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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

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.

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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. 

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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. 

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| By: Rachael Weir

Blending traditional Mewar style with modern luxury, the Kohinoor Suite with Private Pool at The Oberoi Udaivilas is lavish and spacious suite with a private pool and 24-hour butler service. Guests arrive through a sunlit outer courtyard and chandelier-lit inner courtyard. Once inside, there are domed ceilings, hand carved marble privacy screens, and mirror mosaics. Within the space, there is an opulent master bedroom, twin bedroom, dining room, and living room. The bedrooms have pillowtop mattresses, along with blackout curtains, and pillow menus. The ensuite bathroom has a separate shower with massage settings, standalone claw-footed bathtub, TV volume controls, and natural toiletries created exclusively for Oberoi Hotels. Throughout the suite, there are Frangipani trees, miniature wall pantings, an espresso machine, three 42-inch flat-screen TVs, and five telephones. Continue reading below the photo.

Inside the Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Udaivilas

Plus, the suite's private, outdoor, temperature-controlled pool is framed by sun loungers, recessed sofa seating, and an outdoor dining space. Read more below.

Exterior of the Kohinoor Suite at The Oberoi Udaivilas

The Oberoi Udaivilas overlooks Udaipur's Lake Pichola and the Udaipur City Palace. Surrounded by 30 acres of gardens, fountains, and pavilions, the property is styled like a Rajasthani Palace. Standing on the 200-year-old hunting grounds of Maharana of Mewar, there is a wildlife sanctuary with deer and wild boar. The luxury hotel has the Oberoi Spa with Ayurveda inspired, Eastern, Western, and signature Oberoi treatments, plus morning yoga, outdoor pools, and fine dining options at indoor and al fresco restaurants. Read more below the photo.

Exterior of The Oberoi Udaivilas

Guests have the opportunity to partake in exclusive Oberoi experiences such as city tours by boat, traditional Thekri workshops, miniature painting classes, henna painting, safa tying, heritage walks, maharaja rides, pottery classes, cooking and bartending lessons. 

Check rates and availability at The Oberoi Udaivilas


| By: Five Star Alliance

Taj Lake Palace is set amid an awe-inspiring fairytale garden. This 250-year old
palace may be the most romantic hotel in the world. 

Taj Lake Palace

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| By: Five Star Alliance

The Oberoi Udaivilas is accessible by an enchanting boat ride across Lake Pichola.

The Oberoi Udaivilas

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| By: Five Star Alliance

 

Taj Lake Palace

 

Taj Lake Palace wasn't always a luxury hotel. Legend has it that young prince  Maharana Jagat Singh II indulged in moonlight picnics with the ladies of the Zenana on the lake island palace of Jag Mandir. Then his dad found out.  With that option closed to him, the prince built his own pleasure palace on a different island in Lake Pichola. Begun in 1743 and inaugurated in 1746, the new palace was named Jag Niwas after his highness Maharana Jagat Singh II, 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar. Jag Niwas, now Taj Lake Palace, is one of four islands in Lake Pichola.

 

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Posted in: Udaipur

| By: Christopher Roney

The Taj Lake Palace has long been in our category of super luxury, and it's certainly one of the most beautiful hotels in our collection.  And now, it's getting some celebrity recognition, thanks to hotshot designer Diane von Furstenberg.  She recently stayed at the hotel and declared it possibly the 'best hotel in the world.'  A woman with an eye for fashion, her approval certainly counts a little more than the average bear's.  While the superlative might be a bit hyperbolic and a few other hotels give it a run for its money, I can't imagine experiencing anything less than the sublime at the Taj Lake Palace.  

The white marble palace seems to be suspended above the waters of the surrounding lake, where the Maharana lived and entertained at his summer palace.  Ceremonial barges and private dinner-pontoons promise to whisk you away to a land of enchantment, and the breathtaking gardens and lily ponds are the perfect setting for romance.  If you can't trust me, then take the word of Diane von Furstenberg, and stay at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur.

Via HotelChatter.