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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.

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.


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!