24 hours a day. Among the local favorites on PeninsulaOs newly enhanced menus are: New York, 55th Street cart hot dog and relish, jumbo fresh baked pretzel and spicy mustard; Manila, Halo-Halo (native fruits, sweets, shave ice, milk and ice cream); Shanghai, Xiao Long Bao (steamed Shanghai-style dumplings); Beijing, traditional Chinese herb and ginseng jelly with honey; and Bangkok, Thung Thong (crispy rice paper filling with shiitake mushrooms, potato, sweet corn and carrots). Guests of The Peninsula New YorkOs Spa can enjoy an urban summer oasis with new enhancements including new Biologique facials, the Sun Terrace and all-day access to the pool and spa facilities with the purchase of a 60-minute treatment for $195. There has never been a better time to visit Chicago with the city celebrating its 175th birthday this year with special festivals and events throughout the summer and the Chicago Retreat offer at The Peninsula Chicago, with room rates starting at $450 plus a host of other value-added benefits. The Peninsula Tokyo guests can explore the cityOs new Tokyo Skytree, the worldOs tallest free-standing tower, which opens to the public at the end of May, and take advantage of new Tokyo direct routes from major airlines ANA and Japan Airlines, from Seattle, Boston and San Jose. May 16, 2012

Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines Vacations Offers Packages to Bangkok. Singapore Airlines Vacations is offering all-inclusive flight and hotel packages from Los Angeles to Bangkok. The package deal includes roundtrip flights aboard Singapore AirlinesO A380, the worldOs largest commercial aircraft. All fuel surcharges, taxes, and luxury hotel accommodations are included. The Bangkok vacation package is available for travel through Dec. 31 and includes roundtrip, economy class flights on SIA from Los Angeles (LAX); four nights in a deluxe room at the five-star Shangri-la Hotel; roundtrip transfers between airport and hotel; half-day Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple tour; and hotel taxes and service charges. Also offered is an optional four-day/three-night Chiang Mai extension package available from $449 per person. May 14, 2012

Sofitel Hotels HanoiOs Sofitel Legend Metropole Reopens War-Era Bomb Shelter. The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is reopening a bomb shelter in its back garden. Its whereabouts unknown for decades, the shelter opens as a memorial to the hotel's wartime employees. Regular tours will usher hotel guests through the space, which has largely been left as it was found during a chance rediscovery last summer. Forty years after the bombs stopped falling on Hanoi, and less than one year after a chance discovery of an air raid shelter in its back garden, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is cutting a red ribbon on the excavated bunker on May 21 as the anchor attraction in a new Path of History tour. The 40-square-meter bomb shelter has been preserved in its original state as a tribute to the hotelOs wartime employees, who ushered guests into the relative safety of the underground chamber from the mid-1960s through the Christmas Bombings in 1972. A Filipino journalist, Gemma Cruz Araneta, described the shelter this way in a May 1968 journal entry: OThe hotel shelter is a long, narrow, semi-subterranean room of concrete which I thought would have made a groovy discotheque. It is lined with green wooden chairs and though there was no electricity, I noticed an electric fan. Really, the Vietnamese are such thoughtful hosts.O The exhibit commemorates 110 years of Metropole history along 18 meters of hotel corridor. The 13 exhibition plates include restored images of the hotelOs early years, a timeline, introductions to more than 300 guests from Charlie Chaplin to Jane Fonda and Joan Baez to Angelina Jolie, and a section on travel. Augustin, who is president of the Most Famous Hotels in the World organization, is training a team of six local historians to accompany hotel guests on a tour that culminates with a descent into the wartime shelter. The bomb shelter will be open to hotel guests and staff, as well as local Hanoians. The 364-room hotel was completely renovated in June 2009. Its historic Metropole Wing features suites named for Chaplin, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene, each of whom stayed at the Metropole during his time in colonial Indochina. The hotelOs restaurants include Spices Garden (Vietnamese), Le Beaulieu (French) and Angelina (Italian). Le Spa du Metropole opened in late 2009 and immediately set a new standard for nostalgic elegance in Vietnam. For more information, email H1555-MK@sofitel.com. May 14, 2012

