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.

A Boutique Critique: Thalassa Boutique Hotel & Spa


By: Christopher Roney

I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore.

 I'm not sure what it is about the Mediterranean. Maybe it's the fresh sea air or the cradle of Western civilization lying under your feet, but it always feels like coming home.  And in the spirit of carrying an analogy too far, if the Mediterranean is like home, then the Thalassa Boutique Hotel & Spa is being curled up in your bed under the covers on a cold winter's night.  Except with a view.  And spa treatments.  So it's completely unlike that analogy.  Another thing it's unlike is my writing ability, which is slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard. But what the Thalassa Boutique is like is an island oasis, a heavenly spa, where every suite is served by a personal butler and you can slough off the cares of the world as the pigment in your skin darkens from the soft, Mediterranean sun.  It's six millenia of relaxation crystallized into a seaside retreat, begging you to forget yourself in its warm embrace.  And when I'm looking to run away from the world, I want a spa hotel where every room gives a perfect view of the sun slipping under or out from the horizon and kids are rarely seen (and none under 12).  Surrounded by sea on three sides and with the sandy beach just steps away, I can't imagine a better place to get away than the Thalassa Boutique Hotel & Spa.  In fact, just writing this convinced me to go there right now.  Bye.


Going out on a Limb: The Peninsula Bangkok


By: Christopher Roney

Looking for a place to stay along the Chao Phraya riverfront in Bangkok?  Well, look no further than the Peninsula Bangkok.  The 370-room super luxury hotel was voted the world's best in 2003 and has kept up its best-of-the-best presentation since.  Guests are treated to uninterrupted panoramic views of the river and city, and with a beauty spa and fine dining on site, you'll find little need to leave the hotel if you desire not to.  Pick from any of four restaurants:  traditional Cantonese at Mei Jiang, homestyle Thai at Thiptara, international buffet at River Cafe & Terrace, and Pacific Rim at Jesters.  And once you've satiated your body, satisfy your mind by relaxing in a wonderful three-tiered swimming pool.  Maintain the careful balance by adjusting the custom environmental controls in your chich but classical room.  The Peninsula Bangkok really is my choice to stay for my next trip to the city.


It's Not Pint-Sized: Ashford Castle


By: Christopher Roney

Before it became one of the most renowned castle hotels in Europe, the Ashford Castle was the home to the Guinness family, to which all of the beer drinkers among us owe a serious debt of gratitude.  I think I need not explain more, for we all know Guinness's enchanting charm.  Built originally in the 13th century, the estate holds over 350 acres of private land and has played host to the rich and famous, including President Reagan and Pierce Brosnan, who married there.  You could end up feeling just as cool as the agent himself while staying in rooms that combine a preserved 13th century style with all of the modern amenities of top-notch hotels.  Resident Chef Stefan Matz offers four unique dining experiences on the property that make innovative use of traditional Irish fare; you'll be stepping into a world where meat and potatoes are anything but meat-and-potatoes.  A dedicated spa featuring the products and philosophy of Yan Ka, meant to help the skin regain its vital balance and energy.  

Alongside the property lies the second-largest Irish lake, the Lough Corrib, whose idyllic shores offer unparalleled views as well as a number of outdoor activities.  Miles of hiking trails are available through the countryside, and a 9-hole golf course, designed by legend Eddie Hackett, features prominently.  Fishing and hunting are available on the grounds, with Lough Corrib offering some of the best in Ireland during May, June, and July.  Not only that, you can enjoy a jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room alongside your beauty treatments, and then refresh in the crisp lake air on any one of three daily lake tours.  The Ashford Castle is truly one of the jewels of Ireland.


Hotels with an Incredible View! Istanbul, Turkey


By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that an incredible view is of utmost importance to luxury travelers. After a day of exploring a new city, there’s nothing more enjoyable then returning to your luxurious accommodations and taking in the miraculous view before calling it a day. For others, there simply is no time to enjoy everything a city has to offer, and the only exploration one has time for is to take in the view from the hotel. We’d like to introduce you to our blog series, which will be featuring incredible hotels with incredible views! Whatever your travel reasons or however much time you have to enjoy your trip, we hope you leave thinking wow what a view!

