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Raffles opens its first hotel in Japan - Swisstel Nankai Osaka

Travel News Asia 1 September 2003

Raffles International has marked its first foothold in Japan today with the official opening of Swisstel Nankai Osaka, A Raffles International Hotel.

In celebration of its launch, Swisstel Nankai Osaka held a ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Mr. Cheng Wai Keung, Chairman of Raffles Holdings Limited, Mr. Makoto Yamanaka, President of Nankai Electric Railway Co. Ltd, and Ms Jennie Chua, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raffles International. A signage bearing the new logo to re-launch the hotel as a Raffles International hotel was also unveiled.

The 548-room Swisstel Nankai Osaka, previously known as Nankai South Tower Hotel, is in the heart of Namba, one of the most vibrant parts of Osaka. It is located amidst a shopping, entertainment, cultural and business district. The tastefully appointed guestrooms and luxurious suites come with the view of Midosuji, Boulevard or Osaka Bay. The 36-floor super skyscraper has nine Food and Beverage establishments offering a wide variety of cuisine. Swisstel Nankai Osaka is the only hotel with direct access to Kansai International Airport via the rapid train. It also sits above the Namba Station which has immediate access to the main subway system, providing commuters with connections to various parts of Osaka.

Some of the guestrooms at Swisstel Nankai Osaka are being converted to Swiss Business Advantage Rooms which provide top-of-the-line technology and infrastructure for today's business travellers without compromising comfort and design. The Swiss Business Advantage Room features superb modern amenities including an oversized desk with an ergonomic chair and excellent desk lighting, two-line phone system with a data port, high speed plug and play broadband access, in-room fax machines, conveniently located table-level plugs and modems.

Numerous marketing initiatives are in place to drum up interest for the hotel, including an awareness campaign among taxi drivers and a special introductory room rate. Swisstel Nankai Osaka today offered packed lunches to the first 200 taxi drivers coming up its driveway and has launched a special introductory rate of Y$16,000 ++ from now until end of March 2004.

Mr. Cheng Wai Keung, Chairman of Raffles Holdings Limited, said, "Expanding the presence of Raffles International in a major Japanese city such as Osaka, has been one of our major goals and the opening of this hotel as a Raffles International hotel is a significant milestone in our global growth strategy. We expect that Swisstel Nankai Osaka will set the stage for future  growth in the Japanese market."

Ms Jennie Chua, Chairman and CEO of Raffles International added, "We have a high-calibre management team and the right talent on board to implement the quality standards of Raffles International to Swisstel Nankai Osaka. The hotel not only has an excellent location within the shopping, entertainment, cultural and business district, but it is also conveniently located above the Namba Station, giving commuters easy access to various parts of Osaka. We believe the hotel is well positioned for a strong local and international patronage."

Leading the team at Swisstel Nankai Osaka is General Manager Francois Cnockaert. Mr. Cnockaert has more than 18 years of 5-star hotel experience in three different continents, including three years as hotel manager at an international luxury hotel chain in Osaka from 1996.

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