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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.

Buzzworthy: Fazenda da Lagoa, Una, Brazil


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fazenda da Lagoa Follow your bliss to Brazil, where a stylish eco-retreat on Bahia's Câcao Coast is making waves with its incredible setting and chic rooms. Fourteen bungalows-- outfitted with decks, gauze-netted beds, and sun terraces with open-air showers-- are surrounded by 1,500 isolated acres, overlooking an unspoiled, white sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Set within a large coconut palm plantation, Fazenda da Lagoa offers mesmerizing sea views or sunset vistas over the mangroves. There's AC, a direct dial phone, and a TV with DVD and CD player, so isolated paradise doesn't mean you have to kiss goodbye technology. Bathrooms have Casa Granado brand soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion-- all biodegradable products. Relax with a massage or spa treatment at the Wellbeing Lounge, where mineral-rich rainforest clays are used in special treatments like the Rainforest Mud Mask. Leisure activities include treks on the Maroin river and kayaking the lagoon, but you can always just lounge by the beautiful pool.


Mandarin Oriental is Coming to Costa Rica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Guanacaste, Costa Rica The beloved luxury hotel brand is making waves with a host of new hotel openings in the next few years, and it looks like Costa Rica--the world's premier destination for eco-tourism-- is getting a luxury addition. Mandarin Oriental, Costa Rica will open in 2009 in the Guanacaste province, known for its beautiful Pacific coastline, stunning volcanoes, excellent hiking, and bird (and monkey) watching. Situated just 25 minutes from the Liberia airport, the 130-room beach resort will be the cornerstone of a gated golf and residential development called Rancho Manzanillo. Leisure activities will include an 18-hole Fred Couples Signature Championship golf course, 20,000 square foot spa, multi-level outdoor swimming pools, water sports from the resort's natural beach, and exotic wildlife viewing from the property's 200 acres of protected tropical dry forest. The best part of all? The Tree House Suites, nestled high in the canopy of Guanacaste trees.


Turtle Camp at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz Carlton Cancun Each summer, the large white sand beach in front of the Ritz-Carlton Cancun becomes a sanctuary for sea turtles which arrive at night to nest. The luxury resort, one of the most elegant in the world, has created a Turtle Camp, an ecological conservation program for guests to discover one of the best kept secrets of this sought-after destination. The Ritz-Carlton Cancun has introduced the services of the Turtle Nanny, who patrols the beach at night in search of nests, serves as a guardian for the turtles and guides guests in the release of the hatchlings into the ocean after a two month incubation period. Be part of this truly extraordinary experience at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun.


Enjoy Orlando in the Portofino Bay Kid’s Suite


By: Courtney W. May

Loews Portofino Bay Kids Suite Separate bedroom areas and 675 spacious square feet mean your family can enjoy a visit to the "Happiest Place on Earth" without worry. Unwind after a day at the theme park in your private living area while the kids let loose on the PlayStation. Then, get together and make it a movie night. The Kid's Suite at the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando offers a Flat-screen TV, DVD player, Sony PlayStation®, On Command® in-room movies, Video check-out, and High-speed Internet access - all in the comfort of 1 guest suite.

Being away from home has never been so comfortable.

See the layout below ...

Loews Portofino Bay Kids Suite Layout


A Diver’s Paradise in the Maldives at Cocoa Island


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cocoa Island, Maldives Imagine: a host of teeming marine life-- trumpet fish, white and black tip reef sharks, and turtles-- right outside your villa sundeck. Cocoa Island, the Indian Ocean outpost from COMO Hotels and Resorts (the folks behind Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos), is located in a quiet atoll where the waters are undisturbed. Diving in the Maldives is rated among the best in the world, and Cocoa Island has an on-site dive center staffed by PADI certified instructors catering to every level of experience. You can rent equipment, enroll in PADI sanctioned diving courses, and adventure out on safari dives farther afield. You can even take part in night dives. Cocoa Island's house reef stretches to over 500 meters along the southern flank of the atoll, and with a visibility of 20 to 25 meters, both divers and snorkelers are delighted by the exquisite coral and its thriving ecosystem.


