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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.

Crazy about Cape Town: Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

October 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa Falling temperatures in this hemisphere means sweet sunshine in South Africa, and what better time to take a jaunt to Cape Town? Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa offers insane luxury-- "where earth, sea, and sky meet," poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town. Camp out in the pool gardens overlooking the ocean and soak up some rays. Hit the Sanctuary Spa and gape at the endlessly seductive sea views from the Outdoor Gazebo. (Sublime treatment packages make use of the world-class facilities: Cape Town's only Rasul Chamber, brine pool and hot and cold plunge pools, both dry and wet treatment rooms, along with sauna, vichy shower and hydrotherapy bath.) Enjoy a picnic-- packed to your liking from a selection of gourmet treats-- on Cape Town's incredible beaches. After a day exploring the area, return to the award-winning hotel to catch the sunset over the sea, cocktail in hand. After dinner, watch a classic movie in the hotel's 16-seater theater. Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa continues their wildly popular promotion, Four Nights for the Price of Three, until December 18, 2007.


Buzzworthy: Luxury Eco-Boutique, Azura, Opens in Mozambique

October 1, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Azura, Mozambique Say hello to the first luxury eco-retreat in Mozambique. Built and operated in partnership with the local community, Azura is situated on an unspoiled island within a National Park-- fringed by deserted beaches, sparkling seas, and swaying palms. The 15 villas, each with their own infinity pool, are just steps from the beach. Showcasing traditional artwork beneath a local thatched jekka roof, the villas are stacked with luxurious contemporary amenities. But Azura boasts more than just creature comforts; here you can enjoy the service of your own private butler. If you can tear yourself away from your private deck and beachside Sala, you'll find a sumptuous spa, superb wining and dining (fine vintages are flown direct from the owner's Loire Valley chateau), and a vast range of activities (fishing, sailing, scuba diving, swimming with the dolphins...) Take advantage of a special introductory offer, from now until November 14, 2007, of $300 per person in a Luxury Beach Villa. The Infinity Beach Villa is $375 per person, while the Presidential Villa is yours for just $550 per person.


Next Stop: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Retreat, South Africa

September 24, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bushmans Kloof Escape to South Africa and discover "a world in one country": dramatic landscapes teeming with wildlife, caves etched with ancient rock art, a beautiful, timeless wilderness. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat is a five-star ecological oasis, a stunning hideaway that happens to be a sanctuary for many endangered species of flora and fauna. (It's hard to contain one's exuberance when writing about a property this extraordinary.) Situated 270 kilometers from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof is recognized as one of South Africa's Natural Heritage Sites. A proud member of Relais & Chateaux, the resort boasts an impressive list of accolades. Here you'll find luxurious guest rooms, a pampering spa, swimming pools, wilderness excursions and activities aplenty. Plus the dining is out-of-this-world. Pictured: Imagine a breathtaking dining experience under the starlit sky, where a traditional South African barbeque is served in a unique setting: an ancient, natural sandstone amphitheater of giant boulders overlooking time-worn cliffs and valleys.

PS. This time of year is simply magical. After the winter rains, an abundance of wildflowers dots the landscape.


Buzzworthy: Riad Meriem Opens in Marrakech, Morocco

September 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Riad Meriem A new luxury hotel has located in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech, the oldest quarter dating back to the 11th century. Almost impossibly chic, the new Riad Meriem is comprised of five opulent suites, individually designed to perfection. (Expect state-of-the-art technology, like sound systems with iPod and Bose speakers, and free broadband WiFi Internet access.) The New York-based owner and designer, Thomas Hays, created this high-end boutique with the art lover in mind; the property showcases marvelous oriental textiles and paintings. Centered around a patio with an oriental plunge pool, the Riad Meriem was magically restored by Marrakechi artisans with lush gardens and cool running water to create an intoxicating oasis. The bougainvillea-draped terrace-- surrounded by olive trees, jasmine, and pomegranate bushes-- is ideal for sunbathing. Watch the sun rise over the Atlas Mountains while enjoying a lovely breakfast, and in the evenings, dine by candlelight. In the chimney lounge, sip an aperitif by an open fire. You can score introductory rates of $210 per night (through December 14) if you book by November 1, 2007.


Out of Africa: Lupita Island Resort and Spa on Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika

September 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lupita Island Resort and Spa From your own private plunge pool, look out over Lake Tanganyika, sighted by explorers Richard Burton and John Speke in 1858 in their pursuit of the source of the Nile-- surely a sight for sore eyes after their journey. If only the explorers had it this good: the remote resort on Lupita Island offers the finest amenities, beautiful furnishings, and top notch service (private butlers attend to every whim). Built on a hilltop on the 110-acre island, the resort features 14 exquisitely designed villas with spectacular lake and mountain views. After a day spent sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, or hitting the beach, relax with a massage in the fully-equipped spa.

(Pictured: Take a bath under the stars, overlooking the lake.)


