The 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.
Looking for a special way to show that special someone you love them, but think Valentine's Day is still nine months away? Well, you may just be in luck. Brazilians celebrate their version of Valentine's Day, "Dia dos Namorados," literally translating to "Day of the Enamored," on June 12th. This date is actually the eve of St. Anthony of Padua's Day. St. Anthony is considered to be the Patron Saint of those who want a loving companion, and he is also thought to bless people with a good marriage. While much remains the same in Brazil as it does in the rest of the world on Valentine's Day (i.e. the exchange of flowers and chocolates and love letters), there are also parades, carnivals, concerts, and parties. One of the most romantic and luxurious hotels to spend Dia dos Namorados is the Emiliano in Sao Paolo. Contemporary luxury with a boutique setting, Emiliano boasts a gourmet Italian restaurant, world class spa, and rooms and suites that are perfect for romance.
InterContinental Hotels Group-- the world's largest hotel company-- has just announced a big promotion. Earn a free night by registering at getafreenight.com and then staying two nights at any Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites or Candlewood Suites around the world between May 4th and July 3rd, 2009. Voila! A free night is yours for the taking at any IHG hotel-- like the luxurious InterContinental Beijing Financial Street (pictured at right)-- until December 26th, 2009.
Diesel Creative Director Wilbert Das has opened a nine-cottage boutique hotel set in a verdant garden in Trancoso, a fishing village on Brazil's Bahia coast. Behind colorful facades, each of the cottages is uniquely decorated as Das worked in collaboration with local artisans, and requested that they use organic construction materials available locally. As recently highlighted in Vanity Fair, Das expresses fatigue with design hotels, stating the importance of embracing the locale when on vacation:
Workers made walls from mud and branches (a local Indian technique), used wooden blinds instead of windowpanes, and shingled roofs with a traditional hardwood. Now complete, the hotel is a complex of tropical gardens, a quartz-lined pool, and colorful buildings that are in sync with their historic surroundings.
Rustic, yet wholly luxurious, Uxua Casa has a spa facility and beachfront lounge with sofas. Notably, 60 percent of the property is preserved as a sea turtle sanctuary, as Uxua Casa is committed to sustainable tourism in the region. Of all the accommodations, the treehouse is the most exciting, made entirely from recycled wood. All cottages have fully-equipped kitchens, indoor/outdoor living rooms, and Wifi internet access. Some have private plunge pools, gardens, Jacuzzis, and terraces.
Taste luxury with the The Hacienda Temozon. Located on the Yucatan peninsula, the luxury resort recreates the belle epoque of the Mexican southeast. During your stay at The Hacienda Temozon, enjoy the library, pool table, swimming pools, spa services, business services, tours to the archeological sites with driver and/or bilingual guide, private trip by mule cart to Xaca Mucuhi, or a romantic dinner in the resort's garden. With their Taste of Luxury package, you'll get a fourth night free from May-October 2009. Starting from $364, the package also includes refreshing welcome drinks, fruit plate in your room upon arrival, single or double room including daily a la carte breakfast, decoration with flowers in the room upon arrival, all taxes and service charge, and a full daily breakfast. Additional terms and conditions apply, and the package is subject to availability.
This just in. Starwood Hotels and Resorts has announced a rewarding new promotion for new and existing members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program (SPG). When you stay two times at any of Starwood's hotels between May 1 and July 31, 2009, you can earn one free weekend night (Friday, Saturday or Sunday). There are no limits to the number of free weekend nights that can be earned, and earned nights can be combined to make a longer weekend stay. The best part? No blackout dates (!) and the nights are redeemable through the end of September. Starwood encompasses 875 hotels around the world within nine different brands (like St. Regis, Westin, The Luxury Collection, Aloft and Sheraton), including the likes of the Royal Hawaiian (pictured) and the opulent Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice. Talk about a travel stimulus program!
Enjoy a truly unique spa experience in the heart of Argentina wine country at the Patios de Cafayate Hotel & Spa's renowned Winespa. This Zen-inspired temple of indulgence touts itself for promoting relaxation, health, and overall well being while taking advantage of the natural resources abundant in the area's wine vineyards. Using treatments based on the anti-oxidants contained in red grapes, Winespa offers one of a kind services such as jetted red-wine infused baths and grape pulp massages. Top off an amazing day of wine infused treatments by winding down on the grounds of the Patios de Cafayate Hotel & Spa and savor some Argentinean wine while taking in the impressive scenery overlooking the Calchaquí Valley vineyards.
With 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.
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.
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.
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.