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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 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:


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


+ 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


+ 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*


+ 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


+ 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.

We List the World’s Best Restaurants

By: Ruthanne Terrero

The S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010 is the result of an extensive poll of the world’s most celebrated chefs, renowned food critics, leading restaurateurs and well-traveled gourmands – collectively known as The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy...

1. Noma, Denmark

+45 3296 3297

2. El Bulli, Spain

+ 34 972 150 457

3. The Fat Duck, UK

+44 (0) 1628 580 333

4. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain

+34 972 22 21 57

5. Mugaritz, Spain

+34 943 522 455


6. Osteria Francescana, Italy

+39 (0)59 210 118

7. Alinea, USA

+1 312-867-0110

8. Daniel, USA

+1 212 288 0033

9. Arzak, Spain

+34 943 78456

10. Per Se, United States

+1212 823 9335

11. Le Chateaubriand, France

+33 (0)1 43574595

12. La Colombe, South Africa

+ 27 (0) 21 794 2390

13. Pierre Gagnaire, France

+ 33 01 58 36 12 50

14. Hotel de Ville Switzerland

+41 21 634 0505

15. Le Bernardin, USA

+1 212 554 1515

16. L’Astrance, France

+33 1 40 50 84 40

17. Hof van Cleve, Belgium

+32 (0) 9 383 5848

18. D.O.M., Brazil

+55 11 3088 0761

19. Oud Sluis, Holland

+31 (0) 117-461269

20. Le Calandre, Italy

+39 049 630303

21. Steirereck, Austria

+43 (1) 713 31 68 restaurant

22. Vendome, Germany

+49 (0) 22 04 42 1941

23. Chez Dominique, Finland

+ 358 9 612 7393

24. Les Créations de Narisawa, Japan

+81 (3) 5785 0799

25. Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden

+46 (0) 8 679 35 84

26. Momofuku Ssam Bar, USA

+1 212 254-3500

27. Quay, Australia

+ 61 (2) 9251 5600

28. Iggy’s, Singapore

+65 6732 2234

29. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France

+33 1 42 225656

30. Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland

+41 81 632 10 80

31. Le Quartier Francais, South Africa

+27 21 876 2151

32. The French Laundry, USA

+1 707 944 2380

33. Martin Berasategui, Spain

+34 943 366 471

34. Aqua, Germany

+49 5361 606056

35. Combal Zero, Italy

+39 011 9565225

36. Dal Pescatore, Italy

+39 (0)37 672 3001

37. De Librije, Netherlands

+31 (0)38 4212083

38. Tetsuya’s, Australia

+61 (2)9267 2900

39. Jaan par Andre, Singapore

+65 6338 8585

40. Il Canto, Italy

+39 (0)577 28 81 80

41. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee,  France

+33 1 53 67 66 65

42. Oaxen Krog, Sweden

+46 8 8 551 531 05

43. St John, UK

+44 020 7251 0848

44. La Maison Troisgros, France

+33 4 77 71 66 97

45. wd~50, USA

+1 212 477 2900

46. Biko, Mexico

+52 55 5282 0722

47. Die Schwarzwaldstube, Germany

+49 7442 4926

48. Nihonryori RyuGin, Japan

+81 3 3423 8006

49. Hibiscus, UK

+44 020 7629 2999

50. Eleven Madison Park, USA

+1 212 889 090

The World’s Top Hotel Bars

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Artesian Bar, The Langham, LondonWho doesn't love hotel bars? These days they've become destinations in their own right. And present some of the finest opportunities for savoring the local nightlife-- from Tokyo's New York Bar (showcased in the film Lost in Translation) to London's chic Artesian Bar at The Langham (beautifully designed by David Collins Studio). A recent "Top 10" list in Bon Appetit touches on one of our favorite subjects. The magazine picks just 10 spots "offering memorable combinations of sublime cocktails, lovely views, and storied pasts." On the list? Lobby Bar at Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires, Bar Dos Descasados at Hotel Santa Teresa in Rio, M Bar at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Coburg Bar at The Connaught in London, Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris, The Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest, Hassler Bar at Hotel Hassler Roma, New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, O2 Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow and Bascule Whisky, Wine & Cocktail Bar at Cape Grace in Cape Town. For the full article, click here.

The World’s Hottest Hotels: Where to Stay Now

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmangiriConde Nast Traveler has released their annual Hot List 2010 "of the newest and most innovative hotels worldwide" and a quick browse is guaranteed to inspire wanderlust. Best of all: 42 hotels that made the cut have rooms costing under $250 a night. We were pleased to see a few of our faves make the list. In North America, for example: the Capella Pedregal, Crosby Street Hotel, The Allison, St. Regis Mexico City, Amangiri, The Jefferson, The Betsy, The Elysian, W South Beach, and Viceroy Snowmass...

