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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.

Hail Caesars! The New Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace Las Vegas

December 13, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Earlier this fall, Caesars Palace began accepting reservations for its newest Las Vegas property, the luxurious Octavius Tower set to open on January 2, 2012. The tower features 668 rooms, 60 suites and 6 luxury villas. The resort's sixth tower will offer a unique luxurious resort experience with a private entrance, separate hotel lobby and direct access to the Garden of the Gods pool oasis and gardens. 

Octavius Tower at Caesars Las Vegas

From the press release: Guest rooms start at 550 square-feet, and offer a modern, luxurious decor incorporating earthy shades of browns, grays, taupes and beiges, offset with pops of green and splashes of deep red. Designed by Michael Medeiros of KNA Design, the rooms feature marble floors and stylish patterned carpets that complement dark wood furnishings and brushed chrome fixtures. King-sized beds with sleek headboards, plush pillow top mattresses and luxurious Anichini linens provide ultimate comfort, while living areas create an inviting ambiance with plush velvet sofas, contemporary chairs and chic stone tables. Dark wood desks with granite overlays offer an ample workspace with custom cabinetry containing a premium mini bar. Accommodations include framed 42-inch flat panel, high-definition television screens, convenient media hubs with multiple outlets for easy connectivity, and bedside docking stations with iPod capabilities.

"The Octavius Tower is going to be a unique, luxurious experience," said D'Anna Malbrough, senior manager of partner marketing, Caesars Entertainment. "It has its own private entrance, a separate lobby, and will have the most direct access to the Garden of the Gods pool oasis. The rooms are all 550 square feet with all upgraded amenities. It is our sixth hotel tower, so we’re going to hit just under 4,000 rooms."

This marks the first step in Caesars' efforts to modernize its presence on the Las Vegas Strip. "Compared to the Augustus Tower, Octavius is a more boutique experience," said Malbrough. "You can be in a massive hotel but not feel like it."

High-tech amenities will also appeal to younger, more tech-savvy travelers.  

"With the iPad and iPod Touch, you'll be able to do things like order room service or even check out of your room," said Malbrough. "We're also opening the first Nobu hotel next year, which is a very exciting project that will complement and enhance the Octavius Tower."

Also In Time for the Holidays:

The Venetian Las Vegas and Cantor Gaming have opened the new race and sports book at The Venetian after the completion of a three-month multimillion dollar refurbishment project. It is equipped with the world's largest high-definition 4mm black video screens dedicated to multiple sports games and races.

A New Year's Eve gala will celebrate the grand opening of Hyde Bellagio, a new luxury lounge and nightclub at Bellagio. This spectacular 10,000-square-foot, indoor/outdoor venue is the first nightlife venture in Las Vegas by the award-winning SBE Entertainment Group.

This article was originally written for our sister publication: Travel Agent Central


Winter Thaw: Get a Spa Credit at Renaissance Aruba Resort

November 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Renaissance Aruba ResortBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, meaning Christmas is right around the corner. If you're feeling a little Scrooge-like about the holiday season (bah humbug!), a dose of Caribbean sunshine may do wonders for your outlook. Get thee to Aruba for some sun, sand, and maybe a little casino gambling, and you'll return to the winter weather with a spring in your step. Awarded four AAA diamonds, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is nestled on a 40-acre island paradise with the only private beach in Aruba. The exclusive Okeanos Spa Cove promises the ultimate in rejuvenation (just try the "Spice of Life Sampler"). To make sure you take advantage of the indulgent spa, the resort is currently offering the "Pure Magic Spa" deal where they'll throw in a $100 spa credit with your four-night stay. Rates from $189 per night.


Best of the Best: Iguazú Grand Resort Spa & Casino is the Best Luxury Casino Hotel in 2011

November 2, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We’d like to welcome you to our new blog series, Best of the Best, where we’ll be featuring the best and most luxurious resorts in various categories. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards, so you can relax and stop worrying about your upcoming trip, knowing that it truly will be the best of the best.

The Iguazú Grand Resort Spa & Casino received the Best Luxury Casino Hotel in 2011 title, and it is located 10 minutes away from the Iguazú Falls National Park, straddling the border of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. This resort has 34 gambling tables for Roulette, Black Jack, and Poker, 200 modern slot machines with progressive prizes, video games, video slot machines, electronic roulette, traditional slot machines, 10 electric terminals of traditional Roulette, and much more. Aside from being the best luxury casino hotel, this resort also offers three multilevel outdoor swimming pools, access to exotic gardens, and the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Don’t forget your lucky socks, and head over to the best luxury casino hotel of 2011.


Spend 11/11/11 in Las Vegas: Extravagant $11,111 Package at the Hard Rock Hotel

October 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Get in on the 11/11/11 hype with a jaunt to Las Vegas. It's a once-in-a-lifetime date so why not splurge at the Hard Rock? The resort and casino has orchestrated an over-the-top experience for music lovers that they're aptly calling the "Extravagant Package." This special offer, only available for two nights (Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13), includes a two-night stay in the Paradise Platinum Penthouse, a multi-course menu (lobster and steak and truffles, oh my!) at the newly-opened 35 Steaks + Martinis steakhouse, VIP tickets to watch one of Carlos Santana’s three encore performances at The Joint, signature treatments at Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa, a VIP table with bottle service at the upscale Vanity Nightclub and one-of-a-kind photography prints from the Hard Rock Store. The price tag? $11,111.


Mandarin Oriental Hits the Suite Spot: Best Suites for Families and Groups

October 19, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Whether you’re planning a family vacation, reunion with old friends, or an unforgettable bachelor/bachelorette party, the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas has the best and most luxurious suites to fit your specific needs. This luxury hotel is running a November special, so make your plans now, and get ready for an incredible weekend getaway to Sin City.

One of the most coveted suites the Mandarin Oriental has to offer is the Apex Suite, and it’s located on the highest floors and at the apex point of the building. If you’re looking for an unforgettable night on the town, consider the Apex Suite overlooking the Strip. If you’re more interested in exploring the unique culture Las Vegas has to offer, consider choosing the Apex Suite overlooking the architecture of CityCenter. The bedroom in the Apex Suites has two glass walls converging, giving two contrasting views of the room, while the private dining area is equipped with a bar and a separate entrance so you will not be disturbed by dinner preparations. Aside from an incredible view and incredible layout, the Apex Suite also comes equipped with plug and play iPod/video docking station, a DVD player and stereo bar with subwoofer system, a large screen TV, a valet closet for delivery without disruption, and so much more. With 1,625 – 2,125 square feet of space and $1,984 per night, for weekend nights in November, you’ll be ready for whatever Las Vegas throws your way!


Winter in Venice: $149 Rates at The Venetian and The Palazzo, Las Vegas

October 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The VenetianThis holiday season, how about winter in Venice? Not Italy, but the Las Vegas Strip! The Venetian and The Palazzo are putting on a one-of-a-kind celebration that they say will be the "most majestic winter wonderland Las Vegas has ever seen." The five-diamond resorts will transform into a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink above The Venetian's outdoor Grand Canal-- complete with snowflakes, strung holiday lights, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree perched atop the Doge's Palace fountain. While you stroll around, you'll be entertained by a colorful cast of characters: magicians, carolers, puppets, jugglers, and candy cane stilt walkers. Enjoy seasonal treats like eggnog cupcakes, warm apple cider, spiced cocktails, and hot chocolate. And to cap off each day, you’ll be in for a treat: a "spectacular light show performance beyond your wildest imagination." Winter in Venice will take place from November 21, 2011- January 8, 2012. Special package rates are available for $149 per night in a luxury suite, two-night minimum required, with a bunch of add-ons included (hot chocolate for two, skate rentals, $40 off seasonal spa treatments).


