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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.

Hotels with an Incredible View!: Thailand

February 1, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that an incredible view is of utmost importance to luxury travelers. After a day of exploring a new city, there’s nothing more enjoyable then returning to your luxurious accommodations and taking in the miraculous view before calling it a day. For others, there simply is no time to enjoy everything a city has to offer, and the only exploration one has time for is to take in the view from the hotel. We’d like to introduce you to our  blog series, which will be featuring incredible hotels with incredible views!Whatever your travel reasons or however much time you have to enjoy your trip, we hope you leave thinking wow what a view!

Our second feature is the Peninsula Bangkok. It’s located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and it is one of Bangkok’s finest hotels. It is a stunning, 39-story hotel offering incredible panoramic views of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya River from every one of its luxurious guest rooms and suites. This luxury hotel is within easy access of the shopping and business districts as well as near the Bangkok Sky Train and 35 minutes from Don Muang International Airport. The Peninsula Bangkok has an incredible 3-tiered swimming pool, a fitness center, and a beauty salon offering a variety of massages and treatments.

You can view our first featured hotel with a view, the Marina Bay Sands Singapore here. Be sure to keep up with our blog series to discover various luxury hotels all over the world with the best views!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #17 Tower Club at Lebua

December 15, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #17 spot we have the Tower Club at Lebua located in Bangkok, Thailand.

Quick facts about the Tower Club at Lebua:

- This all-suite hotel has made the list of 101 best suites in the world by Elite Traveler for two consecutive years.

- Housed in one of Bangkok’s most impressive structures, the State Tower, providing guests with dramatic views of the beautiful city of Bangkok.

- Private balconies in each suite located from the 51st to the 59th floor.

- Each guest suite features a separate living area, Bvlgari bath amenities, feather soft beds, and Petrossian amenities in the mini bar.

- Other luxurious amenities include an open air swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a fitness center, a sauna, steam rooms, and massage rooms.

- The Tower Club comes with lounge access where you can enjoy Continental breakfast as well as endless alcoholic drinks and canapés throughout the day.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Tower Club at Lebua.

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


What's Hot: Introductory Rates at Angsana's New Flagship Resort on Phuket

November 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Angsana Laguna PhuketCome hell or high water, the Angsana Laguna Phuket will be opening its doors on December 1, 2011. The new flagship for Angsana Hotels and Resorts, the property closed earlier this year for a multi-million dollar overhaul, and promises to dazzle after a dramatic makeover. The guest rooms and public spaces are stylish and contemporary in design, with traditional Thai touches (think steep arched roofs, waterways winding through the grounds, and vividly colored fabrics).

Nestled on Bang Tao Bay in the northwest of Phuket Island in Southern Thailand, Angsana Laguna Phuket is part of Laguna Phuket, Asia’s first integrated resort, which is comprised of five luxury hotels, six palm-fringed lagoons, 600 acres of parkland, three kilometers of pristine beach and a slew of recreational activities and dining options. We like the sound of the 323 metre free-form pool that meanders throughout the Angsana Laguna Phuket and the award-winning Angsana Spa. Did we mention the treehouse-inspired Kids Club? This resort is family friendly (and they even have a special kiddies pool called the toddler's "tub").

Hot rates: The resort is currently offering $199 introductory rates with breakfast included, and they'll throw in a resort credit of $98 when you stay in two nights or more. Stay a minimum of three nights, and you'll get a free 90-minute massage.


Top 10 Spas All Over the World

October 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

What do you get when you combine luxury, serenity, and incredibly gifted hands? The best spa resorts, of course! Check out our list of the top 10 luxury spas all over the world, make your reservation for that much needed vacation, and step into a relaxing paradise of mineral baths, facials, saunas, mud masks, massages, and much more.

10. The Wickaninnish Inn, Canada

This peaceful spa is surrounded by forest on the Pacific Ocean, creating the perfect, natural environment with the sound of splashing waves and the smell of the ocean permeating the atmosphere. This spa offers high-quality spa products and its estheticians focus on providing a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

9. Auberge de Soleil, United States

Located in the wine country of San Francisco, this spa is surrounded by private gardens and breathtaking views of Napa Valley. This spa offers the opportunity to partake in relaxing activities for romantic couples or friends of four with access to a private outdoor garden and hot spring. Embrace this spa’s philosophy of nurturing the body and mind while sinking into a peaceful state of relaxation.

