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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.

Seychelles Seduction: Banyan Tree Introduces Two-Bedroom Beachfront Villas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Seychelles There's a reason this place is such a honeymoon hot spot. Boasting the largest spa in the Seychelles, situated next to one of the world's most beautiful talcum powder beaches, Banyan Tree Seychelles is a rare taste of paradise. Boasting spectacular views of the Indian Ocean (framed by swaying palms and lush tropical forest), the resort's villas are a marvelous blend of contemporary, colonial, and plantation décor, with high sloping ceilings and airy verandahs. And Banyan Tree Seychelles recently got even more romantic, with the launch of the new Two-Bedroom DoublePool Beachfront villas, the first resort in the Seychelles to feature these exclusive retreats. Here you can wake up to the soft lapping waves just outside your villa. Each of the stunning villas offers two private pools, two open-air dining areas, a jet-pool, two sprawling master bedrooms, as well as a 24-hour in-villa host and in-villa chef services.

More new additions: the Club House and new restaurant Chez Lamar, offering gastronomic Creole delights with inspiration from Seychellois' vibrant culture.


Spotlight On: The Equestrian Center at Half Moon, Jamaica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon, Jamaica Horse folks are welcome at Half Moon, one of only three resorts in the Caribbean with its own equestrian center. Led by passionate trainers, the center offers excellent programs for all ages and skill levels. Enjoy the signature Beach Ride, which takes riders for an exhilarating swim on horseback into the sea. Budding equestrians can partake in the Jungle Jaunt, which leads riders through paths on a scenic hillside. More proficient riders can take advantage of private lessons. Plus, there are pony rides for the kiddies. Surrounded by sandy crescent beaches, the elegant Half Moon resort features an exclusive dolphin lagoon, championship golf, first-class tennis, a variety of water sports, and delectable specialty restaurants.

PS. Fall breaks at Half Moon are a steal, with nightly rates starting at $149 per night in a Superior Room. (Double occupancy; three night minimum stay required.) Available September 6 - October 31, 2007.


The Rising Tides: The New Tides Zihuatanejo from Kor Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Tides Zihuatanejo This is music to our ears. The Tides, the high design hotel brand in "chic by the shore" settings from the Kor Hotel Group, has added another gorgeous resort to its impressive collection. Formerly Villa del Sol, the award-winning Zihuatanejo resort joins The Tides South Beach in Florida and The Tides Riviera Maya on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Listed on Travel and Leisure's 500 List and named "Most Outstanding Hotel" by Condé Nast Johansens, The Tides Zihuatanejo blends the casual romance of beachfront lifestyle with the coveted seclusion of a lush garden retreat. Located above a picturesque fishing village on Mexico's Pacific Coast, the hotel boasts signature Tides amenities, exclusive butler services, infinity pools, a world-class spa, and an enhanced beach experience, with the high-noon complimentary beverage refresher service and doting Beach Butlers who provide tanning products, neck cushions, iPods, and cocktail services. Seventy guestrooms and suites, housed in two-storey adobe-inspired casitas, afford stunning jungle and ocean views across a beautiful private beach. The restaurant, one of the new brand-signature La Marea restaurants, offers the freshest seafood with a beach club ambience. Lucky couples can take advantage of the private lagoon dinner on a small island in the resort's lagoon-- for the ultimate romantic dining experience.


A Diver’s Paradise in the Maldives at Cocoa Island


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cocoa Island, Maldives Imagine: a host of teeming marine life-- trumpet fish, white and black tip reef sharks, and turtles-- right outside your villa sundeck. Cocoa Island, the Indian Ocean outpost from COMO Hotels and Resorts (the folks behind Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos), is located in a quiet atoll where the waters are undisturbed. Diving in the Maldives is rated among the best in the world, and Cocoa Island has an on-site dive center staffed by PADI certified instructors catering to every level of experience. You can rent equipment, enroll in PADI sanctioned diving courses, and adventure out on safari dives farther afield. You can even take part in night dives. Cocoa Island's house reef stretches to over 500 meters along the southern flank of the atoll, and with a visibility of 20 to 25 meters, both divers and snorkelers are delighted by the exquisite coral and its thriving ecosystem.


Hotel Arts Barcelona: The Allure of a One-of-a-Kind City


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Arts Barcelona Discover the best of Barcelona on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. From museum hopping to boat trips, from Gaudi's architecture to gothic cathedrals, from reflexology massages by the pool to personal shopping tours, Hotel Arts Barcelona understands the art of enjoying summer. A member of the Ritz-Carlton family of hotels, Hotel Arts Barcelona overlooks miles of Barcelona beachfront and the grand vista of Port Olimpic. The view may be nice, but the hotel's striking contemporary architecture is really what turns heads. In addition, there is a spectacular collection of Spanish contemporary art housed in the hotel. Sit down for an al fresco meal, fanned by a mild summer breeze, at the Restaurante Marina. Sink into a soft sofa on Arola's chill-out terrace, sipping a cocktail and sharing tapas. This is what summer's all about. The hotel also boasts a stunning Spa by Six Senses on the 43rd floor, outdoor pool, open-air Jacuzzi in terraced gardens, and a fitness center with personal fitness consultations.


