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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.

Buzzworthy: Fairmont Comes to Beijing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beijing Summer Palace Beijing is welcoming a slew of new luxury hotels just in time for the 2008 Olympic Games. Just recently, Fairmont-- the iconic brand that got its start with the 1907 opening of that landmark Nob Hill establishment, Fairmont San Francisco-- announced plans to open a grand luxury hotel in the Chinese capital. This will be a welcome addition to the collection of fabled castles, secluded lodges, and modern retreats that dot North America and Europe. Fairmont will open this new 25-storey Beijing hotel in partnership with the Thailand-based Reignwood Group. Expect 235 classy guest rooms, restaurants and bars, and a 1,000 square meter Willow Stream Spa with fitness facilities and a swimming pool. Located downtown near landmarks like Tiananmen Square, the Fairmont Beijing is being designed by the Japan-based architectural firm Paul Tange & Associates.

Photo Via National Geographic


Buzzworthy: Philippe Starck and Adrian Zecha Design Cape Yamu in Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Yamu, Phuket Overlooking the limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, Cape Yamu is a new luxury development slated for Thailand's popular Phuket island. This elegant private community will be composed of beautiful villas with private access to a world-class spa, restaurant, and hotel services by GHM, the hotel management company operated by Amanresort's legendary founder, Adrian Zecha. Designed by Philippe Starck of YOO by Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy, celebrated for his work with Amanresorts, the development promises stunning design and architecture in an unrivaled setting. Construction has begun for the on-site five-star hotel called The Yamu. Set to open in 2008, the boutique hotel will have 61 guest rooms and two duplex suites, one of which will be attached to a state-of-the-art recording studio. Expect an 100-meter swimming pool, gorgeous spa, and restaurant and bar destined to be a Phuket hotspot.


The Fifth Amanresort Opens in Bhutan


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AmankoraThe best way to see the magical kingdom of Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon, is with Amanresorts. For centuries the Kingdom was closed to the outside world, and Amanresorts was the first foreign company allowed to open a series of properties throughout the different remarkable regions of Bhutan. Called Amankora, the luxurious lodges are nestled strategically through the pristine landscape, the perfect place to discover the ancient traditions of the mystical Himalayas. Beginning in October 2007, the Amankora experience will be extended east to Bumthang with an additional 16-suite lodge with a dining room, living room, library and spa. Follow the "peaceful pilgrimage" of Amankora and enjoy a circuitous journey from lodge to lodge, experiencing the very best of Bhutan along the way.


Surfs Up in the Maldives at Anantara Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Surfing Surfing in the Maldives? Who knew?! One of the premier luxury travel destinations in the world, the Maldives is known for its spectacular diving. But now guests of the Anantara Resort, the five-star hideaway spread across five acres of tropical terrain on Dhigufinolhu (island) on the South Male Atoll, can hit the waves as well. As of August 2007, the resort has partnered with award-winning Australian company Tropicsurf-- to offer an exciting range of surfing options including a 4-day coached course. Offshore from the perfect white sandy beaches and tropical lagoons, the aquamarine ocean gives way to perfectly groomed waves, sweeping over curved coral reefs. Both novices and serious thrill-seekers will enjoy the surf breaks of the Maldives. Video analysis is even on hand at the resort to improve each surfer's technique. The Four Day Surfing Course is priced at $695.


A Blast in Bangkok at The Metropolitan


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Metropolitan Bangkok Seeking style in the Thai capital? The Metropolitan Bangkok serves up high-octane glamour and a cool, contemporary east-west aesthetic. Here you'll find both a calming holistic spa and chic lounge bar that's the center of the action in Bangkok's urban hubbub. In fact, The Metropolitan Bangkok first established its partying reputation with one of the hottest New Year's Eve events the city has ever seen in 2003-- with headline DJs from all over the world. Sip a made-to-measure martini from the hotel's expert mixologists at the Met Bar, then relax on the pool terrace.


