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The 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.

Crown Towers is home to one of the largest and most luxurious indoor pools in the country. Hotel guests can utilize the 25 metre heated indoor pool at their leisure, with access to refreshments poolside.

Crown Tower

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As a guest at Langham Hotel Melbourne, you have an open invitation to practise your backstroke in the 15-metre long swimming pool at the distinctive Chuan Spa.

Langham Hotel Melbourne

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Posted in: Melbourne

Tolarno Hotel Melbourne
Tolarno Hotel Melbourne
is housed in St Kilda's infamous Tolarno building. The hallway and room walls are highlighted by original local artwork reminiscent of the days when it was owned renowned artist, Mirka Mora and her husband George, who lived and operated The Tolarno Gallery from this building.

Tolarno Hotel Melbourne

Set in the heart of St Kilda's cafe, bar and club precinct, the hotel is a short stroll to the beach, Acland Street galleries and the Sunday Esplanade Market. Right outside the hotel are trams offering direct access to Melbourne's CBD, the Casino, Southbank, National Gallery and Royal Botanic Gardens.

Over the years, the hotel has firmly cemented itself as a cultural institution and played host to some of Australia's most-loved artists, including works from the likes of Sidney Nolan and Howard Arkley.

Today it lies at the heart of bringing Melbourne's most exciting, up-and-coming artistic talents to the world. Namely students from VCA, RMIT and Monash, as well as a number of local artists.

The premise is simple: each room is specifically designed around select works from a particular artist and the winners of each annual prize are exhibited in the hotel foyer. The upshot is that guests are afforded a unique opportunity to purchase works from the artists directly.

At the heart of Tolarno Hotel's present-day incarnation are co-owners James Fagan and Bernard Corser. Their friendship dates back to the early-Nineties and is one that shares the love of art.

Tolarno Hotel Melbourne

After purchasing the hotel in 1996, James and Bernard sought to retain the essence of the hotel's flamboyant, idiosyncratic personality. From the outset, they wanted to retain the building's heritage and eclectic ambiance while creating something truly unique. The pair established the Tolarno Hotel's first annual art prize with RMIT in 2002. The success, of which, led them to set up a similar prize with VCA the following year. Monash University then followed suit in 2005. The upshot being that many students exhibited in the hotel have gone on to gain considerable kudos in the art world.

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Hotel Windsor Melbourne

The Hotel Windsor Melbourne was the dream of shipping magnate George Nipper. He commissioned architect Charles Webb to design the hotel and it opened its doors in December 1883. The Hotel Windsor predates many of the grand hotels of the Victorian era, including The Savoy London, The Plaza, The Waldorf Astoria New York, the Hotel Ritz Paris,  and The Raffles, Singapore.

George Nipper sold the "Grand", as it was then known, to James Munro who embarked on a massive expansion program. This doubled the size of the hotel, and saw the addition of the renowned Grand Ballroom, the Grand Staircase, and the twin cupola-capped towers.

At this point the hotel was known as the Grand Coffee Palace and for a brief period, under the influence of the Temperance Movement, banned liquor from its premises. By 1897, however, the hotel once again changed hands, welcomed back its original name, and regained its liquor license. From then on and for the better part of the 20th century, The Hotel Windsor Melbourne was a pivotal centre in the city and, indeed, Australia, for the political and social milieu. Australia's constitution was drafted at The Hotel Windsor between February and March 1898. 

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Melbourne Marriott Hotel Location, location, location! For those travelers looking to explore what Melbourne has to offer, look no further than the Melbourne Marriott Hotel. This hotel property is known for its prime time location, as it is centrally located near many of Melbourne’s tourist activities. The Marriott Melbourne Hotel is steps away from Melbourne’s central business district, and the central shopping centers on Collins Street are filled with different shops to buy trinkets and souvenirs. Dine at popular restaurants in Melbourne's Chinatown after visiting the Melbourne Museum, and enjoy a show at the popular theatre district. The area is home to famous Melbourne landmarks such as The Regent Theatre, which hosts world renowned theatre productions the entire family can enjoy. The daily activities to do outside of the hotel can be overwhelming to most, but not to worry! The property has its own newspaper, keeping guests informed with events and activities close to the the hotel.



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One of the many pieces of whimsical art found at Melbourne's Art Series The Cullen

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Don't we all wish we were here, enjoying the Melbourne sunset? 


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The tranquil view of Lake Daylesford at Melbourne's aptly named Lake House. 

Posted in: Melbourne, Hot Spots

SubtleHere's a promotion that's got so much panache, it's making everyone in the industry stand up and take note.  The Art Series Hotels in Melbourne, The Blackman, The Cullen, and The Olsen, have been rotating two Banksy paintings, valued at a bounty of $20,000, around their hotels from Dec 15 through Jan 15.  And here's where the promotion gets cool:  They're inviting you to try to steal them without getting caught.  If you succeed, you get to keep the painting.

The first of the two Banksy paintings is "No Ball Games," one of only a few signed and authenticated Banksy works in Australia.  And it's already already fallen.  After failed attempts to hack the security cameras, place a listening device at the concierge desk, and simply to vault over the desk in plain sight of all the staff (this didn't go too well for the perpetrator), Maura Tuohy and Megan Aney pulled the heist off.

 The trick?  People listen to you if you act like you know what you're doing.  And that's just what they did.  Maura researched all of the names and brief bios of the marketing people in the hotel's PR firm and strode into the hotel in plain sight, claiming to be charged to move it to the next hotel.  

After a series of questions about her connections, which she passed with flying colors, they demanded to have her story verified.  That's when she had them call up her accomplice, who impersonating the manager, backed up her story.   The hotel staff even helped her load up the painting into her car.  Fifteen minutes later, she came back to let them know they'd let a $15,000 painting walk right out their front door, a la Frank Abagnale.

The second, "Pulp Fiction" is still up for grabs in a very literal sense, so pull on your balaclava, rent a mini-cooper, and wear down your sneakers because the next heist is going to have to be even trickier.  If you need a nearby staging area, make sure to check out some of the other top-notch luxury hotels in Melbourne.

Photos courtesy of Art Series Hotels site and Twitter