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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.

Taking the Hassle out of Choosing a Dubai Luxury Hotel

February 6, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Dubai Luxury Hotel Many of our clients seem to get overwhelmed when researching hotels in Dubai. With so many luxury hotel choices, in a city that is relatively new on destination hotspot radar, visitors are often unsure where to start. Hotels in Dubai can basically be broken down into three categories: beach, city and desert. People traveling to Dubai for leisure will most likely want to stay at one of the beach properties such as Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Madinat Jumeirah properties (pictured) - Al Qasr, Dar al Masyaf, Mina A' Salam. Other beach properties include Ritz Carlton Dubai, One and Only Royal Mirage, and the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.

Dubai Luxury HotelWhen visiting Dubai for business, most people choose one of the hotels in the heart of the city because either they are attending a conference at a hotel downtown, or they need to be near the World Trade Center or the Dubai Convention Center. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Raffles Dubai (pictured), Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Shangri-La Dubai, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Fairmont Dubai, Taj Palace Hotel or Traders Hotel Dubai are all close to the airport and located in the business district. If you tire of sitting in meeting rooms, many of these hotels provide shuttles to the beach, or you can spend your free time in their world-class spas, restaurants, pools, or shopping malls.

Dubai Luxury HotelOne thing to consider: If you need to be in the city center but would like to be near the water, choose a hotel on Dubai Creek. The creek comes in from the Persian Gulf and splits the city almost equally in two. Hotels such as Radisson SAS, Dubai Deira Creek, and InterContinental Dubai Festival City line the creek. Or choose the Grosvenor House Dubai which is situated on the Dubai Marina and overlooks the Persian Gulf. While it does not have a beach itself, guests are welcome to use the beach at the adjacent sister property, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa.

Dubai Luxury HotelVisitors are so excited to experience the glamor of Dubai's beaches and city center that they sometimes overlook the beautiful desert resorts that are just outside the city. These resorts provide a peaceful alternative to the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and give visitors a chance to take in the unique desert landscape. Two excellent choices are the Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa and the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa. If your trip itinerary allows, we recommend planning a weekend in the desert at the end of your trip.


Qasr Al Sharq, Jeddah: Sumptuous Saudi Arabia

February 5, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Qasr Al SharqBusiness in Jeddah? The place to stay is the Qasr Al Sharq, the opulent "Palace of the Orient" managed by the new Waldorf-Astoria Collection. Designed by the folks behind Dubai's seven-star Burj Al Arab, the all-suite hotel epitomizes extravagance. Pure gold, handpicked crystal and porcelain, exquisite mosaics, cultured marble, the finest art... Luxury is in the details. As befits a palace this grand, some of the suites are more than 10,000 square feet in size, and come with massage tables and private gyms. Service is exceptional, as the personal butlers are members of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. Facilities include a traditional Hammam, magnificent pool with a fully retractable glass roof, and ladies-only spa with Jeddah's only Aquamedic pool that pumps underwater jet streams specifically designed to massage the body. For business meetings, there are seven boardrooms themed to reflect the world's economic powerhouses (think: British Windsor Room, Japanese Kyoto room). Plus, all the suites are equipped with laptops that wirelessly connect to the Internet anywhere in the building.

Image via Conde Nast Traveler Hot List


Lie-flat Massage Seats in Business Class: Emirates Airlines Racks Up the Awards

January 30, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates AirlinesFlying to Dubai? Go with Emirates Airlines, awarded top honors in a series of readers' choice awards: Best Airline in the Middle East, Best Business Class to the Middle East, Best Airline for First Class... And it's no wonder everybody's talking. The First Class privacy suites and updated lie-flat Business Class seats means an outstanding in-flight experience for passengers. The non-stop New York-Dubai flight almost passes too quickly with perks like these. The First Class suite has that fully-flat bed with in-seat massage, dine-on-demand service, a personal mini-bar, and sliding doors for the ultimate in privacy. Business class also has lots of space, and those famous lie-flat massage seats. Plus, the entertainment system features 1,000 different channels.


Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi: The World’s Costliest Hotel

January 17, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates PalaceGuess where President Bush stayed last weekend on his Middle East trip? The oil-rich outpost of the United Arab Emirates boasts the most extravagant luxury hotels in the world, like the seven-star Burj Al Arab where aquarium walls full of tropical fish line the escalators, and the world's largest fleet of Rolls-Royces is available for guests.

President Bush, arriving in Abu Dhabi over the weekend, stayed in one of the basketball-court-size "Ruler's Suites" at the Emirates Palace, which bills itself as the world's costliest hotel. At $3 billion, with 300 rooms, that comes out to $10 million a room.

