Travel guide to Aman Resorts


Phenomenal luxury, exquisite comforts and an astonishing array of different cultures and landscapes, Aman serves up the best of the best every time. Below we have listed their properties in Asia, but specifically highlighting what we love about each one. Carry on reading and let us know in the comments if you have any other highlights you love about Aman and want to share!

For isolated luxury: AMANKORA Bumthang, Bhutan

The Choekhor Valley is Bhutan’s least visited region, which means you can explore the country’s spiritual hub and most auspicious monasteries in complete private solitude.

For birding: AMANKORA Gangtey, Bhutan

The picturesque Phobjikha Valley is a designated conservation area for the majestic and endangered black-necked crane. Every October and until March, around 350 of these beautiful birds migrate from the Tibetan Plateau to Gangtey.

For Alpine adventures: AMANKORA Paro, Bhutan

At Amankora Paro the air is filled with the freshness of blue pines. Thick blankets of pine forest swathe the landscape as far as the eye can see, just waiting to be explored.

Rural paradise: AMANKORA Punakha, Bhutan

This charming hotel is built around a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse. Fantastic views, stunning scenery and the chance to immerse yourself in tranquil isolation.

Best address in town: AMANKORA Thimphu, Bhutan

Overlooking the capital in a quiet setting, Amankora Thimphu is in the perfect location to venture into town to visit the markets or see the many highlights and attractions.

Out of season: AMANSARA Angkor, Cambodia

From October to April is typically defined as the ‘wet season’, however with roughly an hour of rain each day and with the temples of Angkor Wat to yourself, it’s the best time to travel.

City hideaway: AMANFAYUN Hangzhou, China

Hangzhou is one of China’s most populous cities, but hidden between mountains and a monastery with verdant tea-field views, Amanfayun is a world away from urban life.

Traditional architecture: AMANDAYAN Lijiang, China

Delightfully unique and bursting with authentic character, Amandayan encompasses everything which is traditionally Chinese.

Insider access: AMAN SUMMER PALACE Beijing, China

Direct private access to the Summer Palace’s endless hidden wonders where you can experience a taste of indulgent Quing Dynasty living.

Views: AMANKILA Bali, Indonesia

From anywhere in the hotel you can soak up the jaw-dropping 360-degree views, particularly those overlooking the deep blue sea of the Lombok Strait.

Heritage conservation: AMANYANGYUN Shanghai, China

Aman’s latest masterpiece, and most ambitious project, this hotel celebrates ancient architecture. Ancient dwellings dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasty, which were under threat from demolition, have been restored to their former glory to create beautifully refined spaces.

Families: AMANBAGH Rajasthan, India

It may feel as though you are a million miles from anywhere, but there is plenty to keep idle hands active: treasure hunts, camel rides, nature walks, bike rides, horse riding, cooking classes… children of any age can benefit from these cultural experiences.

Traditional culture: AMANDARI Bali, Indonesia

Amandari is completely immersed in local life and plays an important role to the wider community. We highly recommend exploring the sprawling grounds, and meet with local people going about their daily lives.

Outdoor activities: AMANJIWO Java, Indonesia

Activities in and around Amanjiwo are abundant. Step out from the hotel and within minutes you can be exploring the incredible Borobudur, trekking up the steep flanks of Mount Merapi or rambling across rice fields and rural villages. Cultural tours, elephant treks and horse riding are also available, no request is too small!

Wildlife: AMAN-I-KHAS Ranthambhore, India

Aman-I-Khas is perched right on the edge of prime tiger spotting territory, but sightings of leopards, jungle cats, sloth bears, wild boar, sambar and spotted deer, and more than 300 species of birds are also common, and all whilst you relive the lavish history of Maharajas’ hunting parties.

Off the beaten track: AMANWANA Moyo Island, Indonesia

Far from the madding crowd, Amanwana is surrounded by pristine jungle, pure shores and the endless ocean of turquoise Flores Sea. There’s no wonder it means ‘peaceful forest’…

Unusual experiences: AMANEMU Shima-shi, Japan

Dine on a specially curated Amanemu menu with an ama (the female freedivers who collect shellfish, seaweed and sea urchin) in her home, an amagoya, whilst you learn about her way of life, unchanged for centuries.

Colonial: AMANTAKA Luang Prabang, Laos & AMANGALLA Galle, Sri Lanka

Two hotels which are bursting with old-world charm, and combine modern flourishes with nostalgic fittings, hark back to the golden days of colonial travel.

