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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.

Play Polo in Dubai at Desert Palm Retreat

March 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Desert Palms Retreat Dubai Discover an oasis in the middle of Dubai. Desert Palm polo estate, with four championship polo fields, riding school, stables for over 300 horses, and vast green landscapes, is the setting for a chic boutique resort and spa. The grounds are meticulously manicured; beautiful gardens and swaying palm trees rise from the dramatic desert landscape. The resort is impossibly cool, with ‘naturally modern’ guest rooms and villas, a sensuous spa experience at Lime, gorgeous infinity pool, and excellent dining (fresh produce is flown in daily from around the world). But polo fans will really swoon. (After all, the owner's Dubai Polo Team has won both the two most prestigious and world-renowned high goal events in England: The Queens Cup and The Gold Cup.) Desert Palm Retreat showcases Dubai as a key destination in the world of international polo, hosting key polo tournaments such as the Cartier International Challenge Cup.


Suite Luxury: Desert Palm Retreat Dubai

March 6, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Location: Desert Palm Retreat consists of a main building with 13 Palm suites overlooking the polo field, 4 private one bedroom Pool Villas, 6 private three bedroom Pool Residences and the two bedroom presidential "Villa Layali". Each villa offers complete seclusion, with 9 ft. privacy walls encircling the gardens, a large swimming pool, outdoor dining area and sun-bathing deck.

Desert Palm Retreat Presidential SuiteSize/Sq. Footage: 585 square meters (bigger than all other villas in Dubai) or 6,260 square feet.

Interior Designer: IMA Singapore

The Presidential Suite - Villa Layali: is compromised of two master bedrooms each with a master bathroom, one mutual living and dining room/area in between which overlooks the polo field. The courtyard features a big private swimming pool with a sunbathing patio and pantry.

Description: This exclusive two-bedroom presidential villa, surrounded by lush grass and colossal palm trees, is a walled sanctuary. Built from Jordanian stone, this villa is centred around on open-air courtyard with a large swimming pool and water features, perfect for private sunbathing or outdoor entertaining. Parallel to the swimming pool is a long and spacious living room incorporating the lounge, dining and surround sound theatre system. The two bedroom suites each feature a private courtyard garden, king sized bed, personal business and "Bang & Olufsen" entertainment system with CD/DVD player, wi-fi internet access, "Sony Bravia" flat screen, Apple iPod, flat screen and sitting area. Behind a hidden doorway guests will discover an airy dressing room and bathroom with luxurious amenities from "Ren"...

Rate: "Villa Layali" starts at USD $2,800 during summer time for two people, it runs at USD $3,900 during the year and goes up to USD $5,850.00 during the New Years Eve period and is inclusive of an a la carte breakfast served in "Epicure" gourmet market and deli cafe - plus tax and service charge.

Fun Fact: The private rooftop terrace is ideal for viewing the excitement of polo chukkas daily at sunset (polo season runs from November until April) and for relaxing under the stars with friends. It is an ideal location for photo shots and weddings.

Check Availability >>


Spotlight On: Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

March 2, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Al FaisaliahThe kingdom's leading luxury hotel is mind-blowing. First, there's the 875-foot office tower which is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. There's the gargantuan ballroom, designed to host up to 4000 guests. The on-site stained glass window which is the largest such work ever produced. With dedicated 24-hour butler service, the hotel has proved a pioneer in Saudi Arabia's luxury hotel market with this elevated standard of personalized service. And, last but not least, the incredible Globe restaurant. Encapsulated in the stunning golden geodesic orb that tops Al Faisaliah Tower, the restaurant features staggering views of Riyadh. The three-story restaurant is topped by the city's first cigar lounge while scenic glass elevators and a staircase on the interior rim of each of the three floors bring guests to a truly unrivaled destination. Al Faisaliah, a Rosewood Hotel, sets the standard for elegance in the Middle East.


