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

Porto Zante Villas and Spa

Seeking beautiful beaches, gastronomic experiences, archeological ruins, and one-of-a-kind sunsets? Join us on this Featured Journey: Greek Island Escape highlighting luxury resorts on three of Greece's top islands: Santorini, Crete, and Zakynthos. Each island offers its own unique adventures, historic sites, and beaches for enjoying the Greecian vistas. 

Santorini

Known for blue-domed churches, donkey rides, and cliffside whitewashed homes, Santorini is the destination for one-of-a-kind Greek sunsets. Visitors seeking some time in nature, hiking from Fira to Oia showcases panoramic caldera views, while a boat trip to the volcano provides an opportunity for a therapeutic dip in the sulphur hot springs. For history enthusiasts, Ancient Thira has Greek, Roman, and Byzantine ruins, Akrotiri is a Minoan town from 1650 B.C. that was preserved under lava until 1967. Fira is the place to go for authentic tavernas and ouzeries where appetizers are washed down with Greek aniseed-flavored liquor, Ouzo. Wine lovers will want to go to the vineyards of Megalohori and Pyrgos for the dry white Assyrtikos and the amber-colored Vinsanto. 

1. Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa 

Pool at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa

Amidst the picturesque alleys and whitewashed domed suites, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is an architectural retreat offering spacious accommodations, each with kitchenettes and private verandas with Jacuzzis and sun loungers. Guests can have a five-star gastronomic experience at Alios Ilios Restaurant serving fine modern Greek cuisine, and the Royal Spa is an award-winning facility with outdoor gazebo spa services and an indoor heated swimming pool. For visitors looking to lounge poolside, there's freshly prepared Mediterranean-inspired snacks, cocktails, and signature drinks at the main infinity pool.

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: All reservations made through Five Star Alliance receive a complimentary cocktail per person/per stay, during sunset in the Romantic Bar, and a 15 minute spa ticket per person/per stay.

Check availability at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa

Explore more Santorini Luxury Hotels

Crete

Greece's largest island, Crete, is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Visitors to the island can explore beaches, discover remnants of ancient civilizations, taste the island's gastronomic culture, or admire the mountainscapes. The island is the cradle of Minoan civilization, the birthplace of Zeus, and offers an expanse of scenery where travelers can go from the palm groves of Vai to the top of the snow-capped White Mountains all in one day. Food here is straight from the land and sea, with an emphasis on tomatoes, strawberries, watermelons, cheese, and yogurt. The Palace of Knossos is home of the legendary Minotaur where travelers can discover the Minoan world, the Archaelogical Museum in Iraklion is home to Minoan palace treasures, Gortyna is home to Greek remains, and throughout the island minarets and mosques reflect 250 years of Ottoman Turkish rule. 

2. Elounda Beach Hotel and Villas

Waterfront Villa at Elounda Beach Hotel and Villas

From its romantic wedding chapel to its six restaurants, Elounda Beach Hotel and Villas is a luxury property overlooking Mirabello Bay. Set upon 40 acres of colorful gardens on the island's northeastern coast, the property consists of several mini-resort-like clusters including the Yachting Club offering state-of-the-art bungalows with electric sliding glass doors and retractable television screens, while the Ambassador's Bungalows have private gyms and multi-room villas for families. For revitalization, Espace Vitalité Chenot focuses on a holistic approach to rejuvenation and relaxation with body and facial treatments, ancient traditions with Chinese medicine, and scientific advances. Plus, there are supervised programs for kids and teens, a scuba diving center, art gallery, and tennis. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: All guests making reservations made through Five Star Alliance will receive the following complimentary amenities: a welcome seasonal fruit and beverage in the room upon arrival; full use of gym, sauna, hammam spa, and tennis courts; WiFi; and accommodation for children 0-8 years of age sharing with parents. For guests staying a minimum of five (5) nights, a 50 Euro voucher per adult, per stay will be available at The Espace Vitalité Chenot Elounda Beach Spa.

Check availability at Elounda Beach Hotel and Villas

Explore more Crete Luxury Hotels

Zakynthos

Known for its stunning beaches, Zakynthos is an island offering a range of natural beauty. Also known by its Italian name, Zante, the island's top beaches can be found along the southern and southeastern shoreline. Visitors seeking forests and rural villages should venture inland to explore the island's forests, wilderness, and traditional villages. For truly picture-perfect scenery, head to the rugged west coast where the limestone cliffs cascade into turquoise waters. 

3. Porto Zante Villas and Spa

Royal Infinity Villa at Porto Zante Villas and Spa

Showcasing a beachfront setting, Porto Zante Villas and Spa is an all-suite property offering luxurious villas with private pools, paintings by prominent Greek artists, Armani Casa furnishings, and bathrooms with Jacuzzi bathtubs, separate showers, and Dionysian antique marble. The waterfront Spa and Thalassotherapy provides rejuvenating treatments, while the fitness center by Technogym has state-of-the-art exercise equipment. For dining, Maya restaurant provides a beachfront setting for contemporary Asian cuisine, and the Club House Restaurant showcases an exclusive setting for Greek cuisine. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking through Five Star Alliance receive a bottle Champagne and Fruits upon arrival, freshly prepared breakfast, complimentary kids entertainment and complimentary butler service.

