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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.

Experience the Festival of Flowers at the Grand Bohemian Hotel

April 4, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Grand Bohemian Hotel brings boutique comfort to the beautiful town of Asheville, North Carolina. This welcoming, Tudor-style hotel is located in the famous Biltmore Village and it’s set among the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to stay at the Grand Bohemian Hotel between April 7th and May 20th to take part in the Festival of Flowers. The gardens of the Biltmore Estate come alive with thousands of azaleas, tulips, and other flowers reaching full bloom! The Festival of Flowers is an annual event featuring live music and complimentary garden seminars. Experience the best of spring from the luxurious and art-filled setting of the Grand Bohemian Hotel where exceptional service and gourmet cuisine come together.


Shangri-La Hotel Beijing Participates in Earth Hour Yet Again!

March 30, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

According to Earthhour.org, 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries turned off their lights for Earth Hour in 2011, sending an impacting message to spark action on climate change. The Shangri-La Hotel Beijing is a proud participant in conserving energy for Earth Hour for the last three years, making 2012 its fourth consecutive participation year! Earth Hour is a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, and we’re thrilled to see luxury hotels playing their part in conserving energy!

Tomorrow, March 31st, between 8:00pm and 10:00pm, the Shangri-La Hotel Beijing will stop the turnstiles and escalators, and dim or turn off the lights in public areas, restaurants and bars, shops, guestroom corridors, house areas, and back activity areas. Additionally, this luxury hotel will host an Earth Hour Party at Cloud Nine Bar, serving complimentary cocktails to guests of the hotel who support Earth Day and have turned off the lights in their rooms. According to Christopher Chia, the area general manager of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, “at the Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing, environmental protection, energy conservation and the reduction of waste emissions are integral components of our corporate social responsibilities. We hope that our involvement in this event will enhance staff and guest awareness of the need to protect our environment for future generations.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves! Be sure to check out the Shangri-La Hotel Beijing for Earth Day as well as for your future travels, knowing that you are supporting a hotel that supports our environment!


Sustained Joy: Thanyamundra Organic Resort

March 21, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

I'm an unashamed environmentalist.  I like not being baked like a biscuit by the sun and also not having hurricanes all up on the Gulf stream. So when I hear about a resort that takes natural sustainability and turns it into a luxury activity for rejuvenating the mind, body and soul, it's the perfect hotel for me.  I knew there was a solution to how I could both have nice things and support a growing organic movement, and that solution is the Thanyamundra Organic Resort.  It's the quintessential quiet retreat on an organic farm in Suratthani, Thailand, and the views of the rice paddies and fruit groves are breathtaking and reinvigorating.  With just 7 suites and 2 rooms on the property, you're guaranteed to have a secluded, tailored experience that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the urban lifestyle.  We could all use a few more private moments in our lives, and this is five-star luxury that makes you proud. I love the concept, and I love the execution of the Thanyamundra Organic Resort.


Always on the Sunny Side: Sunriver Resort Oregon

March 12, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

I don't get to the Pacific Northwest as much as I should like.  The quiet beauty of the temperate forests and mountain climes is as underappreciated as it is unbelievable.  And the Sunriver Resort happens to be placed smack dab in the middle of all of this awesome (in the literal sense of the word) natural architecture.  Sun sits right in the name of this resort, and for good reason.  When dusk hits, and the light begins to diffuse across the countryside, you'll swear you've been transport to another world. The mute oranges and pinks drape themselves over the rolling hills and distant mountains like a blanket ushering in the nighttime.  

You can enjoy the resplendent natural beauty of the outdoors by undertaking any of a number of activities made special by the backdrop alone.  Three championship golf courses, tennis, fly-fishing, biking: It's all available to you, and that's not even to mention the outdoor pools and rafting down the Deschutes River.  If, for you, the idea of luxury is being able to melt back into the landscape where we all came from while not sacrificing the wonders of the modern world, then Sunriver Resort is the place you should be taking a vacation.  And if you're looking for some chillier activities for the winter months, Sunriver Resort was ranked one of the Top 50 Ski Resorts in America by Conde Nast Traveler, so it's natural wonders are equally breathtaking in all weather. I might just find myself getting up on their own and taking me there soon.


Visiting London? Check Out the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

March 5, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is located on a quiet street in the heart of Mayfair. It is one of the few luxury hotels in London that has greenery and open spaces on all sides, allowing visitors access to the best of both worlds; nature and the city. Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James Park are all located nearby, and the hotel is just a short stroll from to the West End theatres, Bond Street, Knightsbridge, and Buckingham Palace. Aside from an incredible location, this luxury hotel has a few other distinguishing factors that make it one of the best hotels in London. It has a putting green on its terrace as well as a glass-walled rooftop spa offering 360 degree views of the treetops and the city. The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is also a wonderful choice for families, and it certainly goes out of its way to welcome young travelers. The concierge is extremely accommodating and always available to assist with making reservations for a family dinner, a babysitter, and more.

Need more details about the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane? Be sure to explore room types, availability, and photos here!


A Boutique Critique: Ka'ana Boutique Resort

March 2, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore.