King’s Cup Elephant Polo with Anantara Resort, Golden Triangle, Thailand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elephant Polo at Anantara Resort Thailand's highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament returns to the hills of the Golden Triangle in 2008. Mark your calendars for March 31-April 6, for some serious fun in the sun. Event organizer, Anantara Resorts, describes the event as wildly entertaining, ranked as the 6th largest on the Thai tourism calendar. And it's easy to understand why. A charitable event that raises money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang, King's Cup Elephant Polo is chock full of celebrities, seasoned elephant polo players, colorful parades and elephants. Plus, it's location in spectacular northern Thailand showcases the natural beauty of the Golden Triangle region, home to Thailand's elephant population. Indeed Anantara Resort has its own Elephant Camp, an on-site sanctuary for these peaceful pachyderms. Located 60 kilometers north of the Chiang Rai airport, perched on a ridge overlooking the hills of Myanmar and Laos, Anantara is all about laid-back luxury. Here you can experience the refreshing chill of a Northern Thai sunrise shrouded in mountain mist; the rush of a longboat ride up the Mekong to Laos; the exhilaration of riding an elephant through bamboo jungle along the border of Burma.

PS. The sport of Elephant Polo poses no threat to the participating creatures, says the World Wildlife Fund.


Luxury Eco-Resorts from AOL Founder, Steve Case


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Costa Rica First stop: Costa Rica. Steve Case is launching a new luxury resort company, Revolution Places, with an eye on environmental and cultural preservation. Only natural for a guy who grew up in Hawaii and feels passionately about not paving over paradise. The first environmentally-friendly project is an $800 million, 650-acre development in Cacique, Costa Rica, on the northwest Pacific coast. What's in store? A 120-villa One&Only resort by Sol Kerzner, who developed Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas; a 180-unit Miraval: Life in Balance-branded destination spa resort; a Tom Doak-designed golf course; and a tennis and fitness center designed by Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf. Expected to open in 2010, the resort will be designed to reduce water and energy waste, with renewable energy sources and on-site treatment facilities to reuse waste water.

Photo Via Washington Post


Going to the Galapagos Islands: Serious Savings at Royal Palm Galapagos


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Palm Galapagos Describing a trip to the Galapagos as "stunning" or "mind blowing" is a serious understatement. It's more like the trip of a lifetime. Witness the most fascinating wildlife on earth-- giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, schools of colorful fish-- a living study of evolutionary science since Charles Darwin's first fateful trip through these waters. This September, plan a voyage to the only luxury hotel in Galapagos National Park, Royal Palm Galapagos, nestled in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Situated on 500 acres of unspoiled natural wilderness, with incredible views of the neighboring islands, this exclusive hotel was constructed of authentic local materials, in harmony with the natural environment. "You are as close to nature as luxury will allow." Enjoy a special promotional rate of 50 percent off the room rate this September 2007, which also includes breakfast, roundtrip transportation from and to Baltra Airport, and the use of the exclusive VIP lounge. Prices are a steal, starting from $173 per couple, per night.


Montana’s Majesty in Luxurious Style at The Encampment at Bull Creek


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Resort at Paws Up Cowboy Up! From the same folks who run The Resort at Paws Up, comes a luxurious camping experience in the heart of Montana's high country. Experience magical Montana from the best seat in the house-- your saddle. The Luxury Equestrian Tour into the backcountry, offered by The Resort at Paws Up, is a spectacular 12-mile horseback ride which leads to a luxury wilderness camp just outside the famed Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Encampment at Bull Creek isn't exactly hot dogs and s'mores; there are well-appointed tents with real feather beds, fine linens, and artwork on the canvas walls. Gourmet cuisine is served with fine wines in the midst of America's greatest natural treasures. The 3 day/2 night adventure is an all-inclusive experience, and rates start at $600 per person, per night, and include all meals, taxes, airport transfers and guided wilderness adventures (like fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding).


Balinese Cooking Classes, Plus $250 Resort Credit, at Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, Bali


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Beneath a lotus pool floating above treetops, high above Bali's sacred Ayung River, discover a luxurious paradise nestled in the jungle. At Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, cooking classes offer a hands-on approach to the exotic world of Balinese cooking. During an escorted excursion to the local market, lucky guests marvel at the abundant selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices. After the chef conducts a tour of the gardens to show the herbs grown on-site, participants partake in an informative class in the Ayung Terrace kitchen. But the cooking class isn't the only thing delighting visitors to Bali's Four Seasons at Sayan. Enormous suites and private villas offer a tropical haven with Indonesian furnishings and local handmade fabrics. The two-level swimming pool, designed to follow the river's natural contours, is surrounded by a wooden deck from where guests gape at the views. With hot and cold plunge pools, outdoor bathing pavilions, and courtyard gardens, the spa is infused with elegant Balinese architecture throughout. Treatments focus on the rejuvenating elements found in nature: earthen clays, mountain botanicals and warming spices.

To discover the extraordinary diversity of Bali, pair your visit with a stay at Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay. From now until September 30, 2007, enjoy a $250 resort credit at both resorts (with a minimum four-night stay).