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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.

Bali High: Checking into the Club at InterContinental Bali Resort

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental BaliSecluded on the powder-white sands of Jimbaran Bay on Bali's southern coast, the InterContinental Resort sprawls over 14 tropical hectares of ornamental ponds and winding lagoons. The 418-room resort showcases traditional Balinese architecture with modern lifestyle facilities, and is an alluring hideaway for both couples and families. The resort's Club InterContinental is perhaps the island's best kept secret, a real luxury value. Designed as a resort within a resort, the Club InterContinental takes guests on a journey of unprecedented luxury. With prime terrace views, spa-like bathrooms with Aveda toiletries, espresso machines and high-tech amenities, the accommodations were created to anticipate every possible need of the seasoned traveler. Club InterContinental offers guests total privacy and an array of indulging privileges: Airport Lounge with priority Immigration clearance, unobtrusive 24-hour Butler service, a private Club Pool, and exclusive access to the 24-hour Club InterContinental Lounge for breakfast, complimentary refreshments, high tea, sunset cocktails, late night supper and all-day snacks. Other entitlements include late check-out benefits and preferential seating at every restaurant throughout the resort.

InterContinental Bali ResortChoose the Club Dreams package at the InterContinental Bali and you'll get a bunch of cool extras. Upon arrival, you'll be driven to the resort in a top of the line Jaguar. Once in your room, a chilled bottle of Moet Chandon, chocolates and a soothing flower bath await you. Experience a sunset boat tour around Jimbaran Bay in a traditional outrigger. Then enjoy a romantic dinner in a private tent by the sea. Priced at just $1,100, this three-night package also includes all Club InterContinental privileges. Valid until March 31, 2008.

Limited Time Special Offer: Five-Star Delight at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Sanctuary at KiawahAfter the recent announcement of the winners of the prestigious Mobil Five Star Award, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort-- a first-timer on the list-- has decided to celebrate. Only 41 hotels, resorts and inns in North America can claim this distinction, so The Sanctuary has a right to celebrate! Plus, The Sanctuary's Spa also achieved a separate, spa-specific Five Star rating, one of only three hotel spas in the country with the designation. To fête this achievement, The Sanctuary is offering an exclusive two-night "Five Star Delight" package for two that is only available for a limited time. Priced at $555 per person, per night, the package will expire on 5/5/08. Enjoy ocean-view concierge level accommodations on the 5th floor with a private concierge and access to the concierge lounge with complimentary gourmet food and drink selections. (Warning: More 5's to follow...) Plus, you'll get a round for two at Pete Dye's Ocean Course (one of the resort's 5 world-championship golf courses and rated 5 Stars by Golf Digest), an intimate 5-course tasting dinner for two at the Ocean Room (The Sanctuary's signature restaurant), and "Take 5" at the 5-Star Spa with a relaxing one-hour couples massage. Available starting 3/1/08.

Porto Zante’s De Luxe Villas on Zakinthos Island

By: Madelyn Giblin

Porto Zante GreecePorto Zante is a luxurious Villa-Hotel located on a private beach west of the Greek mainland. Private villas offer gorgeous poolside views overlooking spectacular sandy beaches and the open ocean. Located only 8 kilometers from the international airport, Porto Zante is both a remote get-away and accessible vacation scene.

Porto Zante De Luxe offers four different options for villas, accommodating anywhere from two to twelve people. Villas include bathrooms complete with Jacuzzi bathtubs and hydro jet showers. Each villa comes with living rooms and is fully air conditioned with a private parking area. Many of the villas also come with fireplaces and verandas. Enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area, providing a relaxing environment to kick back and enjoy the many delights this culturally rich area has to offer.

Rates start at 500 Euros ...

Taking the Hassle out of Choosing a Dubai Luxury Hotel

By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Dubai Luxury Hotel Many of our clients seem to get overwhelmed when researching hotels in Dubai. With so many luxury hotel choices, in a city that is relatively new on destination hotspot radar, visitors are often unsure where to start. Hotels in Dubai can basically be broken down into three categories: beach, city and desert. People traveling to Dubai for leisure will most likely want to stay at one of the beach properties such as Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Madinat Jumeirah properties (pictured) - Al Qasr, Dar al Masyaf, Mina A' Salam. Other beach properties include Ritz Carlton Dubai, One and Only Royal Mirage, and the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.

