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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.

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.

Related Articles:

What's Hot: Angsana Resort and Spa Ihuru Maldives


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.

Related Articles:

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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.


Far-Flung Journeys with International Expeditions

February 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

International Expeditions Announcing new, exciting destinations with International Expeditions, the world leader in nature travel tours and environmentally responsible expeditions. Listed on Travel and Leisure magazine's 2006 list of "World's Best" tour operators, International Expeditions plans small-ship voyages and enriching land expeditions with exceptional naturalist guides. The Far-Flung Adventures take you to all corners of the world-- remarkable, less-traveled places like the Sahara, Falkland Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Croatia and Bhutan. You stay in top-rate accommodations, from stylish riverboats on the Amazon to romantic tented camps in Africa. Samplings of upcoming adventures include: Bhutan-- learn about the cultures of this remote Himalayan kingdom, and explore its pristine environment (June 19, 2007, 14 days from $4,298), Mongolia-- explore the Gobi Desert, Lake Hovsgol, Hustain Nuruu National Reserve and the rich nomadic cultures of Mongolia (June 22, 2007, 14 days from $3,998), Papua New Guinea-- take in one of the last of the great highland "sing-sings," and visit the most interesting river villages (August 15, 2007, 19 days from $7,698), and Cape to Cairo-- journey to the most compelling places on the entire African continent on the expedition to see the "Best of Africa" (October 22, 2007, 18 days from $14,498).


The One Hotel, Angkor Wat, Cambodia

February 27, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The One Hotel, Cambodia A one-room hotel? I kid you not. The One Hotel Angkor is a stylish, one-suite hotel, offering the ultimate privacy in the heart of Siem Reap. Located in the town's Old Market area, the hotel is devoted to you and you alone. Perks include intimate, stunning dining experiences (the choice is up to you), a mobile phone for the duration of your stay, and in-room spa treatments.

Enter through a gallery-cafe on the ground floor. Ascend to your luxurious bedroom. A custom-made king size bed draped in Frette linen. Your personal iBook and iPod. 32" LCD screen television. Luxury and sensual indulgence continues into the bathroom. Choose from the two-person granito tub with underwater lighting or the soothing experience of your rainfall shower. A private rooftop terrace awaits above. Sink into your jacuzzi. The indoor-outdoor sound system allows you to accompany a romantic late evening dip with your favorite music. Lounge on the daybed. Dine at the table setting. Cast off your clothes for an outdoor shower. With the entire hotel to yourself, how you enjoy The One is up to you.

This hotel is no stranger to awards lists. Lavished with media attention, the One Hotel Angkor was recognized on Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List as one of the hottest luxury properties worldwide.