Our third feature is the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. It’s located on the European bank of the Bosphorus, which flows through Istanbul’s phenomenal history. This luxury hotel is a converted Ottoman Palace surrounded by indigo water and mountaintops. Its 145 guest rooms and 25 suites blend Ottoman design with contemporary furnishings and nearly a quarter of the rooms offer incredible views across the legendary Strait to the hills of Asia. Rooms located on the first and second floor offer straight views of the water and the Maiden’s Tower in Old Town. The hotel’s pool overlooks the Bosphorus, and the outdoor terrace of the hotel’s restaurant Aqua allows you to dine right on the water’s edge.

Be sure to keep up with our blog series to discover various luxury hotels all over the world with the best views!


Incredible Chocolate Bar at the Peninsula Chicago


By: Oksana Balytsky

The majority of bars are dedicated to serving fancy alcoholic drinks, but the Peninsula Chicago has embraced a new bar concept! Check in to this luxury hotel in the Windy City and take advantage of its phenomenal chocolate bar. Their ‘Chocolate at the Pen’ bar is more of a buffet presented by Executive Chef Kai Lermen and Executive Pastry Chef Hsing Chen, and it can be found in the 5th floor lobby sitting area every Friday and Saturday evening. A few delectable options on the menu include chocolate tapioca, chocolate-peanut tarts, chocolate-dipped strawberries, white hot-chocolate infused with lavender, chocolate truffles, and much more! The menu options vary, so be sure to call ahead of time to inquire what will be featured. Reservations are available from 8:00 – 10:00pm, and the cost is $40 per person ($20 for children 12 and under). This price includes unlimited coffee, tea, espresso, or cappuccino, and the full selection of chocolates and desserts. For folks already dining in the Lobby, the chocolate bar is available for an additional $20 per person. At 8:30pm, the evening gets even more festive with a live jazz band and singer playing until 11:30pm, and dancing is of course encouraged. Make your reservations at the Peninsula Chicago and get ready for an evening of luxury, decadence, and a smooth good time!


Hotels with an Edge: Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama


By: Oksana Balytsky

Trump OceanIn today’s competitive world, everyone needs a way to stand out from the crowd. Luxury hotels certainly are not any different and are always looking for ways to outshine their competitors and attract more visitors. We understand that our travelers look for the best of the best, and we would like to introduce you to our blog series, Hotels with an Edge. We’ll be highlighting and featuring a few hotels we feel truly stand out and offer their guests more than is expected. Be sure to check in with us to explore various hotels that deserve recognition for their supreme levels of luxury.

Our third featured hotel is the tallest and largest building in Latin America, the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama. This luxurious property rises seventy stories above Panama Bay along Punta Pacifica’s beautiful peninsula. The hotel’s sleek design evokes an elegant sail and it simply redefines luxury. It’s centrally located near shops, nightlife, and the financial district making this a wonderful option in Panama City. The 13th floor deck features 2 incredible pools with waterfront dining options and a 3-story sky lobby nearby. Every aspect of the hotel has been designed to showcase spectacular ocean views, and each of its 369 rooms and suites are elegantly furnished in a modern and tasteful style.

Missed our previous features, the current tallest hotel in the world and the soon-to-be tallest hotel in the world? Be sure to check them out and keep up with our blog series for a little inspiration on where to stay next!


The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Alila Villas Uluwatu


By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Alila Villa Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for ambience and design. This luxury hotel is located on a cliff top plateau along the southern coast of Bali. The view from this hotel is simply breathtaking, and the entire property aims to fulfill its tradition of offering an experience that is serene, sensual, and pleasantly different. With 84 spacious villas, all with private salt-water pools and ocean-view cabanas, this Alila property goes above and beyond the expected levels of luxury. The rooms have ceilings from bamboo and flat roofs that are insulated with volcanic rocks. Indulge yourself in the spectacular cliff top pool and bar, and take in the beauty that surrounds you everywhere you turn at this incredible hotel.