Dubai Luxury HotelWhen visiting Dubai for business, most people choose one of the hotels in the heart of the city because either they are attending a conference at a hotel downtown, or they need to be near the World Trade Center or the Dubai Convention Center. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Raffles Dubai (pictured), Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Shangri-La Dubai, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Fairmont Dubai, Taj Palace Hotel or Traders Hotel Dubai are all close to the airport and located in the business district. If you tire of sitting in meeting rooms, many of these hotels provide shuttles to the beach, or you can spend your free time in their world-class spas, restaurants, pools, or shopping malls.

Dubai Luxury HotelOne thing to consider: If you need to be in the city center but would like to be near the water, choose a hotel on Dubai Creek. The creek comes in from the Persian Gulf and splits the city almost equally in two. Hotels such as Radisson SAS, Dubai Deira Creek, and InterContinental Dubai Festival City line the creek. Or choose the Grosvenor House Dubai which is situated on the Dubai Marina and overlooks the Persian Gulf. While it does not have a beach itself, guests are welcome to use the beach at the adjacent sister property, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa.

Dubai Luxury HotelVisitors are so excited to experience the glamor of Dubai's beaches and city center that they sometimes overlook the beautiful desert resorts that are just outside the city. These resorts provide a peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and give visitors a chance to take in the unique desert landscape. Two excellent choices are the Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa and the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa. If your trip itinerary allows, we recommend planning a weekend in the desert at the end of your trip.

Limited Time Special Offer at Four Seasons Hotel Miami

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons MiamiImagine: you sink into a plush lounge chair in a private poolside cabana while a pool attendant spoils you with Evian spritzes, cool towels, and frozen fruit brochettes. Lush tropical foliage waves in the breeze. Just a block from glittering Biscayne Bay, in the heart of Miami, you've discovered an oasis of luxurious pampering. Indulge in a Vichy shower and spa treatment at the 50,000-square-foot Splash Spa. Did we mention the Sports Club/LA? The Four Seasons Hotel Miami features state-of-the-art fitness facilities (40,000-square-feet worth!) where personal trainers and fitness gurus teach the ultimate work-out programs (read: 14 different types of yoga, REV Group Cycling Studio, BodyArt Pilates Studio). Housed in a sleek 70-storey tower of glass and granite reflecting the sparkling bay, the Four Seasons Miami offers 221 spacious rooms including 39 suites. Take advantage of some exceptional rates for a two- or three-night getaway. From March 16- March 29, 2008, you'll find a two-night stay priced as low as $275 per night in a Superior Room. From June 1- September 30, 2008, rates start at $250 per night.

Ocean Front vs Ocean View Room Descriptions

By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

People are frequently confused over the terms "ocean view" versus "ocean front" as found in hotel room descriptions. Cambridge Beaches oceanfrontMost beach resorts will try to best describe the room views to make sure guests are fully informed. In the rate terms, oceanfront (Cambridge Beaches pictured at left) means that you will have the best possible ocean views from your windows and, if available, balcony. Your room will be directly facing the ocean - frontage views. Of course, ocean-front rooms are always the most expensive as well. But if your idea is to lay in bed and look out over the ocean, these are the rooms that will guarantee you that opportunity.


On the other hand oceanview rooms (Cambridge Beaches pictured) will have some possible view of the ocean - whether it is out certain window to the side, available at an angle, or seen from the side of your balcony. Cambridge Beaches Ocean ViewOcean-view usually guarantees at least a sliver of ocean will be seen from somewhere inside, or even directly outside, your room. If seeing the ocean is really important to you - then you definitely need to reserve an ocean front room to be on the safe side and get the best possible views.

Smokin Hot Deal: La Perouse Hotel, Nice, French Riviera

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La PerouseNow's the time to jet to the Cote d'Azur for the biggest event of the season: The Carnival of Nice. Think crazy, colorful costumes, parades and pageantry, floats and fireworks on the Promenade des Anglais. The two-week extravaganza runs from February 16 – March 2, 2008. The place to stay is the elegant La Perouse Hotel, where rates can be found as low as EUR 130 per night in mid-February during the Carnival. Tucked into the hillside below the chateau and just a stroll from Old Nice, this charming hotel overlooks the Mediterranean. (These views of the Baie des Anges are what inspired artists like Matisse.) Note: If you book with Five Star Alliance, you get complimentary in-room continental breakfast.

