Thursday, November 6, 2008

Indonesian hotels make Forbes list

About time that elite travel publications recognize that there are some outstanding five-star resorts in southeast Asia. This time it's Forbes Traveler, which names world's 50 best new hotels. The local Indonesian winners: St. Regis Bali, and Hotel Tugu Lombok.

The latter is cousin of the famed Tugu Bali, helmed by Anhar Setjadibrata. Guests get to enjoy the white-sand beaches of the island's northwest, along with the legendary sunrises over Mt. Rinjani. And talk about a personal touch: The owner dipped into his personal collection of Indonesian antiques to furnish the place.

As for St. Regis Bali, hardly a surprise that the legendary upscale hotelier gets a nod from Forbes. Among its luxe attractions: The beaches of Nusa Dua, its Remede Spa, and 121 suites and villas chock-full of handcrafted Balinese art. Best of luck to these luxury oases, in the teeth of a monster economic slowdown.

Whether they'll be able to attract enough guests to survive in a world where travellers are staying close to home, business trips are being slashed or cut back, and expense accounts cancelled altogether ... well, that's up to the economics gods.

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