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Cultural Programme

The 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture will take place at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac). One of Malaysia's leading cultural …

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Forbes Travel Guide Reveals Its 2019 Star Award Winners

Forbes Travel Guide’s inspectors scoured the globe to discover the world’s best hotels, restaurants and spas for our 2019 Star Award winners.

Credit: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi AnForbes Travel Guide’s inspectors scoured the globe to discover the world’s best hotels, restaurants and spas for our 2019 Star Award winners.For the 61st annual list, we expanded to new destinations, including Anguilla, Bahrain, Belize, Danang, Doha, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Istanbul, Oman, Perth, the Swiss Alps, Tel Aviv and Uruguay. The result is our biggest and most diverse group of honorees yet.To find the top luxury experiences, our inspectors checked into a hotel for a minimum of two nights and posed as ordinary guests. Once there, they tested up to 900 objective, exacting standards that covered everything from whether a staff member greets you curbside within 30 seconds of pulling up in a car to whether housekeeping arranges toiletries on top of high-quality underliners on the counter.
The ratings emphasize graciousness, thoughtfulness and personalized service: 75 percent of a hotel’s score is based on its level of service, while 25 percent is determined by the quality of its facilities (for more on how a hotel earns a rating, click here).See the full list of Star-Rated properties here.
Below are some highlights from this year’s esteemed winners:Fairmont Pacific Rim. Credit: FRHI Hotels ResortsHotelsThe Peninsula Hotels emerged as the biggest winner it’s the first all Five-Star hotel company in Forbes Travel Guide history.The Peninsula Manila earned its inaugural Five-Star award, giving the Hong Kong-based brand a total of 10 top-rated hotels.Another brand with a stellar year was Bulgari Hotels Resorts, which claimed a trifecta of Five-Star honors for Bulgari Hotel Beijing; Bulgari Hotel Residences, London; and Bulgari Resort Bali.
This marks the first Five-Star wins for the company synonymous with the luxurious Roman jeweler.Elsewhere around the globe, countries seized their first Five-Star hotel distinction.
Among them were Malaysia’s Crockfords at Resorts World Genting, a secret spot whose luxurious rooms are mostly reserved for high rollers at the nearby casino; Portugal’s Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, an icon whose outdoor rooftop track affords one of the best views of the city; South Korea’s The Shilla Seoul, a historic property outfitted with the latest technology from owner Samsung; Turkey’s Raffles Istanbul, which boasts an unbeatable location in Zorlu Center mall amid high-end shops, restaurants and an Eataly; and Vietnam’s Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, a dreamy beach escape with three tiers of infinity pools and breezy villas.Other newcomers to the list include three hotels in the British capital: The Langham, London, whose experimental Artesian bar is a destination unto itself; Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London, which makes a triumphant comeback after a June 2018 fire; and Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London, which resides in one of the city’s most-recognized buildings, the hulking Renzo Piano-designed Shard.Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Credit: Four Seasons Hotels LimitedPlus, Five-Star awards went to Fairmont Pacific Rim, a sleek Vancouver spot offering Coal Harbour vistas and the see-and-be-seen restaurant Botanist; Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris, the 1909 grande dame that had a major facelift in 2017; and Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, where each of the bright, modern rooms comes with views of the glittering gulf.
And there are two new Five-Star standouts in the United States. On the tiny 141-square-mile Hawaiian isle of Lanai, Four Seasons Resort Lanai offers the exclusivity of a private island alongside amenities like an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course (Bill Gates got married at the stunning 12th hole overlooking crashing waves).Salamander Resort Spa, an elegant equestrian-themed countryside getaway outside of D.C.was inspired by the home of Sheila C. Johnson, founder of the Salamander Hotels Resorts group and co-founder of BET.The final tally was 21 new Five-Star, 49 new Four-Star and 62 new Recommended hotels.

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Saudi crown prince to visit Indonesia next week

Indonesia will host Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a state visit next week, Jakarta said Thursday, part of an Asian tour that includes stops in Pakistan, India and Malaysia.
“He will arrive in Indonesia on February 18, and meet the president on February 19,” presidential spokesman Johan Budi told AFP.
The crown prince is scheduled to visit Pakistan and Malaysia before arriving in Indonesia and then he heads to India.Salman last visited Indonesia with his father King Salman in 2017 as part of an Asian tour seeking investment opportunities.
At that time, Jakarta and Riyadh signed a range of agreements from trade and aviation to boosting cooperation in science, health and fighting crime.They also inked an agreement involving state-owned energy firms Aramco and Indonesia´s Pertamina to expand a multi-billion-dollar oil refinery in the Southeast Asian nation.Next week´s trip comes as the crown prince continues to be tarnished by his alleged links to the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA has concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the powerful crown prince, but the White House has sidestepped that finding amid strenuous denials by Riyadh.

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