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.

How New Zealand's Blanket Bay Got Its Name

By: Five Star Alliance

Nestled amidst rugged snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps on the shores of Lake Wakatipu is New Zealand’s finest Lodge – Blanket Bay. In 1861, a mob of sheep owned by Mr William Gilbert Rees were sheared on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, in a bay just south of where the small town of Glenorchy is situated.  This bay was to be named Blanket Bay after blankets used to create the shed and shelters used to protect the eight Maori shearers and the wool from the elements.

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Best Bathrooms: Azur Lodge

By: Five Star Alliance

Each identical villa at Azur Lodge  is 79 square meters of open plan living in the midst of New Zealand’s natural environment.
Soak up the spectacular unobstructed views from the bathtub, which has been set into a bay window to give you a feeling of
being outdoors.

Azur Lodge

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Hit the Road and the Wine at Blanket Bay

By: Five Star Alliance

Blanket Bay
Blanket Bay Lodge sits at the north end of Lake Wakatipu amidst New Zealand's finest scenery. The luxury resort is known for its commitment to active vacations. Nearby activities include fly-fishing, heli-skiing, hiking on the Routeburn or Milford Tracks, jetboating, golfing kayaking, 4WD tours, horse riding, and flight-seeing over Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. 

For those guests whose interest's lie in the area of wine and art, the resort has the perfect activity. The Wine & Arts Trail takes you to the homes and galleries of New Zealand's pre-eminent artists coupled with sampling Otago's finest wines at the local vineyards. 

Guests spend the day visiting Kiwit artists in their home studios. Then, they can quaff some "New World" wines that the Southern Lakes region is known for. The hotel can arrange for a chaffeur-driven car, so that guests can imbibe freely.

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Did You Know? Eichardts Private Hotel

By: Five Star Alliance

Eichardts Private Hotel  

Eichardts Private Hotel was born as a result of the rich vein of gold, which drew many prospectors, opportunists and downright optimists from around the globe to the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The quest for pastoral land brought William Gilbert Rees to the shores of Lake Wakatipu in 1859 when he built a homestead on the lakefront and erected a woolshed on the site now occupied by Eichardt's Hotel. When gold was discovered in the nearby Shotover River, Rees found himself at the centre of a gold rush - his homestead declared an official goldfield and the main business area developed around the station. The entrepreneurial Rees quickly turned to the hotel keeping business, the woolshed was given a wooden facade and turned into a hotel and named the Queen's Arms. In early 1866, Rees entered into partnership with Albert Eichardt who went on to become the sole proprietor of the hotel by 1869. Eichardt renamed the hotel Eichardt's Queen's Arms Hotel, but during his time there, it came to be known simply as Eichardt's Hotel where he catered mostly for tourists as the tenor of the town evolved from a mining settlement to something more permanent.

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Did You Know? Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet

By: Five Star Alliance

Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet's name translates to house of the kea in Maori. The Kea is the world's only alpine parrot which lives all year round above the snow line in the surrounding mountains. Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet supports the Kea Conservation Trust which assists with the conservation of the wild Kea in their natural habitat.

Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet 












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Posted in: Queenstown

Image of the Day: Matakauri Lodge

By: Five Star Alliance

Matakauri Lodge offers eleven luxurious suites and villas, each with private terraces looking out to Lake Wakatipu with mountain views.

Matakauri Lodge

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Focus on Matakauri Lodge

By: Five Star Alliance


Matakauri Lodge offers eleven luxurious suites and villas, each with private terraces looking out to a dramatic Queenstown lakeside, with mountain views.  



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Image of the Day: Blanket Bay

By: Five Star Alliance

Blanket Bay is nestled amidst rugged snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.


Posted in: Queenstown, Hot Spots

Cool New Addition: Matakauri Lodge

By: K. Clare Johnson

Matakauri Lodge is spectacularly situated on Lake Wakatipu. Matakauri Lodge offers eleven luxurious suites
and villas, each with private terraces looking out to a dramatic Queenstown lakeside, with mountain views.

The main lodge consists of spacious lounge, dining and living areas, all with views of Lake Wakatipu. The lodge
also offers a range of indoor and outdoor dining options for our guests, including superb private dining options.

Every suite offers its own private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and
bathroom with twin vanities and oversized bath tub.

Fantasy Meets Reality: Heaven on (Middle) Earth

By: Christopher Roney

Lake Okareka Lodge, Rotorua, New Zealand

 Vacations and movies have a lot in common – both are an effective means of transporting ourselves to a far-away place to escape from the world we know and live in another for a while.  But while books and movies are only bounded by our imagination, we think vacations are limited to exploring this planet Earth we have come to know so well.  That’s a silly notion, and one I intend to dispel.  Vacations, too, can be a vehicle for the imagination, and many of the destinations here on Earth inspired the great authors and directors who bring us these fantasy worlds.  And whether you’re showing your kids the magic of the world or broadening your own horizons, there’s more than a few destinations that are guaranteed to instill wonder in you.  So turn on your flashlight and have a seat in my pillow fort, and join me on a multipart adventure as I share with you some of the best destinations our legs, and our minds, can take us. 

Part 1 - New Zealand

The first stop on our journey can be none other than the most iconic of fantasy and film landscapes:  Middle-Earth.  Or as we know it a little better – New Zealand.  All three parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed on site in New Zealand, and there could not be a more stunning and diverse location.  While you’re unlikely to be beset by Ringwraiths or seek refuge in the land of the elves, you might form a strong bond of fellowship with your companions as you explore the rolling hills, mountains and forests where Peter Jackson brought the world of Tolkein alive.  New Zealand is a perfect destination for nature-lovers, and your children (inner or actual) are sure to fall in love with the vibrant landscapes and the stories embodied there. 

Nearly all of New Zealand was used in the filming of the trilogy, so it’s hard to go wrong with any location.  Or plan to travel along the island, stopping to see everything of note.  The north, near Auckland, is the home of the Shire, and it’s only a short distance south to Mordor and the spot of the battle that marked the end of the Second Age.

For the second leg of the journey, the Intercontinental Wellington would be a great base of operations to foray to Mt. Victoria and the refuge of Rivendell.  It is also within reach of the Putanguria Pinnacles, one of the most eerie and impressive rock formations on earth and home of the dead army from the third film.  The cast and crew stayed on location for three years and have left their mark in the town itself, so you will never be short on star-studded locations, including the local vineyards that continue to be an attraction in their own right.

The city of Queenstown, famous in part for its fine hotels, Eichardts Private Hotel and The Spire, lies among such locations as Amon Hen, Isengard, and the Fangorn Forest, as well as the lakes that formed the centerpiece of the finale of the first film.  Just a short trip from so many different ecosystems, Queenstown is the perfect place to stay to experience all that New Zealand has to offer.

Just as with Frodo and Sam, this trip will remove the weight of the world from your shoulders.  But unlike them, you can sleep in a King-size bed in luxurious accommodations where they’re guaranteed to know about second breakfast and have the finest leaf in the South Farthing.