Louvre Heads to Abu Dhabi

January 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Louvre

Hot on the trail of Guggenheim, which last year announced ambitious plans for a new museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry. As reported by the New York Times, the French government recently confirmed that it will rent the Louvre name and art treasures to a new museum in Abu Dhabi, for a sum rumored to be between $800 million to $1 billion. The new Louvre will be one of five museums slated for the tourist development on Saadiyat Island, opening in 2012. The new museum will be managed by a new International Agency of French Museums, which will also manage the Musée d'Orsay, the new Musée du Quai Branly, the Château de Versailles, and the Pompidou Center. This is a monumental decision, and signifies a serious directional change in the marketing of the oldest and most famous art museum in the world. Is Chirac selling out?

Photo via Wikipedia


Le Royal Beirut and the Dead Sea Mud Bath Package

January 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Beirut

Beirut's most luxurious hotel, Le Royal Beirut, has recently opened. Situated on a hill overlooking the city, just 15 km from the International Airport, the five-star hotel is blessed with beautiful views of the azure Mediterranean from its 231 guest rooms and rooftop restaurant. Guests can now enjoy the hotel's excellent restaurants and bars, state-of-the-art health club (with personal trainers), outdoor pool and terrace, and the exclusive Royal Spa, spread out over four floors with panoramic vistas. The Spa offers lavish treatments, including the famed Dead Sea Mud Baths. The Dead Sea Mud Bath Package includes one night's accommodation in a Deluxe Sea View room, breakfast at Le Jardin du Royal, Dead Sea Mud Bath (45 minutes), late check-out, and complimentary access to swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and fitness facilities. Priced at $250 for two persons.


Town House Galleria: Europe’s First Seven Star Hotel in Milan

December 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Town House Galleria Milan

Move over, Dubai. Europe's getting its very own seven-star hotel, the Town House Galleria, in Milan. The hotel's developers opened its doors on Friday, December 15 for the general public to view the premises before the March 2007 opening date. Overlooking Milan's Duomo Cathedral and La Scala opera house, Town House Galleria is located in the second and third floor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan's world-renowned historic shopping arcade. After a large renovation, the landmark building still showcases historic architectural features like the hand painted vaulted ceilings and large shuttered windows. The hotel will feature only 24 suites, and promises the highest level of personal service. Currently the world's only seven star hotel exists in-- where else?-- Dubai. (The sail-shaped Burj al Arab has been the scene of many ingenius photo ops: Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi practicing their game from the helipad, 692 feet above the Arabian Gulf.)

Old-school luxury hoteliers bemoan this latest marking gimmick of the seven-star hotel; after all, there is no standard worldwide hotel rating system, and European hotels officially can only earn five stars. But apparently this is just the beginning of a new flood of "seven star" hotels which will glut the luxury market as the super-rich elite strive to distinguish themselves among the top-tier echelons of high-rollers. Versace fashion house is scheming to open a dozen worldwide.

Related Articles:

Gridskipper, "7 Star Luxury in Milan"

Reuters, "Milan joins hotel star wars with new top rating"


Announcing the New Raffles Dubai

December 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles Dubai

Set off on a camel safari across the sand dunes, cruise the turquoise Gulf, or hit the slopes at the challenging indoor ski resort. In glitzy, glamorous Dubai-- setting of the only seven-star hotel in the world-- everything goes. And now, the New York Times has pinpointed the new Raffles as one of the hottest hotels of the year:

In Dubai, where hotels bearing names like Versace, Armani and Trump are all in the works, a pyramid-shaped Raffles is opening this summer with 248 pharaoh-chic rooms and a two-and-a-half-acre rooftop greenhouse.

Located in the heart of the city on Sheikh Zayed Road, the premier business and shopping district of Dubai, Raffles Dubai is a stunning landmark: an 18-storey pyramid rising like a mirage from the desert. The 248 guest rooms are plush and opulent; the Royal Suite is positively palatial, 480 square meters including a private balcony. There will be nine dining and drinking outlets, including the lively China Moon bar, and the heavenly RafflesAmrita Spa. The best part of all is perhaps the unique, one-hectare 'Sparkling Botanical Sky-Garden', depicting the four 'Elements of Life' (fire, wind, earth and water), in an oasis of exotic flora and orchids spread around the swimming pool. Coming Summer 2007.


