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Launch party July 23 kicks off nine weeks of DJs, dance, drinks and dining

As America's traditional day of rest, Sundays deserve leisure-time at its best. This summer, Viceroy Santa Monica makes Sundays profoundly relaxing, with its series of indulgent Summer Sessions poolside soirees. Yes, they're back! and kicking off July 23 at 3:00 pm, followed by eight more sultry Sunday sessions. Beat the summer heat with chilled electronica mixes from world-class DJs, icy signature cocktails from Cameo Bar, ultra-cool retro movies and refreshing gourmet delectables by Whist Executive Chef Warren Schwartz - all in the chic sophistication of Viceroy's high-design milieu.

A popular stop for LA tastemakers of music, fashion and film, Viceroy's high-energy summer fun is guaranteed to appeal to leisure travelers, "backyard vacationers" and hipster entourages alike. For this year's sensational opening bash, Viceroy welcomes tried-and-true Summer-Sessions-hit DJ Harvey and area rising star Osamu. With Harvey's unique, inspirational sound and Osamu's creative remix blends - from chilled electronica to dub reggae - guests will come into their own in the dance zone.

Award-winning Whist restaurant's Chef Schwartz will deliver the poolside snacks, whipped up gourmet style, of course. Try the Angus Beef Sliders with Red Onion and Bleu Cheese, the Crab Croquettes with Lemon Cream or the Oyster Shooters served with Cucumber and Champagne Mignonette. A unique, signature cocktail will debut each week - maybe a Key Lime Martini or Pineapple Mojito - available for a special price from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Viceroy's hip poolside décor and creative interiors are signature strokes of local style maven Kelly Wearstler - high sophistication injected with contemporary chic. Her British Regency-inspired poolside cabanas, cut with bold geometric accents, will deliver premium exclusivity for Summer Sessions' private groups. They will also provide screening space for Viceroy's collection of vintage films, from extreme sports classics and silent oldies to the best of kitschy sci-fi.

To set the stage with an appropriate theme, Sunday's launch party embraces the timeless appeal of "Endless Summer," Bruce Brown's classic '50s surfer flick. And don't cut the night short for a dreary drive home - treat yourself to a mini vacation with Viceroy's "Summer Sunday" package for two: Overnight accommodations in Deluxe Pool View room; two signature cocktails at Summer Sessions; parking; and full American breakfast for two. Total price: $279. Package Terms and Conditions: Rates valid on Sunday nights only, 7/23/06 to 9/24/06. Tax and gratuities not included. Parking for one car. Subject to availability. Maximum breakfast credit up to $75 per reservation. To make reservations visit viceroysantamonica.com/specials.

By reservation only. Send requests to viceroyrsvp@epiphanyusa.com. For additional information call (310) 260-7500 for event details.

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong Prepares To Welcome Guests Back With A Series of Enticing Stays

In anticipation of its re-opening this autumn, the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has announced three enticing accommodation packages. With a focus on indulgence, the packages allow guests to experience the best that the hotel has to offer following its comprehensive USD140 million dollar renovation.

Oriental Harmony — HKD9,000 per night
This pampering one night stay for two with American breakfast in an exclusive Oriental Suite includes two hours of sheer bliss in a couple’s treatment suite at the new Mandarin Spa. Here guests will indulge in the ‘Oriental Harmony’, one of Mandarin Oriental’s signature spa treatments. This two hour synchronized four-handed body treatment uses luxurious oils that are guaranteed to relax and rejuvenate.

Luxury Fashionista — HKD6,000 per night
Shop till you drop with expert advice on the best that the city has to offer. All arrivals will enjoy an in room bottle of chilled champagne and a shopping map to set the tone in preparation for the hotel’s VIP shopping service. Enjoy an afternoon browsing at many of Central’s leading luxury stores and boutiques: from Chloe to Shanghai Tang— with a personal shopper if you choose — and porters on call to collect shopping bags. A soothing foot ritual for two awaits at The Mandarin Spa on return to the hotel. This package is inclusive of full American breakfast at Café Causette or The Clipper Lounge.

Celebration Package — HKD6,000 per night
Whatever the occasion, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong has created the perfect celebratory stay, inclusive of a bottle of chilled pink champagne, homemade chocolates from the Mandarin Cake Shop and fresh flowers on arrival. Celebrations continue with the Epicure’s three-course dinner menu in the new Sir Terence Conran-designed surroundings of the legendary Mandarin Grill*. The package is inclusive of breakfast for two in the vibrant Café Causette or The Clipper Lounge.