In this spare-no-expenses kingdom, the opulent Emirates Palace stands out because of its brand new Anantara Spa. You'll find an enormous private treatment complex, Vichy shower suite, hammam with heated marble beds, and intricate architectural details: Moorish tile floors beneath a glowing domed ceiling. Return to your room, sauntering down the hallways shimmering with gold mosaics, and enjoy private butler service and Hermes bath amenities.

P.S. We hear the hotel's best suite is the 1,185-square-foot Khaleej Suite, overlooking the Persian Gulf.


Name a New Dan Hotel in Jerusalem!

January 10, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dan Gardens Hotel JerusalemIsrael's leading hotel chain-- Dan Hotels-- has recently acquired a beautiful, new hotel in Jerusalem, and they need your help. The 13th hotel in the chain (along with such sophisticated properties as the Dan Tel Aviv Hotel) is temporarily named "Dan Gardens Jerusalem" but they can do much better than that. After all, this new pad has a lively bar, rooftop balcony with awesome city views, Health Club with sunbathing areas, and film-screenings in the public areas. It's a hip, contemporary spot located just opposite Mount Zion and the Old City Walls. If you're a member of the E-Dan Club, email your suggestion of a suitable name to hotelname at danhotels.co.il by January 14, 2008. If your suggestion is chosen, you'll win an Israeli holiday for two at the new hotel!


An Interview with the General Manager: Heinrich Morio of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel

January 3, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Heinrich MorioHeinrich Morio, born in the United States to German parents in 1960, joined Jumeirah in the position of General Manager Operations in October 2004. He brings over 25 years of operational experience all of which was spent in some of the finest luxury hotels including Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, Plaza Athenee in New York, Turnberry Isle in Florida, One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius, Ritz Carlton in New York and The Peninsula in Beverly Hills.

Prior to joining Jumeirah, Heinrich held the position of General Manager of One&Only Le Touessrok, Mauritius where he successfully directed the closure, re-opening and re-positioning of the hotel, as well as General Manager of the One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas and Little Palm Island, Florida Keys. Heinrich holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University, Miami.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: I started working in the hotel industry approximately 30 years ago, over the years I have worked in many different functions including restaurants, kitchen and reception. I have worked my way up in the industry and I have now realized my dream of managing a luxury hotel.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: The architecture of the hotel in itself is very distinctive and unique. It is designed to reflect the shape of a breaking wave which has become an instantly recognizable symbol of Dubai.

In addition, we are unique in the fact that all of the 617 rooms, suites and villas at Jumeirah Beach Hotel have stunning ocean views across the beautiful Arabian Gulf, this feature is a favorite amongst all of our regular and first time guests.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: All of our guests are important to us and we have many guests who return to us on a regular basis. We provide all of our guests with the level of service that they would expect to find in a five star luxury hotel and we also respect the privacy of all guests.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: All of our rooms are extremely spacious and provide a minimum of approximately 50m2 of living space. Full advantage has been made of the fact that all of our rooms are ocean facing and each room has floor to ceiling windows which mean that guests have maximum enjoyment of the spectacular panoramic views.

For the ultimate in luxury the villas at Beit Al Bahar (Arabic for 'House by the Sea') are perfect for guests searching for a truly personal, uniquely special holiday hideaway. Each villa benefits from a private plunge pool and an unparalleled level of service which means that Beit Al Bahar is known as one of the regions most luxurious private retreats.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: Our impressive conference centre is Dhow shaped and has hosted some of Dubai's most spectacular and significant events. The conference centre has a ballroom space of 1332m2, a tiered auditorium that seats 416, two floors of dedicated conference facilities and custom-built executive boardrooms.

Another interesting feature of the hotel is the large sculpture in the atrium that shows the original destinations that Emirates flew to when the hotel first opened ten years ago. If we tried to update this sculpture to reflect the current destinations that Emirates fly to today, this would be extremely difficult due to the vast number of routes now in operation.

In addition there is also our iconic beach front location which is simply stunning, the hotel boasts over 3800m2 of beautiful outdoor beach and garden areas.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at Jumeirah Beach Hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: Jumeirah Beach Hotel provides guests with the ultimate in luxurious family resort style accommodation, in addition to our stunning beaches and rooms we also have a world class conference facility, Pavilion Sports centre, dive facility, private marina and over 20 restaurants and bars. The extensive choice of dining options at the hotel and range of international cuisine of offer is sure to satisfy any guest.

Our guests are also provided with the opportunity to upgrade for the duration of their stay to become a Club Executive or Premium Leisure Club guest. These options provide access to additional facilities such as the tranquil Executive Pool and the Club Executive Lounge.

In addition to the above, high on my priorities would be knowing what the weather forecast is for the duration of my stay!

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: The hotel is ideally located on Jumeirah Beach and our popular beach front restaurants all have stunning views of the spectacular Burj Al Arab. We are very centrally located and all of Dubai's attractions, including the amazing shopping malls and world class golf courses are only a short taxi ride away. We are also only 20-30 minutes drive from the airport.

