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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 World’s Tallest Hotels (in Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai… Where Else?)

February 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al ArabCurious about the tallest hotels on the planet? Do any hotels in the Americas make the cut? Web Urbanist just published the Top 10 List, and it's making the Internet rounds. Burj Al Arab-- the sail-shaped wonder soaring over the beach in Dubai-- lands on the list, along with two other Dubai properties: The Rose Rayhaan by Rotana and Jumeirah Emirates Towers. The rest of the buildings can be found in cities across Asia: The Baiyoke Tower II in Bangkok, The Cullinan I in Hong Kong, the Grand Lisboa in Macau, The Lanko-Grand Hyatt Hotel in Chongqing, Swissôtel The Stamford in Singapore, Oasis Skyway Garden Hotel in Shanghai, JR Central Hotel Tower in Nagoya, and Ryugyong Hotel Tower in Pyongyang. Check out all the photos here.


St. Regis Plans Hotel for Amman, its First in Jordan

January 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Hotel Amman, JordanHot off the press. After opening a hotel on the top of the world a few months ago (in the remote capital of Tibet), St. Regis is now making a foray into the Middle East- with a luxury hotel planned for Jordan's capital city of Amman. The St. Regis brand-- founded by John Jacob Astor IV over a century ago-- got its start in New York City, and has now expanded to prime locations around the globe, bringing its fabled butler service to nearby cities and far-off continents. Slated to open in 2014, the new St. Regis Amman will be situated in Amman's Abdoun district. The 270-room Jordan hotel will be among five St. Regis openings in the Middle East in the coming years, including properties in Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In fact, the brand has more than doubled its portfolio of worldwide hotels and resorts in the past year. Amman serves as the gateway to Jordan's rich touristic treasures-- including Petra, numerous religious sites (including the mountain from where Moses looked out over the promised land), the Wadi Rum desert (described as "vast, echoing, and Godlike" by Lawrence of Arabia), and the Dead Sea. Significantly, Amman is also a business capital in the region.

Image via The Jordan Times


Where to Stay in Dubai for the Middle East’s Top Tennis Tournament

January 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival CityTennis fans, thinking of heading to the UAE in February for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships? The top tennis tournament in the Middle East will feature star talent like Swiss sensation (and 16-time Grand Slam winner) Roger Federer, Andy Murray, World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, and defending champions Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams. The region's only ATP 500 tour event and a favorite of top ranked female players on the WTA's Premier-Event calendar, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will take place at the Dubai Tennis Stadium at the Aviation Club on February 14, followed by the men's tournament from February 21-26. Tickets can be purchased online at Time Out Tickets. Need a place to crash while in town for the matches? The closest five-star hotels are the Al Bustan Rotana and the InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival City (pictured at right).


Buzzworthy: New Hotel Missoni Kuwait Introduces “Dry Sommelier” Concept

January 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Missoni KuwaitHotel Missoni Kuwait will debut in just a few weeks now, and we can hardly wait. Come March 1, the design hotel will be shaking things up on the Arabian Gulf. Gorgeous interiors, an inspiring spa by Six Senses, tasty eats at the Cucina Missoni restaurant, a pool decorated with tile in the signature Missoni pattern... In short: a glamorous destination sure to dazzle its guests. There's also the all-inclusive aspect that has tongues wagging; services like Wifi, in-room movies, and mini-bar items are included in the room rates. We expect nothing less from the Milan-based fashion house.

News: We've just learned about an innovative service that the Hotel Missoni Kuwait will be introducing on the premises. To honor both local Kuwaiti culture as well as Creative Director Rosita Missoni's passion for pairing wines with meals, the "Dry Sommelier" will suggest specialty "mocktails"-- think fresh fruit juices, homemade Missoni syrups with infused ices, and mineral waters-- to go with each guest's meal.


Say Hello to the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre

January 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial CentreHave you heard? The biggest news out of Dubai these days is the opening of the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, featuring an enormous waterfall in the lobby. Cascading down the building into the hotel's courtyard, the 10-storey waterfall is one of eight cool water features in the hotel. Not only does the hotel get props for its design, it's also in the spotlight for its ballroom (the biggest in Dubai's financial district), swanky 13-room spa, fully-equipped health club, and restaurants. From the official press release:

A dramatic 100-foot wine wall that is home to 3,000 bottles of the finest varietals in the world is a focal point for gourmands and wine connoisseurs. Other dining selections include Blue Rain, the signature Thai fine-dining restaurant; Can Can, a French all-day dining brasserie and the Center Cut steakhouse, providing multiple settings for the enjoyment of the cuisine made famous by The Ritz-Carlton chefs. The Lobby Lounge & Terrace offers a casual elegance for the enjoyment of afternoon tea. Each restaurant boasts an expansive outdoor terrace.