The above rates are exclusive of tax and service charge, are subject to availability and valid until 1 October 2007. *The ‘Celebration Package’ 3 course dinner excludes alcoholic beverages.

For reservations or for further information, please contact the hotel directly on +852 2522 4466 or log on to www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is the award-winning owner and operator of some of the world’s most prestigious hotels and resorts, currently operating 21 luxury hotels with a further 10 under development in Prague (2006), Riviera Maya-Mexico, Hainan Island-China, Barcelona (2007), Boston and Grand Cayman (2008), Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas and Macau (2009). In total, Mandarin Oriental now operates, or has under development, almost 9,000 rooms in 16 countries with 14 hotels in Asia, 12 in the Americas and five in Europe.

Photography of Mandarin Oriental is available to download, in high and low resolution, in the Photo Library of our Media section, at www.mandarinoriental.com.

The Summer Heat is on with First Wednesday AC

The Atlantic City Free Public Library joins First Wednesday AC this month with a Movie Experience. The Movie Experience will include one free DVD loan and one free bag of microwave popcorn to enjoy with your movie. The DVD and popcorn bag is supplied in a plastic bucket featuring the library’s logo, phone number and Web address. It also has a shovel included, so you can head out to the sand box or beach after enjoying the movie. Participants must be a library cardholder. Limit one Movie Experience per adult per month until September’s First Wednesday.

The Quarter and Tropicana’s First Wednesday AC specials include a 10 percent food discount at Philly Bistro for early diners arriving between 4 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. Carmine’s Downbar will feature a Happy Hour in July from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Specials include $3 draft beers, and half price on all well drinks and frozen drinks. The appetizer of the night will also be half price. Enjoy a First Wednesday AC rate of $125 for a standard room at Tropicana, not including tax, occupancy fee and a $1 per day phone charge.

Red Bull Energy Drink is a partner of First Wednesday AC, along with Samuel Adams, which serves the following locations: Ducktown Tavern, House of Blues, Opa Bar & Grille, The Sound of Philadelphia, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Corky’s Ribs & Barbeque, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Ri Ra Irish Pub, O’Grady’s and Irish Pub.

Visitors participating in First Wednesday AC are invited to park in the South Jersey Transportation Authority lots on Fairmont Avenue and Atlantic Avenue for a nominal fee and hop aboard the free First Wednesday AC shuttle to the various participating locations. The shuttle runs every 15 minutes until 10 p.m.

Created by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, Atlantic City Outlets – The Walk, South Jersey Transportation Authority and Tropicana Casino & Resort, First Wednesday AC is a monthly program that provides a night to dine, party, shop and stay with discounts and packages offered at businesses throughout the Atlantic City area. For more details about participating businesses and First Wednesday specials, visit www.firstwednesdayac.com.

US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
Launches Spa Sweepstakes

US Virgin Islands — Searching for a moment to relax and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul? The US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association (HTA) is offering a chance to step out of the routine and unwind with the new It’s Just Easier to Vacation in the US Virgin Islands Spa Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes runs from now through September 30 for travel October 1-December 15, 2006 or April 15-September 30, 2007.

The grand prize winner and a guest will fly from the nearest American Airlines gateway to St. Thomas and enjoy six days and five nights at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa. Once on island, they will be treated to a relaxing massage and gift basket from the Wyndham’s Journeys Spa, a European facial from Frenchman’s Reef Marriott, and a spa treatment from the Holiday Inn’s Shangrila Spa. The Caneel Bay ferry will whisk the pair away for their Self-Centre Sampler which combines a variety of breathing and relaxation techniques to create a sense of inner calm. While on St. John, the Westin will nourish the body with a delicious lunch on the beach. Other prizes include a sunset sail on Bolongo Bay Beach Resort’s catamaran Heavenly Days, entrance to Atlantis Submarine, Paradise Point Tramway and Coral World Ocean Park, guaranteed reserved seating, courtesy of Southland Gaming, in one of the nightly gaming tournaments for a chance to win $100, and $1,000 cash for duty free shopping. Rules and restrictions apply.

“This is a great way to show off the wonderful spa offerings of our destination, said Beverly Nicholson of the HTA. We hope the lucky winner will leave the island feeling restored, relaxed and ready to take on anything.”

To enter visit the Hotel & Tourism Association web site at www.virgin-islands-hotels.com.

Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa OPENS $200 million expansion
Borgata: Amplified -- Celebrity Chef Restaurants, 85-Table Poker Room Open IN Atlantic City, NJ

Just three years after redefining and elevating Atlantic City, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa today unveils a $200 million expansion. The expansion features dining creations from Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck and Michael Mina, as well as 36,120 square feet of casino floor space including 36 table games, approximately 500 slot machines, an 85-table poker room (the largest in Atlantic City), a café named Bread and Butter, and a multi-concept quick service dining option, The Cafeteria. Borgata will debut its second nightclub experience, Mur.Mur, which will open July 14, 2006. Bobby Flay Steak, Wolfgang Puck American Grille and SEABLUE, A Michael Mina restaurant join the already award-winning culinary roster of premier restaurants at Borgata, further establishing the resort as a leading dining destination on the East Coast. The three new restaurant concepts, designed by David Rockwell, Tony Chi and Adam Tihany, respectively, join Suilan by Susanna Foo, Luke Palladino’s Ombra and Specchio and New York’s venerable Old Homestead Steakhouse at Borgata. The Cafeteria features a number of beloved national and regional outlets such as Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches, Fatburger, Panda Express, Hibachi San, Villa Pizza and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, as well as two original concepts, Lettuce Head and MiniBar.

Now the largest in Atlantic City, Borgata’s 85-table, 21,500 square-foot poker room features an 18-table High Limit Room offering food service; a nine-table tournament area offering bleacher seating for tournament viewing that can be partitioned off as a “reserved” poker area, and a 58-table Main Poker Room offering live poker action outfitted with plasma televisions. Already known as the East Coast’s preeminent poker venue, Borgata now offers the largest variety of games and limits in Atlantic City including all variations of Texas Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha. Separately, a new state-of-the-art Racebook will feature a Boot N’ Whip Bar and races from all over the United States Borgata ignited Atlantic City’s revival with its 2003 opening as the first new resort in 13 years and continues to lead and help grow Atlantic City’s hospitality redevelopment efforts with its $525 million two-phase master plan of development. Borgata’s investment into the $1.1 billion property accounts for one-third of the $1.5 billion in capital improvements planned by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for Atlantic City’s revival over the next three years. The second phase of Borgata’s two-part expansion will include its second hotel, The Water Club at Borgata, scheduled to debut in fourth quarter 2007.

About BorgataBorgata is a joint venture of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) and MGM MIRAGE (NYSE: MGM). Located at Renaissance Pointe in Atlantic City, it features 2,000 guest rooms and suites, 161,000 square feet of gaming, 200 gaming tables, 4,100 slot machines, 14 destination restaurants, 11 retail boutiques, a 54,000 square foot spa, 70,000 square feet of event space, and parking for 7,100 cars. For more information on Borgata, and/or to obtain a copy of this press release visit www.theborgata.com or use AOL keyword: borgata. Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at www.boydgaming.com; additional information on MGM MIRAGE can be found at www.mgmmirage.com.


If you’re a traveler looking for peace-of-mind while you’re away, consider Motorola homesight, manufactured by Xanboo. Homesight lets travelers easily see and control a home or business while they aren’t there all from their mobile phone. Through a mobile phone (screen) or PC, homesight lets users monitor live video feeds and get information from a variety of easy-to-use sensors. They can easily find out if they’ve left a window open or if their basement is leaking. Users can also turn their lights on or adjust the heat before coming home anytime, anywhere using their mobile phone keypad. Featuring pan and tilt cameras that stream live video with sound on the mobile phone, cameras detect motion up to 20 feet with a minimum viewing angle of 90-degrees so consumers can check in on their home, children, pets, and elderly parents any time of the day. Visit: www.Xanboo.com


With 21.9 million visitors in 2005, the country moves up
a notch in World Tourism Organization figures

Mexico’s ranking among the world’s countries in international tourism arrivals increased from eight to seven last month according to World Tourism Organization figures, Tourism Secretary Rodolfo Elizondo recently announced. Approximately 21.9 million international guests arrived to Mexico in 2005. Tourism providers are rushing to meet the increasing demand for service. For example, there are currently 23 new flights to Mexico from the United States, and Canadians can count on an additional three flights to Mexico. “More and more leisure and business travelers are discovering the many benefits of a Mexican vacation. Our country not only offers visitors beautiful beaches, an almost endless array of cultural destinations and many exciting adventure tourism options, but Mexico does it all while providing tourists with great value and gracious service,” said Elizondo. Sectur reports that Mexico’s tourism industry was responsible for generating 1.9 million direct jobs in 2005, up 3 percent over 2004 numbers. With the tourism sector so favorably impacting the country and its people, Mexico invests considerable time and effort in developing it.

The Mexican government has a comprehensive, long-term tourism plan in place to guide its efforts through 2025. The plan’s goal is to consistently increase both the number of international visitors and the amount of tourism revenue. About the Mexico Tourism Board The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico's tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico’s tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors.


© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved