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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.

Last Day to Book Starwood’s Global Holiday Sale

November 15, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel President Wilson, GenevaThe big two-week global sale from Starwood Hotels & Resorts is coming to an end. Act fast to score savings of up to 30% on best available rates this holiday season across all nine Starwood brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element. The offer is valid for stays between November 4, 2010 and January 17, 2011 at more than 750 hotels and resorts worldwide; valid at participating hotels over weekends and at participating resorts all days of the week.

Pictured: The world-renowned Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, part of the Luxury Collection.


Travel Trends: Personalized Hotel Rooms

November 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grace Hotel, SydneyA hotel in Sydney is making waves in the travel industry with a unique new offering: customized hotel rooms. From the pillows to the lampshades, the choice is yours when it comes to designing your ultimate hideaway at the historic Grace Hotel. According to the News online, the Art Deco hotel now offers 10 personalized guest rooms priced at $400 a night - about twice as much as a standard room at the hotel:

When guests call to make a reservation for one of the rooms they are asked if they are travelling for business or pleasure, their favourite flavour, favourite colour and which type of pillow they prefer. There are also given three different room layouts to choose from. One room is designed to suit couples with a large semi-built-in bathtub and rain shower, while the second is more for business travellers. It doesn't have a bath but it has a wall separating the bed from the lounge area, which has two chairs if you want to have a small meeting and you can plug your laptop into the TV for presentations. The third layout has a large, open-plan feel for longer stay guests with a wardrobe in the spacious bathroom. If you like the layout, but not the lounge, staff will just swap it with one from another room.

Guests can also choose their furniture and brand of toiletries.


W Retreat and Spa Bali Gets Ready to Wow Seminyak with a 24-Hour Spa

September 14, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Retreat and Spa Bali- SeminyakGet ready, Bali. W Hotels and Resorts is prepping the opening of its latest "retreat" on the beach in Seminyak, the popular ex-pat hang-out full of hot restaurants and clubs. Expect lots of W signatures when the resort opens on December 15, 2010: a SWEAT fitness center, a hip bar (three levels of fun in the sun with creative cocktails and a DJ spinning tunes), and Whatever/Whenever service. (Want a star-lit dinner on a private beach? Your wish is their command!) The guest rooms and villas look positively swank- with a sleek design and private pools. Buzz: The new W Retreat and Spa Bali is introducing a never-before-seen concept: the 24-hour spa. So you can revitalize any hour of the day or night. Treatments are decadent. Think a fresh Lime Margarita massage, Diamond Dust Body Polish & Pure GOLD wrap.


The World’s Best Hotel Views (from the Bathroom)

September 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Twelve Apostles Hotel and SpaSure, five-star hotels like The Peninsula Tokyo, The Carlyle in Manhattan, and the French Riviera's Palais de la Mediterranee have some pretty awesome views from their rooms. But their bathrooms often take advantage of these spectacular vistas, too. ABC News Travel has published a round-up of the world's best hotel bathroom views. (And they're not talking about views of your fellow guest through peekaboo baths!) On the list: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town (pictured), "standing at the very edge of the Atlantic"; the Soneva Kiri by Six Senses in Thailand, featuring "private outdoor bathrooms that have plenty of star-gazing space and outdoor bathing facilities"; The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, whose 80 overwater villas have guest baths with panoramic windows overlooking the lagoon; the Hotel Caesar Augustus in Capri sitting on a cliff 1,000 feet above the sea.


The World’s Best Romantic Hotels

August 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Capella SingaporeLooks like we're in the mood today for Top 10 lists. (But who can't help but fall for them?) Scouring the globe for the most romantic rendez-vous spots, Reuters Life recently published a hand-picked selection of the most seductive spots worldwide. On the list: La Réserve Ramatuelle in St Tropez, Eagles Nest in New Zealand, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Nha Trang, Vietnam, The Standard in NYC, Uma Ubud in Bali, and Capella Singapore, the "seductive getaway on tropical Sentosa Island" which "puts a fresh spin on a stay in this buzzy southeast Asian city." Here are some tips on getting in the mood for love: Book a Constellation room which comes with an alfresco terrace tub with South China Sea views, then try a lunar cycle-inspired treatment at the swanky Auriga spa.

Related Article:

Get Fit: Boot Camp at La Réserve Ramatuelle, St. Tropez


Bali Escape, “Eat, Pray, Love” Style, at Jimbaran Puri Resort

August 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jimbaran Puri  BaliAre you smitten with "Eat, Pray, Love"? You're not alone. Since the August 13 release of the film starring Julia Roberts-- based on the best-selling book and guaranteed to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer-- "Eat, Pray, Love" fever is gripping the nation. If you're inspired to fall in love with Bali, and maybe follow in author Elizabeth Gilbert's footsteps and find yourself a hunky Javier Bardem lookalike, book a stay at Jimbaran Puri, an Orient-Express resort set on the talcum-powder sand of one of Bali's most beautiful beaches. A true romantic hideaway, this Balinese retreat offers a spa where you can get a massage by the sea and an excellent beachside restaurant perfect for sunset viewing. Book the "Bali Escape" to kick back and discover the best of the island. Including your very own tailor-made full-day private tour with a personal driver and a visit to the Uluwatu Temple and a Kecak dance, the package also includes daily breakfast buffet for two, one dinner for two per stay at the Nelayan restaurant, one-way airport transfer, free wireless Internet access, and daily complimentary bottled water and fresh tropical fruit in your room. Three-night minimum stay required.


Buzzworthy: Australia’s Hayman Island Resort to Open New Beachfront Villas

August 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hayman Island ResortOne of the dreamiest spots on earth? Hayman Island, the private island resort located in Australia's Whitsunday Islands, nestled between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by coral fringed beaches. In addition to offering an abundance of Great Barrier Reef adventures (think jaunts by helicopter and seaplane), this exclusive resort is home to one of the largest swimming pools in the Southern Hemisphere. The news down under: Hayman Island will be opening new luxury beachfront villas in December. According to Conde Nast Traveller magazine, the villas will be designed by acclaimed architect Kerry Hill, each with its own private pool: "Located on the white-sand shores of Hayman Beach, the villas will offer uninterrupted views of the beautiful Coral Sea and make the most of the stunning location with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and pretty patios facing the sea." What a way to celebrate 60 years as one of the world's leading resorts!

Related Article:

The World's Best Hotels with a View


The World’s Best Up and Coming Hotels

August 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James ChicagoIn its August 2010 issue, Travel + Leisure highlights "20 to Watch: 2010's Best Up-and-Coming Hotels," many of which can be found in the Five Star Alliance collection. Predicting "the next hottest hotels around the globe," Travel + Leisure scoured the globe "to pick out this year's new and refurbished, expanding, or otherwise evolving hotels." What the magazine's editors found: domestic hotels are raising the bar, with fantastic luxury hotels in the United States and Canada. So without further ado, here's the list:

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires

Amangiri, Utah

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Four Seasons Beirut

The James Chicago

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

The Peninsula Chicago

The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel

Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan, Paris

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, London

Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, India

Veranda Resort, Turks & Caicos

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia

Destination Spa: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu , Malibu, California


“Eat, Pray, Love” Fever: Packages at Bali Hotels like Ubud Hanging Gardens

July 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ubud Hanging GardensFirst it was the book. A fixture on the New York Times Best Seller List, selling over seven million copies worldwide, Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" was a smash hit, inspiring countless individuals to consider copying the author's soul-seeking voyage around the world- from Italy to India to Indonesia. Now there's a film adaptation starring Julia Roberts, and "Eat, Pray, Love" mania has infected the population. Balinese hotels are getting in on the action, catering to folks seeking to recreate Gilbert's trip. Case in point: the "Eat, Pray, Love" package at Ubud Hanging Gardens, the luxurious Orient-Express property that's not far from Bali's cultural capital of Ubud, perched above the rice terraces overlooking the Ayung River gorge. Subject to availability and with a two-night minimum required, the package includes:

  * One way airport transfer

* Balinese welcome drink

* Daily breakfast buffet for two

* One Balinese dinner at a Hindu temple followed by a blessing ceremony at the Holly Water Temple

* Love candle gift

* Use of mountain bikes

* Shuttle to Ubud centre (on schedule)

* Complimentary daily afternoon tea, bottled water and daily fresh tropical fruit in room

* Free Internet access


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.