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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.

Recent Hotel Openings: Le Méridien Koh Samui

December 7, 2011
By: Meagan Drillinger

Le Meridien Koh Samui Plunge Pool SuiteCalled the "Coconut Island," Koh Samui is situated in the Gulf of Thailand bordering the South China Sea. Once a haven for fishermen, it is Thailand's third-largest island. Earlier this fall, the ultra-posh Koh Samui got another dose of luxury with the opening of Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa.

The island resort sits on the exclusive Lamai Beach, with 77 suites and villas designed in the image of a traditional Asian seaside village. All rooms are quipped with 32-inch TVs, DVD players and iPod docking stations. We love the rainforest showers in the bathrooms, as well. We hear the best rooms in the house are the Ocean Front Pool Villas. These freestanding villas span 1,500 square feet and have open-air salas, sitting rooms, and a stretch of private ocean facing the infinity lap pool. In-villa dining with a private chef can also be arranged.

Le Méridien Koh Samui features three distinct epicurean experiences: Latest Recipe, all-day dining in a casual setting; Latitude 9, a colorful bar, great for coffee and pastries; and Plunge Bar, for swank barefoot relaxation.

An on-site spa, fitness center, and beachside and ocean swimming pools are also available.

This article was originally written for our sister publication: Luxury Travel Advisor


Top 10 Beach Resorts in the World

April 13, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Halekulani, HawaiiWe admit it. We're suckers for a good Top 10 List. (And who isn't?) So when the Toronto Sun recently published their list of the "World's Top Beachfront Hotels," we ate it up. They single out the following:

 

But where's Peter Island? And those swanky resorts in the Maldives? Or the celeb-mobbed hot spots on St. Barths?


Hope for Japan: The Peninsula Hotels Group Supports Relief Efforts with Fundraising Drive

April 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula TokyoAfter the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan, the world is looking to help. The Peninsula Hotels Group is proudly supporting "Hope for Japan," a fund-raising drive at each hotel in Asia and the U.S. to support the relief effort with donations going directly to the Japanese Red Cross Society. From Shanghai to Chicago, Peninsula Hotels are contributing a donation for every guest stay. The renowned hotel brand has also launched a new Japanese Afternoon Tea, and for each tea ordered, The Peninsula will donate the entire retail price ($50) to the Red Cross. Before departing the hotel, make a donation and hang an origami crane on "The Tree of 1,000 Cranes" displayed in the Lobby of each Peninsula hotel. In Japanese culture, 1,000 cranes represent hope and healing in challenging times, and so guests are invited to help this worthwhile and meaningful initiative.


Announcing the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa

April 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Maldives

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has officially planted its flag in the Maldives with the April 1 opening of the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa on the Indian Ocean atoll called North Huvadhoo. Formerly the Alila Villas Hadahaa Resort, the property was rebranded a Park Hyatt and promises a dose of luxury in a swoonworthy tropical locale. (Just check out the website's photos and you'll be plotting your getaway.) The resort is comprised of 50 villas, some with private plunge pools just steps from the crystal clear waters of the lagoon. From sumptuous spa treatments at the Spa by Mandara to scuba diving at the onsite PADI dive center, the Park Hyatt Maldives offers a range of experiences to help you get the most out of your stay in paradise.


The New “Apprentice-Trips” Program from Fairmont Hotels

April 5, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Orchid HawaiiWe've just learned about the new "Apprentice-Trips" program at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a neat experience for travelers seeking out enriching and authentic adventures while on the road. Fairmont has taken this "yearning to learn" movement and created a collection of thoughtful experiences for hotel guests to learn, perfect, or acquire a new skill while on vacay. From surfing in Montreal to art immersion in Dallas, the program offers something for everyone. A smattering of these offerings are outlined below:

How to Pass a Bill in Washington D.C. (learn how to craft your agenda with a federally-registered lobbyist)

Find Your Inner Chi in Beijing (perfect the ancient art of Tai Chi)

Samuel Adams Behind the Scenes Boston Brewery Package at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

Canoes, Coffee and Culture in Hawai'i at the Fairmont Orchid

Cook with the Chef at the Fairmont Algonquin and the Fairmont Southampton

Learn about the Grizzly Bear while hiking from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise


Tropical Thailand: Aleenta Resort Phuket Adds to its Private Villa Collection

April 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Aleenta Resort Phuket, Private VillaWhen you're traveling with a group of friends or extended family, sometimes a private villa is the way to go. You get plenty of space and privacy, but with all the luxurious facilities of a five-star resort, doting staff included. On Thailand's popular island of Phuket, the Aleenta Resort's Private Villa Collection offers an exclusive experience on the golden sand of Natai beach, just 20 minutes north of Phuket International Airport. Recently Aleenta Resorts opened a third new villa called Grand Villa Satis, a four-bedroom hideaway complete with a child-safe swimming pool, full kitchen, and outdoor terrace lounge area leading to a secluded stretch of beach.

