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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 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.


Explore Angkor Wat in Style with Amansara and the New Khmer Village House

October 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amansara, CambodiaHead to the jungle of Cambodia and discover the secrets of an ancient civilization at Angkor, the 12th century capital of Khmer civilization. Housing over 100 stone temples, this magnificent architectural wonder is living testimony to Cambodia's ancestry. The place to stay is Amanresort's graceful contemporary sanctuary: Amansara, the former guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk now converted into a 24-suite retreat set within beautiful gardens. In addition to its spa, pools, and exquisite roof terrace, Amansara now boasts an additional treasure: the Khmer Village House at the 10th century "royal bathing pool" of Srah Srang, a 15 minute drive from Amansara. Guests can enjoy four excellent excursions at this special place:

A Picnic by the Lake: After you explore the temples of Angkor, relax with a picnic on the front veranda overlooking the lake. Steamed dumplings, fritters, and coconut-based delicacies are laid out in luxury. Take an afternoon siesta, or take off on bikes to discover the countryside.

When Evening Comes: Watch the setting sun from the veranda, drink in hand. Garden flares, flickering candles, and moonlight are the only sources of light, creating an impossibly romantic ambiance. Traditional Khmer dishes are prepared over a charcoal fire while a musician plays. Sip ginger tea on a daybed inside the house after the delicious meal.

Rural Healing: A 90-minute non-oil massage at the Khmer Village House, followed by an additional 90 minutes of rural relaxation. Ginger tea and a selection of Khmer sweets are served.

The Art of Khmer Cooking: A leisurely morning exploring local markets and gathering ingredients for a traditional cooking class. At the Khmer Village House, a small farm garden contains fresh herbs, vegetables and chilies, used in the dishes you will prepare. A Khmer chef will guide you through the recipes in the traditional kitchen.


InterContinental Concierges Provide “In the Know” Travel Tips

October 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong KongMost folks think of InterContinental Hotels as the first truly international hotel brand in the world. So it's no wonder that InterContinental-- as it continues to define glamorous global travel-- goes the extra mile to provide guests with unique experiences to enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. Case in point: the "In the Know" program that provides online destination videos and Internet communication with the hotel concierges. Today's savvy, worldly guests are pickier about what they expect from hotels, and InterContinental is on hand to point the way to authentic and local destination experiences.

At the InterContinental Grand Stafford in Hong Kong, for example, you'll find maps created by the concierge with suggestions for the best shopping and dining spots in the area. (The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus service to the Star Ferry area, to boot.) And at the Athenaeum InterContinental, the best hotel in Athens, the multi-lingual concierge can do a lot more than arrange tours of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Local insider tips include favorite neighborhoods, new exhibits, and what's new on the city scene. Even suggestions for the best Greek gifts to take home with you. Check out this video from the concierge.


What’s Happening in Hong Kong: Pierre Gagnaire’s Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental

September 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pierre restaurant, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong A Hong Kong institution, the Mandarin Oriental got a glam makeover last year. The $140 million overhaul has delighted both the press and the hotel's passionately loyal clientele. The restaurant from epicurean maestro Pierre Gagnaire is the crown jewel, perched on the 25th floor. Indeed, the October 2006 opening of Pierre, high atop the landmark hotel, has been the talk of the town for almost a year. Three-star Michelin chef, Pierre Gagnaire, serves up dramatic dishes in a magnificent setting with oversized windows framing Victoria Harbour. The extravagant French influenced cuisine is innovative and bold. A highlight from the menu is La Bretagne: Wild seabass carpaccio, endive-farm cider sorbet. Black wheat pancake filled with sea urchin and cauliflower florets in a noisette butter. Mako artichoke velouté, crab meat mayonnaise and purple artichoke.


New Years Party in Penang: Festive Rates at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort

September 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Penang Shangri-La is celebrating the holidays big time with festive packages at 13 city and resort hotels from Muscat to Manila. Guests can indulge in all sorts of exclusive add-ons, like daily breakfast for two, CHI massage treatments, dining credits, and late check-out. Book a room at the newly renovated Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, for example, and score rates as low as $250 per night (based on a three-night stay). The offer includes complimentary buffet breakfast at Spice Market Café and a complimentary one-way airport transfer. Nestled beside the crystal clear waters of world-famous Batu Feringgi beach, this resort is home to a beautiful, shore-side restaurant, a happening bar, and luxuriously appointed spa. After a $30 million renovation in 2006, this resort offers accommodations that are downright decadent.


