China’s richest village opens skyscraper hotel

One of China’s tallest buildings has opened for business in the nation’s ‘wealthiest village’ of Huaxi, a symbol of the country’s breakneck economic growth. The Longxi International Hotel is 328 metres (1,082-feet) high and cost $470 million to build, an official in Huaxi told AFP. There are around 10 taller buildings in China — including … Continued

Caesars plans luxury resort in Hainan, China

Casino giant Caesar’s Entertainment has announced the start of construction on its first non-casino luxury resort, in the Chinese holiday destination of Hainan. The Caesars Palace Longmu Bay will be a 5-star resort with 1,000 rooms, a Las Vegas-style attraction which will set a ‘global luxury standard’ in China. The first phase of the project … Continued

Albert and Charlene’s luxurious honeymoon party

The Oyster Box, one of South Africa’s most lavish hotels, will host a reception for Prince Albert II of Monaco and his new bride, Charlene Wittstock, as they visit the eastern port city of Durban this week. The five-star hotel is famous for sweeping views of the Indian Ocean and a presidential suite that lists … Continued

Mandarin Oriental opens in Paris

The Mandarin Oriental opened its doors in Paris on Tuesday, becoming the third top-end Asian hotel brand in less than a year to put out its shingle and woo rich visitors to the French capital. Newly built behind a 1930s facade, the eight-story property on fashionable Rue Saint Honore boasts 99 rooms and 39 suites … Continued

Brazil launches new hotel rating system

Brazil, which will be the home of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, has launched a new star-based system to cover all of its accommodation offerings. Only officially-approved properties will be able to use the SBClass system, and that each will be evaluated based on the services it offers. According to the … Continued

Paris’s ‘palace’ hotels – the winners and losers

The French government announced the eight recipients of its new ‘palace’ hotel rating May 5, dealing a blow to some of Paris’s most famous hotels. The ‘palace’ rating is an official designation above five stars awarded by the French tourism authorities — it’s designed to help travelers identify the cream of the country’s many swanky … Continued

Luxury hotel market continues to boom in London

This week has seen the opening of two London luxury properties, proving that the high-end hotel boom in Britain’s capital is still well underway. On March 14 Marriott opened the St Pancras Renaissance hotel, which has been completely restored to its 19th century glory thanks to a five-year, £200m renovation. The five-star hotel is situated … Continued

Luxury chain Kerry Hotels debuts in Shanghai

Shangri-La has debuted a new luxury five star brand with the opening of a new hotel in Shanghai February 18. Kerry Hotels is a new five-star contemporary brand from Shangri-La which provides “a seamless link between business, entertainment and recreation.” The new Shanghai Pudong property offers 574 guestrooms decked out with the latest technology such … Continued

Loyalty programs for independent hotels

Independent hotel loyalty program Voilà announced that it has landed in the US January 11, setting the scene for increased competition in a new market that allows guests to earn points for staying in non-chain hotels. Voilà, which allows consumers to earn loyalty points at some 250 independent four and five star hotels in Europe, … Continued

2010 ends with a bang for French luxury hotel chain

Accor-owned brand Sofitel is to wrap up 2010 with a triple-whammy of hotel openings in exotic locations around the world, the company said December 13. The five-star brand is opening properties in Austria, Mauritius and Cambodia this week, including a new flagship for Europe in Vienna. The new Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom features a futuristic glass … Continued

Luxury hotel opens in Mecca landmark

Fairmont has opened its new landmark property in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, becoming the second hotel brand to occupy the Abraj Al Bait Complex. The hotel is situated inside the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, the focal point of an enormous project to upgrade the precincts of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca … Continued

First luxury hotel to open in Ramallah

The opening of Ramallah’s first five-star hotel will mark another small step in the West Bank town’s steady march towards something resembling normal life. But its sixth-floor executive lounge looks out on a panorama of unresolved issues that cloud the economic outlook — a built-up Israeli settlement on a nearby hilltop, a Palestinian refugee camp … Continued

Tokyo Mandarin: Yours for a Night and $670,000

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the five-star Mandarin Oriental Tokyo hotel is offering the opportunity to rent the entire property for one night for $670,000. Under the plan, the entire hotel — 178 guest rooms, all nine restaurants and all spas — would be reserved from 3:00 in the afternoon to noon the next day. … Continued

Jumeirah launches lifestyle brand VENU Hotels

Dubai hotel group Jumeirah is to launch a “contemporary lifestyle” brand globally later this year, the company announced April 28. The new brand, to be named VENU Hotels, will be launched later in 2010, with Jumeirah saying that it is in “advanced stages of negotiations” with developers about properties in the Middle East, Northern Africa, … Continued

The top 10 five star hotels for under 50 pounds

Travel comparison and booking site Trivago has published a list of the most popular European five-star hotels with rates under £50 (€57). According to Trivago, the average rate at a five-star hotel in the top 50 European cities is £165 (€189). However, the site has compiled ten destinations where guests can enjoy the trappings of … Continued