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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.

Romance in Mexico at Maroma Resort, Riviera Maya


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maroma Resort This could be heaven on earth. The best place to stay in the trendy Mayan Riviera (the stretch of perfect beaches sweeping south from Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula) is Maroma Resort. Hands down. Nestled in the secluded jungle of a 200-acre nature preserve next to sugary beaches and lapis blue sea, Maroma dazzles guests with its excellent service and lavish facilities. There's a beautiful spa, three swimming pools, two ocean-facing restaurants and al fresco bar. To the delight of Maroma guests, there are myriad inclusive amenities. Think daily breakfast (and pots of coffee delivered to your room beforehand), welcome cocktails, and snorkeling trips to the colorful coral reefs off-shore. Maroma also receives glowing reports about its cuisine, and the special dinners arranged for couples on the beach. Celebrate a special occasion with an unforgettable dinner on the sand. In selecting your dinner choices, talk with Executive Chef Guilliermo Gomez-- who prepares innovative Mexican cuisine blending flavors of the Yucatan, Maya and Creole cultures-- and choose anything your heart desires. At the appointed time, stroll to the beach and discover a manicured path of sand leading to a magical spot lit by candles.


Buzzworthy: Philippe Starck and Adrian Zecha Design Cape Yamu in Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Yamu, Phuket Overlooking the limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, Cape Yamu is a new luxury development slated for Thailand's popular Phuket island. This elegant private community will be composed of beautiful villas with private access to a world-class spa, restaurant, and hotel services by GHM, the hotel management company operated by Amanresort's legendary founder, Adrian Zecha. Designed by Philippe Starck of YOO by Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy, celebrated for his work with Amanresorts, the development promises stunning design and architecture in an unrivaled setting. Construction has begun for the on-site five-star hotel called The Yamu. Set to open in 2008, the boutique hotel will have 61 guest rooms and two duplex suites, one of which will be attached to a state-of-the-art recording studio. Expect an 100-meter swimming pool, gorgeous spa, and restaurant and bar destined to be a Phuket hotspot.


Make it Mexico: InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Cozumel's finest resort-- hands down-- is the InterContinental Presidente, the island's palatial crown jewel. After Hurricane Wilma devastated Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula, the resort did a major renovation in 2006 and now offers the finest accommodations in Mexico's most beautiful Caribbean destination. Just offshore, the large barrier reef of Cozumel Marine National Park lures divers and snorkelers to one of the top diving destinations in the world. Set on a half mile of natural sandy beach, the resort boasts beautiful swimming pools, a scuba certification center, outstanding restaurants, and the lavish, new Serenity Spa which features a Mayan Temazcal steam bath, hydrotherapy, Jacuzzi, outdoor showers, and fitness center. It's not just the superlative facilities that have guests coming back for more-- but the exceptional service, as the hotel's staff learn your name and indulge all your preferences.


Out of Africa: Lupita Island Resort and Spa on Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lupita Island Resort and Spa From your own private plunge pool, look out over Lake Tanganyika, sighted by explorers Richard Burton and John Speke in 1858 in their pursuit of the source of the Nile-- surely a sight for sore eyes after their journey. If only the explorers had it this good: the remote resort on Lupita Island offers the finest amenities, beautiful furnishings, and top notch service (private butlers attend to every whim). Built on a hilltop on the 110-acre island, the resort features 14 exquisitely designed villas with spectacular lake and mountain views. After a day spent sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, or hitting the beach, relax with a massage in the fully-equipped spa.

(Pictured: Take a bath under the stars, overlooking the lake.)


All Island Buy-out at Peter Island Resort, British Virgin Islands


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peter Island For the first time ever, Peter Island-- the renowned Caribbean resort that frequently tops the lists of "world's best hotels"-- can be rented in its entirety. How's that for exclusivity? The fully-staffed private island resort can be yours for just you and 130 of your closest friends or business colleagues. Think weddings, family reunions, company retreats. The largest private island in the BVI, Peter Island boasts five picture-perfect beaches, a seaside spa, 52 guest rooms, three villas, and Tradewinds restaurant, which was recently awarded the Wine Spectator award of excellence. (Oh, and did we mention the resort's 41' sailing yacht Silmaril?) 200 members of staff (a 3 to 1 ratio of staff to guests) are on hand to assist with all requests. Rates for the full island buy-out (a five-night stay) begin at $259,600 for travel now through November 16, 2007. Included: all breakfasts, lunches and dinners daily, round trip airport transfers, unlimited ferry service to and from Tortola and unlimited use of the resort's non-motorized watersports equipment, mountain bikes, tennis courts, windsurfing, snorkeling and fitness center.


