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.

Best of the Best: Iguazú Grand Resort Spa & Casino is the Best Luxury Casino Hotel in 2011


By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We’d like to welcome you to our new blog series, Best of the Best, where we’ll be featuring the best and most luxurious resorts in various categories. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards, so you can relax and stop worrying about your upcoming trip, knowing that it truly will be the best of the best.

The Iguazú Grand Resort Spa & Casino received the Best Luxury Casino Hotel in 2011 title, and it is located 10 minutes away from the Iguazú Falls National Park, straddling the border of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. This resort has 34 gambling tables for Roulette, Black Jack, and Poker, 200 modern slot machines with progressive prizes, video games, video slot machines, electronic roulette, traditional slot machines, 10 electric terminals of traditional Roulette, and much more. Aside from being the best luxury casino hotel, this resort also offers three multilevel outdoor swimming pools, access to exotic gardens, and the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Don’t forget your lucky socks, and head over to the best luxury casino hotel of 2011.


Spend 11/11/11 in Las Vegas: Extravagant $11,111 Package at the Hard Rock Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Get in on the 11/11/11 hype with a jaunt to Las Vegas. It's a once-in-a-lifetime date so why not splurge at the Hard Rock? The resort and casino has orchestrated an over-the-top experience for music lovers that they're aptly calling the "Extravagant Package." This special offer, only available for two nights (Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13), includes a two-night stay in the Paradise Platinum Penthouse, a multi-course menu (lobster and steak and truffles, oh my!) at the newly-opened 35 Steaks + Martinis steakhouse, VIP tickets to watch one of Carlos Santana’s three encore performances at The Joint, signature treatments at Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa, a VIP table with bottle service at the upscale Vanity Nightclub and one-of-a-kind photography prints from the Hard Rock Store. The price tag? $11,111.


Mandarin Oriental Hits the Suite Spot: Best Suites for Families and Groups


By: Oksana Balytsky

Whether you’re planning a family vacation, reunion with old friends, or an unforgettable bachelor/bachelorette party, the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas has the best and most luxurious suites to fit your specific needs. This luxury hotel is running a November special, so make your plans now, and get ready for an incredible weekend getaway to Sin City.

One of the most coveted suites the Mandarin Oriental has to offer is the Apex Suite, and it’s located on the highest floors and at the apex point of the building. If you’re looking for an unforgettable night on the town, consider the Apex Suite overlooking the Strip. If you’re more interested in exploring the unique culture Las Vegas has to offer, consider choosing the Apex Suite overlooking the architecture of CityCenter. The bedroom in the Apex Suites has two glass walls converging, giving two contrasting views of the room, while the private dining area is equipped with a bar and a separate entrance so you will not be disturbed by dinner preparations. Aside from an incredible view and incredible layout, the Apex Suite also comes equipped with plug and play iPod/video docking station, a DVD player and stereo bar with subwoofer system, a large screen TV, a valet closet for delivery without disruption, and so much more. With 1,625 – 2,125 square feet of space and $1,984 per night, for weekend nights in November, you’ll be ready for whatever Las Vegas throws your way!


Winter in Venice: $149 Rates at The Venetian and The Palazzo, Las Vegas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The VenetianThis holiday season, how about winter in Venice? Not Italy, but the Las Vegas Strip! The Venetian and The Palazzo are putting on a one-of-a-kind celebration that they say will be the "most majestic winter wonderland Las Vegas has ever seen." The five-diamond resorts will transform into a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink above The Venetian's outdoor Grand Canal-- complete with snowflakes, strung holiday lights, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree perched atop the Doge's Palace fountain. While you stroll around, you'll be entertained by a colorful cast of characters: magicians, carolers, puppets, jugglers, and candy cane stilt walkers. Enjoy seasonal treats like eggnog cupcakes, warm apple cider, spiced cocktails, and hot chocolate. And to cap off each day, you’ll be in for a treat: a "spectacular light show performance beyond your wildest imagination." Winter in Venice will take place from November 21, 2011- January 8, 2012. Special package rates are available for $149 per night in a luxury suite, two-night minimum required, with a bunch of add-ons included (hot chocolate for two, skate rentals, $40 off seasonal spa treatments).


MGM in Mumbai: Bellagio and MGM Grand Hotels Head to India


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bellagio, Las VegasYou heard that right. MGM Hospitality is developing Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Skylofts hotels in Mumbai, India. They'll be located in the Maker Maxity mixed-use development complex in Bandra-Kurla Complex. As quoted in the official press release, the CEO of MGM Hospitality, Gamal Aziz, wants to blend Mumbai's culture and personality into the architecture and style of the properties. "The proximity to Bollywood and the affluent Bandra neighborhood provides a perfect setting for the confluence of energy, indulgence and luxury that the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts hotels will bring to the destination." They're promising all kinds of goodies for the international business traveler, along with world-class nightlife, restaurants, meeting venues, and entertainment. But what's the word on gambling? Will there be a Vegas-style casino for Mumbai's highrollers?

Pictured: The Bellagio in Las Vegas.


