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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER

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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.

| By: Rachael Weir

Happy 2020! It's the start of a new year and a new decade. Where will you go this year? This decade? If you're like us, your list is long. We've put together our top 20 picks for this year. From the Mayflower 400th Anniversary Celebrations in England and Massachusetts, to the Olympics in Tokyo, we've gathered some of the world's most exciting events and happenings, along with luxury hotel suggestions in each locale. 

Happy Travels!

20. Manchester, England

20 Places To Go In 2020 ManchesterOne of Europe's fastest growing cities, Manchester is a popular base for digital and media companies. Blending history and design, the city is experiencing a growth in new development, including the Cultureplex, a railway goods house transformed into a restaurant, bar, and cafe. The revolving program of film, performing arts, and visual arts provides a constant array of entertainment options, and epicurians flock to the city to dine at Mana, the city's first Michelin Star recipient with a Nordic-influenced menu.

A few luxury hotel options ideal for exploring Manchester include The Lowry Hotel, Macdonald Manchester Hotel, and the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Manchester Piccadilly.

Explore Manchester Luxury Hotels

19. The Big Island, Hawaii

20 Places To Go In 2020 Big Island Hawaii

Following the 2018 volcanic activity on Hawaii's Big Island, the five-month eruption has stopped, and the blue skies have returned. The Halemaumau crater is now three times as wide and four times as deep as it was prior to the 2018 eruption, and a freshwater lake has started to form on the crater's floor. The Thurston Lava Tube is expected to reopen in early 2020 with a redesigned parking area, and roads outside of the park have recently reopened. In November, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. There are multiple hotels on the island offering exclusive Perks, including the all-new Mauna Lani luxury resort, which will debut in January 2020 with a new era of experiential luxury. As well as the beachfront Fairmont Orchid Hawaii and the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

Explore Big Island Luxury Hotels

18. Vienna, Austria

20 Places To Go In 2020 Vienna

There's much to explore in this Germanic destination with cutting-edge art museums and music halls. The Musikverein concert hall will celebrate its 150th anniversary and events will be held throughout the city celebrating Beethoven's 250th birthday. While the classic city is known for its Baroque architecture and classical music venues, the contemporary art venue was transformed into the Belvedere 21, the Freud Museum will reopen in May following a major renovation with nearly 40,000 adds to its library, and the Belvedere Palaces with an extensive classical art collection have been completely renovated.

Luxury hotels in Vienna offer historic charm blended with contemporary amenities, such as the Hotel Sacher Wien, The Ring, and Park Hyatt Vienna, all with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. 

Explore Vienna Luxury Hotels

17. Cape Town, South Africa

20 Places To Go In 2020 Cape Town

Beginning this year, United Airlines will offer non-stop service from Newark to Cape Town, saving travelers up to eight hours of travel time from the United States. In addition to new air routes into the Mother City, there's a constantly evolving art scene, and the nearby Winelands offer plenty of vineyards to explore for wine enthusiasts. 

Cape Town is also home to an array of luxury hotels offering exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks including the One&Only Cape Town, Belmond Mount Nelson, and Taj Cape Town

Explore Cape Town Luxury Hotels

16. Buenos Aires, Argentina

20 Places To Go In 2020 Buenos Aires

Currently, travelers can stretch their travel dollars in the land of tango, beef, and Malbec, due to the devaluation of the Argentinian peso. The city is in the midst of a gentrification process with areas like the Old Market expanding with wine bars, cafes, and patisseries, and the Plaza Dorrego neighborhood is bustling with newness. There's a variety of luxury hotels within this South American city, many with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks including The Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Alvear Palace Hotel, and the Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta Hotel

Explore Buenos Aires Luxury Hotels

15. Edinburgh, Scotland

20 Places To Go In 2020 Edinburgh

Scotland's capital city serves up plenty of history, a multitude of festivals, and the famous Edinburgh Castle. But this year the city is debuting several new attractions including the three-story Johnnie Walker Experience, which will feature a museum, event space, and whiskey shop. The city's ever-expanding selection of luxury hotels provide unique lodging options occupying historic buildings such as the Kimpton Charlotte Square within seven Georgian townhouses, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Calendonian Victorian Railway hotel, and the Rocco Forte Balmoral Hotel with its landmark clocktower. 

Explore Edinburgh Luxury Hotels

14. Kyoto, Japan

20 Places To Go In 2020 Kyoto

While Tokyo is hosting the Olympics, Kyoto is another trending destination within Japan. The city's imperial history is evident throughout, providing travelers with a glimpse into the past. There are temples, gardens, and tea houses for an authentic feel, along with museum expansions at the Fukuda Art Museum and the Kyocera Museum of Art.

Kyoto has a variety of luxury hotel options with exclusive Perks ranging from the countryside Suiran within the grounds of the Tenryuji Temple to the contemporary Hyatt Regency Kyoto and the riverside The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

Explore Kyoto Luxury Hotels

13. Maine

20 Places To Go In 2020 Maine

2020 marks 200 years of statehood for the state of Maine. In honor of the Bicentennial year, the state is hosting a year of special events. To experience coastal life, the Cliff House Maine has an oceanfront location where travelers can enjoy the waves hitting the rocky coast from the comfort of their room, plus exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. For a private cottage, Hidden Pond offers a charming setting with access to the Tides Beach Club situated two miles away at Goose Rocks Beach. While the White Barn Inn offers rustic luxury with the hotel's restaurant occupying two restored barns from the 1860s. 