Wild Wadi Water Park is an integral part of the resort and is located right next door to the hotel, all Jumeirah Beach Hotel guests receive unlimited access to the water park for the duration of their stay.

My favorite way to spend time in the surrounding area is to take a visit to Bab Al Shams for a unique desert experience. Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is an elegant desert resort in a traditional Arabic fort setting and is perfect for a relaxing retreat away from the city.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: Over the past ten years we have welcomed guests from all over the world, many of our guests come from Europe and we have lots of visitors from the UK, Germany and Russia. Our excellent family facilities mean that we have lots of families who visit the hotel, many returning on a regular basis. In addition our superb conference facilities are used by a wide range of guests attending private and corporate events of all sizes.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: Over the last ten years Jumeirah Beach Hotel has undergone continuous growth and development, we deliver an excellent level of service which is largely due to our fantastic colleagues. If it were not for our exceptional colleagues then my job would be much harder!

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Mr. Heinrich Morio: For me Jumeirah Emirates Tower is the finest business hotel in the world. It is very popular with frequent business travelers and is ideally located in the heart of Dubai's commercial district.

The Madinat Jumeirah is one of the most impressive and fascinating resorts that I have ever visited. Known as The Arabian Resort of Dubai the hotel is a magnificent tribute to Dubai's heritage and is styled to resemble an ancient Arabian citadel. The hotel offers the height of opulence and with two grand hotels, superb facilities and a traditional souk the Madinat Jumeirah really is unique.



Buzzworthy: Anatolian Cave Suites, Cappadocia, Turkey

December 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anatolian HousesThinking ahead to the hottest travel destinations for 2008? Think Stone Age in Turkey, with a stay at Anatolian Houses in the heart of the ancient region of Cappadocia. This awe-inspiring volcanic landscape-- like a bizarre moonscape-- has witnessed rule by many different civilizations throughout its rich history. Built deep within the caves, Anatolian Houses is a unique luxury hotel with 19 rooms. But these cave rooms are hardly soot-covered, claustrophobic spaces; in fact, they are upscale suites, equipped with whirlpool tubs, impressive antiques and works of art, fireplaces, and all the latest cutting-edge technology. Relax at the Spa and Wellness Center, take a dip in the pool, sip from the wine fountain. This could be the coolest setting on earth.


Chillout This Winter in Dubai: An Ice Bar in the Desert

December 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chillout Ice Lounge, DubaiLeave it to Dubai-- the world's novelty capital, home to the biggest, baddest, and most outlandish-- to open an ice lounge. There are now 9 ice bars globally and of course Dubai has caught on to the trend. Chillout, the $3 million bar made entirely of ice (40,000 tons of it!), opened in the Times Square Shopping Center this past June. Enjoy nibbles from an Asian-fusion menu served on ice plates, and sip your Shirley Temple in a tumbler made of ice. (Be forewarned: alcoholic drinks are *not* served in this joint.) There are even ice sculptures depicting Dubai's skyline and a 7-foot chandelier carved from ice. Pony up the $17 cover charge and you'll get one drink and a hooded parka, wool gloves and insulated shoes for your time in the bar.

Photo Via MSNBC


New Luxury Travel Destinations

December 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amanresorts, BhutanA recent article in the Washington Post describes the "destination fatigue-- been there, done that, paid a big bill"-- that affects a growing number of high-end travelers. When you've vacationed in Patagonia, the BVI, and the Greek Islands, and cruised the Nile and Yangtze rivers, what's next? The answer is remote, off-the-map destinations that once only appealed to backpackers. The newest hotspots are places like Bhutan, where Amanresorts has opened a string of luxury lodges that allow travelers to discover this incredible Himalayan kingdom without having to rough it. We'd count China's Yunnan province on the list, as well as luxury safaris in Africa, and hotels in northern India. What's your next luxury travel destination?


New from Jumeirah: Take Luxury Home with You

December 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al ArabJumeirah already has an undeniably impressive collection of properties (including the award-winning Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab, celebrated as the world's most luxurious hotel) and the Jumeirah group has embarked on an ambitious expansion drive to include key resorts in cities the world over (London, New York, Shanghai, Doha...) But perhaps the most exciting news of all for Jumeirah fans: It's now possible to order those sumptuous Burj Al Arab bathrobes and bedding from the Jumeirah Collection, a dedicated retail Web site. The newly-launched online store features exclusive products and innovative services. And for those who like to travel light, take advantage of the "Pre-Arrival Service" and order essential vacation items online prior to staying with Jumeirah. When you arrive, you'll find all the goodies already in your room. And get this: Before the end of the year, you'll be able to order the luxurious new Burj Al Arab Dux Bed from the Web site, at the same time it debuts in the hotel.