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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 Taj Tashi in Bhutan Opens its Doors

February 21, 2008
By: Guest Writer

[Courtesy of our friends at Goldarth's Review] Taj Tashi BhutanNext to Nepal, the Kingdom of Bhutan is probably the most sought-after destination for adventurous travelers yearning for an exotic and perhaps spiritual experience deep in the seclusions of the Himalayas. Now, you can take in the charms of this isolated Buddhist nation in luxurious environs, with the opening of the Taj Tashi in Thimpu. The latest jewel in the crown of the Indian-owned Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, it features 66 luxury rooms and suites (including 2 duplex suites), restaurants serving Bhutanese and Continental fare, lounges, bars, spa, a heated indoor swimming pool and fitness center, and Bhutan's first golf course. Be spellbound by spectacular views of majestic mountains and centuries-old Dzong temples from the comforts of your suites. After all, you're in "The Last Shangri-la on Earth". The Taj Tashi, Thimphu is situated in the centre of the capital city, has adopted age-old Bhutanese traditions in its architecture and offers panoramic views of neighboring mountains.


Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok 21st Floor Guest Room Video

February 21, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

The Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok comprises 799 luxurious guestrooms in two adjacent towers, the Shangri-La Wing and the Krungthep Wing. All rooms have river or city views, and are decorated with classic Thai touches, including silk and teak finishings. The below video offers a tour of a Conrad room on the 21st Floor of the Shangri La Hotel in Bangkok. [Video courtesy of youtube's gman2004k. Taken in October 2007.]


Raffles Grand Hotel Suite, Singapore Video

February 18, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Distinguished by their premier location in the Main Building, each of the seven Raffles Hotel Singapore's Grand Suites are elegantly appointed with tastefully selected antiques and artwork. All suites feature private parlours, dining areas and verandas.

Among these Grand Hotel Suites are the Raffles Grand Hotel premier suites which include the Sir Stamford Raffles and Sarkies Suites, each featuring two bedrooms, a private dining room that seats ten guests, a private parlour, pantry and veranda.


Luxury for Less: The Suite Life at The Peninsula Hotels

February 13, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula Hong KongTime is running out to take advantage of a suite winter deal at The Peninsula Hotels! Now's the time to live large and experience the sumptuous suites for which Peninsula is renowned... at a fantastic value. When you book the Suite Life promotion at Peninsula Hotels, you pay for the first night and you get the second for free! This deal is only available until March 31, 2008, so act fast! Participating hotels include The Peninsula Hong Kong, The Peninsula Chicago, The Peninsula New York, The Peninsula Beijing, The Peninsula Tokyo, and The Peninsula Bangkok. Other perks include complimentary Internet, local calls, use of the fitness center, and at some locations: continental breakfast, daily fruit basket and newspaper, and flexible check-out.


River Views in Memphis

February 12, 2008
By: Lucy LeTourneau

River Inn MemphisLocated just steps from the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis's award-winning Harbor Town Community, the River Inn's 28 luxurious guest rooms and suites are situated in two buildings; a four-story and a three-story, divided by a narrow street surrounded by tasteful landscaping. The Inn offers a rooftop terrace with sweeping River and skyline views; 24-hour concierge and valet services; library-style sitting areas on each floor; port wine and chocolate truffle service during evening turn-down; a full complimentary , gourmet breakfast; and a modern fitness center. Six different accommodation packages are available, ranging from standard rooms at $245 to penthouse suites at $595. Book the River Inn at Harbor Town through Five Star Alliance and receive a room upgrade at check-in, based upon availability as well as a glass of champagne or wine upon arrival.


The ZaZazoo: 18 Karats and the Magnificent Seven at Hotel ZaZa Houston

February 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel ZaZa HoustonHouston's decadent urban resort, brilliantly located in the Museum District, has established quite the following, welcoming dealmakers, fun-lovers, trendsetters, and romantic couples to a glamorous, sybaritic paradise. Celebrated for its gracious and attentive service, the Hotel Zaza Houston takes pleasure in the details, like the Magic Carpet (a.k.a. complimentary car service to neighborhood locations), butler pantries located on each floor, in-room grab & go gourmet refreshment bars, Italian linens and down-filled pillows, and the happening poolside retreat and outdoor bar with private cabanas. Did we mention the Peep Show (ZaZa's twist on a gift shop)? And pets are most welcome.

But the best part about the Hotel ZaZa is the Magnificent Seven, the most exquisite of the hotel's luxury accommodations. These suites come with all the lavish excess and little ZaZa surprises you'd expect at ZaZa. The names say it all: Rock Star, Fatal Charms, For Your Eyes Only, Outlaw, Tycoon, Black Label, Bella Vita. They come with whirlpool tubs, amazing views, balconies, and private access to the twelfth floor. And get this: you and 25 of your best friends can actually take over the entire twelfth floor and all the Magnificent Seven suites! The 18 Karats package is pure indulgence. Imagine: gourmet dinner including wine and champagne for 26 people prepared by the ZaZa chef and served in the Rock Star Suite, breakfast for 26 served in Black Label, valet parking, 3 private cabanas at Urban Oasis pool, 26 ZaZa robes for lounging, complimentary bath butler service, and candlelit turn-down. All for just $18,000.