Explore Maine Luxury Hotels

12. Galway, Ireland

20 Places To Go In 2020 Galway

This bohemian city with an arts-focused feel on the west coast of Ireland has long been a destination for creatives. Named a European Capital of Culture for 2020, the city by the sea is home to an array of festivals throughout the year, as well as forward-thinking luxury hotels like The G Hotel and The Galmont Hotel & Spa. For a unique and completely Irish experience, the nearby Ashford Castle is about a 30-minute drive from Galway City with creative cuisine, spa, and exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. 

Explore Galway Luxury Hotels

11. Macau

20 Places To Go In 2020 Macau

On December 20, Macau will celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region of China. Macau is an international destination mixing Asian and European cultures, providing travelers with luxe hotels such as the Four Seasons Hotel Macao Cotai Strip, Wynn Macao, and the Banyan Tree Macau. In addition to fine hotels, Macau offers travelers an array of world-class dining options, casinos, and cultural experiences. 

Explore Macau Luxury Hotels 

10. Tel Aviv, Israel

20 Places To Go In 2020 Tel Aviv

Experience a destination where modern living merges with ancient history. In 2020, the Ben-Gurion Airport will expand to accommodate additional aircraft. Tel Aviv's White City Zone is a UNESCO-designated site and home to over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings, the largest collection of its kind in the world. The area will take center stage this year, as Tel Aviv commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus architecture movement. The beach city along Israel's Mediterranean coast offers an array of luxury hotels including three with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks: The Setai with a seafront location, beachfront Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, and the InterContinental David Tel Aviv

Explore Tel Aviv Luxury Hotels

9. Vancouver Island, Canada

20 Places To Go In 2020 Vancouver Island

From the capital city of Victoria on the harborfront to the surf town of Tofino, Vancouver Island offers land and sea experiences along with local cuisine. Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress is a classic institution. Travelers can experience Native traditions as the island is home to 50 First Nations communities, or book a cycling tour in Ucluelet. Spring is an ideal time to visit the island, with the West Coast Trail opening for hiking season May 1. Watch for whales from Prestige Oceanfront Resort Sook, or dine at the Pointe Restaurant offering ocean views at the Wickaninnish Inn. Located about 70 miles west of Vancouver, the island is reachable via ferry or flight into Victoria's International Airport. 

Explore Victoria Luxury Hotels

8. Doha, Qatar

20 Places To Go In 2020 Doha

In preparation for hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup, Doha introduced a brand-new underground railway system, and the city is expanding its arts and culture scene with the opening of new museums including the National Museum of Qatar. Getting from the airport to the palm-lined Corniche is more convenient than ever with the new transportation system, Old Doha provides a historic feel, and Souq Waqif is a must-see open-air street market. Choose from an array of luxury hotels in the city including the InterContinental Doha, JW Marriott Marquis City Center, and The St. Regis Doha

Explore Doha Luxury Hotels

7. Melbourne, Australia

20 Places To Go In 2020 Melbourne

Providing a European feel in the land of Oz, Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city known for its street art, constantly changing landscape, and live music. There's a strong coffee culture throughout the city, and it is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria. Ideal for foodies, coffee lovers, and art enthusiasts, Melbourne is considered the Culture Capital of Australia. Cobbled laneways in the city center have coffee shops, cafes, and one-of-a-kind boutiques ideal for exploring, while the Queen Victoria Markets is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere.

The city will be hosting a number of major events throughout the year, including the Australian Open January 20 - February 2, the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 will February 21 - March 8, and the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 will be October 18 - November 15.

Melbourne is home to an array of five star hotels, including several with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks such as The Langham Melbourne, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, and Park Hyatt Melbourne

Explore Melbourne Luxury Hotels

6. Nashville, Tennessee

20 Places To Go In 2020 Nashville

While this trend-setting destination has been popular for the past few years, Nashville is continuing to grow, adding new draws to the city beyond country music. In the summer of 2020, the National Museum of African American Music will open along Broadway, right in the heart of downtown. The museum will feature five interactive galleries showcasing the 50 genres of African American Music. Plus, the city is constantly expanding its hotel selection with new additions like the JW Marriott Nashville, Thompson Nashville in the growing neighborhood of "The Gulch", and the newly-renovated Hutton Hotel with writer's rooms and a 5,000-square-foot live music venue.

Explore Nashville Luxury Hotels

5. Dominica

20 Places To Go In 2020 Dominica

Paradise for outdoorsy travelers, Dominica is a 290-square-mile teardrop-shaped island with the world's second-largest hot spring, plus 300 miles of hiking trails, 365 rivers, and a dozen waterfalls. The recently opened Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski is a luxury five star resort with a spa designed to create a greater connection to nature and the island's ecosystem. The massive Spa at Kempinski Dominica offers mud baths sourced from the island's ten volcanoes, and a water temple surrounded by rainforest trees. There's also four restaurants and bars each with a local-focused approach, four hot and cold water pools, tennis courts, and easy access to the island's eco-tourism opportunities. Plus, exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. 

Book a stay at Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski

4. Porto, Portugal

20 Places To Go In 2020 Porto Portugal

Ideal for wine lovers and foodies, Porto offers idyllic weather along with great food and wine. As the home of Port wine (and the city's namesake), Porto is perfect as a starting point for exploring historic Port Wine houses and the vineyards of Douro Valley. Offering travelers a good value for their monty the city center of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an easy trip from Lisbon.  

The city is also home to several luxury hotels including several with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks: The Yeatman, InterContinental Porto Palacio Das Cardosas, and Infante Sagres

Explore Porto Luxury Hotels

3. Plymouth, England & Plymouth, Massachusetts

20 Places To Go In 2020 Plymouth

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts. In celebration, both cities are hosting an array of events to commemorate the pioneering voyage and the group of travelers that would go on to have more than 30 million United States descendents. In England, the Mayflower 400 celebrations focus on the towns and cities along the national Mayflower Trail. While the Plymouth 400 events in the United States will be centered in the town of Plymouth, located 40 miles south of downtown Boston. 