Bargains in the Bahamas: Summer Savings at Old Bahama Bay at Ginn sur Mer


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Old Bahama Bay Summer specials abound in the warmer climes. Case in point: Old Bahama Bay Resort, newly dubbed Old Bahama Bay at Ginn sur Mer, is offering an Endless Summer Package for a song. Enjoy deluxe accommodations, welcome drink upon arrival, round-trip airport transfers, and complimentary use of sail boats, kayaks, snorkel equipment, Hobie Cats, fitness center and bicycles-- starting from just $209 per night in an Ocean View Junior Suite. Three night minimum stay required; available until October 30th, 2007. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Old Bahama Bay has an ambiance of barefoot elegance with an out-island remote feel, though it's only 56 miles from the Florida coast. A new member of the Ginn Resorts family, the full-service resort has got it all: beachfront suites with luxurious touches, a 72-slip port of entry marina, three restaurants, and a host of activities including the 4,000 sq ft heated swimming pool with infinity edge, massage services, fitness center, fishing, snorkeling and boating.


Personal Assistant Service at the Newly Remodeled Tides South Beach, Miami


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tides South Beach Bellhops? Pa-leese! The Diva of Ocean Drive, fresh from a glamorous redesign by trendsetting designer Kelly Wearstler, offers personal assistant services for guests. Upon arrival at The Tides South Beach, you are welcomed by your very own Personal Assistant who delivers advanced round-the-clock services: beachside amenity baskets with bottled water, magazines, and sunscreen, in-suite dining and catering, laundry, dry cleaning and shoe shine service as well as complete business services such as translation, transcription, desk-top publishing, postal and parcel service. Trained by Robert Watson from The Guild of Professional English Butlers, the hotel's PAs do it all. And with The Tides' Guest Recognition Policy, these personal assistants understand guests' preferences before they even arrive.


Suite Dreams: The Presidential Suite at InterContinental Hong Kong


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong Kong, Presidential Suite There's a lot to love at the InterContinental Hong Kong: the large outdoor heated swimming pool and unique trio of infinity spa pools, the luxurious I-Spa (with its feng shui inspired ambiance), prime waterfront location in Kowloon, unparalleled dining, not to mention the spectacular views. But one of the best things about the hotel is the stunning Presidential Suite, one of the most beautiful in Asia, and the city's priciest and largest. The price tag is $10,000 a night for 7,000 square feet of pure luxury. The 2,500 square ft terrace boasts its own infinity pool overlooking the sparkling lights of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. The wrap-around terrace can easily seat 50 folks for dinner, and 24-hour room service from Alain Ducaisse's Spoon Restaurant is a perk enjoyed only by guests of the Presidential Suite. Of course this five-room facility has made the roster of Forbes' most expensive hotel rooms in the world.


Luxury Eco-Resorts from AOL Founder, Steve Case


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Costa Rica First stop: Costa Rica. Steve Case is launching a new luxury resort company, Revolution Places, with an eye on environmental and cultural preservation. Only natural for a guy who grew up in Hawaii and feels passionately about not paving over paradise. The first environmentally-friendly project is an $800 million, 650-acre development in Cacique, Costa Rica, on the northwest Pacific coast. What's in store? A 120-villa One&Only resort by Sol Kerzner, who developed Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; a 180-unit Miraval: Life in Balance-branded destination spa resort; a Tom Doak-designed golf course; and a tennis and fitness center designed by Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf. Expected to open in 2010, the resort will be designed to reduce water and energy waste, with renewable energy sources and on-site treatment facilities to reuse waste water.

Photo Via Washington Post


Last Minute Summer Getaways: Free Fifth Night at Cap Juluca, Anguilla


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap Juluca Heat and humidity? Bring it on! Escape to the Caribbean where cool breezes soothe and crystal clear waters calm. And with a deal like this, how could you possibly resist? From now until August 31, 2007, Cap Juluca is offering an Easy Breezy Summer offer where guests are spoiled with a fifth night free, when paying for four nights. Also included: daily breakfast, one dinner for two at the resort's Pimms restaurant, use of water sports equipment, tennis courts and the health club, nightly movies, and roundtrip transfers from the island's airport or ferry terminal. Located on the island of Anguilla just minutes from St. Maarten, this place is simply delicious. The sugary white sand beaches, dotted with swaying palms, conjure images of the picture-perfect tropical paradise. But Cap Juluca's got a lot more than pristine beaches. At this award-winning resort, there's a fitness center, bicycles and private golf carts, aqua golf driving range, putting green, croquet lawn, swimming pool, tennis courts, and endless water sports.