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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.

Capturing the Spirit of Rio de Janeiro at Copacabana Palace


By: Alison Victor

Copacabana PalaceWith the coming of spring, so marks the return of Carnival, an annual festival that literally translates as "to remove meat." The festival is held right before Ash Wednesday, the day of fasting and repentance that marks the beginning of Lent. One of the most glamorous hotels to enjoy this festival is the Copacabana Palace, but Carnival is not the only time or reason to go. The Copacabana Palace is a gorgeous hotel, built in 1923, with luxury rooms and suites overlooking the city and beautiful Copacabana Beach. Copacabana Palace also features two renowned restaurants, The Cipriani and the Pergula. The Cipriani is a place to see and be seen, featuring gourmet Italian food, and Sunday brunch at Pergula is not to be missed. If you are looking for high luxury, Copacabana Palace is second to none. Book now for the beginning of April, and you can enjoy the special "Celebration Package," which includes a deluxe beach view room, a 4 course meal at Cipriani's, and champagne, among other things.


New Seven Wonders of Nature Campaign is Well Underway


By: Mackenzie Allison

Matterhorn What do The Great Wall of China, Petra, Chichén Itzá, the Statue of Christ Redeemer, the Colosseum, Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal have in common? Well, on July 7, 2007-- or 07.07.07-- they were declared the official New 7 Wonders of the World. This project, led by The New7Wonders Foundation, aims to preserve global heritage, and more than 100 million votes were cast worldwide to give these seven places this distinction. Now, the second phase of the project, the New 7 Wonders of Nature is well underway. During the first stage, 441 sites from 222 countries were nominated. On December 31, 2008, the first phase ended and 261 nominees proceeding to the current stage—one national nominee per country, plus all multinational nominees. Some of the nominees include Matterhorn, Christmas Island, Yu Shan and Wadi Rum Desert. To find out more and to vote, visit www.new7wonders.com. The 21 Official New7Wonders of Nature finalists will be announced on July 21, 2009.


River Cruising, Europe and South America Hot in 2009


By: Ruthanne Terrero

What's the travel buzz for the coming year? River cruising, travel to Europe and South America are just a few travel trends expected to gain popularity in 2009, according to a just-released study by Globus. The enthusiasm for river cruising is being fueled by those travelers who enjoy cruises but are looking for new and different experiences, according to the report. Globus' family brand, Avalon Waterways, for example, says that it had its best year ever to Egypt in 2008 and that trend is expected to continue into 2009. Meanwhile, the strengthening dollar and the availability of some good air deals is spurring pent-up demand for Europe. Globus says it is already seeing strong early interest in "classic" destinations like Britain, Ireland, France and Italy, as well as emerging locales in Eastern Europe. South America is also hot with consumers, thanks to its rich culture, accessibility, currency exchange rate and diverse food offerings, which have given the destination greater appeal.


Travel Faves and Nightmares for 2008


By: Ruthanne Terrero

We hear that nearly 30 percent of travelers identified the Cannes Film Festival as the event to which they would most like to travel to in 2009, according to results of a year-end survey of more than 200 travelers conducted on behalf of travel insurance provider Travel Guard. Closely trailing the Cannes Film Festival was the upcoming presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. (22 percent wish to be witness to history in 2009). Destinations and events, including the Amazon River region (15 percent) and the Super Bowl in Tampa, FL (10 percent) followed Cannes and the inauguration. The survey also found that, with checked-baggage costs as high as $50, 52 percent of responding travelers bragged that they could get four or more days worth of clothing into a carry-on, while 33 percent responded they could cram three days' worth. Fifteen percent could only get two or fewer days or in their carry-on. Meanwhile, 44 percent of survey respondents reported that their "longest airport layover" lasted six hours or more; another 15 percent have spent "days" on a layover. After spending so much time in airline terminals in 2008, travelers were easily able to identify the "worst travel offenders" they encountered: the "airline-chair kicker/grabber" (30 percent); the "loud cell-phone talker" (23 percent) and the perennially high-ranking "crying baby" (21 percent). Travel Guard's year-end survey also found vacationers have strong opinions on how to navigate airports in 2009. In a contest between the "tram" and the "moving walkway," at busy and spacious O'Hare Airport, a broad majority of travelers (64 percent) would opt for the tram. Finally, travelers are still looking for the perfect getaway and want to avoid travel mishaps made famous by their fave travel films. According to the survey, 28 percent said the "vacation-gonewrong" travel nightmare they would most want to avoid was that of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, while Weekend at Bernie's (17 percent) came in second. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and North by Northwest rounded out the survey.


