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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.

The Nam Hai, Vietnam: Best Beach Resort in Asia

November 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Nam HaiThe awards keep streaming in for The Nam Hai, the stunning Asian flagship for GHM (of Setai fame). The Nam Hai nabbed the #1 spot for the Best New Beach Resort at the 18th annual TTG Travel awards, which honor the movers and shakers in Asia-Pacific's travel industry. Since its opening in December 2006, the Nam Hai has been turning heads nonstop. Nestled on the pristine beach in Hoi An, Vietnam, the Nam Hai is a gorgeous design hotel with close proximity to important UNESCO World Heritage sites: the ancient Cham sanctuary of My Son and the citadels of Hue. You'll find in-room bathtubs, rain showers, flat-screen TVs and iPods, and in-room bars. There's an all-natural spa center, tennis courts, exquisite beachfront swimming pools, and a restaurant serving the finest Vietnamese cuisine overlooking water gardens and the ocean.


The World’s Best Hotels with a View

November 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmanganiWe're constantly scouring the earth for the best luxury hotels. When we stumble across hotels with views this breathtaking, this heartstoppingly beautiful, we can't help but get lyrical about them.

Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the ultra-luxurious Amangani is set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, offering panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park.

Hotel Caruso

Hotel Caruso, Amalfi Coast, Italy

Soaring 350 meters above the sea, hugging the cliffside over the Mediterranean, the Hotel Caruso commands the ultimate location. White stucco houses draped with brilliant bougainvillea, this is sun-kissed Italy at its most charming. With views like this, the infinity pool is easily among the most beautiful in the world.

Oberoi Udaivilas

Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan, India

Sitting high above Udaipur's fabled lake, the Oberoi Udaivilas looks across to the floating City Palace, gleaming white in the sunshine, and Aravalli Hills beyond. Named the best hotel in the world in Travel and Leisure's 2007 reader's poll, the Oberoi Udavilas has rooms fit for a maharajah in India's romantic desert city.

Ritz-Carlton TokyoThe Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Japan

Occupying the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-story Midtown Tower, the tallest building in Tokyo, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo features 360-degree panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji. When it debuted in April 2007, the hotel dazzled Tokyo with its over-the-top service and amenities (like the $16,000 Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini with its very own Bulgari diamond).

Post Ranch Inn

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California

Along the stretch of mythic California Highway 1, Big Sur enchants visitors with its awe-inspiring landscapes. Smack dab in the middle of this dramatic coastline, the Post Ranch Inn offers rustic elegance and incredible views. Dine above the Pacific at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant, guaranteed to be one of the most romantic dining experiences of your life.

Hayman Island Resort

Hayman Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Located on the southwestern side of Hayman Island just beside the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island Resort boasts an idyllic setting surrounded by coral fringed beaches and the lapping waters of the Coral Sea. The resort has a style as special as its setting, and boasts the largest swimming pool in the southern hemisphere.

Jumeirah Essex House

Jumeirah Essex House, New York

The Grande Dame of New York is uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, just across the street from 843 acres of parkland. An internationally renowned urban oasis, the Jumeirah Essex House has an excellent location right in the heart of midtown Manhattan.The 515 guest rooms and suites-- fresh from a $70 million renovation-- boast breathtaking views of Central Park. Plus, the hotel has a camera on the roof which scans the city and broadcasts live to a channel in the guest rooms.

Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa

Situated where earth, sea, and sky meet, Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is poised above the Atlantic, flanked by Table Mountain and the majestic Twelve Apostles range, just minutes from the glorious oceanfront city of Cape Town.

Copacabana Palace, Rio

Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro

Looming over the world-famous Copacabana beach, the Copacabana Palace is legendary, a glamorous piece of Rio's history. Like a sumptuous white wedding cake on the sand, the hotel has hosted royalty, film stars, and world leaders.

Cap Estel

Cap Estel, Eze-Bord-de-Mer, French Riviera

Located between Nice and Monaco in the charming clifftop village of Eze-Bord-de-Mer, Cap Estel is situated on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean with a 180 degree view of the coastline. All the guest rooms at this renowned 19th century hotel have a balcony or terrace with a sea view.

Four Seasons Hong Kong

Four Seasons Hong Kong

Heralded as the "first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years," the sleek Four Seasons opened in September 2005. Easily the top location on Hong Kong Island, the hotel is located on the waterfront of the Central neighborhood, with the Star Ferry just steps away. Its 399 spacious guestrooms have wall-to-wall windows offering views of the Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak. From the outdoor infinity pools, heated in winter, guests enjoy sweeping Harbour views.

Hotel Hassler

Hotel Hassler, Rome

The Eternal City's most luxurious and romantic hideaway, the Hotel Hassler is perched above the Spanish Steps in an unbeatable location. Hands down the best views over Rome (while working out at the health club, you can check out St Peter’s Cathedral!)

Machu Picchu

The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Peru

The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located adjacent to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, one of the world's major heritage sites. Managed by Orient-Express, the luxurious Sanctuary Lodge can arrange visits to Machu Picchu with experienced guides.


Federer-Sampras Tennis Showdown at the Venetian Macao

November 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Venetian MacaoIn just a few weeks, the Venetian Macao Resort will host a historic tennis match. Catch the action as the former World No. 1 tennis legend Pete Sampras goes head-to-head with the current World No. 1 tennis champ Roger Federer. There's been a lot of hype about this match between two of the greatest tennis players of all time. Called the most sought-after tennis event of 2007, the Venetian Macao Tennis Showdown will be played on Saturday, November 21 at the hotel's stunning event center. Fittingly, the Venetian Macao has put together some impressive packages for the event: Platinum, Gold, and Silver. The three-day/two-night Platinum Package, available for November 23-25, 2007, includes tickets in the Reserve A section for the match along with a slew of add-ons: complimentary drink at the Bellini Lounge, daily buffet breakfast, a 15-minute gondola ride down the Grand Canal, and your choice of fine dining experiences at the resort's superb restaurants. Priced at HKD 4,888 per person, assuming double occupancy.


Fuchun Resort: High-Design Heaven in China’s Hangzhou Province

October 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fuchun ResortJust 150 miles from Shanghai, you'll find a stylish sanctuary-- a modern day imperial compound-- that's hailed as China's leading resort. Nestled in the tea-covered hills of Fuyang village in Hangzhou province, the magical Fuchun Resort was inspired by a 700-year old painting. These lush surroundings were where Yuan dynasty painter Wang Gongwang went into exile, and it's easy to see why this storybook setting prompted his classic landscape painting, "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains." And with villas designed by Jean-Michel Gathy of Amanresort fame, it's no wonder Condé Nast described the Fuchun Resort as one of the World's Best New Hotels (2005)-- the only hotel in China to make the list. The accommodations are stunning, with Jacuzzis and oodles of technological gadgetry. From your private balcony, you'll contemplate incredible mountain views. Other facilities include a glamorous spa, golf course, two tennis courts, a mountaintop conference pavilion, and a ballroom.

For more photos, check out Flickr


The Historic First Flight of the Airbus 380: Swooning over Singapore Airlines Suites

October 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Singapore Airlines SuitesThe world's biggest jumbo jet landed in Sydney today. The first commercial flight for the A380, operated by Singapore Airlines, was a resounding success, as the tickets for the inaugural flight were sold as part of a charity auction. (Folks paid between $560 and $100,380 for seats.) Word from the lucky passengers who took part on the maiden voyage? The plane is an engineering marvel, with a cabin that's practically silent. The cabin products are dreamy. Case in point: the Singapore Airlines Suites (pictured)-- a class beyond first. Modeled on luxury yacht interiors, the suites feature real beds with Givenchy-designed bedding. It's like your very own personal cabin, where you dine off fine china and drink from crystal glasses. The plane will be introduced on long-haul routes to London, Tokyo, and San Francisco in early 2008.


Buzzworthy: Langham Place Eco Resort and Spa Opens in Krabi, Thailand

October 23, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place Eco-Resort, KrabiLangham Hotels International will open its newest gem in the beautiful Thai province of Krabi in January. Since the London flagship opened in 1865, the Langham name has come to represent hotels that epitomize elegance and sophistication. (The Langham in Hong Kong is easily one of the top hotels in Asia.) Now Langham brings that legendary reputation to Lanta Yai Island in Krabi province, where an eco-friendly resort will offer luxurious accommodations that coexist in perfect harmony with the magnificent surrounding landscape. The five-star resort features 185 rooms and villas perched on the beach and up the gently sloping hillside overlooking Klong Tob Bay. Other facilities include four swimming pools, including a unique ocean pool, six restaurants and bars, and a plethora of sporting and leisure facilities-- from diving to mountain biking.


One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah Tops Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Travel Awards

October 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One and Only Maldives at Reethi RahThe annual CNT Reader's Travel Awards have been released, so now we can ogle these gorgeous properties to our hearts' content. Perusing the list, you may wonder: Just why did the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah get top honors, scoring the number one position on the chart? Conde Nast Traveller readers voted this the top hotel in the world, with a score of 96.45 percent out of 100 (the magazine's index of satisfaction). So what makes this spot so special?

Blissful spa? Check. A truly dreamy tropical setting? Check. Decadent cuisine? Check. Sleek over-water villas from where you can go for a dip in the crystal clear sea? But of course. But more than the standard fare at luxury hotels, the One&Only Maldives offers a level of privacy and exclusivity which is truly unprecedented. In other words, this resort is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.

You've seen the ads. Impossibly good-looking couple disembarks from a private plane, while the grinning One&Only staff greet them, gracefully balancing designer luggage and trays of chilled cocktails. Enough said.


New Years Eve in Bangkok at the Shangri-La Hotel

October 17, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La BangkokWhat better way to celebrate New Year's Eve than on the banks of the Chao Praya River at one of the world's best hotels? The Shangri-La Bangkok ushers in 2008 with a poolside gala dinner party on New Year's Eve with special dance shows, entertainment, and a splendid array of delicious dishes. Not to mention the grand fireworks display! Book the New Year's Eve Package and enjoy a two-night stay in a luxurious Executive Suite with complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two, full Horizon Club access, a complimentary one-way transfer from airport to hotel, and the big countdown party! This New Year's Eve Package is priced from $609 per night, based on a two-night minimum stay, and is available from December 30, 2007- January 1, 2008.

PS. The Horizon Club (Krungthep Wing) provides lucky guests with a slew of benefits including access to a private lounge, all-day tea and coffee, juices and soft drinks, afternoon high tea, early evening cocktails and a range of business amenities.


New Years Eve in Tokyo at the New York Grill and Bar, Park Hyatt

October 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

New York Grill and Bar, Park Hyatt TokyoCelebrate the end of 2007 at the hottest bar in Tokyo, the landmark New York Grill & Bar at the Park Hyatt Hotel. The memorable backdrop for the film Lost in Translation, this stunning spot blends jazz, creative cuisine, and the best views in Tokyo (all the way to Mount Fuji!) for the ultimate New Year's Eve party. Why not begin 2008 on a high note, 52 storeys above the city? The New Year's Eve Countdown Dinner showcases the cosmopolitan flavors of New York (the bar's namesake) as Chef Andrew McKee and his team cook up delectable dishes featuring Fresh Hokkaido Taraba Crab and Grilled Miyazaki 'Koyama' Ribeye. Sip champagne in the candlelight while listening to live music. After 9 p.m., enjoy sounds by soulful jazz vocalists, Nicole Henry and Karen Jones. The 1st seating at the New York Grill is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and is priced from JPY 28,000 per person, including a 5-course menu and a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal. The second seating is from 9 p.m. to countdown and costs JPY 42,000, including a 6-course menu and a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal. Reservations are required for the New York Bar after 9 p.m. The cover charge is JPY 10,000 and includes assorted canapés and a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal.


The Best Chinese Food in Hong Kong at Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel

October 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hong KongHong Kong may be the world's hottest culinary destination. We've waxed poetic about the new Nobu at the InterContinental and Pierre Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, but there's another player on the scene in this culinary capital. What other luxurious establishment has attracted a superstar chef? The Four Seasons, widely hailed as the first major hotel to open in Hong Kong in 15 years. You'll find the city's best contemporary Cantonese cuisine at Lung King Heen (View of the Dragon). Using only the freshest local ingredients, renowned chef Chan Yan Tak creates innovative dishes which combine French and Southeast Asian touches. Commanding spectacular harbour views, the environment is modern and stylish. Silver and glass accents replicate the glitter of Hong Kong's skyline at night. Dim sum here is not to be missed.