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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.

Attention Scuba Divers: The World’s Largest Man-made Reef

March 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

A ship is to sunk-- intentionally-- off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. As CNN reports:

If all goes according to plan, explosives will be placed throughout the largely hollowed-out shell of the USS Oriskany in May and it will plummet 210 feet to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
The ship that starred in films like "The Bridges of Toko Ri" and "The Men of the Fighting Lady," will play a new role as bait to lure serious divers and sport fishermen worldwide and help boost tourism to the hurricane-ravished local economy.


Miami Seaquarium Re-opens

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dolphin Swim Miami Seaquarium

Southern Florida's premier tourist attraction is back. After a large clean-up and renovation in the wake of Hurricane Wilma's wrath, the marine park opened its doors again on February 11. Located in a picture-perfect spot on Biscayne Bay, the Seaquarium offers a host of marine-life shows and exhibits. Sharks and Dolphins and Sea Lions, Oh My!


The Skinny on Space Travel Tourism and Space Adventures, Ltd.

February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Space Adventures

This is for private citizens we're talking about. No joke. Space Adventures, Ltd. is a privately owned company in Arlington, VA working hard to open the space frontier for (rich) people from all over the world.

Their mission statement doesn't exactly lack ambition:

Space Adventures will fly tens of thousands of people in space over the next 10-15 years and beyond, both orbital and suborbital, around the moon, and back, from spaceports both on Earth and in space, to and from private space stations, and aboard dozens of different vehicles; and by continually providing newly available space experiences and improving existing space experiences.

An Orbital starts at just $20,000,000—one week at the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Includes six months of intense training, roundtrip transportation to the ISS, and a weeks lodging in space. Sounds like a steal to me.

You can make a reservation by calling the toll-free number at 1-888-85-SPACE. Easy as pie. Don't know about you—but I've flown an aging Russian jet (a Moscow-born friend confided that though Pulkovo's planes are aging and rickety, the pilots are all ex-fighter-pilots, so if the plane goes down, you're in good hands), and the idea of boarding a jet at Zhukovsky Air Base outside of Moscow, Russia isn't exactly appealing.


Welcoming Maui’s Newest Luxury Addition: Wailea Beach Villas

February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maui

With white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush, green landscapes, Maui has always appealed as a picture-perfect paradise and renowned destination for honeymooners and families alike. Thus we've been eagerly anticipating the April opening of the Wailea Beach Villas: its elegant private residences offering the intimacy of private homes, but with all the facilities and amenities of a grand resort. Daily housekeeping, concierge assistance, swimming pools, and a spectacular beachfront location overlooking the West Maui mountains. The villas are stocked with fine linens, signature bath amenities, and fabulous gourmet kitchens. And of course the island paradise offers a bounty of activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, kayaking, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, jeep and helicopter tours.

The only complaint? In a tropical island paradise like Maui, is a gated community-- touting serious 24 hour security and surveillance-- absolutely necessary?


Announcing the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

February 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

Opening in April of this year, Kempinski's first hotel in Dubai has an extraordinary location: overlooking the much-hyped Ski Dubai Alpine themed indoor snow resort, and attached to the biggest shopping mall outside of North America. The luxurious and spacious guestrooms (some of the country's largest) include 15 Ski Chalets with superb views of the indoor ski resort. All are equipped with cutting-edge technology: large flat plasma screen TVs with 40 international satellite channels, in addition to DVD and multi media player. The hotel also features a health club, Ayurveda wellness center, swimming pool and tennis court. The ultimate Alpine experience in the heart of Dubai, Kempinski's five-star hotel is set to become a central landmark in the hottest destination on the planet.


Say Hello to the Discovery at Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

February 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marigot Bay

Making its debut in June, the new Discovery at Marigot Bay stakes its claim to fame with a location on the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean. A member of Small Luxury Hotels, Discovery is situated on the breathtakingly gorgeous island of St. Lucia, built into a lush hillside overlooking the turquoise bay near Castries. The boutique resort offers 67 luxurious guestrooms and 57 suites (30 of them with private plunge pools), featuring dark wood furniture, romantic draped netting over king size pillow-top beds, large balconies overlooking the bay, wifi internet and flat-screen TVs. The Lapli Spa is world-class, its treatment rooms each boasting a private deck with open-air shower. Luxurious treatments use all-natural, local products created by Caribbean herbalists. This is truly an intimate paradise in a yachting capital of the Caribbean.


