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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.

Spas in Sydney: New Upgrades for the Shangri-La Hotel

September 2, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel SydneyChange is afoot in Sydney. The perfectly-located Shangri-La Hotel-- positioned between the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge in the heart of the historic Rocks District-- is currently undergoing a renovation. Scheduled from July 11- September 12, 2009, the improvements will focus on the Health Club, pool, gym, and Café Mix. Pretty soon lucky guests will be able to luxuriate in the only CHI, The Spa in Australia-- as the hotel will debut its swanky new spa in mid December 2009.


Luxury Hotel Trends: Spa Treatments for Teens

August 31, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa

A few years ago we noticed a growing trend at five-star hotels in the U.S: spa treatments for teens. Stowe's Topnotch Resort led the pack with spa services like the Total Teen Facial and Teen Massage. Now The Tribune reports that this trend is catching on at luxe hotels around the globe-- from Trump International in Chicago to The InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa, the largest spa in French Polynesia (pictured above). To quote:

The teen spa area at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, designed with Pottery Barn PBTeen, offers young spa goers a chance to play video games or watch DVDs while they wait for their special acne facials, sports massages or skincare lessons.

The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, meanwhile, advertises treatments suitable for several "generations" of your family, while the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in Costa Rica has a family spa bungalow that a family can use for an entire day, scheduling alternating treatments with dips in the river.

"Teens we see are experienced spa-goers," said Pat Liberto, manager at the Cloister Spa at Sea Island, Georgia. "The younger children who have older spa-goer siblings want to try something too."

A question for our readers: Do you take your teens to spas?


What’s Hot: Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, New Eco-luxury Resort in Australia’s Blue Mountains

August 21, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wolgan ValleyJust a short drive from Sydney, the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains offer breathtaking scenery of sandstone peaks and gorges known for their distinctive blue colored haze-- a miraculous act of nature as sunlight is filtered through drops of eucalyptus oil emitted from the region's eucalyptus trees. And as The New York Times recently reports, a tree once believed to be extinct- the Wollemi Pine- can now be seen at a new eco-friendly resort opening in October, as the luxurious Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa planted a grove of 60 Wollemi Pines for the enjoyment of guests. Since it was rediscovered in 1994, the prehistoric tree could only be found in the wild by a few scientists and conservationists, "one of Australia's best kept secrets." Set within its own 4,000-acre conservation and wildlife reserve, the resort will be operated by Emirates Hotels and Resorts. Each of the 40 free-standing suites will have their own outside deck and private swimming pool.


Luxury Value on Bali: Spa Journey at Anantara Seminyak Resort

August 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort

The fabled paradise of Bali has it all-- from cultural discoveries to adrenalin-packed encounters with nature to stunning sunsets on the beach. But it's perhaps most appreciated as a spiritual place to rejuvenate and find well-being. We can't think of a better spot than Anantara Resort Seminyak to rest and recharge. Embark on the "Seven Days of Renewal Journey" and you'll enjoy a package of traditional Balinese as well as innovative new spa treatments that will transform your mind, body and soul. You'll get yoga sessions and healthy spa cuisine, to boot. Plus you'll get to partake in a Balinese Massage Workshop. Priced at just $445 per night, this is a real luxury value.


The Brando: Marlon Brando’s Private Island in the South Pacific Gets a Luxury Eco-Resort

August 7, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marlon Brando atollThis dreamy spot in the South Pacific will soon be home to The Brando, a luxury eco-resort that's slated for 2011. Marlon Brando bought the private island in French Polynesia in 1965, a postcard-perfect atoll called Tetiaroa surrounded by a coral reef. Construction has begun on what will be the only resort on the island, following Brando's vision for an eco-friendly hideaway. What's in store? The official website promises "47 deluxe bungalow villas (each with private plunge pools), a spa, fitness center, community pool, as well as various island activities including scuba diving and archaeological tours of royal Tahitian sites." To minimize the resort's environmental footprint, The Brando will use a "sea water air conditioning" system which uses renewable clean energy. This system is also used at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa, as The Brando is being developed by Tahiti Beachcomber SA, whose CEO, Richard Bailey, owns the four InterContinental resorts in the region, all committed to eco-friendly practices: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort, InterContiental Tahiti Resort, InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, and InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa.


