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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
 
FSA LogoThe 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.

The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #15 The Mount Nelson Hotel

December 17, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #15 spot we have the Mount Nelson Hotel, set at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

Quick facts about the Mount Nelson Hotel:

- The most iconic luxury hotel situated within a beautiful garden estate in the heart of Cape Town.

- Located in an urban sanctuary with a romantic heritage, distinctive style, and a commitment to excellent service.

- Small meeting rooms which can accommodate 15, 45, and 60 people.

- Nine acres of enclosed gardens, babysitting services, and various child-friendly tours.

- Located in the midst of wine country, providing guests with ample opportunities to partake in wine tours.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Mount Nelson Hotel.

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! In case you missed it, here is our #16 featured hotel, the Auberge du Soleil.


Availability in Costa Rica for Winter Holidays

December 2, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Escaping the cold and checking into a luxury beach resort seems to be quite popular amongst our travelers, so we’re making it a bit easier for you to plan your getaway by hi-lighting the hotels with availability at popular spots.

A popular destination this year is Costa Rica. With activities ranging from zip lining, white water rafting, lounging on the beach, and relaxing in the hot springs, it’s no wonder folks are drawn to this country. The 5 star hotels that currently have availability during the last week of December are the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa and the Marriott Los Suenos Resort. The only 4 star hotel with availability is  the Radisson Europa Hotel. Be sure to make your travel plans and reservations before these hotels sell out!


A Heli-Skiing Adventure in the Swiss Alps with Badrutt's Palace Hotel

November 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Badrutt's Palace HotelAdrenaline-loving ski hounds looking for adventure should head over to Europe to brave the snow-covered pistes in the Alps. (Tip for travelers: the dollar-euro exchange rate hasn't looked this good in years.) Head to St. Moritz in Switzerland, long considered the birthplace of alpine tourism, to experience the "Holy Grail" of classic downhill skiing-- with 200 miles of groomed runs in four large skiing areas. Book a stay at Badrutt's Palace Hotel-- known for its glam après-ski scene and exceptional facilities-- and you'll be living large in the lap of luxury. The hotel has organized a fabulous “Heli Adventure” package with a helicopter guide through the white peaks to let passionate skiers make their own tracks in untouched snow. In addition to the exclusive helicopter trip, this package includes a three-night stay with half board and a ski pass for the whole region, as well as a classic relaxation massage to help soothe tired muscles. The package starts at CHF 2,140 (approx $2,338 US) per person for a double room.


Friday Photos: Wouldn't You Rather Be at West Bay Club, Turks and Caicos?

November 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

West Bay Club

Jill's vacationing in Morroco; John's lounging in the Virgin Islands; Janet's plotting a jaunt to Paris; what about you? Here's a little travel inspiration as the week winds down and we start dreaming of seductive destinations. The Turks and Caicos have the Caribbean charm, white sandy beaches, and turquoise sea that's key for an island vacay, but most importantly: getting there is a breeze. Providenciales International Airport is easily reached from the major East Coast cities (just one hour from Miami; three hours from NYC). Voted the "top beach destination in the world" on TripAdvisor, the tiny island of Providenciales is home to The West Bay Club, where 47 sumptuous, sea-facing suites await you... Launch a Hobie Cat for a sailing adventure or simply kick back by the pool (it's a stunner!). After a tough day soaking up the tropical sun, head to the spa for a massage. It's a tough life at The West Bay Club.

West Bay Club


Exclusive Perks Offered for Five Star Alliance Travelers at the Maroma Resort and Spa

November 17, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

It’s definitely the little things that set good hotels apart from great ones. We at Five Star Alliance understand that an enjoyable stay at a luxury hotel not only depends on the extravagance of a room, but rather the personal touches and the service you receive. That’s why Five Star Alliance is thrilled to make your trip extraordinary by offering exclusive perks at select hotels for Five Star Alliance travelers.

The Maroma Resort and Spa in Mexico is offering extra amenities for a variety of rooms. Check out the ‘Five Star Alliance’ packages and make a reservation for a variety of rooms ranging in size and luxury for two to eight occupants to receive additional perks. All of the ‘Five Star Alliance’ packages offer an upgrade upon arrival (subject to availability), welcome drink upon arrival, full a la carte menus for 2 each morning, one snorkeling trip per person to the second largest reef, and wake up morning coffee service in room. This resort is set beside a white, sandy beach where you can spend days lounging by the calm ocean, diving in mysterious underwater caves, or going on a shopping spree. This resort has it all, and now it has even more to offer!


Peak Season Savings in the Caribbean at Nisbet Plantation on Nevis

November 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nisbit Plantation Beach Club, NevisThaw out this winter with a warm-weather getaway to a top-rated resort on Nevis. Nisbet Plantation Beach Club-- an intimate hideaway with 36 cottage-style accommodations dotted among 30 palm-filled acres-- is offering high-season savings this January with a 6th night free, daily breakfast, dinner for two, and roundtrip airport transfers. Situated on a pristine white sand shore, Nisbet Plantation is the Caribbean's only historic plantation inn on the beach. A number of amenities are included (like wifi, flip digital video cameras to capture vacation memories, and kayaks and snorkel gear to explore the coral reefs offshore).

