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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.

Share Your Proposal Story: Win a Trip Around the World with Langham Hotels

March 3, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham Hong KongThe hospitality industry's got the Royal Wedding on the brain. On both sides of the pond there are special packages galore for royal watchers to mark the occasion. But Langham Hotels has gone one step further. The hotel company recently announced a competition encouraging couples to submit the "most romantic proposal" for a chance to win a trip around the world, using one million Asia Miles and staying in the lap of Langham luxury on four different continents. (The trip is worth $40,000.) Just upload a videoblog detailing your marriage proposal, or a video of the actual event, and link it to Facebook or Chinese social media site Kaixin by April 29, 2011. In May, Langham Hotels will pick 10 finalists, who will then be asked to share how they'll spend their time at the eight Langham locations worldwide. For more info, visit: romantic.langhamhotels.com.

Details on the prize: One million frequent flyer miles, two-night stays in each of the eight Langham properties (located in London, Hong Kong (pictured), Boston, Pasadena, Auckland, Melbourne and two hotels in Shanghai, The Langham Yangtze Boutique and The Langham Xintiandi Shanghai), airport transfers, and an afternoon tea experience.


Hayman Island Resort in Australia Temporarily Closed Due to Cyclone Damage

February 22, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

Hayman Island ResortNature giveth, and nature certainly taketh away. Case in point: Hayman Island Resort at The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. Adjacent to one of the world’s most incredible underwater marvels, Hayman Island offers guests the chance to snorkel and dive in a tropical paradise. The indulgent natural surroundings are only matched by the comfort and luxury of the beach front resort.

Yet the beauty of the oceanic environment can sometimes mask the power of the waters and wind offshore. When two major cyclones rumbled through Queensland earlier this year, Hayman Island Resort was severely damaged. Knowing that their guests deserved only the best, the property was regretfully shuttered until repairs are completed.

Yet just as the tide always returns, so too will Hayman Island Resort. The expected grand re-opening is set for August 1st, just in time to book for the Australian Spring and Summer beginning shortly thereafter. So don’t fret! Hayman Island Resort will be back, and The Great Barrier Reef will be waiting.


Banish Winter Woes with the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort

February 14, 2011
By: Katie Tandy

St. Regis Bora Bora

Do the snow and sleet have you feeling less than spry? Infuse yourself with a dash of sunshine-induced joy with three family-centered packages steeped in the warm waters of Bora Bora à la the St. Regis Resort. Featuring 100 over-water and beach villas boasting terrace whirlpools and private swimming pools showcasing exotic wood and regional art, the French Polynesia resort has some offerings sure to soothe your winter-worn self: “Exceptional Royal Estate Offer” – Valid until May 31, this package features a value-add rack rate of $9,200.00 per Villa per night plus taxes. Also inclusive in this offer are private return airport transfers and daily breakfast for up to six guests. Offer is based on a minimum stay of three nights. Book here.

St Regis Bora Bora“A Taste of Luxury” package – Valid until December 20th, take advantage of a complimentary fourth night for a three consecutive nights stay at the resort as well as a complimentary daily breakfast for two at Te Pahu Restaurant and 20% off Spa Miri Miri. Rates begin at $955.00 per night plus taxes. Book here.

“Family Fun” package – Valid until December 20th, families who book a Bungalow at the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort receive 50% off for: a second Bungalow over the same dates and daily breakfast. Kids will also be in “ice cream paradise” with the Resort’s Ice Cream Passport program where tots under 10-years old enjoy privileged access to an endless supply of homemade ice cream, milk shakes and smoothies throughout the duration of their stay (with mom's permission of course). Book here.

St Regis Bora BoraPint-size travelers will also love the Lagoonarium where they can swim with marine life and explore the depths of the sea with snorkels, kayaks and canoes. Children can also partake in some healthy competition, crafting sand castles for contests, race crabs, snoop around on a scavenger hunt or windsurf.

