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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.

Occasions at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney: The Place to Celebrate in Oz

March 25, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La SydneyWith a superb location in the historic Rocks district between the world-famous Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, the Shangri-La Hotel offers the city's largest accommodations along with stunning views. Here you can also chow down at some of Sydney's finest restaurants: the award-winning Altitude, and Blu Horizon Bar, both perched on the 36th floor with sweeping views over the harbor. Any stay here is a magical one, and special occasions can be made even more memorable with an indulgent five-star experience at the Shangri-La Sydney. Priced from AUD 398 per night, the Occasions offer includes overnight accommodation, breakfast for two at Café Mix, bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne, strawberries and hand-made chocolates on arrival, nightly turn-down service, late check-out at 4 p.m., complimentary use of the Health Club, and complimentary valet parking. Includes 10 percent goods and services tax. Valid until December 30, 2008.


Small Luxury Hotels Announces Photo Competition: Win Cool Trips and Prizes!

March 24, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hostellerie Les Frenes, ProvenceSmall Luxury Hotels of the World-- the exclusive brand of more than 440 independent properties in 70 countries-- recently launched its inaugural worldwide photography competition with some incredible prizes. The idea is for travelers to share their most inspired moments and experiences "caught on film" during their trips-- whether biking through the Tuscan hills or watching the sunset over a beach in the Indian Ocean. The possibilities are limitless! Running from March 17, 2008 through July 31, 2008, the contest will take place completely online via a dedicated competition website. You can register with the site and then upload up to 10 of your favorite photos that capture a sense of place and experience. All submitted photos will be viewable in an online gallery. Four overall winning photographs will be chosen by a panel of judges including celebrity photographer Andy Earl (who shot Madonna, Prince and Pink Floyd for their album covers). And get this: anybody who registers and submits at least one photo will be automatically entered into a prize draw for a five-night stay at any of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.

The top prize winners will all receive a brand new Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 Camera with an 18-135mm zoom lens, plus, choose one of four incredible prize getaways including two round-trip tickets on American Airlines. The available prize packages are:

* A six-night Costa Rican Adventure spent at both Hotel Punta Islita and Gaia Hotel and Reserve

* A five-night English Town and Country Experience spent at both The Capital Hotel in London and Luton Hoo Country Estate

* A four-night Mexican Escape at Esencia on the Riviera Maya

* A three night Big Apple Experience in New York City at The Iroquois New York


Southern Ocean Lodge: Eco-Chic on Kangaroo Island, Australia

March 20, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kangaroo IslandAustralia's third largest island is a paradise of spectacular natural attractions, home to an abundance of native wildlife such as New Zealand fur seals, koalas, kangaroos, Australian sea lions, ospreys, echidnas and much more. Perched on top of a secluded cliff on this rugged coast, the Southern Ocean Lodge offers an eco-friendly luxury travel experience against a peerless natural backdrop. With incredible views of the pristine wilderness of "Australia's Galapagos," the Southern Ocean Lodge is a sophisticated sanctuary like no other. Distinguished by a contemporary environmental design and commitment to locally-sourced food and beverages, the lodge has a nifty clifftop spa that uses the acclaimed Australian-made Li'Tya range of spa products. Gaze out over the Southern Ocean while chowing down on fresh seafood and tasting some of the best wines of South Australia. Retire to your luxe suite-- there are only 21 of them at the lodge-- and continue to gape at the views from your dramatic glass-walled bathroom and outdoor terrace with daybed. You'll appreciate the signature design elements: sandblasted limestone floors, recycled spotted gum feature walls, contemporary bespoke furnishings and artwork commissioned from local Kangaroo Island artisans.


Ubud Hanging Gardens: Tropical Paradise in Bali

March 17, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ubud Hanging GardensThe ultimate chill-out spot can be found not far from Bali's cultural capital of Ubud at a luxury resort like no other. Ubud Hanging Gardens, like its name suggests, clings to the steep slopes over the Ayung River gorge and offers sweeping views. Perched over the rice terraces, this gravity-defying hotel has 38 luxury villas surrounded by verdant gardens. Conceived by the landscape architect William Warren together with John Pettigrew, the gardens are spectacular; exotic trees and flowers include cocoa, coffee, durian, bamboo, flame trees and orchids. Each Balinese-style villa has its own private terrace and heated infinity plunge pool. Ubud Hanging Gardens features massages and yoga classes at the Ayung spa, excellent food-with-a-view at the restaurants, and a gorgeous pool with a unique design emphasizing the natural curves of the hillside. The real star of the show? The resort's own private funicular (pictured), built into the hillside, which carries guests from one level of the resort to another.

Ubud Hanging Gardens

Until April 30, 2008, take advantage of an exciting special offer at Ubud Hanging Gardens. When you stay for 5 nights, you'll only pay for 4 of them! Book any villa or suite and stay for a minimum of five consecutive nights.

P.S. Ubud Hanging Gardens is the ideal honeymoon escape, and the resort can tailor your activities, excursions, fine dining, etc. to fit your individual needs.


