Five Star Alliance
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
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.

Pooling our Resources: The 10 Best Hotel Pools in the World

September 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

 After reading CNN’s own list of great hotel pools, we decided to put our heads together and write up our thoughts on the matter. Who has the 10 best hotel pools in the world? To truly know, you’ll have to visit yourself and see. But these are certainly our favorites.

10. The Banyan Tree Seychelles

With the simple application of basic mathematics, the Banyan Tree has figured out how to improve upon the tried and true concept of the private pool: By giving its two-bedroom suites two private pools – and what a sight they are. That’s the kind of thinking I can get behind.

Banyan Tree Seychelles

9. Le Palais de la Mediterranee, France

Le Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice rolls in at number 9 with its incredible 3rd floor indoor/outdoor pool. Just feet from a sun terrace with a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean, this is a pool that was tailor-made for lounging. If to you a vacation means leaning back, lowering your sunglasses over your eyes and relaxing the afternoon away, then this is the hotel for you.

Palais de la Mediterranee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. The Berkeley, London

While some other pools may be more spectacular, as you’ll see in a moment, none offer the same level of comfort year-round as The Berkeley rooftop pool in London. The heated pool features a wonderful open-air swimming experience in the summer, but unlike most hotels, when it gets a bit colder, you don’t have to take the party inside. The Berkeley instead rolls out its retractable roof, and you can now enjoy the comfort of a perfectly climate-controlled rooftop pool in winter.

The Berkeley London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Villa d’Este, Italy

The pool at Villa d’Este on Lake Como would make Archimedes blush. Floating above the very lake that the Villa rests against, the pool features a built-in Jacuzzi and fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. It’s like swimming in the lake just inches below your feet, but it’s always the perfect temperature.

Villa d'Este

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete

The Blue Palace Resort and Spa is truly deserving of its sixth place finish, and really if we were fair it’d be on this list twice. The aptly-named Blue Palace is renowned for the private pools that come standard with most of their rooms and suites. With pools up to 40 sq. meters in size for just you and your companion(s), there couldn’t be a more private or luxurious swimming experience. And if that weren’t enough, the Blue Palace is famous for its unique Grecian Thalassotherapy, which combines the relaxing powers of a world-class massage with water-cleansing rituals guaranteed to revitalize your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The Library Koh Samui, Thailand

In this case, the picture speaks for itself. The Library Koh Samui is built around the innovative concept that a vacation is about relaxation and people should be allowed to free their minds from stress by engaging in the simple pleasures of cracking open a book and enjoying the company of their family or friends. They’ve also turned their pool red - which is both surreal and strangely captivating, like green ketchup or a fish riding a bicycle.

The Library Koh Samui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Rawi Warin Resort and Spa, Thailand

The 1000 sq. meter infinity edge pool at Rawi Warin looks as if the water is fading into the ocean, with only little beach umbrellas poking above the water line to let you know that it doesn’t go on forever. The illusion is compelling and gorgeous. As if that weren’t enough, Rawi Warin also has Asia’s first ocean swimming pool, extending 100 meters into the water and allowing you to swim with the fishes in an entirely literal way.

Rawi Warin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Palazzo Sasso, Italy

The Palazzo Sasso has one of the more innovative designs for a hotel pool we’ve ever seen. Situated on the edge of a cliff 1000 feet above sea level, the pool at Palazzo Sasso offers underwater windows with a view of the sea below, thus discovering the heretofore unknown condition of subaqueous vertigo. But seriously, it is the single most impressive thing I’ve seen at the bottom of a pool.

Palazzo Sasso

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Atlantis the Palm Dubai

Atlantis the Palm Dubai may just be the best thing ever. If you got all the things together in one place, and made me pick, I’d say, “I want that thing. It looks like the best thing.” So what is this thing I’m so excited about? Well, it just might be a standard luxurious hotel pool, only it’s attached to a full water park! I don’t bandy about with exclamation points lightly, but this seems to be worth one. If you, like me, have ever thought, “wow, this vacation is really relaxing, but what I’d really like is to go launching out of a ziggurat at high speeds into a pool of water,” then this is the destination for you. And even more than that, much of the hotel is themed around this aquatic experience. There are underwater mazes, a four-and-a-half hectare dolphin habitat, and something they just call Aquaventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Occasionally, a feat of engineering comes along that’s so remarkable, you have to doff your hat to the architects of its design. The Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool in Singapore is more like what would result if Leonardo da Vinci were in the hotel business. Resting 200 meters above the ground in the Sands SkyPark, the Infinity Pool is as breathtaking as it is surreal – the edge of the pool seems to fade into the horizon itself. Swimmers are greeted with a panoramic vista unequaled anywhere. Without a doubt, the Infinity is the coolest hotel pool we’ve ever seen and not just for the breeze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So throw on your swim trunks and book a room at any of these amazing hotels (maybe in the other order), and soon you'll be enjoying the sun by some of the most amazing pools in the world.


