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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.

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.


Trendspotting: Luxury Hotels Get Serious Technology Overhauls

July 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn Las Vegas A regular size TV will no longer cut it. The digital revolution during the age of TiVo means business travelers are used to home entertainment systems far superior than the technology found on the road. But now the tide has turned. Luxury hotels are upgrading rooms with high definition TVs, iPod docking stations and a wide selection of programming, personal entertainment systems with movies, music, and games, and more. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, in the hotel industry, the technology race is on. There's been a "paradigm shift more toward the lifestyle traveler." The good news for this new breed of road warriors: with on-demand programming, you'll never miss another episode of Entourage again.


Nine World Wonders by Private Jet with Abercrombie and Kent

June 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Abercrombie and Kent private jet Visit nine wonders of the world-- from the Egyptian pyramids to the incredible carved sculptures on Easter Island-- with Abercrombie & Kent's globe-spanning journey by private jet. The luxury tour operator enlists expert guides to accompany their programs; these professionals are the ideal traveling companions who work hard to ensure an unforgettable journey. Privileged guests can choose from an array of sightseeing excursions, sport, shopping and spa options at selected destinations. And with Abercrombie & Kent, guests experience privileged access to these nine landmarks of world culture-- a real insider's perspective. As to be expected, the accommodations on this circumnavigation are the finest, like the elegant Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, and the luxurious Four Seasons First Residence in Cairo. For 2008, the itinerary spans Miami, Lima, Easter Island, Apia (Samoa), Sydney, Siem Reap (Cambodia), Yangon (Myanmar), Jodhpur & Agra (India), Muscat (Oman), Petra (Jordan), Cairo, and New York. Dates are January 13- February 6, 2008 and February 7- March 2, 2008. There are a limited number of seats on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. The private Boeing 757-200 is limited to just 50 guests, so make your reservations today.


Celebrate 07/07/07 in Style with Red Carnation Hotels

June 1, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa Numerically perfect, and truly rare, dates like July 7th (07/07/07) only occur 12 times a century. So best to live it up and celebrate-- especially when the digit is the lucky number seven. Red Carnation Hotels has put together two fun packages at Summer Lodge in Dorset and The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Take a Date with Destiny and enjoy a slew of "7" themed amenities: from a seven-course dinner to a seven minute helicopter ride to the beach... Get the deets after the jump.

At the award-winning Twelve Apostles, perched above the ocean at the foot of the dramatic Twelve Apostles mountain range, the "Three Lucky Sevens break" offers seven (you guessed it!) special amenities:

*7 scratch cards (so you can win back the price of your stay!)

*A tasting of 7 wines selected by Sommelier Luvo Ntezo

*A 7 course dinner in the Azure restaurant

*7 pm Movie screening of Casino Royale in the hotel's own cinema

*7 minute heli-flip to the V&A Waterfront

*7 hours free car hire

*75 minute Moya Crystal massage at the fabulous Sanctuary Spa, consistently ranked as one of the world's best

*Plus 70 minutes in the hydrotherapy pools, aroma sauna and floatation tank at the Sanctuary Spa

*Breakfast daily from 7 am

Before you check into your guest room (the number of which will end in a "7"), you'll be greeted with 007's favourite drink-- vodka martini, shaken not stirred. The price? A magical R7777 for two people sharing for two nights. You must arrive on Saturday, July 7th.

Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, the charming boutique hotel in Evershot in Dorset, is likewise offering a weekly stay dedicated-- not to the "seven deadly sins" but to "septual healing." Book a visit for at least three nights including Saturday, July 7th, and you'll enjoy:

*A bouquet of 7 roses upon arrival

*7-item full English breakfast daily

*7-course dinner prepared by inspirational chef Steven Titman

*A tasting session of 7 wines selected by sommelier Eric Zwiebel, recently ranked fourth in World's Top Sommeliers category

*70 minutes of spa treatment

*DVD of your choice: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Se7en, or The Seven Samurai

*Seven Lucky 7 scratch cards per couple

*A room with a number seven in it, subject to availability

*A map outlining a comfortable 7 mile walk through the beautiful countryside

The price? GBP 777 per person for three nights.


The World’s Best New Hotels 2007

May 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bauer Il Palladio, Venice ...brought to you by the good folks at Travel and Leisure, who just published their "It List" of hot new hotel properties. Of the 25 chosen elite, the luxurious newbies include Trailblazers like Frank Gehry's architectural masterpiece, a sparkling mass of twisting metal in the midst of the Rioja's celebrated vineyards, Beachcombers like Vietnam's gorgeous Nam Hai hotel, New Urbanists like the dazzling Mandarin Oriental in Prague, and Healers, like the swanky Bauer Il Palladio Hotel & Spa in Venice and our favorite Four Seasons Westlake Village, created in partnership with the California WellBeing Institute.


Luxury Cruises: “The World” Cruise Liner Gets a Banyan Tree Spa

May 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The World The World, the impressive private yacht owned (or rented) by folks from over 40 different countries, is a floating residential community that circumnavigates the globe, checking out diverse ports of call for 2-5 days at a time. Managed by ResidenSea in Miami, The World is outfitted with state-of-the-art facilities including a full-sized tennis court, jogging track, gym, five restaurants, move theater and library, and beautiful spa. Banyan Tree Spa has recently announced a collaboration with The World and will soon launch its Sanctuary of the Senses onboard the cruise ship. Banyan Tree's signature Asian-inspired treatments will be available at sea for the first time. Located on Deck 5 in "The Village," The World Spa by Banyan Tree features four single treatment rooms and a Beauty Garden that incorporates a Hair Salon and Manicure Station.


The New Chunnel: Europe-Africa Train under the Strait of Gibraltar

May 21, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Straight of Gibraltar The dream of connecting the two continents-- only nine miles a part at the narrowest point of the Straight of Gibraltar-- may at last become a reality. After years of terrain tests, engineers have come up with a blueprint plan for a high-speed rail tunnel connecting Europe and Africa. As reported by the Associated Press:

This tube for passengers, cars and freight would bore deep under the Strait of Gibraltar, the narrow waterway where the Atlantic flows into the Mediterranean, and run from Tangier, Morocco, to the Spanish town of Tarifa at Europe's southernmost tip, possibly extending further both ways in the future. Big-name European engineering consultants brought in a few months ago are to complete a feasibility study this year.

This would be a true engineering marvel, the deepest underwater tunnel anywhere. There are plenty of challenges. At the proposed project site, the water is about 1,000 feet deep, six times deeper than the depth of the English Channel where the Eurostar tunnel is located. In addition, there are geologic complications, as the terrain is muddy and unstable with pockets of debris from tectonic slides. If the Straight of Gibraltar Project gets the green light in 2008, the cost would be over $13 billion and take about 20 years to construct.

Photo Via USAToday.com