Check availability at Porto Zante Villas and Spa


| By: Five Star Alliance

Blue Palace Resort and SpaGuests at Blue Palace Resort and Spa can learn how to cook like a Greek. Join the hotel for a Greek cooking class, focusing on authentic flavors and traditional recipes of Crete. Learn how to make your favorite Cretan salad Dakos, aromatic and delicious Dolmadakia (vine wraps with rice and herbs) and enjoy a step-by-step lesson on how to make a traditional Prawn Saganaki or Sea bass fillet. Learn valuable cooking secrets, take a wonderful lesson with plenty of hands-on cooking and enjoy the meal you prepared at Blue Door restaurant. 

 

Book a stay at Blue Palace Resort and Spa >>


| By: Five Star Alliance

Elounda Beach HotelSet sail for a luxurious vacation at Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas. The chic new Yachting Club Villas at Elounda Beach is a truly unique experience. Each Villa offers luxury design and technological amenities to exceed the expectations of the most discerning guest.

Choose from:

Yachting Villa on the Water's Edge
Private heated pool
Indoor area of 74 square meters
Outdoor area of 104 square meters
Avant-garde yachting design furniture
Teakwood flooring
Leather-coated ceilings
Sliding doors
Private movie theatre with Blu Ray & Dolby surround system (in some suites)Elounda Beach Hotel
Video-on-demand
Wireless internet access
Ad-Notam Crystal Mirror-image TV 46"
Room facilities controlled via Wireless Touch Screen Panel
Executive work desk
Cordless telephone
Fully stocked mini-bar
Satin bed sheets
Satin robes
Double electric Beds with separate retractable mattresses, overlooking the sea
Mattress pad adjustable to body temperature 
Retractable Roof Top TV 
Wardrobe with LED lights
Laptop safe box
Chess table
Hi-Fi music system with radio, CD/ MP3 & iPod connectivity (upon request)
Sunken Bathtub with aerospa
Steam Bath with double showers
Skylight with extra romantic lighting
Massage tableElounda

Yachting Villa on the Water’s Edge with Private Heated Pool & Gym
Indoor area of 104 square meters
Outdoor area of 154 square meters
50 square meter pool
Avant-garde yachting design furniture
Teakwood flooring
Sliding doors
Blu Ray & Dolby Surround System
Video-on-demand
Wireless internet access
Room facilities controlled via Wireless Touch Screen Panel
Executive work desk
Cordless telephone
Fully stocked mini-bar

Elounda Beach HotelSatin bed sheets
Satin robes
Double Electric Beds with separate retractable mattresses, overlooking the sea
Mattress pad adjustable to body temperature 
Retractable Roof top TV screen 
Wardrobe with LED lights
Laptop safe box
Teakwood flooring
Chess Table
Hi-Fi music system with radio, CD/ MP3 & iPod connectivity
Bathtub with aerospa
Steam Bath with double showers
Skylight with extra romantic lighting
Gym Equipment
Massage table

Book a stay at Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas >>


| By: Five Star Alliance

Blue Palace Resort and Spa is nestled on the famed coast of Elounda on the island of Crete, and has emblematic views to the relics of Spinalonga Island. 

Blue Palace Resort and Spa

View rates, details, and more images of Blue Palace Resort and Spa >>


| By: Five Star Alliance

Minos Beach art hotel
We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series Your Questions Answered to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

QUESTION: Can you recommend a dive resort in Greece for a family of 4?

ANSWER: Minos Beach art hotel – Aghios Nikolaos, Greece

Minos Beach art hotel, a favorite of all those appreciating genuineness and authenticity, provides a luxurious stay in minimalist surroundings. The 129 Bungalows, all with air-conditioning, direct dial telephone, safety deposit box, mini bar, TV, bath or whirlpool bath or Jacuzzi shower, hairdryer and personalized service are designed to meet your most demanding needs. For a truly VIP experience at Minos Beach, there is a presidential suite and three executive suites with private swimming pools, as well as exclusive bungalows that are literary caressing the sea.Minos Beach art hotel

Pelagos Dive Centre has been operating since 1987 and is located in the grounds of the Minos Beach art hotel. It is ideal for all divers, with tideless, calm, warm waters, divable all year round. Courtesy of the hotel, a sheltered sandy beach and a large private swimming pool are available, for those wishing to try or take up diving, in the "Discover Dive" sessions. There is a fully equipped classroom, complete with its own unique mural. A relaxed atmosphere combined with the latest teaching methods makes learning easy and fun. The instructors have up to twenty years diving experience and are proficient in first aid.

