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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.

South Beach, Miami: Hotel Victor’s VIP Vibe

October 30, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Victor

The press has gone gaga over this sexy addition to the swanky boutique hotels of South Beach. Last year’s $60 million make-over of the Hotel Victor has utterly transformed the formerly-tacky Ocean Drive. Right next door to the famed Versace mansion, the Hotel Victor is centrally located in the middle of the Art Deco district, just a hop from the city’s buzzing nightlife. Parisian designer Jacques Garcia has created a sensory explosion of rich color, aromatic infusions and whimsical retro furniture, the lobby marked by an illuminated moon jellyfish tank. The hotel’s 91 rooms and suites are situated around an infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic. Mini-bars are stuffed full of “South Beach life-style essentials” (chilled eye mask, anyone?) The 6,000 square foot Spa V entices with signature treatments (like the Jet Lag V which incorporates a patented formula of volcanic mud) and the only Turkish Hammam in South Beach. The best part of the hotel? Your personal “vibe manager,” who can arrange just about anything you want to do in Miami-- from salsa to surfing.

Hotel Victor, Official Site

Hotel Victor, Five Star Alliance


Travelers are Flocking to China; Our Pick? Yunnan’s Banyan Tree

October 26, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Great Wall

Numbers don’t lie. According to the World Tourism Organization, China recently replaced Italy as the 4th most visited nation. Is this due to more tourism among the country’s ginormous population? If anything, an increase in tourism among the Chinese themselves is a fabulous indicator of previously-rigid walls coming down…. (Last year I remember watching the sun set behind snow-capped peaks near China’s Myanmar border, with Chinese tourists who had previously never left Shanghai and Beijing.) And Westerners are discovering that China offers a lot more than the Great Wall and Forbidden City. The southwest province of Yunnan, for example, is a wonderland of geographic marvels, history and cultural tradition. Luxury resorts have already staked an interest in Yunnan; Banyan Tree just opened a resort there, in “Shangri-La country,” complete with heavenly spa.

Banyan Tree Ringha, Official Site

Banyan Tree Ringha, Five Star Alliance


Special Offers: Thailand’s Le Meridien Khao Lak

October 25, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meridien Khao Lak

Found out some good news from Gadling today. The Le Meridien Khao Lak has reopened its doors after last year’s devastating tsunami. The celebratory rates? A steal at $75 per night (plus tax). From now until Dec 22, enjoy that famous Thai hospitality in style at Khao Lak. P.S. The spa rocks.

Le Meridien Khao Lak, Official Site

Le Meridien Khao Lak, Five Star Alliance


The Chic Make-over of Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho

October 23, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Valley Ho

These days, Scottsdale is where it’s at. (The NYT weighs in on the hype.) And starting in December, the legendary Hotel Valley Ho will re-emerge downtown as the place to see and be seen. The original hide-away for Bogart, Bing and Marilyn has been made-over into a hip urban resort. First opened in 1956, the Hotel Valley Ho basks in its classic mid-century design. The chic rooms feature all-glass walls opening onto private patios, flat-screen TVs, WiFi, terrazzo tile bathrooms, and feather-top beds with 300-thread-count linens. Lounge on the sofas by the pool, pamper yourself with a massage in the private cabanas, work out in the VH Spa overlooking the perfect circle pool, or slurp a cocktail at the Oh Pool Bar + Cabanas. Plus, Hotel Valley Ho offers dining options aplenty. At Cafe ZuZu, enjoy classic American comfort food. Or head to Trader Vic’s, the Polynesian classic reinterpreted by Chef Charles Wiley, with outdoor dining on the lushly landscaped patio. From December 20th to December 29th, take advantage of the Opening Special of $195.60. (How clever! The hotel first opened on December 20, 1956.) Includes accommodations in a signature guest room, complimentary valet parking, complimentary access to VH Spa, and a Fifties Fun Pack of treats.

Hotel Valley Ho, Official Site


New Spas in the Swiss Alps: Palace Luzern and Beau-Rivage Palace

October 21, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palace Luzern

Bliss out this winter in two spectacular Alpine spas. The Palace Luzern – a fixture on CN’s Gold List—is an elegant Belle Epoque hotel, perched on the edge of Lake Lucerne. The new Palace Spa includes 800 square meters of saunas, steam rooms, lifestyle showers and treatment rooms. After you hit the slopes, bask in an ESPA treatment such as ayurvedic hot stone massage, body wraps or detoxifiers, inspired by ancient cultures worldwide. Or ditch that snow bunny gear and choose a full-day program in the spa. The Private Spa Ritual is a totally personalized experience in your own suite facility, with sauna, two person steam shower and couples bath with floating flowers. Includes welcome foot ritual, three hours of treatment time per person, light spa lunch and herbal tea and fresh fruit. Euro 867 for two people.

