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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.

Spa Trends: The Kids Get Pampered at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

October 27, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Chiang MaiOne of the latest trends in luxury travel? Tykes and teens are getting pampered with specialized spa treatments. We've seen teen acne facials and little princess manicures at hotels like Stowe's Topnotch Resort, Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego, and The Homestead in Virginia. The latest resort to create a customized menu for its youngest guests? The Four Seasons Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand's northern culture capital in the beautiful Mae Rim Valley. For "little angels," the resort recently unveiled a menu of new treatments using organic, chemical-free products. Here's the menu:

Angel Bliss Massage – A relaxing, soothing treatment perfect for energetic kids, the Angel Bliss Massage improves the quality of children’s sleep, soothes the nervous system, and helps to strengthen the immune system through a gentle pressure oil massage applied to the scalp, legs and feet.  60 minutes.

Look At Me Facial - Formulated especially to suit young and teenage skin, and to leave a little one looking her very best, this is a very gentle facial incorporating an exhilarating face massage to hydrate and purify the skin.  50 minutes.

Gorgeous Skin Glow – The perfect treatment to bring a glow to young skin, the Skin Glow is a gentle scrub using natural red rice to exfoliate dead skin cells and revitalise the skin.  50 minutes.

Soothing Wrap for Sun-Kissed Skin – The perfect after-sun treatment for those kids who’ve been enjoying the great outdoors, this soothing body wrap uses the healing power of aloe vera to cool, moisturise and heal the skin.  50 minutes.


Way Down to Kokomo: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

October 14, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Beach Boys sang it best, and we’ve decided to embrace their lyrics and feature every place they sang about in their hit, Kokomo. Kokomo, however doesn’t actually exist off the Florida Keys, but Aruba, Jamaica (oo I wanna take you) are all quite real, so be sure to keep up with our blog series and check out the incredible places the Beach Boys deem worthy of your stay!

We’re swaying right along, onto our second featured destination, Jamaica. This island is not only home of Reggae, but it is also a great spot for travelers searching for a change of pace. Consider the Sandals Royal Plantation for an incredible escape. The northern Jamaican coast is an incredibly beautiful place, where the hills of the St. Ann Mountains roll down to the sparkling white-sand beaches of the Ocho Rios Riviera. Sandals Royal Plantation provides the opportunity for seclusion and privacy while also offering opportunities to get out and explore. Take advantage of the beautiful beach located a few steps away from the hotel and enjoy not lifting a finger while a butler attends to your needs. Looking for a little more action? Take advantage of the canoeing, kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, and windsurfing opportunities made available. Sandals Royal Plantation offers 77 luxurious suites, all with beautiful ocean views, and with a policy of only accepting children 18 years of age or older, this resort will serve as the perfect relaxing escape to paradise.

In case you missed our first feature, Aruba, we encourage you to check it out here.


Caribbean Escapes: The BodyHoliday in St. Lucia Reopens after Renovation

October 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia

News from the postcard-perfect Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. The BodyHoliday-- the all-inclusive resort famous for its promise "Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind"-- has opened its doors after a $20 million makeover. The renovation added a brand new infinity pool; doubled the size of the Watersports Center; and upgraded the resort's public spaces and dining venues. Not to mention the all-new, open-plan Penthouse Suite-- complete with a marble hammam and a soaking tub for two with sea views. What's more- the resort is introducing two new beauty partnerships to guests: THALGO, a high-end marine-based skincare and beauty line available at the wellness center, and REN, a bioactive skincare line available in-room.


Emerging Destinations: New Delhi, India

September 29, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Tired of your typical vacation spots and looking to spice up your plans with a visit away from the norm? Then you’ll love our new blog series, Emerging Destinations! We’ll be featuring an exciting hotspot with every post that’s not your typical resort. So whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or simply an escape to a new world, we guarantee to awaken the intrepid spirit in you, encouraging you to take a leap of faith and check out a new location for your next vacation!

Today’s featured destination is New Delhi, India. New Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and according to the National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine, it’s one of the most incredible cities of a lifetime to visit and explore. For your trip to this emerging destination, consider staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel. New Delhi has gorgeous ancient monuments including Humayn’s Tomb and the Akshardam, a jaw-dropping Hindu temple, as well as a lively performing arts scene. Check into the Taj Mahal Hotel for a truly unique and eye opening experience. This luxury hotel has a warm, pristine lobby with details reminiscent of Mughal architecture. The Taj Mahal Hotel is an authentic showcase of artifacts, and the domes and panels perfectly compliment the marble fountain streams. Sound like the perfect escape from the hectic and an opportunity to see and view the tranquil beauty of a new destination? Then take the leap and connect with your inner self by booking your trip to India today!