Tourism Authority of Thailand Tourism Authority of Thailand Launches Fast Deals Website . The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched ThailandFastDeals.com, a new dedicated flash deals website showcasing last-minute offerings from the destination. Created to allow tour operators, hoteliers and wholesalers to promote their unique Thailand offers, the site will give consumers access to travel packages and activities at a discount in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and beyond. Thailand Fast Deals include special hotel, flight, tour packages and other perks made available to the TAT by trusted industry partners. Curated directly by TAT to ensure quality and value, offers are priced specially for the site and are available for a limited time only. ThailandFastDeals.com is updated regularly to feature new travel and vacation packages and tours. May 15, 2012

YTL Hotels New luxury island resort to open in Sabah Malaysia. YTL Hotels will open the highly anticipated Gaya Island Resort in Borneo on July 1, 2012. This world-class resort will add to the collection of YTL Hotels luxury resorts that aim to craft inspired experiences. Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), it is set on the shores of Pulau Gaya, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Gaya Island Resort is an ideal launching pad to discover Borneo, which offers idyllic golden sand beaches, diving sites of spectacular underwater havens, ancient tropical rainforests home to many rare species, including orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Gaya Island Resort will incorporate elements of Sabahan architecture and contemporary design complete with modern amenities and Wi-Fi capabilities. It is comprised of 121 spacious stand-alone hill villas with a spectacular view of the ocean and Mount Kinabalu, starting at roughly USD $200 per night (RM600). The resort is easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and is a short 30-minute combined car and speedboat ride from the airport. The resort offers a unique PURE program, which immerses guests in the vibrancy, scents, textures, sounds, and tastes of the natural environment and cultural heritage of the region through four paths[ETH] Discovery, Vigour, Creativity, and Balance. The Discovery path will take the curious through land and marine explorations, such as scuba diving, island hopping, nature walks, and private yacht charters. Vigour is designed to initiate movement and will include activities such as kayaking, paddle surfing and jogging. The Creativity path nurtures creative expression through intriguing activities, such as handicraft classes, storytelling session of local tales and a Borneo culinary journey. Activities in Balance enable guests to focus on restoring peace to the psyche by traditional Borneo spa treatments or meditating to the soothing sounds of nature. For those who prefer a more indulgent holistic experience, YTL HotelsO award-winning Spa Village will offer treatments, therapies and healing practices specific to Borneo culture. It is uniquely designed within a mangrove setting offering six treatment rooms with outdoor decks, a walk-in theatre and a yoga retreat space. The luxury resort will also offer a selection of dining options, a pool bar & lounge and an infinity swimming pool with picturesque views of Mount Kinabalu. May 16, 2012

YTL Hotels YTL Hotels to Open Gaya Island Resort Off of Borneo in July. YTL Hotels, a premier hospitality group in Malaysia, will open the Gaya Island Resort in Borneo on July 1. Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), it is set on the shores of Pulau Gaya, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Gaya Island Resort is a launching pad to discover Borneo, which offers beaches, diving sites, rainforests home to many rare species, including orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Gaya Island Resort will incorporate elements of Sabahan architecture and contemporary design complete with modern amenities and Wi-Fi capabilities. It is comprised of 121 spacious stand-alone hill villas with a view of the ocean and Mount Kinabalu, starting at roughly $200 per night (RM600). The resort is easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and is a 30-minute combined car and speedboat ride from the airport. The resort offers a unique PURE program, which immerses guests in the vibrancy, scents, textures, sounds and tastes of the natural environment and cultural heritage of the region through four paths -- Discovery, Vigour, Creativity, and Balance. The Discovery path will take the curious through land and marine explorations, such as scuba diving, island hopping, nature walks and private yacht charters. Vigour is designed to initiate movement and will include activities such as kayaking, paddle surfing and jogging. The Creativity path nurtures creative expression through intriguing activities, such as handicraft classes, storytelling session of local tales and a Borneo culinary journey. Activities in Balance enable guests to focus on restoring peace to the psyche by traditional Borneo spa treatments or meditating to the soothing sounds of nature May 16, 2012 1544-3760

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Date:May 21, 2012
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