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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.

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.


Shangri-La Hotels Moves to Turkey: A New 7-Star Hotel for Istanbul?

April 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel in IstanbulWe're hearing reports that Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts is entering the fray in Istanbul. And they're not doing so quietly. Word on the street is that Shangri-La-- the Hong-Kong based group known for its 66 lavish properties in Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East-- will be building a 7-star hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus. Due to open in 2012, the 200-room, $250 million hotel will be located in the Beşiktaş district on the site of an old tobacco factory. If all goes according to plan, this luxury hotel will be joining an elite group of the globe's "seven-star" hotels: the Town House Galleria in Milan, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

Related Articles:

Seven Stars and Counting: Navigating the Hotel Star Rating System


The World’s Hottest Hotels: Where to Stay Now

April 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmangiriConde Nast Traveler has released their annual Hot List 2010 "of the newest and most innovative hotels worldwide" and a quick browse is guaranteed to inspire wanderlust. Best of all: 42 hotels that made the cut have rooms costing under $250 a night. We were pleased to see a few of our faves make the list. In North America, for example: the Capella Pedregal, Crosby Street Hotel, The Allison, St. Regis Mexico City, Amangiri, The Jefferson, The Betsy, The Elysian, W South Beach, and Viceroy Snowmass...


20% Off Best Available Rate at the Raffles Dubai

March 23, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles DubaiHeading to Dubai? When you book the Raffles Dubai 14 days in advance, you get 20% off the "Best Available Rate." Since it opened at the end of 2007, the glitzy pyramid-shaped hotel has become a landmark on the city skyline. Inspired by the great pyramids of Egypt, the opulent hotel has it all: 11 restaurants and bars, the divine RafflesAmrita Spa, and the one-hectare "Raffles Botanical Garden," depicting the four "Elements of Life" (earth, wind, fire and water).


Destination Jordan: Insider Tips for the Lost City of Petra

March 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Lost City of Petra, JordanEver dreamed of playing Indiana Jones and galloping off to the rose-red city of Petra? Is a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site on your bucket list? A year-round destination and a safe haven in the Middle East, Jordan offers a diversity of landscapes and historic sites, including the archeological wonders of Petra. When making your vacation plans, don't limit yourself to a few days exploring the "Lost City." What else should be on your Jordan agenda? A float in the Dead Sea (nominated as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World) combined with spa pampering at Movenpick's sprawling Zara Spa, camping with bedouins under the stars in the Wadi Rum desert, snorkeling in the Red Sea, and exploring religious sites like Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, and Mount Nebo, where Moses looked out over the Promised Land.

Petra By NightBut Petra is certainly the crown jewel in the country's archeological riches. Carved from sandstone canyons hidden deep within the mountains, Petra was "lost" to the western world for centuries. Mysterious and inspiring, this ancient city was built by the Nabateans in the 4th century BC, and flourished from profits made by controlling the region's caravan routes. Archeologically, the incredible ruins show the architectural influences of Assyria, Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Some tips:

--Many visitors falsely assume that Petra's highlight is the Treasury (pictured), the setting for Indiana Jones' discovery of the Holy Grail in the film. Not so. Petra sprawls over miles and miles of trails to follow through the sites. Don't miss a hike up to the Monastery. After climbing up hundreds of stone steps carved into the mountainside, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views across to Israel.

--Plan your trip to include "Petra by Night", an experience offered by the tourism office which leads visitors along a candle-lit path to the Treasury, lit by hundreds of flickering candles. You'll be served hot tea while listening to bedouin music.

--New maps are available at the visitor center, as are interpretative signs marking sites along the trails.

--Not far from Petra, enjoy another less touristed site called "Little Petra."


Where to Stay in Qatar’s Capital: Grand Hyatt Doha

March 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Spa entrance at Grand Hyatt Doha

Heading to Qatar and looking for a place to stay? Barely a year old, the Grand Hyatt Doha-- designed as an opulent Arabian palace-- is turning heads in Qatar's capital. Located on the shores of the new West Bay Lagoon district, the hotel is a quick taxi ride away from the city's financial district and and the new Museum of Islamic Art. From the palatial entryways to the oversized atrium and lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Grand Hyatt oozes luxury in its design. Facilities include three outdoor swimming pools, a fully equipped fitness center, and the Arabia-inspired Jaula Spa, reminiscent of a village with elegant gardens and tranquility pools. Best of all: The Grand Hyatt Doha has its own private beach. All guest rooms boast terraces or balconies, walk-in rain showers with separate tubs, and cutting-edge technology.

Grand Hyatt Doha


Breaking News: The Scoop on the New Hotel Missoni Kuwait

March 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Missoni Kuwait

Come September 2010, Kuwait City will be the site of one of the hottest resort openings of the year. Smack dab in the city center near the world-famous shopping district, the new Hotel Missoni Kuwait promises to lure quite a few fashionable globetrotters to the shores of the Arabian Sea. Why are we so effusive about this property? For one, the partnership of the Milan-based fashion house and the Rezidor Hotel Group seems to be a winning combo; glam interiors feature Missoni's iconic colorful prints and designer furniture, while the facilities encompass a Six Senses Spa, the Cucina Missoni restaurant and Choco Cafe, stylish meeting facilites, and a pool tiled with the signature Missoni patterned stripe. We also dig the complimentary wireless Internet access.

Hotel Missoni Kuwait


Trip Dreamin’: The Beauty of Muscat with Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort

February 10, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort, MuscatBringing you a daily dose of vacation exoticism during this coldest winter in recent memory... (whether you're under piles of snow in D.C.'s Snowmageddon, or bundled up against the cold in Chicago) Today we're traveling to a far-off, sun-drenched land at the edge of the glittering bay of Al Jissah in Oman. The word's out: Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, a luxe three-hotel resort village in the Sultanate's capital of Muscat, is a stunner. It's not just the setting that will take your breath away (though there's a lot to be said for the dramatic mountainscape edged against sandy beaches). The resort is an oasis of lush landscaping and expansive facilities from scuba diving center to the spa. Want to plop down and catch some rays on the beach? A private butler will attend to your every whim. The resort is currently offering an "Arabian Adventures" package from OMR 154 per night which provides a free fifth night plus daily breakfast and free Broadband Internet Access. Available until April 30, 2010.


Buzz: Victoria Beckham to Design a Hotel in Dubai?

January 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Victoria BeckhamUPDATE: Sources confirm that this newsworthy tidbit was just the Internet rumor mill at work...

Move over, Armani. Victoria Beckham may be getting her own hotel in Dubai. Word on the street is that Posh was invited (for a whopping 25 million British pounds) to design a luxury property:

The hotel would be on Isla Moda, a fashion-themed isle off Dubai being developed with the help of top designer Karl Lagerfeld... Isla Moda is one of nearly 300 islands in Dubais man-made archipelago called The World because the isles are arranged in the shape of a map of the globe.