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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.

Mint Juleps in Morocco at the New Royal Mansour Marrakech, King Mohammed’s Hotel

July 15, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Mansour MarrakechJune saw the much anticipated opening of Royal Mansour Marrakech, the opulent luxury hotel owned by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, whose ambitious tourism strategy has aimed to attract 10 million visitors to the country in 2010. His Majesty's Plan Azur is certainly working; Royal Mansour isn't the only new luxury hotel on the scene. The Rocco Forte Collection, Four Seasons, and Monte Carlo SBM have all staked their claim to Marrakech, which has emerged as a major tourism hot spot. In fact, Marrakech has been singled out as one of the "It Places" to travel in 2010 by both Conde Nast Traveler and The New York Times.

Royal Mansour Marrakech is a sight for sore eyes. No expense was spared in the hotel's construction, located directly within the medina walls of old Marrakech. In fact, Royal Mansour has been described as "the only entirely hand-built hotel in the world." 53 individual riads were designed with multicolored ceramic tile, elaborate woodwork, and Moroccan mosaics by top local artisans. Rooftop terraces and private pools offer stunning views of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. And the cuisine is by the Michelin three-starred chef (and Parisian sensation) Yannick Alléno. A fascinating Bloomberg News article describes the over-the-top indulgences found at the king's pad: from shoes polished with Champagne to laundered clothes wrapped in silk paper by private butlers to expertly mixed cocktails (even mint juleps). A staff of 400 is on hand to spoil guests rotten: "The hotel staff operates underground, driving golf carts along a maze of passageways, entering the three- and four-story riads through hidden portals. Each riad is serviced -- quietly -- by at least 10 people."


Art of Ethiopia at the Sheraton Addis

July 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sheraton AddisThe Sheraton Addis, A Luxury Collection Hotel, will be hosting the third annual Art of Ethiopia 2010 from August 21- 24. The finest hotel in the Ethiopian capital, the Sheraton Addis sits on a hilltop opposite the National Palace overlooking the city. The free exhibition will showcase nearly 400 works of art from 40 of Ethiopia's leading established artists (and exciting new talent) in the Lalibela Grand Ballroom. Long a patron of Ethiopian art, the hotel also boasts a permanent art collection featuring local artists. In fact, sales of the exhibition catalogue-- prepared by the hotel-- will go to the Sheraton Addis Art Endowment Fund to support art initiatives in Ethiopia.

Booking a stay in Addis Ababa? The hotel is currently running some enticing special offers-- including a package that doles out a fourth night free and a family package that gives 50% off the second room and free meals for the kids.


Pezula Resort, South Africa: The Choice of the French Team for the FIFA World Cup

June 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, South AfricaA world-class spa? Check. Gourmet eats? Check. A magnificent setting on the coastline of the Western Cape? The Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa has jaw-dropping views of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon, and the Outeniqua Mountains from its 1,000-hectare estate. The French soccer team certainly doesn't compromise when it comes to luxury digs for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The 1998 champions may be struggling a bit on the field this year, but they're still planning to enjoy the Word Cup challenge (and Pezula's renowned hospitality) while in South Africa this summer. What else will they find at this sparkling resort? A slew of on-site activities to enjoy during their down-time, like tennis, championship golf, hiking through indigenous forest, canoeing along the Noetzie River to a beautiful secluded beach, even an animal "touch farm." And the 78 suites? They're equipped with private balconies or patios, log fireplaces and sumptuous en-suite bathrooms. If les bleus are victorious, they can party at the Champagne & Whisky Bar.


Restaurants in Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa

June 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One&Only Cape Town HotelHeading to South Africa for the sports event of the year? You snagged a room at some prime lodgings in Cape Town (lucky you!), but you may be looking for a few places to grub while in town. You fear there are scant pickings, as summed up in a recent Wall Street Journal article:

People come to Cape Town for its fine beaches and waterfront—they have since the 1600s, when the Dutch established it as a watering stopover for ships trading with the East. They come for the sports: The city will hold eight World Cup matches this June. They come for the history, to see Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent most of his imprisonment. But few visitors come for the food.

Never fear, the article ultimately affirms our faith in the Cape Town dining scene, describing a "spurt of high-caliber restaurants" that has transformed the culinary landscape. Here's a few that are highly recommended:

Codfather

maze at the One&Only Hotel (yep, this is one of Gordon Ramsay's babies)

Bizerca Bistro

Bukhara

The Grand Cafe & Beach


South Africa on the World Stage: Stay in Luxury (and Get Free Hotel Nights)

May 24, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and SpaSouth Africa is the place to be this summer. Topping the list of 2010's hot destinations, South Africa is prepping for the sports event of the year: the 2010 FIFA World Cup which will run from June 11- July 11, 2010. Eager to get your game on? There's still room at the inn at some of the country's finest hotels, including the family-run Red Carnation Collection. In fact, swank hotels like The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, and The Oyster Box are pulling out all the stops to make sure visitors get the most out of their South African getaway. With the "Stay Longer" promotion, you'll get an extra night on the house on all stays between four and seven nights-- a savings up to R4,428! Valid until September 30, 2010, "Stay Longer" is sadly not available on stays between June 11 - July 11, 2010. But you can still take advantage of this offer to extend your stay and discover a rich and diverse destination. Twelve Apostles has an incredible setting overlooking the mountains and Atlantic in Cape Town, while Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve is located in a spectacular Natural Heritage Site in the Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape, and the recently renovated Oyster Box-- named to the Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2010-- is located in Umhlanga Rocks near Durban.


