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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.

A Deal at the Luxury All-Inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

February 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Velas Riviera Maya ResortCraving some beach lounging in the sunshine? A trip south of the border is one of the best travel values to be had right now. On Mexico's Riviera Maya, you'll find some of the prettiest stretches of beach on the planet, plus an array of luxury resorts with top-notch facilities on the sand. We've spotted an excellent deal at the all-inclusive, AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Because it's all-inclusive, the resort prices include luxury suite accommodations, a la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, the services of a personal trainer at the fitness center, and nightly entertainment. And with the "Mayan Spa" package, priced from $350 per person, per night from now until April 30, 2011, you reap the rewards. Like a $50 spa credit per adult per day, kids priced two for one, a 10% discount at the resort boutiques and transportation from the resort to lively downtown Playa del Carmen.


Christmas in the Turks and Caicos: Limited Space at The Veranda

December 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Veranda Resort, Turks and CaicosLooking for a last-minute holiday getaway this year? Act fast and you could score a Caribbean Christmas. The Veranda Resort and Residences-- the all-inclusive luxury resort set on the pristine white sand of world-famous Grace Bay Beach-- has limited space starting December 20, 2010. Couples can relax in the Garden and Ocean View Studios and One-Bedroom Suites, while families can enjoy the multiple-bedroom suites including one of the gorgeous Oceanfront Three-Bedroom Cottages (available for 7 nights starting Dec 20). The resort's facilities run the gamut from the fully-equipped fitness center and spa to the Kids Club. Right outside your front door: a little piece of paradise in the Turks and Caicos.


Plan Ahead for a Caribbean Getaway: 45% Savings at Renaissance Aruba

October 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Renaissance ArubaRemember 'Snowmaggedon' last winter in Washington D.C.? Numbing temperatures may feel really far away, but Thanksgiving's already right around the corner. Plan ahead for a Caribbean escape this winter to dodge the winter blues. You'll get treated to some serious savings at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. The "Travel Smart-Book Now" offer provides savings of up to 45%. But hurry, you must book before October 31, 2010 for travel between January 2-April 24, 2011. News: You can also take advantage of an all-inclusive, adults exclusive option at Renaissance Aruba, starting from just $376 per night and including unlimited standard brand beverages (including frozen drinks) and all daily meals. While you're vacationing at the resort, check out Renaissance Island (pictured), the only private island in Aruba, accessed by complimentary water taxi service.


Suite Deal in Puerto Vallarta at Casa Velas

October 4, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa Velas, Puerto VallartaHit the beach in Puerto Vallarta with a "suite deal" from Casa Velas, the AAA Four Diamond boutique hotel nestled on the greens of Marina Vallarta's 18-hole golf course. Book a suite and you'll get a second one for 50% off, plus complimentary upgrades to Grand Class Suites boasting their own private plunge pools (ooh la la). What's more- you'll get unlimited golf at either the 18-hole par 72 Jack Nicklaus and the 18-hole par 72 Tom Weiskopf courses in Vista Vallarta or the 18-hole par 71 Joe Finger course in Marina Vallarta. That's not all. This "Suite Deal" also allows for hydrotherapy treatments at the top-notch Spa Casas Velas. Relax after a hard day by the pool checking out the spa facilities: whirlpool, herbal steam sauna, crystal steam room, eucalyptus inhalation, and Swiss shower. Since this hotel is all-inclusive, you get all your meals, premium beverages, and shuttle service to the Casa Velas Private Ocean Club and Velas Vallarta for free. Available until December 23, 2010; promotion rates start at $240 per person per night, based on double occupancy. Restrictions apply.


Gourmet Eats for the Bicentennial of Mexico’s Independence at Grand Velas Riviera Maya

September 2, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Velas Riviera MayaThe best way to celebrate the bicentennial of Mexico's Independence? A culinary extravaganza showcasing traditional Mexican dishes! Eat your heart out at Grand Velas Riviera Maya-- the all-suites spa resort five minutes from Playa del Carmen that puts a twist (a luxurious one!) on the "all-inclusive" experience. (Buzz: Grand Velas Riviera Maya was recently named "Best Spa" by Virtuoso within the prestigious ‘Best of the Best’ Awards for 2010.) Until October 30, 2010, the ultra-luxe resort invites guests to feast in style with five- or six-course tasting menus or "routes" at each of its five gourmet signature restaurants. The chefs of each restaurant will be re-interpreting traditional Mexican ingredients and cooking methods in their own personal style, fusing menus with diverse international influences. The tasting menus are available to all resort guests at no additional charge as part of the all-inclusive rate. A few examples below:

