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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.

Scuba Diving in Dubai: Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s Pavilion Dive Centre Gets Top Rating from PADI

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Beach Hotel Pavilion Dive Centre

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel-- designed in the shape of an enormous wave on the beaches of the Arabian Gulf-- has just scored top marks from PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors) for its Pavilion Dive Centre. Recognized as a 5 Star Career Development Centre, PADI's highest rating for Dive Centres, the Pavilion Dive Centre stands alone in the Middle East as the only one of its kind. This means that non-diving professionals can now get training and certification as PADI instructors-- with the first Instructor Development course of 2009 starting on Friday, April 3rd.

Whether a seasoned diver or beginner, guests of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel will love checking out the purpose-built coral reef just 2 kilometers offshore, an amazing world of shipwrecks and exotic marine life. The Pavilion Dive Centre provides everything you need to make the very most of your underwater adventure. They even take trips to Oman.

Oman’s Al Bustan Palace Stages a Mouth-watering Re-opening

By: K. Clare Johnson

Al Bustan PalaceThe wait is over. Al Bustan Palace Hotel has re-opened to the public after a year-long renovation. The multi-million dollar renovation of the luxury Oman property means that guests can once again stay in comfort as they tour the must-see sights like Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Bait Al Zubair Museum and Al Alam Palace. And trust us, you won't go hungry. Al Bustan Palace Hotel has a whopping five restaurants to choose from. VUE by Shannon Bennett showcases the contemporary French cuisine of Chef Shannon Bennett. Chef Bennett has been voted Best Chef, and his restaurant, Vue de Monde, Best Restaurant in Australia. Dine in true outdoor Omani Bedouin Village style at Seblat Al Bustan. Dine on fish, stews and meats perfectly seasoned with a combination of Indian and African spices. The Beach Pavilion restaurant bar and lounge offers lighter fare like fresh grilled fish to those enjoying the sun and surf. China Mood offers a variety of Chinese cuisine prepared by our Chinese kitchen brigade. Or dine in Al Khiran Terrace and choose from an extensive buffet of Asian, French and Italian dishes. Bon Appetit!

Trouble in Paradise: Debtors’ Prison in Dubai, Lay-offs at the Atlantis, The Palm

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Atlantis The Palm, DubaiJust when we finished waxing poetic about the acclaimed Nobu outpost at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, we get word that the $1.5 billion resort, constructed on Dubai's palm-tree shaped island, is laying off workers. 70 staff members were let go just five months after the celebratory opening. In fact, an eye-opening article in The New York Times recently highlighted the scary reality of en economy in free fall in what was once a fast-growing paradisical playground in the Arabian Gulf. Foreign workers riddled with debt (living in fear of debtors' prison), 3,000 cars abandoned in the Dubai Airport's parking lot, falling real estate prices... After reading this, travel guru Arthur Frommer was left wondering about Dubai as a vacation destination, and reflected on his blog about Dubai's "true colors."

New Seven Wonders of Nature Campaign is Well Underway

By: Mackenzie Allison

Matterhorn What do The Great Wall of China, Petra, Chichén Itzá, the Statue of Christ Redeemer, the Colosseum, Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal have in common? Well, on July 7, 2007-- or 07.07.07-- they were declared the official New 7 Wonders of the World. This project, led by The New7Wonders Foundation, aims to preserve global heritage, and more than 100 million votes were cast worldwide to give these seven places this distinction. Now, the second phase of the project, the New 7 Wonders of Nature is well underway. During the first stage, 441 sites from 222 countries were nominated. On December 31, 2008, the first phase ended and 261 nominees proceeding to the current stage—one national nominee per country, plus all multinational nominees. Some of the nominees include Matterhorn, Christmas Island, Yu Shan and Wadi Rum Desert. To find out more and to vote, visit The 21 Official New7Wonders of Nature finalists will be announced on July 21, 2009.

Riyadh’s Al Faisaliah Making “Suite” Additions

By: Dave Eisen

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is taking millions of dollars and using it to expand on its Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A new wing at the hotel will increase the room count from 224 rooms and suites to 330 units. Among those 106 new rooms will be 700-square-foot entry-level suites and a duplex Royal Penthouse Suite. These moves are in addition to a new Italian/Med restaurant and a new ladies-only spa (dudes already have their own men-only spa) with 12 treatment rooms. At The Globe, the hotel's iconic restaurant, which overlooks Riyadh, Simon Probst has been appointed chef de cuisine.

A Nobu Restaurant on Every Continent? From Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai to Honolulu

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Atlantis, The Palm, DubaiBack in October, the world's gaze shifted to Dubai to gawk at the new Atlantis resort on Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island situated in the Arabian Gulf. Billed as the "majestic focal point" of the palm tree-shaped island, a "dazzling world of imagination," and a place to "live out your dreams," Atlantis, The Palm held a grand opening party so lavish, so excessive, that it's fireworks were supposedly seen from outer space. Boasting the third largest aquarium in the world, this extravagant resort is also home to the a Nobu restaurant, the first outpost in the Middle East for the world-renowned chef. As the Nobu empire has expanded to 16 cities around the world, from Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas to Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, from Miami to Hong Kong, we can't help but wonder... will we soon have a Nobu on every continent? Next up: A Nobu in Qater.

