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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.

What’s Hot: The Sarojin, Khao Lak, Thailand

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Sarojin


The west coast of Thailand-- including the tourist-adored islands of Phuket and Khao Lak-- took a beating after the disastrous tsunami of December 2004. At the time, The Sarojin was just about to open its doors: a luxury boutique hotel planted on ten acres of gorgeous beachfront. Now, after extensive repairs of the damage sustained by the tsunami's aftermath, The Sarojin has opened as one of the hottest properties of the year. (It's already racking up the awards, including "Asia's Leading Boutique Hotel" from the World Travel Awards 2006, and Conde Nast Traveler 2006 Hot List.) The Sarojin is located an hour north of Phuket, situated inside the Khao Lak National Park, where beaches, cascading waterfalls, wildlife, and spectacular primary forest lure visitors. Just steps from the breathtaking beach and turquoise Andaman Sea, The Sarojin consists of 56 guest residences nestled within expansive garden grounds with winding walkways and lotus pools. If you can tear yourself away from your residence (which boast private sundecks with intimate couples' baths, rainfall showers, and plunge pools), there are recreational activities aplenty: scuba and snorkeling cruises, sea kayaking, sailing, fitness center, infinity pool, Thai cooking classes, and farther afield: elephant trekking and bamboo rafting. Not to mention the beautiful spa.


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InterContinental Hong Kong Welcomes Nobu Restaurant

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong Kong

The InterContinental could be the most stylish hotel in Hong Kong. With unrivaled views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island from its waterfront location, the hotel boasts sleek, contemporary rooms, 24-hour butler service, dazzling infinity pool, and feng shui inspired I-Spa and Fitness Center. The InterContinental is certainly the city's "it" place to eat. This month superstar chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa will open a branch of his famous Nobu eatery at the hotel. (This will be the second Nobu in Asia, and 16th location worldwide.) Interior Designer David Rockwell has transformed the space that used to be Yü restaurant into a sexy and happening hot spot. Signature dishes will include yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno, and the beloved black cod with miso, along with new creations featuring local ingredients. As described by Sherman's Travel Magazine,

The InterCon has become one of Hong Kong's top dining destinations. First, celebrity chef Alain Ducasse opened his high-concept Spoon restaurant which was followed by Steakhouse Winebar and Grill. And now, a branch of Nobu adds even more cachet.

Winter Escapes at Peninsula Hotels

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula Hong Kong

This winter, enjoy a luxurious retreat at any participating Peninsula Hotel and receive an additional benefit ranging from spa treatment, dinner, traditional afternoon tea, airport transfer, or room upgrade. At the award-winning Peninsula Hong Kong, for example, choose from a 50-minute massage for two by ESPA, room upgrade to Superior Suite, or a set dinner for two at The Lobby. (If you reserve a suite, you can choose a 15-minute helicopter flight-seeing tour for two.) At the Peninsula New York, choose between afternoon tea for two in the Gotham Lounge, room upgrade, or a bottle of Champagne and a selection of canapés at The Bar at Fives. Other participating hotels include the Peninsula Chicago, Beverly Hills, Bangkok, Beijing, and Manila. Available from December 18 to April 8, 2007. In addition, stay in a suite at select Peninsula hotels and enjoy a complimentary second night with the Experience the Suite Life package.

New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo: The World’s Hottest Hotel Bars

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

New York Bar

The best hotel in Tokyo, the inspiration and backdrop for the film, Lost in Translation, is also the setting for one of the hottest hotel bars in the world. Park Hyatt Tokyo is an elegant oasis of space and calm that offers spectacular views of Tokyo and the Kanto Plain all the way to Mount Fuji, from the top 14 floors of the 52-storey Shinjuku Park Tower. This major landmark on the Tokyo skyline houses the stunning New York Bar, the place to see-and-be-seen in the city. The ambience could be Manhattan itself: black ebony chairs, walnut flooring, steel supports of the floor-to-ceiling windows, and Valerio Adami's huge murals of Radio City Music Hall and the Rainbow Room. As one of the top venues for live music in the city, the bar features jazz by top international artists nightly. New York Bar offers vintage cognac and brandy, classic and original cocktails, and the largest selection of American wines in Japan. Casual dining menu is available. Open Sunday to Wednesday from 5 pm to midnight. Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 1:00 am. Cover charge of 2,000 JPY is applied Monday through Saturday from 8 pm, Sunday from 7 pm.

What’s Hot: Angsana Resort and Spa Ihuru Maldives

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Angsana Maldives

The best kept secret of the Indian Ocean-- the 26 atolls and 1,190 tropical islands of the Maldives-- has become one of the hottest destinations on the planet. Rated the number one islands in the world by the Conde Nast Traveler 19th annual Reader's Choice Awards, the Maldives are a natural wonder with unparalleled biodiversity (over 900 species of fish) and some of the most breathtaking dive sites in the world. Located on one of the most picturesque islands of the Maldives (lush and beautiful Ihuru), the Angsana Resort is surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty: pristine reefs, palm-dotted beaches, and turquoise waters. The island is encircled by a shallow lagoon and technicolor reef, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Angsana Resort and Spa Ihuru offers the hedonistic pleasures of a spa retreat and the perfect holiday paradise. The 45 private villas feature thatched roofs, private gardens and verandas with dining and sitting areas. The resort has recently revamped its spa offerings with an extensive list of treatments, including Asian Spa therapies and special men's treatments. The new highlights include Duet, tailored for couples to enjoy together (the spa experience begins with a Tropical Fruit Wash for him and an Almond Milk Aglow body polish for her, followed by body massages and the Milk Orange Bath), Soothing Sun Relief (which includes Cucumber Soother and a calming facial soother), and Ayurvedic Delights.