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Beach hideaway: AMANWELLA Tangalle, Sri Lanka

Curved around a stretch of palm-fringed private beach, this hidden beach capsule is the ultimate discreet boutique hotel.

Desert island fantasy: AMANPULO Pamalican Island, Philippines

We all have that elusive fantasy of ‘getting away from it all’ but at Amanpulo you can indulge in your Robinson Crusoe whims, but in the height of luxury with snow-white beaches, crystal-clear seas, pristine diving and endless watersports.

Iconic luxury: AMANPURI Phuket, Thailand

This well-established iconic classic is the Aman Group’s first ever hotel. With an unrivalled reputation, it now sets the bar for unprecedented luxury for their many idyllic hotels across the world.

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Design: AMAN TOKYO Tokyo, Japan

The epitome of contemporary city-sleek. Aman Tokyo nods to traditional Japanese heritage in its décor, but wows with its thoroughly modern metropolis views from the vast floor-to-ceiling windows.

Spa: AMANOI Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam

The spa itself is resting on the calm shores of a lotus-filled lake. The open-air yoga pavilion energises, whilst the sumptuous indoor pool relaxes, and therapists are ready and waiting with vials of essential oils.

We hope this insight into our favourite Aman Resorts has inspired you. If you’ve got any questions or want to discuss your travel plans, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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5 Marriott International hotels in Asia that cater for vegan guests




The fast-paced, continuing growth in veganism and vegan travel is exciting for those of us that wish to follow a plant based lifestyle. The fact that leading brands are supporting this dietary trend means that we can choose to stay at some of the best hotels in the world and still enjoy dining safe in the knowledge that vegan food is readily available.

We collaborate with the finest hotels and resorts in Asia, and help promote how they ensure that all guests have a fantastic experience no matter what they wish to eat; from our ‘tried and tested’ list here are 5 Marriott International hotels in Asia that cater for vegan guests.

JW Marriott Hotel Medan

As the only 5 star international property in Medan (the capital of Sumatra), the JW Marriott Hotel Medan is the obvious choice for both business and leisure travellers alike. Situated just 5 minutes from the airport rail link it provides the perfect location for an overnight stop prior to an early departure the following day. Spa facilities, a roof top pool and multiple F&B outlets offer the guest plenty of choice for both dining and relaxing during their stay.

The staff at breakfast in Marriott Cafe and also in the Executive Lounge were more than happy to help us locate vegan options and prepare fresh ‘off menu’ items for us to enjoy.

Canapés during evening cocktail hour included vegan sushi and delicious dim sum which was delivered from Jade Chinese Restaurant; there were a number of breakfast buffet items that were suitable for vegans and these were offered alongside hot dishes including sweet and sour tofu, fried tempeh and a gado gado salad which the chef happily prepared for us.

The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong is not only the highest hotel in the world but is one of the finest hotels in the world; you should expect nothing but the best from this high end luxury property that towers over Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour. Enjoy mesmerising views and six complimentary food and beverage presentations daily in the exclusive Club Lounge or make a reservation at Tin Lung Heen and experience culinary excellence from this superb restaurant which is the proud and deserved recipient of two Michelin stars.

The vegan multi course degustation menu at Tin Lung Heen is truly remarkable, expect to enjoy exquisite dishes such as ‘Chef’s Premium Selection’ topped with golden leaf and ‘Stir-fried termite mushroom with bean curd and bean sprout’ which was packed with flavour and incredibly tasty.

The staff team in the Club Lounge went out of their way to make sure we were very well catered for meaning alongside the various items available they arranged for vegan dishes to be prepared including healthy and nutritious quinoa with vegetables.

Hong Kong Sky City Marriott

Situated on Lantau Island, 10 minutes from Hong Kong International Airport and connected directly to AsiaWorld-Expo the Hong Kong Sky City Marriott offers an enviable location for multiple reasons. With 658 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites, 13,000 square feet of meeting space, the award winning Quan Spa, 24 hour gym, indoor pool and 5 on site restaurants the Hong Kong Sky City Marriott really does offer something for everyone.

We enjoyed a delicious and varied breakfast at SkyCity Bistro including freshly prepared tofu and vegetable fried rice, rice congee and a colourful and vibrant salad from the buffet; the staff at SkyCity Bistro were on hand to help with our vegan requests as were they in the Executive Lounge where the vegetarian vegan option was a hearty vegetable curry and rice.

