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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.

Smintair: the Luxury Airline for Smokers

July 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

SMINTAIR offers every passenger refuge from daily stress and restriction, an island of tranquillity, a World of it's own in the skies... Although innovative, SMINTAIR will treat it's passengers like the guest of an international Grand Hotel. It is an obligation to SMINTAIR to bring back the exclusivity in flying encountered in the 1960s and dearly missed by so many. The classic ambience pared [sic] with today's technology will make flying SMINTAIR a unique experience.
So states Smintair on its website. A German entrepreneur has announced plans for a luxury airline that allows its passengers to smoke. Smintair (no, the name doesn't come from the little box of post-cigarette mints; it's an acronym for Smoker's International Airways) is slated to launch in March with flights from Dusseldorf to Tokyo's Narita International on two Boeing 747 aircraft. The flights will offer 30 first class and 108 business class seats, with abundant leg room.
Allowing our guests to smoke is one of the freedoms we are happily prepared to grant. Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests... As the World's first smoker's airline, SMINTAIR is entering many uncovered niches in aviation, designed to give the traveller maximum pleasure out of their flight experience. SMINTAIR spends more than three times the amount usually invested on passenger's nourishment. Signature recipes created by internationally renowned chefs will make each meal a feast. Charming and beautiful flight attendants in uniforms designed by famous couturiers are there to take the very best care of you. Every two years, a new designer will be elected to keep the uniform design a la mode.
Marketwatch is skeptical; Smintair needs to raise at least 40 million euros for an operating license from the German federal aviation authority. Time will tell if this baby will actually get off the ground. Related Articles: BBC News, German Plans Airline for Smokers Gridskipper, "Smokes on a Plane"


Royal Festivities in Thailand

June 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Bangkok Forget the full moon party. 2006 in Thailand is one year-long celebration, in honor of the King's 60th year on the throne. In early June, throngs took to the streets in parades and revelers enjoyed a week of work holidays, to commemorate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne on June 9, 1946. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest-reigning living monarch, and commands sincere loyalty and respect across the country, especially for his fight for the underprivileged classes. Now is the time to visit Thailand. Where to stay in Bangkok? Stake a suite at the riverside Peninsula Bangkok, and soak up the hotel's unparalleled luxury and panoramic views of the city and Chao Phraya River. At the hotel voted "World's Best Hotel" by Travel and Leisure readers, the service is legendary and the facilities-- three-tiered swimming pool, a Fitness Center with gymnasium, sauna, and steam rooms, tennis courts, and chic dining options-- are excellent. Related Articles, IHT, "Update: Royal Festivities Offset Seasonal Tourist Drop-Off"


Summer Value Rates at the Langham Hotel, Hong Kong

June 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel Hong Kong

Located in the center of Kowloon's lively Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, just a hop from the Star Ferry terminal, the Langham Hotel is an elegant oasis in a popular location. The recent $35 million renovation has transformed the hotel into a stylish delight, with lavish, contemporary guestrooms oozing state-of-the-art amenities (including the signature "blissful bed") and distinguished as one of the World's Top 10 Hi Tech Hotel rooms by the Sunday Times. As to be expected, facilities are top-notch: a gorgeous rooftop swimming pool and sundeck, excellent business center, a spacious Health Club, and excellent fine dining and hip bar scene. This summer, through September 10, this five-star sanctuary is cutting their prices and promoting a Summer Value Rate that you just can't beat. Starting at just $200 a night, which is 35 percent less than rack rates, including breakfast at Sun's Cafe, complimentary local phone calls, access to the pool and gym, and discounts on all the hotel's enticing restaurants.

Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals


Escape World Cup Madness with SLH Member Hotels

June 15, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Courtney W. May and Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Chateau St Gerlach

Now that the World Cup is officially underway in Germany (my bracket has the Czech Republic walking away with it all - even though I am a huge US fan), some travelers might be looking for alternatives to dealing with the crazed soccer fans who have descended on Germany this summer. Personally, I can't imagine not wanting to be in the thick of things, but if you're one of those looking to go away during June, SLH has the following promotion "7 : 0 for Small Luxury Hotels: Best Escapes from the Soccer World Championship".

With World Cup madness hitting Germany and much of Western Europe, here are seven ways to visit the region and escape to a world of private luxury and ultimate experiences.