The World’s Hottest New Hotels: Travel + Leisure’s New “It List 2010″

May 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoIt's our favorite time of year. Travel + Leisure has released their "It List 2010" of the 45 best new hotels in the world. The mag's esteemed editors have hand-picked the year's most exciting hotel debuts, to be revealed in the June issue which hits newsstands this month. What's especially cool to see: ten of the properties have room rates of less than $300 per night. Can't wait til May 21st to see the list? We've got the skinny:

UNITED STATES

Andaz Wall Street+ Bardessono, Yountville, California

+ St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

+ Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

+ Andaz Wall Street, New York, New York*

+ Crosby Street Hotel, New York, New York

+ Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

+ Waldorf Astoria, Park City, Utah

THE CARIBBEAN , MEXICO, AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

+ Viceroy Anguilla, Barnes Bay, Anguilla

+ Gansevoort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

+ W Santiago, Santiago, Chile*

+ Tcherassi Hotel & Spa, Cartagena, Colombia

+ Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Acapulco, Mexico

+ Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco, Mexico*

+ Las Alcobas, Mexico City, Mexico

EUROPE

+ Lime Wood, Hampshire, England*

+ Dean Street Townhouse, London, England*

+ InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau, Paris, France

+ La Réserve Ramatuelle, Ramatuelle, France

+ Heidelberg Suites, Heidelberg, Germany

+ Il Salviatino, Fiesole, Italy

+ Maison Moschino, Milan, Italy

+ Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Italy

+ Palazzina Grassi, Venice, Italy

+ Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, Spain

+ Hotel Consolaciόn, Teruel, Spain*

+ Argos in Cappadocia, Uchisar, Turkey*

ASIA

+ Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China

+ Upper House, Hong Kong, China

+ Peninsula Shanghai, Shanghai, China*

+ PuLi Hotel & Spa, Shanghai, China

+ Serai Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer, India

+ Raas, Jodhpur, India*

+ Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

+ Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay, Philippines

+ Capella Singapore, Sentosa Island, Singapore

+ Langham Place Samui at Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand*

+ Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand

AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, AUSTRALIA

+ Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

+ Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa, Ma’in, Jordan

+ Le Gray, Beirut, Lebanon

+ Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles

+ One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Taj Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+ Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Lithgow, Australia

*Property has starting room rates of $300/night, double, or less.


We List the World’s Best Restaurants

May 10, 2010
By: Ruthanne Terrero

The S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2010 is the result of an extensive poll of the world’s most celebrated chefs, renowned food critics, leading restaurateurs and well-traveled gourmands – collectively known as The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy...