In case you missed our first featured emerging destination, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, you can check it out here!


Buenos Dias a Buenos Aires!

September 29, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Did you know that people from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteῇos, or people of the port? Aside from being the capital and the biggest city in Argentina, Buenos Aires is bursting with things to do and culture to explore. Buenos Aires is composed of various neighborhoods, or barrios, and each has its distinct characteristics and culture. I encourage you to check them all out, but consider giving yourself at least a few days to fully absorb everything this city has to offer!

Start your exploration by checking into the Faena Hotel and Universe, steps away from the river. Not only does this luxurious resort offer the opportunity to enjoy the race track from a box seat, but it also presents you with the opportunity to get to know the inner workings of a winery and even create your own wine! While you’re indulging yourself, be sure to try Argentine ice cream; it’s truly phenomenal, and I especially recommend the dulce de leche flavor. Enhance your stay by exploring some of the nearby barrios including Recoleta, which is the city’s most exclusive neighborhood that offers luxurious boutiques, fabulous restaurants, and beautiful galleries.

Two other barrios worth visiting are San Telmo and La Boca. San Telmo is a historical neighborhood that has preserved the authentic charm of Buenos Aires, and the cobblestone streets and high trees make an atmosphere of exceptional reminiscence. La Boca is located right on the water, and it’s one of the most unique areas of Buenos Aires. The buildings are painted vibrant colors, and there is tango dancing and singing in the streets. This is predominantly a tourist location, but it is unlike any other part of town and definitely worth a visit. After absorbing everything the city has to offer, return to the Faena Hotel and Universe, unwind at the luxurious spa, and fall asleep in one of the 105 rooms designed to offer you a luxurious experience of modern elegance.


Best of the Best: Solis Lough Eske Castle is the Best Luxury Countryside Hotel in 2011

September 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We'd like to welcome you to our new blog series, Best of the Best, where we’ll be featuring the best and most luxurious resorts in various categories. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards, so you can relax and stop worrying about your upcoming trip, knowing that it truly will be the best of the best.

Today’s featured locale is the Solis Lough Eske, recipient of the Best Luxury Countryside Hotel award in 2011, or should we say "best castle"? Located just outside of Donegal Town, Ireland, the Solis Lough Eske Castle is on the water’s edge of Lough Eske and surrounded by the incredible Blue Stack Mountains. Like escaping into a fairytale, the Solis Lough Eske Castle has its spa facility located in the castle garden, providing you with every opportunity to relax and take in the natural beauty of Ireland. Looking for a thrill? The Solis Lough Eske Castle offers some of the best hiking, mountain biking, and surfing in all of Ireland. Whether you’re looking for some peace and quiet or an adventure, the Solis Lough Eske Castle is the perfect and best destination for an escape into the magnificent countryside of Ireland.


Vamos a Sevilla!

September 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Seville, the capital of Andalusia, is a historic city with tiny, winding, bustling streets and a rich culture symbolized by Moorish influence. If you’re in search of an energetic nightlife or a cultural excursion to discover some of the most renowned monuments in all of Europe, consider visiting the heart of Southern Spain.

In the center of Seville lies Hotel Alfonso XIII, named after the king who commissioned it 83 years ago. This luxurious hotel offers rooms with varying themes and styles including Isabelline Baroque, Moorish, and Castillian. Hotel Alfonso XIII is situated downtown, just minutes from the Royal Alcazar Palace and the Plaza de España, making this hotel the perfect, centrally located destination.

Seville has an incredible charm emanating from the streets, and the people have a very relaxed attitude about life. I encourage you to fully embrace the culture and see a flamenco show, or try the pairing of green olives with beer, or sip on a Tinto de Verano, which is a light, refreshing blend of red wine and lemon soda.

Be sure to get your shopping done in the morning or evening, as many store owners close down their shops for a few hours in the afternoons for a siesta. My recommended hotel is currently closed for renovations, but it’ll reopen in March 2012, just in time for the beautiful spring months and Semana Santa, which is one of the most significant, traditional events in Seville. Can’t wait that long? Consider some of the other incredible resorts located all over Spain, and get ready for a fiesta!