Belize is one of those countries that doesn't necessarily get a lot of attention, and as far as I can tell, there's no good reason for that.  Shame on you, hypothetical ignorers of Belize. Let me be the first to say that its relative anonymity is in part what makes it such an attractive destination.  So on second thought, keep it up, guys.  I'd rather we keep this our own little secret.  So much of our vacationing attention is spent on beachfront properties with idyllic beaches and crystalline waters that we forget the charms of inland destinations.  Central America is home to some of the lushest rainforests in the world, and Belize is no exception.

Standing just on the edge of this tropical paradise is the Ka'ana Boutique Resort, with an infinity pool nestled within the foliage to give the perfect escape.  Guided mountain biking tours are offered at every level of difficulty, and the nearby caves and waterfalls are perfect destinations for ecological exploration.  And if you'd rather experience it all in a more equestrian manner, the Ka'ana offers that as well.  Return after a day of adventure to your very own Casitas, a standalone cottage that you can call your very own.  In my mind, the Ka'ana Boutique Resort is the perfect rainforest destination.  It's the property is intimate, the surroundings breathtaking, and it even has the largest wine cellar in western Belize.


The World’s Best Hotels

March 1, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Big shout out and thank you to all our loyal blog readers! We certainly love bringing you the latest and greatest luxury travel news, and we appreciate hearing from you via phone, email, or our Facebook and Twitter pages. We realize that every traveler begins his/her journey in the research phase; deciding on where to go, and we certainly get a number of inquiries about the best hotels in certain areas, the most romantic hotels, the best hotels for families, the best all-inclusive resorts, and onward. To help you pick the absolute best hotel that fits your needs and criteria, we would like to draw your attention to our ‘World’s Best Hotels’ tab. Here you’ll be directed to lists and lists of phenomenal hotels and resorts in various categories. From the best ski resorts to the best spa resorts, we certainly have you covered. Be sure to check out the various lists for a little inspiration on where to travel next! You want the best, and we certainly want to give it to you!

Photo of the Meridian Club in Turks and Caicos, a luxury hotel on our Best Honeymoon Resorts List


The Golf Coast: Kiawah Island's Golf Courses Are as Nice as Their Resorts

February 21, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Springtime is on the offensive on the East Coast, and that means one thing: Time to break out the clubs.  Golfing weather is looking like it's here to stay in South Carolina, and that means the closely cropped greens and devilish sand traps are calling your ball in equal measure, like the angel and devil of so many cartoons.  It's time to break out your woods and irons for the spring season and put your other sets away.  Maybe you were playing Settlers of Catan? I don't know. This whole analogy thing is harder than a brick wall. No, no, a diamond. Wait, maybe the Ko'olau Golf Club in Oahu.  There we go; now it's topical.  Anyway, I can't think of a better place to enjoy the newly found weather than on five championship courses of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Home of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 1997 and 2003 World Cups of Golf, you're getting a top class playing experience in one of the most breathtaking regions on the eastern seaboard.  And between games, you can relax along ten miles of romantic beaches or head out in search of the other sorts of eagles, who have nested in the region for centuries.  This Conde Nast Award winner even has three pool complexes and a child program available to keep the tiny tots out from underfoot while you're swinging a large metal rod around.  The Kiawah Island Golf Resort and accompanying Sanctuary at Kiawah Island are natural, beautiful, and definitely in season, so it might be worth planning a trip this spring.


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Alila Villas Uluwatu

February 9, 2012
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 work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Alila Villa Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for ambience and design. This luxury hotel is located on a cliff top plateau along the southern coast of Bali. The view from this hotel is simply breathtaking, and the entire property aims to fulfill its tradition of offering an experience that is serene, sensual, and pleasantly different. With 84 spacious villas, all with private salt-water pools and ocean-view cabanas, this Alila property goes above and beyond the expected levels of luxury. The rooms have ceilings from bamboo and flat roofs that are insulated with volcanic rocks. Indulge yourself in the spectacular cliff top pool and bar, and take in the beauty that surrounds you everywhere you turn at this incredible hotel.


Environmental Jawstice: Shangri-La Hotels Save Nemo

January 19, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

In a laudable move, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has announced the expansion of its sustainable seafood policy to include the discontinued use of all shark fin products in 72 hotels and resorts, as well as phasing out additional of species of fish who suffer from overfishing and support unsustainable farming industries. The two species to get the axe of preservation are Bluefin tuna and the Chilean sea bass. As Time Magazine and Greenpeace report, the commercial overfishing of sharks and fish is leading to a depletion of marine ecosystems that, due to declining populations, will not be replaced.  Shangri-La's steps to reduce demand for these items are commendable, and it follows their initial 'Sanctuary, Shangri-La's Care for Nature' project that have developed marine sanctuaries to support the integrity of important coral reefs around their properties. 

In order to fulfill its contractual obligations, all banquets reserved to include the dish shall be honored, but no new requests for shark fin soup can be made either individually at its restaurants or through its commercial catering. If you would like to show your support by staying at any of Shangri-La's now more sustainable hotels and resorts, you can find them all at Five Star Alliance.