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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
 
FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap: Spa Gift Voucher at La Residence d'Angkor

May 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La Residence d'Angkor, Siem Reap, CambodiaA visit to Cambodia's mystical Angkor Wat ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a once-in-a-lifetime must. Considered one of the man-made wonders of the world, the temples showcase brilliant architecture from the peak of the Khmer civilization in the early 12th century. The town of Siem Reap is the gateway to discover Angkor's main sites, surrounded by the jungle. Bed down at La Residence d'Angkor, an Orient-Express property, and relish the quiet gardens, swimming pool and spa-- the perfect place to relax at the end of a thrilling day. Situated on the banks of Siem Reap's river, the hotel has 62 spacious rooms and suites designed in a Khmer style with traditional hardwoods, bamboo and natural textiles such as silk and cotton. Book with Five Star Alliance and you'll get a $25 spa voucher and daily buffet breakfast when choosing "Five Star Alliance" rates. These rates are already discounted, and represent the same nightly price as the "Best Available" rates.


Green Hotels: Inkaterra's Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Approved by the Rainforest Alliance

April 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, PeruPeru is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu this July. Now the country's biggest tourist attraction, the magnificent Incan ruins lure visitors from all over the world. Planning a trip to Peru? Consider a stay with Inkaterra, a Peruvian organization that's become a model of sustainable tourism with its focus on preserving Peru's geography, nature, and cultures and sharing them with the world. Hotels include Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the "World's Best Hotels" for 2010; Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, located on the Madre de Dios River in the Southern Peruvian Amazon rainforest; Inkaterra La Casona, an 11-suite boutique hotel in the historic city of Cusco, the first and only Relais & Châteaux hotel in Peru. Notably, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica recently received Rainforest Alliance's 'seal of approval' as two properties whose sustainability practices align with the company's mission of conservation.


Dreamy Honeymoon Destinations: Scrub Island Resort Gets Top Honors

April 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Scrub Island Resort, BVIYou saw it on the TODAY Show, and now you're wondering: Where the heck is Scrub Island? The tropical island retreat has been open for a little over a year and it's garnering accolades left and right. And a quick peek at the photos helps you understand why. The first private resort built in the British Virgin Islands in over 15 years, Scrub Island is a seven-minute boat ride away from the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS) on Beef Island, which itself is a 35-minute flight from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico. You'll find three private beaches, an infinity edge pool, a world-class marina, and swank rooms with spectacular ocean views. The best part of all? This five-star luxury experience is affordable- with introductory rates starting from just $299/night. Pick up a copy of the May 2011 issue of Travel + Leisure magazine for more praise of this private island resort.


The New “Apprentice-Trips” Program from Fairmont Hotels

April 5, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Orchid HawaiiWe've just learned about the new "Apprentice-Trips" program at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a neat experience for travelers seeking out enriching and authentic adventures while on the road. Fairmont has taken this "yearning to learn" movement and created a collection of thoughtful experiences for hotel guests to learn, perfect, or acquire a new skill while on vacay. From surfing in Montreal to art immersion in Dallas, the program offers something for everyone. A smattering of these offerings are outlined below:

How to Pass a Bill in Washington D.C. (learn how to craft your agenda with a federally-registered lobbyist)

Find Your Inner Chi in Beijing (perfect the ancient art of Tai Chi)

Samuel Adams Behind the Scenes Boston Brewery Package at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

Canoes, Coffee and Culture in Hawai'i at the Fairmont Orchid

Cook with the Chef at the Fairmont Algonquin and the Fairmont Southampton

Learn about the Grizzly Bear while hiking from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise


Dreamy Destinations: A Spa Paradise at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

