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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.

Raffles Beijing: The Hotel of Choice for the 2008 Olympic Games

April 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles Beijing The Chinese capital's in the press a lot these-- mind-boggling economic growth, the new city-wide anti-spitting campaign, and all the buzz for the imminent Olympic games. After all, tickets have just gone on-sale! So once you've secured seats for your favorite sporting event, it's time to think lodging. The place to stay in Beijing is the new Raffles, awarded "Best New City Hotel" by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report (2007) and also listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2007 "Hot List." Dating from the 1900's, the distinguished hotel is an architectural icon in the city. The location is ideal, just minutes from the Forbidden City and historic Tiananmen Square. The 171 guest rooms are downright decadent.

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Luxury Values in Bangkok: Baan Thai Wellness Retreat

April 13, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Baan Thai Wellness Retreat The hotel trend in Bangkok these days is going "mini," according to a recent Travel and Leisure article. Smaller boutique hotels are setting the standard for affordable luxury and authentic experiences. Smack dab in the middle of the bustling cosmopolitan city (amidst soaring skyscrapers, a maze of traffic, and Sky Trains), the Baan Thai Wellness Retreat is a tranquil oasis in the Sukhumvit area of downtown Bangkok. Sprawling across a royal estate of five two-storey Thai teak homes transported from Ayutthaya (the ancient Thai capital), the hotel is straight out of the Old World, but wrapped in contemporary luxury. Rooms are outfitted with sumptuous Thai silk, antiques, and elegant teak furniture. Choose a suite with private pool, or opt for a spa suite with outdoor massage table and private treatment room. The Spa itself is a luxurious hideaway with a full menu of spa services. Three night packages start from $770 per person (double).


Over-The-Top Luxury in Tokyo at the Brand New Ritz-Carlton

April 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Tokyo Say hello to the newest five-star hotel in Tokyo, housed in the tallest skyscraper in the Japanese capital. Recently opened in the beginning of April 2007, the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo occupies the top nine floors and the first three levels of the 53-storey Midtown Tower. The hotel is utterly dazzling. There are panoramic vistas of the city and Mount Fuji, the magnificent sky lobby, sensational restaurants and bars, the 2,000 square meter Spa by ESPA, and a highly sought-after Wedding Chapel. As reported by the Washington Post, the international brands of five-star hotels are taking Tokyo by storm. The Ritz-Carlton is the fifth after the Mandarin Oriental, the Conrad, the Grand Hyatt and the Four Seasons. These hotels are upping the ante as Japan's own upscale hoteliers sometimes "fail to deliver" for Japan's "New Rich:"

The Ritz-Carlton will make an ice sculpture that holds an engagement ring for a man planning to propose to his girlfriend. It also places playful little cards under beds in hopes of wowing fussy and hypochondriac Japanese guests. The cards say: "We cleaned here too."

The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is even offering a Diamonds-Are-Forever Martini in partnership with Bulgari. Shell out $16,000 for the cocktail, and you'll find a one-carat Bulgari diamond at the bottom, which you can take it to any Bulgari store in Tokyo and have a ring fitted to the stone for free.


Angsana Resort and Spa Velavaru: Eco-Friendly Luxury in the Maldives

April 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Angsana Velavaru Maldives Newly opened in November 2006, Angsana Resort and Spa Velavaru is a seductive paradise of golden beaches, turquoise lagoons, and plush, private villas, situated on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away. Here, guests delight to discover the beauty of the Dhaalu Atoll-- with untouched dive sites, reefs, and islands teeming with tropical life. From island hopping and dolphin watching to snorkeling safaris and night fishing, guests enjoy a wealth of experiences. Here on the southern shores of the Maldives-- the world's hottest destination and islands du jour-- Angsana Velavaru has unveiled a Marine Lab dedicated to marine conservation. The research facility aims to safeguard the biodiversity of the Maldivian reefs and ocean, while sharing with resort guests the importance of marine conservation. Guests are encouraged to participate in projects and the complimentary marine biology classes which are taught twice a week. Guided snorkeling safaris are conducted twice a week. The Marine Lab also focuses on protecting sea turtles, as Angsana Velavaru is a known turtle nesting site.

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Buzzworthy: Claska Hotel, The Talk of Tokyo

March 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Claska Hotel, Toyko Utterly unique, Claska is one of the coolest small hotels in the world. Hip Tokyo architects Intentionallies and British design gurus Tomato transformed an old business hotel into the city's cutting-edge boutique hotel. On the first floor: lobby, buzzing café-lounge (with DJ spinning), and DogMan dog salon, the city's coolest place to bring fashionable Fido. The second floor is an art gallery which showcases the newest groundbreaking trends. And on the third and fourth floors: the nine unique guest rooms which are all individually designed, stacked with designer amenities. (One even has an attached terrace, another with a view from your bathtub.) And then there's the rooftop lounge which offers stunning panoramic views of the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Note: You must reserve months in advance to get a room. (It's worth it.) The one setback: the hotel is located in the trendy Meguro neighborhood, not exactly centrally located.