Image Via Houstonist


Porto Zante’s De Luxe Villas on Zakinthos Island

February 7, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Porto Zante GreecePorto Zante is a luxurious Villa-Hotel located on a private beach west of the Greek mainland. Private villas offer gorgeous poolside views overlooking spectacular sandy beaches and the open ocean. Located only 8 kilometers from the international airport, Porto Zante is both a remote get-away and accessible vacation scene.

Porto Zante De Luxe offers four different options for villas, accommodating anywhere from two to twelve people. Villas include bathrooms complete with Jacuzzi bathtubs and hydro jet showers. Each villa comes with living rooms and is fully air conditioned with a private parking area. Many of the villas also come with fireplaces and verandas. Enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area, providing a relaxing environment to kick back and enjoy the many delights this culturally rich area has to offer.

Rates start at 500 Euros ...


The Signature at MGM Grand Wins

February 5, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

MGM Signature TowerTripAdvisor.com has officially chosen The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the No. 1 "Best Luxury Hotel in the U.S." The TripAdvisor's 2008 Travelers' Choice Awards also recognized The Signature among the "Top 100 Best Luxury Hotels in the World" and the "Best Hotels in the World's 25 Most Popular Destinations." What makes the win so interesting is that the Signature does not offer a casino, is non-smoking only, and all-suites - no standard rooms here. While it is true guests can still use the MGM Grand for gambling and smoking, by booking the Signature, they get to enjoy a gated entrance and suites with balconies.

Note Bene: At 550 square feet, the MGM Signature Junior Suites are big on style and are the most basic, standard room category.


Ocean Front vs Ocean View Room Descriptions

January 30, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

People are frequently confused over the terms "ocean view" versus "ocean front" as found in hotel room descriptions. Cambridge Beaches oceanfrontMost beach resorts will try to best describe the room views to make sure guests are fully informed. In the rate terms, oceanfront (Cambridge Beaches pictured at left) means that you will have the best possible ocean views from your windows and, if available, balcony. Your room will be directly facing the ocean - frontage views. Of course, ocean-front rooms are always the most expensive as well. But if your idea is to lay in bed and look out over the ocean, these are the rooms that will guarantee you that opportunity.

 

On the other hand oceanview rooms (Cambridge Beaches pictured) will have some possible view of the ocean - whether it is out certain window to the side, available at an angle, or seen from the side of your balcony. Cambridge Beaches Ocean ViewOcean-view usually guarantees at least a sliver of ocean will be seen from somewhere inside, or even directly outside, your room. If seeing the ocean is really important to you - then you definitely need to reserve an ocean front room to be on the safe side and get the best possible views.


The Fabulous Evolution of the Hotel Mini-Bar

January 28, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gramercy Park Hotel Mini-barIt all started back in 1963 with The Madison in Washington D.C., when the capital's landmark hotel decided to introduce a novelty: the in-room mini-bar! Fabulously convenient, stocked full of helpful items, the mini-bar is now universally appreciated (late-night snack binging!) and abhorred (scandalous overpricing!). Since its debut, the mini-bar has come a long way. In an era of truly over-the-top hotel amenities (baby butler service, pet pampering, unpacking and bath service), the mini-bar has been completely made over and sexed up.

Gramercy Park Hotel Mini-bar

Hotel Victor in Miami offers all kinds of decadent treats. A hotel this cool-- furnished by celebrity designer Jacques Garcia with retro furniture and an illuminated moon jellyfish tank in the lobby-- has gone one step further by introducing full-size in-room bars, stocked with a large range of liquor and "South Beach life-style essentials" like chilled eye masks.

The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta caters to female guests with practical items like stockings and nail-polish remover. Gentlemen, don't despair when you forget socks at home! The mini-bar is stocked with fresh pairs of black socks to match your dark suits.

Omni Hotels created Sensation Bars in cities like New York, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco with all sorts of items to create soothing mini-spa treatments in-room. Think sleep inducing CDs, lavender pillow sprays, eucalyptus bath salts and mini Zen gardens.

Hotel Mela Mini-bar

But the biggest trend of late is sex kits in the mini-bar. NY's 60 Thompson and Miami's Sagamore may have "Shag Bags," and the Montalembert in Paris has a "petite love box," but the Hotel Gansevoort has ticklers!

On a recent trip to New York, we snapped these shots of the goodies on-hand at the Hotel Mela and Gramercy Park Hotel. The mini-bar at Hotel Mela isn't refrigerated; instead you'll find a basket spilling delicious snacks, drinks, and an "Intimacy Kit." What's inside? Lifestyles, lubricant, and individually wrapped life savers. (We just couldn't resist buying one. As a *cough* souvenir...)

The mini-bar at Gramercy Park is nothing short of awesome (check out the pix). T-shirts, sweet treats... They've also got an Intimacy Kit, of course, but it's as classy as they come. And if things get too rowdy, there's a first-aid kit, to boot.

Curious? Be careful when you take that item from the mini-bar! Most of today's "smart" minibars have infra-red sensors (or wireless technology, found at the sophisticated Willard Intercontinental in Washington D.C.) that automatically records your purchase on your bill when you reach for, say, a bag of M&M's or something equally as tempting...

Photos Via Courtney May (top to bottom: mini-bar of Gramercy Park, Gramercy Park, Hotel Mela)