Seaside Serenity in Santa Monica: Romance is in the Air at Loews Hotel

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Santa MonicaBeat the winter blues and bring your valentine to the beach! Book the Seaside Serenity package at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and you have a $200 resort credit to play with. Choose a candle-lit dinner for two, indulgent massages from the Ocean Spa & Fitness Center, a personalized consultation or yoga classes... The sky's the limit at this Santa Monica favorite, just a block from the soft sandy beach. Custom-designed rooms are so fabulous, you'll be content to just lounge around in your "Ultimate Doeskin" robes by Chadsworth & Haig, and smother yourself with the sumptuous 300 thread-count sheets, while checking out the Pacific views. The package includes one night's stay in a premium ocean view room, a special romance welcome amenity, and the $200 credit to be used towards meals, spa, fitness and/or retail. Priced from $499 per night, available February 11- February 21, 2008.

Pssst. You can bring your pup; Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is pet-friendly!

Beach Picnic with Twelve Apostles in Cape Town

By: Courtney W. May

Twelve Apostles Hotel and SpaIt's summer in South Africa and the perfect time to visit the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Not just because the views are amazing and the weather is awesome, but because the fantastic golden sand beaches are just minutes away. They are also perfect locations to enjoy a picnic lunch. Guests who visit the Twelve Apostles making reservations through Five Star Alliance will receive an extensive "Fynbos Picnic Hamper" with food, treats, and drinks once during their stay. Whether you are traveling with a significant other, family, pet, or friends - Twelve Apostles can accommodate everyone and is barely ten minutes from the bustling heart of Cape Town, with nearby attractions including prime diving spots, nature trails, and seals, dolphins, whales and penguins.

The Fabulous Evolution of the Hotel Mini-Bar

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gramercy Park Hotel Mini-barIt all started back in 1963 with The Madison in Washington D.C., when the capital's landmark hotel decided to introduce a novelty: the in-room mini-bar! Fabulously convenient, stocked full of helpful items, the mini-bar is now universally appreciated (late-night snack binging!) and abhorred (scandalous overpricing!). Since its debut, the mini-bar has come a long way. In an era of truly over-the-top hotel amenities (baby butler service, pet pampering, unpacking and bath service), the mini-bar has been completely made over and sexed up.

Gramercy Park Hotel Mini-bar

Hotel Victor in Miami offers all kinds of decadent treats. A hotel this cool-- furnished by celebrity designer Jacques Garcia with retro furniture and an illuminated moon jellyfish tank in the lobby-- has gone one step further by introducing full-size in-room bars, stocked with a large range of liquor and "South Beach life-style essentials" like chilled eye masks.

The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta caters to female guests with practical items like stockings and nail-polish remover. Gentlemen, don't despair when you forget socks at home! The mini-bar is stocked with fresh pairs of black socks to match your dark suits.

Omni Hotels created Sensation Bars in cities like New York, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco with all sorts of items to create soothing mini-spa treatments in-room. Think sleep inducing CDs, lavender pillow sprays, eucalyptus bath salts and mini Zen gardens.

Hotel Mela Mini-bar

But the biggest trend of late is sex kits in the mini-bar. NY's 60 Thompson and Miami's Sagamore may have "Shag Bags," and the Montalembert in Paris has a "petite love box," but the Hotel Gansevoort has ticklers!

On a recent trip to New York, we snapped these shots of the goodies on-hand at the Hotel Mela and Gramercy Park Hotel. The mini-bar at Hotel Mela isn't refrigerated; instead you'll find a basket spilling delicious snacks, drinks, and an "Intimacy Kit." What's inside? Lifestyles, lubricant, and individually wrapped life savers. (We just couldn't resist buying one. As a *cough* souvenir...)

The mini-bar at Gramercy Park is nothing short of awesome (check out the pix). T-shirts, sweet treats... They've also got an Intimacy Kit, of course, but it's as classy as they come. And if things get too rowdy, there's a first-aid kit, to boot.

Curious? Be careful when you take that item from the mini-bar! Most of today's "smart" minibars have infra-red sensors (or wireless technology, found at the sophisticated Willard Intercontinental in Washington D.C.) that automatically records your purchase on your bill when you reach for, say, a bag of M&M's or something equally as tempting...

Photos Via Courtney May (top to bottom: mini-bar of Gramercy Park, Gramercy Park, Hotel Mela)