 

8. Banyan Tree, Thailand

This one is considered to be one of Asia’s most spectacular spa resorts. All of this resort’s 123 villas have access to their own garden and an open air sunken bathtub, 52 of its villas have their own Jacuzzi, and 46 have their own private swimming pool. For the ultimate getaway, consider one of 13 villas with access to a private pool, Jacuzzi, private steam, and sauna room, and be sure to sign up for this hotel’s renowned ‘Intimate Moments’ partner massage.

7. The Grove, United Kingdom

The Grove is London’s cosmopolitan country estate, and it offers spa treatments that sooth and stimulate all of your senses. This spa prides itself on offering a total caring experience and ensuring that you escape, relax, and re-energize during your stay. Breathe in the tranquility, breath out the stress, and leave with a little more balance in your life.

6. Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa, United States

This spa is located in a private red rock canyon in Sedona, Arizona-- in what is considered to be one of the most sacred healing places on Earth. World class spa therapists create unique and memorable experiences and offer a variety of specially tailored services, aiming to provide a sense of harmony and health.

5. The Setai, United States

This Miami Beach luxury spa embraces ancient traditions and offers a complete experience with access to three private, sparkling swimming pools. This spa is dedicated to absolute privacy and relaxation, and its treatments will leave you feeling fresh and revitalized.

4. Four Seasons Hualalai Kona, United States

This exotic, Hawaiian themed spa integrates tropical gardens and exudes serenity. Its complimentary, pre-spa services include access to the lap pool, whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas, and cold plunges. The treatment massages can be performed outside amidst beautiful nature and bamboo that naturally bring about a sense of calm.

3. Le Sirenuse, Italy

This spa embraces the ancient philosophy of individualized treatments to reach harmony from the inside out.  Be sure to take advantage of their unique treatment options and enjoy various services made especially for your needs.

2. Four Seasons Bali Jimbaran Bay, Indonesia

Inspired by the surrounding ocean, this resort has eight magnificent treatment rooms and offers suites equipped with outdoor soaking tubs. The spa treatments utilize essences of plants, aromas of healing flowers, and herbs and spices, all blended together to create soothing and rejuvenating recipes for an enhanced experience.

1. Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands

Dramatically located on a cliff’s edge, this spa overlooks the resort and the beautiful Sir Francis Drake Channel below. The indigenous botanical resources along with therapeutic practices make for the most relaxing spa experience. The best part, however, is that this spa is willing to accommodate you in their Cliff Spa Suite, in your room, on the beach, or even under the stars!

Try as we might, we just couldn’t pick one favorite, so we encourage you to share your favorite luxury spa experiences with us on Facebook. Is your favorite spa on our list? Let us know! We love hearing from you.


Spa Trends: The Kids Get Pampered at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

October 27, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Chiang MaiOne of the latest trends in luxury travel? Tykes and teens are getting pampered with specialized spa treatments. We've seen teen acne facials and little princess manicures at hotels like Stowe's Topnotch Resort, Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego, and The Homestead in Virginia. The latest resort to create a customized menu for its youngest guests? The Four Seasons Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern culture capital in the beautiful Mae Rim Valley. For "little angels," the resort recently unveiled a menu of new treatments using organic, chemical-free products. Here's the menu:

Angel Bliss Massage – A relaxing, soothing treatment perfect for energetic kids, the Angel Bliss Massage improves the quality of children’s sleep, soothes the nervous system, and helps to strengthen the immune system through a gentle pressure oil massage applied to the scalp, legs and feet.  60 minutes.

Look At Me Facial - Formulated especially to suit young and teenage skin, and to leave a little one looking her very best, this is a very gentle facial incorporating an exhilarating face massage to hydrate and purify the skin.  50 minutes.

Gorgeous Skin Glow – The perfect treatment to bring a glow to young skin, the Skin Glow is a gentle scrub using natural red rice to exfoliate dead skin cells and revitalise the skin.  50 minutes.

Soothing Wrap for Sun-Kissed Skin – The perfect after-sun treatment for those kids who’ve been enjoying the great outdoors, this soothing body wrap uses the healing power of aloe vera to cool, moisturise and heal the skin.  50 minutes.