Renaissance Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru is currently undergoing an economic boom with multiple residential and commercial developments throughout the city; the five star Renaissance Johor Bahru is leading the way offering guests a choice of luxury rooms and a prime location just 10 minutes from Singapore. Book a Club Level room for that extra slice of luxury and enjoy dining at either Cafe BLD or Wan Li Chinese Restaurant.

We were treated to a section of colourful and creative vegan dishes wherever we went. From the beautiful and tasty ‘Carrot Cake With Pepper Relish And A Green Pea Puree’ and ‘Potato Cake With Marmalade, Beetroot Puree’ in the Club Lounge to a delicious crispy yam ring in Wan Li we loved everything we ate at Renaissance Johor Bahru. At breakfast we certainly didn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy one of our favourite dishes, a masala dosa which was superb!

Manila Marriott Hotel

Manila Marriott Hotel offers another perfect option for an airport layover as it is situated just 5 minutes from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, with over 550 rooms and suites and multiple F&B options within the hotel you certainly will be spoiled for choice; the property is set against the backdrop of Resorts World Manila which offers everything you could possibly need when in town including casinos, shopping mall, restaurants and a golf course.

Our stay was very short (checked in at 1am and checked out at 8am) due to flights and transfers but we made the most of the vegan options. We ordered a generous portion of lightly fried vegetable spring rolls from room service along with freshly squeezed juices; the staff team were happy and very helpful at breakfast pointing out the dishes that were suitable for vegans (including a variety of breads, fruits, salads and cereals) and happily arranged a serving of vegetable fried rice which was prepared just for us.

As always, we suggest you either contact your hotel of choice in advance or ask to speak to member of their F&B team upon check in as this is the best way to communicate your requirements and gives them the chance to offer you a first rate service.

Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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5 Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts that cater for vegan guests



 



Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are regarded as one of the leading luxury hotel groups in the Asia Pacific region. Offering multiple properties throughout this region alongside locations in North America, Europe and the Middle East they have nearly 50 years experience in delivering the finest of accommodation and impeccable hospitality to their discerning guests.

We checked in to 5 separate hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to experience how they would cater for guests who follow the increasingly popular vegan lifestyle; below you can read about our ‘5 Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts that cater for vegan guests’.

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong

Located as the name would suggest, on Hong Kong Island, the Island Shangri-La is one of Hong Kong’s most well known luxury hotels offering guests a selection of rooms and suites over 56 floors and multiple F&B options including the Michelin two-star Summer Palace.

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During our stay at this hotel the staff team were incredibly helpful and ensured that our expectations were met; each evening they arranged specially prepared vegan canaps in the Horizon Club, a selection of vegan food during daily breakfast in Cafe TOO and a vegan fine dining extravaganza at the wonderful Summer Palace.

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Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong

A short trip across Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry saw us arrive on the Kowloon Peninsula where we were able to experience our second Shangri-La property in Hong Kong, the Kowloon Shangri-La. Located in the heart of theshopping and entertainment district of Tsim Sha Tsui East and with many rooms affording harbour views it’s a favourite choice with many guests returning time and time again.

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An array of dining options from around the world include Japanese favourites at Nadaman, stylish Italian cuisine from Angelini and Michelin two-star fine Cantonese dining courtesy of Shang Palace.

We sampled vegan breakfast in both Cafe Kool and in the Horizon Club where staff were on hand to explain which dishes were suitable for vegan guests and also prepare a la carte dishes for us where required; we were also lucky enough to sample an array of vegan Cantonese delights at Shang Palace which we would highly recommend.

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Shangri-La Chiang Mai, Thailand

When visiting Chiang Mai people spend their days exploring beautiful temples or the surrounding countryside so after a long day of sight seeing what better than to head back to the centrally located Shangri-La Chiang Mai for some of that legendary Shangri-La hospitality and accomplished levels of service.

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Shangri La Chiang Mai

Our room allowed us access to the Horizon Club where courteous staff arranged for vegan canapes during evening cocktails and specially prepared dishes for breakfast; a delicious vegan breakfast was also enjoyed at Kad Kafe where the staff yet again made the necessary adjustments to the dishes on offer. We dined at the Cantonese restaurant, Shang Garden (now operating as China Kitchen) where the chef created a light and incredibly tasty vegan lunch for us to enjoy.

