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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.

Snow Deal in New Zealand: Special at the Luxurious Azur Lodge, Queenstown

July 20, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Azur LodgeHead to Queenstown for the Southern Hemisphere's best alpine and cross-country skiing. New Zealand's extreme sports capital isn't just the place to go for bungy jumping, skydiving, and jet boating; it's a thrilling four-season destination of impressive alpine beauty. So adrenaline hounds looking to get their winter fix should head south of the equator pronto for some prime skiing. The place to stay to appreciate the scenery and get royally pampered? Azur Lodge, one of the world's finest luxury lodges, comprising nine villas perched on a hilltop outside Queenstown, featuring uninterrupted vistas of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables range, and Cecil Peak. Designed in silver beechwood and stone, the expansive private villas have lounge areas with fireplaces, outside decks, plasma screen TVs with a DVD/CD stereo system by Denon, 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and in-room aromatherapy oil burners with a selection of essential oils. Included in your rates: daily breakfast, small delights during the day, and canapés in the evening. Get a great value with the "Snow Deal," available until October 30, 2010 at Azur Lodge. Stay for a minimum of 5 nights in your own luxurious villa (accommodation for two people), experience Queenstown in all its winter glory, and pay only NZ$4000 (plus the Goods & Services Tax). The regular rate for 5 nights is $5000 + GST. You'll also enjoy airport transfers and transfers to/from Queenstown.

Geocaching Treasure Hunt at Four Seasons Jackson Hole (Get Tips from the Outdoor Adventure Concierge)

July 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Jackson HoleOf course the country's top ski-in/ski-out resorts have ski valets to warm up your boots and provide hot drinks after a day on the slopes. But the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole goes one step further with a full-service outdoor adventure concierge at its Base Camp, located on the ground floor of the Resort. Here guests can get hooked up with a Jackson Hole ski package, of course, along with itineraries for four-season recreational activities around the resort: from white water rafting and hot air balloon rides to llama treks and hiking. This special concierge can provide all sorts of ideas and equipment so you can discover the extraordinary natural beauty surrounding the Four Seasons Jackson Hole. Here's an idea: why not try a high-tech treasure hunt around the resort? Geocaching is a worldwide adventure game using a GPS device to find caches, or hidden nooks, that contain fun prizes — and directions to your next location. Embark on a scavenger hunt to discover 10 caches hidden around the resort, set against the backdrop of the Teton Mountains, winding rivers, and fields full of wildflowers.

New in the Maldives: Anantara Kihavah Villas with Underwater Restaurant

July 1, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Kihavah Villas, MaldivesAnantara Resorts is prepping the opening of another swoonworthy property in the Maldives: the Anantara Kihavah Villas, which will debut in October. Joining the Anantara Resort Dhigu, Anantara Naladhu, and the Anantara Veli Resort, the Anantara Kihavah will feature 78 expansive overwater and beach suites, designed in timber and marble, with private pools, sundecks, outdoor showers, and oversized bathtubs for two. To add to your bliss: a setting that's positively dreamy-- crystal-clear turquoise lagoons, soft white beaches, an island of swaying palm trees. For those seeking a more active vacation, the Anantara Kihavah has oodles of water sports. Go windsurfing, sailing, explore undiscovered islands, snorkel or scuba dive to discover the Maldives' renowned marine life. Take off from Anantara's Dive Centre and discover a magnificent underwater world. The Maldives are the only habitat where whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, appear all year round. Besides the "jungle spa," one of the most exciting features of this new resort is the underwater restaurant and wine cellar, billed as unique among the world's resorts. Check out the colorful underwater world-- angel fish and more!- while dining on scrumptious fare. Buzz: Take advantage of special promotional rates through January 2011 when you book by September 30, 2010. Rates start at $860 for a beach pool villa with breakfast included.

Ski Chile’s Snow-Capped Slopes with the San Cristobal Tower, Santiago

June 30, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

San Cristobal Tower, SantiagoIt may be hot and humid in the Northern Hemisphere, but cold weather-addicts can still get their winter fix by high-tailing it down south of the equator. Winter is in full swing in the Southern Hemisphere, and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, just 30 miles from Chile's capital city of Santiago, beckon adrenaline hounds hoping to get some action on the powder. Lucky you- San Cristobal Tower-- a sumptuous urban resort and member of Starwood's Luxury Collection-- has organized a package so that you can discover Chile's world-class ski centers. Considered the most easily accessible skiing in all of South America because of their proximity to Santiago International Airport, the triumvirate of ski resorts (La Parva, Valle Nevado and El Colorado) offer some stunning terrain with some 40 lifts between them. With the San Cristobal Tower's ski experience, you'll enjoy accommodations in a Grand Deluxe Double Room and a day of skiing for two at one of the three above-mentioned resorts including round-trip transfers, equipment rentals, and lift tickets. You'll also get 500 Bonus Starpoints, buffet breakfast, admission to the health club, a bottle of Chilean wine in-room, and late check-out at 4 pm. Starting from $439, available until September 30, 2010.

