November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Calling all shopping addicts. Come winter, the Dubai Shopping Festival is where it's at. Get a tan (and soak up the balmy temps) while you're sprinting between boutiques. Indulge in some retail therapy with serious discounts on luxury brands, and you'll also be privy to the region's biggest "entertainment extravaganza"-- ie. huge fireworks displays, daily car raffles, and more. The best part of all? Shopping in Dubai is entirely tax-free. The annual month-long fest takes place from January 20- February 20, 2012 and attracts some three million visitors. Looking for a place to stay? Five Star Alliance has the skinny on a number of glamorous Dubai hotels- from the "seven-star" Burj Al Arab to Armani's very own pad (pictured). Take a gander at the full list here.
November 4, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
The Ritz-Carlton resorts have been known to provide exceptional service and luxurious accommodations, and the Ritz-Carlton Dubai is no exception. This hotel, however, is taking luxury a step further and is now proudly offering the services of a Hookah Sommelier. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai embraces the United Arab Emirates culture and ensures that its guests experience true Arabian hospitality.
With its very own Hookah Sommelier on staff, the Ritz-Carlton Dubai now has a professional to recommend a shisha flavor that goes well with your food and drink. Aside from creating the perfect tobacco blend, the Hookah Sommelier, upon request, can craft a unique shisha flavor which will be recorded and remembered for your future visits. Not an avid hookah smoker? Not a problem. Guests at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai can also relax on white sand beaches, enjoy incredible shopping opportunities, or simply take in the astonishing sites of Dubai.
By: Oksana Balytsky
September 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney
After reading CNN’s own list of great hotel pools, we decided to put our heads together and write up our thoughts on the matter. Who has the 10 best hotel pools in the world? To truly know, you’ll have to visit yourself and see. But these are certainly our favorites.
With the simple application of basic mathematics, the Banyan Tree has figured out how to improve upon the tried and true concept of the private pool: By giving its two-bedroom suites two private pools – and what a sight they are. That’s the kind of thinking I can get behind.
9. Le Palais de la Mediterranee, France
Le Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice rolls in at number 9 with its incredible 3rd floor indoor/outdoor pool. Just feet from a sun terrace with a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean, this is a pool that was tailor-made for lounging. If to you a vacation means leaning back, lowering your sunglasses over your eyes and relaxing the afternoon away, then this is the hotel for you.
8. The Berkeley, London
While some other pools may be more spectacular, as you’ll see in a moment, none offer the same level of comfort year-round as The Berkeley rooftop pool in London. The heated pool features a wonderful open-air swimming experience in the summer, but unlike most hotels, when it gets a bit colder, you don’t have to take the party inside. The Berkeley instead rolls out its retractable roof, and you can now enjoy the comfort of a perfectly climate-controlled rooftop pool in winter.
7. Villa d’Este, Italy
The pool at Villa d’Este on Lake Como would make Archimedes blush. Floating above the very lake that the Villa rests against, the pool features a built-in Jacuzzi and fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. It’s like swimming in the lake just inches below your feet, but it’s always the perfect temperature.
6. Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete
The Blue Palace Resort and Spa is truly deserving of its sixth place finish, and really if we were fair it’d be on this list twice. The aptly-named Blue Palace is renowned for the private pools that come standard with most of their rooms and suites. With pools up to 40 sq. meters in size for just you and your companion(s), there couldn’t be a more private or luxurious swimming experience. And if that weren’t enough, the Blue Palace is famous for its unique Grecian Thalassotherapy, which combines the relaxing powers of a world-class massage with water-cleansing rituals guaranteed to revitalize your body.
5. The Library Koh Samui, Thailand
In this case, the picture speaks for itself. The Library Koh Samui is built around the innovative concept that a vacation is about relaxation and people should be allowed to free their minds from stress by engaging in the simple pleasures of cracking open a book and enjoying the company of their family or friends. They’ve also turned their pool red - which is both surreal and strangely captivating, like green ketchup or a fish riding a bicycle.
4. Rawi Warin Resort and Spa, Thailand
The 1000 sq. meter infinity edge pool at Rawi Warin looks as if the water is fading into the ocean, with only little beach umbrellas poking above the water line to let you know that it doesn’t go on forever. The illusion is compelling and gorgeous. As if that weren’t enough, Rawi Warin also has Asia’s first ocean swimming pool, extending 100 meters into the water and allowing you to swim with the fishes in an entirely literal way.
