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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.

Pretty in Pink at Sydney’s Observatory Hotel: A Stay Benefits Breast Cancer Foundation

January 23, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Observatory HotelIn need of a girls' getaway? Check into luxury at the acclaimed Observatory Hotel, part of the Orient-Express Hotels Collection, and get pampered in pink, while you'll feel good knowing that the hotel makes a donation to the Breast Cancer/Prostate Cancer Foundation (based on guest preference) for each package booking. The gals will love this elegant 100-room hotel perfectly situated in The Rocks (minutes from the Opera House and Harbour Bridge), modeled after a colonial Australian house filled with antiques and original art. Head to the spa for a rejuvenating treatment featuring La Prairie's luxurious line of products, or a dip in the heated pool which reflects the Southern Hemisphere's constellations. (Guest staying on the "Pretty in Pink" package are entitled to a 20 percent discount on Spa Pink Pamper Package which includes a glass of pink champagne, a one hour pink manicure or pedicure either in the bedroom or the spa area.) Enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea served with Pink Champagne, and in the evening you can relax in your swanky bedroom wearing your pink slippers and pink eye mask. The package also includes a full Australian breakfast for two in the Galileo restaurant, a "pink indulgent gift pack," complimentary daily newspaper, and a choice of DVDs to watch in your room free of charge. Rates from AUD 552 per night.


Warm Up at French Polynesia’s Intercontinental Resort Moorea

January 20, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Sub-zero temperatures have those of us in this part of the world shivering and dreaming of warmer climes, like French Polynesia. Intercontinental Resort Moorea Right now, InterContinental Resort Moorea, which is located on the northeast coast of the island, is offering a special deal of four days and nights in their tropical island paradise. You'll receive complimentary daily breakfast, and as a special bonus, travel to the Moorea Dolphin Center, where you can swim with a porpoise.

Located betweeen the mountains and the lagoon, InterContinental Resort Moorea has 17 Garden Suite Bungalows, 50 Overwater and 28 Beach Suite Bungalows as well as the 48 Garden View Rooms. If swimming with sea creatures isn't your thing, other special offers include four days and nights (breakfast and dinner included) and a Luau show at the famous Tiki Village. Or spend your four days and nights (with breakfast included) soaking up the sun and enjoying a 50-minute spa treatment. Prices for these special deals vary and rates and restrictions apply.


Yoga, Balinese Dance, and the Colors of Jimbaran at the InterContinental Bali

January 16, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental BaliSure, you will want to spend some days lounging on the beach, an endless stretch of white sand on Bali's Jimbaran Bay, surrounded by lush vegetation, lagoons, and ornamental ponds. But the InterContinental Bali offers a whole lot more than a blissful tropical vacation. Designed to incorporate traditional Balinese architecture, the luxury hotel blends in perfectly with the surrounding environment, respecting the island's fine artistry and Hindu heritage. In a locale boasting such incredible culture, you will want to experience a slice of Balinese tradition, while also soaking up the sun in paradise. Book the "Colors of Jimbaran" package and you will get to soak up the rich culture of the surrounding locale. Cycle around the village of Jimbaran; partake in an inspiring session of Balinese Yoga which gentle movements and regulated breathing to bring about personal wellness. Also included in the package is a lesson on Balinese dance and music. At the end of the day, relax with a stimulating Balinese massage treatment. The best part of all? The three-night package is priced from just $735. You'll also get round-trip airport transfers, daily buffet breakfast for two, access to the spa and fitness center, and exclusive Singaraja concierge services including an all day selection of fruit, pastries, tea /coffee and other light refreshments, board games, and a well-stocked library of DVDs and reading materials.


News from Oz: InterContinental Reopens the Historic Rialto Hotel in Melbourne

January 8, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The InterContinental Melbourne The RialtoHead down under to check out the Southern Star, the cool new addition to Melbourne's skyline (and the largest observation wheel in the southern hemisphere), and you can check into luxury at the Rialto Hotel. After an AU$60 million renovation of the mythic Rialto, InterContinental has opened its first hotel in Melbourne. Dating from 1891, the heritage-listed property is one of the city's best examples of 19th century Gothic architecture. (A nine-storey glass atrium connects the two historic buildings: Rialto and Winfield.) The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto joins the likes of InterContinental Sydney, InterContinental Paris Le Grand and InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C., all landmark properties. Situated on Collins Street in Melbourne's financial district, The Rialto retains historic features such as stained glass windows and wrought iron ballustrades. The best part of all? The rooftop spa, gym, and pool. Don't miss the world-famous Rialto Towers Observation Deck just next door, offering panoramic views of the city.