Interested in partaking in these commemorative events? In England, travelers could consider basing themselves in London and taking daytrips via train to various towns on the Mayflower Trail. An additional option would be the Lime Wood in Lyndhurst, a Regency country house hotel located a short drive from Southampton, a key destination on the Mayflower Trail. For participaing in events near and around Plymouth, Massachusetts, we recommend a luxury hotel in Boston such as the Fairmont Copley Plaza or Fifteen Beacon

2. Dubai, UAE

20 Places To Go In 2020 Dubai

Beginning in October 2020, Dubai is hosting the World Expo. Lasting for 6 months, the city has designed the metropolis of the future with 130 buildings connected via smart technology. Later this year the Museum of the Future designed by a computer algorithm and the Aladdin City will also open.

For accommodations in this world-class city in the desert we have three key recommendations, each with exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks: One&Only Royal Mirage, Taj Dubai, and Burj Al Arab

Explore Dubai Luxury Hotels

1. Tokyo, Japan

20 Places To Go In 2020 Tokyo

Hosting the XXXII Olympic Summer Games, Jul 24 - Aug 9, Tokyo is a business and cultural megacenter. Known for extreme attention to detail, the cutting-edge destination is home to world-class art galleries and museums, as well nightlife. With 234 Michelin-starred restaurants (the most of any city in the world), Japan's capital city is an ideal destination for foodies.

The Aman Tokyo offers an urban sanctuary setting on the top six floors of the recently-built Otemachi Tower, plus exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks including daily breakfast. For a landmark stay, The Peninsula Tokyo is an iconic destination in the prestigious Marunouchi financial district with sophisticated facilities including a wedding chapel, indoor pool, outdoor pool with views of the Imperial Palace Gardens, and exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks. While the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is located directly above Shibuya Station with a modern design, entertainment venues, and perks for Five Star Alliance guests.

Explore Tokyo Luxury Hotels


| By: Rachael Weir

Perched between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is a first class luxury destination with a unique history. A popular destination for its golden beaches, water sports, mountaineering, and cycling, the city offers an array of five star hotels, high end spas, nightlife, and fine dining. While just a few miles from the city, travelers will find world-class vineyards with highly-rated restaurants. 

In this edition of Destination Spotlight, we've gathered insider information and recommendations from Luxury Travel Intelligence, a site offering details for the well-informed luxury traveler. They recommend Reverie Social for a unique dining experience, Lew Rood for local concierge services, and NAC Helicopters for private flights over Table Mountain, vineyards, and beaches. Looking for an andrenaline rush? Apex Predators can arrange private cage dives with great white sharks.

Foodies and gourmands have plenty of world-class dining options while visiting Cape Town. "We suggest you go for lunch and enjoy outstanding food with a great selection of the vineyards wines and views over the mountains and vines. Restaurants we recommend for a leisurely lunch include: Rust en Vrede, and in the winery of the same name, the restaurant at Buitenverwachting, the restaurant at Jordans Wine EstatePierneef at La Motte wine estate, Terroir at Kleine Zalze Wine EstateBosjes – a wonderful find, around an hour’s drive from Cape Town, in Slanghoek valley (note that this has become a popular wedding venue so check that it is not closed for an event before you set off)," says Luxury Travel Insider. 

Here are 5 Top Cape Town Luxury Hotels: 

5. 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

Spa Picnic at 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

For travelers seeking a location outside of the city, 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is an award-winning hotel along Cape Town's scenic route. Set between the Table Mountain National Park and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, the boutique hotel combines African style and classic European comforts. Boasting legendary Atlantic Ocean sunsets, the hotel has a 16-seat private theater, dining at the Azure Restaurant and Cafe Grill, famous Leopard Bar, spa, and shuttle service to the Victoria & Albert Waterfront. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Reservations booked under the "5 Star Signature Package", "Rack Rates", "Corporate Rates" or "Best Available" rates will also receive full breakfast for each guest daily, a two course lunch per person/per stay, and one afternoon tea per person/per stay.

Book a stay at Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

4. Cape Grace

Cape Grace

On its own private quay in the heart of the city, Cape Grace has French windows in all of the rooms providing views of the harbor, marina, and Table Mountain. Close to the Clock Tower, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, and the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Grace reflects the city's heritage with hand painted fabrics by local artists, Dutch china, and crystal chandelers. The Bascule whisky, wine, and cocktail bar has the largest selection of whisky in the southern hemisphere, and the spa on the top floor of the hotel provides views over Table Mountain, the marina, and the city. Luxury Travel Intelligence states "Rooftop Terrace rooms offer value for money. They are almost Junior Suites, with large sitting areas, a dressing room and a terrace with some of the best views in the hotel – room 402 in particular."

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: All reservations booked under the "5 Star Signature Package" rate will also include a R700 food and beverage credit per room/per stay and a full breakfast for two daily in Signal Restaurant or through room service. Reservations in a Suite for a minimum of two (2) nights will also receive two 60-minute Signature Spa treatments once per stay. 

Book a stay at Cape Grace

3.One&Only Cape Town

View from the Table Mountain Suite Balcony at One&Only Cape Town

Set between the sandstone cliffs cascading into the waters of two oceans, One&Only Cape Town is an urban chic luxury hotel located in the heart of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Showcasing captivating views of Table Mountain, there is a large free form infinity pool surrounded by lounge chairs. Luxury Travel Intelligence states "We like the contemporary African theme with polished floors, stone, wood and lots of glass – double height windows give an impressive view over Table Mountain" and "The Wine Loft has an unusual entrance through a three level glass and steel wall holding over 5000 bottles wine, the majority being South African."

