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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.

What a Hotel! Luxurious Arabian Oasis

May 22, 2009
By: Christina Vasquez

Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.

Helpful Hints: Genuine Arabic artifacts decorate this opulent desert hotel which is named after a semi-precious stone.

What a Hotel
Lana correctly guessed our Previous Hotel Contest:

Clift Hotel

Clift Hotel, San Francisco, California


A Free Night and a Chic Picnic in the Park with Sofitel Hotels

May 18, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Munich BayerpostIt's back. Sofitel Hotels is bringing back the wildly popular "Chic Picnic" offer, so that Sofitel guests worldwide-- whether visiting the Pyramids in Cairo, taking an urban vacay in New York or Chicago, or getting romantic in Rome-- can explore their chosen city and indulge with a sumptuous picnic of local delicacies prepared by the hotel chef. When you book the "Chic Picnic" package, available June 1 - August 31, 2009, you get luxurious accommodations, a guaranteed late check-out, a delicious picnic basket packed to the brim with gastronomic delights (and personalized for each specific city), and-- as an added benefit for those booking before July 5-- a free night for all four-night stays (or two free nights for eight-night stays). At each hotel the staff is on-hand to recommend the perfect spots for guests to enjoy their picnics. So at the stately Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, guests can discover the charms of Paris, either relaxing in the biggest and oldest formal gardens in Paris at the Jardin des Tuileries or unwinding on the lawns at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The Sofitel London St. James is set in the heart of the city, the perfect location to explore London's greatest attractions like the nearby Royal parks: Green Park, St James Park, Kensington Gardens or Hyde Park. The Sofitel Marrakech, designed as a Moorish palace with ochre walls and gorgeous pools, has a prime setting for exploring the city itself-- its gardens, souks, and art-- and the snow-capped High Atlas Mountains beyond. And the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost offers guests the best of Bavaria (beer gardens and majestic castles galore-- including the region's prettiest castle, Nymphenburger Schlosspark, boasting a botanical garden perfect for a picnic).


What’s Hot: Mardan Palace Debuts on the Turkish Riviera

May 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mardan Palace

The Mediterranean coast around Antalya has long lured visitors to Turkey's "Riviera." Sun-worshippers and history buffs alike flock to this ancient coast, dotted with Roman and Ottoman sites. Needless to say, this shore is brimming with luxury resorts, and the new Mardan Palace promises to outdo them all with over-the-top luxury and facilities fit for a king.

Mardan Palace

Think four aquariums, a 900-seat amphitheater, an artificial "Swim Reef" packed with fish, and one of the biggest swimming pools in the world. Did we mention the nighttime laser show in front of the waterfront lagoon pool? The spa has it all-- from Hot Stone Massages to Thalasso Treatments. We hear you can even get botox treatments. Rooms are decadently designed with gold leaf and exclusive Hermès amenities. Each guest of the Mardan Palace will be pampered with personal butler service.


Hot Spots: The Sultanate of Oman and the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, Muscat

May 5, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La

The latest "it" spot for travelers on the planet? The Sultanate of Oman-- where fjords, peaks, and beautiful beaches lure folks to the Arabian Peninsula. But this is not just a paradise for adventure travelers. Oman has seen a slew of luxury hotel openings, like the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa in the capital of Muscat. We've been keeping our eye on this beautiful oasis since it opened in 2006. Designed as a three-hotel resort village, Shangri-La's property boasts a dramatic desert setting next to the  sparkling bay of Al Jissah.

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Oman

You'll find a scuba diving center, marina, a wide range of dining outlets, three expansive pools, a luxurious spa, and private beaches with butler service. Special Offers: When you stay three consecutive nights, you'll get a fourth night on the house. Book with Five Star Alliance, and you'll receive a complimentary upgrade to the next room category upon check-in, subject to availability.