1. Noma, Denmark

+45 3296 3297

http://www.noma.dk

2. El Bulli, Spain

+ 34 972 150 457

http://www.elbulli.com

3. The Fat Duck, UK

+44 (0) 1628 580 333

http://www.thefatduck.co.uk

4. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain

+34 972 22 21 57

http://www.cellercanroca.com

5. Mugaritz, Spain

+34 943 522 455

http://www.mugaritz.comx

6. Osteria Francescana, Italy

+39 (0)59 210 118

http://www.osteriafrancescana.it

7. Alinea, USA

+1 312-867-0110

http://www.alinea-restaurant.com

8. Daniel, USA

+1 212 288 0033

http://www.danielnyc.com

9. Arzak, Spain

+34 943 78456

http://www.arzak.es

10. Per Se, United States

+1212 823 9335

http://www.perseny.com

11. Le Chateaubriand, France

+33 (0)1 43574595

12. La Colombe, South Africa

+ 27 (0) 21 794 2390

http://www.constantia-uitsig.com

13. Pierre Gagnaire, France

+ 33 01 58 36 12 50

http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com

14. Hotel de Ville Switzerland

+41 21 634 0505

http://www.philippe-rochat.ch

15. Le Bernardin, USA

+1 212 554 1515

le-bernardin.com

16. L’Astrance, France

+33 1 40 50 84 40

http://www.lastrance.abemadi.com

17. Hof van Cleve, Belgium

+32 (0) 9 383 5848

http://www.hofvancleve.com

18. D.O.M., Brazil

+55 11 3088 0761

domrestaurante.com.br

19. Oud Sluis, Holland

+31 (0) 117-461269

http://www.oudsluis.nl

20. Le Calandre, Italy

+39 049 630303

http://www.alajmo.it

21. Steirereck, Austria

+43 (1) 713 31 68

http://www.steirereck.at/wien restaurant

22. Vendome, Germany

+49 (0) 22 04 42 1941

http://www.schlossbensberg.com

23. Chez Dominique, Finland

+ 358 9 612 7393

http://www.chezdominique.fi

24. Les Créations de Narisawa, Japan

+81 (3) 5785 0799

http://www.narisawa-yoshihiro.com

25. Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden

+46 (0) 8 679 35 84

http://www.mathiasdahlgren.com

26. Momofuku Ssam Bar, USA

+1 212 254-3500

http://www.momofuku.com

27. Quay, Australia

+ 61 (2) 9251 5600

http://www.quay.com.au

28. Iggy’s, Singapore

+65 6732 2234

http://www.iggys.com.sg

29. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, France

+33 1 42 225656

http://www.joel-robuchon.com

30. Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland

+41 81 632 10 80

http://www.schauenstein.ch

31. Le Quartier Francais, South Africa

+27 21 876 2151

http://www.lequartier.co.za

32. The French Laundry, USA

+1 707 944 2380

http://www.frenchlaundry.com

33. Martin Berasategui, Spain

+34 943 366 471

http://www.martinberasategui.com

34. Aqua, Germany

+49 5361 606056

http://www.restaurant-aqua.com

35. Combal Zero, Italy

+39 011 9565225

http://www.combal.org

36. Dal Pescatore, Italy

+39 (0)37 672 3001

http://www.dalpescatore.com

37. De Librije, Netherlands

+31 (0)38 4212083

http://www.librije.com

38. Tetsuya’s, Australia

+61 (2)9267 2900

http://www.tetsyuas.com

39. Jaan par Andre, Singapore

+65 6338 8585

http://www.swissotel.com/singapore-stamford

40. Il Canto, Italy

+39 (0)577 28 81 80

http://www.certosadimaggiano.com

41. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee,  France

+33 1 53 67 66 65

http://www.plaza-athenee-paris.com

42. Oaxen Krog, Sweden

+46 8 8 551 531 05

http://www.oaxenkrog.se

43. St John, UK

+44 020 7251 0848

http://www.stjohnrestaurant.com

44. La Maison Troisgros, France

+33 4 77 71 66 97

http://www.troisgros.fr

45. wd~50, USA

+1 212 477 2900

http://www.wd-50.com

46. Biko, Mexico

+52 55 5282 0722

http://www.biko.com.m

47. Die Schwarzwaldstube, Germany

+49 7442 4926

http://www.traube-tonbach.de

48. Nihonryori RyuGin, Japan

+81 3 3423 8006

http://www.nihonryori-ryugin.com

49. Hibiscus, UK

+44 020 7629 2999

http://www.hibiscusrestaurant.co.uk

50. Eleven Madison Park, USA

+1 212 889 090

http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com


The World’s Top Hotel Bars

April 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Artesian Bar, The Langham, LondonWho doesn't love hotel bars? These days they've become destinations in their own right. And present some of the finest opportunities for savoring the local nightlife-- from Tokyo's New York Bar (showcased in the film Lost in Translation) to London's chic Artesian Bar at The Langham (beautifully designed by David Collins Studio). A recent "Top 10" list in Bon Appetit touches on one of our favorite subjects. The magazine picks just 10 spots "offering memorable combinations of sublime cocktails, lovely views, and storied pasts." On the list? Lobby Bar at Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires, Bar Dos Descasados at Hotel Santa Teresa in Rio, M Bar at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Coburg Bar at The Connaught in London, Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris, The Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest, Hassler Bar at Hotel Hassler Roma, New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, O2 Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow and Bascule Whisky, Wine & Cocktail Bar at Cape Grace in Cape Town. For the full article, click here.


The World’s Hottest Hotels: Where to Stay Now

April 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmangiriConde Nast Traveler has released their annual Hot List 2010 "of the newest and most innovative hotels worldwide" and a quick browse is guaranteed to inspire wanderlust. Best of all: 42 hotels that made the cut have rooms costing under $250 a night. We were pleased to see a few of our faves make the list. In North America, for example: the Capella Pedregal, Crosby Street Hotel, The Allison, St. Regis Mexico City, Amangiri, The Jefferson, The Betsy, The Elysian, W South Beach, and Viceroy Snowmass...


Room Availability at Luxury Hotels for the South Africa World Cup

February 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Grace Hotel, Cape TownHeading to Cape Town for the 2010 World Cup? Still haven't booked your accommodations? High-end hotels are filling up fast, but we've got the scoop on what's still available. Though Cape Grace Hotel is reportedly 90 percent booked, there are still a few rooms up for the taking. Situated on its own private quay in the heart of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Grace offers 121 newly refashioned guest rooms and a spa with sweeping views of Table Mountain. You can also still nab a room at the five-star Table Bay Hotel on the V & A Waterfront. (Availability is limited; try 7 free rooms as of last week.) Our last recommendation? The swanky new Taj Cape Town located in the downtown area. But act fast, these rooms will be gone in a flash. Related Articles: Now Open in South Africa: The Taj Hotel Cape Town