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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.

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


Father’s Day Vineyard Adventures with Relais and Chateaux Hotels

May 17, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oenology Package Dads will love the oenology package designed by the Relais and Chateaux hotel collection for true connoisseurs. Why not treat Dad to a trip to the Villa Florentine in Lyon, France where he can indulge in the region's celebrated cuisine and fine wines? (The Oenology Package includes a candle-lit dinner and entrance tickets to the Beaujolais museum in Romanèche-Thorins.) Or send Dad to discover the Chablis Vineyards with a swanky chef's dinner at La Côte Saint Jacques. The Menu Gourmand is positively decadent: four courses, cheeses, and dessert accompanied by the greatest Chablis wines from the Domaine LarOche. The guided tour presents vineyards that are a millennium old. Here on our side of the pond, Dad'll love the Indulge: Virginia Wine Package at the beautiful Clifton Inn located outside Charlottesville, surrounded by small, local vineyards. For the adventure of a lifetime, treat Dad to a splurge in South Africa with the First Wines and First Whales package at the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Cape Town. The first red wines from the Constantia Wine Route are released just as the first migratory whales are spotted from land at Hermanus. Wow.


Shompole, Great Rift Valley: Luxury, Eco-Friendly Lodgings in Kenya

April 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shompole Indulge in some guilt-free pampering-- safari-style-- at the Rift Valley's stunning Shompole lodge. Overlooking the sun-bleached savannah near the Tanzanian border, Shompole is a luxurious outpost surrounded by pristine wilderness. Tented rooms are composed of quartz floors and pale thatch roofs, blending perfectly into the surroundings. From your own private "cool-pool," gaze out across the valley while lounging in blissful seclusion. The resort is managed by both a private safari company and members of the local Masai tribes, and sets an example for its environmental and social programs: wildlife conservation projects, the use of solar power, and low-impact building practices. Shompole has lured savy travelers with its exquisite accommodations and services, but now that green travel has gone mainstream, this eco-friendly resort will no doubt shine in the media spotlight. Guests enjoy safaris to view the big game and incredible wildlife, along with trips to the Shompole village and Flamingo breeding habitats at the alkaline lakes Magadi and Natron.

Via Sherman's Travel Magazine


Football World Cup 2010 in South Africa

April 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Plettenberg Get ready. The 2010 World Cup promises to be one of the biggest sporting events of the century (over a billion people are expected to follow the month-long tournament). And this is the first time in history when the World Cup will be hosted by an African nation. Here's the skinny on the ten proposed stadiums for World Cup South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Pretoria, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Orkney, and Bloemfontein. Relais & Châteaux's got it covered, with some seriously swanky (and unique) properties to discover. Check in, and then check out the nearby soccer matches, glorious surroundings, and exciting experiences that await in South Africa. A sampling of properties includes the ocean-facing Plettenberg, which seems to float above the sky and sea (check out the photo), and the award-winning Singita Lebombo & Sweni hotel located within the stunning game reserve north of Joburg.


South African Dream Package with Twelve Apostles and Blue Train

April 9, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Twelve Apostles HotelTwo South African Icons - the Blue Train and Twelve Apostles Hotel- have come together to create the perfect opportunity for those seeking an indulgent romantic escape. Board the luxurious Blue Train in Pretoria and travel through some of South Africa's most awesome landscapes while being pampered with exceptional personal service. Upon arrival in Cape Town, the Twelve Apostles Hotel will collect guests from the station and transfer them directly to their award winning destination. A Classic or Mountain Facing room awaits - stylishly decorated in contemporary furniture and fabrics. Spend time at the hotel's renowned Sanctuary Spa and indulge in a 60-minute head, neck and shoulder massage included in the package and enjoy the complimentary use of the relaxing hydrotherapy pools.

Packages are availble during the 2007 South African winter and the routes available are Pretoria to Cape Town or Cape Town to Pretoria. Call Twelve Apostles at +27 (0) 21 437 9000 to reserve your dram package.