Check Out: the Expedition Everest at Disney World

February 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Expedition Everest

The craggy, mysterious Himalayas, or some faux fantasy from Disney? Looks like the real deal to me. Snowcapped peaks, colorful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind, a monastery, Everest base camp, and real, imported flora and fauna. Disney's just-completed Expedition-Everest: Mission Himalayas promises to be as educational as it is action-packed. After all, the Disney creatives partnered with Conservation International and Discovery Networks and sent a scientific, exploratory mission to the Himalayas:

The team searched for new plants and animals not yet discovered in the eastern Himalayan region from China to Nepal, one of the most botanically rich temperate regions in the world with an estimated 12,000 plant species, including 3,500 found nowhere else.

Opening this April, the newest attraction takes riders to an encounter with the scary and mythical Yeti, aka the Abominable Snowman, after "trekking" into a remote Himalayan village and "exploring" local artifacts. Who cares about the lines? I'm so there.


Seven Days in Paradise: The Bali Experience at Amanresorts

February 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amanresorts Bali

Why limit yourself to just one luxury hotel in Bali? Amanresorts has designed a genius way to experience all that Bali has to offer—from the diversity and cultural spirit to the geographical enchantment of this island paradise—with a seven-day package that can be spread out between any and all of their three Balinese resorts. What could be more perfect for honeymooners?

Amandari: The best of Bali's hill country, perched high above the Ayung River gorge overlooking terraced rice fields, is designed as a walled Balinese village of 30 luxurious suites.

Amankila: Cliff-side beach resort with panoramic coastline views offers a three-level swimming pool, private beach with expansive Beach Club pool, and thatched beachside houses—surrounded by traditional villages.

Amanusa: Located on Bali's southern peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean, the resort boasts 35 thatched-roof suites surrounded by a bougainvillea-covered hillside. The fairways of the Bali Golf and Country Club lie just below the resort, while Amanusa's own Beach Club--10 bales each with plush mattresses and roll cushions-- is set on one of Nusa Dua's top surf and swim beaches.

The deets of the Aman Bali Experience? The unique settings of each of these resorts can be enjoyed in a seven night offer with guests' choice of stay between a minimum of two of these listed Amanresorts. Until March 31, rates start at $3,850 for a suite. From April 1- March 31, 2007, rates start at $4,025 for a suite. (Based on seven nights' double occupancy.) Included in the offer are airport and inter-hotel transfers and one specially tailored activity per day, chosen by each resort's manager.


Skiing in the Morning and Sunbathing in the Afternoon in Dubai

February 20, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Ski Dubai

Since its opening in December, Ski Dubai has captured our imaginations (and wagging tongues). Contributor Alex Rose has the scoop.

You can now go snow skiing in one of the hottest places on earth. Dubai, the city-state in the United Arab Emirates, opened the first of two state-of-the-art indoor snow parks this past December; the second, Dubai Sunny Mountain Ski Dome, is scheduled for 2006. It’s the world’s third largest indoor ski resort and the only one in the Middle East. The 25-storey structure covers an area of about three football fields and can hold up to 1,500 people at a time. The indoor park maintains temperatures between 18F and 28F with real snow including falling snow flakes. It's connected to the billion dollar Mall of the Emirates and resembles a Swiss mountain resort complete with the St Moritz Cafe to warm yourself with a hot drink. The indoor snow park has chairlifts with skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, and a ski school. It includes five color-coded slopes with varying degrees of difficulty for both enthusiasts and beginners, and the world's first indoor black diamond run. The longest ski run is over 1200 feet. There's even a rumor that Dubai might field a team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Admission to Ski Dubai is $35 and winter clothing and ski gear are rented as part of the admission fee.


Luxury Travel in New Zealand: Queenstown’s Blanket Bay

February 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Blanket Bay

As the New Zealand Herald reports, luxury travel in kiwi territory is booming. Lodges like Kauri Cliffs, Wharekauhau, Blanket Bay and Huka Lodge are glam destination resorts that play host to celebs (laying low), oil tycoons, and the international jet-set. The cat's out of the bag about the remote Pacific islands whose breathtaking scenery played center stage in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings flicks. Our pick? The luxurious hideaway of Blanket Bay, with its magnificent setting next to Lake Wakatipu, beneath snow-capped peaks. Earning top accolades from CNT, Forbes, and the Sunday Times UK, Blanket Bay offers 12 secluded rooms and suites, constructed of timber and stone and filled with sumptuous furnishings. The suites boast exquisite views from large private terraces. Likewise, the mountain and lake vistas are phenomenal from the outdoor heated lap pool. Activities range from the adrenaline-pumping (jetboating and heli-skiing) to the calm and relaxing (excellent health and spa facilities).

Blanket Bay, Official Site

Blanket Bay, Five Star Alliance