Say Hello to the New Jivana Villa at InterContinental Resort Bali

July 30, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Resort Bali

Calling all honeymooners. The InterContinental Resort Bali-- nestled on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach overlooking Jimbaran Bay-- has completed a big renovation project of one of its Imperial Villas. Christened the "Jivana Villa," the luxurious residence is secluded from the rest of the resort with its own private driveway, just a stone's throw from the beach. The Jivana Villa is promising to "take personalized hospitality in Bali to the next level." The foyer is lined with built-in aquariums filled with exotic fish, the master suite (on the second floor) has a lavish, marble bathroom, the glass-enclosed sunroom (known as the Love Nest) lures for English afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and treats. Walk through the tropical garden to find your beach chairs awaiting in the sand. Or cross the villa's timber bridge-- extending from the upstairs master suite-- to the two-storey Windsong Pavilion for beautiful ocean views. The oversized swimming pool and jacuzzi are designed with mother of pearl mosaic tiles.


Heli-Skiing in New Zealand with Blanket Bay Luxury Lodge

July 23, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Blanket Bay'Tis the season to hit the slopes down under. Adrenaline hounds can explore New Zealand's snow-covered mountains via helicopter with Blanket Bay's "Ultimate Luxury Alpine Adventure." Leave it to one of the world's finest luxury lodges to arrange the adventure for you. From the hotel's front lawn on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, you'll take off in a chopper with a private guide for a day. Ski some pristine pistes and Alpine Heliski will even set up a lunch table for you in the mountains. Return to pampering and pure luxury at Blanket Bay. Priced from $2700 per person (roughly), the package includes two nights accommodation in a luxury suite.

Related Articles: Blanket Bay's Heli-Fishing School


Buzzworthy: Free Bikes with the Park Hyatt’s Bike Valet Program

July 22, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palacio Duhau, Park HyattAs we reported last month, Park Hyatt Washington D.C. is now handing out complimentary bikes for guests to take on a spin around the city. We just learned that this "Bike Valet" program will soon be extended to other Park Hyatt properties-- from Sydney to Tokyo, from Chicago to Buenos Aires. Inspired by Lance's recent return to the Tour? Come August, you'll be able to embark on your very own "Tour de Park Hyatt." The concierges will hook you up with a hybrid bike, helmet, lock, city biking map, and bottled water.


The Langham Auckland Will Bake You a Cake

July 13, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham AucklandTalk about five-star service. The Langham Auckland even provides guests with a bespoke cake service. The Langham chefs can cook up a cake personalized for your special occasion, whether it be a wedding, birthday, or anniversary, with various flavors and ornamentation, like edible sugar flowers, decadent chocolate cigars, and hand-made sugar roses. Perfect for birthdays, the "celebratory cake" requires 48-hours notice. The other cakes-- like the French Croquembouche made entirely of profiteroles-- require more time. Priced from NZ$85.

Speaking of sweets, The Langham has a delicious offer right now where "your better half dines free." Invite a guest for a meal on the house at the award-winning SBF Brasserie. You'll get a voucher for a matching buffet meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner).

Pictured here: The fleet of luxury Lexus hybrid limousines awaiting guests at The Langham Auckland. Driven by experienced, gracious drivers, the limos can shuttle you around town in luxurious comfort.


Killer Surf Break, Sexy Beach, and Versace Digs on Australia’s Gold Coast

July 8, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palazzo Versace

In its recent line-up of the "World's Sexiest Beaches 2009," Conde Nast Traveler gives a shout-out to Australia's Gold Coast for its "260 days of sunshine and all those beach bodies." Sure, the surfers may tend to couch-surf almost as well as they glide along Oz's best surf breaks, but you should "opt instead for the outrageous contrast of the Palazzo Versace (yes, that Versace), a rococo palace of gilt furniture, marble baths, and whirlpool tubs." This is the world's only Versace hotel, and-- to be expected-- it's visually stunning.