Get a Free Night with InterContinental: 5 Million Nights Up for Grabs at 4,000 Hotels

April 28, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hotel Beijing Financial StreetInterContinental Hotels Group-- the world's largest hotel company-- has just announced a big promotion. Earn a free night by registering at getafreenight.com and then staying two nights at any Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites or Candlewood Suites around the world between May 4th and July 3rd, 2009. Voila! A free night is yours for the taking at any IHG hotel-- like the luxurious InterContinental Beijing Financial Street (pictured at right)-- until December 26th, 2009.


Big Promotion from Starwood: Get a Free Weekend For Every 2 Hotel Stays

April 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal HawaiianThis just in. Starwood Hotels and Resorts has announced a rewarding new promotion for new and existing members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program (SPG). When you stay two times at any of Starwood's hotels between May 1 and July 31, 2009, you can earn one free weekend night (Friday, Saturday or Sunday). There are no limits to the number of free weekend nights that can be earned, and earned nights can be combined to make a longer weekend stay. The best part? No blackout dates (!) and the nights are redeemable through the end of September. Starwood encompasses 875 hotels around the world within nine different brands (like St. Regis, Westin, The Luxury Collection, Aloft and Sheraton), including the likes of the Royal Hawaiian (pictured) and the opulent Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice. Talk about a travel stimulus program!


Desert Adventures Await in Dubai

April 9, 2009
By: Christina Vasquez

Desert Palm DubaiSky diving, 4x4 desert safaris, hot air balloon adventures, aerial desert tours, camel and horse racing, a kid friendly water park, and excursions to an indoor ski resort await at the Desert Palm Dubai. Guests who stay at this ultra-luxurious "Arabian avant-garde" desert hotel have the opportunity to embark on thrilling adventures, and for those who prefer something that won't get the heart pumping too loud, there toned-down activities as well, like polo matches, horse riding, cooking tutorials, wine tasting, and rare bird watching at the Desert Palm Dubai.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance:Five Star Alliance guests with a confirmed stay of 3 or more nights at Desert Palm Dubai will receive one 30 minute "Jet Lag" massage for 2.


Third Night on the House at W Hotels

March 18, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel IstanbulThis just in. Starwood's sexy brand of W Hotels is giving away a third night free when you book two nights. Embrace the cutting-edge and cool at W Hotels across the country and around the world (and now in Doha, to boot). You'll dig the hip Living Room Lounges-- the W Wonderland-- and Whatever/Whenever service (translation: your wish is their command). Some of our fave W properties include the W New York Union Square, the W San Francisco, and the W in Seoul.

Pictured: The Turkish delight known as W Hotel Istanbul.


Israel’s Spring Migration Festivals

March 13, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

IsraelThose who love nature, art and crave the allure of the Middle East should head to Israel this month. March is the month to observe the spring migration of birds as well as visit the International Spring Migration Festival held March 20-23 in southern Israel. Visitors can partake in free guided daily tours to the prime birding hotspots in southern Arava just north of Eilat, a hands-on ringing demonstration and bird-identification workshops in the field. The second annual Artists for Nature Festival is also taking place until March 16 in Israel's Hula Valley and will offer nature tours, lectures, workshops and a painting demonstration by Israeli wildlife artists.

For more festival info, visit www.artistsfornature.com


Secretary Clinton Checks In to Jerusalem’s King David

March 6, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

King David HotelAfter a tough day of negotiating peace in the Middle East, where does Hillary Clinton lay her golden locks down to sleep? At the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, of course. The former First Lady and Senator turned Secretary of State stayed at the luxury hotel on her first official visit to Israel. King David Hotel has played host to many a celeb, and made headlines of a different sort in 1946, when it was bombed by a Zionist group. The rest of her sizable entourage could give some rappers a run for their street cred. The Clinton group took up a whopping 154 of the 203 rooms. No word on whether she took advantage of the poolside dining or why Clinton stayed in the Royal Suite, not the Presidential Suite.