Langham Hotel Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to China


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel Hong Kong Helicopter tour of the city? A two-hour "Symphony of Lights" harbour cruise? Plus dinner for two at T'ang Court, rated one of the world's "top ten" hotel restaurants? Bring it on! The stylish Langham Hotel, fabulously high-tech after a lavish renovation, is offering the Decennial Celebration Package to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the mainland. To mark ten years after the historic transfer of sovereignty, the package features ten unique experiences and amenities to showcase the very best Hong Kong has to offer. Available until September 30, 2007 and fittingly priced at $1,997, the package includes: suite accommodation for two nights, airport transfers, a 15-minute helicopter tour, harbour cruise, daily breakfast, dinner for two at T'ang Court, daily HK $600 allowance for laundry, complimentary Internet, and complimentary use of the Langham Club lounge, featuring evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.


The Grand Debut of The Venetian Macao Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Venetian Macao Resort It's official. The Venetian Macao Resort, the sprawling, $2.8 billion, 3,000-suite mega hotel from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, opens today at 7:18 p.m. Special introductory rates start from just HK 1,088-- about $140 per night! This is just the beginning for the Sin City of China, which will see a bumper crop of luxury hotels sprouting up in this former Portuguese enclave on the mouth of the Pearl River, including a St. Regis, a Shangri-La, a Raffles, and a Conrad. And let's not forget the Wynn, which opened last year in this booming gaming capital.


Announcing the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Maldives The Maldives is almost bursting at the seams with swanky hotels. From the One & Only to the W Retreat and Spa, The Maldives are the islands du jour. Now Conrad has announced an exciting rebranding of the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa Rangali, which will move under the Conrad umbrella of luxury hotels starting December 18, 2007. Renowned for its attentive service and breathtaking natural beauty, the resort is an idyllic piece of paradise, situated on two islands enclosed by a coral reef and lagoon. Spa aficionados will be thrilled by the spas-- as there are two, one on each island, with different product ranges and philosophies. Experience sophisticated barefoot luxury at this romantic retreat. Dive and snorkel the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, take Pilates and yoga classes, plan an excursion island hopping on the resort's private yacht.


Shangri-La Opens CHI, The Spa in Guangzhou and Manila


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La CHI spas Shangri-La continues to raise the bar for Asian luxury hotels with the launch of CHI, The Spa at two additional properties. After successful launches in Bangkok, Beijing and Pudong Shanghai, the spa brand CHI will open in hotels in Guangzhou, China and Manila, The Philippines. Guests go gaga over the signature spa services inspired by Chinese and Himalayan healing philosophies, along with traditions associated with each specific hotel destination. In Manila, for example, the treatment menu features Hilot, a healing massage based on Filipino folk medicine, and Dagdagay, a traditional foot massage using bamboo sticks practiced by indigenous mountain tribes in the Philippines. The spa also offers rejuvenating body scrubs like the Himalayan Goji Red Berry Scrub and Tropical Coconut Scrub. CHI spas are tranquil retreats, modeled on the "spa within a spa concept" so that each private suite is a refuge in and of itself. Each suite offers herbal steam rooms, infinity baths with color therapy, rain showers, and vanity areas. The Lotus Pond is a striking architectural feature unique to CHI spas. As guests are led to their treatment suites they come to a serene pool adorned with dramatic, sculptural flora. (Pictured at right.)


Shangri-La Beijing Unveils New Spa and Valley Wing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing Let the countdown begin. There's a year to go before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and visitors are already eagerly plotting their trips to the Chinese capital. A good bet is the award-winning Shangri-La Hotel, recently renovated with a spectacular $50 million Valley Wing, contemporary restaurant Blu Lobster (with the most extensive selection of Bordeaux wines in the city), and CHI Spa, one of the most luxurious spa facilities in Beijing. Guests of the new Valley Wing enjoy an unparalleled level of service with chauffeur-driven limousines, exclusive check-in lounge, 24-hour butler service, and complimentary breakfast, snacks, wines and canapés in the grand Valley Wing Lounge. A landmark in the western part of the city close to the Summer Palace and the Beijing Exhibition hall, the Shangri-La also features a state-of-the-art health club with heated indoor pool and rooftop garden. Don't miss an excursion on the River Dragon, the exclusive touring boat moored at the hotel which offers four cruises daily to the Summer Palace, passing by old bridges, temples, and traditional Chinese courtyard houses on the riverbanks.

Pictured: The new treatment rooms at the CHI Spa. Each CHI suite features a changing area and rain shower, in addition to heat treatments, bathing and relaxation spaces. Inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies, CHI offers treatments and therapies that combine the healing rituals and traditions of China and the Himalayas.