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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’s Hot: Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort, Al Areen, Bahrain

November 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Bahrain

One of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings for 2007. Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort, Al Areen, Bahrain will be the only all-villa private pool resort in the Arabian Gulf and one of the Middle East's most luxurious hideaways. Located next to Al Areen Wildlife Park, a conservation area for many indigenous wildlife species, and in close proximity to the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix track, the new Banyan Tree boasts incredible private villas and indulgent spa pampering. The villas embody the magic of the Arabian Nights: azure swimming pools, jet pool courtyard and private garden, sprawling master bedroom with high ceilings, an elegant ambience with all contemporary amenities. This sensual oasis of pampering is surrounded by Bahrain's intriguing cultural and historical landscape: well-preserved forts, excellent museums, and the oldest mosque in the Gulf, Al Khamis. The resort is a complete body wellness center offering up-to-date sporting facilities set against the Arabian Desert backdrop. The spa is otherworldly. There are outdoor vitality pools, a hammam, fountain courtyard, and deluxe spa treatment pavilions with relaxation rooms, sunken baths, Rain Mist treatment, steam and private treatment room. The hydrotherapy area is lavish: Rain Mist Shower, Self Scrub area with private cabins, Sanarium, Storm Shower, Grotto sauna, Ice Igloo, Afusion Shower, Rhassoul with single and double rooms, Foot Spa station, Bucket Drench Shower, Tropics Shower, Herbal Steam Room, Cold Rain Mist Corridor, Brine Light Room and Warm Rain Mist Corridor.


Dubai Alternatives: Beautiful Bahrain

October 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Bahrain

While Dubai has become marked by unceasing construction (the hotels cropping up at an increasingly frenetic pace), the Gulf-facing country of Bahrain boasts similar awe-inspiring landscapes and pleasant climate. As suggested by the savvy travelers at The Observer:

Being an early adopter of a new destination can dramatically reduce your bill. Rather than glitzy Dubai, for example, consider the island of Bahrain. It has many of the same qualities (and fewer cranes) and is still looking to entice tourists rather than profit from them.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Villas and Spa is the natural choice for luxury travelers. Situated on the north coast of Bahrain on the seafront of Manama, the 245-room hotel is located within a lush 20-acre urban resort complex which boasts its own private island. The newly-renovated rooms feature panoramic ocean views overlooking the Arabian Gulf. White sand beach, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gorgeous spa with Thalassotherapy pool, kid's club, and nine restaurants and bars… the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain's got it all.


Shangri-La Announces New Hotel in Abu Dhabi

October 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Abu Dhabi

The capital of the UAE is glamming it up. These days, Abu Dhabi is experiencing a fashionable revitalization, mirroring the prosperous growth of nearby Dubai. A booming real estate market means a new city convention center, lots of hip restaurants... and five-star hotels are opening their doors. In fact, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts recently announced the February 2007 opening of the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi-- a joint project with the Al Jaber Establishment and Tourism Development and Investment Company. Situated on a 21 acre property facing a 1,000 meter-long private beach, the 214-room luxury hotel will feature CHI (the signature spa), myriad dining options (including poolside bar and a lively souk), health club, five outdoor pools and water sports, and luxurious sea-facing accommodations.

Related articles:

