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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.

Sponsored Feature: The Orient Express's Casa de Sierra Nevada and Observatory Hotel

May 4, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

What follows are impressions of two of our favorite Orient Express properties, the Observatory Hotel in Sydney and the Casa de Sierra Nevada, in many ways very different hotels, and in more than just their geography.  

Observatory Hotel, Sydney, Australia

I'll confess a fair bit of ignorance about why the Observatory Hotel is actually called the Observatory. Perhaps it was the site of a revolutionary astronomical discovery or it used to house the local planetarium in a forgotten back room. Maybe it just has a habit of flowering the walls at a party in order to better watch the crowd. It's a mystery as enigmatic as the stars in the sky, and we may never know. Well, it probably has something to do with the adjacent Observatory Park, but why spoil the hyperbole?

What I do know is that the Observatory Hotel is a perfect luxury hotel to use as jumping off point for exploring Sydney, a city that thrums with the heartbeat of a constantly evolving culture. Not far from the Rocks and Circular Quay, not to mention the Sydney Opera House, you're right in the middle of the action. As a break from experiencing all the city has to offer, you can retreat back to the quiet inner sanctum of the Observatory to enjoy an afternoon tea at the Globe Bar & Brasserie. For more substantial fare, head to Galileo in the evening, and you'll experience their amazing interpretation of fine French cuisine (the mystery of the name is quickly unravelling faster than the flat earth theory). If you're looking to stay in the utmost of style, make sure to book their gorgeous presidential suite, a study in aesthetics that makes extensive use of objects d'Art and features a four-poster bed. The Observatory Hotel is an extra-classy place to stay for the discerning traveler who finds themselves in Sydney.

Casa de Sierra Nevada, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Across the world from the Observatory Hotel, you'll find the Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende. Built in 1580, the Sierra Nevada is one of the smallest hotels in our collection. With just 33 rooms, the hotel is a serene escape from the bustle of everyday life. An inner courtyard is the perfect enclosure to keep the busy noise of the outside world at bay while you relax and refresh in one of the most historic towns in Mexico. Importantly, the hotel allows no children under the age of 11, so you won't be disturbed while you crack open the novel you've never gotten to or just soak up the rays of the sun. The National Institute of Anthropology and History was so enamored with the hotel's repurposed homes that they are designated historical landmarks. The surrounding mountainous landscape seems to be a backdrop that could only be dreamed up in a movie studio, but you can experience the unparalleled quietude and incredible service of the Casa de Sierra Nevada in real life. It's just one trip away.


Romantic Getaway Ideas: Le Meridien Tahiti

March 19, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Whether you’re planning a wedding, honeymoon, or simply a lovely weekend with your loved one, we certainly have a few romantic getaway ideas for you to consider. With over 3,000 luxury hotels on our site, we have something for everyone. So whether you’re searching for an all-inclusive resort, an exciting hotel with outdoor activities, or a snowy paradise, we have you covered. Check in with our blog series for ideas and inspiration on where to ignite your passion next!

Today’s feature is Le Meridien Tahiti. This beautiful luxury resort is located in proximity to many of Tahiti’s local attractions, with excursions available to the Caves of Maraa, Gauguin Museum, and the Seashell Museum. This is the perfect hotel if you’re looking for the best of both worlds: beautiful beaches to lounge on and opportunities to horseback ride, partake in waterfall and canyon adventures, and take trips on the lagoon. Le Meridien Tahiti has 138 lagoon view bedrooms and suites as well as 12 overwater bungalows designed with an emphasis on natural materials and fresh colors. Some of the bungalows feature a private panoramic view balcony, perfect for a more secluded romantic adventure. Take a dip in the hotel’s beautiful swimming pool (the largest pool in the South Pacific), enjoy in room-massages, sip exotic cocktails, and enjoy the beauty and wonder of this miraculous location at Le Meridien Tahiti.

Check in with us often to explore other luxury hotel recommendations perfect for a romantic escape!


Where Sports Illustrated Models Stayed in Australia

February 15, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The 2012 Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Issue was shot in the land down under, and we were certainly curious to find out which luxury hotel the models and their team of beauty experts chose as their home away from home. Before heading to the Great Barrier Reef and Palm Cove, the group made a stop in the beautiful capital, Sydney.

According to HotelChatter, the models checked into the Shangri-La Sydney and later into the Shangri-La Hotel the Marina Cairns. The Shangri-La Sydney is ideally located between the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, offering some of the most spectacular views of the harbor. The Shangri-La Hotel the Marina Cairns is centrally located in Cairns, just a 3 minute walk to the Pier shopping center, restaurants, and bars. It has 255 spacious guest rooms and suites, offering breathtaking views of the Marlin Marina, Trinity Bay, rainforest gardens, or the beautiful hotel pool.

Check out these hotels and other luxury properties in Australia to find your perfect fit!

 


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: BLUE Sydney

January 26, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The BLUE Sydney, Australia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for location. It is a contemporary boutique hotel located on the historical wharf right on Sydney Harbor, providing guests with access to the latest entertainment and best dining options. Its 100 luxurious rooms feature the latest concepts in accommodations to provide travelers of all types with lavish comfort. The BLUE Sydney is perfectly situated 15 minutes from Sydney Airport and next to the Royal Botanical Gardens.  It's also a 10 minute walk from the business and shopping districts, as well as the Sydney Opera House. Talk about an incredible location! Be sure to make reservations at the BLUE Sydney and be in on all the exciting happenings in Australia!


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: The Saffire Freycinet

January 20, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Saffire Freycinet in Tasmania, Australia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best hotels for rooms. This luxury hotel is located on the curve of sandy coastline that joins Tasmania to the Peninsula in Freycinet National Park. This luxury hotel overlooks the Great Oyster Bay, and it provides guests with 5-star accommodations unlike any other. The Saffire is dedicated to providing exceptional service, quality, and an unforgettable experience. This is a boutique hotel with just 20 incredibly luxurious suites that are packed with every amenity and feature you could imagine. From a full fridge to an iPod preloaded with your favorite music, this hotel certainly has it all. Get ready for an incredible adventure, and be open to the hotel’s powerful vibes and calming personality that will bring you to a deep level of rest and relaxation.


Sydney Festival 2012

January 18, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Sydney Festival 2012 is going on until January 29th, and it is surely a festival you don't want to miss! It will host about 80 events featuring over 1,000 entertainers from all over the world, and the performances will include dance, music, theatre, visual arts, cross media, and forums.

The Sydney Festival 2012 is expected to attract more than 1 million visitors and uses more than 25 venues across the city including the University of Sydney, the Sydney Opera House, and various other locations. With so many events and performances going on, there is bound to be something for everyone. Be sure to check out the 23 luxury hotels in Sydney and book your stay to experience the excitement going on in Australia right now!

For more information about the various events, visit www.sydneyfestival.org.au


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: The Four Seasons Sydney

January 12, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Four Seasons Sydney is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for service. This luxury hotel is stunningly situated overlooking the Sydney Harbour in the Rocks district, located a short walk from the shopping and business areas of Sydney. The Four Seasons Sydney is a classic luxury hotel, offering an impressive 531 rooms including 121 suites, quietly secluded in the tower on the 6th through 34th floors. Even though this is a large luxury hotel, the staff is extremely attentive and willing to go the extra step to ensure your stay is memorably pleasurable. Be sure to take advantage of the incredible service to take in everything Sydney has to offer!


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: The Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa

January 9, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa in Lithgow, Australia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for service. This hotel is Australia’s most environmentally responsible tourist destination, and it’s set amidst the striking scenery of the Greater Blue Mountains. This resort has its own private conservation and natural reserve, making it a perfect destination for travelers looking for a serene location. This boutique resort has 40 free-standing suites, each with its own private pool and terrace. Aside from privacy and tranquility, the Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa also offers a Timeless spa, world class dining with an emphasis on organic produce, and truly exemplary service. The hotel staff will happily assist you in any way they can, from organizing a horseback ride to planning a wildlife safari, this hotel has truly earned its best for service recognition.


Catch Me If You Can: A Legal Art Heist?

January 6, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

SubtleHere's a promotion that's got so much panache, it's making everyone in the industry stand up and take note.  The Art Series Hotels in Melbourne, The Blackman, The Cullen, and The Olsen, have been rotating two Banksy paintings, valued at a bounty of $20,000, around their hotels from Dec 15 through Jan 15.  And here's where the promotion gets cool:  They're inviting you to try to steal them without getting caught.  If you succeed, you get to keep the painting.

The first of the two Banksy paintings is "No Ball Games," one of only a few signed and authenticated Banksy works in Australia.  And it's already already fallen.  After failed attempts to hack the security cameras, place a listening device at the concierge desk, and simply to vault over the desk in plain sight of all the staff (this didn't go too well for the perpetrator), Maura Tuohy and Megan Aney pulled the heist off.

 The trick?  People listen to you if you act like you know what you're doing.  And that's just what they did.  Maura researched all of the names and brief bios of the marketing people in the hotel's PR firm and strode into the hotel in plain sight, claiming to be charged to move it to the next hotel.  

After a series of questions about her connections, which she passed with flying colors, they demanded to have her story verified.  That's when she had them call up her accomplice, who impersonating the manager, backed up her story.   The hotel staff even helped her load up the painting into her car.  Fifteen minutes later, she came back to let them know they'd let a $15,000 painting walk right out their front door, a la Frank Abagnale.

The second, "Pulp Fiction" is still up for grabs in a very literal sense, so pull on your balaclava, rent a mini-cooper, and wear down your sneakers because the next heist is going to have to be even trickier.  If you need a nearby staging area, make sure to check out some of the other top-notch luxury hotels in Melbourne.

Photos courtesy of Art Series Hotels site and Twitter


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: The Cape Lodge Western Australia

January 3, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Cape Lodge Western Australia in Yallingup, Australia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for food. This luxury hotel is one of Australia’s finest small luxury hotels located 3 hours south of Perth. It is located on its own vineyard and is in an area surrounded by beautiful forests and incredible beaches. There are 22 secluded rooms and suites as well as a Private Residence which sits on its own private 3 acres. The acclaimed Cape Lodge Lakeside Restaurant features a 14,000 bottle cellar stocked with premium aged Margaret River wines. Be sure to check out this luxurious, secluded hotel, and get ready to rock your taste-buds with amazing Australian cuisine paired with the perfect wine.