March 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Maldives Rangali IslandParadise found. Spanning two islands enclosed by a coral reef, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a dream destination surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. There's diving and snorkeling, Pilates and yoga, yachting and fishing. Arrive in style in a seaplane over the lagoon, then bliss out at the resort adored by spa junkies. Unwind in the resort's two outstanding spas (as there are two, one on each island!) then dine in the world’s first all-glass, undersea restaurant.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island has recently revamped their Spa Water Villas, custom-designed for spa aficionados with a private spa treatment room for two, open-air Jacuzzi on the sun deck, huge bath tub, and mini bar stocked with organic treats. Conrad Maldives Rangali IslandAnd now they've unveiled the "Spa, Plane and Simple" package for spa lovers to relax with an indulgent experience at a great value. Here's the skinny on the package inclusions:

* Seven nights in a Spa Water Villa

* $1400 in spa credits ($200 credit per day to be used on spa treatments)

* Complimentary seaplane transfers to the resort to/from Male International Airport (valued at $420 per person)

* Daily Breakfast

Package rates start at $1100 per night (a total savings of over 20%). The offer begins in March and lasts through October 31, 2011.


Seaside Villas at the Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru

February 23, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

Banyan Tree MaldivesFact: The Maldives is the most beautiful place on Earth. There, it’s been said. Minted and printed. For those that believe there is another place on this planet that compares, please feel free to comment below. In my opinion, you have a hard case to prove. And when you’re lying on a hammock underneath the bright canopy of the bluest heavens, staring out across the clear turquoise waters, and breathing in the sweet scent of the trade winds wafting by, I think you’ll agree.

The Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru, on the North Male atoll, is the perfect place from which to experience the world’s most beautiful place. The Banyan Tree is pure luxury, period. Guests stay in deluxe beachfront villas propped on stilts that plunge deep into white sand. The beaches are often empty, with some visitors reporting that they didn’t see another soul all day while soaking in the sun and swimming in the warm, docile waters.

The Banyan Tree also recognizes the importance of its location, as the Maldives is a unique eco-habitat with rare species abounding. The marine biology demonstrations presented for guests is a unique offering to this exotic locale. So if you want to stay in the most beautiful place in the world, reserve a villa at the Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru. Heck, in between sips of Mai Tai, you might even learn a thing or two.


Banish Winter Woes with the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

February 14, 2011
By: Katie Tandy

St. Regis Bora Bora

Do the snow and sleet have you feeling less than spry? Infuse yourself with a dash of sunshine-induced joy with three family-centered packages steeped in the warm waters of Bora Bora à la the St. Regis Resort. Featuring 100 over-water and beach villas boasting terrace whirlpools and private swimming pools showcasing exotic wood and regional art, the French Polynesia resort has some offerings sure to soothe your winter-worn self: “Exceptional Royal Estate Offer” – Valid until May 31, this package features a value-add rack rate of $9,200.00 per Villa per night plus taxes. Also inclusive in this offer are private return airport transfers and daily breakfast for up to six guests. Offer is based on a minimum stay of three nights. Book here.

St Regis Bora Bora“A Taste of Luxury” package – Valid until December 20th, take advantage of a complimentary fourth night for a three consecutive nights stay at the resort as well as a complimentary daily breakfast for two at Te Pahu Restaurant and 20% off Spa Miri Miri. Rates begin at $955.00 per night plus taxes. Book here.

“Family Fun” package – Valid until December 20th, families who book a Bungalow at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort receive 50% off for: a second Bungalow over the same dates and daily breakfast. Kids will also be in “ice cream paradise” with the Resort’s Ice Cream Passport program where tots under 10-years old enjoy privileged access to an endless supply of homemade ice cream, milk shakes and smoothies throughout the duration of their stay (with mom's permission of course). Book here.

St Regis Bora BoraPint-size travelers will also love the Lagoonarium where they can swim with marine life and explore the depths of the sea with snorkels, kayaks and canoes. Children can also partake in some healthy competition, crafting sand castles for contests, race crabs, snoop around on a scavenger hunt or windsurf.

Be sure to check out the ultra-luxurious 13,000-square-foot Royal Estate, set apart in a secluded cove or grab some creative cuisine at the suspended Lagoon restaurant, helmed by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.


