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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

Taj Lake Palace

Offering a contrast of cultures, religions, and history, India provides a range of experiences for travelers. In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're highlighting royal palace hotels on this multi-destination trip to India. We begin in Hyderabad at the Taj Falaknuma Palace, next we head to a palace in the middle of a lake at the Taj Lake Palace (shown above), and we end our journey in Mumbai, the Gateway to India. 

Hyderabad, India

One of India's former princely states, Hyderabad was once one of the country's largest and wealthiest states. More than 400 years old, the city built its fortune on pearls, gold, steel, fabric, and diamonds. At one time, the city and the Golconda Fort was the most famous dining mining area in the world, as Golconda is where the Koh-i-Noor and Hope diamonds were excavated. Today, the city is the capital of Andhra Pradesh, and it is known for thriving information technology and biotech research industries. There's a vibrant culture here with luxury hotels and regional cuisine. 

Taj Falaknuma Palace

Green palace bedroom at Taj Falaknuma Palae

Formerly the palace of the Nizam, Taj Falaknuma Palace was built in 1894. Perched 2,000 feet above the City of Pearls, the grand palace offers guests a royal experience. Visitors arrive via a horse-drawn carriage, and butlers attend to their needs while staying at the palace. Spread over 32 acres, the palace hotel has 60 guest rooms and suites where opulence, excess, and historical details are honored and revered. Adaa provides a gastronomic experience with fine Indian cuisine, the Jiva Spa has an array of treatments rooted in traditional Indian practices, and afternoon tea is served on the Jade Terrace. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests making reservations through Five Star Alliance receive full breakfast daily and one dinner at Adaa per person, per stay. Also, subject to availability at the time of check-in/departure: a room upgrade, early check-in, and late check-out.

Check rates at Taj Falaknuma Palace

Explore more Hyderabad Luxury Hotels

 

Udaipur, India

This picturesque area in Rajasthan is set around Lake Pichola with the purple-hued Aravalli Range of mountains in surrounding the city in every direction. Here travelers can visit colorful bazaars to shop for local goods, take in a lively arts scene, go for a boat ride, and explore city's palaces, temples, and traditional decorated residences called havelis

Taj Lake Palace

Spa Boat at Taj Lake Palace

Built as a pleasure palace by the the young prince, Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur in 1746, Taj Lake Palace is a heritage hotel situated in the middle of Lake Pichola. Restored to its pristine and elegant glory, the hotel's 65 luxe guest rooms and 18 grand suites feature views of the lake, Aravalli Hills, Machla Magra Hills, and Jag Mandir. The site of a variety of movies including the Bond film "Octopussy", this regal property is popular for weddings and honeymoons, as well as travelers seeking a royal experience at the Jiva Spa (including the spa boat shown above) or authentic Rajasthani at Neel Kamal. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking the "5 Star Signature Package" rate will also receive lunch or dinner for two once during stay, a Heritage Walk of the property followed by a glass of sparkling wine, a 15% discount on spa services, Butler Service, daily a la carte breakfast for two in Jharokha Restaurant, and a traditional welcome amenity. 

Check rates at Taj Lake Palace

Explore more Udaipur Luxury Hotels

 

Mumbai, India

Once known as Bombay, Mumbai is a fusion of cultures and time periods. Reminders of its colonial past are never far away, and new malls mix with historic sites like the UNESCO-protected Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The fast-growing city has been the Gateway to India for centuries due to its strong port location, and it continues to evolve while maintaining its spiritual roots. Babulnath Temple is a serene destination for Hindu pilgrims, and Muslims walk to the white marble Haji Ali shrine via the seafront causeway.

The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Within walking distance of the Colaba Causeway, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai was recently trademarked. Built in 1903, the property has been a landmark in the city's harbour, welcoming kings, dignitaries, and prominent figures from around the world since its opening. Overlooking the Gateway of India, the hotel is strategically located in the city's historic and commercial hub. Close to the financial hub, parliament, stadium, shopping, and office districts, as well as museums, churches, and synagogues, the palace hotel harkens the glamour of a bygone era. Golden Keys Concierge can assist guests with exclusive experiences, authentic cuisine is served at Masala Kraft, and Golden Dragon offers Chinese specialties. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests booking the "5 Star Signature Package" rate will also receive buffet breakfast for two daily at Sea Lounge and a one way airport to hotel transfer in a Mercedes car on a sharing basis. 

Check rates at The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Explore more Mumbai Luxury Hotels


| By: Rachael Weir

Love a good ghost story? So do we. This Halloween we've gathered a list of five luxury hotels known for eery experiences and legendary ghost stories. From London to Vancouver, here are five of our favorites. 

1. The Langham London

The Langham London

Built in 1865, this luxe hotel with a world-reknowned Afternoon Tea is also known for sightings of the paranormal kind. From a German prince in a military jacket that jumped to his untimely death, to a Victorian-era doctor who killed his bride and himself while on their honeymoon, the majority of the paranormal activity happens in Room 333.

