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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.

Koh Samui, Thailand Goes Upscale with New Conrad Hotel and W Retreat


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Koh Samui

No longer a backpacker's tropical paradise, the island of Koh Samui is getting a luxe makeover with a plethora of new hotel openings. First up, the W Retreat and Residences-Koh Samui, the third such luxury resort in the world for the stylish lifestyle brand, following the debut of the fabulous W Maldives in September 2006 and the W Vieques, scheduled for 2007. The Koh Samui retreat, slated for late 2008, will be an upscale, 70 villa property which will include 20 residential units for purchase. Situated on the secluded Maenam beach on the north shore of the island, the new W will have a prime position to enjoy Koh Samui's best windsurfing and snorkeling sites. Of course guests can enjoy all the stylish services and amenities they've come to expect at W Hotels and Retreats: the signature Living Room and lounge, trendy restaurant, 24-hour concierge, and Whatever/Whenever service.

Likewise scheduled for late 2008, the new Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa is to be located on the exact opposite of the island, overlooking Aow Thai Beach on Koh Samui's southwest tip. (It doesn't get any better than this for contemplating the dazzling sunsets.) From its perch on a hill, the 118-villa resort will feature panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand and outlying islands. Surrounded by lush coconut plantations, the resort will offer a variety of fine dining restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, and meeting and business center facilities. The luxurious villas will be enormous, with plenty of outdoor space for private plunge pools and sundecks.


Las Vegas Sands Plans Resort for Hengqin Island, China


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sands Macau

It's good to go. As reported by Reuters, the Chinese government has given the thumbs up to Las Vegas Sands for its $9-$12 billion resort project slated for the small island of Hengqin, located near the world's gambling capital of Macau. Las Vegas Sands has already set up its first casino in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. The Sands Macau opened in 2004 and the Venetian Macau (the $800 million dollar sister hotel to Las Vegas's Venetian) is just months away from launch. The company's plan for Hengqin covers about 80 million square feet of space, with the resort initially opening its doors in the summer of 2008. Las Vegas Sands is hoping to break ground before the Chinese New Year in February. With the new Venetian Hengqin International Convention and Resort, Las Vegas Sands will solidify its role as one of the top resort developers in Asia.

Related Articles:

The World's Gambling Capital Shifts East: The Mad Macau Makeover


Suite Luxury at The Madison DC


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

In yet another installment of our series on the highest luxury level suites at the best hotels worldwide, below you can find more information (and some awesome photos) regarding the Presidential and Royal Suites at The Madison, a Loews Hotel in Washington, DC. Enjoy.

Presidential Suite

Location: 15th Floor, Size: 1370 sq. feet

Description:

Includes the Main Parlor/Master Bedchamber, Bedchamber Two, and may connect to additional rooms. The Presidential Suite features antique furniture and objet d'art throughout, unique imported fabrics from Italy and France, marble foyer, butler's pantry, dining area with stately Charleston dining table with Hepplewhite shield back mahogany chairs, large sitting area, 52" plasma TV with surround sound speakers, and custom designed US Axminster carpets. (See images after the jump below)

Royal Suite

Location: 15th Floor, Size: 1320 sq. feet

Description:

Includes the Main Parlor/Master Bedroom, and may connect to additional rooms. The suite includes a private balcony, butler’s pantry, powder room, large flat screen TV, foyer with marble floor, coat closet, sunken living area dressed in golds, peaches and greens, sitting alcove, ad black lacquer dining table with fully upholstered chairs.

View pictures of the rooms after the jump ...

The view from the Presidential Suite

Madison Presidential Suite

The Parlor of the Presidential Suite

The Madison Presidential Suite Parlor

The Bedroom of the Royal Suite

The Madison Royal Suite Bedroom

The Parlor of the Royal Suite

The Madison Royal Suite Parlor

Check Availability, Details, Photos and Make Reservations »


Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains: Sir Richard Branson’s Euro-Chic Morocco


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kasbah Tamadot

Perched high in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, just 45 minutes from Marrakech, Virgin's latest retreat is the ultimate luxury hideaway. The sumptuous Kasbah Tamadot boasts one of the most dramatic views on earth: soaring mountain peaks above hillside Berber villages and the river valley beneath. The grounds are meticulously landscaped with rose, fruit, and cactus plants, enhanced by courtyards, terraces, and the gorgeous infinity pool. There is a spa, gym, hammam, tennis courts, indoor swimming pool, and acclaimed restaurant with sweeping views. The accommodations are nothing short of magnificent: each room is individually designed with terracotta tiles, patterned rugs, antique doors, and hand painted furniture. The three-bedroom master suite, called "The Studio," is situated away from the main building in its own private haven beyond the rose garden. It is rich in architectural detail, with all the luxurious contemporary conveniences. The lower level has two spacious bedrooms (one with a private pool). There is another bedroom on the upper level with an expansive roof terrace.


