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.

We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

Question: What hotels in the Maldives do you recommend for a family traveling with kids?

Answer: A few hotels in the Maldives that we’d recommend for families traveling with kids are below:

Dusit Thani Maldives - Children’s play area and club facility.

One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah - KidsOnly is free for all children from 2-11 years and provides world-class benefits including exciting and imaginative daily fun programs, age-appropriate activities, facilities and amenities, over twelve hours a day. Babysitters are available 24 hours a day for those under 2.

Anantara Veli Resort and Spa - Open for children from the ages of 3 to 12, the Dhoni Kids Club keeps our youngest guests entertained during their holidays with an action-packed program featuring a variety of beach and outdoor activities, creative crafts and games that are fun, educational and culturally enriching.

LUX Maldives - PLAY offers children between the ages of 3 and 12 an opportunity to explore the many wonders and delights of island living. Supervised by a highly trained and enthusiastic team, kids are exposed to the nature and culture of the island's incredible surrounds, as well as a range of high-energy sports and outdoor activities. From art classes and treasure hunts to engaging and educational Teddy Tennis lessons, PLAY is everything your kids could hope for on an island vacation.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Maldives - Kids For All Seasons Kudamas Club, an organized program of fun activities

The Gili Lankanfushi Maldives - Baby sitting service is available.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives - Children are VIPs at the Waldorf Astoria Kids' Club. Their own little paradise has a private pool, games room, a bungee trampoline for older children and adults and an extensive tailor-made program of activities for their entertainment. Fun and discovery never end.

Kanuhura - The Kids Club offers imaginative fun for kids (2 to 11 years old).

To view availability, rates, and to make a reservation, simply visit this website and enter your dates of travel!

Instead of 12 Days of Christmas, Five Star Alliance is having its own countdown featuring 12 Days of Hotels! We unfortunately don’t have a song to go along with our countdown, but we will be featuring a variety of categories. Today’s feature is the 1 Best Beach Resorts!

1. Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru

Maldives has some of the best beaches in the entire world, and this luxury hotel is surrounded by dazzling white talc sand and the bluest of waters teeming with an astonishing abundance of soft corals and fish sparkling in brilliant colors.

At Five Star Alliance, we are constantly adding new luxury hotels to our site. We are delighted to have recently added Lux* Belle Mare and Lux* Maldives to our collection. LUX* Island Resorts is a collection of premium hotels in the Indian Ocean offering guests the opportunity to celebrate island life and enjoy light living.

Lux* Belle Mare is located in quaint seaside village of Belle Mare on the east coast of Mauritius. This luxury beach hotel on the Indian Ocean features traditionally thatched huts, sparkling white sand beaches, and the Lux* Me spa.  Take a dip in one of the island’s largest swimming pools  and finish out your day with supper at Indouchine, where you can watch the moon shimmer over the ocean.  Sounds like paradise to us!

Lux* Maldives is the only settlement on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu in South Ari Atoll, and offers real insight into unspoiled island living. Snorkel or whale shark spot in the lagoon, or take a break from the beach at one of two pools or at the spa. Whether suspended over the water or scattered along the beach, every room, suite and villa is designed to make the most of its surroundings.

The hard part is deciding whether to head to Mauritius or the Maldives. We have a feeling you'll be happy no matter which Lux* property you stay at.

Everyone loves a beach resort, and the shallow waters of the Maldives make it possible to find a truly singular experience. Because the oceans are uniquely calm, resorts like the Waldorf Astoria have built out entire bungalows just above the lapping waves. From your residence, you'll have a truly panoramic view of the surrounding waters. Among a series of already outstanding resorts, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives sets itself apart even from that distinguished crowd. I'd hate to turn this into an apotheosis of the Waldorf, but it's hard not to exalt the virtues of a resort that is its own island. The seclusion of having your own bungalow on a private island is truly unmatched.

