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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 Grand Debut of The Venetian Macao Resort

August 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Venetian Macao Resort It's official. The Venetian Macao Resort, the sprawling, $2.8 billion, 3,000-suite mega hotel from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, opens today at 7:18 p.m. Special introductory rates start from just HK 1,088-- about $140 per night! This is just the beginning for the Sin City of China, which will see a bumper crop of luxury hotels sprouting up in this former Portuguese enclave on the mouth of the Pearl River, including a St. Regis, a Shangri-La, a Raffles, and a Conrad. And let's not forget the Wynn, which opened last year in this booming gaming capital.


Announcing the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

August 24, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Maldives The Maldives is almost bursting at the seams with swanky hotels. From the One & Only to the W Retreat and Spa, The Maldives are the islands du jour. Now Conrad has announced an exciting rebranding of the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa Rangali, which will move under the Conrad umbrella of luxury hotels starting December 18, 2007. Renowned for its attentive service and breathtaking natural beauty, the resort is an idyllic piece of paradise, situated on two islands enclosed by a coral reef and lagoon. Spa aficionados will be thrilled by the spas-- as there are two, one on each island, with different product ranges and philosophies. Experience sophisticated barefoot luxury at this romantic retreat. Dive and snorkel the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, take Pilates and yoga classes, plan an excursion island hopping on the resort's private yacht.


Shangri-La Opens CHI, The Spa in Guangzhou and Manila

August 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La CHI spas Shangri-La continues to raise the bar for Asian luxury hotels with the launch of CHI, The Spa at two additional properties. After successful launches in Bangkok, Beijing and Pudong Shanghai, the spa brand CHI will open in hotels in Guangzhou, China and Manila, The Philippines. Guests go gaga over the signature spa services inspired by Chinese and Himalayan healing philosophies, along with traditions associated with each specific hotel destination. In Manila, for example, the treatment menu features Hilot, a healing massage based on Filipino folk medicine, and Dagdagay, a traditional foot massage using bamboo sticks practiced by indigenous mountain tribes in the Philippines. The spa also offers rejuvenating body scrubs like the Himalayan Goji Red Berry Scrub and Tropical Coconut Scrub. CHI spas are tranquil retreats, modeled on the "spa within a spa concept" so that each private suite is a refuge in and of itself. Each suite offers herbal steam rooms, infinity baths with color therapy, rain showers, and vanity areas. The Lotus Pond is a striking architectural feature unique to CHI spas. As guests are led to their treatment suites they come to a serene pool adorned with dramatic, sculptural flora. (Pictured at right.)


Shangri-La Beijing Unveils New Spa and Valley Wing

August 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing Let the countdown begin. There's a year to go before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and visitors are already eagerly plotting their trips to the Chinese capital. A good bet is the award-winning Shangri-La Hotel, recently renovated with a spectacular $50 million Valley Wing, contemporary restaurant Blu Lobster (with the most extensive selection of Bordeaux wines in the city), and CHI Spa, one of the most luxurious spa facilities in Beijing. Guests of the new Valley Wing enjoy an unparalleled level of service with chauffeur-driven limousines, exclusive check-in lounge, 24-hour butler service, and complimentary breakfast, snacks, wines and canapés in the grand Valley Wing Lounge. A landmark in the western part of the city close to the Summer Palace and the Beijing Exhibition hall, the Shangri-La also features a state-of-the-art health club with heated indoor pool and rooftop garden. Don't miss an excursion on the River Dragon, the exclusive touring boat moored at the hotel which offers four cruises daily to the Summer Palace, passing by old bridges, temples, and traditional Chinese courtyard houses on the riverbanks.

Pictured: The new treatment rooms at the CHI Spa. Each CHI suite features a changing area and rain shower, in addition to heat treatments, bathing and relaxation spaces. Inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies, CHI offers treatments and therapies that combine the healing rituals and traditions of China and the Himalayas.


A Diver’s Paradise in the Maldives at Cocoa Island

August 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cocoa Island, Maldives Imagine: a host of teeming marine life-- trumpet fish, white and black tip reef sharks, and turtles-- right outside your villa sundeck. Cocoa Island, the Indian Ocean outpost from COMO Hotels and Resorts (the folks behind Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos), is located in a quiet atoll where the waters are undisturbed. Diving in the Maldives is rated among the best in the world, and Cocoa Island has an on-site dive center staffed by PADI certified instructors catering to every level of experience. You can rent equipment, enroll in PADI sanctioned diving courses, and adventure out on safari dives farther afield. You can even take part in night dives. Cocoa Island's house reef stretches to over 500 meters along the southern flank of the atoll, and with a visibility of 20 to 25 meters, both divers and snorkelers are delighted by the exquisite coral and its thriving ecosystem.


