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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.

Personal Assistant Service at the Newly Remodeled Tides South Beach, Miami


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tides South Beach Bellhops? Pa-leese! The Diva of Ocean Drive, fresh from a glamorous redesign by trendsetting designer Kelly Wearstler, offers personal assistant services for guests. Upon arrival at The Tides South Beach, you are welcomed by your very own Personal Assistant who delivers advanced round-the-clock services: beachside amenity baskets with bottled water, magazines, and sunscreen, in-suite dining and catering, laundry, dry cleaning and shoe shine service as well as complete business services such as translation, transcription, desk-top publishing, postal and parcel service. Trained by Robert Watson from The Guild of Professional English Butlers, the hotel's PAs do it all. And with The Tides' Guest Recognition Policy, these personal assistants understand guests' preferences before they even arrive.


Escape to the Alps at Spa Hotel Jagdhof, Tyrol, Austria


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Spa Hotel Jagdhof Stunning accommodations surrounded by some of the most sublime scenery on earth. Welcome to the Spa Hotel Jagdhof, situated in the midst of the Tyrolean mountains, just 30 minutes from Innsbruck, against the backdrop of the Stubai Glacier. This Relais and Chateaux property is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts-- country walks through the slopes of the Alps provide glimpses of chamois, stags, and dear-- and spa lovers, alike. The hotel's renowned Vital & Beautywelt Spa is a beautiful oasis that offers 17 different treatments in an area spanning 2,000 square meters. Exceptional cuisine includes hunted game and lamb from the hotel's own farm. With the Tyrolean Spa Experience package, enjoy four nights in a cozy 'Zwölfer' apartment including extensive breakfast, a six-course à la carte dinner, complimentary use of spa, indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and steam rooms, one stimulating Tyrolean massage, one glacier massage with high-quality natural oils from the Alps and return transfers from/to Innsbruck airport. Rates starting from EUR 899 per person for four nights. Valid until September 30, 2007.


Double Hilton HHonors Points at Conrad Indianapolis


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Indianapolis Stay at the Conrad Indianapolis, the luxury destination hotel in the heart of Indiana's capital, anytime until August 31, 2007 and you can earn double Hilton HHonors points and a continental breakfast for two at Vitesse. Since its debut last year, Conrad Indianapolis has been wowing its guests with its lavish, high-tech facilities. The 23-storey hotel tower houses the luxurious Spa Chakra, fitness facilities, two unique dining options (a brasserie-style restaurant and a lounge), and state-of-the-art meeting and event space.


Suite Dreams: The Presidential Suite at InterContinental Hong Kong


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong Kong, Presidential Suite There's a lot to love at the InterContinental Hong Kong: the large outdoor heated swimming pool and unique trio of infinity spa pools, the luxurious I-Spa (with its feng shui inspired ambiance), prime waterfront location in Kowloon, unparalleled dining, not to mention the spectacular views. But one of the best things about the hotel is the stunning Presidential Suite, one of the most beautiful in Asia, and the city's priciest and largest. The price tag is $10,000 a night for 7,000 square feet of pure luxury. The 2,500 square ft terrace boasts its own infinity pool overlooking the sparkling lights of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. The wrap-around terrace can easily seat 50 folks for dinner, and 24-hour room service from Alain Ducaisse's Spoon Restaurant is a perk enjoyed only by guests of the Presidential Suite. Of course this five-room facility has made the roster of Forbes' most expensive hotel rooms in the world.


King’s Cup Elephant Polo with Anantara Resort, Golden Triangle, Thailand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elephant Polo at Anantara Resort Thailand's highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns to the hills of the Golden Triangle in 2008. Mark your calendars for March 31-April 6, for some serious fun in the sun. Event organizer, Anantara Resorts, describes the event as wildly entertaining, ranked as the 6th largest on the Thai tourism calendar. And it's easy to understand why. A charitable event that raises money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang, King's Cup Elephant Polo is chock full of celebrities, seasoned elephant polo players, colorful parades and elephants. Plus, it's location in spectacular northern Thailand showcases the natural beauty of the Golden Triangle region, home to Thailand's elephant population. Indeed Anantara Resort has its own Elephant Camp, an on-site sanctuary for these peaceful pachyderms. Located 60 kilometers north of the Chiang Rai airport, perched on a ridge overlooking the hills of Myanmar and Laos, Anantara is all about laid-back luxury. Here you can experience the refreshing chill of a Northern Thai sunrise shrouded in mountain mist; the rush of a longboat ride up the Mekong to Laos; the exhilaration of riding an elephant through bamboo jungle along the border of Burma.

PS. The sport of Elephant Polo poses no threat to the participating creatures, says the World Wildlife Fund.