Uganda is the New ‘It’ Tourist Destination

February 9, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

The Serena Kampala“The person who has not traveled widely thinks his or her mother is the best cook.” -Ugandan Traditional Proverb

Having been to The Serena Hotel in Kampala, Uganda, and eaten some of the most delicious East African cuisine, I can tell you that while my Mom was an excellent cook (Hi, Mom!), she has nothing on a master chef. In Uganda, there aren’t many master chefs, in fact most of the restaurants are locally-owned establishments where Mom actually is cooking, but The Serena Hotel is a bit different. Beneath The Serena’s rose-colored towers high above downtown Kampala lies a restaurant that indulges all 5 senses, and maybe the 6th sense too. The sense of wonder!

The flagship restaurant, The Pearl of Africa, is stunning! And the views over the terraced lawn and pools are immaculate. In fact with the cascades of a 7 meter waterfall flowing into the largest pool complex in all of Uganda, The Serena Hotel in Kampala even outdoes itself. Why itself, you ask? Well The Serena was already the finest establishment around, but just last year completed renovations to make it a premier destination in not just Africa, but the entire world.

Given the abundance of activities in Uganda (and shhhh! the prices are much lower than in other parts of Africa), including incredible big game safaris, gorilla trekking, the white sand beaches of Lake Victoria, and amazing freshwater sport fishing, I can’t understand why more travelers aren’t flocking to this burgeoning tourist mecca. The reason: It’s still not quite discovered, so you can be among the first to go and enjoy everything Uganda has to offer. When you do, stay at The Serena Hotel in Kampala, and let them take care of the rest.


Sponsored Article: Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua Awarded Among Top Honeymoon Destinations

January 13, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua, RotoruaPrince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton are scouting out honeymoon destinations, and Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua-- located in Rotorua, New Zealand-- should be at the top of their list. After all, this exclusive, ultra-luxe lodge was recently named as one of the world's top 10 honeymoon destinations by HotelsCombined.com.

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua, RotoruaIn fact, Lake Okareka Lodge manager Diana Moore wrote the Prime Minister John Key urging him to invite the royal couple to New Zealand for their honeymoon. "We suggested to Mr. Key that a New Zealand honeymoon would be the perfect wedding gift from the people of New Zealand and at the same time it would generate priceless worldwide publicity for New Zealand as a visitor destination." The honeymooning couple would experience breathtaking scenery, world class culinary experiences, and the seclusion and privacy of this unique and unspoiled environment.

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua, RotoruaMany guests book out the entire lodge for exclusive use, as it comprises just three large suites, one on each level. Lake Okareka Lodge rates start at around NZ$2500 per couple per night in a suite and rise to around $8,000 per night for exclusive-use of the entire lodge with accommodation in the award winning Lake Okareka Suite-- with gourmet dining, beverages and 24-hour butler service included.

The lodge boasts its own helipad, floatplane jetty, outdoor spa, private beach, massage room and fitness studio. Honeymooning couples find it a magic, romantic hideaway for a few days of guilt-free pampering.


Hot New Hotels for 2011: Announcing the Viceroy Maldives

December 31, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Viceroy Maldives

We're the first to admit it: we've got a big weakness for Viceroy Hotels and Resorts. From Santa Monica to Snowmass to Miami to Anguilla, Viceroy has staked its claim to some prime real estate, wowing with designer interiors (Kelly Wearstler at her best) and sumptuous facilities (glimmering private pools, dining with dramatic views). And get this. Pretty soon the world-famous L’Ermitage Beverly Hills will be reborn as Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. There's more. Come summertime, the Viceroy Maldives will debut in the Indian Ocean, the first resort beyond the Americas for the collection. Set on the crescent-shaped island of Vagaru in the Shaviyani Atoll, the Viceroy Maldives will feature 61 luxury villas perched over the white sand and crystal clear water. These villas are billed as some of the largest in the Maldives, occupying between 1,345- 3,300 square feet of indoor space. Not to mention the private outdoor living areas and plunge pools.