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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.

The Atlantis Resort Complex Opens on Dubai’s Man-made Palm Island with Largest Aquarium in the Middle East


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Atlantis, DubaiAtlantis has opened its doors, the latest symbol of over-the-top excess in the United Arab Emirates. (Though the $35 million Grand Opening party will take place in November.) This new entertainment destination has a suite that goes for $25,000 a night and the third largest aquarium in the world, where you can partake in shark feedings. No joke. The $1.5 billion resort was built on top Dubai's palm tree-shaped island, and was inspired by the legend of the lost continent. The mega-resort doesn't just boast water thrills at Aquaventure. The dining is just as thrilling at a dozen restos run by world-class chefs (like Nobu). Here's the skinny about the accommodations from the official website:

Atlantis aquarium, Dubai

At Atlantis, the splendour of the accommodation doesn’t end with the architecture. Each of our 1,373 spacious guest rooms and 166 suites is designed with subtle oceanic and Arabic influences, overlooking spectacular views of the azure Arabian Gulf or Palm Jumeirah itself. And if guests choose to stay in The Lost Chambers Suites, they won't be overlooking the ocean, but looking into it. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a spectacular view into the Ambassador Lagoon with a cornucopia of exotic marine life gracefully gliding by.

Image of the aquarium via Sydney Morning Herald


Kids are VIPs at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab


By: K. Clare Johnson

Pint-sized globe-trotters are treated like full-size royalty at Sinbad's Kid's Club. Located on the 18th floor of Burj Al Arab, the Kid's Club (which is constantly supervised by an attentive staff) is for the 1-12 set. Burj Al Arab There's a cot and a crib for the littlest travelers to sleep off their jet lag, and the spacious playroom has a plethora of toys, board games, and bean bags for lolling. Plasma screen TVs show Disney Channel favorites, and PCs offer computer games. Old-school kids will enjoy a wide selection of books to bury their noses in.

When the tummies start rumbling, Burj Al Arab caters delicious and nutritious cuisine for the children. And all younger guest are granted complimentary access to the Sinbad's Kid's Club at the nearby Jumeirah Beach Hotel, which offers a wide choice of outdoor activities. Some kids have all the luck.


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


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


Buzz: Langham Hotels Signs First India Property in Pune


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune, IndiaFrom the legendary London hotel to Hong Kong's stylish establishment, Langham has brought its stimulating hospitality concept to four continents now. Luxury hotel operator, Langham Hotels International, has doubled in size in the last year with 16 hotels open or in the pipeline. We just got word that Langham has signed a contract for Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune, India- as Langham expands into what's termed the "new Silk Road of China, India and the Middle East." Slated to open in 2010 in the "Silicon Valley of India," the 180-room hotel will be home to India's first Chuan Spa concept, featuring oriental hot tubs, ice caves, herbal steam rooms, singles and couples treatment suites, and an infinity edge indoor and outdoor pool. The exciting restaurants on offer will include a new hybrid concept called Portal- Work & Play. Here's the scoop from the press release: "By combining a lobby lounge, cocktail bar and business centre, Portal is where work and play seamlessly intertwine to meet the needs of today's multi-tasking world." A DJ will spin in the lobby-atrium, setting the mood.


Around the World in 80 Ways: The Epic $1 Million Journey from Leading Hotels of the World


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One Aldwych, LondonWe recently spread the word about the incredible deal-- $19.28 room rates!-- offered by Leading Hotels of the World to celebrate its 80th anniversary. And now it's time to highlight another celebratory package from LHW-though this one is a tad more extravagant. Leading Hotels of the World has created an epic voyage, "Around The World in 80 Ways," to pay homage to both the 80th anniversary of the Academy Awards, and their own 80th birthday. The price tag for this amazing, glamorous journey? One million dollars.

Traveling in a private jet all the way, you and a companion will see everything in the world worth seeing and do everything in the world worth doing. Best of all, 10 percent of the USD 1 million price will be donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation for the global fight against AIDS. So, with that in mind, we invite you to open your hearts and wallets and get ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime.