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St. Regis Comes to Tibet: New Luxury Hotel Slated for the Roof of the World

March 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Potala Palace, Tibet That's right, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa is going luxe. Come the year 2010, a swanky new St. Regis Resort will open in the world's most highly elevated location in the Tibet Autonomous Region, a province in southwest China. Explore the stunning mountainous terrain (which includes Mt. Everest, located on the border with Nepal) while shacking up in the first internationally branded luxury hotel to open in Lhasa in over a decade. The recent completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has opened up the formerly isolated region and folks are starting to flock. (Never mind the heart-palpitating altitudes, the numbers are expected to reach three million tourists this year.) From the hotel's 169 guest rooms, enjoy views of the famed Potala Palace (pictured) while the signature St. Regis butler service attends to your every whim.

Image Via Wikipedia


Destination: Hoi An, Vietnam and GHM’s Nam Hai Hotel

March 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Nam Hai Hotel, Vietnam The ancient trading port of Hoi An is graced with alluring soft sandy beaches and a fascinating history. (Long a closely-guarded secret amongst backpackers, who flocked to Hoi An to pick up some exquisitely-tailored suits.) Not far from the Royal Tombs of the UNESCO-protected city of Hue, this Vietnamese coastal town captures the imagination of sybarites and sun-seekers. Here, The Nam Hai Hotel has become a destination in and of itself. Brought to you by GHM, the luxury hotelier known for distinctive worldwide properties, like the gorgeous Setai in South Beach. Sprawling across 35 hectares, the spa resort opened in December 2006 to much fanfare (the press simply gushed about this spot). Nestled within landscaped gardens on a prime stretch of China Beach, 60 villas and 40 pool villas gaze out across the South China Sea to the misty Cham Islands. The Villas are contemporary, with traditional design touches; bedrooms are spacious with en suite baths, walk-in closets, and high ceilings. At this sumptuous spa resort, there are 40 (count em, 40!) private swimming pools. Resort facilities include gourmet restaurants, clubhouse, beautiful spa, and plenty of recreational facilities. This is also a residential enclave, meaning you can own your own piece of paradise here on China Beach.


Cruise around Phuket with Banyan Tree’s Sea Gypsy and Pi Marn Yachts

March 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Phuket Cruises That's right. Banyan Tree Phuket has announced two new yacht cruises around Phang Nga Bay. Hop onboard the Sea Gypsy and Pi Marn and experience the glorious deserted beaches, crystal clear waters, spectacular underwater life, and majestic limestone cliffs that make Phang Nga Bay legendary. You'll even get a chance to see the best of Phuket's wildlife: chattering monkeys, flying fruit-bats, and eagles. Travel in style on the recently refurbished yachts and enjoy delicious gourmet meals and excellent service by a personal butler. The day-long private cruise, priced from $700 per couple, includes a kayaking expedition into a limestone cave at low-tide.


Luxury Travel Trends: Glamping

March 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort Forget mildewed tents and crummy sleeping bags. Today's luxury travelers are opting for glamorous camping experiences, called "glamping" in a recent AP article. As I've oohed and ahhed about before, Four Seasons has opened a tented camp in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, where lucky guests are pampered with wifi and multi-line phones in their "tents," seductive spa services, five-course dining, and a free-form pool. Another example of this trend in "rustic luxury" travel: glamping it up at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, where tents are outfitted with Persian carpets, down duvets, antique dressers, pressed-glass oil lamps, heirloom accessories, and-- in addition to wireless Internet-- a remote-controlled propane wood-stove.

Related articles:

Welcome to the Jungle: Four Seasons Tented Camp in Thailand

Luxury Camping at Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts in Tofino, British Columbia


Destination: Seoul and the W Hotel Seoul-Walkerhill

March 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel Seoul Walkerhill Going to Seoul? Without a doubt, the place to stay is the W Hotel Seoul-Walkerhill. Located on the slope of Mount Acha overlooking the Han river, W Seoul is only 15 minutes from the bustling financial and business district, yet a world away in a natural paradise of 180 acres of parkland. Listed on the Conde Nast Hot List in 2005, the W Seoul-Walkerhill is a sight to behold. In addition to the chic accommodations (with bathrooms guaranteed to wow), the hotel features truly world-class facilities. Gorgeous indoor pool (with sweeping city views), a Turkish Hammam and legendary spa treatments at Away Spa, the first of its kind in Seoul. Golf driving range. Two kilometer jogging course, located on the hotel grounds, which winds through the mountain forest. Two outdoor asphalt tennis courts equipped for nighttime play. Full-service fitness facility. And the best part of all? Airport pick-up in the exclusive Red Jaguar XJ, specially made for W Seoul-Walkerhill.