Langham Hotels Announces New Loyalty Partnerships with Thai Airways and China Southern

March 7, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel Hong KongNext time you check into a luxurious Langham Hotel, you can rack up the points with Royal Orchid Plus, the frequent flyer program of Thai Airways, a founding member of the Star Alliance. You can earn 750 miles per qualified stay. Langham Hotels International has partnerships with 15 leading airlines, and guests can also redeem Award Stay certificates on Langhamhotels.com. Langham also recently signed a partnership with China Southern Airlines, China's largest passenger airline, offering 1,000 km for stays at any of Langham's portfolio of hotels, including Auckland, Boston, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Pasadena, and Koh Lanta-- the brand spanking new resort which opened in Thailand's Krabi Province this January. The partnership with China Southern is especially cool given that the first of Langham's new hotels will open this summer at Beijing's Capital Airport.


‘Dine in the Dark’ in Support of Earth Hour at Sydney’s Observatory Hotel

March 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Observatory HotelLeave it to the good folks at HotelChatter to point out this cool (and laudable) event at the Galileo Restaurant at Sydney's finest hotel. In support of Earth Hour-- a green movement where all participants turn off their lights for one hour (8 p.m. on March 29, 2008) to show their commitment to reducing global warming-- the Galileo Restaurant is offering a candlelit, seven-course "Dine in the Dark" degustation menu with matching wines. Priced at $155 per person including a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival.


What’s Hot: qualia, Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef

February 28, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

qualia resortA new resort is making waves in the Whitsundays on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Just a stone's throw off the Queensland coast, qualia, pronounced kwah-lee-ah, is described as a "unique Australian expression of world-class luxury." And the Sydney Morning Herald, present at the resort's launch in late 2007, couldn't agree more, praising qualia as a "coming-of-age for Australian resorts." Situated on the secluded northernmost tip of Hamilton Island, qualia puts the stunning wonders of the Reef at your doorstep. With kayaking, diving, seaplane flights, fishing, and bushwalking, thrill-seekers will find heaven on earth. At this adults-only resort, everything has been meticulously anticipated to provide the ultimate pampering experience. Surrounded by native Eucalyptus, the resort's 60 one-bedroom pavilions were handcrafted from the finest timber and stone. Choose either the Leeward or Seaward pavilions, outfitted with sundecks and private infinity-edge plunge pools, or the exclusive Beach House. What's more: Accommodations include all on-island transfers, meals in both restaurants, non-alcoholic beverages, plus access to your own two-seater electric golf buggy to explore the island. Get ready to get spoiled.


Penang Holiday Play at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang

February 28, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang ResortRecently re-opened after a USD 30 million redevelopment in 2006, the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa is a luxury resort at Batu Feringgi, one of the most inviting beaches in Malaysia. The Resort offers vacationers an expansive luxury retreat in traditional Malaysian style, nestled beside the emerald waters of world-famous Batu Feringgi Beach in Penang. The resort is also within walking distance of Batu Feringgi's lively night bazaar and some 17 km or 20 minutes' drive from the heritage city of George Town. Until March 31st, the Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa is offering a 3 and 4 night Penang Holiday Plan. Starting at just MYR 2,308 for 3 nights and MYR 3,078 for 4 nights, retreat from the world and enjoy the luxuries of this renovated resort.


Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora: Newest Gem of the South Seas

February 19, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Bora BoraNow accepting reservations for October 2008, the new Four Seasons Bora Bora promises the allure of one of the world's most magical destinations with the legendary Four Seasons touch. Situated around a picture-perfect azure lagoon, the resort is comprised of exotic over-water bungalows and beachfront villas with private pools. Here you can explore one of the world's top snorkeling spots, lounge on a powder-white sand beach, swim with a giant sea turtle, take in a sunset over the soaring island peaks, indulge in a spa treatment overlooking the rolling Pacific, and enjoy lagoon-side fire dances under a starry sky. Be one of the first to experience the unmatched luxury of the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora and get a fifth night free when you pay for four nights! Starting at XPF 86,500, the package is available from October 1, 2008- March 31, 2009.


Escape to Nature with Peace and Relaxation at the COMO Shambhala Estate

February 15, 2008
By: Christina Vasquez

COMO Estate Begawan GiriA tranquil hidden gem in the Bali jungle, the COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri is a small boutique hotel featuring 40 rooms and 11 suites. Accommodations range from residences with private swimming pools, two and three bedroom standalone villas, as well as retreat villas which feature therapy rooms and swimming pools. Rooms and activities available at the COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri are designed to evoke physical and cultural activities in a healing and holistic setting.

As this spa retreat prides itself on ensuring a peaceful and relaxing stay for everyone who visits the property, a new policy has been enforced as of February 2008 for guests with children. The hotel suggests booking either retreat or private villas for families, as private pool residences are shared amongst different guests, and are not suitable for guests with children. Exceptions will be made however for guests with children to stay in the residences if they book an entire COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri residence.