Carnival in Curacao: Special Winter Rates at Hotel Kura Hulanda


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Kura Hulanda

Soft sandy beaches. Excellent scuba diving. Beautifully colored colonial houses and architecture that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A vibrant cultural melange (including Arawak, Dutch, Spanish, West Indian, Latin, and African). Lively nightlife. Curucao has it all. And in the winter months, these islands-- about 35 miles north of Venezuela and a 2 1/2 hour flight from Miami-- host one of the best festivals in the Caribbean: Curacao's Carnival. As described by Fodor's:

Starting in early January, street dances, parades and parties -- called "Jump-ups" -- get underway every weekend through the end of Carnival. The main parades, featuring fantastic floats and costumes, take place in February and early March. (Parade routes vary from year to year, so ask your hotel concierge about special seating for tourists.)

Where to stay? Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa and Casino is the only five-star hotel in Curacao. A member of Leading Small Hotels of the World, the hotel and its new sister property, Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club, are located in central Willemstad, overlooking the glorious St. Anna Bay. Kura Hulanda is itself a museum, offering a superb collection of 18th and 19th century architecture in this Dutch Colonial historic district. The 80-room luxury boutique hotel is nestled within a village complex which is part of this exciting historic and environmental preservation project. Take advantage of an excellent Winter Value Rate of $210 per room, per night at both properties, available until April 8, 2007.


Nicky O Hotel Will Debut (Maybe) In South Beach


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nicky O Hotel South Beach

There's been a lot of hype about the launch of Nicky Hilton's first boutique hotel, the Nicky O in South Beach. The New York Times hailed it a Hotel of the Year, listed alongside such exciting properties as The Peninsula Tokyo, Amanresort's newest boutique in New Delhi, and the Brazilian jet-setter's paradise of Warapuru.

Want a big name in hotels, but not a megachain like Hilton? Then check into Nicky O South Beach, a 95-unit condo hotel in Miami from Nicky Hilton, who is branching out beyond her handbag and jewelry businesses. Expected to open next spring, the hotel promises ''fashion, glamour, celebrity and an unparalleled social environment,'' at least according to its Web site, which carries as much information about Ms. Hilton as it does about the hotel.

Nicky's promised a hip, celebrity-packed hot spot. The hotel will feature E! News Tickers in prominent places, photos of all of her buddy celebs, cupcakes at turndown, and designer suites, including a 5,000-square-foot penthouse designed by Roberto Cavalli. But there's a hitch. (Or maybe a few.) The hotel has been dogged with woes aplenty: ongoing delays, a lawsuit, and a premature reputation of notoriety inspired by HotelChatter's savvy sleuthwork. We're yet to see whether this dabbling in the family business will actually pay off.

Related Articles:

HotelChatter, Tag- Nicky O

USA Today Hotel HotSheet, "What's up with Nicky Hilton's hotel?"


Prada Spa Experience at Ritz-Carlton Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Prada Spa Experience

What could possibly be more luxurious than the Ritz-Carlton Spas? A ritzy spa experience with Prada Beauty skin care products. Select Ritz-Carlton Spas have partnered with Prada to bring lucky guests the ultimate in blissful pampering and relaxation. There are four indulgent beauty treatments available: the Prada Exfoliant Visage (a gentle peel that eliminates dull surface cells while re-texturing and re-vitalizing skin), the Prada Radiance Visage (Prada's highly advanced Lightening Concentrate/Face contains a freshly mixed Ascorbic Acid that works to lighten dark spots and correct irregular pigmentation, thus restoring luminosity), the Prada Reviving Visage (an intensive, non-surgical treatment that dramatically lifts and firms facial contours, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and restores natural beauty to mature skin), and the Prada Replenishing Body Facial (a soothing re-mineralizing treatment that uses a combination of specialized massage techniques and Prada's signature scent).

