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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.

Star-Studded Grand Opening for One and Only Cape Town

May 4, 2009
By: Alison Victor

One and Only Ocean ClubThe One and Only Resorts are known as an ultra-luxurious collection of award-winning properties in the most beautiful spots on the globe. As we reported back in January, One and Only Cape Town is the latest property to join this exclusive collection; as of April 3rd, it's open. Described as an "urban chic water front" resort, One and Only Cape Town is actually the only resort to finish over four months ahead of schedule. The Grand Opening Celebration brought out the who's who of the jet set crowd. Mariah Carey, Nelson Mandela, and Matt Damon were just a few that were in attendance.


Get a Free Night with InterContinental: 5 Million Nights Up for Grabs at 4,000 Hotels

April 28, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hotel Beijing Financial StreetInterContinental Hotels Group-- the world's largest hotel company-- has just announced a big promotion. Earn a free night by registering at getafreenight.com and then staying two nights at any Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites or Candlewood Suites around the world between May 4th and July 3rd, 2009. Voila! A free night is yours for the taking at any IHG hotel-- like the luxurious InterContinental Beijing Financial Street (pictured at right)-- until December 26th, 2009.


Big Promotion from Starwood: Get a Free Weekend For Every 2 Hotel Stays

April 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal HawaiianThis just in. Starwood Hotels and Resorts has announced a rewarding new promotion for new and existing members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program (SPG). When you stay two times at any of Starwood's hotels between May 1 and July 31, 2009, you can earn one free weekend night (Friday, Saturday or Sunday). There are no limits to the number of free weekend nights that can be earned, and earned nights can be combined to make a longer weekend stay. The best part? No blackout dates (!) and the nights are redeemable through the end of September. Starwood encompasses 875 hotels around the world within nine different brands (like St. Regis, Westin, The Luxury Collection, Aloft and Sheraton), including the likes of the Royal Hawaiian (pictured) and the opulent Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice. Talk about a travel stimulus program!


Children 12 and Under Recieve a Complimentary Stay at the Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel

April 3, 2009
By: Christina Vasquez

Dar Ayniwen Villa HotelDar Ayniwen Villa Hotel-- a luxury establishment located on five garden acres of tranquil beauty-- is considered the perfect combination luxury hotel with the comfort of a family home. Tucked away in heart of a Marrakech palm grove, this former house turned exclusive luxury hotel features eight magnificent suites in a charming and intimate setting. Great for small families, all eight suites at the Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel comfortably accommodate two adults and one child. Best of all, children under the age of 12 stay for free using existing bedding.


Pairing Music and Cuisine Overlooking the Nile at Four Seasons Cairo

March 10, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

Four Seasons Cairo at Nile PlazaEven the best dining experience can be ruined by an unexpected crash in the kitchen or obnoxious chewing at the next table. Christophe Gillino, the French-born executive chef at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, has put an end to all that by pairing music with the dining experience to create a chill vibe. Not just a top chef, Gillino's list of talents also include composer. In fact, he recently produced a CD inspired by his time in the Middle East. Released under his stage name, Chris Milano, "Sounds of the Desert" takes listeners through a sensory journey through Egyptian history, which guests can hear while dining at one of the restaurants that overlooks the Nile. Want to take the experience home? Guests of the hotel can purchase copies of the CD in the hotel's retail shops.


International Expeditions Offers 10-Day South Africa Journey

March 3, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

For those travelers who crave an African adventure, International Expeditions, known for nature travel, has introduced a custom 10-day South Africa journey. With a stellar price tag of $3,295 per person, the itinerary includes three in-country flights, accommodations in Cape Town at Cape Cadogan and Motswari Lodge at Kruger National Park, 12 meals, private tours and safaris. Top Stops: In Cape Town, you will stay at Cape Cadogan boutique hotel for four nights, take a cable-car ride to Table Mountain and a trek through the Southern Peninsula. The agenda also includes a stop at Boulders Beach and the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Travelers will also stay three nights at Motswari Lodge and enjoy game drives. During free time, adventure-craving explorers can take a helicopter ride or cruise along the Cape Town harbor, or those with an anthropological sense can visit South Africa's shantytowns. Extended Stays: Those who want to extend or further enhance their stays have the flexibility to do so. Options include additional days on safari in Kruger National Park, a trip to the awesome Victoria Falls or a luxury rail journey. Additional excursions are not included in the price.