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: All guests making reservations with Five Star Alliance will also receive one complimentary select menu lunch or dinner for two in Reuben's once during stay (excluding beverages), full breakfast for two daily at Reuben's, and a room category upgrade at check-in (based on availability).

Book a stay at One&Only Cape Town

2. Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

Belmond Mount Nelson

Situated a short stroll from Kloof and Long Streets, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is an iconic pink-clad building surrounded by palm trees. According to Luxury Travel Intelligence, the property is furnished in an elegant and colonial style, "think white suit and panama hat. Highly polished wood floors, traditional carpeting and black and white check floors in conservatory. Pink exterior makes this one of the most recognised hotels in Cape Town." Opened over 100 years ago, the hotel has been the place to stay for politicians and celebrities for decades, and the Planet Bar is popular today with young and affluent Capetonians.

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: All reservations booked through Five Star Alliance will also include afternoon or evening tea for two once during stay, VIP status, a full breakfast for two daily in the restaurant OR a continental breakfast for two daily through in-room dining, complimentary internet access, and complimentary use of the business center.

Book a stay at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

1. Taj Cape Town

Presidential Suite Bath at Taj Cape Town

Providing a prime location at the entrance of the pedestrian precint of St. George's Mall, Taj Cape Town offers the award-winning Jiva Grande Spa. There are two on-site dining experiences including Bombay Brasserie serving fine Indian Cuisine, and Mint with a relaxed environment. Blending history and modernity, luxury rooms are set within the heritage and contemporary wings, offering city or Table Mountain views.

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: All reservations booked under the "5 Star Signature Package" will also include also receive full breakfast for two daily, a 1 and 1/2 hour city walking tour with a professional guide, a wine tasting for two in the Wine Gallery once during stay, a Cape Gin experience per guest per guest/per stay, and complimentary internet.

Book a stay at Taj Cape Town

Explore more Cape Town luxury hotels

Interested in becoming a member of Luxury Travel Intelligence? Click here and use invitation code: FIVESTAR400.


| By: Rachael Weir

Nestled amidst the rolling foothills of Mount Meru where the aroma of coffee scents the air, lies the Arusha Coffee Lodge. Hidden in one of Tanzania's largest coffee plantations, the property offers coffee tours where visitors can learn about the bean-to-cup process, the Bacchus Restaurant with chef-prepared local cuisine, and the Peaberries Spa with a variety of treatments. Read more below the photo.

Restaurant at Anusha Coffee Lodge

There's also an indoor pool, picnic lunches are available for guests looking to dine outside while exploring, and there is a Traders Walk where visitors can discover five gourmet and retail boutiques showcasing local traditions. Situated about five minutes from the Arusha Airport, the property offers a luxe setting ideal for before and after East African safaris. Continue reading below the photo. 

Pool at Arusha Coffee Lodge

Comprised of 30 plantation houses nestled amidst the coffee fields, the property offers Plantation Rooms and Plantation Suites. The rooms feature a cozy setting with in-room log fires and verandas overlooking the coffee gardens. For a larger setting with additional amenities, Plantation Suites provide a home-away-from home retreat. There are plush beds with netted canopies, living areas with large sofas, and 32-inch TVs with satellite access. Read more below the photo.

Plantation Suite Living Room at Arusha Coffee Lodge

Bathrooms in Plantation Suites have large soaking tubs and separate rainfall showers. Continue reading below the photo.

Plantation Suite Bathroom at Arusha Coffee Lodge

In addition to the interior space, Plantation Suites have private outside terraces with log fires. Read more below.

Plantation Suite Exterior at Arusha Coffee Lodge

Featuring an omnipresent coffee theme, the Arusha Coffee Lodge was designed around the original landowner's home, which dates back to the early 1900s. The main Plantation House has an 'a la carte' restaurant and an intimate cafe bistro, each with open log fires for guests to relax after a day of exploration. 

Check availability at Arusha Coffee Lodge

 


| By: Rachael Weir

Set along the soft white sands of a turquoise-hued lagoon, Constance Belle Mare Plage is a luxury resort providing a high-end setting in Mauritius. Offering beachfront luxury, the recently renovated resort has two golf courses, a full-service spa, kids' club, and four swimming pools, making it an ideal retreat for travelers of all ages. Read more about the resort below the pool photo. 

Beachfront luxury at Constance Belle Mare Plage

For accommodations, guests can choose from 104 Prestige Rooms, 149 Junior Suites, 6 Deluxe Suites, 18 Villas, or the Presidential Villa. Facing the Indian Ocean, accommodations are located in buildings of no more than three floors. Featuring modern island styling, all rooms and suites have furnished terraces or balconies, air conditioning, TVs with satellite channels, minibars, Apple mac minis, safes, desks, sitting areas, and laundry facilities. Within the rooms there's luxurious bathrooms with showers, bathtubs, and water closets. Continue reading below the photo of the Deluxe Suite. 

Deluxe Suite at Constance Belle Mare Plage

Surrounded by tropical gardens, the resort's beach is protected by an offshore coral reef, providing visitors with an ideal location for snorkeling, water sports, and swimming. There are catamaran sundowner cruises, underwater walks, and parasailing experiences, plus cooking classes where guests can learn to make local cuisine. In addition, the resort has four floodlit tennis courts, table tennis, French bowling, mini golf, and two 18-hole championship golf courses, all with complimentary access for resort guests. 

Check availability at Constance Belle Mare Plage


| By: Rachael Weir

Showcasing a modern approach to design, Constance Lemuria Seychelles is a luxury resort blending nature with high-end architecture. Following a complete renovation, the resort reopened in late 2016. Providing all-inclusive rate options, accommodations are set within suites and villas, perfectly positioned steps from the sea amidst natural gardens. Continue reading below the villa photo. 

