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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.

Snow Deal in New Zealand: Special at the Luxurious Azur Lodge, Queenstown

July 20, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Azur LodgeHead to Queenstown for the Southern Hemisphere's best alpine and cross-country skiing. New Zealand's extreme sports capital isn't just the place to go for bungy jumping, skydiving, and jet boating; it's a thrilling four-season destination of impressive alpine beauty. So adrenaline hounds looking to get their winter fix should head south of the equator pronto for some prime skiing. The place to stay to appreciate the scenery and get royally pampered? Azur Lodge, one of the world's finest luxury lodges, comprising nine villas perched on a hilltop outside Queenstown, featuring uninterrupted vistas of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables range, and Cecil Peak. Designed in silver beechwood and stone, the expansive private villas have lounge areas with fireplaces, outside decks, plasma screen TVs with a DVD/CD stereo system by Denon, 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and in-room aromatherapy oil burners with a selection of essential oils. Included in your rates: daily breakfast, small delights during the day, and canapés in the evening. Get a great value with the "Snow Deal," available until October 30, 2010 at Azur Lodge. Stay for a minimum of 5 nights in your own luxurious villa (accommodation for two people), experience Queenstown in all its winter glory, and pay only NZ$4000 (plus the Goods & Services Tax). The regular rate for 5 nights is $5000 + GST. You'll also enjoy airport transfers and transfers to/from Queenstown.


Pacific Paradise: St. Regis Bora Bora Resort Gets a Makeover

July 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Regis Bora BoraAfter a devastating cyclone season in February in French Polynesia, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort suffered some gnarly storm damage. But now-- after a big makeover-- the resort is back, ready for the summer season. Some of the finest accommodations in the South Pacific, the beach and overwater villas have been restored to their former splendor, their private pools boasting new glass tiles. With direct access to Bora Bora's powdery sands and turquoise waters, these digs are coveted by Hollywood stars (like Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Eva Longoria, and Tim Allen). Tastefully designed in exotic woods and marble, these villas also come with personal butler service. The resort's revamp includes a spa facelift, new Polynesian artwork around the main pool, and resculpted beaches.

PS. This is where the Vince Vaughn comedy, Couples Retreat, was filmed.


Sex and the City Mania Continues: Sip a Champagne Cocktail at Shangri-La Sydney’s Blu Bar

June 2, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel SydneyDespite the horrific unflattering reviews, "Sex and the City 2" continues to rake in millions at the box office. And Carrie Bradshaw-inspired hotel packages are taking the world by storm-- in Manhattan, of course, but also circling the globe. Case in point: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney-- the top-notch hotel smack dab in the heart of the historic Rocks district-- is offering Sex and the City themed cocktails at its Blu Bar on 36, the chic watering hole known for its stellar views and sky high cocktails. Moët & Chandon has designed four drinks inspired by Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha called (what else?) The Fashionista, The Socialite, The Bombshell and The Player, which will be served up until June 27, 2010. Get your drink on and toast the return of your favorite leading ladies. $25 each. Official drink descriptions below:

The Fashionista is a combination of punchy seduction and romanticism with a touch of pomegranate and is accessorized with a rose petal. The Socialite is undeniably sweet with notes of elderflower and brown sugar. The Player is a complex combination of citrus and ginger. The Bombshell is a bold pairing of the classic bitterness of cherry with the vibrancy and sweet flare of tangerine.


Bound for Bali: 4th Night Free at the St. Regis Resort

May 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Resort BaliA blue lagoon and soft, sandy beaches... The setting for the first St. Regis resort in the Asia Pacific region is striking. In fact, you may feel so romantically inspired by the oceanfront panoramas that you rush over to the resort's Cloud 9 Wedding Chapel for an impromptu ceremony. Situated next to the Bali Golf & Country Club in the enclave of Nusa Dua, the St. Regis Bali is all about barefoot elegance. The 123 suites and villas are incredibly spacious, creating the feeling of a lavish private residence, where private butlers attend to your every whim. Boasting balconies and sprawling marble bathrooms, each of the accommodations is decorated with handcrafted Balinese art to reflect the vibrant culture of the region. Head to the resort's Water Sports Center to go snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, then savor seductive treatments at the Remède Spa.