Destination: Tanzania and the Zanzibar Serena Inn

August 21, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Zanzibar Serena Inn An African safari wouldn't be complete without a stop-over at the Indian Ocean hot spot of Zanzibar. The archipelago is just a hop from the mainland, and entices visitors with its rich history and aquamarine waters. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of ancient Stone Town is buzzing with bright bazaars, redolent with the scent of cloves. Wander the narrow streets and marvel at the Portuguese, Arab, Dutch, and English cultural influences. The place to stay is the Zanzibar Serena Inn, the perfect base to explore the atmospheric streets of the town. Idyllically situated on the sea front, the hotel is a haven of opulence amidst the bustle of the town. Each guest room is a cool, white enclave, constructed in the traditional design of a Swahili house, adorned with traditionally carved furniture, cool-ceramics, intricate fretwork, and draped beds. Lovely doors open onto wrought-iron balconies overlooking the Persian-bath pool and azure bay beyond.


Seychelles Seduction: Banyan Tree Introduces Two-Bedroom Beachfront Villas

August 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Seychelles There's a reason this place is such a honeymoon hot spot. Boasting the largest spa in the Seychelles, situated next to one of the world's most beautiful talcum powder beaches, Banyan Tree Seychelles is a rare taste of paradise. Boasting spectacular views of the Indian Ocean (framed by swaying palms and lush tropical forest), the resort's villas are a marvelous blend of contemporary, colonial, and plantation décor, with high sloping ceilings and airy verandahs. And Banyan Tree Seychelles recently got even more romantic, with the launch of the new Two-Bedroom DoublePool Beachfront villas, the first resort in the Seychelles to feature these exclusive retreats. Here you can wake up to the soft lapping waves just outside your villa. Each of the stunning villas offers two private pools, two open-air dining areas, a jet-pool, two sprawling master bedrooms, as well as a 24-hour in-villa host and in-villa chef services.

More new additions: the Club House and new restaurant Chez Lamar, offering gastronomic Creole delights with inspiration from Seychellois' vibrant culture.


Five Star Alliance Selects World’s Best Luxury Hotels 2007

July 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peter Island It's official. Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel agency for luxury hotels, has released the annual "World's Best Luxury Hotels" lists. Our crew of somewhat obsessive luxury hotel fans gives recs so often, we decided it's important to share that info with the world. Along with the company's expertise, the criteria used to select the World's Best Luxury Hotels includes honest feedback from Five Star Alliance clients and the popularity of hotels. Since Five Star Alliance only focuses only luxury hotels, these picks are truly la crème de la crème.

The world's most luxurious hotels are selected for eight categories, including Luxury Beach Resorts, Business Hotels, Luxury Honeymoon Resorts, Luxury Golf Resorts, Luxury Spa Resorts, Luxury Ski Resorts, Luxury Resorts for Families, and Romantic Resorts.

Do you have a favorite that didn't make our lists? After checking them out, come back and discuss your favorites with us! (You'll find a link for comments at the bottom of each list.)


Next Stop: Hotel Le Vendome, Cape Town, South Africa

July 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Le Vendome A little piece of Paris with a South African setting that is second to none, Hôtel Le Vendôme is a boutique hotel brimming with Old World charm. Located in the cosmopolitan suburb of Sea Point overlooking the Atlantic coast, just a quick drive from the center of Cape Town, Le Vendôme offers the ideal base to explore the acclaimed winelands and Cape Peninsula. Pass through the rooms of the hotel, and step through symbols of Parisian opulence: the Salon Le Concorde, Rive Gauche (the gastronomique restaurant where plates are complemented with superb international and local wines), Le Cygne (for a lighter meal by the pool), Le Louvre (a magnificent suite on the executive floor), Le Petit Palais (the hotel's best suite)... Each of the 143 rooms are sumptuous and chic, individually designed with French panache. Relax by the sparkling pool, or treat yourself royally in Le Salon Chantilly, the perfect milieu for High Tea, an aperitif, or a cognac and cigar.


Angsana Riads Collection Debuts in Marrakech, Morocco

July 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Angsana Marrakech Exotic, beautiful, emanating an indelible aura of mystique, Morocco has long captured the imaginations of travelers. But in recent years, Morocco has achieved celebrity status on the traveler's "it list", with a slew of luxury hotel openings, including Sir Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot. In this new world hot spot, Angsana Resorts and Spas-- the sister hotels to acclaimed Banyan Tree Resorts-- has announced a new property for the third quarter of 2007. In the exuberant city of Marrakech, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site virtually unchanged since medieval times, the new Angsana Riads Collection will dazzle visitors with its traditional hospitality and rich, restored architecture. The collection will include seven different traditional Moroccan houses known as riads, along with the award-winning Angsana Spa. Six of the riads are located in the preserved medina in Marrakech, within walking distance of each other. The seventh, Riad Bagdad, is located in the coastal city of Essaouira. Each riad is assigned a dedicated resident host who attends to guests' needs with a truly personalized guest program.