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RENEW YOUR PASSPORT BY MAIL

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IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A PASSPORT, you can save yourself time and trouble by renewing it by mail. The U.S. Department of State has a new mail-in option that takes as little as two weeks. A new facility in Portsmouth, N.H., is designed to handle mail-in applications from all over the United States. To be eligible, you must be able to submit your most recent passport along with a special application (form DSP-82). The passport must have been issued within the last 12 years, and cannot have been issued before you were 18 years old. Include two identical photos (two inches by two inches), a check or money order for $55 and, if your name has changed, a marriage certificate or a court order to reflect the change.

The completed mail-in application along with the above items should be mailed to: Passport Lockbox, P.O. Box 371971, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7971. The mail-in service is available only if you live in the United States. Americans living overseas should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for passport information.For an application to renew your passport by mail, stop by your local post office or county clerk's office.

If you're applying for a passport for the first time, you must apply at a post office or your county clerk's office in person.

* IN LAST SUNDAY'S GLOBE TROTTING COLUMN, we printed an 800 phone number through which you could order the AT&T 800 Travel Directory. It contains over 7,000 toll-free phone numbers for everything from car rental agencies to wildlife sanctuaries. It also contains coupons and special offers. We erroneously told you the directory is free. In actuality, it costs $4.95 plus $2 plus tax. Check, money order or major credit are accepted. We apologize for the mistake. The other AT&T publications we listed in last week's column are free.

* WORLD'S TOP HOTELS. According to a survey by Utell Internationall, a hotel sales, marketing and reservations company, the best hotels in North America, as rated by frequent corporate travelers, are the Marriott in New York City, the Sheraton St. Regis and Grand Hyatt in New York, the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., and the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta.

Ritz Carlton was voted the best hotel group in North America followed by CP Hotels, Four Seasons, Embarry and InterContinental.

The survey was sponsored jointly by Utell and a British Magazine called Executive Travel and based upon a poll of the magazine's readers. Here are some of the results of the survey:

Hotel of the year

1. Shangri-La, Singapore

2. Conrad, Hong Kong

3. Sheraton Towers, Singapore

4. Regent, Bangkok

5. Shangri-La, Bangkok

Best Hotel - U.K.

1. Copthorne Tara, London

2. InterContinental, London

3. Britannia InterContinental, London

4. George, Edinburgh

5. Hyatt Regency, Birmingham

Best Hotel - Middle East

1. Sheraton, Abu Dhabi

2. InterContinental, Dubai

3. Sheraton, Muscat

4. Hyatt Regency, Dubai

5. Hyatt Regency, Riyadh

Best Airport Hotel

1. Sheraton Skyline, Heathrow

2. Penta (now Ramada), Heathrow

3. Edwardian International, Heathrow

4. Heathrow Hilton, Heathrow

5. Gatwick Hilton, Gatwick

Best Hotel - Europe

1. Le Grand, Paris

2. Stanhope, Brussels

3. Holiday Inn, Brussels

4. Sheraton Airport, Brussels

5. Hilton, Athens

Best Hotel Group - U.K.

1. Copthorne

2. Holiday Inn

3. Hilton

4. Jarvis Hotels

5. Queens Moat House

Best New Hotel

1. Victoria and Albert, Manchester

2. Sheraton Towers, Melbourne

3. Hyatt Regency, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris

3. The Regent, London

Best Hotel Group - Europe

1. InterContinental

2. Sheraton

3. SAS

4. Hilton

5. Forte

Best Hotel Group - Asia/Pacific

1. Regent International

2. Mandarin Oriental

3. Shangri-La

4. Westin

5. Meridien

Best Hotel Group - South America, Africa and the Middle East

1. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts

2. Hilton

3. InterContinental

4. Sheraton

5. Holiday Inn

Hotel with the Best Business Facilities

1. Westin Chosun, Seoul

2. Shangri-La, Kuala Lumpur

3. Grand Hyatt, Hong Kong

4. Okura, Tokyo

5. Sheraton Towers, Singapore