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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.

Mooncakes and Mid-Autumn Opulence at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore


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


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


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


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


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.


The Secluded Spa Island at Borneo’s Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, Sunset BarJust minutes away from the center of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort is a secluded retreat surrounded by blissful beaches. This self-contained resort paradise boasts a 44,788-square-foot CHI spa with a unique design concept: a spa village with 8 private island villas, surrounded by the South China Sea, each with a lounging area, steam room, bathing facilities, and fragrant garden. Around the world, Shangri-La's CHI Spas are celebrated for embracing a holistic approach to physical and spiritual well-being, inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies. CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort offers exclusive therapies that incorporate local ingredients such as Borneo volcanic mud, Sabah pearls and cocoa alongside signature CHI treatments inspired by the ancient healing traditions of the Himalayan region. A two-night "Spa Indulgence" package is available until December 15, 2008, with prices starting from approximately $764, double occupancy, for a Kinabalu Seaview room.


Luxury Villa Escape with Phuket’s Aleenta Resort


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Aleenta PhuketJust steps from the ocean and offering 15 beach front villas and ocean view residences and 15 pool suites and pool villas, Aleenta's "Luxury Villa Escape" is sure to capture your imagination for a truly great summer escape. This summer the 5 Days and 4 Nights package will include complementary private car round trip transfers to and from the Phuket International Airport, complimentary welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival, gourmet breakfast daily in your villa/residence or in the restaurant, afternoon canape each day at the Sunset Lounge from 5 to 6 pm, complimentary yoga, tai chi, or thai boxing led by a private instructor in the villa, beach or gym, 60 minute thai massage per person per stay in your room or spa and 20% of the regular rates for any additional selected treatment. With stunning views of the Andaman Sea and a reputation for luxurious style, comfort and personalized services, Aleenta "Luxury Villa Escape" is the escape you have been looking for this summer.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations for Aleenta with Five Star Alliance receive a 30 minute stress and tension relieving massage for 2 in Aleenta's KA Spa once during stay.


Yachting in the Maldives, Lunch on the Equator, with the New Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Villingili Resort, MaldivesSoon you'll be able to have lunch on the equator aboard a 69-foot luxury yacht, an exclusive offering from the brand new Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa, the first luxury resort in the southern Maldives (on Addu Atoll). This equatorial dining experience is billed as a "first-of-its-kind seaborne adventure." Step aboard the boat at the resort, and you'll cruise 46 miles north to the point where the northern and southern hemispheres collide. Here you'll sip some wine and chow down on a gourmet lunch while lounging on a sun lounger on the spacious timber deck. No doubt you'll see a school of spinner dolphins. Afterwards, take a siesta, or snorkel and fish-- over the equator. You'll also be able to visit the country's third biggest island, Fuvahmulah, on a full-day cruise aboard the beautiful yacht. Opening later this year, Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa will feature 142 villas with views of the ocean or the island's natural lush vegetation.


Thailand Gets Another Langham: Announcing the Langham Place Miora Resort and Spa, Kalim Bay, Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place Miora Resort and Spa, Kalim Bay, PhuketLucky ducks. Thailand's Phuket Island will soon be getting an all-villa boutique resort at Kalim Bay. And check out that view from the pool, overlooking the Andaman Sea! The Langham portfolio has been expanding rapidly in Thailand, and the announcement of this boutique resort-- Langham Place Miora Resort + Spa, Kalim Bay-- means the luxury hotel operator is on track to operate five properties in Thailand within five years (including this eco-resort on Krabi). Langham has an outstanding collection of five-star hotels around the world, and this sexy new boutique resort promises to be all that and more. Slated to open in early 2010, this Langham Place will boast 78 designer villas including a penthouse set onto a hilltop. Apartment-style amenities will include private bars, contemporary entertainment centers, and private plunge pools with retractable floating dining tables as well as day beds and barbecue grills. And the best part of all? The cantilevered swimming pool that extends from the hill to create an infinity-style effect with a Chuan Spa located directly below.


Most Expensive Hotel Rooms: Hotel President Wilson, Geneva, and Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons New York


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel President WilsonForget "Staycations." The uber-rich continue to globe-trot on private jets and bunk down in swanky pads-- like the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson, the world's most expensive at a whopping $52,000 a night. Elite Traveler recently released their list of the "101 Top Hotel/Resort Suites of the Year" in the July/August 2008 issue. Runners-up for priciest suite include the $50,000/night Royal Villa at the Grand Resort Lagonissi in Attica, Greece, and the $21,000/night Imperial Suite at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. In the U.S., the Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons New York has a price tag of $30,000 per night, making it the most expensive suite built in the U.S. Next up? The Chairman Suite at the Palazzo in Vegas ($20,000/night) followed by the Empire Suite at the Carlyle in New York and the Grand Suite at the Grand Wailea Resort (both at $15,000/night). For the full breakdown, click here.