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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.

The Darling: A New Five-Star Hotel for Sydney

July 26, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sydney Opera HouseA new luxury hotel will up the luxury quotient in Sydney when it opens this fall, debuting $15,000-a-night penthouse suites complete with their own gambling room and 24-hour butler. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the city's newest five-star hotel, slated to open in mid-October 2011, will have stunning views of the city skyline and Darling Harbour. Part of the renovation of the Star City casino complex at Pyrmont, the new Darling Hotel will have 171 rooms with lavish, custom-designed interiors. The crème de la crème: the afore-mentioned penthouse suites. Occupying the top (12th) floor of the hotel, these four suites are enormous, designed to attract the high-rollers, entertainers, and big gamblers. General Manager Drew Schlesinger told the newspaper:

"They can order food from any of the restaurants, we can get anything for anyone. If they want American bison, we'll get American bison.''

Image by Matthew Field via Wikimedia


Coming to the Americas: Ritz-Carlton Resort to Open in Puerto Rico

July 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dorado Beach Resort, Puerto Rico

We just got a piece of news that's music to our ears. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has announced that they'll launch the first Reserve property in the Americas in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico in December 2012. The resort will be the second in the exclusive portfolio worldwide, joining Phulay Bay in Krabi, Southern Thailand. Back in the day (try 50+ years ago), Laurance S. Rockefeller opened Dorado Beach as part of RockResorts. Now, after a renovation, Dorado Beach Resort will morph into a 115-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve property. Situated on three-and-a-half miles of Caribbean coastline, the Dorado Beach Resort will have championship golf, a five-acre "botanical" spa, a fitness center, a Beach Club, and a Wind and Waves center with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment. (Guests will be able to partake in hands-on eco-adventures using Dorado Beach "as a natural classroom.")


W Hotel South Beach Turns 2, Gives Away a Luxury Stay

July 20, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel South Beach'Tis the season. For contests and giveaways, that is! First we told you about Trump Chicago's babymoon contest on Facebook, and now we've got the scoop on another fun one. W Hotel South Beach is celebrating its second birthday with a Sweepstakes on Facebook. When they reach 10,000 fans, they'll give away a two-night stay-- filled with glamorous treats-- to one lucky Facebook fan. You'll get to bed down in an oceanfront Mega suite with its very own plunge pool and outdoor BBQ. As part of the "Built for Two" anniversary package, you'll enjoy: a Jetski rental for 2, 2 express services at Bliss Spa, daily breakfast for 2 at Solea, 2 cool cocktails at the Living Room Bar, and a limited edition 2 Year Anniversary gift. Must be at least 21 years of age to enter. The Sweepstakes ends on July 31, 2011 at 4:57 pm (EDT).

Want to learn more about the hotel? Here's how it's billed: "In the playground of celebrities and on the boardwalk of the fashion jet set is where you’ll find W South Beach, a beachfront oasis dreamed up by international tastemakers, framed by famed art deco and in the heart of Miami’s hottest nightlife."


Viceroy Hotels Heads to Abu Dhabi and the Maldives

July 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Yas Hotel, Abu DhabiViceroy fans will be pleased as punch to learn that the brand has taken over management of the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi (you know- the one that's located in the very middle of the Yas Marina Circuit offering unobstructed views of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix). Not only that, but Viceroy is setting its course for the Indian Ocean, with the hotly anticipated opening of the Viceroy Maldives in December 2011. Located on the idyllic crescent-shaped island of Vagaru in the Shaviyani Atoll, just one hour north of the capital Male, the Viceroy Maldives will feature 61 villas with interiors designed by Yabu Pushelberg, an over-water spa, a complete range of watersport activities and five restaurants. All surrounded by the turquoise sea and sky...


The Charles Hotel in Cambridge Preps its Dazzling New Corbu Spa

July 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Charles Hotel, CambridgeGet ready, Boston. In just a matter of weeks, a new luxury spa will be upping the ante. The Charles Hotel-- located just outside Boston in Cambridge's Harvard Square-- is launching Corbu Spa & Salon this summer. Named after famed architect-designer Le Corbusier, the 4,000-square-foot spa will offer an all-organic treatment menu featuring ingredients handpicked from the hotel’s gardens. In this regard, the spa takes a cue from the hotel's renowned restaurants, Rialto and Henrietta's Table, both industry leaders in the farm-to-table movement. Get this: Spa Director Pamela Baldwin Adami will also be crafting salt scrubs, sugar buffers, and lotions right in her own home. The best part of all: Corbu is a “Spa with a Heart" with special packages providing donations to select charitable organizations like Partners in Heath, MSPCA, the EcoLogic Development Fund, and the Steppingstone Foundation.