The W Retreat Koh Samui Celebrates 1st Birthday with a Special Offer

October 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Retreat Koh SamuiThe W Retreat Koh Samui is turning 1. Now's the time to surrender to a tropical island escape... W's sexy resort on the Gulf of Thailand made some waves when it opened last year. (One look at the photos and you'll see why.) Situated on a pristine stretch of Koh Samui's coastline, the resort manages both to delight the local party crowd and mesmerize global jetsetters, all while keeping its cool. Secluded villas surrounded by lush foliage make for the ultimate in relaxation after sampling the island's red-hot nightlife. Book the "1st Year Celebration" at W Retreat Koh Samui and you'll reap the rewards:

* A price of THB 11,111 per Retreat/per Night in a Jungle Oasis with free breakfast for two. (That's $358.)

* Only 11 Retreats are available per day for this special offer, so act fast to book.

* 1+1 Thaimazcal Spa Experience (buy 1 get 1 free at THB 2,400)

* Reserve your stay over 11/11 and get a free Thaimazcal Spa Experience for two persons

Book by November 30, 2011 for stays from November 1- 30, 2011.


Mouthwatering Desserts and Sky-High Views at lebua, Bangkok

October 11, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Black Forest Cake at lebua hotel, BangkokOur friends at lebua Hotels & Resorts have a cool blog where they share what's on at their hotels, and all the latest news from Bangkok and beyond. (For example: get deets on the Hanovertini, the cocktail created in honor of The Hangover II, filmed at the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower.) We were so taken with the hotel's mouthwatering desserts, shared on their blog and Flickr page, that we're republishing the "Sweetest Thing in Life" blog post here. Bon Appetit!

“For those with business to conduct, lebua provides the perfect opportunity to transcend the boardroom and innovate your meeting plans. Whether you plan to host a large conference, an intimate meeting or conduct your business one-on-one, lebua offers unparalleled possibilities for ideas to flourish and flow freely”

I’ve always been told the above, and over the past few months, want it or not, I find myself in lebua at least thrice a month. For meetings, or to have some alone time to catch up with my writing assignments; with a slice of cake or some tea, my ideas do flourish – mainly because of the great view in the many restaurants.

Meeting a prospective client, writing, closing a deal, or snacking with friends or stopping to say hello to Chef Frank, I’ve made lebua a regular fixture in my schedule.

Dinner at Mezzaluna, checked!

Drinks at Skybar, checked!

Have their famous Mixologist make me a drink at Distil, checked.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Mozu, also done and off the list

Dine in style in Breeze, mission accomplished!

Okay, I’ve INDEED been in and out of the hotel and I love it. And knowingly, their cakes and dessert stand out. I loved their intricate look and feel, and the beautiful presentation – just so artistic!

And today, I was there yet again – and I ordered a slice of heaven Black Forest cake. It sure was different, and so out-of-this-world, that I so regret not snapping a photo before I fork it all down.

To share with you, here’s a photo I’ve taken from their Flickr site.


Pooling our Resources: The 10 Best Hotel Pools in the World

September 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

 After reading CNN’s own list of great hotel pools, we decided to put our heads together and write up our thoughts on the matter. Who has the 10 best hotel pools in the world? To truly know, you’ll have to visit yourself and see. But these are certainly our favorites.

10. The Banyan Tree Seychelles

With the simple application of basic mathematics, the Banyan Tree has figured out how to improve upon the tried and true concept of the private pool: By giving its two-bedroom suites two private pools – and what a sight they are. That’s the kind of thinking I can get behind.

Banyan Tree Seychelles

9. Le Palais de la Mediterranee, France

Le Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice rolls in at number 9 with its incredible 3rd floor indoor/outdoor pool. Just feet from a sun terrace with a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean, this is a pool that was tailor-made for lounging. If to you a vacation means leaning back, lowering your sunglasses over your eyes and relaxing the afternoon away, then this is the hotel for you.

Palais de la Mediterranee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. The Berkeley, London

While some other pools may be more spectacular, as you’ll see in a moment, none offer the same level of comfort year-round as The Berkeley rooftop pool in London. The heated pool features a wonderful open-air swimming experience in the summer, but unlike most hotels, when it gets a bit colder, you don’t have to take the party inside. The Berkeley instead rolls out its retractable roof, and you can now enjoy the comfort of a perfectly climate-controlled rooftop pool in winter.