Check availability at The Langham London

2. Hotel del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

In 1892, a young woman arrived on Thanksgiving alone and never checked out. After five lonely days, Kate Morgan took her own life. To this day, the Ghost of Kate Morgan continues with stories of lights flickering, objects mysteriously moving, along with unexplained voices and footsteps. Paranormal researchers have documented supernatural activity from Kate's room on the third floor, and there have been Kate sightings along the seashore and in the hotel hallways. 

Check availability at the Hotel del Coronado

3. Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Known as the "Castle in the City" the legendary Canadian National Railway hotel that first opened as a hotel in 1939, is also home to the Lady in Red, a friendly ghost. Often spotted on the 14th floor in an elegant red evening gown, she's also been seen on the first floor and gliding through the hallways. Security cameras have picked up strange sounds and disembodied footsteps, guests have reported sightings over the years, and a special cocktail is served at the lobby lounge in her honor. 

Check availability at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

4. Emily Morgan Hotel

Emily Morgan Hotel

Next to the Alamo, the hotel was originally constructed as the Medical Arts Building on the Alamo Plaza. Featuring a copper roof with wood ribs, the building is lined by an array of gargoyles, each depicting a medical ailment. Believed to be one of the most haunted hotels west of the Mississippi, there have been stories of guests' phones ringing in the middle, lights and TVs turning on mysteriously, bathtubs being filled on their own, and sightings of women dressed in white. The most common sightings have seemed to occur on floors 12 and 14, which were once surgery and crematorium floors. 

Check availability at the Emily Morgan Hotel

5. Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Featuring old world grace and charm, W. A. Chambers was one of the designers behind the opulent hotel. He left for a trip to England once the blueprints were completed, and returned to discover the design was not being carried out as planned. According to legend, he jumped to his death from the fifth floor, and stories have told he's been spotted roaming the halls of the hotel to this day. 

Check availability at the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai


| By: Five Star Alliance

The outdoor swimming pool at The St. Regis Mumbai, overlooking the cityscape, is the piece de resistance of the wellness floor. With a lounge area, a deck with private cabanas and a pool bar, it is a haven for calm and repose on a lazy afternoon or even for an easy sundowners.

The St Regis Mumbai

Book a stay at The St. Regis Mumbai >>


| By: Five Star Alliance

Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai's outdoor swimming pool, set amidst lush landscaping, offers a serene respite from the city. Guests can also unwind on chaises longues beside the relaxation pool near the open-air pool deck, where light snacks and beverages are served. For added convenience, the pool is equipped with telephones and wireless Internet access.

Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai

Book a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai >>


| By: Five Star Alliance

The Lalit Mumbai is located in the nerve centre of the fastest developing business hub, Andheri, in Mumbai. But you'd know from this relaxing scene.

The Lalit Mumbai

Fall rates at The Lalit Mumbai start at $102 per night >>

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| By: Oksana Balytsky

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: We’re planning a trip to Mumbai, India for December 26th – January 1st, 2013. What hotels have availability and how far are they from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport?

Answer: We have nine 5-star hotels and three 4-star hotels in Mumbai, of which 10 are currently showing availability for your dates of travel. To compare their rates and view hotel photos, simply visit this website, click on the ‘Find a Hotel’ tab, select ‘Asia’ as the region, ‘India’ as the country, and ‘Mumbai’ as the city. Below this put in your dates, and then click ‘Go’. This will pull up all of the hotels on our site and show you the starting, lowest rate at each hotel. To view room descriptions and room types, click the ‘Available’ box for the specific hotel. To view photos and hotel descriptions, click on the hotel name link. Once you choose a hotel and specific room type, select that option and fill in the booking form. Your reservation is automatically confirmed with the hotel, and you receive a confirmation email. To view the location of the hotel, simply click the hotel name and then the ‘Location & Map’ tab to view where the property is located. Please be advised that all rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges for more than two people in a room may apply. Please also be advised that certain rooms have a maximum occupancy of two. Rates and availability are subject to change prior to making a reservation.

Photo of the Oberoi, Mumbai


| By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bellagio, Las VegasYou heard that right. MGM Hospitality is developing Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Skylofts hotels in Mumbai, India. They'll be located in the Maker Maxity mixed-use development complex in Bandra-Kurla Complex. As quoted in the official press release, the CEO of MGM Hospitality, Gamal Aziz, wants to blend Mumbai's culture and personality into the architecture and style of the properties. "The proximity to Bollywood and the affluent Bandra neighborhood provides a perfect setting for the confluence of energy, indulgence and luxury that the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts hotels will bring to the destination." They're promising all kinds of goodies for the international business traveler, along with world-class nightlife, restaurants, meeting venues, and entertainment. But what's the word on gambling? Will there be a Vegas-style casino for Mumbai's highrollers?

Pictured: The Bellagio in Las Vegas.