MGM in Mumbai: Bellagio and MGM Grand Hotels Head to India

October 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bellagio, Las VegasYou heard that right. MGM Hospitality is developing Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Skylofts hotels in Mumbai, India. They'll be located in the Maker Maxity mixed-use development complex in Bandra-Kurla Complex. As quoted in the official press release, the CEO of MGM Hospitality, Gamal Aziz, wants to blend Mumbai's culture and personality into the architecture and style of the properties. "The proximity to Bollywood and the affluent Bandra neighborhood provides a perfect setting for the confluence of energy, indulgence and luxury that the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts hotels will bring to the destination." They're promising all kinds of goodies for the international business traveler, along with world-class nightlife, restaurants, meeting venues, and entertainment. But what's the word on gambling? Will there be a Vegas-style casino for Mumbai's highrollers?

Pictured: The Bellagio in Las Vegas.


World Luxury Hotel Awards Declare Best Luxury Hotels of 2011

September 28, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

The 2011 World Luxury Hotel Awards have announced their Global Winners across a variety of categories, and we’re confident that each of these hotels represents the finest in luxury accommodations. We'll be spotlighting many of these individually in the coming weeks and offering our critical commentary, but for now, take a look at the winners such as the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, winning Best Luxury Hotel overall, and the Sandals Royal Plantation, the Best Luxury Island Resort.

Click here to check out the full list of best hotels, listed alphabetically by location so you can find the names of the top hotels in your vacation spot of choice, and search here if you're interested in booking any of the top hotels of 2011.


Wild, Wild West: Blacktomato Offers Luxury Frontier Package

September 21, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Tanque Verde Ranch

Think back to childhood. Picture yourself chasing after your friends, finger cocked into the shape of a pistol. “Bang, bang. I got you! You’re dead!” you’d yell, but your friends would never just fall down. They’d have a million reasons why not: “You missed me!” or “I’ve got armor!” or “I’m superman – bullets don’t hurt me!” or “Nuh uh!” You probably wrestled a bit until Mom told you to come inside and have your dinner already, it was getting cold.

Remember that? Now you get a chance to bring those childhood afternoons spent playing "Cowboys and Indians" to life. Blacktomato has created a 12-night luxury tour to showcase the modern Wild West adventure. Travel the edge of the Grand Canyon, wrangle cattle, and visit the most awe-inspiring of desert oases. It’s so authentic you might forget when you’re out in the wilds that you’re not spending your nights in a small, sweltering tent, but instead getting refreshed and rejuvenated at some of the world’s most prestigious hotels. They suggest, as we do, that you spend at least part of your stay at the Amangiri, a secluded resort so built to blend into the landscape that you’ll think it’s a mirage. Unlike most vacation packages, which offer you a set itinerary, Blacktomato recognizes that you want to take control of your own destiny, and their 12-night package is nothing more than a suggestion for things to see and do as you explore the western frontier:

  •  • Begin at Las Vegas and experience the strip in all its neon-bathed glory.
  •  • Leave the city to explore the rugged, scenic vistas of the Grand Canyon.
  •  • Continue on to the hidden desert oasis of Amangiri.
  •  • Experience the majestic red rock formations at the Enchantment Resort.
  •  • Live the life of a cowboy at the Tanque Verde Ranch.

Blacktomato will work with you to craft the perfect journey through America’s wildest of regions, and trust us; you can’t go wrong.


The Emperor's New Groove: Caesars Palace Opens New Tower

September 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV

As TravelAgentCentral reports, Caesars Palace is beginning to take reservations for its new 668-room tower, and its accommodations are certainly befitting an imperial residence.  The Octavius Tower, named after the given name of the Emperor Caesar Augustus, keeps with the Roman theme with elegant, austere marble floors made warm and inviting by extensive traditionally patterned carpets.

As with any good Roman palace, the rooms feature flat-screen tvs and plush velvet sofas.  In lieu of the more period-accurate public baths, however, private bathrooms feature whirlpool bathtubs and glass-enclosed showers.  

For a public space, the Tower expansion offers the appropriately understated Garden of the Gods, a pool and garden area perfect for lounging around as you munch on a bit of ambrosia.

So next time you’re looking to go to Vegas, go check out the new addition to Caesars Palace (laurel wreath not included).