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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.

Announcing the W Retreat and Spa Maldives

September 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Maldives

The W hotel chain— adored by American urbanites for its sleek city hotels— has opened its first resort in the Maldives. Billed as a "sophisticated luxury playground," this Retreat and Spa is the first of its kind for W. Situated on the private tropical island of Fesdu, in the North Ari Atoll, the W Retreat and Spa combines indulgent all-villa accommodations with the Maldives first real nightlife: a subterranean grotto bar aptly called 15 BELOW because it's fifteen feet below the island's surface. This is the ultimate indulgence and exclusivity in the Maldives. In your private over-water villa, enjoy your own plunge pool, sundeck, and beach. Or marvel at the lagoon's colorful fish through the glass-paneled floor (the roof is likewise glass-paneled). The villas are all outfitted with outdoor lounging areas with individual barbeque stations for private dining, circular daybeds, and outdoor tropical showers. As to be expected from W Hotels, the accommodations are equipped with all the latest technology and conveniences: deluxe Bose sound systems, 42 inch plasma televisions, and wine refrigerators. Indulge in a spa treatment at the over-water AWAY spa. Lounge on the white-sand beaches, take a dip in the turquoise lagoon, and snorkel along the breathtaking reefs. The WAVE water sports facility is fully equipped with top-quality scuba diving gear, along with kite surfing, water skiing, wind surfing, kayaking, sailing, and endless other options. In the evening, dine at one of the six gourmet restaurants followed by a cocktail at the hip underground bar, which offers the largest selection of vodka in the Maldives. The W Retreat and Spa Maldives promises to be the ultimate private island paradise.


Luxury in Africa: Sasakwa Lodge, Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania

September 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grumeti Reserves

Among the fascinating destinations featured in the Fall issue of the New York Times Style Magazine: Travel, the ultra-exclusive game reserve in Tanzania's Serengeti intrigues because of the complexities and contrasts of modern-day Africa at its doorstep. Here lucky guests witness the spectacular seasonal migration of millions of wildebeest across the savannah while experiencing the exquisite luxury of one of the finest game lodges in Africa. The Grumeti Reserves is a 346,000-acre safari reserve, almost "a private extension of Serengeti National Park," its protected land a corridor right in the path of the great migration.

In the midst of all this is Sasakwa Lodge, a cluster of elegant colonial cottages with a spa and equestrian center on Sasakwa Hill. At $1,500 a night (part of which goes to the government as "hunting" revenue), Sasakwa is one of the most luxurious resorts in Africa.

At Sasakwa, each of the seven air-conditioned cottages is situated within the privacy of a beautifully landscaped garden, with heated infinity plunge pools, lounge, and spacious bedroom. This is the flagship of the Grumeti lodges, set high above the savannah, an elegant space of long, sweeping verandahs and classy lounges brimming with antiques.


Free Airfare to Turtle Island, Fiji

September 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Turtle Island

No joke. Book a seven-night stay at the elite private island resort of Turtle Island, and get a free ticket from Los Angeles to Fiji. Or book a nine-night stay, and receive two airfares for free! The all-inclusive resort island is the favorite haunt of countless celebs and showcases eco-tourism at its luxurious finest-- more like "eco-hedonism," to quote Outside Magazine. Turtle Island is truly one of the world's most romantic resorts: 500 lush tropical acres for only 14 couples at one time, plus a staff of 150 to pamper them. Nightly rates start at $1,975 per night, per couple (Grand Bure accommodations). Rates are all-inclusive, including all gourmet meals, all drinks including alcohol, massage, deep sea fishing, horseback riding, private picnics, scuba diving, and countless other activities. Experience what Andrew Harper calls "as close to heaven on earth as you’re likely to get." Valid until March 31, 2007.


Cruise the Galapagos Islands with International Expeditions

September 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Galapagos

Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, schools of colorful fish, sea lions… The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most fascinating wildlife on earth, a living study of evolutionary science since Charles Darwin first sailed through these isolated islands. A 10-day voyage with International Expeditions— the premier provider of nature travel tours and environmentally responsible expeditions for over 25 years— allows visitors the chance to see these remarkable animals up close and personal, in their natural habitat. Explore the islands' diverse terrain-- deserts, beaches, forests, and small active volcanoes-- and snorkel next to tortoises and sea lions in the clear Pacific waters. Sail aboard the Evolution, a newly-refurbished ship crafted like the European steamers of old, with comfortable accommodations for just 32 guests. During the trip, you will be accompanied by highly-trained naturalist guides extremely knowledgeable about the Galapagos wildlife. There are a few spaces available for 2006 journeys, with departures on October 6 and 20; November 3 and 24; and December 15.


Picnic in Style with the New Day Tripper Menu at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

September 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Vancouver

There's no shortage of spectacular picnic spots in Vancouver: observe harbor seals from your seat on the rocks at Lighthouse Park, hit the rainforest trails of Stanley Park (or soak up the sun at Third Beach), find a spot in the grass on Granville Island (after kayaking down False Creek), enjoy the people-watching along the seawall at Davie Street in Yaletown, or unpack your picnic after hiking Grouse Mountain, munching on lunch while savoring the beautiful view of city and ocean. Four Seasons Vancouver has recently launched a Day Tripper Menu, so that guests can visit these gorgeous urban picnic spots with a deluxe gourmet meal (by backpack or basket).