Be sure to check out the ultra-luxurious 13,000-square-foot Royal Estate, set apart in a secluded cove or grab some creative cuisine at the suspended Lagoon restaurant, helmed by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.


Sponsored Article: The Eugenia, a Colonial-Style Gem in Bangkok, Joins lebua Hotels & Resorts

January 31, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Tower Club at lebua, BangkokAnyone who's ever stayed at lebua at State Tower-- the all-suite luxury hotel located in the second tallest tower in Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River-- has gleaned a thing or two about lebua Hotels & Resorts. The luxury boutique hotel operator specializes in creating new concepts in luxury hospitality; lebua at State Tower has Bulgari amenities and private balconies in every suite, plus mind-numbing views of the city from the Sky Bar and Sirocco Restaurant, one of the highest al fresco restaurants in the world. lebua also owns and manages the Tower Club at lebua (the pinnacle of luxury on the top floors of State Tower) and the award-winning Lake Okareka Lodge (an exclusive hideaway surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of Rotorua, New Zealand).

The Eugenia by lebua, BangkokJust recently, lebua Hotels & Resorts welcomed a new addition to its elegant portfolio: The Eugenia, a refined Relais & Chateaux property in the heart of Bangkok. Situated in a graceful Colonial-style house, The Eugenia by lebua is a heritage gem reflecting the values of a bygone leisurely era in the tropics. Inside the suites, you'll find antique furniture and period decor dating back hundreds of years: four-poster beds, bath tubs made of hand beaten copper and aluminum alloy, beautiful desks.

The Eugenia by lebua, BangkokContemporary amenities are not lacking; think Wifi Internet access and free VOIP telephone calls, along with a complimentary afternoon fruit plate with soft drinks. Outside, a garden pool and teak deck beckons for rest and relaxation. As to be expected at a lebua property, the personalized service is exceptional. Pre-pay rates are available at The Eugenia by lebua for just $181.80 with Five Star Alliance.


Sponsored Article: Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua Awarded Among Top Honeymoon Destinations

January 13, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua, RotoruaPrince William and his fiancée Kate Middleton are scouting out honeymoon destinations, and Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua-- located in Rotorua, New Zealand-- should be at the top of their list. After all, this exclusive, ultra-luxe lodge was recently named as one of the world's top 10 honeymoon destinations by HotelsCombined.com.

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua, RotoruaIn fact, Lake Okareka Lodge manager Diana Moore wrote the Prime Minister John Key urging him to invite the royal couple to New Zealand for their honeymoon. "We suggested to Mr. Key that a New Zealand honeymoon would be the perfect wedding gift from the people of New Zealand and at the same time it would generate priceless worldwide publicity for New Zealand as a visitor destination." The honeymooning couple would experience breathtaking scenery, world class culinary experiences, and the seclusion and privacy of this unique and unspoiled environment.

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua, RotoruaMany guests book out the entire lodge for exclusive use, as it comprises just three large suites, one on each level. Lake Okareka Lodge rates start at around NZ$2500 per couple per night in a suite and rise to around $8,000 per night for exclusive-use of the entire lodge with accommodation in the award winning Lake Okareka Suite-- with gourmet dining, beverages and 24-hour butler service included.

The lodge boasts its own helipad, floatplane jetty, outdoor spa, private beach, massage room and fitness studio. Honeymooning couples find it a magic, romantic hideaway for a few days of guilt-free pampering.


Get Married in Bali at the Cloud Nine Chapel, St. Regis Resort

January 3, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Regis Resort BaliDreamed of tying the knot on a sandy stretch of beach in paradise? Think Bali, where the St. Regis Resort offers a slew of bespoke wedding possibilities-- from custom catering and personalized flower arrangements to the services of a personal St. Regis Specialist and all the ingredients for a perfect, pampering honeymoon (like his and her treatments at the swank Remède Spa). The address is unbeatable: swim through azure lagoons and stroll barefoot in the sand surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The resort's Cloud Nine Chapel has awesome panoramic ocean views from its postcard-perfect location on the beach. Beyond the chapel’s pond, a wood-terraced reception area on the beach is the ideal spot for pre-dinner canapés and cocktails.


A Festive Christmas at the Langham Auckland

December 2, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham AucklandThe Langham Auckland is getting in the Christmas spirit with all kinds of festive eats and decorations galore. The elegant hotel is the place to stay in New Zealand's largest city, capturing the timeless elegance of the original Langham grand hotel in London. Talk about a wonderland of indulgence! The hotel has decked its halls and is offering special yuletide afternoon tea as well as an opulent Chuan Spa Christmas package with complimentary gifts. Carolers will join Santa on December 12 in The Great Room during the grand Christmas afternoon tea buffet. What we love: the festive dining in the hotel's SBF Brasserie and Barolo restaurant. SBF Brasserie has morphed into a Christmas wonderland, delivering traditional favorites and over 40 other delectable dishes to tempt diners at lunch or dinner. They've got cute gingerbread houses and giant candy canes on display and a dedicated Mövenpick carriage serving ice cream. A festive lunch and dinner buffet is available in the lead up to Christmas at $42 per person for lunch or $65 per person for dinner. Christmas Eve buffet dinner is $69 per person. Or head to Barolo restaurant for an elegant Christmas Day experience, savoring a four-course meal complete with amuse bouche for $130 per person. Christmas lunch will be served from 12 – 3pm and dinner from 6.30pm – 10pm. Reservations are essential.


Christmas on the Island of the Gods: Special Offer at Uma Ubud, Bali

November 23, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Uma Ubud Resort, BaliImagine experiencing a tropical Christmas on the Island of the Gods. Throughout the Hindu island of Bali, people get in the festive spirit; it's not uncommon to see Christmas trees, penjor (traditional decorative bamboo poles), and homes decorated with banana leaves. Book a stay at Uma Ubud, the five-star Balinese resort famous for its spa and open air yoga pavilion, and feast on a special Christmas Eve dinner at Kemiri restaurant. Christmas Day can be spent relaxing by the pool, enjoying a COMO Shambhala spa treatment, or exploring Bali's cultural hinterland. The three-night package includes:

-daily a la carte breakfast

-private return airport transfer

-a 60-minute spa treatment per person

-Christmas Eve dinner at Uma Ubud's Kemiri restaurant

-Christmas Day lunch at COMO Shambhala Estate's Glow restaurant

Prices from $1,145 in a Terrace Room for three nights.


Last Day to Book Starwood’s Global Holiday Sale

November 15, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel President Wilson, GenevaThe big two-week global sale from Starwood Hotels & Resorts is coming to an end. Act fast to score savings of up to 30% on best available rates this holiday season across all nine Starwood brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element. The offer is valid for stays between November 4, 2010 and January 17, 2011 at more than 750 hotels and resorts worldwide; valid at participating hotels over weekends and at participating resorts all days of the week.

Pictured: The world-renowned Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, part of the Luxury Collection.


Travel Trends: Personalized Hotel Rooms

November 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grace Hotel, SydneyA hotel in Sydney is making waves in the travel industry with a unique new offering: customized hotel rooms. From the pillows to the lampshades, the choice is yours when it comes to designing your ultimate hideaway at the historic Grace Hotel. According to the News online, the Art Deco hotel now offers 10 personalized guest rooms priced at $400 a night - about twice as much as a standard room at the hotel:

When guests call to make a reservation for one of the rooms they are asked if they are travelling for business or pleasure, their favourite flavour, favourite colour and which type of pillow they prefer. There are also given three different room layouts to choose from. One room is designed to suit couples with a large semi-built-in bathtub and rain shower, while the second is more for business travellers. It doesn't have a bath but it has a wall separating the bed from the lounge area, which has two chairs if you want to have a small meeting and you can plug your laptop into the TV for presentations. The third layout has a large, open-plan feel for longer stay guests with a wardrobe in the spacious bathroom. If you like the layout, but not the lounge, staff will just swap it with one from another room.

Guests can also choose their furniture and brand of toiletries.