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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.

The World’s Best Hotel Views (from the Bathroom)


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and SpaSure, five-star hotels like The Peninsula Tokyo, The Carlyle in Manhattan, and the French Riviera's Palais de la Mediterranee have some pretty awesome views from their rooms. But their bathrooms often take advantage of these spectacular vistas, too. ABC News Travel has published a round-up of the world's best hotel bathroom views. (And they're not talking about views of your fellow guest through peekaboo baths!) On the list: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town (pictured), "standing at the very edge of the Atlantic"; the Soneva Kiri by Six Senses in Thailand, featuring "private outdoor bathrooms that have plenty of star-gazing space and outdoor bathing facilities"; The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, whose 80 overwater villas have guest baths with panoramic windows overlooking the lagoon; the Hotel Caesar Augustus in Capri sitting on a cliff 1,000 feet above the sea.


The World’s Best Suites: The Presidential Suite at Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles, Presidential Suite

The pictures speak for themselves. Situated in quite possibly the most beautiful setting on earth, the Presidential Suite at Cape Town's Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa has a wrap-around terrace for sipping cocktails and chowing on dinner while soaking in the views that go on forever. These views aren't limited to the terrace, of course. You can ogle the Atlantic, Lions Head, and the Twelve Apostles Mountains from the principal bathroom and bedroom, too. Sprawling across 151 square meters and boasting marble floors, the suite has an 8-seater dining room, a wood-paneled study and private lounge. Recently remodeled, the suite has some cool design features: a free standing antique marble bath, chandeliers imported from Italy, antique mirrors, mosaics on the walls and ceilings, and a collection of South African Masters works of art. Priced at ZAR 38530 per night (inc. VAT) for a maximum of two adults until January 5, 2011.

Twelve Apostles, Presidential Suite


Raffles Praslin: A Sexy New Resort for the Seychelles


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles Praslin, SeychellesGet ready for a sexy new destination resort that promises to be "paradise reborn." Raffles Hotels & Resorts is gearing up for its Indian Ocean debut with its first ultra-luxury resort in the Seychelles, "synonymous with the world's most beautiful islands and beaches." Located on Praslin, the second largest island and once thought to be the Garden of Eden, the new resort will feature 86 villas, each with a private plunge pool, surrounded by pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. Slated to open in early 2011, the resort is touting an exceptional spa experience in 13 treatment pavilions nestled among natural rock formations with views over the water. Noteworthy: The resort will offer easy access to one of the Seychelles' natural treasures and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vallée de Mai.


New in Cairo: Kempinski Luxury Hotel Now Open on the Nile


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City CairoKempinski is upping the glam factor in the Egyptian capital. A new luxury hotel has opened on the banks of the Nile in Cairo, which is "undergoing something of a tourism boom"-- according to The Independent. To quote Luxury Travel Advisor: "Billed as the “first luxury boutique hotel in Cairo,” the Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City has splashy luxury digs designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon. The design guru who redecorated the glamorous Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat and Four Seasons Hotel George V is also the man in charge of the redesign of The Savoy in London- currently in the midst of a dramatic overhaul." The hotel has 137 guest rooms and 54 suites with private balconies and marble bathrooms. Most fun of all: "Guests can choose from four restaurants, one of which has no menu - chefs are on hand to cook all dishes to order on request - and four bars, including a rooftop bar and shisha bar."


Mint Juleps in Morocco at the New Royal Mansour Marrakech, King Mohammed’s Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Mansour MarrakechJune saw the much anticipated opening of Royal Mansour Marrakech, the opulent luxury hotel owned by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, whose ambitious tourism strategy has aimed to attract 10 million visitors to the country in 2010. His Majesty's Plan Azur is certainly working; Royal Mansour isn't the only new luxury hotel on the scene. The Rocco Forte Collection, Four Seasons, and Monte Carlo SBM have all staked their claim to Marrakech, which has emerged as a major tourism hot spot. In fact, Marrakech has been singled out as one of the "It Places" to travel in 2010 by both Conde Nast Traveler and The New York Times.

Royal Mansour Marrakech is a sight for sore eyes. No expense was spared in the hotel's construction, located directly within the medina walls of old Marrakech. In fact, Royal Mansour has been described as "the only entirely hand-built hotel in the world." 53 individual riads were designed with multicolored ceramic tile, elaborate woodwork, and Moroccan mosaics by top local artisans. Rooftop terraces and private pools offer stunning views of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. And the cuisine is by the Michelin three-starred chef (and Parisian sensation) Yannick Alléno. A fascinating Bloomberg News article describes the over-the-top indulgences found at the king's pad: from shoes polished with Champagne to laundered clothes wrapped in silk paper by private butlers to expertly mixed cocktails (even mint juleps). A staff of 400 is on hand to spoil guests rotten: "The hotel staff operates underground, driving golf carts along a maze of passageways, entering the three- and four-story riads through hidden portals. Each riad is serviced -- quietly -- by at least 10 people."


Art of Ethiopia at the Sheraton Addis


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sheraton AddisThe Sheraton Addis, A Luxury Collection Hotel, will be hosting the third annual Art of Ethiopia 2010 from August 21- 24. The finest hotel in the Ethiopian capital, the Sheraton Addis sits on a hilltop opposite the National Palace overlooking the city. The free exhibition will showcase nearly 400 works of art from 40 of Ethiopia's leading established artists (and exciting new talent) in the Lalibela Grand Ballroom. Long a patron of Ethiopian art, the hotel also boasts a permanent art collection featuring local artists. In fact, sales of the exhibition catalogue-- prepared by the hotel-- will go to the Sheraton Addis Art Endowment Fund to support art initiatives in Ethiopia.