Participating Ritz-Carlton Spas include Georgetown, Huntington, Laguna Niguel, Naples, Reynolds Plantation, Half Moon Bay, Key Biscayne, Lake Las Vegas, Orlando Grande Lakes, Sarasota, and South Beach-- the award-winning La Maison de Beauté Carita, the only location of this signature spa outside of Paris. All Prada Beauty treatments include eight single-use Prada beauty products to continue the luxury at home. Talk about indulgence.

Related Articles:

Daily Candy DC, "The Weekend Guide"


Caneel Bay, St. John: Hot Type Author Series with Adam Gopnik


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Caneel Bay

The tiny island of St. John-- accessible only by boat or ferry-- is the least developed of the US Virgin Islands: a paradise of tropical forests, white sandy beaches, and turquoise waters teeming with tropical life. Nestled within the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, the exclusive resort of Caneel Bay has been celebrated as one of the finest in the world since it was founded by Laurance Rockefeller. Caneel's accommodations have been artfully constructed to blend into the landscape-- the seven secluded beaches and 170 lush acres surrounding the property. Here, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts will host the newest chapter of its exclusive Hot Type Author Series with world-renowned writer Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and The King in the Window. From January 27-31, 2007, Gopnik will host a series of private dinners where guests will have the exclusive opportunity to discuss his past works, his adventures in Paris as well as his most recent book, Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York. The Hot Type Author Series Program debuted at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, with Michael Gross, and has been praised by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report as the "most unique hotel amenity" of 2005.


Buzzworthy: Villa Camilla, Azuero Peninsula, Panama


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Camilla

Renowned French architect Gilles Saint-Gilles has transformed his bold vision into sublime reality with the beautiful Villa Camilla, which opened on Panama's idyllic Pacific coast in December 2005. "I want to live a refined lifestyle that doesn't compromise my childrens' future,” so says the architect, who has created a luxurious, exclusive retreat in harmony with the spectacular natural surroundings of lush green hills and sparkling Pacific. With a team of European craftsmen, Gilles built on-site workshops to train local artisans who have designed virtually every component of the guesthouse and private homes on-site: teak doors and shutters, bamboo ceilings, terra cotta brick floors, Chiriqui stone walls, and parquet floors patterned from purpleheart wood mixed with French oak wine caskets-- the ultimate mix of the Old World and New. This attention to detail has also been focused on the natural environment, as Gilles' team has restored the Tropical Dry Forest eco-system that originally existed in the province, providing wildlife habitat for the future. Villa Camilla (and its aesthetically magnificent guest rooms) is just one aspect of this elegant oceanside community; it is possible to purchase one of 71 lots and Saint-Gilles will custom-design the home to build on it.


Kate Moss and Pete Doherty Marry at Amanpuri, Phuket, Thailand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amanpuri

Amanresorts is synonymous with luxury, its worldwide collection of boutique resorts spoiling guests with indulgence and idyllic surroundings. Indeed, the 2006 Zagat Survey named Amanresorts the world's leading international hotel group. Aman's flagship, Amanpuri, is located on the island of Phuket overlooking the turquoise Andaman Sea. Interspersed throughout coconut groves, the guest pavilions boast outdoor terraces and private pools. The Spa is simply sublime, its individual treatment rooms complete with steam showers and outdoor lounge areas. So what better place for supermodel Kate Moss and her long-time rocker boyfriend to tie the knot? The Daily Telegraph has all the rumored deets on the New Years Day ceremony:

At 1:30pm Thai time the Babyshambles singer and Moss exchanged vows in the picturesque private gardens of their five-bedroomed GBP 4,500-per-night villa at the Amanpuri hotel. Wearing a white Galliano shift dress and her blonde hair loose, Moss reportedly looked on adoringly at her groom, who was dressed in an all-black linen suit and his trademark pork pie hat. For the ceremony, the gardens and villa were decorated with flower petals, fragrant jasmine, orchids and a floral archway. White and pale pink lotus flowers decorated the pool. With security at a maximum, staff guarded the perimeter of the villa, preventing any uninvited guests from wandering in.