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.

Summer Pasta Festival at The Peninsula Bangkok


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Bangkok

It's back. Executive Chef Philip Sedgwick is cooking up some summer fun at The Peninsula Bangkok-- the riverside palace hotel that's become a legend in hospitality. From June-August 2009, The Lobby will offer a delicious assortment of fresh, home-made pastas and sauces during the Pasta Festival. Sauces include the following flavorful mixes: Duck Ragout, with black olives and pine nuts; a zesty Amatriciana sauce with spicy pork cheeks and Rome tomatoes (the pasta lover's all-time fave); and a hearty, vegetarian delight of tomato, basil, and eggplant. All sauces can be served alongside your choice of classic fettucini, strozzapreti, or farfalle. Don't miss the Chef's Specialties: Ricotta Ravioli with thyme, crayfish and creamy bell peppers, or Duck Liver and Pumpkin Cannelloni with roasted sage jus. The Pasta Festival Menu is available daily in The Lobby for lunch and dinner.

PS. Head to the River Bar for a refreshing cocktail and unsurpassed views of the River of Kings.


Sunday Brunch in Hong Kong at the InterContinental Grand Stanford


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong KongGuests of the InterContinental Grand Stanford-- the internationally-renowned hotel in Kowloon-- are in for a treat. You can tuck into a royal feast for Sunday Brunch at Mistral Restaurant; the Italian restaurant offers a Sparkling Sunday Brunch so you can revel in an endless flow of Prosecco, savor the finest quality foie gras, and taste an array of Italian favorites, while your kids are happily entertained at the Leap Frog Kids' Corner. Available on Sundays from 11:30 am-2:30 pm. In addition to the excellent dining outlets, the hotel is famous for its Sun Court Pool (pictured), designed with lush landscaping, a luxurious wood deck, and river-washed stones. Relax in a lounge chair under the cooling mist and take in the expansive city views of Victoria Harbour.


Bonus Choices Abound at Shangri La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei


By: K. Clare Johnson

Shangri La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel As if you needed a reason to visit Taipei. Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel is offering a Bonus Choice package starting at TWD 8,520. The deal entitles you to complimentary Internet access and late check-out until 4pm. Plus, you can choose one of the following:

• Spa treatments credit of NTD1,500

• Dining credit of NTD1,500

• Quadruple bonus airline frequent flyer mileage

A minimum 2-night stay is required and the deal is subject to prevailing tax and service charges. Unused portions of selected benefit is not transferable and will not be refunded to your hotel bill. Dining credits (where available) may be used for all meal periods except breakfast and banquet functions. Spa credits (where available) do not guarantee availability of spa appointments.


Blissful Dreams at Rasananda Phangan Island, Thailand


By: K. Clare Johnson

Rasananda PhanganThailand's Rasananda Phangan Island wants every moment of your vacation to be luxurious and blissful. The 44 villas & suites nestled at the base of a mountain all have private pools and Rasananda's exclusive "blissful dreams" mattress-- adorned with 500 thread count bed linens and goose down duvets. The room has hardwood floors, Thai teakwood furniture accented with handwoven silks and cottons, along with flat screen TVs, satellite television, a home theatre and Apple TV. Even the Princess from The Princess and the Pea would get a good night's sleep if she were slumbering here!


Pillow Menus and Poolside Massages at The Sukhothai, Bangkok


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Sukhothai, BangkokImagine a leafy oasis of courtyards, lotus ponds, and palatial rooms-- in the middle of bustling Bangkok. Hard to believe that such a tranquil hotel can be found in this urban center, but the beautifully-designed Sukhothai does indeed offer guests a city resort experience. Elegant guest rooms recall a bygone era; think Thai silk and teakwood furnishings. Guests are ensured a restful night's sleep with the exclusive pillow menu created in partnership with Parker & Morgan pillows. The Sukhothai's leisure facilities are what you'd expect to find at a beach, not in the middle of Bangkok: a fully-equipped spa, gym, jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath, 25-meter swimming pool, squash and tennis courts. Nestled in the garden, Spa Botanica has now expanded its holistic wellness experience throughout The Sukhothai Bangkok by offering a Poolside Massage Service.


Hotel Sofitel on Renmin Square: Where to Stay in Xian, China


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Xian on Renmin SquareHeading to Xian to see the Terracotta warriors?  One of the oldest cities in Chinese history, situated at the eastern end of the Silk Road, Xian boasts more than 3,100 years of history and a slew of interesting sites. Of all the pagodas, museums, and temples, the most touristed is the world-famous Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army-- a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's not-to-be missed. The place to stay in Xian is the Sofitel on Renmin Square, easily the most luxurious hotel in town, and close to all the major sites. Recognized as one of the world's top business hotels (as Xian is also an important business capital), the Sofitel has myriad dining options and a spa and indoor pool, along with swanky accommodations.


Take Comfort in Luxury at the St Regis Beijing


By: Alison Victor

St. Regis BeijingLocated in the center of Beijing's business, shopping and diplomatic district, only a few minutes drive away from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, is the St. Regis Beijing. This ultra-luxurious property takes pride in being a home away from home for even the most discerning traveler. The St. Regis Beijing has 258 guest rooms and suites equipped with the most luxurious amenities. In every room you will find walk-in closets, spacious marble bathrooms, signature beds, and of course, fresh flowers. For those of you traveling with a larger group, connecting rooms are available upon request. The St. Regis Beijing wants every guest to feel the comfort of home with the luxury of five star service and amenities. Book now through June, and you can stay in a deluxe, king bedded room for around 300 USD per night.