Constance Lemuria Seychelles Villa Exterior

The family-friendly property offers a variety of amenities to accommodate families. The Constance Kids Club has scavenger hunts, culinary activities, and island exploration trips led by fully-trained experts. The property's suites and villas provide spacious accommodations with living rooms and gathering spaces ideal for families. Read more below the Junior Suite Family Area. 

Junior Suite Family Area at Constance Lemuria Seychelles

In addition to family-friendly accommodations, the resort has an 18-hole championship golf course and the U Spa by Constance with wellness-focused spa services and treatments. Plus, there's gastronomic experiences at three restaurants and four bars featuring chef-prepared local and international cuisine. Read more below the photo.Legends Restaurant at Constance Lemuria Seychelles

Set amidst three white sand beaches, Constance Lemuria Seychelles is located on the northwest coast of Praslin Island. The deluxe property has 88 Junior Suites, 8 Senior Suites, 8 Beach Villas, and a Presidential Villa. 

Check availability at Constance Lemuria Seychelles


| By: Rachael Weir

Overlooking the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, Constance Tsarabanjina is an all-inclusive luxury resort offering 25 beach villas. Set within a sacred islet where the tomb of the Sakalava kings of the Mitsio islands is located, Tsarabanjina is one of the islets of the Mitsio Archipelago. Situated in the Northwestern part of Madagascar, the region is fringed by white sand beaches, coral reefs, lush vegetation, and array of tropical birds. Continue reading below the photo. 

Constance Tsarabanjina

The intimate eco-retreat provides visitors with a laid back atmosphere. The property's 25 villas offer a barefoot chic environment where guests can have Robinson Crusoe-style experiences on a Madagascar island without sacrificing all of the modern comforts. The villas have ecological thatch roofing, furnishings in simple tones, private terraces with two deck chairs, minibars, and bathrooms with showers and separate toilets. Read more below the villa photo. 

Constance Tsarabanjina Beach Villa

The resort is surrounded by calm seas, providing guests with a variety of experiences in the natural surroundings. There are guided nature walks and snorkeling excursions, private cruises, and the Akio Diving staff is available for underwater excursions. For dining at the all-inclusive property, gourmet Malagasy specialties are served in a sand-floored restaurant with a premium drink selection. 

Check availability at Constance Tsarabanjina


| By: Rachael Weir

Overlooking the Port Launay marine national park, Constance Ephelia Seychelles is a luxury resort with pampering amenities as well as family-friendly offerings. Set on the island of Mahe, the resort is located on 120 hectares of land, including two pristine beaches. The property's location provides guests with an array of activities including diving in the Indian Ocean, stand up paddleboarding, zipling through tropical foliage, bicycling, rock climbing, raquetball, tennis, and kayaking. Continue reading below the photo.

Kayaking at Constance Ephelia Seychelles

In addition to activities for all ages, Constance Ephelia Seychelles has the Constance Kids Club, providing supervised experiences for children 4 to 11 years old. Guests can register children at any time during their stay, and amenities include outdoor spaces for running relays and playing games, computer stations for gaming, open play areas for movies and interactive games, and a swimming pool with water activities. There's arts & crafts programs with traditional and local touches, along with theme days where children can create pizzas, make ice cream, or enjoy homemade treats. While kids ages 4 to 6 can visit the imagination space with kitchenettes, 4-wheel transportation rides, playhouses, and tool workshops. Babysitting services are also offered for an additional fee, and the resort has baby amenities upon request. Continue reading below the photo of the Spa Villa.

Spa Villa at Constance Ephelia Seychelles

For relaxation, the Spa Village of Constance Ephelia offers a pampering oasis amidst tropical gardens. Guests can select from a variety of therapies and services designed to promote relaxation, rejuvenation, deep cleansing, or detoxification. Plus, spa facilities including a dry heat sauna, steam room, thermal pool, Jacuzzi, still pool, Kneipp foot path, reflective pool, and a yoga pavilion.

Check availability at Constance Ephelia Seychelles


| By: Rachael Weir

18 Places to go in 2018 by Five Star Alliance

Happy 2018! The start of the new year is the perfect time to start planning adventures near and far. From bucket list destinations to weekend getaways, we've put together a list of our top 18 picks for places to go in 2018. 

1. Florence, Italy

18 Places to go in 2018 Florence, Italy

Following a two-year renovation, the half-mile-long Vasari Corridor will reopen this year. The 16th century passageway was built by the Medicis to move unseen across the Arno River between the Pitti Palace and the Uffizi Gallery offices. The Renaissance city also recently celebrated the opening of the Franco Zeffirelli Center for the Performing Arts in Plaza San Firenze with a lineup of classical music and Italian film events. In October, the Uffizi will unveil Codex Leicester, featuring a special collection of scientific drawings and writings by Leonardo da Vinci (on loan from Bill Gates). For views of Il Duomo (and special perks for Five Star Alliance guests) Brunelleschi Hotel Florence is located in the city's pedestrian-only historic center with an upscale Italian restaurant and traditional trattoria. Hotel Il Salviatino is set within a 15th century villa that features views of Florence and the rolling Tuscan hills, while Belmond Villa San Michelle is located on a hillside overlooking the city in a former monastery with suites, Tuscan dining, pool, and special perks for Five Star Alliance guests. 