Dazzling Dubai: Waterfront Opulence at Madinat Jumeirah


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Madinat Jumeirah In a city of hyperbole (and myriad over-the-top attractions), Madinat Jumeirah stands apart as a monumental destination that exudes the city's vibrant and exotic spirit. A self-contained sanctuary of Arabian style, this luxurious oasis is comprised of three grand hotels-- Mina A' Salam, Al Qasr and Dar Al Maysaf-- along with 29 stand-alone traditional summer houses and the region's first Six Senses Spa. This sun-drenched waterfront property sprawls over beautiful gardens and waterways. Translated as the "City of Jumeirah," the Madinat Jumeirah is so named because of the sheer variety of the resort; guests enjoy the Quay Healthclub, five tennis courts, and no less than 42 restaurants and bars. The heart of the resort experience is Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a unique retail and leisure hotspot with 75 shops and restaurants.


Surfs Up in the Maldives at Anantara Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Surfing Surfing in the Maldives? Who knew?! One of the premier luxury travel destinations in the world, the Maldives is known for its spectacular diving. But now guests of the Anantara Resort, the five-star hideaway spread across five acres of tropical terrain on Dhigufinolhu (island) on the South Male Atoll, can hit the waves as well. As of August 2007, the resort has partnered with award-winning Australian company Tropicsurf-- to offer an exciting range of surfing options including a 4-day coached course. Offshore from the perfect white sandy beaches and tropical lagoons, the aquamarine ocean gives way to perfectly groomed waves, sweeping over curved coral reefs. Both novices and serious thrill-seekers will enjoy the surf breaks of the Maldives. Video analysis is even on hand at the resort to improve each surfer's technique. The Four Day Surfing Course is priced at $695.


Langham Hotel Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to China


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel Hong Kong Helicopter tour of the city? A two-hour "Symphony of Lights" harbour cruise? Plus dinner for two at T'ang Court, rated one of the world's "top ten" hotel restaurants? Bring it on! The stylish Langham Hotel, fabulously high-tech after a lavish renovation, is offering the Decennial Celebration Package to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the mainland. To mark ten years after the historic transfer of sovereignty, the package features ten unique experiences and amenities to showcase the very best Hong Kong has to offer. Available until September 30, 2007 and fittingly priced at $1,997, the package includes: suite accommodation for two nights, airport transfers, a 15-minute helicopter tour, harbour cruise, daily breakfast, dinner for two at T'ang Court, daily HK $600 allowance for laundry, complimentary Internet, and complimentary use of the Langham Club lounge, featuring evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.


Coming to Bali: W Retreat and Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bali Beach Here's some good news to cure the post-summer blues. Starwood recently announced that it will open a new W Retreat & Spa in Bali in 2009. This will be the fourth such Retreat for the brand, after the successful launch of the Maldives property which opened in September 2006. The atoll had never before seen such pampering and indulgence-- a luxury playground like no other. (The W Retreat will also open in Vieques next year, followed by the Koh Samui retreat in 2009.) Bali is one of the top-rated resort destinations in the world, and the new W Retreat will no doubt make a splash for honeymooners seeking something unique. Situated in the Seminyak area of the island, the 152-room resort will be surrounded by rustic villages, rice terraces, and beaches. 80 villas will be designed with traditional Balinese courtyards and private pools. Of course the W Retreat experience wouldn't be complete without a poolside destination bar and the signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service.


Buzzworthy: Fazenda da Lagoa, Una, Brazil


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fazenda da Lagoa Follow your bliss to Brazil, where a stylish eco-retreat on Bahia's Câcao Coast is making waves with its incredible setting and chic rooms. Fourteen bungalows-- outfitted with decks, gauze-netted beds, and sun terraces with open-air showers-- are surrounded by 1,500 isolated acres, overlooking an unspoiled, white sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Set within a large coconut palm plantation, Fazenda da Lagoa offers mesmerizing sea views or sunset vistas over the mangroves. There's AC, a direct dial phone, and a TV with DVD and CD player, so isolated paradise doesn't mean you have to kiss goodbye technology. Bathrooms have Casa Granado brand soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion-- all biodegradable products. Relax with a massage or spa treatment at the Wellbeing Lounge, where mineral-rich rainforest clays are used in special treatments like the Rainforest Mud Mask. Leisure activities include treks on the Maroin river and kayaking the lagoon, but you can always just lounge by the beautiful pool.