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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.

Find Your Inner Nermal at The Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi

September 16, 2010
By: Daniel L. Moses

Yas Hotel, Abu DhabiTwenty years ago, the only time I ever heard of Abu Dhabi was while reading the Garfield comic strip. For some reason, known only to that irascible cat and Jim Davis himself, Garfield often tried to ship his erstwhile companion Nermal, aka the world’s cutest cat, to what was then perhaps a fledgling outpost in the distant conglomeration of the United Arab Emirates. Well, UAE is a fledgling outpost no more, and doggone Nermal might actually jump at the chance to be shipped to the shimmering oasis that is modern Abu Dhabi.

Nothing exemplifies that modernity more than the The Yas Hotel, uniquely located adjacent to the Persian Gulf. Well, adjacent isn’t really the right word. The Yas actually sits straddled half over the land and half over water. It’s a unique amphibious wonderland that could only be dreamed up by the visionary firm Asymptote Architecture, the lead designers of what has become a crown jewel destination. In fact, The Yas Hotel is so amazing, and with so much to offer including nearly 500 rooms, incredible dining and golfing options, and a luxurious placement next to Yas Marina, you might be forgiven for calling it the Yes hotel. As in, yes, they have that too!

So while somewhere out there in our imaginations Garfield is still trying to send Nermal to Abu Dhabi, you can get there for real. And while you’re at it, you can enjoy everything that Nermal is missing at The Yas Hotel.

Related Articles:

The World's Hot New Hotels: The Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi


“See Dubai Before You Die”: Check into the Palm Tree Court and Spa

August 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Tree Court and Spa, DubaiA recent article in The Telegraph (UK) "chronicles the endless possibilities for fun days and hot nights in the expat hotspot of the UAE, Dubai." The author's conclusion? "See Dubai Before You Die." Of all the places to stay in this over-the-top tourism destination in the desert, you can't go wrong with the 128-acre Jeleb Ali Golf Resort and Spa which recently finished a five-month refurbishment:

She truly is a classy, sassy oasis in this part of the desert, just a rapid free transfer to downtown Dubai. Close enough to be near. Far enough away to be relaxed and refreshed among the peacocks (a gift from the Maktoums) and other exotic flora, fauna and wildlife. The warm and welcoming staff are ultimately friendly, yet unerringly discreet (damn it). Tiger Woods came alone a while ago (probably not for long though) as he visited his "TigerWorld" development of palaces (really!) and signature golf course not far away. And the world-class sporting facilities, including a nine-hole golf course, marina, dive centre, horse-riding complex and spa have attracted sporting clubs, including English premiership sides, to the resort for warm-weather training. It's split into two. The Jebel Ali Hotel and the Palm Tree Court and Spa. Both are faultlessly five star and rightly lay claim to the title of "Dubai's Only True Resort." The food here is fantastic, from any of the dozen or so restaurants, including the award-winning French-inspired Signatures and La Fontana where a sumptuous breakfast buffet sets the day alight. And no matter in which part you stay, you are never more than a minute or two's walk from a private beach of bleached sand and the gently lapping Gulf.

Note: The all-inclusive package at the Palm Tree Court and Spa includes meals at any of the resort's 15 restaurants-- a deal The Telegraph's journalist would not doubt heartily endorse.


The World’s Best Up and Coming Hotels

August 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James ChicagoIn its August 2010 issue, Travel + Leisure highlights "20 to Watch: 2010's Best Up-and-Coming Hotels," many of which can be found in the Five Star Alliance collection. Predicting "the next hottest hotels around the globe," Travel + Leisure scoured the globe "to pick out this year's new and refurbished, expanding, or otherwise evolving hotels." What the magazine's editors found: domestic hotels are raising the bar, with fantastic luxury hotels in the United States and Canada. So without further ado, here's the list:

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires

Amangiri, Utah

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Four Seasons Beirut

The James Chicago

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

The Peninsula Chicago

The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel

Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan, Paris

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, London

Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, India

Veranda Resort, Turks & Caicos

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia

Destination Spa: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu , Malibu, California


Beirut Continues to Sizzle as a Destination: More Press Love for Le Gray Hotel

July 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Gray Hotel,  BeirutOne of the hottest destinations of the year continues to garner press attention. With trendy nightlife, cutting-edge art galleries and beautiful beaches, Beirut's allure as an urban hot spot on the Mediterranean coast is unmistakable. Recently singled out by Daily Candy in "The 'Rut Is on Fire," the cosmopolitan Lebanese capital "has something for everyone." Recommended lodgings while in town? Le Gray, the talked-about boutique from hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray whose stylish hotel collection includes One Aldwych in London and Carlisle Bay in Antigua:

For sleek, contemporary lodgings, book a room at the newly opened Le Gray, located in the downtown district. Split your time between the state-of-the-art spa, rooftop pool, and circular-shaped Bar ThreeSixty with views of the sea.

Featured on Travel + Leisure's "It List 2010," Le Gray has plenty of wow factors-- from the panoramic views of the Med and Mount Lebanon from the rooftop pool and restaurant to the tricked-out bedrooms.