The World’s Most Expensive Dessert: The Fortress Resort, Galle, Sri Lanka

September 27, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dessert at The Fortress, Galle A mere $14,500 will buy you a tasty, fruit-infused treat served with an 80 carat aquamarine stone. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, this artistic masterpiece includes a gold leaf Italian cassata flavored with Irish cream, mango and pomegranate compote-- along with a handmade chocolate carving in the shape of a local stilt fisherman (pictured). The inspiration behind the "Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence" is the resort's logo itself; stilt fishing is a centuries old tradition along the beautiful Sri Lankan coastline. Apparently no-one's yet forked over the cash to try this concoction. If you are so tempted, head to the resort's Wine³, a modern glass cave which showcases a breathtaking array of 2,000 Old and New World wines. Your indulgent dining experience is enhanced by the use of handmade glass cutlery, created exclusively for The Fortress by Glass Studio.


Buzzworthy: Fairmont Comes to Beijing

September 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beijing Summer Palace Beijing is welcoming a slew of new luxury hotels just in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. Just recently, Fairmont-- the iconic brand that got its start with the 1907 opening of that landmark Nob Hill establishment, Fairmont San Francisco-- announced plans to open a grand luxury hotel in the Chinese capital. This will be a welcome addition to the collection of fabled castles, secluded lodges, and modern retreats that dot North America and Europe. Fairmont will open this new 25-storey Beijing hotel in partnership with the Thailand-based Reignwood Group. Expect 235 classy guest rooms, restaurants and bars, and a 1,000 square meter Willow Stream Spa with fitness facilities and a swimming pool. Located downtown near landmarks like Tiananmen Square, the Fairmont Beijing is being designed by the Japan-based architectural firm Paul Tange & Associates.

Photo Via National Geographic


Buzzworthy: Philippe Starck and Adrian Zecha Design Cape Yamu in Phuket

September 13, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Yamu, Phuket Overlooking the limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, Cape Yamu is a new luxury development slated for Thailand's popular Phuket island. This elegant private community will be composed of beautiful villas with private access to a world-class spa, restaurant, and hotel services by GHM, the hotel management company operated by Amanresort's legendary founder, Adrian Zecha. Designed by Philippe Starck of YOO by Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy, celebrated for his work with Amanresorts, the development promises stunning design and architecture in an unrivaled setting. Construction has begun for the on-site five-star hotel called The Yamu. Set to open in 2008, the boutique hotel will have 61 guest rooms and two duplex suites, one of which will be attached to a state-of-the-art recording studio. Expect an 100-meter swimming pool, gorgeous spa, and restaurant and bar destined to be a Phuket hotspot.


The Fifth Amanresort Opens in Bhutan

September 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmankoraThe best way to see the magical kingdom of Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon, is with Amanresorts. For centuries the Kingdom was closed to the outside world, and Amanresorts was the first foreign company allowed to open a series of properties throughout the different remarkable regions of Bhutan. Called Amankora, the luxurious lodges are nestled strategically through the pristine landscape, the perfect place to discover the ancient traditions of the mystical Himalayas. Beginning in October 2007, the Amankora experience will be extended east to Bumthang with an additional 16-suite lodge with a dining room, living room, library and spa. Follow the "peaceful pilgrimage" of Amankora and enjoy a circuitous journey from lodge to lodge, experiencing the very best of Bhutan along the way.


Surfs Up in the Maldives at Anantara Resort

September 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Surfing Surfing in the Maldives? Who knew?! One of the premier luxury travel destinations in the world, the Maldives is known for its spectacular diving. But now guests of the Anantara Resort, the five-star hideaway spread across five acres of tropical terrain on Dhigufinolhu (island) on the South Male Atoll, can hit the waves as well. As of August 2007, the resort has partnered with award-winning Australian company Tropicsurf-- to offer an exciting range of surfing options including a 4-day coached course. Offshore from the perfect white sandy beaches and tropical lagoons, the aquamarine ocean gives way to perfectly groomed waves, sweeping over curved coral reefs. Both novices and serious thrill-seekers will enjoy the surf breaks of the Maldives. Video analysis is even on hand at the resort to improve each surfer's technique. The Four Day Surfing Course is priced at $695.