July 4 Celebration at San Diego’s New Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (Formerly Four Seasons)

June 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Aviara, Carlsbad

Come June 21, 2010, Park Hyatt Aviara will open its doors on California's sun-splashed Pacific coast, just north of San Diego in Carlsbad. Formerly a Four Seasons property, this Spanish Colonial style resort sits atop a ridge overlooking the ocean and Batiquitos Lagoon, a protected wildlife sanctuary considered one of California's most precious wetlands. Hyatt took over resort management after a scandalous clash between the hotel owners and Four Seasons, accused of mismanaging the 329-room property. Surrounded by 200 acres of rolling hills and valleys, the Park Hyatt Aviara has expansive facilities: a full-service spa, sparkling pools, a fitness center, and an Arnold Palmer designed 18-hole championship golf course. Each of the guest rooms has a private balcony or terraced balcony to take in the views. Book a stay for July 4th and you'll be treated to a grand Independence Day celebration with fireworks galore.

Maldives on My Mind: Friday Photos of the Anantara Resort Dhigu

June 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Resort Dhigu, Maldives

An idyllic tropical island paradise is yours at the Anantara Resort Dhigu, set in the South Male Atoll, just half an hour from Male international airport in the Maldives. Unwind on two palm-fringed islands surrounded by pristine coral reefs. From the private plunge pool in your overwater villa, you'll sigh at the dreamy setting: endless white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Head to the spa for a treatment and check out the sea life through glass floors: puffer fish, sting rays and baby reef sharks swimming under you as you get a massage. Yoga fans will love the resort's signature Beachside Yoga. You can also sail around the islands in the atoll, snorkel the reefs, picnic on the beach, or go surfing. Talk about paradise on earth.

Anantara Resort Dhigu, Maldives

Pezula Resort, South Africa: The Choice of the French Team for the FIFA World Cup

June 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, South AfricaA world-class spa? Check. Gourmet eats? Check. A magnificent setting on the coastline of the Western Cape? The Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa has jaw-dropping views of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon, and the Outeniqua Mountains from its 1,000-hectare estate. The French soccer team certainly doesn't compromise when it comes to luxury digs for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The 1998 champions may be struggling a bit on the field this year, but they're still planning to enjoy the Word Cup challenge (and Pezula's renowned hospitality) while in South Africa this summer. What else will they find at this sparkling resort? A slew of on-site activities to enjoy during their down-time, like tennis, championship golf, hiking through indigenous forest, canoeing along the Noetzie River to a beautiful secluded beach, even an animal "touch farm." And the 78 suites? They're equipped with private balconies or patios, log fireplaces and sumptuous en-suite bathrooms. If les bleus are victorious, they can party at the Champagne & Whisky Bar.

Surf’s Up in Chicago: Special at Kimpton Hotels from $219

June 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Palomar ChicagoSurfing in the Windy City? That's right. The local government lifted the ban last year on surfing in Lake Michigan at Montrose Beach and 57th Street Beach. (The season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.) To celebrate, Kimpton Hotels has launched a "Surf's Up in Chicago" package to the delight of visitors and locals alike. "Designed to encourage travelers to try hanging 10 in Chicago's lakefront," the package is available at all four Kimpton properties in Chitown: Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Monaco, and Hotel Palomar and includes overnight accommodation for two, a $50 gift certificate to Windward Sports (the city's first and only surf shop), complimentary surfboard "parking," two surf-themed drinks, and round-trip transport to the nearest surfing beach. Packages start at $219 and are available through September 5, 2010.

Via National Geographic Traveler/ Intelligent Travel

New Baby Elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

May 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Baby elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

Some good news from one of our fave Thai resorts: there's a new addition at the Anantara Elephant Camp. "A 100 kg bundle of joy" to be exact. Baby elephant Nong 'Phil (officially called "Plai Pa Choke," meaning "to bring good luck") was born on May 23, 2010. Congratulations to all the Anantara staff! Overlooking the rugged hills of Laos and Burma in Thailand's mystical Golden Triangle region, the Anantara Resort is famed for its on-site Elephant Camp where pachyderms are rescued and cared for. In fact, the resort's annual King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament raises money for the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Guests appreciate the opportunity to learn about these noble creatures almost as much as they appreciate the resort's laid-back luxury surrounded by 160 acres of lush tropical jungle.

Photo Via Twitter/@SLHLuxuryHotels

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$555 Hotel Credit and More: Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya Celebrates 5 Diamond Status

May 14, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental Riviera MayaThe Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya recently snagged AAA Five Diamond status for the first time, and it's easy to see why. Set on 36 acres of tropical forest, sandy beaches, and lagoons on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the resort has an irresistible setting. Loll in one of the three pools or sunbathe on the beach where butlers will spoil you with cooling towels, iced drinks, and fresh fruit. At the spa-- a beautifully-designed facility with outdoor relaxation areas-- indulge in treatments inspired by the Mayan healing elements of water, air, fire and earth. Take off on excursions to explore the nearby nature reserves or see the ancient Mayan sites. And underwater explorers will have access to the second largest reef in the world-- teeming with marine life. In celebration of being one of only 113 hotels in North America and the Caribbean to be awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award, the hotel is offering an exciting package with five great benefits for guests staying five nights or more. Priced from $455 per night, the "Five Diamonds, Five Cheers" Package includes:

* Daily American Breakfast

* A one-time resort credit of USD 555 to be used in the restaurants, bar and spa

* A chilled bottle of champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries on arrival

* Special spa amenity gift