The Curtain Rises at Dubai’s Mina A’Salam at Madinat Jumeirah

By: K. Clare Johnson Dubai? Yep, live performances are no longer just for Broadway. Mina A' Salam at Madinat Jumeirah has in-house theatre, and the offerings are diverse. Currently playing is mystery "The Woman in Black." Next up is children's favorite "The Gruffalos Child," and everyone's favorite orphan "Annie" pays a visit in April. Mina A'Salam at Madinat Jumeirah In-House guests receive a special discount on selected shows (subject to availability). Present your room key when buying your ticket at the Box Office to redeem this special offer.

The Madinat Theatre is the first purpose-built theatre in Dubai. Since opening in September 2004, a broad range of events including drama, opera, film screenings, magic and musicals have been staged. The seating capacity is 442 in total comprising 358 in the stalls and 84 in the gallery, including 6 wheelchair spaces. There are two foyers (both lobby level and gallery), housing bars for guests to enjoy pre-show and interval drinks. There is also a private Majilis on the gallery level with a private entrance via elevator and waiter service for VIP parties.

What’s Hot: Le Gray Opens in Beirut in 2009, The Latest from Hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BeirutFrom Wallpaper* to HotelChatter, the Times UK to the New York Times, hotel authorities worldwide are in agreement about one of the hottest hotel debuts of the year: Le Gray in Beirut. From the mastermind behind One Aldwych in London and Carlisle Bay in Antigua, Le Gray promises to up the trend factor in this cool capital which is both coastal and urban. The sexy boutique hotel will have 80 rooms and a rooftop pool. Straight from the horse's mouth:

I was also excited by the quality of the restoration work I'd seen in Beirut following previous wars. I don't think any other city has ever brought together so many leading architects from around the world to get it right. Our 85-room hotel, Le Gray, is in Solidere, next to the Gardens of Remembrance, which is the area that was destroyed and completely rebuilt. The façades of the shell-damaged buildings were stunningly restored and the city was re-created down to the last detail, including the street furniture... The building is completely new; it was designed by Kevin Dash who did an amazing building in Beirut called Bank Audi. It will be eight storeys tall and made of beautiful yellow stone, with a restaurant, piano bar and an amber-coloured swimming pool on the roof. The piano bar will be housed under a huge glass dome that will change colour - you'll be able to see it for miles around. The pièce de résistance will be a refrigerated wall displaying violet peppermint cream chocolates that will co-ordinate with the slashes of violet on the chairs. (We will be serving only violet creams with coffee.) And there's a huge bronze wall in the lobby. The bedrooms will be very calm and sophisticated with an Islamic design, walnut ceilings and mosaics in the bathroom. It's one of our most exciting and sexiest designs yet.

Image of Beirut Via Nirmala Magazine

Do It All at Desert Palm Retreat Dubai

By: K. Clare Johnson

Exotic adventures await at the luxurious Desert Palm Retreat Dubai. Many luxury hotels have a spa, or golf course, or are near some great skiing. Or possibly on a beach. Desert Palm Resort Dubai But Desert Palm Retreat Dubai takes its activities to a whole other level. Hot air ballooning. Sky diving. 4x4 in the Desert. Flying in a microlight plane over the dunes. Riding a camel over the spectacular red dunes. Visiting Wild Wadi Water Park with its gravity defying speed slide. Schussing down the world's first indoor ski resort at Ski Dubai. Of course, there's world-class golf, scuba-diving in the Arabian Gulf, a plethora of restaurants to choose from, and the Lime spa. That's not even mentioning polo matches, horseback riding, cooking tutorials, wine tasting, infinity pool, rare bird watching, tennis and squash courts, and the jogging course. Whatever your tastes, you'll find something to do at Desert Palm Retreat Dubai.

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

Taste the Gold Life with Jumeirah Hotels: Lots of Perks and Enough Points for a Free Night

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al Arab, DubaiJumeirah is currently running a splendid promotion. Stay in any Jumeirah Hotel or Resort before April 20th, 2009 for a taste of the Jumeirah Gold Life-- normally reserved for Sirius Gold Membership (Jumeirah's loyalty program)-- and you'll receive 2000 bonus Sirius Points, enough to return for a complimentary night's stay. You'll also enjoy a selection of Sirius Gold Benefits, including the best available rate (for a 2-night minimum stay), 2 p.m. late check-out, a complimentary room upgrade, free breakfast, a 10 percent discount on food, access to the Club Executive Lounge, complimentary Internet access and airport transfers.

(Pictured at right: Jumeirah's Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the world's only seven-star hotel.)