The 341-room hotel is the second Ritz-Carlton in Dubai, and the only hotel to be directly linked to the Dubai International Financial Centre.


Oman on My Mind: Anantara Al Madina A’Zarqa Resort & Spa Opens in 2011

December 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Al Madina A'Zarqa Resort, OmanWe've long had our eye on Oman as a destination to watch. Travelers who return from the Middle Eastern oasis spin tales of mysterious landscapes, rugged natural beauty, and ancient historic sites- untouched by tourism. We love that you can arrive by hang-glider at the Six Senses Hideaway at Zighy Bay. Though not far as the crow flies from over-the-top Dubai, the Sultanate of Oman is investing in a different type of tourism with a sustainable, long-term approach to economic diversification. In fact, the government is now investing $20 billion in the tourism sector to diversify the economy now dependent on oil production. The goal is to attract 12 million upscale visitors annually by 2020. The official Tourism Ministry website says it best: "Beauty has an address." Convinced yet?

Come 2011 there will be another exciting luxury hotel on the scene, the latest property from Bangkok-based Anantara Hotels & Resorts. Just an hour outside Muscat, the Anantara Al Madina A’Zarqa Resort & Spa is situated on a natural peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Oman. The 122-room luxury resort showcases traditional Arabian architecture, reminiscent of an ancient Omani castle on the beach. Facilities will include a fitness center, Anantara spa, business center, beach club bar, wine cellar and top-notch restaurants.


Special Five Star Alliance Rates at the Armani Hotel Dubai

November 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Armani Hotel DubaiThe first hotel designed and developed by Giorgio Armani, the Armani Hotel Dubai has been turning heads in over-the-top Dubai since its debut earlier this year. The setting alone is impressive; the hotel is located on floors 0-8 (along with 38 & 39) of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. Inside, it's a feast for the senses. Armani himself designed the eight on-site restaurants; the guest rooms are Armani through and through-- from the Eramosa stone floors to the zebrawood panels. Hot rates: Book the Armani Hotel Dubai with Five Star Alliance and you'll be privy to best available rates plus value-added extras: a bountiful buffet breakfast plus two complimentary tickets to KidZania, an innovative children's theme park in the Dubai Mall that's a kid-sized replica of a real city, where kids play at being grown-ups (and even don uniforms).

For more details on the opening of Armani Hotel Dubai, one of the most buzzed about hotels of the year, click here.


Last Day to Book Starwood’s Global Holiday Sale

November 15, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel President Wilson, GenevaThe big two-week global sale from Starwood Hotels & Resorts is coming to an end. Act fast to score savings of up to 30% on best available rates this holiday season across all nine Starwood brands: Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element. The offer is valid for stays between November 4, 2010 and January 17, 2011 at more than 750 hotels and resorts worldwide; valid at participating hotels over weekends and at participating resorts all days of the week.

Pictured: The world-renowned Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, part of the Luxury Collection.


Suite Escape: Book 2 Nights at St. Regis Hotels and Get the 2nd Night for $4

October 28, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Bahia Beach ResortSt. Regis Hotels & Resorts have just unveiled a special offer worth booking ASAP. To celebrate their expanding portfolio-- and the November debut of The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico*-- the brand has rolled out the "Suite Luxury, Legacy Rates" offer. Book a suite for at least two consecutive nights at participating St. Regis hotels around the globe, and you'll get the second night's stay for only $4, the price of a suite at the brand's flagship, The St. Regis New York, when it originally opened in 1904.

*The new resort in Puerto Rico marks the brand's first foray into the Caribbean market. The resort will be home to the Caribbean's first and only Certified Audubon Signature Sanctuary.


A View Over the Persian Gulf at the Grand Hyatt Doha

October 20, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hyatt DohaOn your way to Qatar? Or stuck in the capital city's airport? Doha certainly merits a stop over, so plan accordingly by booking a room at the Grand Hyatt Doha, located on the shore in the new West Bay Lagoon district just 20 kilometers from the international airport. Most rooms and suites have balconies or terraces with sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf. While you're checking out the city, you'll be cocooned in luxury at the Grand Hyatt, featuring a full-service business center, 400-meter private beach, indoor & outdoor pools, and the Jaula Spa. Book the "Explore" package and you'll learn about local life in Doha. Along with your accommodations, you'll get full breakfast for two, a full day guided city tour with a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art, and a 2:00pm late checkout (5:00pm on Friday and Saturday).