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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.

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.


Oman on My Mind: Anantara Al Madina A’Zarqa Resort & Spa Opens in 2011

December 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Al Madina A'Zarqa Resort, OmanWe've long had our eye on Oman as a destination to watch. Travelers who return from the Middle Eastern oasis spin tales of mysterious landscapes, rugged natural beauty, and ancient historic sites- untouched by tourism. We love that you can arrive by hang-glider at the Six Senses Hideaway at Zighy Bay. Though not far as the crow flies from over-the-top Dubai, the Sultanate of Oman is investing in a different type of tourism with a sustainable, long-term approach to economic diversification. In fact, the government is now investing $20 billion in the tourism sector to diversify the economy now dependent on oil production. The goal is to attract 12 million upscale visitors annually by 2020. The official Tourism Ministry website says it best: "Beauty has an address." Convinced yet?

Come 2011 there will be another exciting luxury hotel on the scene, the latest property from Bangkok-based Anantara Hotels & Resorts. Just an hour outside Muscat, the Anantara Al Madina A’Zarqa Resort & Spa is situated on a natural peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Oman. The 122-room luxury resort showcases traditional Arabian architecture, reminiscent of an ancient Omani castle on the beach. Facilities will include a fitness center, Anantara spa, business center, beach club bar, wine cellar and top-notch restaurants.


Test Drive a Land Rover on Eastnor Castle’s Estate: Special with 51 Buckingham Gate

December 21, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

51 Buckingham GateCare to romp around the estate of an English castle? Or even better: take a wild spin over hill and dale? Now you can with a special package from 51 Buckingham Gate, the intimate luxury hotel located in close proximity to Buckingham Palace in London. The hotel has teamed up with Land Rover to offer guests a thrilling drive experience at Eastnor Castle, where off-road circuits are used by Land Rover to test their vehicles. These 5000 acres present some of the most challenging all-terrain driving in the UK. A Land Rover Experience instructor will show you how to tackle all kinds of turf: from mud-deep tracks to precipitous hills and deep water. The "Land Rover at 51" package includes suite accommodations at 51 Buckingham Gate, breakfast, luxury transport to and from Eastnor Castle, a lunch provided by the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant Quilon served on castle view hill, complimentary evening cocktail and canapés reception, and the full use of sauna, steam rooms and fitness facilities.


Sponsored Article: Paradise in the Turks & Caicos at Seven Stars Resort

November 29, 2010
By: Five Star Alliance

Seven Stars Resort~Spacious suites and lavish facilities right on famous Grace Bay beach are key ingredients for an unforgettable Caribbean vacation~

Imagine: chartering a boat for an excursion to the deserted cays in the Turks & Caicos islands; going deep-sea fishing on the world's third largest barrier reef; taking a helicopter tour for a bird's-eye view of the islands; discovering pristine beaches on an eco-tour aboard a touring kayak; going sailing or scuba diving; taking a dip in the island's only heated salt-water swimming pool, or lounging on a cabana so close to the ocean that you can hear the waves. Seven Stars ResortBeach attendants will supply your favorite cocktails, ice-cold towels, the smoothie shot of the day, and chilled sorbet. There's even Wifi by the pool. A stay at Seven Stars Resort-- named for the seven stars of the Pleiades, a storied constellation that's said to shine brightest over the Turks & Caicos Islands-- means you'll get a resort experience that shines above all others. Service at Seven Stars Resort is a cut above the rest.

Seven Stars ResortYou'll relish the joys of a tropical paradise and white sand beaches that will take your breath away. Flanked by the marine preserve of Princess Alexandra National Park, Seven Stars Resort embraces the natural environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. The resort's 113 guest accommodations range in size from spacious junior suites to a spectacular five-bedroom penthouse suite overlooking the ocean. Housed in three beachfront buildings, the suites come equipped with iPod docking stations, plush terry bathrobes, L'Occitane bath amenities, marble bathroom with shower and separate soaking tub, and kitchenettes with Nespresso machines. Internet access is complimentary.

Seven Stars ResortStart the day with yoga or a work-out in the fully-equipped gym, working up an appetite for breakfast by the pool. (The resort's continental breakfast is free.) Up for golf? Play a round at the nearby Provo Golf and Country Club, an 18-hole championship course. The resort has tennis courts and a full water sports program, too. Prefer to laze around? The resort's tranquil spa has expert therapists trained to soothe mind and body. No need to leave the kids at home; there's a dedicated Children's Program and babysitting service at the resort.

The best part of all: a stay at Seven Stars Resort means luxury for less. You can take advantage of various special offers that translate to just $280 per night, including a $200 resort credit when you book four nights or more. More than you've ever imagined, for less than you've ever imagined.