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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.

Travel Faves and Nightmares for 2008

December 26, 2008
By: Ruthanne Terrero

We hear that nearly 30 percent of travelers identified the Cannes Film Festival as the event to which they would most like to travel to in 2009, according to results of a year-end survey of more than 200 travelers conducted on behalf of travel insurance provider Travel Guard. Closely trailing the Cannes Film Festival was the upcoming presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. (22 percent wish to be witness to history in 2009). Destinations and events, including the Amazon River region (15 percent) and the Super Bowl in Tampa, FL (10 percent) followed Cannes and the inauguration. The survey also found that, with checked-baggage costs as high as $50, 52 percent of responding travelers bragged that they could get four or more days worth of clothing into a carry-on, while 33 percent responded they could cram three days' worth. Fifteen percent could only get two or fewer days or in their carry-on. Meanwhile, 44 percent of survey respondents reported that their "longest airport layover" lasted six hours or more; another 15 percent have spent "days" on a layover. After spending so much time in airline terminals in 2008, travelers were easily able to identify the "worst travel offenders" they encountered: the "airline-chair kicker/grabber" (30 percent); the "loud cell-phone talker" (23 percent) and the perennially high-ranking "crying baby" (21 percent). Travel Guard's year-end survey also found vacationers have strong opinions on how to navigate airports in 2009. In a contest between the "tram" and the "moving walkway," at busy and spacious O'Hare Airport, a broad majority of travelers (64 percent) would opt for the tram. Finally, travelers are still looking for the perfect getaway and want to avoid travel mishaps made famous by their fave travel films. According to the survey, 28 percent said the "vacation-gonewrong" travel nightmare they would most want to avoid was that of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, while Weekend at Bernie's (17 percent) came in second. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and North by Northwest rounded out the survey.


Luxuriate in Argentina for Half the Price

December 17, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Discover Buenos Aires at all the luxury but half the price. From now until March 31, 2009, when you stay at the Park Tower Buenos Aires, you can enjoy the hotel named to the Condé Nast Traveler 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Hot Lists for 50 percent off. (It's also a 2004 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice award winner and named to Travel & Leisure's World's Best 500 Hotels 2007.) Park Tower Buenos Aires Here's the fine print: Stay one night, and the second night is 50 percent off. This special deal applies to rates that are prepaid and non-refundable. Park Tower Buenos Aires boasts an ideal location in the heart of the city, a state-of-the art gym, 181 spacious Biedermeier-influenced guest rooms and suites, the gourmet St. Regis Restaurant, and personal butlers to provide exceptional, exclusive service.


The World’s Best New Years Eve Parties: Watch the Fireworks in Rio at the Copacabana Palace

December 1, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Copacabana PalaceDon't miss one of the best parties in the world. Rio de Janeiro goes off for New Year's Eve. (Carnaval may be the world's biggest party, but the Brazilians bring their whimsy and flair to December 31st as well.) The place to be to witness the magnificent fireworks display is Copacabana Palace, the legendary hotel situated on the sand of the world-famous beach in the middle of all the action. From your glamorous room, look out from the balcony at the crowds of revelers celebrating the arrival of 2009. The Copacabana Palace has put together some four-, five-, and six-night packages which include buffet breakfast, airport transfers, and complimentary access to the fitness center, tennis court, and spa.


The World’s 50 Best New Hotels from Forbes Traveler: St. Regis Bali, Chicago’s Trump International Hotel, and More

November 6, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump ChicagoThe results are in. Forbes Traveler put together a board of 400 experts to name the world's up and coming hotspots and best new hotels. On the list? The Four Seasons chain managed to make a splash with the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, and the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche offers the best of the south of France. St. Regis also scored two spots on the list with the St. Regis Singapore and St. Regis Bali. The Fasano Hotel in Rio also garners praise. And closer to home, Chicago's Trump International Hotel and Tower is getting lots of rave reviews, "slated to become one of Chicago's most desirable addresses."


Jumeirah Group Keeps Growing, and Growing, and Growing…

October 23, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al ArabSome hotel companies may be feeling the pinch of a down economy, but not Jumeirah. The Dubai-based hotel group, famous for its seven-star Burj Al Arab (pictured), has just announced they have 19 hotels under development. They're bringing their signature brand of hospitality to Asia and South America, and expect to have 60 properties, or about 25,000 rooms, either in operation or under development by 2012. Our friends at the Luxury Insider highlight the five new hotels and resorts-- Jumeirah Bali Resort in Indonesia, Jumeirah Maldives Resort in the South Malé Atoll, Jumeirah Al Salam Resort in Bahrain, Jumeirah Al Salam Yiti Resort in Oman, and Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel in Kuwait-- all scheduled to open within the next three years.