*Route Hidalgo: The Mexican states Guanajuato, Queretaro, Mexico and Morelia inspired Chef Antonio Cortaza of Sen Lin to create an Asian-Mexican fusion menu with delicacies like lamb ribs bathed in ancho pepper curry, sweet potato ginger puree, and field roasted corn rolls with lemongrass infused white chocolate sauce.

*Route of Patriotism: Independence campaigns waged through the states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Morelos, Puebla, Veracruz and Chiapas, all of which are known for both unusual and traditional mole dishes. Chef Daniel Garcia of Frida celebrates these states in his singular style with snails in green mole, pork shank and coffee cream filled donuts.

*Route Zapata: From the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Aguascalientes and Zacatecas come a wide variety of seafood dishes. Chef Michel Mustiere of Piaf presents a seafood menu of Franco-Mexican fusion. Savor pacific shrimp marinated with lemon juice and serrano peppers, served on a bed of creamed cucumber and black mole soufflé with Grand Marnier.


Off-Season Deals in the Caribbean at Hermitage Bay and Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

August 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hermitage BaySummer's winding down, so now it's time to start plotting a fall getaway- preferably somewhere fabulous and tropical. We've got our eyes on two heavenly Caribbean properties: the first, an all-adults, all-inclusive resort on the island of Antigua, the second, a sleek boutique hotel on the sand on the Turks and Caicos' Grace Bay, one of the world's most beautiful beaches. Hermitage Bay offers 25 sumptuous private cottage suites spread out across the hillside overlooking Antigua's West Coast. The best part of a stay at this five-star hideaway: the all-inclusive amenities including meals, beverages, and unlimited water sports. On the Turks + Caicos islands, the Gansevoort channels a "sensual island vibe" while also reflecting the urban chic associated with the flagship hotel in New York. On site: a gorgeous infinity pool, trendy beach lounge, and award-winning spa.

We've scouted out some special offers for the fall at these two Caribbean hideaways. Hermitage Bay is offering 30% savings between August 28 and September 5, and also between October 10 and October 30. Three night minimum stay required, with roundtrip airport transfers, meals with drinks and one 30-minute massage included. At the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, stay two nights in September and October and you'll get the third night free (full payment required in advance; October 8 and 9 are black-out dates).


“See Dubai Before You Die”: Check into the Palm Tree Court and Spa

August 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Tree Court and Spa, DubaiA recent article in The Telegraph (UK) "chronicles the endless possibilities for fun days and hot nights in the expat hotspot of the UAE, Dubai." The author's conclusion? "See Dubai Before You Die." Of all the places to stay in this over-the-top tourism destination in the desert, you can't go wrong with the 128-acre Jeleb Ali Golf Resort and Spa which recently finished a five-month refurbishment:

She truly is a classy, sassy oasis in this part of the desert, just a rapid free transfer to downtown Dubai. Close enough to be near. Far enough away to be relaxed and refreshed among the peacocks (a gift from the Maktoums) and other exotic flora, fauna and wildlife. The warm and welcoming staff are ultimately friendly, yet unerringly discreet (damn it). Tiger Woods came alone a while ago (probably not for long though) as he visited his "TigerWorld" development of palaces (really!) and signature golf course not far away. And the world-class sporting facilities, including a nine-hole golf course, marina, dive centre, horse-riding complex and spa have attracted sporting clubs, including English premiership sides, to the resort for warm-weather training. It's split into two. The Jebel Ali Hotel and the Palm Tree Court and Spa. Both are faultlessly five star and rightly lay claim to the title of "Dubai's Only True Resort." The food here is fantastic, from any of the dozen or so restaurants, including the award-winning French-inspired Signatures and La Fontana where a sumptuous breakfast buffet sets the day alight. And no matter in which part you stay, you are never more than a minute or two's walk from a private beach of bleached sand and the gently lapping Gulf.

Note: The all-inclusive package at the Palm Tree Court and Spa includes meals at any of the resort's 15 restaurants-- a deal The Telegraph's journalist would not doubt heartily endorse.