Far-Flung Journeys with International Expeditions

February 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

International Expeditions Announcing new, exciting destinations with International Expeditions, the world leader in nature travel tours and environmentally responsible expeditions. Listed on Travel and Leisure magazine's 2006 list of "World's Best" tour operators, International Expeditions plans small-ship voyages and enriching land expeditions with exceptional naturalist guides. The Far-Flung Adventures take you to all corners of the world-- remarkable, less-traveled places like the Sahara, Falkland Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Croatia and Bhutan. You stay in top-rate accommodations, from stylish riverboats on the Amazon to romantic tented camps in Africa. Samplings of upcoming adventures include: Bhutan-- learn about the cultures of this remote Himalayan kingdom, and explore its pristine environment (June 19, 2007, 14 days from $4,298), Mongolia-- explore the Gobi Desert, Lake Hovsgol, Hustain Nuruu National Reserve and the rich nomadic cultures of Mongolia (June 22, 2007, 14 days from $3,998), Papua New Guinea-- take in one of the last of the great highland "sing-sings," and visit the most interesting river villages (August 15, 2007, 19 days from $7,698), and Cape to Cairo-- journey to the most compelling places on the entire African continent on the expedition to see the "Best of Africa" (October 22, 2007, 18 days from $14,498).


Cruise the Nile in Style Aboard the Oberoi Philae

February 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oberoi PhilaeDiscover the rich history along the Nile aboard the luxurious river cruiser, the Oberoi Philae. The journey begins in Luxor or Aswan and travels through the dynasties that span thousands of years. Travel in the elegant style of an Old World voyage, savoring delicious cuisine (fine china, crystal, and white tablecloths, galore), impeccable service, and excellent recreational facilities. The ambience of the Oberoi Philae is extraordinary: teak paneling, parquet floors, European antiques, and Oriental carpets. All cabins and suites are fully equipped to ensure the comfort of guests, distinguished by rich fabrics, beautifully upholstered furniture, and private balconies with sun loungers to enjoy the view. There's even a Lounge Bar open until the wee hours-- for cocktails and dancing.


Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Cape Town: Head for the Sun in South Africa

February 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa It may be sleeting, hailing, snowing (et freaking cetera) in this hemisphere, but the sun is shining in Cape Town. For those in desperate need of the summer sun, take off for Cape Town to bask in some sizzling temperatures. Twelve Apostles is the place to be, perfectly situated above the sea with stunning views of the mountains. The hotel boasts equally as stupendous accommodations and facilities: heated pools perched above the Atlantic, the exquisite Azure restaurant, the seriously sublime Sanctuary Spa, and panoramic sea views that go on forever. Of course Twelve Apostles has racked up a slew of impressive awards and accolades, as befits one of the world’s best hotels. When you stay for three nights at Twelve Apostles, get the fourth for free, along with a slew of added amenities thrown in. Like welcome drinks, full South African breakfast daily, wine tasting daily in Azure restaurant, complimentary transfers, and use of the hydrotherapy pools, aroma sauna and flotation tank at the Sanctuary Spa.


Winter in Paradise at the Taj Exotica Mauritius

February 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Taj Exotica Mauritius From your own private infinity pool, you gaze out over the turquoise Indian Ocean to the lush green peak of Tamarin in the distance. Behind you, wide glazed doors open invitingly into the luxury of the Presidential Suite's spacious living room. From the crescent shaped beach, you can snorkel and scuba dive the nearby coral reefs, spectacular in their colorful marine life. After an afternoon sailing serene waters, you retire to the Taj Spa for a massage and a consultation with the Ayurvedic doctor. The setting is magical: spa pavilions and water courtyards surrounded by gardens and reflecting pools, overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in Mauritius. As the sun dips below the horizon, you sip a cocktail and anticipate the fine cuisine that awaits. You pinch yourself. Just another day in Paradise.

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