Five Star Alliance
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
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.

Between a Rock and a Soft Place

January 14, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Originally published in the Bangkok Post, Wednesday 21 December 2005 By George Romanyk Even as I write this, the guttural growl of a Harley Davidson (not to mention a roaring chorus of other Harleys, BMWs and Japanese superbikes) is still echoing in my ears. You see, I've just returned from a five-day road trip to the Golden Triangle, along with an assortment of biker friends who also happen to be company presidents, CEOs and entrepreneurs. Now, before you start wondering what this has to do with a column on branding (or start snickering "born to be mild''), I'd like to share some insights I garnered during the course of this challenging and exhilarating journey. While our group was on the road during the days, we certainly weren't averse to roughing it. We got our motors running, we headed out on the highway, and when the highway occasionally deteriorated into a rutted, muddy track, we were well up for it. Ah, but at the end of each day, the discomforts of the road were eased by the unique boutique resorts on the Mekong our assistants had booked us into, as well as some first class meals, and the imported wines and cheeses and some truly tasty Cuban cigars we had smuggled along in our saddlebags. My point (besides making you green with envy) is that our little jaunt was a good example of a major change sweeping the world right now in how luxury is perceived and experienced. For many of the "baby boomers'' and the swelling ranks of "Generation X'' (people born between 1964 and 1976 or thereabouts), the era of ostentatious luxury is over, and instead they are demanding authenticity and adventure. We still want our luxuries, but we want them contemporary, with a hip twist; luxury that "keeps it real'', as it were. Particularly in the luxury hotel and travel sector are these demands being felt. At the recent International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, the age of ostentatious travel was proclaimed to be over, with new research unveiled showing today's wealthy travellers needed "authenticity, exclusivity and attention to detail'' to keep them happy. "Personalised'' and "private'' were also big buzzwords. In a survey of 248 travel suppliers from around the world who service the needs of the affluent, 84% agreed their clients sought a more subtle form of luxury than in the past. The survey, by the Future Foundation, concluded: "No longer content to visit the classic haunts of the rich and famous, today's luxury traveller would prefer to be a trailblazer, albeit in great comfort, and visit new and less discovered destinations.'' According to ILTM's founder, Serge Dive: "The tastes of the rich don't stay still. Our research shows that the luxury traveller of today doesn't just want to be pampered-- they want a total escape from their highly pressured lives and they want to come back from their holiday having experienced something new.'' Another trend is that as more people get rich younger, they take less formal but shorter trips, with technology allowing them to blur the line between business and leisure travel. Also, little things often count for much: 65% of those surveyed said the toiletries on offer in a hotel were important, with recognised luxury brands meriting maximum brownie points. After our trip, I can heartily agree with that last point: eight windblown hours in the saddle of your steel steed, and you really appreciate little treats like a scented hot towel, some luxurious shampoo and shower gel, and a unique hotel experience. These findings also echo research our own firm has conducted during the course of a major re-branding project with one of our major hotel clients. Our research results concur that well-heeled travellers prefer service that gives them space to be themselves and to feel totally relaxed (while still meeting their every need of course) rather than the more intrusive and obsequious style of service offered by many five-star hotels in the past. A recent article in Newsweek notes: "Travel used to be divided into two basic categories: luxury and no-frills. The former consisted of flying first class, dining at three star restaurants and staying in decadent comfort; the latter involved backpacking and camping out in some of the world's most beautifully remote spots. Now, tourists can have their wine and see the wildlife too; communing with nature and living the good life are no longer mutually exclusive.'' Newsweek defines this as "rustic luxury'': a group of wealthy "new nomads'' toting Mount Everest-ready backpacks by luxury luggage-makers like Tumi, who want to visit the most rugged deserts, jungles, mountains and forests, and go rock-climbing and wreck-diving, but want their designer coffee and Egyptian cotton sheets when the day's adventuring is done. There is also the element of one-upmanship among this growing demographic. As one new nomad tells Newsweek: "It's a status game. Staying at the Four Seasons seems kind of bourgeois, since any doctor from the Midwest will know about it.'' To me, getting wild without losing the luxury is like a marriage made in heaven. There's nothing like zipping through rugged jungle tracks on your hog, getting down and dirty, when you know that some prime rib, a nice glass of Bordeaux and a fat stogie have your name on them. George Romanyk is chief executive officer of Creative Inhouse, a local branding consultancy and ad agency.


Travelers Beware! Health Risks on the Road

January 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

IHT's got the skinny on a newly released study on the health dangers for those traveling to developing countries. Fun stuff like mosquito-born dengue fever (aka bone-crushing disease) and parasite infections. Two thirds of travelers to the developing world get sick, and the study-- which contains the most comprehensive records of those travelers treated at travel clinics-- provides a real blueprint for doctors. For more gory deets (parasites, bugs, worms, mosquitos...), check out the related CNN.com article.


Don’t Miss the Winter X Games 10, Aspen

January 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Winter X Games

Mark your calendars for January 27-January 31; you can't possibly miss this party. We're talking the premier winter action sports event in the world (!) and Aspen is going off. Over 200 bad-ass athletes compete for medals and prize money in the following sports: Moto X, Ski, Snowboard and Snowmobile. If you can't make it to Aspen to gawk and gape at their wondrous stunts (and thereby miss out on Aspen's hedonistic nightlife), you can still catch all the nighttime events broadcast live on ESPN and ABC.


