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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.

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.


25 Percent Off Your Entire Stay at Conrad Hotels

December 5, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad MaldivesEscape the in-laws this holiday season and jet to the tropics (or an exciting Asian metropolis). Book now and you will receive 25 percent off rooms, restaurants, spa services and more at participating Conrad Hotels and Resorts until December 31, 2009. Here's the list of luxurious properties:

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island-- Pictured at right. Need we say more?

Conrad Bangkok-- Contemporary luxury hotel in the heart of the sultry city, with lots of cutting-edge technology

Conrad Centennial Singapore-- Located downtown in the heart of Singapore's liveliest and largest business, shopping and entertainment districts of Shenton Way

Conrad Bali-- Beaches and waterfalls and lagoons, oh my!

The Conrad Tokyo and Conrad Hong Kong are also participating in this offer.


Have a Very Bali New Year

November 13, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Have an unforgettable holiday season this year with 3-night, 5-night, and 8-night packages from Uma Ubud. Share a multicultural Christmas with a 3-night stay including a-la carte daily breakfast, Christmas Eve dinner at Kemiri restaurant, and a delicious Christmas Day lunch at nearby COMO Shambhala Estate's Glow restaurant. Uma Ubud And make sure to relax with a complimentary 60-minute COMO Shambhala or Indonesian massage. Merry Galugan! Rates start at $1,135.

Ring in the New Year poolside with Uma Ubud's New Year's 5-night stay! Five nights in a fabulous room in Bali, and a complimentary 60-minute massage will guarantee you start 2009 off right. Celebrate with a New Years Eve dinner, and poolside party at the pool bar. Ring in the New Year with cheer! Rates start at $1,590.

Spend your entire holiday season relaxing in Bali with the 8 night Christmas and New Year's Stay! Eight nights in a luxurious room with breathtaking views and accommodations along with daily breakfast and a 60-minute personal massage are sure to give you the start to the New Year that you deserve. Celebrate the holidays in style with Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day lunch, and New Years Eve dinner along with a exciting pool bar party to ring in 2009! Take in the mix of religions and enjoy the holiday culture. Rates start at $2450.


More than Scones and Clotted Cream: Afternoon Tea in Sydney at The Observatory and InterContinental

November 10, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Afternoon Tea at The Observatory Hotel

Kudos to Gridskipper for pointing out that the glamorous British institution of High Tea has taken Sydney by storm. Where to partake in this decadent ritual? The Cortile lobby lounge at The InterContinental Hotel Sydney (tiered cake stand spilling with treats, accompanied with a glass of bubbly) and The Observatory Hotel, owned by the Orient Express Group, where afternoon tea is served in the Globe Bar:

Aficionados will delight in teas blended by the hotel's resident tea master and served in silver teapots. For a bit of fun, have your tea leaves read on weekends, or indulge in a glass of Moët & Chandon Rosé anytime. Hunger pangs will be sated with crustless sandwich triangles and mini quiche lorraine. On the sweet side, clotted cream and jam made in-house adorn fresh scones, while delicate crème brûlée is served in ceramic egg cups and dark mousse makes an impact in tall shot glasses.


Pillow Menus at the Pullman, Sydney Olympic Park

November 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Pullman, Sydney Olympic ParkAs far as business hotels go, this new one from the Accor Hotel Group is pretty sweet. The 212 rooms and suites edge on chic. They've got sweeping city views, all the latest technology, and cutting-edge bathrooms (pictured). This is the first new five-star hotel in Sydney since 2000, situated on Olympic Boulevard, and it was built to be environmentally friendly, featuring solar panels on the roof. To quote the Sydney Morning Herald, "there are some seriously good things to do at the park that have nothing to do with faded sporting glory." And ahhhh, the pillow menus. You've got your choice of eight:

The Pullman's luxe pillow is "silky, smooth and plush", the feather-and-down pillow "sumptuously supple". Others promise to align your hips and spine and enhance leg circulation. My favourite: the square pillow, designed for the five-star veg-out - that is, reading and watching TV in bed...

This hotel is in fact part of a new chain of upscale hotels from Accor called Pullman-- named for the luxury trains of yesterday-- dedicated to business travelers and meetings. Accor's planning on 300 Pullman hotels worldwide by 2015.


Overwater Bungalows and Private Butlers: Luxury for Less in the Off-Season at St Regis Bora Bora

October 7, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Bora BoraThe fabled archipelago in the South Pacific is home to an exclusive resort where A-listers flock. But a recent article on MSNBC points out that you can snag the luxurious St. Regis Bora Bora for a steal.

Winter in North America means summer in French Polynesia. It can get a bit hot, with daytime temperatures in the 90s, but who cares when you're surrounded by all that blissful water? An overwater villa will run you about $895 from December to May; they soar to over $1,000 in the high season. Or book the Tahiti Tantalizer package, which starts at $1,383 per night but includes almost $500 in resort credits and your sixth night free.

Here you can lounge on the powdery sand overlooking a turquoise lagoon while staring up at the majestic Mount Otemanu in the distance. Dive into a lagoon to discover all the colorful native fish. (You can also go snorkeling off your private deck.) Get a massage at the glorious Miri Mira spa, located on its own private island. The spa treatments incorporate warmed black pearls and mother-of-pearl, wow. Relax at the swim-up bar, or go off on a shark-feeding adventure. Day-long picnics on private islands can be arranged, of course. The pleasures of paradise are infinite.


Luxurious Langham Hotel Auckland Welcomes Weta (the Native New Zealand Insect)

October 7, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Weta at the Langham Hotel AucklandThis fierce-looking insect (pictured at right) is getting a VIP welcome at Auckland's swanky Langham Hotel. As part of its "Guests of the Earth" environmental program, the five-star property recently unveiled a "Wetarium"-- New Zealand's first weta habitat-- for the Auckland Tree Weta. The only New Zealand hotel to have achieved Green Globe certification through its environmental initiatives to reduce energy consumption, save water and increase the recycling of waste, the Langham Auckland is celebrated around the world for combining elegance with environmental sustainability. (Case in point: The hotel's new fleet of hybrid limousines which are the world's first V8 hybrids.) The glass-enclosed "Wetarium" is located outside the hotel where the weta are housed in a in a native New Zealand habitat. Visitors can check out an indigenous insect that predates the dinosaur and learn about the weta's important role in the surrounding ecosystem.

Image Via Mindfood