Shangri La Chiang Mai

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Shangri-La Jakarta, Indonesia

The claims that Shangri-La Jakarta is ‘an oasis of serenity and calm’ in the centre of one of the worlds biggest and busiest cities is true on so many levels, check in here to escape the incredibly busy streets outside and enjoy the renowned hospitality from the Shangri-La team who are on hand to make your stay memorable.

The vegan food here was extraordinary and we can honestly say we enjoyed 2 superb meals at both signature restaurant Shang Palace (now called Jia) and the Italian restaurant, Rosso which serves ‘down-to-earth, yet authentic, Southern Italian cuisine’. Each meal offered creativity, was flavour packed and presented with panache proving that plant based cuisine can be a delightful experience.

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Whilst not sampling the multiple dining options or relaxing in our Horizon Club Room, we spent our time at the huge pool set amongst beautifully manicured tropical grounds including a vibrant vegetable and herb garden.

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Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa, Philippines

Recent refurbishments to this ‘tropical paradise on earth’ has ensured that the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa remains one of the best options for your luxury holiday on the island of Cebu, the widely visited tourist location in the Philippines. With two wings (including the exclusive Ocean Wing complete with private driveway and entrance) each offering a wide variety of room types and suites there really is something for everyone.

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Make the most of your leisure time and book a treatment at CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, enjoy multiple sea sports, play 9 holes of golf followed by a few sets of tennis or spend your time relaxing next to one of the pools, or on the private beach for guests only. When it’s time for dinner choose from the 7 dining options offering a wide range of cuisines.

We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts at Tides where chefs prepared vegan versions of Philippine favourites, a tasty vegan set Chinese menu whilst dining at Tea of Spring and a delicious and memorable Italian fine dining experience at Acqua which was superb, creative and a meal we will never forget.

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As we’ve said before, there are very few hotels that have an existing vegan (or even vegetarian) menu but with good communication between the guest and the hotel or resort prior to check in, and also with the help of the on site F&B team you can enjoy delicious and varied vegan food when you are on your next holiday.

Our experiences with these5 Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts that cater for vegan guests were positive on many levels and we can’t wait for our next Shangri-La vegan experience!

Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.



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4 vegan friendly luxury hotels in the Philippines



 



The Philippines has long been known for it’s beautiful beaches, rich cultural heritage and having one of the largest megacities on earth; but it’s also well known amongst some for being one of the most difficult places to travel as a vegan or vegetarian. This is because the diet of the local population of the Philippines mainly consists of meat and more meat. Vegetables are limited, fruit isn’t available in abundance and when you do find these items they are comparatively expensive.

But the Philippines also has some of the friendliest people on the planet who are willing to help you find your way, English is widely spoken and there is a growing vegan scene in many places meaning that Philippines is now firmly on the ‘must visit’ list.

For those of us wanting to travel in luxury but who don’t want to compromise the vegan lifestyle, here are 4 vegan friendly luxury hotels in the Philippines. Ranging from exclusive health retreats to beachside resorts there is a wide range of luxury options for travellers who choose to live a life without exploiting animals for food, clothing, entertainment or any other reason.

In fact, we were surprised to find what has to be one of the most vegan friendly luxury hotels in the world right near the country’s capital.

Manila Marriott Hotel

The Manila Marriott Hotel is less than 5 minutes away from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (even with all the crazy Manila traffic) which makes it a perfect first stop or place for a layover in Manila. There is a complimentary airport shuttle for all guests or you can opt for a private car to collect you to take you straight to check-in.

Despite being in located in Manila, one of the world’s largest and most densely populated cities on Earth, you’ll find a sense of space at the Manila Marriott Hotel, not only because of the size of the hotel and the spacious suites but also because it has it’s own golf course. Take some time out and enjoy a round or two or just enjoy the view from the hotel of the lush green space.

There are two main reasons that the Manila Marriott Hotel makes it onto the list of our 4 vegan friendly luxury hotels in the Philippines; the food and the in-room amenities. The breakfast buffet had some vegan choices (including an accidentally vegan local dish called ‘Taho’ made from soft beancurd, palm syrup and sago pearls).

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The room service menu also had some tasty vegan options allowing us to enjoy lunch in our two room Executive Suite.