Sun and Snow at the Chateau Eza in the Cote d’Azur, France

January 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau Eza

Where else can you ski the world's most majestic mountains in the morning and sun by the sea in the afternoon? Welcome to the Cote d'Azur of France, where the Chateau Eza has charmed guests at its cliffside location for centuries. A thousand feet above the Mediterranean Sea, the hotel sits within the charming rock walls of Eze, a thousand-year-old medieval village. The ten rooms and suites are enchanting and romantic; most feature private balconies overlooking the sea and are reached by stone passageways and ancient walkways. The award-winning restaurant is likewise breathtaking in its setting atop the cliffs. From now until the end of March, the Chateau is offering a "Sun and Snow Special," which includes three nights accommodations with continental breakfast, hot cocktails in the Lounge Bar for four, and morning helicopter rides to ski Isola 2000 in the Alps, with all lift tickets, ski equipment and lunch included. EUR 2,900 for four peeps.

Chateau Eza, Official Site

Chateau Eza, Five Star Alliance


No More Room at the Inn for Sundance: Think Stein Eriksen for 2007

January 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Stein Eriksen

So it may be impossible to score a room for the most fabulous of film festivals—alas! the Stein Eriksen has been booked for months—but what about planning a jaunt to the fabulous, legendary lodge for the next year? Let this be a lesson, and book early at America's most celebrated ski-in, ski-out resort. The AAA five-diamond, Mobil four-star rated Stein Eriksen is the ultimate luxury ski destination. We're talking immediate access to some of the best slopes in the world at Deer Valley (with warmed up boots and a hot drink awaiting your return), champion service, gorgeous outdoor pool and fitness facility, and head-to-toe pampering at the Spa. Hurry up and get on it!

Stein Eriksen Lodge, Official Site

Stein Eriksen Lodge, Five Star Alliance


The World’s Best Skiers Compete in Austria’s Hahnenkamm Race

January 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hahnenkamm

This is it-- the big daddy of skiing competitions. On January 20-22, the world's top skiers attempt the gnarliest of downhill courses, staged by the Kitzbühel Ski Club. The 66th International Hahnenkamm Races include the Super-G and downhill on the Streif run, along with the slalom on the Ganslern course. Witness the incredible speed of downhill—up to 90 mph!—and the super-skills of the Hahnenkamm champion, who must outperform on both the downhill and slalom courses. (Past champs include Franz Klammer, who won this race four times.)


Go Green in Costa Rica: the Luxurious Lapa Rios Ecolodge

December 22, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lapa Rios

The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is the site of some of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rainforest. It is also the site of the 1,000 acre private nature preserve of the Lapa Rios resort. The rainforest resort is not only a model Ecotourism Project, it is also a fixture on CN Traveler's Gold List and winner of Andrew Harper's Hideaway Award. This isn't exactly roughing it. The main lodge and bungalows are built 350 feet above the sea, with breathtaking ocean vistas, the structures designed in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape. Enjoy rainforest wilderness adventures in Corcovado National Park, appreciate the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica, while indulging in gourmet dining, superb spa services, plush accommodations and a sparkling pool…


Fairmont Teams Up with Agassi and Graf at Tamarack Village, Idaho

December 21, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tamarack

Hot off the press! Travel Weekly reports today that Fairmont has signed a deal to manage a new luxury hotel developed by star tennis team Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf. Agassi Graf Development has had their eye on the mountain village of Tamarack Resort in Donnelly, Idaho for quite some time. In the words of Mr. Agassi:

Tamarack is the perfect location for anyone interested in taking a little time out of their lives to get away or spend quality time with their family. Our vision is to create an exceptional lifestyle offering that complements the natural beauty and uniqueness of the resort. It's about bringing the highest standard of quality and luxury to the whole experience.


Stay on the Slopes at Amangani, Jackson Hole

December 19, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amangani

The creme de la creme of ski resorts, Amangani was voted first for its spa programs by Conde Nast Traveler readers, and ranked as the top apres-ski destination in the recent December issue of Men’s Health. This place oozes luxury in every detail-- from the Pacific redwood paneling to suites with deep soaking tubs and panoramic views to the gorgeous outdoor swimming pool warm enough to be enjoyed year-round. The setting? The 40-suite resort is set on the cliff of a butte, with a cedar roof that blends in with the surrounding natural outcropping. Conveniently located just below the Teton village’s Bridger Gondola, at the base of Rendezvous Mountain, Amangani enjoys sweeping views of the Teton peaks and the Snake River range and provides easy access to some damn good skiing. Amangani’s Ski Lounge is staffed with a ski valet to assist with rentals and other details, and provides boot and glove warmers, ski racks, baskets for ski gloves, mittens and goggles to ensure that all equipment stays dry and comfortable. Of course warm and cold drinks are available all day, and a complimentary ski shuttle can whisk you back to Amangani’s award-winning facilities at the drop of a hat.

Amangani, Official Site

Amangani, Five Star Alliance