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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.

Canine Cuisine and Five-Star Service for Fido: Peninsula Tokyo Launches Dog Stay Program

September 24, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula TokyoBring your dog to the award-winning Peninsula Tokyo for a little canine pampering. Just like its sister hotels in New York, Chicago, and Beverly Hills, The Peninsula Tokyo has launched a dog stay program so four-legged family members don't have to miss out on the legendary Peninsula service. As to be expected from Peninsula, the program is positively indulgent. When you arrive in your posh guest room, you won't just be ogling the high-tech gadgets. You'll find countless pet amenities: stainless steel water and ceramic food bowls with a placemat, Vittel bottled water, a Simmons dog bed with blanket and pillow, and a welcome basket that includes wet tissues, dog diapers, toys and snacks. When your pup needs a walk, The Peninsula Pageboys and Pagegirls are available to provide complimentary walking service in Hibiya Park or in the outskirts of the Imperial Palace. Your pooch can be outfitted in a Peninsula Page uniform, if you'd like! The fun for Fido doesn't stop there. The "canine cuisine" room service menu offers a range of appetizers and treats, entrees, and desserts for dogs that can be paired with a complimentary video movie or CD for their entertainment. Tasty treats include Organic Cobb Salad, Seasonal Sashimi Tartar on Rice, Kobe Big Burger and Afternoon Tea Delight, along with regular soft and hard dog food. And get this- you can even order a special dog CD which contains music that only dogs can hear. The Dog Stay Program at The Peninsula Tokyo is available for dogs weighing up to 15 kilos (33 pounds) and costs JPY 5,000 per night.


On Top of the World Yoga Retreat in Bhutan: Judy Krupp at Uma Paro Resort

September 17, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BhutanThe 29-room Uma Paro, operated by COMO Hotels and Resorts, offers more than the usual five-star hotel experience in Bhutan; Uma Paro welcomes visitors on an holistic, cultural adventure- where you can discover one of the last pristine mountain cultures on earth, surrounded by towering peaks. Uma Paro arranges the entry permission required to visit the Kingdom, along with visas and Druk Airline tickets. Because the core of the COMO Shambhala experience is yoga and Asian-inspired therapies devoted to physical and spiritual wellbeing, it's only fitting that Uma Paro is offering a 6-night yoga retreat led by Australian teacher Judy Krupp. Suitable for all levels, the retreat will take place from January 4-10, 2009 and is priced from $3,968 (single occupancy). The program includes six nights accommodation, breakfast and lunch daily, five hours of daily group instruction, a traditional Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath and Massage, exploration of the local scenery and monasteries with an English-speaking guide, a pilgrimage to Bhutan's most sacred site Taktsang monastery (Tiger's Nest), a lunch at a Traditional Bhutanese Farmhouse, and a picnic at a ruined fortress at the end of Paro Valley with views of Bhutan's highest mountain, Mt Jomolhari (7,314 meters).


Buzz: Langham Hotels Signs First India Property in Pune

September 17, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune, IndiaFrom the legendary London hotel to Hong Kong's stylish establishment, Langham has brought its stimulating hospitality concept to four continents now. Luxury hotel operator, Langham Hotels International, has doubled in size in the last year with 16 hotels open or in the pipeline. We just got word that Langham has signed a contract for Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune, India- as Langham expands into what's termed the "new Silk Road of China, India and the Middle East." Slated to open in 2010 in the "Silicon Valley of India," the 180-room hotel will be home to India's first Chuan Spa concept, featuring oriental hot tubs, ice caves, herbal steam rooms, singles and couples treatment suites, and an infinity edge indoor and outdoor pool. The exciting restaurants on offer will include a new hybrid concept called Portal- Work & Play. Here's the scoop from the press release: "By combining a lobby lounge, cocktail bar and business centre, Portal is where work and play seamlessly intertwine to meet the needs of today's multi-tasking world." A DJ will spin in the lobby-atrium, setting the mood.


Around the World in 80 Ways: The Epic $1 Million Journey from Leading Hotels of the World

September 16, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One Aldwych, LondonWe recently spread the word about the incredible deal-- $19.28 room rates!-- offered by Leading Hotels of the World to celebrate its 80th anniversary. And now it's time to highlight another celebratory package from LHW-though this one is a tad more extravagant. Leading Hotels of the World has created an epic voyage, "Around The World in 80 Ways," to pay homage to both the 80th anniversary of the Academy Awards, and their own 80th birthday. The price tag for this amazing, glamorous journey? One million dollars.

Traveling in a private jet all the way, you and a companion will see everything in the world worth seeing and do everything in the world worth doing. Best of all, 10 percent of the USD 1 million price will be donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation for the global fight against AIDS. So, with that in mind, we invite you to open your hearts and wallets and get ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime.


Stay 4 Pay 3 at the All-New Anantara Phuket Resort and Spa, Thailand

September 16, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Phuket Resort and SpaBack in June we broke the news about the brand new Anantara Resort on Thailand's Phuket Island, set to debut in early October on a quiet stretch of Mai Khao Beach on Phuket's secluded northern sunset coast. You'll fall in love with this all-villa resort, where the stunning accommodations come equipped with individual private pools. Another perk: the Anantara signature outdoor "made for two" terrazzo tub that seamlessly blends with the private pool. Be one of the first to experience an unforgettable getaway at the Anantara Phuket Resort and Spa with a special opening offer. Stay for four nights and pay for only three at the special Anantara Breeze rate, available from October 1- December 23, 2008. Rates start from THB 16,000.