The landmark Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne just spent CHF 12 million on development of their cutting-edge Cinq Mondes spa, set to open this autumn. The 15,000 square foot signature spa is novel in design; its concept derived from its creator’s 10-year global quest for treatments from some of the great healing traditions. Fully equipped with nine treatment rooms, including a private spa suite, and fitness center overlooking Lake Geneva, with a diverse range of holistic massage and treatments (like micronized marine algae body wrap and facials featuring the latest Swiss cosmetic treatments).

Palace Luzern, Official Site

Palace Luzern, Five Star Alliance

Beau-Rivage Palace, Official Site

Beau-Rivage Palace, Five Star Alliance


Make Way for Mayakoba

October 14, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mayakoba

Cancun is a mess. Mangrove swamps and coral reefs were paved over for towering high-rises and wet t-shirt contests. God bless the eco-friendly developers at Mayakoba, who are creating a new kind of luxury community just south of there on the picture-perfect beaches of the Riviera Maya. We’re carefully observing this ecoproject, which is ambitious and unique, and may set the standard for responsible, sustainable development worldwide. Mayakoba is a community of five luxury hotels—including Fairmont, Viceroy, Banyan Tree, Rosewood, and La Casa Que Canta—set within sugar white beaches and lush mangrove lagoons. Among all these celebrated resorts (of which the Fairmont Mayakoba is the first to debut in December 2005), guests can experience a range of spa and culinary choices.

Fairmont Mayakoba, Official Site

Fairmont Mayakoba, Five Star Alliance


Taj Mirage? Taj Exotica Maldives Ready to Dazzle in December

October 12, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Taj Exotica Maldives

Taj Hotels and Resorts has created a seemingly ephemeral paradise—smack in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Situated on one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives, the all-new Taj Exotica Resort & Spa will open in early December. On the 20 minute boat ride from the airport, you’ll think your eyes are playing tricks on you. The Taj Exotica is glorious. The resort seamlessly blends with the island’s natural beauty, creating your own private sanctuary in the middle of the ocean. Each of the 62 villas is built entirely over the lagoon and sea. Balconies, sundecks, and even private freshwater plunge pools open out onto the vast, surrounding turquoise. Get this: the Rehendi Suite even boasts a glass bathroom providing infinite views of the sea. Plus, there’s diving, snorkeling, fishing-- galore. But what we’re really drooling over is the authentically Indian spa. The Jiva Grande Spa is like its own private island, accessible by a bridge from the main resort. Spa Pavilions-- each containing private sundecks and relaxation space—include two luxurious Couple Suites. But on top of this, the Jiva Grande offers a Signature Indian Royal Mud and Bathing Experience Pavilion (with Hammam and couple experience showers), an Ayurveda Sanctuary Pavilion (with traditional Ayurveda treatments), and Heat, Hydro and Relaxation Experience Pavilion. Wow.

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Official Site

Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Booking at Five Star Alliance


What’s Hot - Esperanza Resort, Cabo

October 10, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Esperanza Resort, Cabo

Escape the winter blues and thaw by the turquoise Sea of Cortés at this new luxury property near Cabo San Lucas. Created by Auberge Resorts, Esperanza is deliciously alluring, chic and impossibly romantic. The sandstone villas are carved into the bluffs overlooking the sea, where the humpback whales migrate just offshore. The infinity pool seems to spill into the private cove beneath, with sweeping views of the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. At the terraced Restaurant, enjoy a star-studded menu of local fish, like almond seared rare yellowfin tuna with warm avocado pie or grilled dorado steak with ricotta crepes and dark pasilla-huitlacoche mole. Or toss back a Piña Dorada at El Bar, watching the sun dip below the Pacific’s horizon. The resort's 56 guest rooms and suites have oversized tubs, large outdoor terraces and handcrafted furniture. Don’t miss the unique spa treatments—like grated coconut and lime body exfoliation—that feature natural, indigenous ingredients. After a yoga or pilates class, relax in the warm soaking pool or the indoor steam cave. Diving, sailing and kayaking trips are phenomenal.

Esperanza Resort, Official Site

Esperanza Resort Booking at Five Star Alliance