A London Hotel for Insomniacs: Sweet Dreams at The Milestone

September 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Milestone Hotel, LondonCalling all you insomniacs out there... Sometimes even a Hästens mattress wrapped in 300-thread-count sheets and feather duvets is not going to cut it. You need tips from a specialist to ensure a "sound sleep experience." Enter The Milestone Hotel and Apartments, the award-winning property in Kensington. According to London Hotels Insight, the boutique hotel launched a package this summer which includes a luxurious night’s stay, a private, one-hour consultation with sleep therapist Tej Samani, treatments in the hotel’s spa therapy room and an assortment of aromatherapy oils, eye masks and other helpful aids to help you drift off. Get this: You can even take advantage of the Alpha Sleep Pod, "a matchbox-sized machine with earphones that pump out audio to match your sleep dilemma, whether you can’t fall asleep, can’t get back to sleep or just want a power nap." Starting at £976 per room per night based on two people sharing a Deluxe King room.


London's Halkin Turns 20 with New Suites and a Pop-up Culture Lounge

September 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Halkin, LondonThe Halkin is celebrating 20 years as a glamorous boutique hotel in London with a fun-filled calendar of events this month. Just two days ago, the art publisher ASSOULINE opened an immersive pop-up "Culture Lounge" which will run through November 30, 2011. Visitors can browse gorgeous coffee-table books in a library-style environment, and noted authors will participate in literary events. September will also see The Halkin unveil its new 20th anniversary suites - two COMO Suites and one Belgravia Suite on the second and third floor which have been renovated and now include large balconies overlooking the hotel gardens. Various anniversary packages are available with value-added extras (like milkshakes, cookies, and a Children’s Box of Delights for kids traveling with their families on vacation).


New Restaurants in London: Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham at Dukes Hotel

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Hotel LondonThere's a new signature restaurant at Dukes London and it's guaranteed to get foodies drooling. The restaurant's name-- Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham-- is derived from the number symbolizing good luck in Chinese astrology, the symbol of the magic square of the sun, as well as the hotel's address on Little St. James. Michelin-starred chef Nigel Mendham cooks up traditional British dishes in a "classic contemporary style" highlighting superb local produce. Here's a sampling:

Starters

Dry aged beef carpaccio, beetroot, horseradish; Rare breed pork of braised cheek with Waldorf salad; Scallops, cauliflower, smoked eel, red sorrel

Main Courses

Highland venison, butternut fondant, ossobucco; Lemon sole, langoustine tortellini, carrot puree, hazelnut crumb; Brill rib of beef with watercress and native oysters;

Desserts

Carrot cake, liquid carrot, iced cream cheese, spiced walnuts; Apples and brambles crumble, brulee, sorbet; Dark chocolate delice, crunchy pears and cardamon

All menu selections are offered prix fixe at Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham: dinner is £49 for two courses and £60 for three courses; and lunch is £26 for two courses and £36 for three courses. The restaurant's nine-course tasting menu - which includes a Margarita right before the dessert courses - runs £95 or £150 with matching wines.


Explore London on a Bike: New Cycling Package at InterContinental London Park Lane

September 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental London at Park LaneRide around London on a bike, exploring the capital's famous parks and landmarks. The InterContinental London Park Lane has just launched a new package, available on request in September and October, giving cycling enthusiasts an exclusive opportunity to ride with bike expert Rob Penn. The "B-Spoke" experience includes a two-hour hosted bike ride with Penn, who authored the book "It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels." Guests can choose their own tour route and ride around London on "Boris bikes"- available for everyone as part of London's public bicycle lending program launched last year after the success of the Velib program in Paris. The B-Spoke package at InterContinental London Park Lane is available from £359 per room plus VAT for two people sharing, and includes one night accommodation and breakfast at the Cookbook Cafe.