Explore more Florence Hotels

 

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

18 Places to go in 2018 New Orleans, Louisiana

Celebrating its 300th birthday in 2018, the city of New Orleans will be hosting more than 160 events throughout the year to commemorate the tricentennial year. Always a haven for jazz lovers, history buffs, and foodies, there's a variety of events taking place annually including Mardi Gras in February, April welcomes Jazz Fest, and July is the time for Tales of the Cocktail where bartenders from around the world show off their skills in the city where cocktails were invented. The W New Orleans French Quarter is steps from Jackson Square, as well as live Jazz venues and popular restaurants. For historic charm along with an Oyster Butler, Crawfish Concierge, and Snowball Sommelier, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans offers a classic setting in two historic buildings on Canal Street. The NOPSI Hotel provides a boutique setting in the heart of the business district with Spa Suites, local cuisine, and a rooftop pool and lounge. While Le Meridien New Orleans features contemporary design with French-inspired amenities and a rooftop pool in downtown. 

Explore more New Orleans Hotels

 

3. Vienna, Austria

18 Places to go in 2018 Vienna, Austria

Known for classical music and the festive ball season, in 2018 Vienna is celebrating Modernism, as four of the art movement's most important artists--Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Otto Wagner, and Koloman Moser passed away 100 years ago. The Beauty and the Abyss celebration of Modernism will celebrated with with special exhibitions at a variety of venues including the Leopold Museum, Lower Belvedere, MAK--Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Wien Museum, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, and the Jewish Museum Vienna. The historic Hotel Sacher Wien provides a central location in the heart of the city, opposite the Vienna State Opera House and next to the Albertina Gallery with a traditional Austrian coffeehouse and fine dining. Nearby, The Hotel Bristol Vienna, a Luxury Collection Hotel offers a historic setting with fine dining at the Art Deco Bristol Lounge, fitness center, and meeting venues. Built in 1863 for the prince of Württemberg, Hotel Imperial provides world class service and a unique location on the famous Ringstrasse next to the Musikverein Vienna. 

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4. Buenos Aires, Argentina

18 Places to go in 2018 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Home to an array of art galleries, Buenos Aires is partaking in the inaugural, yearlong Art Basel initiative, which will include art lectures, workshops, as well as showcase local and international artists. In October, the city is hosting the Youth Olympic Games. The trendy Tegui restaurant in the Palermo neighborhood made the list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Situated in El Porteno Building, Faena Hotel Buenos Aires allows guests to experience the city like a Porteno in an atmosphere dedicated to art and fine living. Decorated in Empire and Louis XV style, the Alvear Palace Hotel serves classic Afternoon Tea at L'Orangerie and the Cigar Bar with an exclusive selection. While the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is located along the Avenida Alvear with fashionable shopping and a luxury spa. 

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5. Minneapolis, Minnesota

18 Places to go in 2018 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Offering four distinctive seasons of outdoor activities, Minneapolis will be hosting the Super Bowl on February 4. Surrounding the Big Game festivities, there will be concerts, ice sculptures, and an Ice Palace in nearby St. Paul. While the city is known for cold winters, spring, summer, and fall provide idyllic weather for exploring the state's multitude of lakes, biking trails, and parks. Plus, Prince's Paisley Park recently opened for tours, the Walker Art Center recently remodeled their outdoor sculpture garden, the Uptown Art Festival the first weekend in August showcases local and international artists, and the annual Minnesota State Fair (August 23 to September 3, 2018) attracts visitors from all over the world. The W Minneapolis - The Foshay is an art deco landmark transformed into a chic boutique hotel, Loews Minneapolis is connected to the downtown area's skyway system and steps from Target Center and Target Field, and the Marquette Hotel is located in the inconic IDS Center. 

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6. Cairo, Egypt

18 Places to go  in 2018 Cairo

Not far from the Great Pyramids, The Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open in 2018. Designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, the new museum will showcase more than 100,000 artifacts, as well as an atrium with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall with panoramic views of the Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The Nile Ritz-Carlton features exclusive Nile views with a rooftop bar, Afternoon Tea, and Egyptian-infused spa. Situated thirty minutes from the Sphinx and Great Pyramids of Giza, The Fairmont Cairo, Nile City is located within the Nile City Corporate Complex and offers a full-service Willow Stream Spa and a rooftop poolside sky bar with panoramic views of the city and pyramids. For a boutique setting, Kempinski Nile Hotel Garden City Cairo blends European luxury mixed with regional influences on the eastern bank of The Nile River.

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7. London, United Kingdom

18 Places to go in 2018 London

There's another royal baby due in the spring, and it's time for another Royal Wedding! Making London one of the places to be this year. Plus, there's a new movie about Winston Churchill, giving visitors the perfect reason to check out Churchill's War Rooms, and other historic sites throughout the British capital. Overlooking Hyde Park, The Wellesley is a boutique hotel close to Buckingham Palace with the Crystal Bar, Oval Restaurant, and one of Europe's largest Cigar Humidors. Combining English heritage with contemporary styling, Rosewood London offers fine dining, spa, and sophistication where the city meets Covent Garden and the West End on High Holborn. Situated in Belgravia, The Goring Hotel offers an unbeatable location close to Buckingham Palace with a Michelin-starred restaurant and classic English style. 

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8. Los Cabos, Mexico

18 Places to go in 2018 Los Cabos

Booming with hip restaurant openings, new luxury resorts, and major renovations, the Baja Peninsula's San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas offer beachfront retreats. In addition to new resorts and dining options, the farm-to-table food scene is hot, as are the region's beaches and chic nightclubs. The recently opened Chileno Bay Resort & Residences provides a bayfront setting within a resort community with a swimmable beach, open-air dining, multi-level infinity pool, and championship golf. The Cape - A Thompson Hotel provides beachfront luxury with bi-level suites with private rooftops, private stairway to the surfing-friendly Monuments Beach, and regionally-inspired cuisine. While The Resort at Pedregal is reachable only via a private tunnel with 24 acres of mountainside property, featuring newly opened villas and revitalized culinary offerings. 

