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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.

Travel to Doha: The Jean Nouvel-Designed National Museum of Qatar

July 2, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

National Museum of Qatar, Jean NouvelTravelers to Doha will soon be able to experience a magnificent new museum that's destined to become a pilgrimage destination for architourists. Back in March, Pritzker award-winning architect Jean Nouvel unveiled his design for the National Museum of Qatar at a buzzed-about event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Described by The New York Times as perhaps "the French architect’s most overtly poetic act of cultural synthesis yet," the museum will reflect the traditions of Qatar's Bedouin people. (Nouvel has embraced Middle Eastern culture in some of his other landmark buildings: the Arab World Institute in Paris, a branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, and an office tower in Doha, "sheathed in aluminum latticework and capped by a filigreed, mosquelike dome.") The Qatar government is currently pursuing a strategy of encouraging "the exchange of cultural traffic-- between East and West, tradition and modernity" and this museum, along with I.M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art, is part of the effort. Nouvel's museum will be comprised of interlocking discs of different dimension, said to be inspired by sand roses, "the tiny formations that crystallize just below the desert's surface." Surrounded by desert landscaping, the museum will have 86,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, 21,500 square feet of temporary gallery space, a 220-seat auditorium, a 70-seat food forum / TV studio, two cafés, a restaurant and a museum shop.

Planning a trip to Doha and looking for hotel recs? Browse Five Star Alliance's portfolio of hotels for suggestions.


Luxury Value in Dubai: All-Inclusive Resort Experience at the Palm Tree Court & Spa

June 10, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Tree Court and Spa, DubaiLooking for a luxury resort experience in Dubai? You'll get great value with the "All Inclusive Value Package" at the Palm Tree Court & Spa, the five-star family beach resort nestled on the grounds of the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. An oasis outside of Dubai City, the resort is immersed in lush gardens, boasting its own private, palm-dotted beach overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Within the larger resort (where you can take your pick of recreational activities- from horseback riding to seaplane flights), the Palm Tree Court & Spa offers exclusive suites featuring designer baths and dine-out balconies or private gardens. The all-inclusive package includes buffet breakfast at La Fontana, lunch and dinner at your choice of 15 restaurants and bars, unlimited soft drinks throughout the day and drinks during dinner at Jebel Ali Hotel and Palm Tree Court & Spa. Complimentary leisure activities include wind surfing, catamaran, laser, kayaking and camel rides. Valid throughout 2010 with rates starting from AED 1,250 in a Garden View Junior Suite at Palm Tree Court & Spa.


Designer Hotels: Gucci is Gearing up to Launch a Dubai Hotel

June 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

GucciMove over, Armani. Gucci is getting in on the Dubai hotel action. The Italian fashion house has announced plans for the first ever Gucci hotel, slated to open by the end of 2010 in Dubai's Media City. The Associated Press reports that the building has already been completed, though work on the interiors hasn't yet begun. What's planned? 87 suites, a pool, fitness center, cigar club, and spa. This will be the first property for Elisabetta Gucci Hotels and Resorts. The daughter of the late fashion designer Paolo Gucci is looking to expand to Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, China, Brazil, and Russia.


Summer Value in Dubai at Atlantis, The Palm

May 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Atlantis, The Palm, DubaiLooking for some over-the-top fun in the sun the whole family will enjoy? Head to The Palm in Dubai, the world's largest man-made island, where Atlantis, The Palm reigns as the flagship resort. Inspired by the legend of the lost continent, Atlantis opened its doors in September 2008 after much buzz over its 16 restaurants (featuring a Nobu outpost!) and facilities (including the third largest aquarium in the world, where you can partake in shark feedings). And at $1.5 billion, it wasn't a cheap project. Atlantis, The Palm has 1,539 guest rooms and an awesome water park called Aquaventure, a playground of water slides, lagoons, and rides surrounded by the brilliant blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. There's even an on-site dolphin education center. The resort is offering a special package until September 8, 2010 emphasizing summer value. Priced from AED 895 (about $240) per room, the offer includes interconnecting family rooms, unlimited access to Aquaventure Waterpark & Lost Chambers, preferential rates to swim with the dolphins, 1 day complimentary Kids Club, and 1 day complimentary Club Rush (a supervised club for teens).


