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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.

The Caravelle Hotel, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) Plans Major Overhaul


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Caravelle, SaigonSaigon's most storied hotel is getting a makeover. Made famous during the American-Vietnam War when journalists camped out on the hotel rooftop and filed stories (Walter Cronkite stayed here during his 1968 tour of the country), the landmark Caravelle Hotel reopened in May 1998 and soon attracted clientele like President Bill Clinton and the Lord Mayor of London. It's already pretty swanky; there's a free-form swimming pool with Jacuzzi set amidst lush lagoon palms, rooftop terrace and bar, the tranquil Qi Spa, and newly-revamped restaurant Nineteen (one of the city's best buffets). But The Caravelle has big plans for 2008. Not only will all the guest rooms and suites be renovated, but the hotel will also introduce a slew of environmentally friendly green initiatives and the publication of a book that celebrates the hotel's history. The Caravelle is situated in the very heart of the city, across from one of Vietnam's three colonial-era Opera Houses.


Book Tonight: 50 Percent Off for First Guests at Stowe Mountain Lodge


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Stowe Mountain LodgeCatch it while you can. The brand new Stowe Mountain Lodge will be opening in June, and promises a luxurious haven for discerning travelers at world-famous Stowe Mountain in Vermont. In celebration of its opening, Stowe Mountain Lodge is offering a special "First Guest Package" with room rates up to 50 percent off for the first summertime guests. Room rates usually start at $555 per night, but you can snag a room for two people plus breakfast at Solstice Restaurant for $299 a night with this special offer. You must book between 12:01 am on April 28 and 11:59 pm on April 29, 2008 (that's tonight!) for stays from July 1 to July 31, 2008. The special package is available for stays of up to 15 nights.

Via Washington Post


Family Friendly in Paris at Le Meurice


By: Lucy LeTourneau

Le Meurice ParisThe legendary Le Meurice is a luxury hotel in the heart of Paris with a prestigious location between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre on the fashionable rue de Rivoli. Le Meurice has played host to international royalty, fashion designers and countless public figures, through the centuries. It's classic French style , but with modern flourishes recently unveiled in the reception area by designer Phillipe Starck. The hotel has your family in mind with a large number of connecting rooms upon request. Take advantage of the Le Meurice Family Package by booking two Superior or Deluxe rooms now through December 31, 2008 and receive:

* Accommodations and daily American breakfast

* Upgrade to a two Bedroom Suite upon availability (only available if Deluxe double rooms booked)

* Petits fours in the parents' room and Sweets in the children's room

* Meurice children bathrobe and slippers and a Kid's kit: Pistache "stuffed animal", cartoon DVD for use in room, puzzle, coloured pencil

Le Meurice Kids* Treasure hunt through the hotel and Use of custom-made toy wooden boat to sail in the boat pond in the Tuileries, plus two Carousel rides in the Tuileries Garden per child

* Free access to sauna, hammam, Jacuzzi and fitness center for the parents

In addition to this package, Le Meurice has created a Passport given to the Children at their arrival taking their family on a (re)discovery of Paris' little-known delights. Their very own passport maps out a trail of city's most magical sights. There are also bicycles available for rent for the inviting paths in the Tuileries Gardens nearby.

No kids? Hotel Le Meurice is also pet-friendly... Plus, Book with Five Star Alliance and receive a complimentary bottle of champagne with any reservation.


Beverly Hills Hotel: World’s Sexiest Pools


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beverly Hills HotelConde Nast Traveler recently scoured the globe to come up with picks for the "world's sexiest hotel pools." On the mag's top 10 list? The Beverly Hills Hotel, aka The Pink Palace, situated on 12 lush acres just off Sunset Boulevard smack dab in the center of Beverly Hills. Hollywood types have long flocked to this Tinseltown institution, and continue to enjoy the hotel's old-school glamour. The Polo Lounge has been a watering hole for generations of stars, and the pool is not any less of a hotspot. The poolside cabanas are the "main attraction," Conde Nast Traveler dishes:

Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe once showed off their assets in them, and they're still prime territory for fledgling celebrity romances and power deals. The lower poolside cabanas are $225 per day; $100 for those farther from the action. Famous regulars request their favorites well in advance, confident that no embarrassing shots of cellulite will show up on the pages of Us Weekly, thanks to the hotel's tight security. Amenities include secluded sunning spots, private phone lines, and attendants with chilled towels. Chaise longues are on a first-come, first-served basis. And movie tunes are piped in through an underwater sound system.


The Somerset on Grace Bay: Sand Castle University, Extreme Croquet, and Orchid Gardens on Turks and Caicos


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Somerset on Grace BayIt doesn't get much better than this. The Somerset on Grace Bay opened at the end of 2006 and has been turning heads ever since. The resort is both a romantic island hideaway and beachfront family haven. (Where else would you find a Sand Castle University for kids to learn to build awesome sand sculptures?) A member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Somerset on Grace Bay offers pure indulgence on 4.6 acres of pristine beach. There are 54 residence suites equipped with living, dining and entertaining spaces. You'll even find a fully stocked gourmet kitchen with Viking appliances and a wine storage fridge. All suites offer balconies with jaw-dropping ocean views (and the exclusive Estates boast wrap-around terraces with hot tubs). On the manicured croquet lawn, play Somerset eXtreme Croquet (the series of cut-throat challenges includes "Water Slaughter" when a player roquets an opponent's ball into the ocean). Soak in the huge infinity pool, which seems to flow into the Atlantic itself. There's a state-of-the-art underwater sound system, to boot. Recreational pursuits run the gamut from bone-fishing to snorkeling. Discover a piece of paradise in the islands of Turks and Caicos.