New in London: Wolfgang Puck's Cut at 45 Park Lane

August 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

45 Park LaneWe've been waiting with bated breath for the opening of Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant in Europe: Cut at 45 Park Lane. The newest hotel from The Dorchester Collection will have the honor of housing the steakhouse, mirroring "the award-winning and hugely popular original CUT in Beverly Hills." And now-- courtesy of Daily Candy London-- we've got a few more details:

1. The chef’s favourite dish on the menu is sauteed Dover sole meuniere served with preserved lemon and parsley.

2. It’s the first time this many (sixteen) of Damien Hirst’s prints from a certain series have appeared in the same location.

3. Unlike at other branches, Cut in London will be open for breakfast (salt beef hash cakes, poached eggs with bearnaise sauce and buttermilk pancakes with whipped bourbon-maple butter) and lunch (Dorset crab and lobster Louis cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish, smaller cuts of signature steaks).

For more exciting information about the resto, check out Daily Candy's article.


Opening Soon: Dorchester Collection's 45 Park Lane in London

August 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

45 Park Lane, LondonIn just a matter of days, a new luxury hotel will be making waves in London town. The Dorchester Collection's newest property, 45 Park Lane, is just a stone's throw from the hotel flagship, overlooking Hyde Park in Mayfair. In perhaps the biggest news of all, 45 Park Lane will be home to Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant in Europe: CUT, a modern American steak house. Acclaimed architect Thierry Despont was behind the renovation. There are 45 guest rooms, all with views of Hyde Park, plus a Penthouse Suite with sweeping views of London from a wraparound terrace. Hot rates: From September 1- 11, 2011, guests can take advantage of an introductory rate of £350 (approximately $567 USD). Wifi is included.


A Jewel-Inspired Afternoon Tea at The Langham London

August 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham LondonThe Langham London is legendary as the birthplace of Afternoon Tea, that quintessentially British institution. The luxury hotel opened in 1865 and began serving this "afternoon snack" favored by Anna Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, as a way to ward off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. The Langham continues to serve up this indulgent ritual in Palm Court, garnering multiple accolades in the process. Recently The Langham announced an exclusive new tea, created in collaboration with the renowned jewelry designer, Stephen Webster. Inspired by Webster's latest collection (called "Murder She Wrote"), Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden has designed some glittering pastries that are almost too beautiful to eat: the Crystal Clear Diamond, a Guinness macaroon with blackcurrant jelly; the Poison Apple, a red peppercorn and dark chocolate shortbread; and a roasted green pistachio Chantilly with airy meringue sponge inspired by Stephen Webster's Armadillo ring. The Stephen Webster Bijoux Afternoon Tea is priced at £49 per person (approx. US $79), inclusive of VAT, and is available from September 1, 2011 - March 31, 2012 in the Palm Court.


The U.K.'s Largest Spa is Now Open at The Corinthia London

August 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

ESPA Life at Corinthia, LondonThe Corinthia Hotel's launch in London has not been a quiet affair. Over-the-top in every way imaginable, the opulent new hotel opened a spa in July that's been the talk of the town. The latest spa by industry leader Sue Harmsworth MBE, the ESPA Life at Corinthia is the largest spa in the U.K.- measuring over 37,000 square feet and covering four levels. It's also the worldwide flagship for ESPA, and the first location to offer the brand’s new ESPA Life concept, an integrated wellness approach that incorporates complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into a luxury spa environment. There's an entire floor devoted to thermal and wet areas including an indoor pool, black mosaic steam rooms, and an amphitheater sauna. Treatments include new age-defying facials and a ‘Rush Hour Beauty’ menu.


A Ritzy New Manicure at The Ritz London

July 27, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz London ManicureFor a real treat on your next trip to London, head to The Ritz Salon-- located on the seventh floor of the legendary hotel on Piccadilly-- for a signature Ritz Manicure. Created by Jeff Pink, the inventor of the French Manicure and founder of the famous Orly Professional Nail Care range, the Ritz manicure was created exclusively for the hotel. The deeply moisturizing treatment starts with a hand soak, followed by an olive grain exfoliation and massage with Orly products-- rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential oils. Next up: a skin-softening wrap, which seals in oils and revives the skin and cuticles. The finishing touch: Manicurist Anna Gardiner, who has tended to the nails of the glitterati, applies two flashes of signature Ritz gold lacquer, positioned to complement the natural nail. The Ritz Manicure is priced at GBP 75 and The Ritz gold lacquer costs GBP 11.95.