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The icing on the cake was finding Thann products in the bathroom; not only is this luxury brand a treat to use but they are against the use of child labour, are formulated from botanicals and are against animal testing making them very vegan friendly indeed.

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The Farm at San Benito

Just 90 minutes away from Manila by car (opt for The Farm’s luxury transfer service to do this journey in total comfort), one of the world’s most vegan friendly luxury resorts awaits you. The Farm at San Benito is impossible not to love, it’s one of those perfect blends of high end luxury, natural beauty and blissful peace making it a rare place escape the stresses of the outside world.

There are many therapeutic health and spa treatments available at this wellness focussed resort ranging from daily yoga and meditation sessions to full blood screening detox programmes. But the surroundings, the beautifully designed villas (book one with a decadant heated outdoor pool) are just as likely to have a rejuvenating effect on you as you immerse yours in acres of coconut tree plantation filled with twisting moss covered pathways, lakes, pools and waterfalls as well as wandering peacocks to complete the picture.

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One of the things that makes The Farm at San Benito exceptional though is that the resort only serves vegan food, much of which is made from organic and seasonal ingredients that are grown on the resort. You can wander around the vegetable patches and see the plants laden with fruits and vegetables, then take a seat in the restaurant and eat wonderfully imaginative, vibrant food that is all 100% healthy, delicious and vegan.

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It’s likely that the food at the aptly named Alive! (the name of the main restaurant at The Farm at San Benito) will be unlike anything you have tried before, a mix of raw and cooked dishes from an extensive international menu. There are light options such as fresh spring rolls in an almond butter sauce as well as comfort food like a burger slathered with a cashew mayonnaise and homemade tomato ketchup. There are desserts to die for (think natural ice creams sandwiched in between sweet dehydrated coconut ‘crackers’ and rich raw cakes filled with nutrition as well as indulgence).

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The Farm at San Benito is certainly a special place to visit but be warned, you may never want to leave.

Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa

Whilst in Cebu the Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa is the best place to enjoy a luxury beach escape on Mactan Island, one of the most popular places to visit in the province. Expect a holiday feel complete with a family friendly pool, a well maintained sandy beach, on site spa, water-sports and even a pristine 6 hole golf course.

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With several places to eat and drink on resort, comfortable rooms and exceptionally friendly and accommodating service from the staff, there is little reason to leave this luxury paradise and venture outside.

Days begin with a leisurely breakfast where staff tailored the already significant options for vegans to offer even more options, many of which showcased local dishes. But no one visiting The Shangri La Mactan Resort and Spa (or Mactan island itself) should leave without eating in Acqua, the Italian restaurant in the resort. The vegan food here is the definition of luxury with dishes like ‘Ajo Blanco and Tomato Tartare’ setting the tone for what is sure to be one of your best meals of the year. The mixture and balance of flavours was extraordinary with layers of tomato sweetness, fresh mint, rich and creamy almond cold ‘soup’ laced with a hint of vinegar and the rest of the courses that followed were equally as impressive.

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And for those wanting to sample Cantonese cooking, Tea of Spring offers a range of vegan friendly dishes to be enjoyed in a traditional Chinese style dining room.

Cebu City Marriott Hotel

Located right by Ayala Mall, the most prestigious shopping and entertainment district in bustling Cebu City, the Cebu City Marriott Hotel is well equipped for vegan guests. The pool offers a relaxing retreat from the traffic filled streets outside and inside the hotel the staff work hard to offer a high standard of service which is sure to meet the needs of any vegan guest looking for a luxury city hotel stay in the area.

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Vegans will do well to request a special menu prepared by the super friendly Thai executive chef and his team, focusing on a fusion of Thai flavours as well as more familiar Filipino and international dishes.

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In addition to the good food and great service at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel, you’ll be perfectly located to explore the growing vegan scene in the city with options like air fried ‘tofish’, tofu sisig (a Filipino special) and even vegan donuts at your fingertips. You’re also close to all the cultural sites worth seeing, like the hugely important ‘Basilica Minore del Santo Niño’ church.

The Philippines may have a reputation of being a difficult destination for vegans but this certainly isn’t true when you put yourself in the hands of luxury hotels and resorts who seem to bend over backwards to adjust their service to cater for vegans. Our 4 vegan friendly luxury hotels in the Philippines certainly opened our eyes to the best side of the Philippines, a country packed with friendly people, good beaches and sightseeing opportunities as well as some outstanding vegan food.

Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.



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