The Berkeley London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Villa d’Este, Italy

The pool at Villa d’Este on Lake Como would make Archimedes blush. Floating above the very lake that the Villa rests against, the pool features a built-in Jacuzzi and fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. It’s like swimming in the lake just inches below your feet, but it’s always the perfect temperature.

Villa d'Este

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Blue Palace Resort and Spa, Crete

The Blue Palace Resort and Spa is truly deserving of its sixth place finish, and really if we were fair it’d be on this list twice. The aptly-named Blue Palace is renowned for the private pools that come standard with most of their rooms and suites. With pools up to 40 sq. meters in size for just you and your companion(s), there couldn’t be a more private or luxurious swimming experience. And if that weren’t enough, the Blue Palace is famous for its unique Grecian Thalassotherapy, which combines the relaxing powers of a world-class massage with water-cleansing rituals guaranteed to revitalize your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. The Library Koh Samui, Thailand

In this case, the picture speaks for itself. The Library Koh Samui is built around the innovative concept that a vacation is about relaxation and people should be allowed to free their minds from stress by engaging in the simple pleasures of cracking open a book and enjoying the company of their family or friends. They’ve also turned their pool red - which is both surreal and strangely captivating, like green ketchup or a fish riding a bicycle.

The Library Koh Samui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Rawi Warin Resort and Spa, Thailand

The 1000 sq. meter infinity edge pool at Rawi Warin looks as if the water is fading into the ocean, with only little beach umbrellas poking above the water line to let you know that it doesn’t go on forever. The illusion is compelling and gorgeous. As if that weren’t enough, Rawi Warin also has Asia’s first ocean swimming pool, extending 100 meters into the water and allowing you to swim with the fishes in an entirely literal way.

Rawi Warin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Palazzo Sasso, Italy

The Palazzo Sasso has one of the more innovative designs for a hotel pool we’ve ever seen. Situated on the edge of a cliff 1000 feet above sea level, the pool at Palazzo Sasso offers underwater windows with a view of the sea below, thus discovering the heretofore unknown condition of subaqueous vertigo. But seriously, it is the single most impressive thing I’ve seen at the bottom of a pool.

Palazzo Sasso

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Atlantis the Palm Dubai

Atlantis the Palm Dubai may just be the best thing ever. If you got all the things together in one place, and made me pick, I’d say, “I want that thing. It looks like the best thing.” So what is this thing I’m so excited about? Well, it just might be a standard luxurious hotel pool, only it’s attached to a full water park! I don’t bandy about with exclamation points lightly, but this seems to be worth one. If you, like me, have ever thought, “wow, this vacation is really relaxing, but what I’d really like is to go launching out of a ziggurat at high speeds into a pool of water,” then this is the destination for you. And even more than that, much of the hotel is themed around this aquatic experience. There are underwater mazes, a four-and-a-half hectare dolphin habitat, and something they just call Aquaventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Occasionally, a feat of engineering comes along that’s so remarkable, you have to doff your hat to the architects of its design. The Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool in Singapore is more like what would result if Leonardo da Vinci were in the hotel business. Resting 200 meters above the ground in the Sands SkyPark, the Infinity Pool is as breathtaking as it is surreal – the edge of the pool seems to fade into the horizon itself. Swimmers are greeted with a panoramic vista unequaled anywhere. Without a doubt, the Infinity is the coolest hotel pool we’ve ever seen and not just for the breeze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So throw on your swim trunks and book a room at any of these amazing hotels (maybe in the other order), and soon you'll be enjoying the sun by some of the most amazing pools in the world.


Travel to Thailand: A Combo with Phulay Bay in Krabi and Tower Club at lebua, Bangkok

August 26, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton ReserveGet a taste of the best of Thailand with an exciting new four night package created by Bangkok's Tower Club at lebua in partnership with Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. You'll experience the exhilaration of Bangkok as well as the pristine beaches of Krabi. Start your adventure with a two night stay in a luxurious one-bedroom Tower Club Riverview suite at Tower Club at lebua, Bangkok, the all-suite hotel recently featured in The Hangover Part II. The swank hotel has some fantastic restos like Sirocco, the world's highest open-air restaurant. Included in the package: an innovative three course chef’s menu at the Mezzaluna, private round trip limousine airport transfers and romantic sunset Champagne at the famous Sky Bar with breathtaking views of the city of Bangkok. You'll then head over to Phulay Bay – a hidden retreat known for top-notch personalized service in an unforgettable setting. The package price is THB 56,450.