Explore Marrakech with Octogone Earth, Terre Resort and Spa

February 25, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Octogone Earth Terre Resort and SpaLocated just 15 minutes from the City Center, Octogone Earth, Terre Resort and Spa Marrakech is perfectly located for a variety of excursions in Morocco. These activities include private shopping tours to the souks (Moroccan markets) daily as well as exclusive showings of goods on the property. Day trips are also offered to the Atlas Mountains for skiing and hiking and to Essaouira for beach enjoyment. Exploration of the Moroccan terrain is provided by horseback, bike tours, All Terrain Vehicles, and Jeep rides. Whatever your pleasure in how you spend your hard-earned leisure time,

Octogone Earth, Terre Resort and Spa Marrakech can make the arrangements.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: All Five Star Alliance guests staying at Octogone Earth, Terre Resort and Spa Marrakech will receive one bottle of Moroccan wine and for visitors staying three days or more, one guest will also receive a complimentary 50 minute massage - valued at 90 Euro.


Great Honeymoons: Sandy Lane in Barbados, Royal Livingstone in Zambia, Waldorf=Astoria in NY

February 23, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

Sandy LaneAt Sandy Lane in Barbados be sure to secure a stay in one of the Dolphin Suites for lovebirds; since they offer a separate living area and kitchenette. However, for more space, and bragging rights to boot, the 7,300-square-foot Villa can't be beat. The Digs: This prime pick has its own private entrance and his-and-hers bathrooms, complete with their own dressing rooms; unmatched ocean views present newlyweds with a pretty backdrop while you prepare for a romantic night out on the town. For a cozy night spent in, the Villa also features a private pool with an oversized Jacuzzi. Romantic Touch: The veranda, off the main living room, leads to a gazebo, where you can toast your new union with a private dinner. The resident chef can cater to every whim.

If you are all about the view, we hear that the Seahouse, Turtle and Dolphin wings all lend themselves to postcard-perfect views of the ocean or an awe-inspiring Caribbean sunset. Pampering should be a top priority regardless of the vacation type. Couples can enjoy the Signature Sandy Lane Romance Ritual, which just so happens to be a couples' massage, in the property's 11-treatment-room spa.

For romantic dinners, Bajan Blue, part of the property's recently-unveiled culinary program, features indoor and outdoor dining and a beach bar with sea views. Bajan Blue also includes a wine bar, great for post-dinner drinks. For an ultra-luxurious, off-site dining experience, try The Cliff  with its perched setting and modern cuisine.

For a more exotic take on the honeymoon experience, try The Royal Livingstone Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zambia. All standard rooms offer a balcony or terrace, which have views of the lawn leading down to the Zambezi River, as well as butler service. If you want to celebrate your nuptials with a little more luxury, the three standard suites have a separate living room, and the Presidential Suite is about double the size of a standard room. Presidential Perks: This top suite also has a telescope—perfect for viewing the majestic African landscape—a patio with a table that seats nine, a Jacuzzi in the bathroom and a private veranda. Numbers to Know: We hear that room Nos. 5079 and 5080 have the best views of the sunset, pool, river and the mist off of the falls.

The property's peak period is from February to June, and it encourages bookings to be made as far in advance as possible. For pampering, the property's spa includes treatments on the riverbank at the Zambezi or in the garden gazebo. Top Treatment: Try a traditional Zambian massage, which uses warm towels to relax and soothe the muscles, before beginning a Swedish massage. Adventurous couples can earn bragging rights with friends by taking in a meal at Royal Livingstone's restaurant, where we hear the signature dish is Crocodile Curry. For a luxurious dining experience, dine while riding The Royal Livingstone Express, a recently restored train that glides along Zambia's old railway through the countryside.