3. Palazzo Sasso, Italy
The Palazzo Sasso has one of the more innovative designs for a hotel pool we’ve ever seen. Situated on the edge of a cliff 1000 feet above sea level, the pool at Palazzo Sasso offers underwater windows with a view of the sea below, thus discovering the heretofore unknown condition of subaqueous vertigo. But seriously, it is the single most impressive thing I’ve seen at the bottom of a pool.
Atlantis the Palm Dubai may just be the best thing ever. If you got all the things together in one place, and made me pick, I’d say, “I want that thing. It looks like the best thing.” So what is this thing I’m so excited about? Well, it just might be a standard luxurious hotel pool, only it’s attached to a full water park! I don’t bandy about with exclamation points lightly, but this seems to be worth one. If you, like me, have ever thought, “wow, this vacation is really relaxing, but what I’d really like is to go launching out of a ziggurat at high speeds into a pool of water,” then this is the destination for you. And even more than that, much of the hotel is themed around this aquatic experience. There are underwater mazes, a four-and-a-half hectare dolphin habitat, and something they just call Aquaventure.
Occasionally, a feat of engineering comes along that’s so remarkable, you have to doff your hat to the architects of its design. The Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool in Singapore is more like what would result if Leonardo da Vinci were in the hotel business. Resting 200 meters above the ground in the Sands SkyPark, the Infinity Pool is as breathtaking as it is surreal – the edge of the pool seems to fade into the horizon itself. Swimmers are greeted with a panoramic vista unequaled anywhere. Without a doubt, the Infinity is the coolest hotel pool we’ve ever seen and not just for the breeze.
So throw on your swim trunks and book a room at any of these amazing hotels (maybe in the other order), and soon you'll be enjoying the sun by some of the most amazing pools in the world.
September 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
It looks like massive tourism growth in glitzy Dubai has had a big impact on Dubai International. The airport handled 4.7 million passengers in the month of July alone, and is on track to eclipse Hong Kong and Paris Charles de Gaulle. The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has determined that Dubai's airport will move into place this November as the world's second busiest international airport. London's Heathrow continues to be the world's busiest airport. Interested in jetting to Dubai to check out the indoor ski resort or the LED light show at InterContinental Dubai Festival City? Browse the Five Star Alliance collection of four- and five-star hotels...
July 5, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
We found ourselves daydreaming about Giorgio Armani's pad in Dubai (you know, the one the fashion mogul designed himself- inside the world's tallest building), then the next thing we knew, we were checking out room rates for a summertime trip. Imagine our surprise when we found out that the Armani Hotel Dubai is running a special promotion. Stay two nights and save AED 400 per night in the Deluxe and Classic Rooms, as well as the Premier Suite room category. Book a Fountain Suite (with spectacular views of the sound and lights of The Dubai Fountain) for four nights and save AED 1,000 a night. Channeling minimalist elegance, the hotel's 160 rooms and suites were designed with sophisticated colors and unique textures. From the hand-made Florentine leather to the bathrooms made with Brazilian green bamboo marble-- every detail was personally chosen by Armani. Facilities, including eight restaurants, an indoor gold souk, and a decadent spa, reflect the Armani lifestyle.
May 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
A trip to over-the-top Dubai wouldn't be complete without a stay at Atlantis, The Palm, the flagship resort situated on Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island shaped like a palm tree in the Arabian Gulf. The resort is paradise for families as it's brimming with fun amenities: 16 restaurants (including Nobu), the Aquaventure water park, dolphin education center, and the third largest aquarium in the world where guests can participate in shark feedings. Atlantis, The Palm is currently running a special offer called "Magical Family Moments with Mastercard" where you can save up to 40%. Book with Mastercard before July 31, 2011, and you'll reap the rewards. Starting from AED 1,495, the package includes accommodations in a Deluxe Room, breakfast for four at Kaleidoscope, dinner for four (a choice of four different restaurants), two massages for the price of one at the spa, unlimited access to the water park, unlimited access to the Lost Chambers, and two afternoon passes for the Kids Club. Valid for stays until September 30, 2011.