Booking a stay in Addis Ababa? The hotel is currently running some enticing special offers-- including a package that doles out a fourth night free and a family package that gives 50% off the second room and free meals for the kids.


Pezula Resort, South Africa: The Choice of the French Team for the FIFA World Cup


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, South AfricaA world-class spa? Check. Gourmet eats? Check. A magnificent setting on the coastline of the Western Cape? The Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa has jaw-dropping views of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon, and the Outeniqua Mountains from its 1,000-hectare estate. The French soccer team certainly doesn't compromise when it comes to luxury digs for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The 1998 champions may be struggling a bit on the field this year, but they're still planning to enjoy the Word Cup challenge (and Pezula's renowned hospitality) while in South Africa this summer. What else will they find at this sparkling resort? A slew of on-site activities to enjoy during their down-time, like tennis, championship golf, hiking through indigenous forest, canoeing along the Noetzie River to a beautiful secluded beach, even an animal "touch farm." And the 78 suites? They're equipped with private balconies or patios, log fireplaces and sumptuous en-suite bathrooms. If les bleus are victorious, they can party at the Champagne & Whisky Bar.


Restaurants in Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One&Only Cape Town HotelHeading to South Africa for the sports event of the year? You snagged a room at some prime lodgings in Cape Town (lucky you!), but you may be looking for a few places to grub while in town. You fear there are scant pickings, as summed up in a recent Wall Street Journal article:

People come to Cape Town for its fine beaches and waterfront—they have since the 1600s, when the Dutch established it as a watering stopover for ships trading with the East. They come for the sports: The city will hold eight World Cup matches this June. They come for the history, to see Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his imprisonment. But few visitors come for the food.

Never fear, the article ultimately affirms our faith in the Cape Town dining scene, describing a "spurt of high-caliber restaurants" that has transformed the culinary landscape. Here's a few that are highly recommended:

Codfather

maze at the One&Only Hotel (yep, this is one of Gordon Ramsay's babies)

Bizerca Bistro

Bukhara

The Grand Cafe & Beach


South Africa on the World Stage: Stay in Luxury (and Get Free Hotel Nights)


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and SpaSouth Africa is the place to be this summer. Topping the list of 2010's hot destinations, South Africa is prepping for the sports event of the year: the 2010 FIFA World Cup which will run from June 11- July 11, 2010. Eager to get your game on? There's still room at the inn at some of the country's finest hotels, including the family-run Red Carnation Collection. In fact, swank hotels like The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, and The Oyster Box are pulling out all the stops to make sure visitors get the most out of their South African getaway. With the "Stay Longer" promotion, you'll get an extra night on the house on all stays between four and seven nights-- a savings up to R4,428! Valid until September 30, 2010, "Stay Longer" is sadly not available on stays between June 11 - July 11, 2010. But you can still take advantage of this offer to extend your stay and discover a rich and diverse destination. Twelve Apostles has an incredible setting overlooking the mountains and Atlantic in Cape Town, while Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve is located in a spectacular Natural Heritage Site in the Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape, and the recently renovated Oyster Box-- named to the Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2010-- is located in Umhlanga Rocks near Durban.


The World’s Hottest New Hotels: Travel + Leisure’s New “It List 2010″


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoIt's our favorite time of year. Travel + Leisure has released their "It List 2010" of the 45 best new hotels in the world. The mag's esteemed editors have hand-picked the year's most exciting hotel debuts, to be revealed in the June issue which hits newsstands this month. What's especially cool to see: ten of the properties have room rates of less than $300 per night. Can't wait til May 21st to see the list? We've got the skinny:

UNITED STATES

Andaz Wall Street+ Bardessono, Yountville, California

+ St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

+ Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

+ Andaz Wall Street, New York, New York*

+ Crosby Street Hotel, New York, New York

+ Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

+ Waldorf Astoria, Park City, Utah

THE CARIBBEAN , MEXICO, AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

+ Viceroy Anguilla, Barnes Bay, Anguilla

+ Gansevoort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

+ W Santiago, Santiago, Chile*

+ Tcherassi Hotel & Spa, Cartagena, Colombia

+ Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Acapulco, Mexico

+ Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco, Mexico*

+ Las Alcobas, Mexico City, Mexico

EUROPE

+ Lime Wood, Hampshire, England*

+ Dean Street Townhouse, London, England*

+ InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau, Paris, France

+ La Réserve Ramatuelle, Ramatuelle, France

+ Heidelberg Suites, Heidelberg, Germany

+ Il Salviatino, Fiesole, Italy

+ Maison Moschino, Milan, Italy

+ Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Italy

+ Palazzina Grassi, Venice, Italy

+ Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, Spain

+ Hotel Consolaciόn, Teruel, Spain*

+ Argos in Cappadocia, Uchisar, Turkey*

ASIA

+ Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China

+ Upper House, Hong Kong, China

+ Peninsula Shanghai, Shanghai, China*

+ PuLi Hotel & Spa, Shanghai, China

+ Serai Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer, India

+ Raas, Jodhpur, India*

+ Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

+ Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay, Philippines

+ Capella Singapore, Sentosa Island, Singapore

+ Langham Place Samui at Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand*

+ Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand

AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, AUSTRALIA

+ Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

+ Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa, Ma’in, Jordan

+ Le Gray, Beirut, Lebanon

+ Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles

+ One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Taj Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+ Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Lithgow, Australia

*Property has starting room rates of $300/night, double, or less.