If you would rather enjoy a romantic escape with the fast pace of a metropolitan city as the backdrop, look no further than the venerable Waldorf=Astoria in New York. There are several room types that will cater to your every whim; however, the top picks are the Presidential Suite and Royal Suite. We hear that every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover has stayed in these quarters, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The View: Waldorf=Astoria Luxury Suites are spacious corner suites that overlook tony Park Avenue. For expansive views to the eastern part of the city, as well as the Chrysler Building, opt for the Grand and Premier Suites, which are situated in the upper corners of the Waldorf Tower. Another good option is the 42H Suite, which has a living room, dining room and master bedroom.

For the utmost indulgence, head to the Waldorf's spa, which uses products by Guerlain. The most popular treatment is The Waldorf Impériale, a two-hour experience that combines a facial with massage. We hear that Brianne Polack, who specializes in Swedish, deep tissue, pre- and post-natal massages, reflexology and lymphatic drainage, garners the most requests. Foodies can look forward to an evening at either The Bull and Bear Steakhouse or Oscar's American Brasserie. The property also offers open-kitchen dinners in the Waldorf kitchen.


Singita Vacation Part of Oscar Goodie Bag

February 20, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

Not every thespian that attends the 81st Academy Awards ceremony this year will walk away with an Oscar. The 21 lucky nominees in the best actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director categories will, however, leave Hollywood's Kodak Theatre with a four-night stay at any one of Singita Game Reserves African safari lodges in Tanzania, South Africa or Zimbabwe. A partnership between the luxe lodgings and Premier Tours, this exclusive vacation, which is part of the nominees' gift baskets, will feature guided safaris, spa treatments and more. Make sure to check out the Academy Awards, which air Sunday, February 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET


Luxury for Less: Abercrombie and Kent Auctions Off Exclusive Luxury Travel Tours

February 18, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Abercrombie and KentYou can save big on Thursday, February 19 starting at 9 am CST when world-renowned luxury travel operator, Abercrombie & Kent, begins auctioning off its "Once in a Lifetime Journeys." Prices will drop every 30 minutes until they reach a final savings of 60 percent off the original price. The offer will expire at 3 pm CST, and departures are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Don't miss your chance to experience "the vacation of your dreams... at a once-in-lifetime price!" Journeys are listed below:

Abercrombie and Kent safariOnce in a Lifetime Botswana & Zambia: An Independent Itinerary

Witness the drama of predator and prey — along with one of nature's most glorious spectacles, Victoria Falls — on an independent journey through Southern Africa.

Once in a Lifetime Egypt: An Independent Itinerary

Explore the remnants of one of the world’s greatest civilizations on this independent journey in Egypt. View the Pyramids and the Sphinx, see the treasures of Tutankhamun and savor the unique atmosphere of the Nile on a luxurious four-night river cruise.

Once in a Lifetime Kenya: An Independent Itinerary

Enjoy peerless hospitality and unrivaled wildlife viewing in the land of the Maasai on this independent journey.

Once in a Lifetime Spain: An Independent Itinerary

From the days of Muslim influence to the golden age of empire, Spain's past lives on in its incredible monuments and works of art. Experience centuries of history with private expert guides on this incredible independent journey through Spain.

Once in a Lifetime Voyage to Melanesia

This 'Clipper Odyssey' cruise explores the recent past while celebrating long-held native traditions still practiced today. Visit the sites of epic battles that helped secure victory for the Allies in World War II; delight in a traditional Fijian welcome on the island of Yasawa-i-Rara; and witness the Rom Dance, one of the South Pacific's most famous celebrations. Offer valid for cabin category 5 reservations.

Via Paradizo