Luxuriate in Argentina for Half the Price


By: K. Clare Johnson

Discover Buenos Aires at all the luxury but half the price. From now until March 31, 2009, when you stay at the Park Tower Buenos Aires, you can enjoy the hotel named to the Condé Nast Traveler 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Hot Lists for 50 percent off. (It's also a 2004 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice award winner and named to Travel & Leisure's World's Best 500 Hotels 2007.) Park Tower Buenos Aires Here's the fine print: Stay one night, and the second night is 50 percent off. This special deal applies to rates that are prepaid and non-refundable. Park Tower Buenos Aires boasts an ideal location in the heart of the city, a state-of-the art gym, 181 spacious Biedermeier-influenced guest rooms and suites, the gourmet St. Regis Restaurant, and personal butlers to provide exceptional, exclusive service.


The World’s Best New Years Eve Parties: Watch the Fireworks in Rio at the Copacabana Palace


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Copacabana PalaceDon't miss one of the best parties in the world. Rio de Janeiro goes off for New Year's Eve. (Carnaval may be the world's biggest party, but the Brazilians bring their whimsy and flair to December 31st as well.) The place to be to witness the magnificent fireworks display is Copacabana Palace, the legendary hotel situated on the sand of the world-famous beach in the middle of all the action. From your glamorous room, look out from the balcony at the crowds of revelers celebrating the arrival of 2009. The Copacabana Palace has put together some four-, five-, and six-night packages which include buffet breakfast, airport transfers, and complimentary access to the fitness center, tennis court, and spa.


The World’s 50 Best New Hotels from Forbes Traveler: St. Regis Bali, Chicago’s Trump International Hotel, and More


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump ChicagoThe results are in. Forbes Traveler put together a board of 400 experts to name the world's up and coming hotspots and best new hotels. On the list? The Four Seasons chain managed to make a splash with the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, and the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche offers the best of the south of France. St. Regis also scored two spots on the list with the St. Regis Singapore and St. Regis Bali. The Fasano Hotel in Rio also garners praise. And closer to home, Chicago's Trump International Hotel and Tower is getting lots of rave reviews, "slated to become one of Chicago's most desirable addresses."


Jumeirah Group Keeps Growing, and Growing, and Growing…


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al ArabSome hotel companies may be feeling the pinch of a down economy, but not Jumeirah. The Dubai-based hotel group, famous for its seven-star Burj Al Arab (pictured), has just announced they have 19 hotels under development. They're bringing their signature brand of hospitality to Asia and South America, and expect to have 60 properties, or about 25,000 rooms, either in operation or under development by 2012. Our friends at the Luxury Insider highlight the five new hotels and resorts-- Jumeirah Bali Resort in Indonesia, Jumeirah Maldives Resort in the South Malé Atoll, Jumeirah Al Salam Resort in Bahrain, Jumeirah Al Salam Yiti Resort in Oman, and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel in Kuwait-- all scheduled to open within the next three years.


Mandarin Oriental’s Mexican Romance


By: K. Clare Johnson

Mandarin Oriental Riviera Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, Mexico has just announced a special package designed to bring out the romance in any couple. Now through December 19, 2008, couples can enjoy "Romance in Mexico." The deal includes a chauffeur-driven ride to the Mayan resort, champagne and strawberries, joint spa treatments, and a a private dinner in a luxury outdoor style Palapa overlooking the lagoon with the sights and sounds of the Mayan Jungle.

A four night stay is required, and you'll also get a full daily breakfast, room upgrade, and the one-hour Temazcal Ceremony, designed to blend the ancient Mayan ritual with beautiful natural surroundings. Rates for this getaway begin at $4,980.


Summertime with the Family in Patagonia at Llao Llao Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Llao Llao Resort, PatagoniaWinter in our neck-of-the-woods translates to summertime in the southern hemisphere, so why not head south where the dollar is still strong against the Argentine peso? Patagonia beckons with some of the finest scenery in the world: crystal clear lakes and the snow-capped Andean peaks. You can gape at this awe-inspiring panorama from the floor-to-ceiling windows in one of the best resorts in South America: Llao Llao resort, perched at the gateway to a national park. The facilities are swanky (18-hole golf course, superb spa, heated infinity pool) and there are numerous outdoor recreational activities--from treks to kayaking. Book the "Summertime with the Family" package and you'll enjoy accommodations in a standard room in the Bustillo building, round-trip airport transfers, daily buffet breakfast, and free access to the health club and sauna. Priced from $315 per night from January 4-February 28, 2009, and $243 per night from March 1- June 30, 2009. Three night minimum stay required.

PS. We hear they offer tango lessons!