Best Hotel in New Zealand: Treetops Lodge and Wilderness Experience, Rotorua

January 7, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Treetops Lodge and Wilderness ExperienceProps to Treetops Lodge for being recognized on the Travel + Leisure "World's Best List" as the top hotel in New Zealand. Occupying a 2,500-acre natural wonderland in Rotorua (New Zealand's therapeutic thermal region, Maori cultural center, and the trout fishing capital of the world), Treetops offers only 14 luxurious rooms surrounded by 800-year-old forests and cascading springs. Crafted from natural materials, the lodge is the ultimate luxury eco-experience, and is a model for environmentally sustainable hospitality. Praising its "impressive array of outdoor activities," T + L also gives an insider tip, suggesting that guests "hear a local Maori chief tell stories and legends by the fire in the library."


The Ritz-Carlton Company says Adieu to Bali

January 7, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

As 2009 dawns, The Ritz-Carlton Company is making some changes. Ritz Carlton Bali

As of April 1, 2009, The Ritz-Carlton Company will no longer manage The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Resort & Spa. Set atop a bluff on a tranquil South Sea Island, the 368-room Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort and Spa has Balinese-style architecture, a secluded beach location, and Indian Ocean views. No reason was given, but reservations made will be honored. Guests who have any questions about their reservations should contact Ritz-Carlton directly.


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort in Kota Kinabalu, The Gateway to Borneo’s Rain Forest and Marine life

January 6, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-LaThe Wall Street Journal recently checked out Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. This off-the-beaten path locale offers a plethora of exciting activities and diverse landscapes:

Nearby Mount Kinabalu, at 13,435 feet, is one of Southeast Asia's tallest peaks and offers trekkers everything from rugged mountain climbing to easy hikes, with a wealth of flora and fauna along the trails -- don't miss the carnivorous pitcher plants. From there, it's a short drive to Poring Hot Springs and its rope-and-plank canopy walk for an up-close glimpse of the rain forest at more than 100 feet above the jungle floor. Afterward, unwind earthbound in the sulfur hot pools -- reputed for their healing benefits. For wildlife, take a river boat through the Klias Wetlands, a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, where it's easy to spot Borneo's unique long-nose proboscis monkeys as they gather in the trees along the banks in late afternoon. Snorkelers and beach lovers can rent a boat and hop around the islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park -- 20 to 30 minutes off the coast of Kota Kinabalu.

The Wall Street Journal praises the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa as the area's best hotel, just a 10-minute drive from the airport, where you can grab a cocktail at the "aptly-named Sunset Bar" and drink in the "view of pink and purple skies as the South China Sea swallows the sun."


Why Go Now: Australia Lures with Sunny Skies and Hotels like Palazzo Versace (Gold Coast)

January 5, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palazzo Versace

Australian tourism is down, despite the beautiful and inspiring new epic from director Baz Luhrmann, because of the worldwide recession. But falling airfares and hotel room prices actually means it's the ideal time to check out the gorgeous scenery showcased in the film. Not to mention the joys of summer down under. The continent is vast, offering much to explore, and it's simply brimming with exciting hotels-- like qualia on Hamilton Island off the Great Barrier Reef, The Observatory in Sydney, and Palazzo Versace on the Gold Coast. Designer Donatella Versace brings her signature style to this landmark hotel in Queensland (pictured at top). This is the world's first Versace hotel and, as to be expected, it's stylish and visually stunning.


Have a Ball in Auckland: Celebrate New Year’s Eve at The Langham

December 22, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham AucklandHerald in the new year with a glamorous affair at The Langham Auckland, the five-star hotel celebrated for its superb leisure and business facilities in New Zealand's largest city. Don your best and get ready to party. Head to the SBF Brasserie and indulge in a sumptuous dinner buffet offering an extensive range of glorious food and beverages. $130 (inclusive of food and beverages) per person. Or go all out with the nine-course degustation dinner at Partingtons, which includes a complimentary pre-dinner glass of Laurent-Perrier and canapés in The Winery, where a five-piece blues and jazz band will play from 6:30 pm. $210 per person. "Stay the Night" and you'll finish the night of revelry with a bottle (and say goodbye to 2008) with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Champagne, then escape to your room of luxury, where you can sleep off the festivities in a lush super-king bed enjoying every second of your late check-out at 1 pm. Priced at $339 per room. On New Year's Day, wake up to a lavish breakfast buffet at SBF, the perfect recovery.


Intercontinetal Perth’s Gem of a Deal

December 16, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

As if Australia's Intercontinental Perth doesn't have enough to offer guests (five restaurants, six bars, a casino, an 18-hole golf course, a spa, two pools, and world-class shows, to name just a few amenities), they've come up with two great offers for guests. Intercontinental Perth The True Gem package wines and dines you, before surrounding you with jewels. Say G'day with champagne, chocolates and breakfast, then receive a private viewing of some of the world's finest gems by an expert designer who will offer you a unique Broome Pearl. Or, if wine is more your spirit, the Winemaker experience turns you into a winemaker. Bottle your own wine in the Swan Valley then pair it with a three-course lunch at Sandalford's restaurant. Receive an award-wining wine to keep and drink at your leisure. The Winemaker Experience includes daily breakfast and a chauffeur.