Buzz: ATM-Style Gold Vending Machine at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

May 14, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates Palace, Abu DhabiNews of an over-the-top amenity at Emirates Palace is making the Internet rounds. Abu Dhabi's "seven-star" hotel is now home to an "ATM with a golden touch." The brain child of Thomas Geissler, a German entrepreneur, the vending machine is called "Gold to Go" and dispenses customized coins or small bars up to 10 grams. The AP reports that the machine's unveiling was well-timed because gold hit a record high on Wednesday: "Geissler says he picked Abu Dhabi because of its high-rolling atmosphere and the region's traditional ties to gold in commerce." And the Emirates Palace, we'd like to add, has a reputation as one of the world's costliest hotels, built for $3 billion (or $10 million a room). Oh, and their spa has a "Diamond Experience" treatment that uses real diamond dust...


The World’s Hottest New Hotels: Travel + Leisure’s New “It List 2010″

May 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoIt's our favorite time of year. Travel + Leisure has released their "It List 2010" of the 45 best new hotels in the world. The mag's esteemed editors have hand-picked the year's most exciting hotel debuts, to be revealed in the June issue which hits newsstands this month. What's especially cool to see: ten of the properties have room rates of less than $300 per night. Can't wait til May 21st to see the list? We've got the skinny:

UNITED STATES

Andaz Wall Street+ Bardessono, Yountville, California

+ St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

+ Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

+ Andaz Wall Street, New York, New York*

+ Crosby Street Hotel, New York, New York

+ Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

+ Waldorf Astoria, Park City, Utah

THE CARIBBEAN , MEXICO, AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

+ Viceroy Anguilla, Barnes Bay, Anguilla

+ Gansevoort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

+ W Santiago, Santiago, Chile*

+ Tcherassi Hotel & Spa, Cartagena, Colombia

+ Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Acapulco, Mexico

+ Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco, Mexico*

+ Las Alcobas, Mexico City, Mexico

EUROPE

+ Lime Wood, Hampshire, England*

+ Dean Street Townhouse, London, England*

+ InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau, Paris, France

+ La Réserve Ramatuelle, Ramatuelle, France

+ Heidelberg Suites, Heidelberg, Germany

+ Il Salviatino, Fiesole, Italy

+ Maison Moschino, Milan, Italy

+ Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Italy

+ Palazzina Grassi, Venice, Italy

+ Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, Spain

+ Hotel Consolaciόn, Teruel, Spain*

+ Argos in Cappadocia, Uchisar, Turkey*

ASIA

+ Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China

+ Upper House, Hong Kong, China

+ Peninsula Shanghai, Shanghai, China*

+ PuLi Hotel & Spa, Shanghai, China

+ Serai Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer, India

+ Raas, Jodhpur, India*

+ Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

+ Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay, Philippines

+ Capella Singapore, Sentosa Island, Singapore

+ Langham Place Samui at Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand*

+ Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand

AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, AUSTRALIA

+ Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

+ Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa, Ma’in, Jordan

+ Le Gray, Beirut, Lebanon

+ Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles

+ One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Taj Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+ Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Lithgow, Australia

*Property has starting room rates of $300/night, double, or less.


Luxury Hotel News: Jumeirah Launches New Brand Called VENU Hotels

April 30, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al Arab, DubaiThis week's buzz: A new "contemporary lifestyle" hotel brand from Dubai-based Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts. Currently Jumeirah's portfolio is comprised of 11 high-profile hotels including the Burj Al Arab (the sail-shaped seven-star property in Dubai) and the Jumeirah Essex House (New York's historic landmark that recently completed a $90 million renovation). To be launched later this year, VENU hotels will be "five-star hotels with strong local roots, designed for those who seek a sophisticated immersion in the destination." The new brand is an effort at diversification for Jumeirah, following in the footsteps of other hospitality companies like Starwood and Hyatt. Jumeirah expects to have 30 hotels worldwide by 2013.


