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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.

Adventure in Morocco: Fly by Helicoper to Essaouira from the Royal Mansour


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Mansour MarrakechLeave it to the Royal Mansour, the opulent Marrakech resort owned by the King of Morocco, to organize the ultimate adventure to the oceanfront city of Essaouira. Long considered one of the best anchorages of the Moroccan coast, Essaouira is an ancient port once settled by the Carthaginians, Romans, and then Portuguese. It's a marvelous mixmash of archeological treasures-- its medina is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site-- in a beautiful setting. The Royal Mansour Marrakech, home to a restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno, will fly you by helicopter to Essaouira where you'll be driven to the town of Ounagha for a wine tasting at "Val d’Argan," a French-owned winery. To cap off a dazzling day, you'll be served an extravagant lobster dinner under a Bedouin tent on the beach at Sidi Kaouki.


Island Hop in Thailand with Anantara Resorts


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rasananda Phangan Island ResortWhy settle for one idyllic Thai island when you can experience the best of two? Embark on an indulgent and diverse getaway to the Gulf of Thailand to get a taste of the red-hot nightlife on Koh Samui and the relaxing beaches of Koh Phangan (the isle famous for its full moon parties). Anantara Resorts is whisking you away with a special offer called the "Two Island Experience." Divide your time between Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa, a hideaway near bustling Chaweng, with the dreamy seclusion of a private pool suite or villa at Rasananda Phangan Island Resort. With breakfast, sea and land transfers all included, this special package invites you to linger longer and soak up tranquil island life. Rates from THB 17,700 with three nights at each resort.


Hawaiian Holidays: 3rd Night Free at Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at KoeleIt's hard to believe that summer is nearly over, and it's almost back-to-school time for the kids. But before stocking up on backpacks and school supplies, why not pack up the family for one last summer adventure? The Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele is offering a special value for parents looking to linger longer for less in Hawai'i. Nestled within the lush central highlands of the private Hawaiian island of Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele is the ideal getaway for families. Tee off on the 18-hole putting course – a cross between miniature golf and a real putting challenge - or visit Lana'i Pine Sporting Clays and Archery Range for an afternoon of archery and clay shooting. Go horseback riding through Koele’s picturesque upcountry and learn about the island’s history.

The "Stay Longer" promotion means a complimentary third night when you book two consecutive nights at the resort. What's more, Four Seasons offers free meals for its youngest guests, welcome amenities for children, and Kids For All Seasons programming for children five to 12. There's also a Surf Shack Teen Center featuring video game stations, a pool table and lounge area for those aged 13-17 at Manele Bay. Rates for the package start at $295 and are valid on new bookings only. Three night minimum stay required; subject to availability.


Climb a 14er with a Little Help from Aspen's Hotel Jerome


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel JeromeAdrenaline junkies, take note. Aspen's historic Hotel Jerome has teamed up with Aspen Expeditions to give you an experience of a lifetime. Always dreamed of reaching the summit of a 14er? Now you can with the hotel's "Stay, Play & Climb" package, a three-day experience that combines luxury accommodations with a climbing adventure on a technical 14,000' peak. Starting at $715 per person, the package includes three nights of lodging at Hotel Jerome, one privately guided climb of a 14,000' peak outside Aspen, CO, and a Marmot Driclime jacket per person. Blackout dates may apply. Offer valid for new reservations only.

Another special offer for adrenaline hounds: The "Blazing Adventure" package includes free adventure excursions, plus a daily $50 breakfast credit, when you reserve a stay through October 2, 2011. Book a stay of one to four nights for two people and get a free rafting, hiking, biking, four-wheel-drive or other outing per person. As The Washington Post points out, the best rates are for four-night stays at $333 per night double, down from $459. And the tours are valued at $99 each. Add $66 per night in fees and taxes.


Hayman Island Resort Celebrates Reopening with Special Offer


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hayman Island ResortAustralia's Hayman Island-- oft described as one of the most stunning resorts in the world-- was severely damaged by cyclones earlier this year, and had to close for repairs. Now it's back, and better than ever. The five-month renovation, explains The Sydney Morning Herald, "touched almost every aspect of the Great Barrier Reef resort, starting with a 16-hectare garden landscape created by horticulturalist and TV star Jamie Durie." A new botanical garden centerpiece showcases 33,000 new plants and 327 new species; the landscaping alone cost A$4 million.

Hayman Island ResortLucky guests who check in now will experience a top-to-bottom refurbishment. And when you book the "Hayman Reopening Offer," you'll score an A$400 Resort Voucher to enjoy during your stay. This reopening offer is basically the "Hayman Escape" package which includes twin share accommodation and daily beachfront breakfast at Azure, along with the bonus resort voucher. Hayman Escape packages start from A$885 per person for 3 nights, and are available for sale until August 31, 2011 for travel from October 1, 2011- June 30, 2012. Valid for new bookings only, and subject to availability.


Snorkeling the Lagoon Sanctuary at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Bora BoraThe Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora isn't just about plush, over-water bungalows. Sure, they've got those, perched on stilts over the turquoise lagoon, some even equipped with private pools. It's a spectacular snorkeling location with over 100 colorful species in the Lagoon including the octopus, eagle ray, lizardfish, Picasso trumpetfish, soldierfish, firefish, unicorn fish, spotted pufferfish, parrotfish, peacock damselfish, clownfish and butterfly fish. But more than that, the Lagoon Sanctuary is also a research facility for studying and protecting the marine eco-system. Directed by marine biologist Oliver Martin, the Lagoon Sanctuary offers activities for guests of all ages, including snorkelling, coral grafting discovery, discussions on Polynesian ecology, fish and octopus feeding and more. The Lagoon Sanctuary is maintained in partnership with the Pacific Eco-World Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to learning more about the changing marine environment and working to conserve it.


