The 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.
Just 150 miles from Shanghai, you'll find a stylish sanctuary-- a modern day imperial compound-- that's hailed as China's leading resort. Nestled in the tea-covered hills of Fuyang village in Hangzhou province, the magical Fuchun Resort was inspired by a 700-year old painting. These lush surroundings were where Yuan dynasty painter Wang Gongwang went into exile, and it's easy to see why this storybook setting prompted his classic landscape painting, "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains." And with villas designed by Jean-Michel Gathy of Amanresort fame, it's no wonder Condé Nast described the Fuchun Resort as one of the World's Best New Hotels (2005)-- the only hotel in China to make the list. The accommodations are stunning, with Jacuzzis and oodles of technological gadgetry. From your private balcony, you'll contemplate incredible mountain views. Other facilities include a glamorous spa, golf course, two tennis courts, a mountaintop conference pavilion, and a ballroom.
The world's biggest jumbo jet landed in Sydney today. The first commercial flight for the A380, operated by Singapore Airlines, was a resounding success, as the tickets for the inaugural flight were sold as part of a charity auction. (Folks paid between $560 and $100,380 for seats.) Word from the lucky passengers who took part on the maiden voyage? The plane is an engineering marvel, with a cabin that's practically silent. The cabin products are dreamy. Case in point: the Singapore Airlines Suites (pictured)-- a class beyond first. Modeled on luxury yacht interiors, the suites feature real beds with Givenchy-designed bedding. It's like your very own personal cabin, where you dine off fine china and drink from crystal glasses. The plane will be introduced on long-haul routes to London, Tokyo, and San Francisco in early 2008.
Langham Hotels International will open its newest gem in the beautiful Thai province of Krabi in January. Since the London flagship opened in 1865, the Langham name has come to represent hotels that epitomize elegance and sophistication. (The Langham in Hong Kong is easily one of the top hotels in Asia.) Now Langham brings that legendary reputation to Lanta Yai Island in Krabi province, where an eco-friendly resort will offer luxurious accommodations that coexist in perfect harmony with the magnificent surrounding landscape. The five-star resort features 185 rooms and villas perched on the beach and up the gently sloping hillside overlooking Klong Tob Bay. Other facilities include four swimming pools, including a unique ocean pool, six restaurants and bars, and a plethora of sporting and leisure facilities-- from diving to mountain biking.
The annual CNT Reader's Travel Awards have been released, so now we can ogle these gorgeous properties to our hearts' content. Perusing the list, you may wonder: Just why did the One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah get top honors, scoring the number one position on the chart? Conde Nast Traveller readers voted this the top hotel in the world, with a score of 96.45 percent out of 100 (the magazine's index of satisfaction). So what makes this spot so special?
Blissful spa? Check. A truly dreamy tropical setting? Check. Decadent cuisine? Check. Sleek over-water villas from where you can go for a dip in the crystal clear sea? But of course. But more than the standard fare at luxury hotels, the One&Only Maldives offers a level of privacy and exclusivity which is truly unprecedented. In other words, this resort is the pinnacle of tropical luxury.
You've seen the ads. Impossibly good-looking couple disembarks from a private plane, while the grinning One&Only staff greet them, gracefully balancing designer luggage and trays of chilled cocktails. Enough said.
What better way to celebrate New Year's Eve than on the banks of the Chao Praya River at one of the world's best hotels? The Shangri-La Bangkok ushers in 2008 with a poolside gala dinner party on New Year's Eve with special dance shows, entertainment, and a splendid array of delicious dishes. Not to mention the grand fireworks display! Book the New Year's Eve Package and enjoy a two-night stay in a luxurious Executive Suite with complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two, full Horizon Club access, a complimentary one-way transfer from airport to hotel, and the big countdown party! This New Year's Eve Package is priced from $609 per night, based on a two-night minimum stay, and is available from December 30, 2007- January 1, 2008.
PS. The Horizon Club (Krungthep Wing) provides lucky guests with a slew of benefits including access to a private lounge, all-day tea and coffee, juices and soft drinks, afternoon high tea, early evening cocktails and a range of business amenities.
Celebrate the end of 2007 at the hottest bar in Tokyo, the landmark New York Grill & Bar at the Park Hyatt Hotel. The memorable backdrop for the film Lost in Translation, this stunning spot blends jazz, creative cuisine, and the best views in Tokyo (all the way to Mount Fuji!) for the ultimate New Year's Eve party. Why not begin 2008 on a high note, 52 storeys above the city? The New Year's Eve Countdown Dinner showcases the cosmopolitan flavors of New York (the bar's namesake) as Chef Andrew McKee and his team cook up delectable dishes featuring Fresh Hokkaido Taraba Crab and Grilled Miyazaki 'Koyama' Ribeye. Sip champagne in the candlelight while listening to live music. After 9 p.m., enjoy sounds by soulful jazz vocalists, Nicole Henry and Karen Jones. The 1st seating at the New York Grill is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and is priced from JPY 28,000 per person, including a 5-course menu and a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal. The second seating is from 9 p.m. to countdown and costs JPY 42,000, including a 6-course menu and a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal. Reservations are required for the New York Bar after 9 p.m. The cover charge is JPY 10,000 and includes assorted canapés and a glass of Louis Roederer Cristal.
Hong 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.
Head 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.
Most 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.
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.