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9. Mauritius

18 Places to go in 2018 Mauritius

This year, the island nation of Mauritius is celebrating 50 years of independence after years of colonization by the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands. The airport is expanding and transforming into a hub for traveling to Asia, English is the dominant language, and the architecture and culture mix African, French, Chinese, and Indian traditions. Known for relaxed resorts and tropical mountain peaks, the country offers a retreat surrounded by the Indian Ocean. For privacy and luxury, Constance Le Prince Maurice has 64 Junior Suites, plus Family Suites, villas, and a Princely Suite, as well as the U Spa, Kids' Club, shopping, and two 18-hole golf courses. The Residence Mauritius provides a beachfront setting with accommodations in turn-of-the-century-inspired plantation houses, with family-friendly and adults-only pools and special perks for Five Star Alliance guests. While the oceanfront Constance Belle Mare Plage has a variety of water-focused recreation, four swimming pools, seven restaurants, and five bars within a tropical setting. 

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10. Malta

18 Places to go in 2018 Malta

This island country is the designated European Capital of Culture in 2018, where the arts will be celebrated in a country that mixes Sicilian, North African, and Colonial England cultures. There's ornate architecture throughout the island, including the baroque St. John's Co-Cathedral, pre-historic ruins, and the must-try Stuffat tal-fenek--the national dish of rabbit stew. In January, Valetta's National Baroque Festival is held, and the Grand Excelsior Hotel makes an ideal base for exploring the capital city with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, Le Grand Spa, and a marina. The InterContinental Malta provides a modern island retreat with a casino, six restaurants and bars, spa, conference center, and spa close to Valetta, while The Xara Palace features a boutique setting in the medieval city of Medina. 

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11. Oslo, Norway

18 Places to go in 2018 Oslo

This Nordic capital city is marking two important events in 2018. Norway's King and Queen are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and the modern Oslo Opera House is marking it's 10th year with a season of celebratory performances. The Hotel Continental Oslo offers a historic setting next to the National Theater, and close to the city's revitalized harbor with special perks for Five Star Alliance guests. While the Grand Hotel Oslo offers a grand setting along Karl Johan's  Gate close to shops and sidewalk cafes. For a contemporary setting, the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo soars 37 stories above the Oslo Fjord. 

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12. San Antonio, Texas

18 Places to go in 2018 San Antonio

Marking its 300th anniversary this year, San Antonio has recently unveiled a variety of new developments, including the Bottling Department (the city's first food hall), the iconic barges along the River Walk were upgraded with electric models, and San Pedro Creek Culture Park transformed an old drainage ditch into a waterfront promenade with performance and art spaces. Special Tricentennial commemorative events will take place May 1-6, including events at each of San Antonio's five missions. On the historic River Walk, the Omni La Mansion del Rio is celebrating it's 50th anniversary of being transformed from a Catholic School into a luxury hotel for the 1968 World's Fair. The Grand Hyatt San Antonio overlooks the River Walk with an outdoor pool, sundeck, and special perks for Five Star Alliance guests. For those seeking a resort setting overlooking Texas Hill Country, La Cantera Resort and Spa recently underwent a complete renovation, and offers furnishings inspired by the area's ranch heritage, two championship golf courses, and five pools about 30 minutes from downtown. 

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13. Sevilla, Spain

18 Places to go in 2018 Sevilla, Spain

In the midst of reinvigorating its artistic past, Sevilla is currently celebrating the 400th anniversary of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a homegrown Baroque painter with special one-of-a-kind exhibitions. The city is also hosting the 31st European Film Awards, and the historic center provides an enchanting blend of architectural styles including a Gothic cathedral, medieval lanes, Flamenco clubs, baroque churches, and Mudéjar palaces. Once the Moorish capital, today Sevilla is the capital of Andalucia, offering luxury hotels such as the historic Hotel Alfonso XIII in the historic center with traditional architecture, courtyard, and regional cuisine. Nearby, Gran Melia Colon is furnished with reproductions of artwork by Spanish masters, a boutique hotel with RedLevel service within the hotel, and dining venues serving modern Andalusian cusine. For a well-preserved example of Spanish Renaissance architecture, Casa de Carmona is located about 20 minutes north of Sevilla and offers accommodations within a palace built in 1561, and fine dining in the former stables. 

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14. Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil

18 Places to go in 2018 Iguazu Falls

Millions of visitors go to this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site with 275 roaring waterfalls straddling the border of Argentina and Brazil. To accommodate the influx of visitors, Cataratas del Iguazú Airport is expanding and modernizing. Within the national park, the Ecological Jungle Train that takes visitors on a 25-minute journey to the Devil's Throat Cascade is being converted from gas to electric, and multiple luxury resorts are set to open later this year. On the Brazil side of the falls, Belmond Hotel das Cataras offers guests exclusive access to the falls as well as a pastel-pink hideaway with gardens, fine dining, and a luxe outdoor pool. While The Iguazu Grand Resort Spa and Casino is located on the Argentina side of the falls with a full-service resort setting including authentic Argentine dining at La Terraza and the Spa del Parasiso providing treatments infused with natural ingredients like yerba mate and chocolate from nearby sources. 

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15. Toronto, Canada

18 Places to go in 2018 Toronto

Last year Canada celebrated 150 years, and Toronto continues to add to the city's cosmopolitan "it" factor with new luxury hotels like the Bisha Hotel Toronto, along with hip restaurants with an understated Canadian vibe are taking the city to a new level. In 2018, the Museum of Contemporary Art is relocating to a former factory in the Junction Triangle, and VIKINGS: The Exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum runs through April 2, 2018. The Thompson Toronto offers a modern residential style with floor-to-ceiling windows and a rooftop pool with skyline views. While The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto provides a classic downtown retreat along Wellington Street. 