When a resort is an island, it is doubly important that it has the luxurious facilities to accommodate your every desire. While fine dining and a top-notch spa are the unmistakable call signs of any luxury resort, the Waldorf Astoria has taken them to another level. Their world-class Modun Spa is organized around the concept of a winding journey towards self-discovery and holistic rejuvenation with the spa facilities laid out along a twisting path that leads you through a natural progression of treatment. Dine on incredibly sumptuous cuisine either at one of the many restaurants and bars or bring that very same experience to the comfort and privacy of your own villa. Children are cared for in the Kids' Club, leaving the adults free to experience the unmatched luxury. If I wanted the experience of the unmistakable Maldivian bungalow, I would be remiss if I didn't seriously consider the Waldorf Astoria Maldives as my destination of choice.

The Maldives are well-known for being one of the few places in the world you can find overwater bungalows, largely because the water is calm and pristine enough to support the fragile construction they require.  But in the land of floating villas, the Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa Maldives is looking to make a name for itself in another way.  Rather than send their villas out into the water, they've taken to the foliage, their tree house villas nestled in the beachfront palm fronds that every child learns to draw at the age of 5 as foreshadowing of their future desire to stay at a place like this.  

The resort plays home to all the features that the luxury traveler has come to expect.  Khazaanaaga, a divided, on-site restaurants give you options from the South China Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean, and Javvu gives you the more Western choice and cafe-style dining during the day.  CHI, the Spa at Shangri-La offers every treatment you could ever want while relaxing on a sandy beachfront and is inspired by traditional Chinese and Himalayan spiritual and physical wellness.  A children's adventure zone, two tennis courts, and an Eco centre that allows you to explore the local flora and fauna even after you've come back from any of 25 dive sites, including a British shipwreck.  The Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa is just about everything I'm looking for in a beachfront property. 



The title pretty much says it all:  The Four Seasons Maldives is crafting an underwater christmas tree from living coral fragments that will grow into a natural part of the reef below the hotel.  Not only is the coral formation festive in its own right, it will also contribute to the preservation of the reef habitat, a natural wonder that is growing ever scarcer.  That's certainly getting into the tropical Christmas spirit:  Giving back to the natural habitat while promoting beauty and luxury. And you can even track the progress of the reef online at Reefscapers.  

The resort itself is a wonderful beachfront property that is everything you imagine when you think of the classic tropical getaway:  expansive beaches, blue skies and even bluer waters, and intimate and comfortable rooms and suites.  The private coral island even has its own Explorer catamaran for traversing the open waters.  Be sure to stop by the Four Seasons Maldives and enjoy this beautiful work of natural artwork that will become a fixture of their underwater landscape for years to come.

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts One & Only Maldives at Reethi RahWorldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #14 spot we have the One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah, the perfect tropical beach resort. 

Quick facts about the One and Only Maldives:

- An all-villa property, the personalized experience offered in the 130 villas rivals any other in the world.  Exclusive privacy is at a premium in a world where your blackberry is always on, but the One and Only Maldives transports you to another world where it's just you and the sand between your toes.

- Their KidsOnly program is free for children ages 2-11, offering age-appropriate activities for the younger world traveler.  On top of that, babysitting is available for children under two 24 hours a day.

- The One and Only Spa offers ice fountains to vitalize your body by contrasting with the warmth of the tropical waters as well as their crystal steam rooms.  

One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah- The resort offers guided snorkeling excursions, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, and Jet Skis.  See the sea in an entirely new way.

- All guests arrive on property after a 75 minute journey from Male International Airport aboard a 55-foot luxury yacht.

- Three restaurants and a bar on-site with diverse offerings:  Reethi Restaurant, Tapasake, Fanditha, and Rah Bar.

- View the floor plans for the Beach Villas (135 m2 including verandah), Water Villas (149 m2 including verandah), and Grand Beach Villa with 1 bedroom and pool (260 m2 including veranda and pool area).

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! In case you missed it, here are our previously featured hotels:

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen

#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

#18 – The Peninsula Chicago

#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua

#16 - Auberge du Soleil

#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel