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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.

O.A.R.S Catalog of Luxury Adventure Vacations

January 3, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

OARS Alaska WhitewaterThe Chairman of Five Star Alliance (also known as the Cal Simmons of The Informed Traveler) recommends O.A.R.S. which provides Whitewater rafting with experienced professional guides and top notch equipment since 1969. Cal has run rivers with the owner, George Wendt, in Africa, Fiji, Idaho, California and The Grand Canyon. According to Cal their Grand Canyon camping is even better than a luxury hotel.

For almost 40 years, O.A.R.S. (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists) has been a leader in the adventure travel industry. The California-based, eco-conscious organization provides exceptional, award-winning customer service, friendly, experienced and safety-conscious guides, comfortable and clean camping equipment, undeniably delicious and hearty meals and an ideal environment for a traveler to experience the outdoor vacation of his or her dreams. Some vacations include catered camping and rafting excursions through one of six national parks, lodge-based outings with comfortable beds and hot showers, multi-week expeditions, half-day escapes, weekend retreats close to home or private chartered trips specifically and uniquely designed for a given client's needs.

New to O.A.R.S.' vacation menu in 2008 includes rafting on the Apurimac River, the source of the Amazon and lodge-to-lodge trekking to Machu Picchu, 15 or 16 days.

Read More about O.A.R.S and their 2008 schedule here:

http://www.prweb.com//releases/OARS/Adventure_Travel/prweb588702.htm


New Luxury Travel Destinations

December 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amanresorts, BhutanA recent article in the Washington Post describes the "destination fatigue-- been there, done that, paid a big bill"-- that affects a growing number of high-end travelers. When you've vacationed in Patagonia, the BVI, and the Greek Islands, and cruised the Nile and Yangtze rivers, what's next? The answer is remote, off-the-map destinations that once only appealed to backpackers. The newest hotspots are places like Bhutan, where Amanresorts has opened a string of luxury lodges that allow travelers to discover this incredible Himalayan kingdom without having to rough it. We'd count China's Yunnan province on the list, as well as luxury safaris in Africa, and hotels in northern India. What's your next luxury travel destination?


Lake Manyara Tree Lodge: Eco-Luxury in Tanzania

November 13, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lake Manyara Tree HouseSet in the heart of a mahogany forest, this sumptuous safari lodge is the only lodge in the diverse Lake Manyara National Park in northern Tanzania. Part of CC Africa's portfolio of luxury safari lodges, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge was designed to offer all the five-star comforts with minimal impact on the natural environment. Ten tree house suites are cradled in the boughs of ancient mahogany trees in close proximity to the beautiful soda lake. Crafted from local timber and palm fronds, the tree houses are extraordinary. They have large windows to invite the forest inside, private game viewing decks, en suite bathrooms and outdoor showers, and stylish interiors with contemporary furnishings and four-poster beds. There is butler service, and an interactive kitchen so that guests can observe the preparation of the fine cuisine. Discover marvelous African wildlife (tree-climbing lions included!) in open 4x4 safari vehicles.


The World’s Best Hotels with a View

November 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmanganiWe're constantly scouring the earth for the best luxury hotels. When we stumble across hotels with views this breathtaking, this heartstoppingly beautiful, we can't help but get lyrical about them.

Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the ultra-luxurious Amangani is set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, offering panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park.

Hotel Caruso

Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Soaring 350 meters above the sea, hugging the cliffside over the Mediterranean, the Hotel Caruso commands the ultimate location. White stucco houses draped with brilliant bougainvillea, this is sun-kissed Italy at its most charming. With views like this, the infinity pool is easily among the most beautiful in the world.

Oberoi Udaivilas

Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan, India

Sitting high above Udaipur's fabled lake, the Oberoi Udaivilas looks across to the floating City Palace, gleaming white in the sunshine, and Aravalli Hills beyond. Named the best hotel in the world in Travel and Leisure's 2007 reader's poll, the Oberoi Udavilas has rooms fit for a maharajah in India's romantic desert city.

Ritz-Carlton TokyoThe Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Japan

Occupying the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-story Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo features 360-degree panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji. When it debuted in April 2007, the hotel dazzled Tokyo with its over-the-top service and amenities (like the $16,000 Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini with its very own Bulgari diamond).

Post Ranch Inn

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California

Along the stretch of mythic California Highway 1, Big Sur enchants visitors with its awe-inspiring landscapes. Smack dab in the middle of this dramatic coastline, the Post Ranch Inn offers rustic elegance and incredible views. Dine above the Pacific at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant, guaranteed to be one of the most romantic dining experiences of your life.

Hayman Island Resort

Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Located on the southwestern side of Hayman Island just beside the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island Resort boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by coral fringed beaches and the lapping waters of the Coral Sea. The resort has a style as special as its setting, and boasts the largest swimming pool in the southern hemisphere.

Jumeirah Essex House

Jumeirah Essex House, New York

The Grande Dame of New York is uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, just across the street from 843 acres of parkland. An internationally renowned urban oasis, the Jumeirah Essex House has an excellent location right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.The 515 guest rooms and suites-- fresh from a $70 million renovation-- boast breathtaking views of Central Park. Plus, the hotel has a camera on the roof which scans the city and broadcasts live to a channel in the guest rooms.

Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa

Situated where earth, sea, and sky meet, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town.

Copacabana Palace, Rio

Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro

Looming over the world-famous Copacabana beach, the Copacabana Palace is legendary, a glamorous piece of Rio's history. Like a sumptuous white wedding cake on the sand, the hotel has hosted royalty, film stars, and world leaders.

Cap Estel

Cap Estel, Eze-Bord-de-Mer, French Riviera

Located between Nice and Monaco in the charming clifftop village of Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is situated on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean with a 180 degree view of the coastline. All the guest rooms at this renowned 19th century hotel have a balcony or terrace with a sea view.

Four Seasons Hong Kong

Four Seasons Hong Kong

Heralded as the "first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years," the sleek Four Seasons opened in September 2005. Easily the top location on Hong Kong Island, the hotel is located on the waterfront of the Central neighborhood, with the Star Ferry just steps away. Its 399 spacious guestrooms have wall-to-wall windows offering views of the Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak. From the outdoor infinity pools, heated in winter, guests enjoy sweeping Harbour views.

Hotel Hassler

Hotel Hassler, Rome

The Eternal City's most luxurious and romantic hideaway, the Hotel Hassler is perched above the Spanish Steps in an unbeatable location. Hands down the best views over Rome (while working out at the health club, you can check out St Peter’s Cathedral!)

Machu Picchu

The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Peru

The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, one of the world's major heritage sites. Managed by Orient-Express, the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge can arrange visits to Machu Picchu with experienced guides.


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.