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16. Bangkok, Thailand

18 Places to to go in 2018 Bangkok

In 2016, Bangkok was the most visited city in the world, with more than 21 million guests. Its popularity is sparking a rise in new luxury hotels and restaurants. In 2018, The Michelin Guide will debut, giving even more attention to  the city's creative culinary atmosphere. For art enthusiasts, Warehouse 30 is opening in  transformed World War II warehouses, ChangChui is a new entertainment complex constructed from upcycled materials, and the Thailand Creative & Design Center is moving to the iconic Charoen Krung Road in a space that was once a post office. To stay in the heart of Bangkok's historical palaces and temples, The Siam Hotel is set along the River of Kings with bespoke cultural amusements and an urban resort design with spacious suites, pool villas, and open-air roof terraces. Soaring 39 stories, The Peninsula Bangkok features panoramic city views on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and a three-tiered swimming pool. For contemporary style, Anantara Bangkok Sathorn is located within a 37-floor twin tower with an infinity pool and holistic spa treatments. 

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17. Salzburg, Austria

18 Places to go in 2018 Salzburg

Referred to as the "City of Mozart" and the "Rome of the North" , Salzburg was a church state for more than 1,100 years. Symbols of the Catholic Church can be discovered throughout the historic Old Town of Salzburg, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2018, the City of Salzburg will celebrate the 200th anniversary of "Silent Night", which was written and first performed in the village of Oberndorf near Salzburg on December 24, 1818. The special exhibition "Silent Night 200 - History. Message. Present." will be open September 28, 2018 to February 3, 2019, and the musical "My Silent Night" will be performed at the iconic Felsenreitschule on November 24, 2018. Hotel Sacher Salzburg provides idyllic views of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, as well as fine dining at the Zirbelzimmer, and the Original Sacher-Torte cake in the Sacher Cafe. In the baroque city center, Hotel Goldener Hirsch combines a historic setting with Austrian style and state-of-the-art amenities, while Schloss Fuschl Resort and Spa features a lakeside setting in the Archbishop of Salzburg's former hunting lodge. 

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18. Melbourne, Australia

18 Places to go in 2018 Melbourne, Australia

As the events capital of Australia, Melbourne is a growing city offering a cosmopolitan core that serves as an ideal gateway to exploring a variety of Australia's attractions, including the Phillip Island penguin walk which is 90 minutes from the city, and an hour and a half north of the city is the Nagambie Lakes, one of the country's oldest viticulture areas with renowned wineries and outdoor activities. For a grand setting opposite Parliament, The Hotel Windsor was built at the top of Collins Street in 1883. For panoramic views of the skyline and Yarra River from the hotel pool, Langham Hotel Melbourne provides an elegant setting on the Southbank Promenade, and the Art Series The Olsen is a luxury boutique hotel on Chapel Street. 

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| By: Rachael Weir

Set on a one-mile stretch of white sand beach along the Indian Ocean, The Residence Mauritius offers an island setting. Inspired by the the island's turn-of-the-century plantation houses, the luxury resort provides a mix of classic colonial style, modern elegance, and simplicity. Guest rooms and suites are furnished with beds infused with drops of ylang ylang to promote slumbers, shutters to filter in the sunlight, a color palette of white and beige, and large marble bathrooms with soaking tubs. Plus, personal butler service is available for an added level of luxury. Continue reading below the photo.

Oceanfront accommodations at The Residence Mauritius

Offering a family-friendly setting, there is a beachfront kids' club with professionally-led activities such as cooking classes, snorkeling, pony rides, and picnics. There's also water activities like glass bottom boat rides, catamarans, and paddle boats. For adults, The Sanctuary offers a zen-like setting with a variety of spa treatments, hair and beauty services, saunas, Hammam, and steam room. Learn about a special perk for Five Star Alliance guests below the photo. 

Dining at The Residence Mauritius

Five Star Alliance Perk: Guests booking through Five Star Alliance receive a welcome fruit basket, along with a local Mauritian rum tasting once during the stay with 4 rums and canapes. Also, based on availability at check-in, an upgrade to the next room category.

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Poolside setting at The Residence Mauritius


| By: Rachael Weir

Overlooking downtown and the ocean, Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche is a high-rise luxury hotel in the heart of city, situated across from the Hassan II mosque. Mixing French elegance with Moroccan accents, the 24-story hotel has 141 rooms and 30 suites with butler service, signature Sofitel MyBeds, minibars, Bose Wave audio systems, and Lavazza coffee machines. Designed by Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet, accommodations are furnished with contemporary styling in a color palette of white and tan, mixed with Moroccan-infused details, while the bathrooms have rain showers and Lanvin bath amenities. Continue reading below the photos to discover three top amenities at Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche. 

Suite ata Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche

 

1. The So SPA

So SPA at Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche

Offering signature rituals, the hotel's So SPA is a two-level facility featuring Moroccan design. Providing a sensory experience, the facility has massage rooms, jacuzzi, and hammam. 

 

2. Two Exceptional Restaurants

Dining at Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche

Within the hotel there are two restaurants offering fine dining. Featuring elegant environments, Brasserie La Tour serves classic French cuisine, and L'Atelier Oriental has Asian cuisine infused with Lebanese and Moroccan flavors. 

 

3. Indoor Pool & Fitness Center

Indoor Pool at Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche

For travelers looking to keep up with fitness regimes while on the road, the hotel's So FIT center has a sports room with floor-to-ceiling windows, cardio machines, and stength training equipment. Plus, there's a heated indoor relaxation pool, as well as a sauna.

 

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