St. Regis Resort BaliWith the "Taste of Luxury" package, lucky guests get a complimentary 4th night when staying for three consecutive nights. You'll also be treated to the following perks:

*A warm welcome with "Airport Arrival Assistance" (international arrivals only)

*Transfers to/from the airport in a luxurious limousine

*Pressing of five pieces per person (only on the day of arrival)

*A sumptuous breakfast at Boneka continental restaurant each morning

*Complimentary High Speed Broadband/WiFi in-room as well as complimentary WiFi in the resort

Rate start from USD500 per night; the offer is valid until December 25, 2010.


Gourmet and Golf Special: Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua in Rotorua, New Zealand

May 20, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebuaAs far as luxury lodges go, Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua is tops. With just three ultra-luxe suites to accommodate a family, couple, or group, the estate provides an exclusive escape surrounded by Rotorua's gorgeous scenery. Despite its small number of guest rooms, the lodge has every conceivable amenity: massage room, 24-hour butler/concierge, private chef, climate-controlled wine cellar, gym, private jetty, even a helipad. Soak up the luxury at the "World's Best Country House" (World Luxury Hotel Awards 2009) with a special package designed to combine both recreational pursuits and gourmet adventures. Sip beautiful wines while watching a private cooking demo from your personal chef. The next day, play a round of golf on a course famous for fairways flanked by steaming hot lakes and boiling mud pools. The "Gourmet and Golf" luxury package can be booked between June 1- June 30, 2010 for arrivals between June 2010 through September 30 2011. Priced from $6990 in a Garden Suite, the package includes:

Lake Okareka Lodge by lebua

* 3 nights luxury lakeside suite accommodation for two

* Breakfast, pre-dinner drinks, canapés and five course degustation dinner prepared by your personal chef

* 24 hour personal butler service

* Return transfers between Rotorua International Airport and lodge

* Use of all lodge recreational facilities

* Access to high speed wireless internet

* Personal cooking demonstration by lodge chef

* A round of golf at Rotorua Golf Club including, transfers, club hire and green fees


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.


I Dream of Fiji: Extra Value at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa

April 21, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and SpaSouth Pacific, here we come. Shangri-La's got a hideaway on Fiji's private Yanuca Island that's got our name on it. Get this: The 109-acre idyll of sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons is totally secluded, and the resort is committed to protecting the natural environment with a slew of conservation programs like the Yanuca Marine Protected Area, a model site for coral reef development. Appealing to both couples and families alike, Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa offers helicopter transfers, CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La (said to be the finest on Fiji), children's activities, even a business center for those who can't unplug while on vacay. When you book a stay for three nights or more and choose the BonusChoice offer, the resort will give you a choice of freebies on the house. Enjoy one of the following value-added benefits, in addition to complimentary Internet access, daily buffet breakfast and late check-out till 4pm:

* Arrival airport transfer

* Departure airport transfer

* Daily buffet dinner at hotel cafe

* Triple bonus airline frequent flyer mileage


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...


Easter Break in Bali from $398 with Brunch at the Anantara Seminyak Resort

March 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Seminyak BaliPlan your getaway to one of the world's most beautiful beaches. Perched on Bali's most sought-after stretch of shore, the Anantara Seminyak Resort offers two infinity-edge swimming pools overlooking the Indian Ocean, gourmet restaurants, and an unparalleled spa experience at the Anantara Spa. Did we mention the rooftop terrace bar for ogling the famous Seminyak sunsets? Claim this little piece of paradise as your own and book a stay for Easter. Soak up the island's rich cultural spirit and idyllic setting, and get treated to sumptuous breakfasts, including a celebratory Easter brunch. The three-night "Ultimate Easter Weekend" includes three nights in a suite, daily breakfast and Easter brunch, a speical Easter turndown service, and complimentary return airport transfers by limousine van. From $398 in an Anantara Suite.


What’s Hot: The Beach House Maldives Joins Waldorf Astoria Collection

March 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beach House Maldives

The Waldorf Astoria Collection-- which comprises swank properties like the Trianon Palace Versailles, the Arizona Biltmore Resort, and Casa Marina in Key West-- has just added a new star to its luxury hotel portfolio. And the setting couldn't be any more gorgeous. Fringed by sugary white beaches and lagoons, the Haa Alifu Atoll is the northernmost island in the Maldives. The first Indian Ocean property for Waldorf Astoria, the Beach House Maldives officially joined the collection on March 1, 2010. Each of the resort's 83 villas comes with a private pool, outdoor dining area, and a butler. Sprawling across 35 leafy acres, the resort offers recreational activities galore-- from an 18-hole golf simulator to a water sports center from where you snorkel and dive and discover the Maldives' world-famous sealife.