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Manila luxury hotels, casinos on the rise

Conrad Manila is now under construction in Manila's bay area.

MANILA -- International hotel operators are currently trying to outdo each other with luxury hotels and integrated casino resorts around the Philippine capital to cash in on the nation's growing economy.

     Hilton Worldwide Holdings of the U.S. is building a 350-room, eight-story hotel overlooking Manila Bay. The new location is due to open in the middle of 2015. Conrad Manila will be the Hilton group's first Philippines hotel under this luxury brand and follows those in Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore and Thailand. Located near the SM Mall of Asia, one of the region's largest shopping malls, and a concert hall, Conrad Manila is expected to attract big-spending tourists and business people.

     Conrad Manila's proximity to Ninoy Aquino International Airport will help it serve as a gateway to resorts and other destinations, a Hilton group official told a local newspaper. The new hotel will be operated by the SM Group on behalf of Hilton.

     Construction of huge casinos is also underway in Manila's bay area. A consortium, which includes Melco Crown Entertainment of Hong Kong, will open one such casino, called the City of Dreams Manila, in November.

     Hyatt Hotels of the U.S. and the boutique brand Nobu Hotel, jointly owned by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, a Japanese celebrity chef, and American actor Robert De Niro, will both open in the City of Dreams casino complex. It will be the first Asian location for Nobu Hotel.

     Somewhere to sleep is not the only consideration for recent visitors to the archipelago nation. The demand for business facilities in Philippines hotels is on the rise due to its fast growing economy, which expanded 7.2%, in terms of gross domestic product in 2013, the largest growth in Southeast Asia.

     Japan's Hotel Okura will open its first Philippines property in 2018 within the Entertainment City casino resort now under construction near the City of Dreams. Okura hopes to attract tourists and business people to its 380 luxury rooms with an array of conference and business facilities.

     Rising income levels are accompanying the strengthening economy thanks to the growth of business process outsourcing companies which conduct call center and clerical services. British financial services provider HSBC has more than 4,000 workers in the Philippines, of which over 3,000 staff call centers and undertake clerical operations.

     Bonifacio Global City, a district in the greater metropolitan area of Manila, houses U.S. and European financial institution back offices. Hong Kong's Shangri-La Hotels and Resort are building a 576-room hotel in a 60-story building that also offers office space in the district. The development is a bid to pair accommodation and workspace together to help meet growing demand in the rapidly developing business sector.

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