The "January Thaw" offer is available from January 3- January 31, 2012 and includes: * A free night on a six-night stay in a spacious cottage-style accommodation for two * Full daily breakfast served ocean side at Coconuts * Daily afternoon tea * Nightly three-course gourmet dinner at the AAA Four Diamond-rated Great House, c. 1778 * Airport transfers from Nevis (NEV) or sister island St. Kitts (SKB).

Package rates begin at $3,350 per couple and are subject to a service charge and government tax. The offer is not combinable with other promotions.


Caribbean Winter Deals: A Free Night and Resort Credit with Starwood Hotels

November 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto RicoThe epic snowfall in October gave us a taste of what's in store this winter, and you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll be trading in our snow boots for a pair of flipflops when the arctic cold gets to be too much to handle. Lucky for us, Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts are making it easy-- with a swell "Retreat to the Heat" offer that hands out a free night, a resort credit (ranging from $75 to $250), and a room upgrade (based on availability). Take a peek at some of the participating hotels below and start dreaming about your winter getaway. (Psst. What a great Christmas gift!) The offer is available for booking now through December 15, 2011 for travel through January 31, 2012, and blackout dates do apply.

* Aruba: The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba

* Grand Cayman:The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman

* Puerto Rico: The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island

* St. Maarten: The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten

* U.S. Virgin Islands: The Westin St. John Resort & Villas


Heli-Skiing in Utah with the Waldorf Astoria Park City

November 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waldorf Astoria Park CityLooking for a high-adventure vacation out west? The Waldorf Astoria Park City can arrange heli-skiing adventures sure to excite adrenaline hounds. Hit the "greatest snow on earth" in Utah's backcountry far from the crowds... (Of course, ski bunnies who may feel more comfortable on the groomed slopes can enjoy some 4,000 acres of skiable terrain accessed by the hotel's dedicated gondola just outside the front door.) When you return from your heli-skiing trip, head to the Golden Door Spa for a Mountain Salvation massage- the best way to soothe tired muscles after a day in the mountains. The "Heli-Skiing Adventure" must be arranged at least 14-days in advance of your stay between January 1 and March 30, 2012. Included in the special offer: the heli-skiing trip for two adults with lunch, followed by one 50-minute Mountain Salvation massage for two adults at the swank spa. Four night minimum stay required.


Sponsored Article: Winter Wonderland in Canada with Fairmont Hotels

November 7, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Skiing in Whistler, Fairmont HotelsLet it snow! November means it’s time to take advantage of some early-season ski deals so you can hit the powder fast. Without a doubt, the best place to embrace the winter is our neighbor to the north. Canada’s pristine wilderness is home to the number one ski resort in North America (Whistler), and Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a storybook winter setting in the Canadian Rockies. Here, the wide-open wilderness makes for some epic skiing on what feels like your very own private pistes.

Fairmont offers three legendary resorts where skiers and non-skiers alike revel in luxury while soaking up the surrounding natural beauty. Styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, the Fairmont Banff Springs resort is located in the heart of the park with three pristine ski resorts at your doorstep. With the “Couples Holiday Getaway,” you get a third night for free when you stay for the festive Christmas season between December 17th and December 30th, 2011. Another hot offer: With “Extend Your Stay,” you’ll get discounts until February 10, 2012. Stay two nights and save 25% off each night when you stay two nights; 30% off each night when you stay three nights; 35% off each night when you stay four or more nights.

Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseAlso located in Banff National Park, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the ultimate winter playground. Oft described as Canada’s most scenic ski resort, the Lake Louise Ski Resort has 139 marked ski runs and back bowls on four mountain faces. Beyond skiing, the snow adventures are endless-- from dog sledding the Great Divide to horse-drawn sleigh rides through the glacial shadows. Take advantage of the resort’s “Ski & Play for Free” and you’re guaranteed the ski trip of a lifetime. Included in the package: luxury accommodations, two adult Lake Louise Ski Resort passes per room per night OR a $100 Fairmont Chateau lake Louise resort credit (in place of each ski day), plus transportation to the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Valid from November 15th, 2011 until May 1st, 2012, starting from $299 CAD per night.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler-- nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain-- offers ski-in/ski-out access, amenities for pets, and a lavish spa. The “Ski for Free” package means you get Whistler Blackcomb lift tickets included with your low room rates (from $269 CAD per night) until November 23, 2011. Or book the “Everyone's An Original Winter Offer “ for double airline reward miles.


Costa Rican Resort Introduces New Shangri-La Gardens

November 1, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in Costa Rica has just introduced its newest luxury hideaway, the private Shangri-La Gardens. These adult-only gardens are located in a secluded area of the minerals springs complex, and they provide guests with a serene area to unwind while enjoying cocktails and refreshments served by the garden butler. The Shangri-La Gardens are surrounded by lush greens and offer six thermal mineral spring water pools, heated naturally by the Arenal Volcano, providing a relaxing experience unlike any other. Be sure to also experience the natural hot springs and waterfalls located throughout the resort, and take advantage of the unique treatments available, including volcanic mud wraps, exfoliations with coffee or coconut, and outdoor Watsu underwater massages. Take relaxation to the next level by checking in to the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort and checking out the new Shangri-La Gardens.