Hot Restaurants in Dubai: Fire and Ice at Raffles Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fire and Ice Restaurant, Raffles Hotel DubaiYou could say that Fire and Ice- Raffles Cellar and Grill at the Raffles Dubai is sizzling. There are open hot kitchens where the chefs use an innovative cooking method involving liquid nitrogen. The elements of fire and ice are the focus of the menu. Fodor's loves this place: "The provocative menu offers choices from the ice counter and the flame station, but the food doesn't need gimmicks to get by... The expertly prepared food is well worth the cost." The innovative taste and creative presentation results in "refined Trans-Ethnic cuisine, bringing the elements of fire and ice to your plate." And that's not all. There are over 400 wines on the wine list, and over 60 wines available by the glass. An entire wall of the restaurant serves as a cave for the bottles, stacked behind glass in a tempting display. The architecture of the hotel itself draws inspiration from one of the great wonders of the world; the enormous pyramid is a sight to behold on the glittering Dubai skyline.


What’s Hot in Dubai: InterContinental Dubai Festival City


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Dubai Festival CityThis year has seen the debut of another Dubai hotel inspired by the shape of a sailing yacht (the first architectural legend being the world-famous Burj Al Arab). The InterContinental Dubai Festival City is situated on the south bank of Dubai Creek in the midst of the city's business and shopping districts (not far from the Burj Dubai). As befits a Dubai hotel, this place has more amenities than you can shake a stick at, starting with the five restaurants and two bars. Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, the three-Michelin-starred chef, is causing quite the stir in Dubai's culinary scene. Here you can sample "multisensory hits" (Japanese and Lebanese fare, too) in an adventurous dining experience. The hotel is connected to the big shopping center with a whopping 550 shops, and also a luxury 100-berth marina. Golfers like the two 18-hole championship courses just around the corner. Fodor's hails the new hotel as "striking silhouette rising from the south bank of Dubai Creek." Discerning travelers heart the MP3 docks and large flat-screen TVs. Vacationers like the "expansive free-form pool and sundecks, top-notch spa, and proximity to Festival City's shopping and dining." And "the sweeping marble foyer is a triumph of less-is-more modernism."


Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai: Stay for Four Nights, Pay for Only Three


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Beach HotelVisitors to the world's most over-the-top destination can't go wrong by booking the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The award-winning hotel exalts the pleasures of the good life with every amenity imaginable. In fact, lucky guests will find 20 restaurants to choose from, 4 swimming pools, 7 tennis courts, golf and more. Designed as an enormous wave on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the hotel boasts uninterrupted panoramic views from all 600 guest rooms. From the private beach, you can enjoy endless watersports, including snorkeling over the purpose-built coral reef just 2 kilometers offshore. Just next door, the Wild Wadi Water Park lures with its exhilarating rides. Until September 30, 2008, you'll get a fourth night for free when you book a suite or villa for three consecutive nights. (Plus, you'll have access to your own private plunge pool when you book a villa.) As Halogen Guides points out, the rate at this luxurious property translates to only $264 per night.


Travel Trends: Voluntourism, and Give-Back Getaways with Ritz-Carlton Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand CaymanVolunteer tourism, a.k.a "voluntourism," is a growing trend in travel, and more and more travelers are jumping on the bandwagon and planning to volunteer during their vacations. Forbes Traveler sums it up nicely:

There comes a point — generally when you're on your third margarita, sunburned over 60 percent of your body and the kids are screaming in the infinity pool — when you start to wonder if there is more to the whole vacation concept than lying on a beach getting toasted. A way of showing thanks for your own good fortunes, perhaps. You want a chance to contribute more to a local economy than buying overpriced trinkets that neither you nor your friends back home really need.

Ritz-Carlton has taken notice. They've created the Give Back Getaways program- to offer guests a chance to give back to the community with half-day local community experiences, working alongside Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen in a Community Footprints humanitarian or environmental project. All profits from the Give Back Getaways programs are donated to the partner organizations. An example is the Blue Iguana Recovery Program at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, led by naturalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, where guests assist with the breeding program to help a unique species on the brink of extinction.


Dining in Private Suites for Ramadan at the Rosewood Corniche, Jeddah


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rosewood Corniche HotelWhen Rosewood opened their third hotel in Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on the Red Sea, we noted the 24-hour butler service and dedicated Ladies Floor created for female travelers, a first in the Kingdom. And now this ultra-luxury hotel has plans to offer private dining suites during Ramadan. Later this month, the Rosewood Corniche will launch VIP suites for breaking the fast in a lavish setting. The suites will offer private dining rooms where guests are served personalized Iftar and Sohour meals, created exclusively for the guest's Ramadan celebration. Guests are seated in the suite's own sumpthous Majlis, opulently appointed with plush cushions and beautiful Arabic lanterns. Plus, pilgrims heading to the Holy City of Mecca (just 50 minutes away) can be escorted in the hotel's collection of BMW limos.