Announcing The Peninsula Tokyo

August 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Tokyo Come September 1st, The Peninsula Tokyo will dazzle guests with the legendary glamour and prized service of The Peninsula brand. With the Tokyo debut, The Peninsula Hotels opens its eighth hotel worldwide-- and guests are in for a treat. Rooms are among the city's largest and boast stunning views of the Tokyo skyline, Imperial Gardens and Hibiya Park. Forget multi-use high-rises or office buildings; the 24-floor hotel is the only free-standing luxury hotel to be built in Tokyo in more than a decade. Conveniently situated in the business district of Marunouchi on Harumi-dori Avenue and Naka-dori Avenue, located near the shopping capital of Ginza, The Peninsula Tokyo is a contemporary homage to Japanese heritage and culture, with traditional accents in the guest rooms, along with all the comforts and innovative technology to be expected in this tech capital. Sophisticated facilities include five unique restaurants, a modern lounge bar, two ballrooms, six elegantly designed function rooms, a wedding chapel, a Japanese ceremony room, a fitness center, The Peninsula Spa by ESPA and three luxury jewelry shops, all making their retail debut in Japan-- GRAFF, de GRISOGONO and Chantecler Tokyo.


Suite Dreams: The Presidential Suite at InterContinental Hong Kong

August 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong Kong, Presidential Suite There's a lot to love at the InterContinental Hong Kong: the large outdoor heated swimming pool and unique trio of infinity spa pools, the luxurious I-Spa (with its feng shui inspired ambiance), prime waterfront location in Kowloon, unparalleled dining, not to mention the spectacular views. But one of the best things about the hotel is the stunning Presidential Suite, one of the most beautiful in Asia, and the city's priciest and largest. The price tag is $10,000 a night for 7,000 square feet of pure luxury. The 2,500 square ft terrace boasts its own infinity pool overlooking the sparkling lights of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. The wrap-around terrace can easily seat 50 folks for dinner, and 24-hour room service from Alain Ducaisse's Spoon Restaurant is a perk enjoyed only by guests of the Presidential Suite. Of course this five-room facility has made the roster of Forbes' most expensive hotel rooms in the world.


King’s Cup Elephant Polo with Anantara Resort, Golden Triangle, Thailand

August 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elephant Polo at Anantara Resort Thailand's highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns to the hills of the Golden Triangle in 2008. Mark your calendars for March 31-April 6, for some serious fun in the sun. Event organizer, Anantara Resorts, describes the event as wildly entertaining, ranked as the 6th largest on the Thai tourism calendar. And it's easy to understand why. A charitable event that raises money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang, King's Cup Elephant Polo is chock full of celebrities, seasoned elephant polo players, colorful parades and elephants. Plus, it's location in spectacular northern Thailand showcases the natural beauty of the Golden Triangle region, home to Thailand's elephant population. Indeed Anantara Resort has its own Elephant Camp, an on-site sanctuary for these peaceful pachyderms. Located 60 kilometers north of the Chiang Rai airport, perched on a ridge overlooking the hills of Myanmar and Laos, Anantara is all about laid-back luxury. Here you can experience the refreshing chill of a Northern Thai sunrise shrouded in mountain mist; the rush of a longboat ride up the Mekong to Laos; the exhilaration of riding an elephant through bamboo jungle along the border of Burma.

PS. The sport of Elephant Polo poses no threat to the participating creatures, says the World Wildlife Fund.


Major U.S. Airlines Play Catch Up with Luxury Airlines

August 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

United lie-flat seats Looks like United and American are still in the running. Luxury airline favorites like Eos and Maxjet have been getting a lot of press (read: a lot of business), and the major U.S. carriers are taking notice. High-paying customers have flocked to the new all-business class airlines, where spacious seats, cutting edge technology, and truly decadent meals are run of the mill. Now United and American Airlines, the nation's largest air carriers, are preparing to enter the fray with costly makeovers to get a piece of the pie. On international flights, first-class and business travelers can soon expect big lie-flat seats, ample leg room, elaborate in-flight entertainment systems, and lots of pampering and perks. These changes to business and fist-class seats will start to take place late this year and early next year.


Five Star Alliance Selects World’s Best Luxury Hotels 2007

July 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peter Island It's official. Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel agency for luxury hotels, has released the annual "World's Best Luxury Hotels" lists. Our crew of somewhat obsessive luxury hotel fans gives recs so often, we decided it's important to share that info with the world. Along with the company's expertise, the criteria used to select the World's Best Luxury Hotels includes honest feedback from Five Star Alliance clients and the popularity of hotels. Since Five Star Alliance only focuses only luxury hotels, these picks are truly la crème de la crème.

The world's most luxurious hotels are selected for eight categories, including Luxury Beach Resorts, Business Hotels, Luxury Honeymoon Resorts, Luxury Golf Resorts, Luxury Spa Resorts, Luxury Ski Resorts, Luxury Resorts for Families, and Romantic Resorts.

Do you have a favorite that didn't make our lists? After checking them out, come back and discuss your favorites with us! (You'll find a link for comments at the bottom of each list.)