Guests booking Grand Villa Satis between now and September 30, 2011, will enjoy benefits such as a roundtrip airport transfer, followed by private check-in and welcome sunset cocktails at their villa, where they will be greeted by a personal butler who will be on hand during their entire stay. Daily breakfast, along with a delivered newspaper, is also free. Villa guests can explore a series of resort experiences. Think BBQ with a personal bartender, facials and massages at Aleenta's spa, and sunrise boot camp-style workout or Thai boxing on the beach. Prices for Grand Villa Satis begin at THB26,500 per night, an introductory offer available until September 30, 2011.


Have a Spring Fling: 30% Off with Starwood Hotels Limited-Time Sale

March 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meridien Limassol Spa and ResortPssst! Starwood is having a ginormous sale to herald spring's arrival. So if you're looking for a spring fling, why not take a jaunt to one of Starwood's 800 hotels and resorts worldwide? Or even just spend a night away from home in your own 'hood? The "Our World, for a Limited Time" package doles out savings of up to 30% at properties available across all nine of Starwood's brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element. (We say the W Retreat on Koh Samui looks mighty nice... And closer to home: spend the night in the "drunk tank" at Boston's "liberated landmark," The Liberty Hotel.) Available for stays until May 30, 2011, must book by April 4, 2011.

Pictured: A heavenly slice of the Mediterranean at Le Meridien Limassol Spa and Resort on Cyprus.


Switch Off Your Smartphone, Recharge Your Batteries at Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai

March 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel ShanghaiOn business in Shanghai? The Four Seasons Hotel is inviting you to recharge your batteries... by disconnecting from your Blackberry and iPhone. The swank hotel insists that two days is all they need to get you fully rebooted and ready to get back to work. Just switch off the power buttons, extend your stay with the new "Suite Delight Promotion," and reconnect with the art of relaxation. You'll get reduced rates on your accommodations plus dining and spa credits. Straight from the horse's mouth:

Opt for a personal Spring detox via the Green Dragon Cleansing Ritual at Qin, The Spa; savour Chef’s April Zhou Shan seafood specials in Si Ji Xuan; or sample the tantalizing first flush of Long Jin (Dragon Well) green tea with Spring Flush Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Lounge. And with access to the Hotel Concierge’s legendary historical, art and cultural itineraries, there’s scope to discover even more of the city’s sweet spots.

The Suite Delight Promotion is offered through May 1, 2011, and includes Executive Suite accommodations, a CNY 300 food and beverage credit, daily buffet breakfast for two at Café Studio, CNY 200 Spa voucher, and late check-out based on availability.


See Siem Reap with your Girlfriends: Stay at the Historic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor

March 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles Grand Hotel d'AngkorAlways dreamed of seeing the Angkor Wat ruins in Siem Reap, Cambodia? Do it in style with a girlfriends getaway at the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor-- originally built in 1932 to provide classy digs during the "golden age of travel." The elegant French period hotel is inviting you to check out the mystical Angkor temple complex while reliving the romance of Indochina's colonial heyday during a three-night stay at one of Asia's finest hotels. The "Girlfriends Getaway" is designed for groups of four ladies, and combines spa pampering and gourmet dining with escorted shopping and temple outings, priced at US$1,955 per night. What else is in store? Airport transfers, round-the-clock assistance from Raffles Butlers, daily Champagne breakfast, a private cocktail party and two gourmet dinners, including a ‘Royal Khmer’ tasting-menu of imperial cuisine at the fine dining restaurant Le Grand. You'll also score culinary secrets in a private cooking class with a Raffles chef. Inside your two-bedroom villa, you'll get manicures and pedicures, facial and reflexology treatments, a mediation session and a choice of aromatherapy or traditional Khmer massage. Did we mention the consultation with the local fortune teller?


Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo is Closed through April 2011

March 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel TokyoThe devastating natural disasters in Japan have forced the temporary closure of the new Shangri-La Hotel. Luxury Travel Advisor reports: "The hotel's general manager, Wolfgang Krueger, and about 11 other people from the hotel are now working out of Fukuoka, in southern Japan. "This is not a decision we have made lightly," said Maria Kuhn, a spokesperson for the hotel. "As soon as we feel it is safe and we can run the hotel at our normal standards, we will open again."

Here's the skinny from the hotel's website:

Following the natural disasters in Japan on 11 March 2011 and the resulting logistical difficulties and hazards Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo will not be accepting any new guests until further notice. Bookings will resume as soon as the energy supply and normal hotel operation can and has been restored.