More Details on the Andaz Shanghai, Opening This Summer

July 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Andaz Wall StreetEver since the story broke that Hyatt would be exporting its trendy boutique brand to Shanghai, we've been waiting with bated breath for more news. And now we've got it. The brand spanking new hotel-- expected to open this summer-- will have 307 rooms "all with vibrant views over Shanghai and impressive LED lighting where guests can customise the colour to suit their mood." Of course, this hotel will have all the complimentary inclusions that makes Andaz such a beloved brand: non-alcoholic minibar drinks and snacks, local telephone calls and wireless internet access. There will also be a spa with a juice bar, fitness center, and swimming pool, along with a healthy selection of dining options: Éclair, billed as an "all-day patisserie specialising in classic, cream-filled French pastries," the Andaz Lounge; and Hai Pai- a Franco-Shanghainese brasserie.

Pictured: The Andaz Wall Street in NYC.


Hotel Trends: Unplug with a "Digital Detox"

July 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lake Placid LodgeCan't stop checking your email while on vacation? You're not the only one. When it comes to detaching from their cellphones, tablets, and other digital devices, some 79% of travelers expect to stay connected on their next vacay-- according to a recent survey by American Express. To help these folks help themselves, a growing number of hotels are offering "unplugged" and "digital detox" packages- reports The Wall Street Journal. From Washington D.C. to Teton Village, Wyoming, hotels are rolling out the discounts and stress-reducing amenities like spa treatments. To quote the WSJ: "Starting this month, guests at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel can book "Zen and the Art of Detox" on some summer weekends. The Hotel Monaco Chicago offers anyone who reserves its "tranquility suite" the option to add a "Technology Break." The Lake Placid Lodge (pictured) also offers a similar package.


Steve Wynn Decorates His Macau Casino Resort with $12.8 Million Chinese Vases

July 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn MacauIn 2006 Las Vegas was eclipsed by Macau as the gaming capital of the world. Not far from Hong Kong, the former Portuguese colony of Macau attracts millions of visitors from mainland China keen to wager their bets at legal casinos. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports that gambling revenue in Macau just hit an all-time record high- at $3 billion in the month of May. Little wonder then that casino mogul Steve Wynn has been investing heavily in his resorts there. (Wynn Macau looks hauntingly similar to its Vegas predecessor.) The latest? Wynn shelled out $12.8 million at a London auction recently for a set of four 18th-century Chinese porcelain vases that will adorn his new Cotai Resort Hotel, scheduled to open in 2015 in Macau. Bloomberg has the skinny on the vases:

The 4-foot (1.2 meter) vases, painted with Buddhist and Taoist emblems and embellished with 19th-century gilded metal mounts, were the most expensive of 50 lots at Christie’s International’s “Exceptional’’ sale in the U.K. capital. Sold by a private collector, the Jiaqing period (1796-1821) vases had formerly been in the collection of the Scottish aristocrats, the Dukes of Buccleuch, and had been estimated at 600,000 pounds to 1 million pounds.


Langham Hotels Heads to Chicago

July 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa, PasadenaBig fans of Langham Hotels, we've been keeping a keen eye on the development of a brand spanking new hotel in Chicago. Set to open in May 2013, the 320-room hotel will occupy floors 2-13 in the former IBM Building downtown, an architectural icon designed by Mies van der Rohe. This will be the third U.S. hotel for the Langham chain, joining the Boston and Pasadena properties (not to mention the gorgeous London flagship and acclaimed Hong Kong hotel). A recent article on Katie Benson, regional vice-president for Europe and North America for Langham Hotels International, gave us a few more deets about this hotly-anticipated debut. Straight from the horse's mouth:

"...I think it will have the best rooms product in town, but that's the advantage of being new, and also the advantage of having floor-to-ceiling windows. I think the service style is a bit different. We will have a club lounge with spectacular views. This hotel will have our signature brand Chuan spa, which is our own spa brand built on traditional Chinese practices, and that will be I think a first in Chicago."

Related Article: Open Today: The Chuan Spa at The Langham, London

Pictured: The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, California


Sailing the Chesapeake Bay from The Tides Inn

July 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Tides Inn, Irvington, VALong a favorite stopover for yachts sailing the Chesapeake Bay, The Tides Inn is a destination resort located on Carters Creek in Irvington, Virginia an hour outside of Richmond. Locals adore the farm-to-table cuisine featuring veggies plucked ripe from the garden (and paired with local Mid-Atlantic wines), and visitors from farther afield appreciate the inn's sublime Chesapeake setting. News: The Tides Inn recently installed a state-of-the-art Floating Dock to its marina, adding 24 new boat slips that can harbor weekend cruisers and charter vessels up to 150 feet. The dock features include electric, water, cable, TV and a pump out. Sail into the Tides Inn and order up a signature Lancaster Lemonade made with vodka, limoncello, fresh lemon juice and ginger ale served over ice and garnished with herbs from the Inn's own garden. Guests may decide to extend their stay longer than a weekend; the inn's rooms have recently been refurbished with new carpeting, and the beds are wrapped with 300-thread-count sheets by Frette and sumptuous down duvets. Book a massage at the spa, or play a round of golf. Now that's a blissful break! Summer rates at The Tides Inn start at $210 per night.