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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.

Shangri-La Hotel, Xian: Check In to Luxury and Check Out China’s Terracotta Warriors

April 14, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel, XianWith all the Olympic buzz, the world's gaze has shifted to China. You may not be heading to the games in Beijing this summer, but a trip to China, ranked one of the top international destinations by the World Tourism Organization, may be on the horizon. An absolute must is a visit to Xian, an ancient capital of China and the terminus of the legendary Silk Road, home to the Terracotta Warriors, one of China's most renowned archaeological discoveries. Described as a "Natural History Museum," Xian is simply brimming with relics and sites. The city is also an important part of the economic revival of interior China, a bustling modern city. The place to stay is the Shangri-La Hotel, Xian, situated within easy reach of the top tourist attractions and the city's business and entertainment districts. The only luxury hotel located in the Gaoxin hi-tech development zone, The Shangri-La has choice guest quarters and an impressive service team including IT butlers. Also on site: four trendy designer restaurants, the largest meeting and banqueting facilities in Xian, and a fully-equipped health club with heated pool.


Himalayan Adventure at Wildflower Hall, Simla, India

April 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wildflower HallBritish colonials flocked to the hill towns of northern India for the cool climate and incredible scenery, and the region continues to lure folks looking for trekking, rafting, and pampering. In the midst of this mindblowing landscape of pine forests, terraced hillsides and snowcapped peaks, Wildflower Hall promises an unforgettable stay in alpine India. It's managed by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts (the company behind the No. 1 resort in the world)-- an indication of the level of luxury offered here in the mountains. Situated at an altitude of 8,250 feet, 45 minutes outside Simla, the resort boasts a teak-paneled lobby, spa by Banyan Tree, heated indoor pool with mosaic floors and chandeliers, and an outdoor deck where you can soak in the whirlpool while checking out the views.

Of course there are a slew of adventure sports on offer, and from now until June 30, 2008, you can take advantage of a "Himalayan Adventure" package, which includes a variety of activities: a three-hour rafting trip down the white-water rapids of the Sutlej River (with gourmet lunch on the riverbank included), mountain-biking the picturesque trails around the forests of Wildflower Hall with an experienced guide and all-terrain bikes, and full spa treatments to soothe the body and mind after a day of adventure. Starting from INR 61,000 (double occupancy), the offer includes: 4 nights stay for two in a Premier room, daily Breakfast, one 3 hour white water magic rafting trip, one 60-minute spa treatment, daily Yoga and meditation sessions, tennis or ice skating in the rink (weather permitting), complimentary use of indoor swimming pool and health club, and choose either 1-hour Mountain Biking trip or a 3-hour hike with a naturalist.

Image Via New York Times


Chocolate Business Cards at the Conrad Bangkok

April 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad BangkokLeave it to the innovative Conrad Bangkok-- the cutting-edge luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Thai capital at All Seasons Place-- to come up with this exciting amenity. Polish Executive Pasty Chef Slawek Golaszewski at Conrad Bangkok has created edible Chocolate Business Cards made from dark and white chocolates. Now available at Baht 30 (1 US$ = 32 Baht ) per piece at the Deli by Conrad. Within 24 hours, guests can have their details embossed in chocolate (actual business card size) to make a sweet impression on their business associates. To quote the Chef: "I simply combine two key points to produce this. Firstly, Conrad Bangkok is a business hotel and clients always find something unique to impress their clients. Secondly, we are famous in homemade chocolates and creativity is us."


Langham Place Eco Resort, Krabi: Tempting Offer in Thailand

April 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place Eco Resort, KrabiExperience the pinnacle of luxury for a song. The Langham Place Eco Resort and Spa, the new eco-friendly hideaway on the small island of Koh Lanta off the southwest coast of mainland Thailand, has a special package for just $185 per night including transfers, a bountiful breakfast, daily fresh fruit basket in-room, and complimentary late check-out at 4 p.m. Play some tennis, hit the gym, enjoy the use of the non-motorized water sports equipment and the movie house and music room-- all included. The three-night "Buy Me" Package is priced from Baht 6,000 ($185) and is available until October 31, 2008.

P.S. The pix will make you pine for paradise-- soft sand, crystal clear water, dramatic infinity-edge pools with uninterrupted views to the Andaman Sea. And the accommodations, infused with authentic Thai style, are equally as inspiring.


Relax, Relieve, Rejuvenate with the Aleenta Spa Detox Retreat

April 4, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Shed all your worries and problems at the refreshing Aleenta Spa Detox Retreat. Enjoy the retreat's rejuvenating menu of organic fruits and vegetables, low fat meals and natural juices, all designed to get your body back in sync with your life, and leave you feeling refreshed and energized. The spa offers personalized treatments and relaxing activities to renew your body and your mind. Located in Hua Hin - Pranburi & Phuket - Phangnga, the award winning Aleenta Resorts and Spas are the perfect way to recapture your inner balance.