Travel Weekly, Shangri-La signs deal to manage luxury property in UAE


New SLH Hotels in the Middle East & Asia

October 10, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May, Editorial Advisory Board SLH Logo There are 4 new additions to the Small Luxury Hotels collection, including the first members in the Middle East, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa at Zighy Bay, Oman Tucked away in a quiet fishing village on the northern tip of the Oman peninsula and backed by mountains which wrap around a secluded 1.6 kilometre sandy beach, the location of Evason Hideaway at Zighy Bay is nothing less than dramatic. When this hotel of uncompromising luxury opens in 2007 it will boast a private marina, as well as 85 pool villas and pool villa suites complete with personal butlers. The hotel will also offer its guests a rather unique mode of arrival – as a companion passenger of a professional paraglider. Definitely not for the faint-hearted! For something a little more sedate, guests will also have the option of a 10-minute speed boat transfer or a scenic drive from the top of the hill overlooking the bay. Desert Palm Retreat, Dubai When Desert Palm Retreat opens in October 2006 it will be Dubai’s first boutique resort and also SLH’s first hotel in the United Arab Emirates. Set in 150 acres of unexpectedly lush, green countryside on a private polo estate, the hotel will set a benchmark for hospitality in Dubai. Accommodation will comprise 13 beautifully appointed Polo Rooms with balcony views over the main polo fields, four one-bedroom pool villas, six three-bedroom Pool Residences and a Presidential Suite. Guests of Desert Palm Retreat will also have the opportunity to admire the owner’s collection of priceless art and antiques. The hotel will have a choice of three restaurants offering unsurpassed culinary delights, while an innovative Aquum Spa will complete the experience. Lanson Place, Hong Kong The doors of this discreet urban hotel first swung open in December 2005 to reveal beautifully executed contemporary décor throughout every one of the 194 guest rooms, which include six residences and 12 suites. Lanson Place is located on a discreet side street within easy walking distance of three of Hong Kong’s most lively neighbourhoods; Central, Wanchai and Causeway Bay providing a welcome and intimate haven away from the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city. First impressions are everything, a philosophy that resonates through the intricate wall sconces and chandeliers commissioned from glassmakers in Murano, Italy located in the lobby. An elegant collection of over 300 individual pieces of original artwork feature throughout this luxurious property. Discovery Shores, Boracay Island, the Philippines On the unspoilt shores of Boracay Island in the Philippines, Discovery Shores will be the island’s first true luxury resort of international standards when it opens in December 2006. Consistently rated within the top 20 beach destinations in the world, this pristine escape known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters is the ideal getaway for marine enthusiasts. Discovery Shores will showcase its breathtaking location with 67 metres of beach front and 88 units sloping upward from the beach to capture the spectacular ocean views. Guests at Discovery Shores will marvel at a 14 metre waterfall, several cascading pools, and a swim up pool bar, whilst having access to a fitness centre and world-class Mandala Spa. Small Luxury Hotels of the World Collection


The Intercontinental Hotel Dubai Now Managed By Radisson SAS

October 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Intercontinental Dubai

Situated in an ideal location in the heart of the city's business district with panoramic views of the harbor, the Intercontinental Dubai is the oldest, most established five-star hotel in Dubai. For three decades the hotel has racked up the awards, including Best Business Hotel in the Middle East as voted by the UK's Business Traveller and Business Asia magazines. This landmark hotel features 287 guest rooms with spectacular views from balconies, 13 restaurants and bars, the 24-hour, award-winning InterFitness health club, outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, and championship squash courts. Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, the first-class brand of Brussels-based Rezidor SAS Hospitality, has taken over the management of the InterContinental Hotel Dubai.


H2O The Male Spa at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai

September 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates Towers Spa

Dubai's legendary business hotel, soaring 305 meters above the central business district, sets the standard for luxurious services for the modern business traveler. Case in point: the H20 Male Spa, a unique concept designed exclusively for men. In today's fast paced world, jumping from time zone to time zone for meetings, a few minutes of restorative relaxation are a vital necessity. And so H20 has designed a full-menu of 30 individualized spa treatments that are quick and results-oriented. Express versions are also available. Cool and contemporary, the spa features an Oxygen Lounge, with high-tech Italian Shiatsu chairs and 3D movies, and Flotation Pool Therapy, touted as providing the equivalent of eight hours sleep.


Win a Trip to Switzerland: Jam Session at FreeStyle Night at Ski Dubai

September 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Freestyle Ski Dubai

Here's good news from the incredible indoor ski and snowboard center at the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai: Ski Dubai will be hosting a Jam Session on Monday, September 18, 2006 with Olympic Snowboarder Gold Medalist Tanja Frieden. The event will be judged and the Best Overall Freestyler will be jetting off to snowy Switzerland, courtesy of Swiss International Airlines. A winner for "Best Trick of the Night" will also be awarded. Ski Dubai's Freestyle Nights, which take place every other Monday between 8 and 11 pm, are a riotous good time with DJs playing good tunes all evening (highlights on the runs include a volcano, barrel hump, four-meter table-top jump, and monster ramp at mid-station), and this Jam Session promises to be a blast. Register at Ski Dubai on the night.

Related Articles:

Announcing the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

The World… in Dubai


Guggenheim to Open New Museum in Abu Dhabi

July 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Saadiyat Island

Another reason why Abu Dhabi is shaking things up: the Guggenheim Foundation has recently announced plans to open a museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The new museum will be the biggest and most ambitious yet: 300,000 square feet designed by super-star Frank Gehry, 25 percent bigger than the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.

The museum, to be called the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, would house Modern and contemporary art and serve as the linchpin of a sprawling development in a new cultural district of Saadiyat (Arabic for "isle of happiness"), a 10-square-mile natural island just off Abu Dhabi.

The new museum is slated to open in 2011.