Armani Hotel Opens in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa; New Hotel Planned for Milan

April 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Armani Hotel DubaiAt long last, the Armani Hotel has opened in Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. After years of hype and anticipation, the designer's first hotel is welcoming guests to floors 0-8 (along with 38 & 39) of the soaring, 2,717 foot building. (The Burj Al Khalifa is also home to the world's highest mosque and swimming pool.) To quote the Telegraph UK: "Not content with letting his many collections be a feast for the eyes, the Italian fashion maestro seems determined his hotel should be a feast in every sense of the word. The Armani Hotel Dubai boasts not one, not two, not even three or four - but EIGHT restauarants, ranging from Italian (certo!) and Indian to Japanese and Mediterranean." And Armani himself designed these restos.

The Huffington Post quotes Armani at this week's opening: "Yesterday when I arrived and saw the hotel, I felt really emotional. After five years of working on this project, I finally saw how it all came to life. Working with me is not always easy, I think everyone here would agree because my standards are very high." The hotel features 160 guest rooms, a spa, the Armani Prive nightclub with $800 table reservations, and various shops (including an Armani boutique, Armani Dolci (sweets) and Armani Fiori (flowers). Price tag? Suites cost as much as 40,000 dirhams ($11,000) a night. Next up for Armani? A second hotel in Milan- to be built with partner Emaar Properties PJSC.

Photo Via HotelChatter

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Service Fit for a Sheikh and the Best Private Beach in the UAE at Kempinski Hotel Ajman

April 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kempinski Hotel AjmanSavvy travelers familiar with Dubai-- a city of superlatives and over-the-top excess-- are checking out Ajman, the smallest of the UAE's seven emirates, known as the Sheikdom of Eastern Arabia. Not far from Dubai, Ajman entices visitors with its white sandy beaches on the Arabian Gulf, seaside Corniche packed with cafes, and exhilarating desert safaris. Ajman also has some of the finest Arabian horses in the world. The place to stay is the Kempinski Hotel Ajman because of its attentive service-- fit for a Sheikh. In fact, the resort dares guests to find something they can't do. "Ride a camel or hot-air ballooning over the Arabian Desert? Maybe you want to explore the excitement of the colors of the underwater world? It's as simple as calling our concierge, master of detail." Within the realm of possibility: private beach dinners, luxury yacht charters, luxury sports car rentals, and more. No detail is too small.

Kempinski Hotel AjmanWith tennis, a putting green, and numerous water sports, the Kempinski Ajman offers every imaginable resort facility. What's more-- the stretch of fine white sand is touted as the best private beach in the United Arab Emirates. Itching to go on a shopping spree? Courtesy shuttle buses leave from the hotel four times every day so guests can go shopping for designer clothes or exotic spices in the souks.


A New St. Regis Hotel for Abu Dhabi

April 20, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nation Towers, Abu DhabiHot off the press. A new St. Regis is coming to town! Abu Dhabi will welcome its second St. Regis Hotel to the waterfront, directly on the Corniche, within a short drive to the recently opened F1 circuit, Ferrari museum, and planned Louvre and Guggenheim museums. Offering endless views of the azure Gulf, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi will be located on the top of one of the two Nation Towers-- a prominent new mixed-use development situated downtown. What's in store? 281 guest rooms attended to by the St. Regis private butler squad (your wish is their command), signature restaurants and a destination bar (including the sky bridge restaurant), a massive healh club and outdoor pool, and an adjacent beach club also operated by Starwood. This new luxury property will join another St. Regis in the works in Abu Dhabi, located on Saadiyat Island.