See the Taj Mahal from Every Room at the Luxurious Oberoi Amarvilas

April 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oberoi AmarvilasA trip to see the "world's greatest monument to love" is a once-in-a-lifetime must. The gleaming white Taj Mahal is as breathtaking in person as in all the photos. The place to stay is the opulent Oberoi Amarvilas, located just 600 meters from the Taj. A masterpiece inspired by Moorish and Mughal architecture, the Oberoi boasts views of the Taj from every single room in the hotel. Though if you choose a Luxury Suite, you can check out the monument from a telescope in the living room. You'll get spoiled like a maharajah at this grand hotel that epitomizes over-the-top luxury in every way. Don't miss the specialty baths at the Spa, operated by Banyan Tree. While soaking in warm water floating with flower petals, you can gaze out at the shimmering Taj Mahal.


Real Luxury Value at the Shangri-La Bangkok

April 2, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La BangkokSavvy travelers check into Bangkok's Shangri-La Hotel to experience the ultimate in luxury for a fraction of the price of what you'd find in a comparable luxury hotel in other cities around the globe. This riverside hotel has lavish facilities in a serene tropical setting, the ultimate retreat in a bustling metropolis. Centrally located in the Silom district, the Shangri-La is also convenient to the Saphan Taksin station of the Skytrain. Relax at the signature spa, and dine onboard the Horizon, the hotel's private river cruise ship. Book the Dream Deals package (available until Dec. 22, 2008), and you can get enjoy rates as low as $180 per night, which is the same price as an average hotel in the U.S. these days. And this hotel is anything but average. You'll get overnight accommodation, complimentary buffet breakfast for two, and an arrival airport limousine transfer. Or book the Spa Sensation package, available until June 30, 2008, and you'll score one night accommodation in a Krungthep Deluxe Room, daily breakfast in Riverside Lounge, spa treatments (one body scrub and one signature therapy), and Riverside Lounge privileges, featuring: all-day beverages, afternoon high tea, early evening cocktails and wireless high-speed Internet. All for just $375 per night.


The Four Seasons $100,000 Gift Card

March 25, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Golden TriangleHow's this for some mind-blowing indulgence? Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts offers a $100,000 gift card, and as Forbes Traveler points out, why not give the gift of around-the-world travel? With some stays at seriously luxurious digs, no less. You can hit up the Four Seasons Miami for the rowdy South Beach nightlife, taking advantage of the newly-appointed nightlife concierge, before hopping across the Atlantic to the Provence property with its sexy new spa, and then heading over to Asia for some luxury camping in the Golden Triangle of Thailand. Or, as the company recommends, why not start the trip with three nights in the Beverly Wilshire penthouse, followed by two nights at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche, then 11 nights in Thailand? (Two at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, three in a one-bedroom residence at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, three in a luxury tent at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle, and three in a two-bedroom estate at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.) The grand finale? Three nights in the chairman's suite of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi.


Small Luxury Hotels Announces Photo Competition: Win Cool Trips and Prizes!

March 24, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hostellerie Les Frenes, ProvenceSmall Luxury Hotels of the World-- the exclusive brand of more than 440 independent properties in 70 countries-- recently launched its inaugural worldwide photography competition with some incredible prizes. The idea is for travelers to share their most inspired moments and experiences "caught on film" during their trips-- whether biking through the Tuscan hills or watching the sunset over a beach in the Indian Ocean. The possibilities are limitless! Running from March 17, 2008 through July 31, 2008, the contest will take place completely online via a dedicated competition website. You can register with the site and then upload up to 10 of your favorite photos that capture a sense of place and experience. All submitted photos will be viewable in an online gallery. Four overall winning photographs will be chosen by a panel of judges including celebrity photographer Andy Earl (who shot Madonna, Prince and Pink Floyd for their album covers). And get this: anybody who registers and submits at least one photo will be automatically entered into a prize draw for a five-night stay at any of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.

The top prize winners will all receive a brand new Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 Camera with an 18-135mm zoom lens, plus, choose one of four incredible prize getaways including two round-trip tickets on American Airlines. The available prize packages are:

* A six-night Costa Rican Adventure spent at both Hotel Punta Islita and Gaia Hotel and Reserve

* A five-night English Town and Country Experience spent at both The Capital Hotel in London and Luton Hoo Country Estate

* A four-night Mexican Escape at Esencia on the Riviera Maya

* A three night Big Apple Experience in New York City at The Iroquois New York


Go Next: Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, Vietnam

March 20, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Metropole HanoiHanoi's most storied hotel, the French Colonial-style Sofitel Metropole, has welcomed ambassadors, heads-of-state and, yes, Graham Greene since its opening in 1901. There's an unmistakable air of romance to the place: ceiling fans and large wooden shutters and lush plants and lovely white linens and... (we could go on and on) Step off the sultry, steamy city streets (buzzing with motorbikes) and you'll slip into an oasis of calm. Both French cuisine and Hanoi Specialties await at the hotel's fine restaurants. After exploring the vibrant city, retire to a chamber that radiates historical grandeur with all the modern comforts like Internet, LCD TVs and DVD players.