Related Articles:

New York Times, "Guggenheim Foundation and Abu Dhabi Plan Museum There"

CBS News, "Guggenheim to Build Museum in Abu Dhabi"

The Informed Traveler, "Move Over Dubai: the Marvelous Makeover of Abu Dhabi"


Escape World Cup Madness with SLH Member Hotels

June 15, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Courtney W. May and Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Chateau St Gerlach

Now that the World Cup is officially underway in Germany (my bracket has the Czech Republic walking away with it all - even though I am a huge US fan), some travelers might be looking for alternatives to dealing with the crazed soccer fans who have descended on Germany this summer. Personally, I can't imagine not wanting to be in the thick of things, but if you're one of those looking to go away during June, SLH has the following promotion "7 : 0 for Small Luxury Hotels: Best Escapes from the Soccer World Championship".

With World Cup madness hitting Germany and much of Western Europe, here are seven ways to visit the region and escape to a world of private luxury and ultimate experiences.

Wild Water Rafting in the Austrian alps: Around Kitzbuhel numerous river routes through spectacular mountain gorges are available for wild water rafting excursions, which the Hotel Tennerhof (www.slh.com/tennerhof) can arrange for its guests. A more tranquil alternative exclusiv for hotel guests: Fishing at a lake nearby where the Tennerhof holds private fishing rights.

Falconry in baroque gardens: As stylish as the ambiance of the castle hotel Chateau St. Gerlach (Netherlands) are the leisure activities of this SLH hotel: Golf, Horse-Riding, Tennis and falconry are on offer in the hotel's baroque gardens and in the wonderful nature of the Geul valley. (pictured)

Clay Pigeon shooting high above Mozart town: Salzburg lies afoot the Vitalhotel Kobenzl. On the Gaisberg mountain, high above the city, which celebrates this year Mozart's 250th anniversary, the Hotel offers attractive sporting alternatives: Clay Pigeon shooting, fishing, mountain hiking and biking as well as sailing, tennis and croquet.

Hot Air Balooning in the Black Forest: The Hotel Belle Epoque (www.slh.com/belleepoque), a neo renaissance villa from 1870, arranges sightseeing flights from Baden-Baden into the wonderful nature of the Black Forrest.

Archery in nature's paradise: Golf, Horse-riding, archery, mountain climbing and many more activities offers the Hoteldorf Gruner Baum (www.slh.com/grunerbaum) in the spectacular mountain world of Gastein. The main building of the hotel was built 1831 as hunting lodge for Duke Johann. Besides the countless leisure activities of the hotel the surroundings tempt visitors with romantic castles, dripstone caves and the national parc Hohentauern.

Formula 1 at the Hotel die Hirschgasse: The hotel offers a Formel 1-Package, which includes a three nights stay in a suite with jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet and a bottle of champagne at arrival. Tickets and transfer to the Grand Prix at Hockenheimring can be arranged by the concierge. The package is available from 27 to 30. July 2006 and costs 1.300 Euro per room. www.slh.com/diehirschgasse

Arlberg from a bird's eye view: Many guests of the SLH Hotel Kristiania Lech in Austria (www.slh.com/kistiania) arrive by helicopter and enjoy a bird's eye view of the wonderful alpine nature: only 300 metres from the hotel, guests can also find a paragliding field .

View more Small Luxury Hotels with Five Star Alliance.


Designers and Their Hotels

May 18, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Regis Hotel New York

Leave it to Trendhunter to pick up on the latest fad: fashion designers branching out beyond the basics, and "expanding their empires" to include jet interior design (Versace's got it covered: You go, girl!) as well as kitchens by…Armani.

Of course we're all over their big plans to break into the hotel industry with luxury hotels in Dubai. Both the Versace Palazzo hotel and Armani's hotel in the Burj Dubai building are planned to open in 2008.

As described the LA Times:

Armani's hotel is under construction in the stratospheric Burj Dubai building, whose exact number of floors is secret but rumored to approach 200. It will feature subtle hues and a rigorous, sophisticated environment. In addition to offering who-knew-you-needed-it features such as temperature-controlled sand on the beach, Versace's Dubai outpost will be as Baroque as the late Gianni Versace's private residences. At the Missoni hotel, one of a string of global openings, the decor blends the brand's colorful prints with the streamlined architecture of Matteo Thun.

And at luxury hotels across the world, guests are opting for designer suites that reflect a certain lifestyle, such as the Vera Wang Suite at the Halekulani Hotel, and the brand new Bottega Veneta Suite at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, opening this fall. (1,700 sq ft distinguished by pieces from Bottega's new home line.)