Luxury Eco-Resorts from AOL Founder, Steve Case


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Costa Rica First stop: Costa Rica. Steve Case is launching a new luxury resort company, Revolution Places, with an eye on environmental and cultural preservation. Only natural for a guy who grew up in Hawaii and feels passionately about not paving over paradise. The first environmentally-friendly project is an $800 million, 650-acre development in Cacique, Costa Rica, on the northwest Pacific coast. What's in store? A 120-villa One&Only resort by Sol Kerzner, who developed Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; a 180-unit Miraval: Life in Balance-branded destination spa resort; a Tom Doak-designed golf course; and a tennis and fitness center designed by Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf. Expected to open in 2010, the resort will be designed to reduce water and energy waste, with renewable energy sources and on-site treatment facilities to reuse waste water.

Photo Via Washington Post


Raffles Dubai: Top Hotels of the Year


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles Dubai The moment we've all been waiting for. The Raffles experience has arrived in the Middle East. When Raffles Dubai opens its doors in October 2007, visitors will be blown away by what's been called "the hottest hotel of the year." It's not just the exciting architecture, inspired by the great pyramids of Egypt. Raffles promises an over-the-top, high octane dose of luxury: 11 distinctive restaurants and bars with culinary delights from all over the world, 248 opulent state rooms and suites, the one-hectare Sky Garden (perfect for outdoor celebrations), and the seriously decadent RafflesAmrita Spa. Located in Wafi City, adjunct to Wafi Mall, just 10 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Raffles Dubai offers the latest technology and blissful pampering. In a city that changes by the minute, Raffles Dubai is a prominent landmark, built to last.


West End: A Bistro by Eric Ripert Opens this Fall in the Ritz-Carlton, Washington D.C.


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz Carlton Cancun, Culinary Center Ritz-Carlton Dallas isn't the only luxury hotel to get a cutting-edge new restaurant designed and branded by a celebrity chef. (Dean Fearing's been getting a lot of press for the new $6 million Fearing's Restaurant, celebrating farm-to-market.) Ritz-Carlton is also launching a fancy new eatery in their hotel on 22nd Street in Washington D.C., overseen by Michelin three-star chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York. This Fall, he will launch West End: A Bistro by Eric Ripert, which will feature casual French-American fare. (And all the bloggers-- from the Metrocurean to Zagat Buzz-- are paying heed. The true foodies, those readers of Chowhound, are also taking note.) This is part of a trend identified by USA Today. Ornate dining rooms, in all their stiff formality, are a thing of the past, as luxury hotels are looking to open brand-name restaurant concepts led by popular, super-star chefs. Examples abound:

Ritz-Carlton just opened Jeroboam restaurant with Michelin three-star chef Heinz Winkler at its Moscow property and is working with Gordon Ramsay on a restaurant for Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt near Dublin.


Last Minute Summer Getaways: Free Fifth Night at Cap Juluca, Anguilla


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap Juluca Heat and humidity? Bring it on! Escape to the Caribbean where cool breezes soothe and crystal clear waters calm. And with a deal like this, how could you possibly resist? From now until August 31, 2007, Cap Juluca is offering an Easy Breezy Summer offer where guests are spoiled with a fifth night free, when paying for four nights. Also included: daily breakfast, one dinner for two at the resort's Pimms restaurant, use of water sports equipment, tennis courts and the health club, nightly movies, and roundtrip transfers from the island's airport or ferry terminal. Located on the island of Anguilla just minutes from St. Maarten, this place is simply delicious. The sugary white sand beaches, dotted with swaying palms, conjure images of the picture-perfect tropical paradise. But Cap Juluca's got a lot more than pristine beaches. At this award-winning resort, there's a fitness center, bicycles and private golf carts, aqua golf driving range, putting green, croquet lawn, swimming pool, tennis courts, and endless water sports.


Puerto Rico for Pennies: Water Club Beach Hotel, San Juan


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

San Juan Water and Beach Club When new rules were established requiring U.S. citizens to carry passports for all Caribbean destinations (then relaxed again, after the worst passport waiting lines in history), savvy travelers avoided all the passport mayhem and booked vacas in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were the only two paradisiacal Caribbean destinations not affected. Old San Juan has been luring and exciting visitors with a renaissance of sorts; one of the oldest cities in the Americas has gotten a dose of South Beach glamour. Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior have opened stores along the waterfront in the Condado neighborhood. With the opening of myriad trendy restaurants and clubs, there's a cool vibe in the air. Liquid, on the top floor of the Water Club hotel, is one of the hottest spots in town. Indeed, the Water Club, named one of the coolest hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, embodies South Beach chic. San Juan's only luxury boutique on the beach, the hotel boasts floor to ceiling windows with endless ocean views. Theatrical lighting brings the outdoors indoors; elevators have waterfalls (behind glass); corridor sounds are gentle surf. Doors are made of murano glass, and there are photographs of pebbles instead of corridor carpeting. For such a fabulous hotel, the rates are surprisingly modest. With the "Turn the Page" package at the Water Club, guests are spoiled with library benefits, book selection, free iPod using during their stay, and late check-out-- all for $149 per night. Valid through September 30, 2007.