World Luxury Hotel Awards Declare Best Luxury Hotels of 2011


By: Christopher Roney

The 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards have announced their Global Winners across a variety of categories, and we’re confident that each of these hotels represents the finest in luxury accommodations. We'll be spotlighting many of these individually in the coming weeks and offering our critical commentary, but for now, take a look at the winners such as the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, winning Best Luxury Hotel overall, and the Sandals Royal Plantation, the Best Luxury Island Resort.

Click here to check out the full list of best hotels, listed alphabetically by location so you can find the names of the top hotels in your vacation spot of choice, and search here if you're interested in booking any of the top hotels of 2011.


Wild, Wild West: Blacktomato Offers Luxury Frontier Package


By: Christopher Roney

Tanque Verde Ranch

Think back to childhood. Picture yourself chasing after your friends, finger cocked into the shape of a pistol. “Bang, bang. I got you! You’re dead!” you’d yell, but your friends would never just fall down. They’d have a million reasons why not: “You missed me!” or “I’ve got armor!” or “I’m superman – bullets don’t hurt me!” or “Nuh uh!” You probably wrestled a bit until Mom told you to come inside and have your dinner already, it was getting cold.

Remember that? Now you get a chance to bring those childhood afternoons spent playing "Cowboys and Indians" to life. Blacktomato has created a 12-night luxury tour to showcase the modern Wild West adventure. Travel the edge of the Grand Canyon, wrangle cattle, and visit the most awe-inspiring of desert oases. It’s so authentic you might forget when you’re out in the wilds that you’re not spending your nights in a small, sweltering tent, but instead getting refreshed and rejuvenated at some of the world’s most prestigious hotels. They suggest, as we do, that you spend at least part of your stay at the Amangiri, a secluded resort so built to blend into the landscape that you’ll think it’s a mirage. Unlike most vacation packages, which offer you a set itinerary, Blacktomato recognizes that you want to take control of your own destiny, and their 12-night package is nothing more than a suggestion for things to see and do as you explore the western frontier:

  •  • Begin at Las Vegas and experience the strip in all its neon-bathed glory.
  •  • Leave the city to explore the rugged, scenic vistas of the Grand Canyon.
  •  • Continue on to the hidden desert oasis of Amangiri.
  •  • Experience the majestic red rock formations at the Enchantment Resort.
  •  • Live the life of a cowboy at the Tanque Verde Ranch.

Blacktomato will work with you to craft the perfect journey through America’s wildest of regions, and trust us; you can’t go wrong.


The Emperor's New Groove: Caesars Palace Opens New Tower


By: Christopher Roney

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV

As TravelAgentCentral reports, Caesars Palace is beginning to take reservations for its new 668-room tower, and its accommodations are certainly befitting an imperial residence.  The Octavius Tower, named after the given name of the Emperor Caesar Augustus, keeps with the Roman theme with elegant, austere marble floors made warm and inviting by extensive traditionally patterned carpets.

As with any good Roman palace, the rooms feature flat-screen tvs and plush velvet sofas.  In lieu of the more period-accurate public baths, however, private bathrooms feature whirlpool bathtubs and glass-enclosed showers.  

For a public space, the Tower expansion offers the appropriately understated Garden of the Gods, a pool and garden area perfect for lounging around as you munch on a bit of ambrosia.

So next time you’re looking to go to Vegas, go check out the new addition to Caesars Palace (laurel wreath not included).


Say Hello to Chef Michel Richard's 24-Hour Restaurant at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Caesars PalaceDiners in Sin City will soon be able to chow down on chef Michel Richard's celebrated cuisine 24 hours a day. Based in Washington D.C., the renowned French chef will be opening Central Las Vegas inside the Caesars Palace hotel. The Vegas outpost of his famous D.C. brasserie will have an outdoor patio and a cigar bar. And in the biggest news of all, Richard is planning to keep Central Las Vegas open 24 hours a day, seven days a week-- in what The USA Today says is a "first among the Strip's many celebrity chef restaurants." After all, no-one sleeps in Las Vegas; folks "eat and they play!"

Richard is also behind D.C.'s famous Citronelle restaurant. Here's how Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate describes him: "A great chef, who is cooking at a level that far exceeds any Michelin three-star chef in France."


'Sandsational' Summer in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marina Bay Sands, SingaporeYou've heard about Marina Bay Sands and it's sky-high infinity pool and plant-filled Sky Park... Now here's your chance to see it with your very own eyes, and tell all your friends back home about one of the sexiest new hotels on the planet. Located along the Marina Bay waterfront, Marina Bay Sands opened in 2010 and has already become a premier entertainment destination in Singapore. It has a lotus-inspired Museum, countless retail stores, trendy restaurants by celebrity chefs, theaters and happening night clubs, and a Las Vegas-style casino. Stay anytime til September 30, 2011 and you can take advantage of the "Sandsational Summer" package which includes:

* Two complimentary drinks from Ku De Ta—in the iconic Sands SkyPark.

* A S$50 nett destination credit per day. (Simply charge to your room and they'll waive the first S$50nett daily.)

* A 10% discount off Disney's musical "The Lion King" for all categories except Platinum

* A 23% discount off admission for two at ArtScience Museum. 

Book now to enjoy this package from $339 per night on weekdays, and $399 on weekends. Does not include daily breakfast nor the 10% service charge and 7% GST.