The World’s Best Up and Coming Hotels

August 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James ChicagoIn its August 2010 issue, Travel + Leisure highlights "20 to Watch: 2010's Best Up-and-Coming Hotels," many of which can be found in the Five Star Alliance collection. Predicting "the next hottest hotels around the globe," Travel + Leisure scoured the globe "to pick out this year's new and refurbished, expanding, or otherwise evolving hotels." What the magazine's editors found: domestic hotels are raising the bar, with fantastic luxury hotels in the United States and Canada. So without further ado, here's the list:

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires

Amangiri, Utah

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Four Seasons Beirut

The James Chicago

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

The Peninsula Chicago

The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel

Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan, Paris

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, London

Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, India

Veranda Resort, Turks & Caicos

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia

Destination Spa: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu , Malibu, California


Luxury Value in Dubai: All-Inclusive Resort Experience at the Palm Tree Court & Spa

June 10, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Tree Court and Spa, DubaiLooking for a luxury resort experience in Dubai? You'll get great value with the "All Inclusive Value Package" at the Palm Tree Court & Spa, the five-star family beach resort nestled on the grounds of the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. An oasis outside of Dubai City, the resort is immersed in lush gardens, boasting its own private, palm-dotted beach overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Within the larger resort (where you can take your pick of recreational activities- from horseback riding to seaplane flights), the Palm Tree Court & Spa offers exclusive suites featuring designer baths and dine-out balconies or private gardens. The all-inclusive package includes buffet breakfast at La Fontana, lunch and dinner at your choice of 15 restaurants and bars, unlimited soft drinks throughout the day and drinks during dinner at Jebel Ali Hotel and Palm Tree Court & Spa. Complimentary leisure activities include wind surfing, catamaran, laser, kayaking and camel rides. Valid throughout 2010 with rates starting from AED 1,250 in a Garden View Junior Suite at Palm Tree Court & Spa.


Summer Escapes: Rosewood Hotels Offer Free Breakfast and Parking

May 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rosewood MayakobaWe've just learned about a special summer enticement at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, an elite collection of hotels including The Carlyle in New York and Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda. Book a "Rosewood Escape" and you'll get the best values of the summer at Rosewood's 14 properties with extra amenities thrown in for free. (Think a lavish breakfast spread and other fun perks, depending on the hotel.) Whether frolicking on the sand in the Caribbean, floating in your own private plunge pool in Mexico, or soaking up some culture on a city break, you'll relish the added value during your getaway. Not to mention the exceptional service and luxurious facilities for which Rosewood is known. "Rosewood Escapes" is available at the following properties:

Jumby BayThe Carlyle: From $475 per night – Includes buffet breakfast for two daily and complimentary parking

Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas: From $265 per night - Includes breakfast for two daily and complimentary parking

Rosewood Crescent Hotel in Dallas: From $265 per night - Includes breakfast for two daily and complimentary parking

The CarlyleThe Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta: From $229 per night - Includes breakfast for two daily and complimentary parking

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe: From $250 per night, Sun.-Thurs. - Apr. 30-Jun. 25

San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara: $700 per night for Junior Suite, Sun.-Thurs. - Includes breakfast for two daily

CordeValle in San Martin, California: From $325 per night - Includes breakfast for two daily, a wine tasting at Clos La Chance on-site winery and complimentary parking and Wi-Fi

Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, California: From $260 per night - Includes breakfast for two daily and complimentary parking

Mansion on PeachtreeKing Pacific Lodge on Princess Royal Island in British Columbia: From $2144 CAD per night for 2 on 4-night package - Includes all meals, beverages and roundtrip floatplane flights from Vancouver to Lodge

Las Ventanas al Paraíso in Los Cabos: From $550 per night - Includes breakfast for two daily

Rosewood Mayakobá on the Riviera Maya, Mexico: From $395 per night – Includes buffet breakfast for two daily

Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda: From $395 per night - Apr. 18-Aug. 31, Nov. 1-15- Includes buffet breakfast for two daily

Caneel Bay on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands: From $399 per night – Includes buffet breakfast for two daily

Jumby Bay on Antigua, West Indies: Suites from $1150 per night - Jun. 1-Oct. 31- Includes all meals, beverages/wine/cocktails by the glass and select activities for two daily