Mooncakes and Mid-Autumn Opulence at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore

September 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mooncakes at the Fullerton Hotel, SingaporeThe Mid-Autumn Festival in Singapore means the streets in Chinatown are draped with lights, lanterns are aglow, and friends get together under the full moon to drink Chinese tea, chow down on delicious mooncakes, and celebrate the abundant harvest. Fêted on the fifteenth day of the 8th lunar month among Chinese communities around the world, the Mid-Autumn festival dates back some 3,000 years. The best mooncakes in Singapore can be found at the luxurious Fullerton Hotel, where you can savor all the best of the Mid-Autumn Festival with handmade delicacies in new original flavors: Mixed Nuts & Pineapple, Green Tea Ginger, Coconut Mango and Black Sesame Almond. For a really decadent treat, choose the perennial bestseller, The Fullerton Chocolate Baileys in Snowskin. Fullerton's premium mooncakes are available at Jade located at the lobby level, from 10 am to 10 pm daily until September 14, 2008.


Le Royal Meridien Shanghai: Where To Stay in Shanghai

September 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Meridien ShanghaiYou can't beat this strategic location in the heart of Shanghai's commercial and shopping districts on historic Nanjing Road East, opposite the People's Square and overlooking the Shanghai Grand Theatre and the Shanghai Art Museum- just a quick walk to the iconic Bund on the river. Opened in September 2006, Le Royal Meridien is one of Shanghai's tallest landmarks at 66 storeys high- a sleek, stylish symbol of contemporary design in a city on the cutting edge. You can access a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and shops along the Nanjing Pedestrian Walkway that runs alongside the hotel. From you guest room, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the Huang Pu river and all the glittering lights of this famous urban skyline from floor-to-ceiling windows. Of course the 761 guest rooms are loaded with all the latest technological amenities.

Le Royal Meridien ShanghaiWhether in the city for business or pleasure this autumn, you can benefit from a 5th night free offer, with nights starting from RMB 2118 in a Grand Deluxe Room. Explore China's capital of art and fashion, and get your fifth night free with four paid nights, and you'll also enjoy full buffet breakfast served daily in Le Bistrot, along with entry for two to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Available until December 12, 2008.


Shanghai Waitan Package at Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai

August 29, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau

Shangri-La PudongShangri-La, the mysterious and longed for spot to escape is now yours to enjoy with the new Shangai Waitan Package at the Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai. Choose either a Deluxe Bund Room starting at RMB 2,288 per night, a Deluxe Waitan Room at RMB 2,388 per night, or a Premier Bund Room at RMB 2,888 per night. From now until December 31, 2008, The Shanghai Waitan Package includes complimentary buffet breakfast at Yi Cafe, a RMB 300 credit for treatment at Chi, The Spa, and a RMB 250 credit at the Gui Hua Lou Chinese Restuarant. Enjoy a late check out at 4 pm. A minimum 2 night stay is needed. The Deluxe Waitan Rooms are appointed in contemporary colors and features glass windows with views of the futuristic Riverside Garden and the Huangpu River. Yi Cafe is an open view kitchen with a walk thru design evoking public market with its gourmet showcases and spectacular live cooking stations.

With memorable views of the Bund and Huangpu Rivers, the Pudong Shangri-La is the city's premier luxury hotel offering award willing incomparable service, comfort and convenience and world class dining. Make your escape now to your Shangri-La with the Shanghai Waitan Package.


The Conrad Shanghai Will Open in December 2008

August 28, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad ShanghaiCan't shake Olympic fever? Head to China and check out the vibrant city of Shanghai, pulsing with business, entertainment, and stylish restaurants. In December there will be a striking new hotel on the scene, when the Conrad Shanghai makes its debut in the heart of the vibrant Xintiandi district. The building's ultra-contemporary design incorporates Chinese motifs and is said to be a "modern interpretation of the Han Dynasty." As the most prosperous era in China's history, the Han Dynasty is certainly a poignant inspiration during this time of rapid growth in Chinese urban centers. As reported by Hotel Online:

The 24-storey tower curves gently to create an elegant profile with the building distinguished by its window wall patterns in Chinese granite, based on traditional Chinese latticework from the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). The result is very contemporary but unmistakably Chinese, reflecting the Conrad brand values of contemporary luxury and individuality whilst retaining a strong sense of place.

The 362-room hotel will house a chic, urban spa, meeting facilities, and restaurants.


Travel Trends: Voluntourism, and Give-Back Getaways with Ritz-Carlton Hotels

August 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand CaymanVolunteer tourism, a.k.a "voluntourism," is a growing trend in travel, and more and more travelers are jumping on the bandwagon and planning to volunteer during their vacations. Forbes Traveler sums it up nicely:

There comes a point — generally when you're on your third margarita, sunburned over 60 percent of your body and the kids are screaming in the infinity pool — when you start to wonder if there is more to the whole vacation concept than lying on a beach getting toasted. A way of showing thanks for your own good fortunes, perhaps. You want a chance to contribute more to a local economy than buying overpriced trinkets that neither you nor your friends back home really need.

Ritz-Carlton has taken notice. They've created the Give Back Getaways program- to offer guests a chance to give back to the community with half-day local community experiences, working alongside Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen in a Community Footprints humanitarian or environmental project. All profits from the Give Back Getaways programs are donated to the partner organizations. An example is the Blue Iguana Recovery Program at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, led by naturalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, where guests assist with the breeding program to help a unique species on the brink of extinction.