Related Articles: What's Hot: Le Gray Opens in Beirut in 2009, The Latest from Hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray


Buzz: New LED Lighting Makes a Fab Light Show at InterContinental Dubai Festival City

July 8, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Dubai Festival CityIn a city often criticized for its rampant development, InterContinental Dubai Festival City is taking an eco-friendly stand. The hotel partnered with Phillips to replace 35,000 exterior and interior lights bulbs of the hotel with energy-saving LED lights, cutting carbon emissions by 80%. Phase one-- the exterior facade-- is complete, and pretty soon all the hotel rooms, suites, and public areas will be outfitted with LED technology as well. The coolest part of all? Dazzling nighttime light shows on the hotel's exterior, a marvelous sight on Dubai Creek. Just check out this video on YouTube. The installation of new, energy-efficient lighting isn't the only way that InterContinental Dubai Festival City is going green; the hotel also has an aggressive recycling program and a fleet of Lexus LS600 hybrid cars for guest transfers.


Travel to Doha: The Jean Nouvel-Designed National Museum of Qatar

July 2, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

National Museum of Qatar, Jean NouvelTravelers to Doha will soon be able to experience a magnificent new museum that's destined to become a pilgrimage destination for architourists. Back in March, Pritzker award-winning architect Jean Nouvel unveiled his design for the National Museum of Qatar at a buzzed-about event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Described by The New York Times as perhaps "the French architect’s most overtly poetic act of cultural synthesis yet," the museum will reflect the traditions of Qatar's Bedouin people. (Nouvel has embraced Middle Eastern culture in some of his other landmark buildings: the Arab World Institute in Paris, a branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, and an office tower in Doha, "sheathed in aluminum latticework and capped by a filigreed, mosquelike dome.") The Qatar government is currently pursuing a strategy of encouraging "the exchange of cultural traffic-- between East and West, tradition and modernity" and this museum, along with I.M. Pei's Museum of Islamic Art, is part of the effort. Nouvel's museum will be comprised of interlocking discs of different dimension, said to be inspired by sand roses, "the tiny formations that crystallize just below the desert's surface." Surrounded by desert landscaping, the museum will have 86,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, 21,500 square feet of temporary gallery space, a 220-seat auditorium, a 70-seat food forum / TV studio, two cafés, a restaurant and a museum shop.

Planning a trip to Doha and looking for hotel recs? Browse Five Star Alliance's portfolio of hotels for suggestions.


Luxury Value in Dubai: All-Inclusive Resort Experience at the Palm Tree Court & Spa

June 10, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Tree Court and Spa, DubaiLooking for a luxury resort experience in Dubai? You'll get great value with the "All Inclusive Value Package" at the Palm Tree Court & Spa, the five-star family beach resort nestled on the grounds of the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. An oasis outside of Dubai City, the resort is immersed in lush gardens, boasting its own private, palm-dotted beach overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Within the larger resort (where you can take your pick of recreational activities- from horseback riding to seaplane flights), the Palm Tree Court & Spa offers exclusive suites featuring designer baths and dine-out balconies or private gardens. The all-inclusive package includes buffet breakfast at La Fontana, lunch and dinner at your choice of 15 restaurants and bars, unlimited soft drinks throughout the day and drinks during dinner at Jebel Ali Hotel and Palm Tree Court & Spa. Complimentary leisure activities include wind surfing, catamaran, laser, kayaking and camel rides. Valid throughout 2010 with rates starting from AED 1,250 in a Garden View Junior Suite at Palm Tree Court & Spa.


Designer Hotels: Gucci is Gearing up to Launch a Dubai Hotel

June 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

GucciMove over, Armani. Gucci is getting in on the Dubai hotel action. The Italian fashion house has announced plans for the first ever Gucci hotel, slated to open by the end of 2010 in Dubai's Media City. The Associated Press reports that the building has already been completed, though work on the interiors hasn't yet begun. What's planned? 87 suites, a pool, fitness center, cigar club, and spa. This will be the first property for Elisabetta Gucci Hotels and Resorts. The daughter of the late fashion designer Paolo Gucci is looking to expand to Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, China, Brazil, and Russia.


Summer Value in Dubai at Atlantis, The Palm

May 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Atlantis, The Palm, DubaiLooking for some over-the-top fun in the sun the whole family will enjoy? Head to The Palm in Dubai, the world's largest man-made island, where Atlantis, The Palm reigns as the flagship resort. Inspired by the legend of the lost continent, Atlantis opened its doors in September 2008 after much buzz over its 16 restaurants (featuring a Nobu outpost!) and facilities (including the third largest aquarium in the world, where you can partake in shark feedings). And at $1.5 billion, it wasn't a cheap project. Atlantis, The Palm has 1,539 guest rooms and an awesome water park called Aquaventure, a playground of water slides, lagoons, and rides surrounded by the brilliant blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. There's even an on-site dolphin education center. The resort is offering a special package until September 8, 2010 emphasizing summer value. Priced from AED 895 (about $240) per room, the offer includes interconnecting family rooms, unlimited access to Aquaventure Waterpark & Lost Chambers, preferential rates to swim with the dolphins, 1 day complimentary Kids Club, and 1 day complimentary Club Rush (a supervised club for teens).


Buzz: ATM-Style Gold Vending Machine at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

May 14, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates Palace, Abu DhabiNews of an over-the-top amenity at Emirates Palace is making the Internet rounds. Abu Dhabi's "seven-star" hotel is now home to an "ATM with a golden touch." The brain child of Thomas Geissler, a German entrepreneur, the vending machine is called "Gold to Go" and dispenses customized coins or small bars up to 10 grams. The AP reports that the machine's unveiling was well-timed because gold hit a record high on Wednesday: "Geissler says he picked Abu Dhabi because of its high-rolling atmosphere and the region's traditional ties to gold in commerce." And the Emirates Palace, we'd like to add, has a reputation as one of the world's costliest hotels, built for $3 billion (or $10 million a room). Oh, and their spa has a "Diamond Experience" treatment that uses real diamond dust...