Tiger Takes Dubai: New Golf Course Planned for Dubailand

December 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tiger Woods in Dubai

Tiger Woods recently announced that he will design his first golf course in Dubailand, the region's largest entertainment and tourism project. (The Dubailand concept, envisioned by ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is expected to attract 15 million visitors to Dubai by 2010.) Tiger's par-72, 18-hole championship golf course will be called Al Ruwaya, meaning serenity. The course will feature "lush landscaping, stunning water features, dramatic elevation changes, and five sets of tees to accommodate every caliber of golfer." Significantly, this is the first for Tiger Woods Design. Woods has played in the Dubai Desert Classic three times (winning this year in a sudden play-off) and thus has a lot of fondness for the region. In addition to the golf course, Tiger Woods-Dubai is also in the works: an exclusive golf community that will house Al Ruwaya, state-of-the-art clubhouse, professionally-staffed golf academy, 80-suite boutique hotel, 300 luxury villas and 20 private homes, and retail community. Construction will start in late 2007, and the project is expected to be completed in late 2009.

Image Via BBC Sport

Related Articles:

Tiger Woods Official Site

Luxist, "Tiger Plans His First Golf Course in Dubai"


What’s Hot: Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort, Al Areen, Bahrain

November 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Bahrain

One of the most hotly anticipated hotel openings for 2007. Banyan Tree Desert Spa and Resort, Al Areen, Bahrain will be the only all-villa private pool resort in the Arabian Gulf and one of the Middle East's most luxurious hideaways. Located next to Al Areen Wildlife Park, a conservation area for many indigenous wildlife species, and in close proximity to the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix track, the new Banyan Tree boasts incredible private villas and indulgent spa pampering. The villas embody the magic of the Arabian Nights: azure swimming pools, jet pool courtyard and private garden, sprawling master bedroom with high ceilings, an elegant ambience with all contemporary amenities. This sensual oasis of pampering is surrounded by Bahrain's intriguing cultural and historical landscape: well-preserved forts, excellent museums, and the oldest mosque in the Gulf, Al Khamis. The resort is a complete body wellness center offering up-to-date sporting facilities set against the Arabian Desert backdrop. The spa is otherworldly. There are outdoor vitality pools, a hammam, fountain courtyard, and deluxe spa treatment pavilions with relaxation rooms, sunken baths, Rain Mist treatment, steam and private treatment room. The hydrotherapy area is lavish: Rain Mist Shower, Self Scrub area with private cabins, Sanarium, Storm Shower, Grotto sauna, Ice Igloo, Afusion Shower, Rhassoul with single and double rooms, Foot Spa station, Bucket Drench Shower, Tropics Shower, Herbal Steam Room, Cold Rain Mist Corridor, Brine Light Room and Warm Rain Mist Corridor.


Dubai Alternatives: Beautiful Bahrain

October 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Bahrain

While Dubai has become marked by unceasing construction (the hotels cropping up at an increasingly frenetic pace), the Gulf-facing country of Bahrain boasts similar awe-inspiring landscapes and pleasant climate. As suggested by the savvy travelers at The Observer:

Being an early adopter of a new destination can dramatically reduce your bill. Rather than glitzy Dubai, for example, consider the island of Bahrain. It has many of the same qualities (and fewer cranes) and is still looking to entice tourists rather than profit from them.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Villas and Spa is the natural choice for luxury travelers. Situated on the north coast of Bahrain on the seafront of Manama, the 245-room hotel is located within a lush 20-acre urban resort complex which boasts its own private island. The newly-renovated rooms feature panoramic ocean views overlooking the Arabian Gulf. White sand beach, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gorgeous spa with Thalassotherapy pool, kid's club, and nine restaurants and bars… the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain's got it all.