Mandarin Oriental’s Mexican Romance

October 23, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Mandarin Oriental Riviera Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, Mexico has just announced a special package designed to bring out the romance in any couple. Now through December 19, 2008, couples can enjoy "Romance in Mexico." The deal includes a chauffeur-driven ride to the Mayan resort, champagne and strawberries, joint spa treatments, and a a private dinner in a luxury outdoor style Palapa overlooking the lagoon with the sights and sounds of the Mayan Jungle.

A four night stay is required, and you'll also get a full daily breakfast, room upgrade, and the one-hour Temazcal Ceremony, designed to blend the ancient Mayan ritual with beautiful natural surroundings. Rates for this getaway begin at $4,980.


Summertime with the Family in Patagonia at Llao Llao Resort

October 10, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Llao Llao Resort, PatagoniaWinter in our neck-of-the-woods translates to summertime in the southern hemisphere, so why not head south where the dollar is still strong against the Argentine peso? Patagonia beckons with some of the finest scenery in the world: crystal clear lakes and the snow-capped Andean peaks. You can gape at this awe-inspiring panorama from the floor-to-ceiling windows in one of the best resorts in South America: Llao Llao resort, perched at the gateway to a national park. The facilities are swanky (18-hole golf course, superb spa, heated infinity pool) and there are numerous outdoor recreational activities--from treks to kayaking. Book the "Summertime with the Family" package and you'll enjoy accommodations in a standard room in the Bustillo building, round-trip airport transfers, daily buffet breakfast, and free access to the health club and sauna. Priced from $315 per night from January 4-February 28, 2009, and $243 per night from March 1- June 30, 2009. Three night minimum stay required.

PS. We hear they offer tango lessons!


Get Picked Up in Buenos Aires by The Claridge Hotel

October 10, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Claridge Buenos AiresTravel the 21 miles from Ezeiza International Airport in comfort and style. Book now through December 31, 2008 at the Claridge Hotel Buenos Aires and you can take advantage of a special rate that includes pick-up service in a private car. The special also includes an American buffet breakfast, free access to the outdoor heated swimming pool, sauna, and gym, complimentary internet access in the business center, cellular phone with free incoming calls, and a complimentary daily newspaper.

Claridge Hotel Buenos Aires is centrally located in the midst of the business, banking, and entertainment districts. The 1946 traditional boutique hotel was remodeled in 2004 and has 152 rooms and 6 suites. Claridge Hotel Buenos Aires is a traditional alternatives for tourist and business travelers who look for a five star hotel in Buenos Aires that make them feel as comfortable as in their own home.


The Jumeirah Culu Culu Polo Lifestyle Resort, Argentina: The World’s First Equestrian Estate and Resort

September 23, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Culu Culu Polo Lifestyle Resort, ArgentinaCould this be the first ever polo-dedicated luxury resort? The Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, the upscale hotel chain behind the world's only 7-star resort (the Burj al Arab), has plans to manage Jumeirah Culu Culu Polo Lifestyle Resort in Lobos, Argentina-- just an hour from Buenos Aires. This will be the first South American property for Jumeirah, and a key addition to its portfolio. Paying homage to the equestrian lifestyle, the five-star lifestyle resort will offer access to eight polo fields (including two championship fields), a Talise spa, fitness center, 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and privately-owned villas. The 252-room hotel will be situated on 1,200 acres next to a pristine lake and bird sanctuary. Slated for completion by 2010.

Image Via Audi Polo Awards


The Augustine, Prague, from the Rocco Forte Collection: The World’s Monastery Hotels

September 17, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

PragueAfter all the talk about converting old jails into luxury hotels, this trend seems rather ho-hum. From the drop-dead gorgeous Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru to the new Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, there are a whole bunch of monastery-hotels cropping up in phenomenal locations worldwide. Here's what Forbes Traveler says about Villa San Michele:

But it's doubtful there could be a view more serene than that of Florence from the Villa San Michele, a former century monastery that clings to a lush hillside in Fiesole. The monastery portion was built in the 16th century, the façade was designed by Michelangelo and the entire property is run with smooth, contemporary efficiency by General Manager Luca Finardi, an affable Florentine if ever there was one. "The Michelangelo Suite, the monastery's former library, was where Napoleon once stayed," Finardi says.

Perhaps most exciting of these hotel openings is The Augustine, slated to open in January 2009. Housed in five historic buildings around the St. Thomas Monastery in Prague, the new hotel promises abundant style and sophistication- like all the Rocco Forte Collection hotels.