Wild Water Rafting in the Austrian alps: Around Kitzbuhel numerous river routes through spectacular mountain gorges are available for wild water rafting excursions, which the Hotel Tennerhof (www.slh.com/tennerhof) can arrange for its guests. A more tranquil alternative exclusiv for hotel guests: Fishing at a lake nearby where the Tennerhof holds private fishing rights.

Falconry in baroque gardens: As stylish as the ambiance of the castle hotel Chateau St. Gerlach (Netherlands) are the leisure activities of this SLH hotel: Golf, Horse-Riding, Tennis and falconry are on offer in the hotel's baroque gardens and in the wonderful nature of the Geul valley. (pictured)

Clay Pigeon shooting high above Mozart town: Salzburg lies afoot the Vitalhotel Kobenzl. On the Gaisberg mountain, high above the city, which celebrates this year Mozart's 250th anniversary, the Hotel offers attractive sporting alternatives: Clay Pigeon shooting, fishing, mountain hiking and biking as well as sailing, tennis and croquet.

Hot Air Balooning in the Black Forest: The Hotel Belle Epoque (www.slh.com/belleepoque), a neo renaissance villa from 1870, arranges sightseeing flights from Baden-Baden into the wonderful nature of the Black Forrest.

Archery in nature's paradise: Golf, Horse-riding, archery, mountain climbing and many more activities offers the Hoteldorf Gruner Baum (www.slh.com/grunerbaum) in the spectacular mountain world of Gastein. The main building of the hotel was built 1831 as hunting lodge for Duke Johann. Besides the countless leisure activities of the hotel the surroundings tempt visitors with romantic castles, dripstone caves and the national parc Hohentauern.

Formula 1 at the Hotel die Hirschgasse: The hotel offers a Formel 1-Package, which includes a three nights stay in a suite with jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet and a bottle of champagne at arrival. Tickets and transfer to the Grand Prix at Hockenheimring can be arranged by the concierge. The package is available from 27 to 30. July 2006 and costs 1.300 Euro per room. www.slh.com/diehirschgasse

Arlberg from a bird's eye view: Many guests of the SLH Hotel Kristiania Lech in Austria (www.slh.com/kistiania) arrive by helicopter and enjoy a bird's eye view of the wonderful alpine nature: only 300 metres from the hotel, guests can also find a paragliding field .

View more Small Luxury Hotels with Five Star Alliance.


Dining Behind the Scenes at The Peninsula Hong Kong Chef’s Table

June 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Hong Kong

In a city known for endless dining options, at one of the world's most famous hotels, a new trend made waves: guests join the Chef's Table for a tailor-made meal prepared before their eyes. The Peninsula Hong Kong offers an exquisite culinary experience hosted by the Executive Chef, Florian Trento. Witness the inner workings of a busy hotel kitchen and watch in awe as your mouth-watering personalized menu-- comprised of one course from each of the hotel's seven dining venues-- is crafted before your eyes. The gourmet delight of the Grand Chef's Table can cater up to ten guests. Sample cuisine from each of the hotel's restaurants: Chesa, Felix, Gaddi's, Imasa, The Lobby, Spring Moon and The Verandah. It is only available on request with two weeks advance notice and costs HK$48,888 (US$6,268), and includes a special gift for each guest. Also available at The Peninsula: Gaddi's Chef’s Table, which seats only four guests. Three-course lunch $88, five-course dinner $191, ten-course dinner $268. Spring Moon Chefs' Table seats up to six guests, and is available only for dinner. The six-course dinner menu costs $1,071 for one to four diners, with up to two additional diners at $268. Reservations essential.


Luxury in Southern China: Announcing the Banyan Tree Lijiang

May 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Lijiang

Luxury resort and spa experts Banyan Tree have opened their Lijiang resort-- their second one in southern China-- to much fanfare and acclaim. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lijiang, in China's magnificent Yunnan province, is an 800 year old village of winding cobble-stone streets, canals, and bridges, full of charm, beautiful architecture, and cultural history. This is sacred territory, beneath the snow-capped peaks of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The 55-villa Banyan Tree Lijiang reflects this rich cultural landscape, built of local materials and traditional furnishings. The highlight, of course, is the Banyan Tree signature Ryokan Spa, with world-class facilities and a spa menu featuring lavish treatments, from ancient Asian healing and relaxation to European rejuvenation therapies. In addition, the resort organizes tours and treks in Lijiang and the surrounding countryside, including such sights as Tiger Leaping Gorge and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.


