LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The 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.
Sparkling in the summer sun, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is docked in the New York Harbor. Following a $132 million investment, the luxurious ship is boarding its first group of passengers, and embarking from NYC to Southampton on July 6, 2016. Completely transformed inside and out, the revitalized Queen Mary 2 features new public spaces, including the Carinthia Lounge, The Verandah specialty restaurant, and the refreshed Kings Court buffet area. Staterooms have been redesigned, and there are 10 additional dog kennels with Liverpool lamp posts and New York City fire hydrants so dogs can feel right at home.
Images courtesy of Ruthanne Terrero.
The Queen Elizabeth 2, an ocean liner previously operating as a cruise ship is in development to become Dubai’s first floating hotel. Although the design of the hotel will differ from its original plan, we certainly have high hopes that it will be nothing short of fabulous. The cruiser made its last trip from New York City to Dubai in 2008, and it has been docked in Port Rashid harbor since. The Telegraph reports that the original plan was to have the QE2 feature 1,000 lavish and luxurious rooms, but now the plan is to have 300 rooms which will maintain many of its original features. We certainly can’t wait to see this floating luxury hotel’s development as it progresses. If you get seasick or like a little more room for exploration, then check out the 61 luxury hotels that are fully grounded and stationary in Dubai!
The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne is offering guests a unique way to experience Lake Geneva this summer. Hop aboard La Suisse, an 100-year-old steamboat that's been plying the lake's idyllic waters since 1910, for an unforgettable sunset sail. Renovated to modern standards, the boat affords splendid views of Lausanne's vineyards and mountains. (What a setting!) While staying at the illustrious palace, make sure to dine at Anne-Sophie Pic's talked-about restaurant (and hit the Cinq Mondes spa). Book the "Sunset Cruise" package at the Beau-Rivage Palace, and you'll enjoy:
* Two nights' accommodation in a superior or deluxe room with a view of Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps, or a comfort room with a garden view
* Glass of champagne upon arrival
* Daily full buffet breakfast or in-room continental breakfast
* Complimentary in-room flowers and fruit basket upon arrival
* Dinner cruise aboard La Suisse steamboat
* Complimentary access to the hotel's Cinq Mondes Spa, the fitness center and tennis courts
Based on double occupancy, the offer is priced from CHF590 (approx. US$735) per person, and is available through August 27, 2011.
Calling all travel addicts. Check out the new blog from Princess Cruises-- a bucket list of experiences that are "personal journeys of discovery" from the Princess line's Destination Experts, the longest-serving shipboard and shore-side employees who've traveled thousands of sea and air miles. Get a load of their "must-see travel spots" around the globe. Some of the experiences highlighted on the blog include "dog mushing on a sunlit glacier in Alaska" and a visit to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. (All showcased destinations can be visited during a Princess cruise.) What's more- readers can share their own experiences- with one story chosen to be published each week on the blog.
You’ll be BFFs forever after a day at one of these sizzling spas.
We say the spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami is worth a visit for the VIP suites alone; there are six of them, all with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Biscayne Bay. (Tip: If you book a treatment toward evening, you’ll witness some splendid sunsets over the water.)
The signature treatment is the Oriental Essence massage, which includes a consultation with the therapist and a full-body customized treatment. An interesting half-day program, drawing on Miami’s heritage, is the Latin Rhythms spa package, which includes a private Samba class followed by an exfoliation of lime, mint and sugar, and a hot stone massage. A Spa Mojito cocktail and a Latin-Asian bento box lunch are then served poolside. Detox-Retox, we’re all over that!
Spa Director Osa Mallo suggests reserving treatments a week in advance for weekends and holidays, though last-minute requests are usually accommodated. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 305-913-8331 for insider tips.
Considering a bridal shower or other special event for you and your BFFs? Consult Spa Sales Manager Stephanie Menendez (email@example.com; 305-913-3806), who is an expert at setting up suite and spa buyouts for bachelorette parties and other smaller groups. Note: If your client is traveling with children, there are yoga programs for those aged 5-11 and teen treatments that include manicures, pedicures and facials, as well as belly dancing and salsa classes.
Staying at the hotel? If you want your room to have an inviting and peaceful spa vibe, opt for the one-bedroom Mandarin Suite, which has a living room, formal dining room, gourmet kitchen and a large private balcony accessible from every room. There’s also a spa serenity room with fabulous views of Biscayne Bay. If that’s taken, insiders tell us the Deluxe Veranda guest rooms are the hotel’s best-kept secret. They’re a step up from Deluxe Bay View rooms and have oversized terraces with views of the bay and the Miami skyline—perfect for entertaining the girls. Note: All rooms at the hotel have private balconies; the most popular are the Biscayne suites with stunning views of the bay and the bridge.
Chief Concierge Guillerme DeMelo (firstname.lastname@example.org; 305-913-3794) can procure a Vespa scooter for your Girlfriend Group to tool around Miami; he’s also known to have arranged for a private jet to fly a guest and his date to Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys for a romantic dinner. His most famous feat, however, was shipping 100 palm trees to a guest’s home in the Middle East.
After our stay, we say that the cozy Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove is a gem of a boutique hotel. It’s a best bet for women traveling solo as the service is attentive and it’s close to one of Miami’s most interesting dining and shopping districts. We’re talking walking distance.
The spa may be petite (just 6,000 square feet) but houses separate men’s and women’s lounges, saunas and steam rooms and six treatment rooms.
If you go, try the time-saving Tandem Treatment, which, for 50 minutes, employs two therapists who work together to serve up a signature facial and pedicure that includes a foot and leg massage, as well as a shoulder, neck, arm and scalp massage. Be sure to request appointments at least six hours prior to each service.
Spa Director Laura Kain (email@example.com; 305-644-4684) can recommend the top therapist, including Danilo Toledo, who is most requested for the Signature or Hot Stone Massage.
The size of the spa makes it ideal for buyouts for a wedding party or other group event. Know a bride considering a wedding in South Florida? Contact Jeysa Plana (firstname.lastname@example.org; 786-470-1202), who can detail the nuptial venues on site.
After the pampering, you and your BFFs will want to retire to the top digs in the house, The Ritz-Carlton Suite (a.k.a. the Presidential Suite). It has two bedrooms, private balconies, a living and dining room, an office, private butler service and great views of Biscayne Bay and Coconut Grove.
We found our Executive Suite to be a fine place to crash for several days (request No. 529, 629, 729 or 829 for the top vistas), courtesy of its large living and dining area. Note: The hotel was modeled after the nearby Villa Vizcaya (the posh former estate of magnate John Deering), so rooms and public spaces have an elegant and regal ambiance. If clients must book a standard guest room, they’ll take heart in knowing that a private balcony awaits.
Note: If you’re sailing in or out of the Miami cruise port, a 15-minute drive away, the hotel has a Sail Away package that covers accommodations, breakfast for two and transportation to or from the port.
Those arriving via private chopper or jet can land at Kendall-Tamiami Executive General Airport; contact Airport Manager Michael J. Handrahan (email@example.com) for details. Another option is Opa-Locka Executive Airport; contact Chris McArthur (CMcArthur@miami-airport.com).