Scuba Diving (and Detox Program) at the Aleenta Resort in Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Aleenta Resort

From the floor-to-ceiling windows in your room at the Aleenta Resort, you can take in views of the white sandy beaches and exotic vegetation on Thailand's Andaman coast. The rooms may be gorgeous at this idyllic seaside retreat, but the limestone rock formations in nearby Phang Nga Bay National Park are even prettier. Aleenta is the ideal base to explore the region's sybaritic delights. Located right on the beach, Aleenta encourages guests to explore Thailand's underwater marvels, as well. The "Dive Escape" package includes a "Whale Snark and Manta Safari"-- one full-day private charter for two people including three dives, all equipment, and a gourmet picnic on board. What's more-- Aleenta is famous for its spa's detox program, so you can refresh and rejuvenate yourself while on vacay.


Affordable Luxury in Thailand: Free Third Night in Bangkok at The Metropolitan


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Metropolitan BangkokSo maybe you missed the $99 room rates at Bangkok's sexy Metropolitan Hotel in April (The New York Times just plugged Thailand as the place to go for affordable luxury, despite the anti-government protests)-- but that doesn't mean you can't snag a great deal at this stylish, city-center favorite. You'll find a calming oasis in the middle of bustling Bangkok, complete with a spa, award-winning cuisine, and hopping bar. From now until June 30th, 2009, when you book two consecutive nights in a Metropolitan Room, you'll receive the third night complimentary.


An Interview with the GM: Mr. Frank Beck of The St. Regis Bali Resort


By: K. Clare Johnson

Frank BeckMr. Frank Beck is General Manager of

The St. Regis Bali Resort – the first St. Regis resort to open in Asia Pacific. He was previously General Manager of The Laguna Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali, a Luxury Collection property. Mr. Beck recently took some time to sit down and answer a few of our questions.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the resort?

Frank Beck: I had been working for the Starwood Hotels & Resorts group for the past 20 years having held senior management positions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including eight years in Indonesia. When this opportunity to be General Manager arose with The St. Regis Bali Resort, considering my wealth of experience in luxury hotels, the group approached me to fill this position. Being part of a team that creates and opens a new resort is a prospect which I feel is one I am really excited about.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the resort?

Frank Beck: We believe that The St. Regis Bali Resort is unique and different from other competing resorts starting with its location as it is located right at the beach with the Strand Villas, Strand Residences as well as Cloud Nine Honeymoon villa nestled right in front with a wooden gate leading right into the clear and clean waters of the beach. The St. Regis Bali Resort sits on 8.8 hectares of flat lands with 123 villas and suites thereby drawing a very spacious feel which sits well with the latest concept of modern luxury. All furniture in the villas and suites are individually produced and feature rich imported fabrics and materials and this provides a rich residential feel. These key distinctive features together with the signature St. Regis Butler Service, we believe will make the resort stand out and attract the market.

In one word, the personality of hotel is one of passion. This passion I speak of is not only evident in the hardware with its intricate design and detail in architecture both in interiors and landscape but also in each and every staff in providing the level of service the St. Regis brand is recognized for.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the resort's location? What is your favourite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Frank Beck: The resort is located right at the beachfront which provides not only a magnificent panoramic view of the majestic Indian Ocean from the grand lobby and many of the suites and villas but also the location affords all guests quick proximity and easy access to the beach. And of course, The Strand Villas and Residences with our Cloud Nine villas have direct access to the beach through the stunningly landscaped gardens. Besides lounging in the private pools of the villas, at the beach or in the 3668 square-meter lagoon as well as taking a culinary journey at the restaurants in The St. Regis Bali Resort, guests can also walk around Nusa Dua which is very green with a variety of plants and trees and therefore called "Garden of Bali" and with walking and jogging paths. Guests can also do some shopping and dining at Bali Collection which features some retail shops including a department store and a few restaurants.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Frank Beck: The St. Regis Bali Resort targets individuals who desire the luxury of space. These individuals are educated, affluent professionals and industry leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit who travel for business and pleasure. They are equally likely to be a senior executive or an owner / partner in a business. They are contemporary epicureans, dedicated to sensual pleasure, and enjoy the true "art of living." Our main geographical markets are Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Russia, America, United Kingdom and Germany.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Frank Beck: It is dependent on my objective of the stay but generally I would want to know the location of the hotel, details of the rooms and the facilities it provides. It is important that the rooms are luxuriously comfortable not only for me but also for my wife and kids and I am a food and wine lover and as such, would be very particular about the hotel offering a sumptuous fare and premium wine.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the resort, what would that be?

Frank Beck: I believe being a General Manager is like being an entrepreneur and in being the latter, one has to have good business acumen and also emotional quotient (EQ) in dealing with employees and human resource issues. I do not think one can cite the hardest part of being a General Manager but instead I can safely say from time to time a challenge may crop up and it is very rewarding to overcome this challenge. As the resort is brand new, I cannot see anything I would like to change for now.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?

Frank Beck: There is nothing like going through an experience and being able to have all senses in one touched. I would therefore like to extend a warm welcome to all to experience The St. Regis Bali Resort.