Bid on $100,000 Worth of Luxury Travel: Charity Auction by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

May 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Kowloon

On June 7, Shangri-La will launch a global eBay charity auction to benefit Care for Children, a China-based nonprofit which places abandoned and orphaned children in long-term foster care. The 10 day online auction will feature 14 exclusive luxury travel experiences created by Shangri-La, worth over $100,000. These one-of-a-kind experiences include: dinner for four in Hong Kong's Van Cleef and Arpels boutique, six-night stay in Kowloon Shangri-La Speciality Suite with complimentary use of Horizon Club lounges and 15-minute helicopter ride over Victoria Harbor, parasailing above the Deep Sea Lagoon in Fiji, a gourmet meal served atop the Great Wall of China, a personal concierge-assisted shopping experience in Bangkok, and a private dinner aboard a private yacht on the Singapore River.


Going to Manila? Great Value Rates at The Peninsula Manila

May 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula Manila Modern and stylish rooms. Home of Manila's top restaurants. Club Floor catering to every need of business travelers. Complimentary internet access in all guest rooms and suites. State-of-the-art Spa and Fitness Center-- arguably the city's best-- with gym, pool, sauna, steam room, and massage treatments. Signature Peninsula service. The only hotel in the Philippines honored in Travel and Leisure's "World's Best Business Hotel" awards. Located in the heart of the business and financial district, The Peninsula Manila is the place to stay in the city. Ideal for business travelers, the hotel is also ideal for leisure visitors to the Philippines. And a luxurious stay at the city's best hotel has never been of better value, with rates starting at $120 per night for a Superior Room. Valid until December 31, 2006.


Complimentary Second Night’s Stay in the New Double Pool Villas, Banyan Tree Phuket

May 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Phuket

The exquisite Banyan Tree Phuket recently announced the July 2006 unveiling of its new Double Pool Villas. With their 24-hour butler service and in-villa chef services, the 22 new Villas take tropical luxury to the next level. Surrounded by aromatic gardens and constructed along an azure lagoon, each Double Pool Villa features a ten-meter private infinity pool with fiber-optic lighting, a spacious and ultra-private compound (between 1,530 to 2,185 sq meters), full-length glass windows, and direct pool access from the bedroom. In one word: stunning. In addition, guests enjoy unique services and amenities: daily in-villa cooked breakfast, selection of vegetables and exotic fruits with juice mixer, daily in-villa afternoon treats and evening cocktails, 30-minute lesson on "Basic Steps of Massage," an "Intimate Moments" villa setting for a romantic evening with bottle of wine and drawn sunken bath with flower petals, and special turndown gift from Banyan Tree Gallery. Rates start from $2,000 per night. To celebrate the launch of the Double Pool Villas, guests can enjoy a complimentary second night's stay with every night booked from July 1 to September 30, 2006.


The Ultimate Luxury Resort Experience: Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia

May 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Langkawi

Recently Robb Report Luxury Resorts singled out the finest luxury hotels in the world, and among the thousands of resorts reviewed, the Four Seasons Langkawi scored at the top of the best new luxury resorts. (Check out the pic at right and you'll see why everyone's making such a fuss.) First, its location. Langkawi is part of a Malaysian archipelago of 99 islands in the clear emerald waters of the Andaman Sea. The resort's island is one of only two of these islands that is inhabited and offers a dramatic mountainous landscape covered with rainforest, towering granite cliffs, and white sand beaches. Four Seasons Langkawi is set on a one-mile stretch of beach against this magical backdrop. Secondly, the spacious guest pavilions and villas. Soaring ceilings, killer views, traditional Malaysian design elements, wood floors, open verandahs, and outdoor showers. Third, the phenomenal facilities, including the beautifully-designed Spa, new Yoga pavilion (opening July 2006), gorgeous pools with private cabanas, and water sports pavilion on the beach. Lastly, and most importantly, Four Seasons Langkawi is distinguished by its exceptional service. Truly the tropical, luxury beach experience of a lifetime.