Room Availability at Luxury Hotels for the South Africa World Cup

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Grace Hotel, Cape TownHeading to Cape Town for the 2010 World Cup? Still haven't booked your accommodations? High-end hotels are filling up fast, but we've got the scoop on what's still available. Though Cape Grace Hotel is reportedly 90 percent booked, there are still a few rooms up for the taking. Situated on its own private quay in the heart of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Grace offers 121 newly refashioned guest rooms and a spa with sweeping views of Table Mountain. You can also still nab a room at the five-star Table Bay Hotel on the V & A Waterfront. (Availability is limited; try 7 free rooms as of last week.) Our last recommendation? The swanky new Taj Cape Town located in the downtown area. But act fast, these rooms will be gone in a flash. Related Articles: Now Open in South Africa: The Taj Hotel Cape Town

Top 10 Lists: Family-Friendly Luxury Hotels and Resorts

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

ice skating at Hotel Plaza Athenee

From mini ice-skating rinks (pictured) to cookies & milk in the evenings, luxury hotels definitely get creative when taking care of their pint-sized guests. The world's finest hotels go to extraordinary lengths in the pampering department- whether their clients are 8 or 80 years old. A recent article in Forbes highlights some of the top family-friendly luxury hotels in the world. Who made the cut? The Hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris, The Athenaeum in London, the Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort in Crete, the Commune by the Great Wall outside Beijing, Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel, Caneel Bay in St. John, The Ritz-Carlton Cancun, the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Four Seasons Resort Bali, One & Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives, Cape Grace in Cape Town, and The Oriental in Bangkok. We'd add Le Meurice to the list (for their Parisian treasure hunt), and Loews Hotels across the U.S. for their innovative kids programs (think dive-in movies in the summer months). Any hotels you'd recommend as note-worthy? Who'd we miss?

The Pyramids and More: The Conrad Hotel Wants to Show You Around Cairo

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad CairoGame to explore Cairo? The Conrad Hotel-- smack dab in the heart of town on the banks of the Nile River-- wants to show you the city's hidden treasures. If you can tear yourself away from the views from your guest room (private balconies overlook the river), a tour guide will drive you around town to check out the sights. Return to the hotel and relax with a snack at Felucca Café as you gaze out over the Nile. There's a heated pool and fully-equipped gym for those craving a work-out. And for those feeling lucky: an onsite casino. This special package-- called "Let Us Show You Around Cairo"-- includes two nights accommodation in a classic room with a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe room; meet & greet at the airport with transportation back to the hotel; daily breakfast buffet; tour guide, transportation and sightseeing entrance fees; choice of one of the following sightseeing attractions: Egyptian Museum and Cairo Tower; Pyramides and Sphinx; Old Cairo and Citadel; Islamic Cairo, Khan El Khalily Bazaar and Azhar Park.

Now Open in South Africa: The Taj Hotel Cape Town

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Taj Cape TownThe world's gaze has turned to South Africa as one of the hottest destinations of 2010. To quote The New York Times: "as host of the 2010 World Cup this summer, South Africa has gotten its game on with a flurry of new stadiums, new hotels and safari lodges." One of the most exciting is the brand spanking new Taj Hotel in Cape Town, housed in two historic buildings in the heart of downtown, a big player in the revitalization of the inner city. From the new glass tower, guest rooms offer sweeping views over Cape Town and Table Mountain. Facilities include state-of-the-art banqueting and meeting rooms, a Jiva Grande Spa, fitness center, and a variety of dining options (Champagne and oysters, anyone?)

Where to Go Now: Hot Destinations for 2010 (Marrakech Included)

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rocco Forte Resort in Marrakech

Where are the "It Places" to travel in 2010? Conde Nast Traveler's Ondine Cohane has the answer in her recently compiled "It List" for 2010, "Travel's Comeback Year." Drum roll, please: Colombia, Sri Lanka, Vancouver, Antarctica, Burma, Cuba, Venice, South Africa, Kyrgyzstan, and Marrakech. We're glad to see that Morocco didn't fade fast from the savy traveler's radar. An unprecedented number of luxury hotels will open in Morocco next year-- from Le Royal Mansour (owned by the king) to the Four Seasons to the new resort from the Rocco Forte Collection (pictured)... And you probably already ogled the pretty pictures of all the celebs attending the opening of La Mamounia over Thanksgiving....

What would you add to this list?

Summer in South Africa: Spa Special at The Westcliff, Johannesburg

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The WestcliffWe're hardly shy in dishing our hotel pick for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In Johannesburg, it's The Westcliff, hands down. Just 10 minutes from the city center in an exclusive residential suburb, The Westcliff is perched on a hilltop with sculpted gardens and an infinity pool from where you can spy the elephants in the Johannesburg Zoological Gardens below. Part of the Orient-Express Collection of hotels, The Westcliff offers five-star treatment all the way. The hotel has announced a summer spa special (after all, the sun is shining in the southern hemisphere while we grit our teeth against the snow!) Pamper yourself in one of the three spacious Botanica Spa Suites tucked away in the estate's flowering gardens. Indulge in a two-hour treatment: start off with a body polish and exfoliation, followed with a body wrap of your choice, ending with a back, neck, and shoulder massage. Summer sale price? R1000. Valid until the end of February 2010.