Diving sites range from ancient remains, through wrecks, rocky slopes, caverns, walls, reefs and drop offs. The exceptionally clear water, with its many shades of blue offers visability averaging over 30 meters. Pelagos is a fully qualified and established diver training centre where learning to dive is made easy and fun by PADI instructors. Diving groups are limited to 9 people for each dive leader. Thorough dive planning, detailed pre-dive briefings, in conjunction with conservative dive-limits ensure all safety aspects are covered.  Divers may hire a Sony underwater video housing and a Nikonos V still 35mm camera and flashgun. There is a wide range of Specialist Courses available, including Night Diver, Underwater Photography and Deep Diver.Minos Beach art hotel

For Your Family's Needs We Recommend:

Sea View Room- The Sea View Rooms are situated in the main building and consist of one bedroom with two beds and a single sofa bed and a bathroom with bathtub. A large balcony offers panoramic sea view. Amenities include individual air condition, bathroom with bath tub, cable and satellite TV, min-bar, hair dryer, beach towels, daily maid service, direct dial phone, and safe.

Book your family vacation at Minos Beach art hotel >>

All rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges may apply. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as any extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.


| By: Betsy LeTourneau

Elounda Bay Palace
We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series Your Questions Answered to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

QUESTION: What's a family friendly resort in Greece for a family of 4, children ages 8 and 11?

ANSWER: Elounda Bay Palace

Located on the island of Crete is the Elounda Beach Palace, a capitivating luxury resort. The 245 rooms and suites are tastefully decorated and provide all the modern amenities. For more privacy, the suites offer private swimming pools in a secluded garden or on the waterfront. In the perfect setting, guests can enjoy a long drink or a cocktail at the Veghera Jetty Bar or dine in one of the multi-cuisine restaurants. For the energetic person, a number of leisure activities are offered by the hotel, including all kind of water sports and a certified PADI diving center. The Thalaspa Chenot Elounda Beach offers blissful signature treatments and pampering techniques. Guests can relax on secluded white sandy beaches, with umbrellas and sun beds.

For Your Family's Needs, We Recommend:Elounda Bay Palace Family Suite
Family Suite Garden View - This spacious accommodation (approx. 55 sq.m) ideal for families is composed of two bedrooms with a Queen & twin sized beds, two marble – lined bathrooms with a TV. The comfort of the suites pours onto an exquisite private balcony which is offering Mountain View. There is also the option of adding a single sofa bed.

Amenities and Activities Include: 
A bottle of wine, fresh fruit, flowers upon arrival
Use of gym
Use of tennis courts
Use of sauna & hamam
€50,00 spa gift voucher per person
Childrens facilities
Daily supervised children's program (for ages 4-12)
Baby sitting – hourly charge applicable
Children's meals available in restaurants

View rates, details, and more images of Elounda Bay Palace >>

All rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges may apply. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as any extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.

 


| By: Five Star Alliance

Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort is situated in the emerald bay of Milatos. Since the accommodations' preference may vary from one guest to another, Minos Imperial, consisting of 338 rooms and suites, provides a wide selection of choices. Furthermore, the hotel’s location provides the opportunity to its guests to take many different kinds of excursions due to its short distance from all the major sites of interest. Minos Imperial features six restaurants and five bars, offering a wide variety of quality food and beverage services to satisfy every guests needs. 

Minos Imperial Beach Resort

View rates, details, and more images of Minos Imperial Luxury Beach Resort >>

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| 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.


| By: Christopher Roney

 Elounda Villas

Hello, Sir or Madam.  Welcome to my little corner of the internet.  You’ve probably come because you Googled something like “luxury hotels + minotaur” or “best hotel in Crete + part 2 of a series of real-life destinations that will spark the imagination and transport you to another world.”  You didn’t?  Well, in any case, do have a seat; and, if you’ll let me, I’d love to tell you a bit about another destination as well known for its fantasy as its reality.  Check out Part 1 here.

   

Part 2 - Crete

What do you call someone from Crete? A Cretin? Cretacious? Creatine? Well, four thousand years ago, it was the Minoans who called it home. Besides having the most powerful mercantile fleet in the Mediterranean, the Minoans are most well-known for their namesake, King Minos.  As the stories tell it, Minos was beholden to the legendary Minotaur who lived in a vast labyrinth and demanded a sacrifice of 14 young men and women every nine years. For decades, the king complied, until the hero Theseus promised to slay the Minotaur.  As much a ladies’ man as beast-slayer, Theseus killed the minotaur and survived only with help from his lover, Ariadne, who provided him with a ball of string he used to track his path through the maze.  Theseus returned home in triumph, but unfortunately for his father, raised the black sails that indicate he had died on the voyage, and his father threw himself from a cliff in anguish before Theseus reached the port.  Little did we know the whole story was just an allegory for calling your family. 

Not surprisingly, modern-day Crete is better known for its beaches than its endless mazes.  Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, the coastal waters are as blue as the summer sky.  And while your journey to Crete is unlikely to involve slaying a legendary beast, you might vanquish a few canapés as you enjoy the pristine waters and unequaled service at Elounda, one of the world’s most exclusive beach resorts.  While you’re there, make a trip to Knossos to check out the ruins of the 1000-room palace that was the site of the myth of the Minotaur.  Just remember to raise your white sail on the return home.