PS. Noteworthy: The Angsana Resort and Spa has won awards for its environmentally friendly focus, including several outstanding marine biology research initiatives.

Sky Bar at lebua at State Tower: Bangkok’s Best Bars

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

lebua at State Tower

Bangkok's newest member of Small Luxury Hotels is an extraordinary all-suite masterpiece in the heart of Bangkok. At lebua at State Tower, each suite boasts a wall of windows with dazzling views of the city skyline and Chao Phraya River. The spacious suites are luxurious and comfortable, stacked with contemporary conveniences (like two flat-screen TVs, DVD players, in-room broadband Internet connectivity, workstations, and fully-equipped kitchens). The Dome at State Tower features myriad dining options with glass balconies, sexy lighting, terraces, and city viewing galleries. Located on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State Tower, Sirocco is the world's highest al fresco restaurant stunning views of Bangkok. The dramatic deck appears to be suspended in the middle of the sky, frozen in space. Descending onto the deck is a beautifully lit stairway leading to one corner where the hip Sky Bar takes center-stage.

With the Sky Night @ Sky Bar package, enjoy the very best that Bangkok has to offer from high atop State Tower. The package includes daily full breakfast, complimentary local calls and high-speed internet access, complimentary use of the fitness center facilities and swimming pool, welcome amenity of flowers and handmade chocolates, one Sky Bar drink per person, and one bottle of wine in-room upon arrival. Starting at $140 per one bedroom suite through December 21, 2006. $150 per one bedroom suite until March 31, 2007. Two night minimum stay required.

The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India: Asia’s Leading Resort

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oberoi Udaivilas

This lakeside luxury resort grabbed top honors at the 13th annual World Travel Awards, held in Turks and Caicos this year. Named "Asia's Leading Resort," the Oberoi Udaivilas is romantic, glamorous, and utterly enchanting. Resembling one of the grand palaces for which Rajasthan is fabled, the resort boasts stunning views over Lake Pichola to the City Palace and the Aravalli Hills beyond. Set amidst landscaped gardens, courtyards, fountains, and reflection pools, the 87 guest rooms are royal-- featuring large private terraces, private swimming pools, marble bathrooms, walk-in closets, and butler service. In addition, the resort offers a gym, two large pools, fine dining, and a luxury spa offering a range of therapies.

Announcing the New Four Seasons Koh Samui, Thailand

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Koh Samui

Set amidst swaying coconut palms overlooking the beaches of the Gulf of Thailand, Four Season's newest resort is a stunning hilltop oasis. The spacious Thai villas and residences are surrounded by tropical gardens and coconut groves, and each boast private infinity pools, sundecks, and al fresco living spaces with incredible panoramas of the white sand beaches and turquoise sea. The Spa—deeply rooted in Thailand's rich healing tradition-- is housed in five salas, each equipped with two indoor and two outdoor massage beds, two outdoor showers, an outdoor bathtub and either a steam sauna or an indoor rain shower. And there are tennis courts, a yoga pavilion, and an excellent fitness center. This is the ultimate tropical idyll. Now accepting reservations for arrivals starting February 1, 2007.

Cathay Pacific Announces Seat Upgrades

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cathay Pacific

Starting in January, Cathay Pacific will unveil some swanky cabin upgrades. First class-fliers will go gaga over the new seat that can be transformed from armchair, to chaise lounge, to bed (and an extra-long and wide one at that!) Business class passengers will appreciate the seats that recline to fully flat beds. And even the economy folks will enjoy a new seat, designed to let passengers recline without intruding on those seated behind them. (Plus economy fliers will get video and audio on-demand.) This is hot on the heels of Virgin Atlantic's announcement—reported by the folks at Mobissimo—of the airline's $25 million investment for newly-designed seats.

Business Travel to Kazakhstan: The Regent Almaty Acquired by InterContinental

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Almaty

Business taking you to Kazakhstan? (Rich oil, gas, and mineral reserves means rapid development for the country, and Almaty is now the economic heart of it all.) The city's finest hotel—the Regent—has recently been acquired by InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, and will morph into the brand spanking new InterContinental Almaty this month. The 290-room hotel has long been a city landmark, situated across from the presidential palace, with beautiful mountain views. After a substantial refurbishment, the hotel will feature nine executive and two Presidential suites, oodles of dining options, a Spa and Turkish baths, and fully-equipped fitness center. Notably, the new hotel will boast the most extensive meeting and conference facilities in the city, including a ballroom with a capacity of 400.