Around the World by Private Jet with Four Seasons Hotels

September 27, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Bali Jimbaran BayLeave it to Four Seasons to put together the ultimate globe-trotting adventure: Around the World by Private Jet. Departing from Los Angeles on October 29, 2012, this 22-day adventure will hit up Four Seasons destinations in Hawaii, French Polynesia, Australia, Bali, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Egypt and the UK. Just 78 guest will be whisked away on a specially-outfitted Boeing 757 provided by TCS & Starquest Expeditions. (Jetsetters will feel right at home in the VIP seats, attended to by a Four Seasons concierge, and debriefed on destinations by onboard experts in art history, cuisine, and more.) On the ground, personalized itineraries will include local specialties, behind-the-scenes tours, and off-the-beaten path treasures. Here are a few of the highlights of this three-week trip:

Two of the world’s most active volcanoes in Hawai’i, the vibrant coral gardens of the South Pacific, Sydney’s iconic buildings and scenic gorges, the mystical allure of Ayers Rock, Bali’s Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) and Yeh Pulu temples, Thai cooking classes in Chiang Mai, Agra’s Taj Mahal, Mumbai’s Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum, and a private, lantern-lit dinner amid the pyramids of Gîza.

Pictured: Four Seasons Bali Jimbaran Bay.


Emerging Destinations: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

September 26, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Tired of your typical vacation spots and looking to spice up your plans with a visit away from the norm? Then you’ll love our new blog series, Emerging Destinations! We’ll be featuring an exciting hotspot with every post that’s not your typical resort. So whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or simply an escape to a new world, we guarantee to awaken your intrepid spirit, encouraging you to take a leap of faith and check out a new location for your next vacation!

Our first featured locale (drumroll please) is Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam! According to Travelagentcentral.com, Vietnam is an emerging destination for high-end travelers, and with tourism on the rise, this once predominantly rural country is becoming a vacation hotspot. The Caravelle Hotel, located in the enchanting and captivating city of Ho Chi Minh, offers traditional refinement in an environment that is both elegant and sophisticated. From floating down the Saigon River in a water taxi to exploring the cultural streets of Lam Son Square, Ho Chi Minh City is sure to be an incredible adventure. After a day of exhausting exploration, unwind at the Saigon Saigon Bar, which offers live music and a breath-taking view of the city, assault your taste buds at Reflections, a restaurant serving fusion cuisine, and get pampered at the recently renovated spa facilities. Where are all of these amenities, you ask? They’re all at the Caravelle Hotel, so the next time you’re debating which country to visit, consider the adventure that awaits you in Vietnam!


Wild, Wild West: Blacktomato Offers Luxury Frontier Package

September 21, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Tanque Verde Ranch

Think back to childhood. Picture yourself chasing after your friends, finger cocked into the shape of a pistol. “Bang, bang. I got you! You’re dead!” you’d yell, but your friends would never just fall down. They’d have a million reasons why not: “You missed me!” or “I’ve got armor!” or “I’m superman – bullets don’t hurt me!” or “Nuh uh!” You probably wrestled a bit until Mom told you to come inside and have your dinner already, it was getting cold.

Remember that? Now you get a chance to bring those childhood afternoons spent playing "Cowboys and Indians" to life. Blacktomato has created a 12-night luxury tour to showcase the modern Wild West adventure. Travel the edge of the Grand Canyon, wrangle cattle, and visit the most awe-inspiring of desert oases. It’s so authentic you might forget when you’re out in the wilds that you’re not spending your nights in a small, sweltering tent, but instead getting refreshed and rejuvenated at some of the world’s most prestigious hotels. They suggest, as we do, that you spend at least part of your stay at the Amangiri, a secluded resort so built to blend into the landscape that you’ll think it’s a mirage. Unlike most vacation packages, which offer you a set itinerary, Blacktomato recognizes that you want to take control of your own destiny, and their 12-night package is nothing more than a suggestion for things to see and do as you explore the western frontier:

  •  • Begin at Las Vegas and experience the strip in all its neon-bathed glory.
  •  • Leave the city to explore the rugged, scenic vistas of the Grand Canyon.
  •  • Continue on to the hidden desert oasis of Amangiri.
  •  • Experience the majestic red rock formations at the Enchantment Resort.
  •  • Live the life of a cowboy at the Tanque Verde Ranch.

Blacktomato will work with you to craft the perfect journey through America’s wildest of regions, and trust us; you can’t go wrong.