Destination: Pau and the Pyrenees, Southwestern France

September 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pyrenees

Nestled in the gentle sloping foothills of the Pyrenees, the elegant city of Pau is excellently situated for jaunts into the mountains, by foot or on skis. Along the grand blvd des Pyrenees, the rugged mountain peaks emerge majestically through mist and cloud. Indeed the palm-lined promenade, packed with cafes and trendy bars, seems more reminiscent of Nice than the quiet neighboring villages of France's Southwest. This vibrant university town, long favored by travelers and wintering Brits for its mild climate and sweeping vistas, has transformed into a modern and stylish urban center. The nearby Jurancon vineyards lure oenophiles, and Pau natives point out the convenience of the Atlantic coast, just an hour away. Where to stay? On the edge of the Parc Beaumont, the famous public garden in the heart of Pau, the new Parc Beaumont Hotel is a contemporary luxury hotel with elegant interior design. Excellent amenities include heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath in the spa, and exquisite gastronomic restaurant, Jeu de Paume. From the terrace in your suite, enjoy lovely views of the Pyrenees.


Your Own Private Island in Belize: Cayo Espanto

September 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cayo Espanto

Though hardly new— the exclusive private island of Cayo Espanto has been pampering guests since 1998— the ultra-luxe resort has put Ambergris Cay, Belize on the map. Just eight minutes by boat from the town of San Pedro on Ambergris, Cayo Espanto has developed the best kind of environmentally-friendly luxury resort. The five oceanfront villas are sprawling in size and feature personal plunge pools, private docks, al fresco showers, romantic mosquito netting over the beds, and 180 degree wrap-around views of the Caribbean. Here, lucky guests enjoy the ultimate pampered relaxation: spa services are readily available, chefs prepare personalized gourmet fare with the freshest tropical ingredients, and activities include fly-fishing, boating and conching excursions, scuba diving and snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world (including the famous Blue Hole), and sailing to deserted beaches for a gourmet picnic. Though Belize is less than two hours from Miami, its sparkling waters are still largely undiscovered. Enjoy your own private island at Cayo Espanto.


Explore Komodo National Park: Expedition from Amanwana Resort, Indonesia

September 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Komodo Expedition

Amanresorts has devised an incredible expedition to explore Komodo National Park, the World Heritage Site in the magical islands of Indonesia, where guests will be escorted by park rangers to view the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. Though the 2006 Komodo Expedition is completely sold out, Amanwana is taking reservations for the 2007 expeditions, to take place between May and October 2007.

The seven-night adventure cruise is an island-hopping adventure to some of the world's most pristine marine environments, colorful dive spots, and beautiful beaches. Guests board the Ikan Gurami-- a traditional 27-meter coastal cruiser romantically reminiscent of the spice trade sailing vessels—which consists of luxurious, air-conditioned teak cabins perfect for a few couples or a family. For the last two nights of the expedition, guests enjoy the resort of Amanwana—a luxury tented wilderness hideaway-- and its nature reserve of Moyo Island. From here, explore the jungle's waterfalls and limestone pools, partake in endless water sports, or indulge in a spa treatment. Starting at $14,150 for an Ocean Tent (one couple.) Includes meals and dives.


Mountain Chic: The New Adara Hotel in Whistler, Canada

September 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Adara Hotel

In January, Whistler welcomed its first designer boutique hotel: Adara. Situated in the heart of North America's no. 1 ski resort, Adara is located just minutes from the gondola stations for Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, and the Village's best restaurants and nightlife. Whistler welcomes this new and stylish alternative: a modern, urban, sophisticated, and most importantly- fun- boutique hotel. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Adara mixes the best of contemporary design with simple, traditional comforts. The 41 guestrooms and suites, showcasing BC's best contemporary design elements from designers like Niels Bendtsen, Brent Comber, and Erich Ginder, feature wood, stone and other natural materials to reflect the surrounding landscape. The guestrooms—distinguished by four distinctive room configurations of minimalist design—feature spa-like bathrooms, plush beds, "floating" fireplaces, and cutting-edge technology, like iPod-compatible clock radios.


The Newly Renovated Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele, Hawaii, Accepting Reservations

August 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Lanai

Escape to the private Hawaiian island of Lana'i at the new Four Seasons Lanai, The Lodge at Koele, a gracious retreat situated in the island's dramatic central highlands amidst manicured gardens and Hawaii's incredible natural beauty. After an extensive renovation, the resort will reopen on November 15, 2006. Guests enjoy activities such as horseback riding, hiking and world-class golf on two courses, including the new Greg Norman-designed championship course overlooking mountains, lush greens, and cascading waterfalls in awe-inspiring landscapes. Watersports, and a full service spa, are available at the companion resort, Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay, so pampered guests on Lana'i can experience the best of both worlds: highlands and ocean. Savor peaceful tranquility at the pool, surrounded by rolling hills and landscaped gardens, where Four Seasons poolside services include ice water, Evian spritzes, and chilled towels offered by pool attendants. The 901 square foot fitness center is state-of-the-art, with weight room, spa treatment room, and men's and women's lockers. Now taking ressies.