Vertical Marathon on May 16th at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Dubai


By: Courtney W. May

Jumeirah Emirates TowersClimbing a simple step could change a person's life. Climbing 1,334 steps, 52 floors, 265 meters will help even more.

Put your running shoes on for the sixth Vertical Marathon at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Dubai - hosted in association with The Big Apple and take this challenge in the shortest time. In aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres (also known as Doctors without Borders) and those in need around the world, conquer the Office Tower of Jumeirah Emirates Towers on Friday, 16 May 2008.

To take part in this event - register with MSF along with your pledge of a minimum of AED 500 per person. Individuals and teams of 3 to 4 persons are welcome.

Can you reach the top?


Don Cesar Beach Resort: Pampered Like a Princess Mother’s Day Package


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Don Cesar Beach ResortSpoil Mom with a stay at Florida's Legendary Pink Palace over Mother's Day weekend. An ultra-luxurious Gulf playground on St. Pete's Beach, Don Cesar has been pampering its elite clientele since its debut in 1928. Complete with sugar-white beaches and the fabulous new Spa Oceana, Don Cesar Beach Resort knows a thing or two about taking care of guests (F. Scott Fitzgerald was a fan). Here's what's in store with the Mother's Day Package: two nights in a partial Gulfview room, two spa treatments, moisturizing and remineralizing every inch of the skin with 24K golden mineral dust and oils, pink roses upon arrival, and cookies and milk turndown. Starting at $294 in a Bay View Room.


Chic Picnic, Plus a Fourth Night Free, at Sofitel Trocadero Dokhan’s, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Trocadero Dokhan's ParisEnjoy an enchanting stay in Paris this summer at the elegant 45-room Sofitel Trocadero Dokhan's, situated near the Arc de Triomphe. 'Déjeuner sur l'herbe' with a delicious picnic basket provided by the hotel. Packed with hors d'œuvres, main courses like salads and sandwiches, desserts, mineral water, soft drinks, and a bottle of Champagne, the picnic promises to be both irresistible and refined. Take your picnic to some of the most romantic spots in Paris, like the flower-filled Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardins des Tuileries overlooking the Louvre. With the "Chic Picnic" offer, you'll also get late check-out, and four nights for the price of three. Minimum stay of three nights required; available June 1- August 31, 2008.


Celebrate Earth Day with Better World Packages from Banyan Tree


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree MaldivesExplore Australia's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest with a certified eco-guide at the Angsana Resort Great Barrier Reef. At the Banyan Tree Bintan (situated on an island just off Singapore), take off on a nature walk amongst 100-year-old trees and other fascinating flora and fauna, followed by a rejuvenating foot massage. You can also plant a tree. At the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru in the Maldives, which houses the first-of-its-kind Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, you'll have the opportunity for guided snorkeling and coral planting under the watchful eyes of dedicated Marine Biologists. You can also take part in a reef survey, take a manta tow ride, learn the technique of measuring and weighing endangered green sea turtles, and enjoy a special dive to the Lotus, an artificial reef. Angsana Velavaru, located in the South Nilandhe Atoll, and Angsana Ihuru in the North Male Atoll, offer similar packages including a marine biology and ecology session, coral planting and guided snorkeling trip to house reefs, and a dolphin cruise led by the respective Marine Lab's resident Marine Biologist. The Banyan Tree Group has launched these earth-friendly activities to celebrate Earth Day, and the "Better World" packages will be available until the end of the year.


Go Now: Huka Lodge, The Best of New Zealand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Huka LodgeThe best hotel in New Zealand? According to Conde Nast Traveler's 2008 Gold List, Huka Lodge wins that honor. In fact, scores of 100 percent for Service, 97.3 percent each for Rooms, Food, Location and Design and 86.1 percent for Activities means that Huka Lodge is among the best in Asia, Australia and the Pacific nations. Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, Huka Lodge is situated in Taupo in the central North Island. The crystal clear waters of Lake Taupo are fed by mountain streams and are home to some of the most sought-after Rainbow trout in the world. Just a short walk from the lodge, guests discover the spectacular cascades of Huka Falls on the banks of the Waikato River. Easily one of the top retreats in the world, Huka Lodge delights its discerning clientele with its top-notch recreational activities (petanque, anyone?), exquisite cuisine, and superlative accommodations. (For a true VIP experience, book the Owner's Cottage.) Just check out the guest book to see all the celebs who flock to this place. Plan a visit to Huka Lodge between May 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008, and you'll find the lowest rack rates of the year, starting from NZ$730 per person, per night. All rates include pre-dinner drinks, superb five-course dinners, full breakfast, use of all Lodge facilities, and Taupo airport transfers.