Hotels with an Edge: JW Marriott Marquis Dubai


By: Oksana Balytsky

In today’s competitive world, everyone needs a way to stand out from the crowd. Luxury hotels certainly are not any different and are always looking for ways to outshine their competitors and attract more visitors. We understand that our travelers look for the best of the best, and we would like to introduce you to our blog series, Hotels with an Edge. We’ll be highlighting and featuring a few hotels we feel truly stand out and offer their guests more than is expected. Be sure to check in with us to explore various hotels that deserve recognition for their supreme levels of luxury.

Our second featured hotel is the soon-to-be tallest hotel in the world, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is to relinquish its tallest hotel crown and take the seat behind this new property in Dubai. The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai has announced that its two towers will stand 1,164 feet tall, and it will offer 1,608 rooms. Unlike other exceptionally tall hotels, this property will be dedicated to hotel operations only. It will offer 9 restaurants, 5 lounges, a 16,000 square foot spa, 24 meeting rooms, private event space, and more.  This hotel is scheduled to open in two phases starting in October, and it will have 804 rooms ready for guests. If you can’t wait until then, check out the other luxurious properties we have in Dubai!

Missed our first feature, the current tallest hotel in the world? Check it out here! Be sure to keep up with our blog series for a little inspiration on where to stay next!

A look into the presidential suite; photo courtesy of HotelChatter


Hotels with an Incredible View!: Thailand


By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that an incredible view is of utmost importance to luxury travelers. After a day of exploring a new city, there’s nothing more enjoyable then returning to your luxurious accommodations and taking in the miraculous view before calling it a day. For others, there simply is no time to enjoy everything a city has to offer, and the only exploration one has time for is to take in the view from the hotel. We’d like to introduce you to our  blog series, which will be featuring incredible hotels with incredible views!Whatever your travel reasons or however much time you have to enjoy your trip, we hope you leave thinking wow what a view!

Our second feature is the Peninsula Bangkok. It’s located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and it is one of Bangkok’s finest hotels. It is a stunning, 39-story hotel offering incredible panoramic views of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River from every one of its luxurious guest rooms and suites. This luxury hotel is within easy access of the shopping and business districts as well as near the Bangkok Sky Train and 35 minutes from Don Muang International Airport. The Peninsula Bangkok has an incredible 3-tiered swimming pool, a fitness center, and a beauty salon offering a variety of massages and treatments.

You can view our first featured hotel with a view, the Marina Bay Sands Singapore here. Be sure to keep up with our blog series to discover various luxury hotels all over the world with the best views!


Hotels with an Edge: The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong


By: Oksana Balytsky

In today’s competitive world, everyone needs a way to stand out from the crowd. Luxury hotels certainly are not any different and are always looking for ways to outshine their competitors and attract more visitors. We understand that our travelers look for the best of the best, and we would like to introduce you to our newest blog series, Hotels with an Edge. We’ll be highlighting and featuring a few hotels we feel truly stand out and offer their guests more than is expected. Be sure to check in with us to explore various hotels that deserve recognition for their supreme levels of luxury.

Our first featured hotel is the tallest hotel in the world, the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong. This luxury hotel dominates the sky at 490 meters, 1575 feet high, and it’s located on the top floors of the International Commerce Centre. Take in unrivaled views of the Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Island from the 102nd to the 118th floor. The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong has 321 luxurious rooms, all offering a spectacular view of the city and harbor. This hotel also has 6 restaurants starting on the 102nd floor including a lobby lounge, tea lounge, and alfresco rooftop bar.

Make your reservations at this breathtaking hotel today, and be sure to keep up with our blog series for a little inspiration on where to stay next!