Horsing Around in the Wild West at Teton Mountain Lodge And Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Teton Mountain Lodge and SpaSaddle up! The Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa is inviting guests to horse around this summer outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming. From rodeos to trail riding, your family will get an unforgettable taste of the Wild West in true cowboy style. Here's what's included in the "Horsing Around" package:

*Three nights accommodation in a guest room with separate beds for parents and two kids

*Two hours of private guided horseback trail riding with Teton Village Trail Rides

*Two "Color in Western" backpacks with disposable camera and photo album for the kids

*Dinner for 4 at the Bar T-5 Chuckwagon

*Four tickets to the Jackson Hole Rodeo

From $342 per night; available through September 30, 2011.


Mancation in Whistler at the Pan Pacific Mountainside


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pan Pacific Whistler MountainsideGet the guys together for some golf and biking and revelrous good times. The Pan Pacific Mountainside-- the luxurious four-season resort located at the base of the gondolas in Whistler Village-- has put together a swell Man-cation package for male bonding in the spectacular Coast Mountain Range. Bike on some 350+ kilometers of trails, go golfing at the Whistler Golf Club, hang poolside with views of the action in the Bike Park, or just kick back over a pint at Dubh Linn Gate Pub. Available until November 23, 2011, the package is priced from $699 CDN in a Two Bedroom Suite Valley View (maximum 6 people) and includes:

* Two nights’ accommodation in a spacious suite

* One Day Valley Trail Bike rental per person from Salomon Store on Lobby level

* A $200 Credit for the Whistler Golf Club

*Dinner in Dubh Linn Gate one night -includes choice of entree and a pint from Whistler's best beer selection

* Complimentary Valet Parking for one vehicle

Subject to availability, black-out dates may apply.


Celebrate Disney World’s 40th Anniversary in Style


By: Daniel L. Moses

Walt Disney World HotelThe 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World is upon us, with the Magic Kingdom opening its gates for the first time in 1971.  At the time, Orlando was little more than a swampy, central Florida outpost, but now has grown to one of the premier vacation destinations in the world.

Despite the many options for visitors, Orlando is not known for luxury.  Rather Disney World, and other theme parks of its ilk including Universal Studios and Sea World, was built with the goal of  giving every traveler a quality, fun place to visit, no matter the price threshold.  Nonetheless, for luxury travelers, there are several excellent options, and due to the abundance of hotel rooms in the area, prices for luxury Orlando, and luxury Disney, hotels are offered at incredibly affordable prices.

 No discussion of luxury Disney vacations can be complete without bringing up Disney's own Grand Floridian Resort.  Disney's flagship hotel is centrally located just between Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and convenient to both via the always popular monorail.  The Grand Floridian is themed as a turn of the century getaway, and the Disney cast members make sure to stay in character throughout the luxury experience.  With a world class spa on-site, and a AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Victoria and Albert's, tempting your taste buds, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is the first choice among Disney luxury seekers.

The Peabody OrlandoIf your taste is more modern, there are luxury Orlando hotels located convenient to both Disney and other theme parks.  The centrally located Peabody Orlando is among the best.  Remodeled just last year, the Peabody hotel brand speaks for itself, but the Orlando Peabody takes the next step by offering a staggering 1641 rooms with nearly 200 suites.  Size isn’t often an indicator of quality, but the Peabody treats each guest as if the large hotel was just for them.  In addition, with a massive spa and fitness center, huge meeting room space, six on-site restaurants and 3 bars, a layered grotto pool, tennis courts, incredible golf packages, and a concierge desk well versed in all the cultural and fun sites around Orlando, including the house of mouse, Disney World, the Peabody checks all the boxes on luxury and convenience.
 

Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes, OrlandoAnother option for celebrating the 40th anniversary is the serene Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes. Located just down the road from Disney World, the Ritz Carlton's quiet setting makes it feel as if you're in another time zone from the bustle of the theme parks.  Ritz Carlton, long the hallmark name in luxury hotels, offers a quiet retreat at Grande Lakes.  For duffers, the golf packages are excellent, but with an 18-hole course right on site, you can practically drive your cart right from your room to the course!  The Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes gives luxury travelers to Disney and Orlando priceless, luxurious comfort.

So however you choose to celebrate Disney World's 40th anniversary, make sure you do so in luxury style.  Affordable packages are available for booking throughout the rest of 2011 and 2012, with the famed Florida weather offering warm temperatures all year long.  And with the classic Grand Floridian, the convenient Peabody Orlando, or the serene Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, you can't go wrong.


Calling All Bachelorettes: Win a Trip to Taiwan!


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel TaipeiCelebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2011, Taiwan's in the spotlight. Not only that, faithful Bachelorette viewers will get to check out the country's wonders on the next episode of the show. Ashley Herbert will have all kinds of romantic adventures in Taiwain- from riding scooters through the mist-covered mountains to living it up in luxury at The Regent Taipei. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau sponsored the episode scheduled to air on July 11 in order to promote "Asia's best-kept secret." And they've also joined forces with a few other sponsors for a fabulous giveaway contest: fans of the show can win a 5-day trip for two "to live out their own romantic adventures in Taiwan" including two nights in the TaiPan Elite suite at The Regent Taipei. For more details on"The Bachelorette Ultimate Getaway Sweepstakes," check out the website.

Pictured: The W Hotel in Taipei.