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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.

Romantic Hotels Perfect for Valentine’s Day


By: Oksana Balytsky

Instead of the usual dinner and chocolates, consider doing something a little more extravagant and exciting this Valentine’s Day, like planning a surprise getaway to an extremely romantic, luxury hotel! Here are a few of our favorite romantic spots, perfect for a weekend away for you and your loved one.

La Casa Que Canta in Playa la Ropa, Mexico

This hotel appeared in the film When a Man Loves a Woman, and it’s beautifully perched on a cliff surrounded by the sea. The resort features 2 of the most elegant swimming pools, and the freshwater infinity pool is located on a promontory overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay. This hotel offers 10 pool suites, 11 grand suites, and 3 terrace suites facing the ocean, all inspired by the loveliness of Mexican art. Privacy, elegance, and superb hospitality are of the most importance at this luxury resort, ensuring an extremely romantic and peaceful escape.

Auberge Du Soleil in Napa Valley, California

Perfect hotel to soak up the sun, sip a glass of California wine, and enjoy a beautiful California day. The Auberge Du Soleil is terraced down the hillside with breathtaking views of Napa Valley. All of the accommodations feature Mediterranean-inspired décor, and certain guest rooms feature private outdoor terraces for dining and relaxing. This luxury hotel began as a restaurant 25 years ago, and it has remained a culinary vision today. Be sure to visit for a truly amazing and romantic experience.

Halekulani in Honolulu, Hawaii

Halekulani has been welcoming visitors to Waikiki Beach for nearly 100 years. This luxury hotel has earned a reputation for gracious hospitality, impeccable service, and splendid cuisine. Take a swim in the heated fresh water pool overlooking Waikiki Beach, which has a stunning mosaic of an orchid, comprised of 1.2 million pieces of imported African glass tiles, explore each of Halekulani’s award winning restaurants, and walk to the beautiful beach to watch the romantic sunset.

Check out our list of the top most romantic hotels in the world, or search romantic hotels by city!


New Year’s Eve Getaways


By: Five Star Alliance

Looking for a last-minute New Year's Eve getaway?

Here are a few ideas!

Eventi Hotel New York in New York City -- Complimentary champagne toast in the lobby during wine hour on New Year's Eve, watch the ball drop on the big screen, complimentary rickshaw service to avoid dealing with taxis on New Year's, $30 mini bar credit, $20.12 off any of the 3 Signature Treatments at Spa@Eventi, complimentary journal to pencil in your resolutions, complimentary Joy Bauer breakfast to kick-start a New Year and "New You!," a "Hangover Kit" complete with a vitamin multipack and Alka-Seltzer, late checkout of 2 p.m.

Loden Vancouver in Vancouver, Canada -- Ring in the New Year at the Loden Hotel and Tableau Bar Bistro, voted Vancouver's Best New Restaurant. Check into the Loden for a weekend grand finale to the year and savor the flavors of the season with Chef Marc-Andre Choquette's classic French bistro fare. Checkout the following day is 2 p.m. Package includes: overnight stay in a Signature King Guestroom, $125 food and beverage credit to Tableau Bar Bistro for New Year's Eve Dinner or New Year's Day brunch, complimentary valet parking.

W Hotel Scottsdale, Arizona -- This New Year's Eve, make an entrance at Cirque Nouveau, where vintage circus meets a modern twist celebration. Guests of this unforgettable night will enjoy exciting sideshow-inspired attractions, a spectacular midnight firework display, live musical performances and more.

Affinia Hotel in Chicago -- The hotel's Winter Wonderfest includes four passes and complimentary trolley rides to Navy Pier's 11th Annual Winter Wonderfest, a winter-themed attraction featuring a 170,000 square foot playground with winter-themed attractions, rides, games and ice skating at Navy Pier. It also includes a Navy Pier savings book (valued at up to $200) and a $10 mini-bar credit. Additionally, families can enjoy a delicious New Year's Eve holiday menu at C-House, Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson's modern American restaurant, located at the hotel.

This article was originally written for our sister publication, Travel Agent Central by Amy Bertrand.


Speedy Food Delivery at all Four Seasons Hotels


By: Oksana Balytsky

No one likes waiting a minimum of 45 minutes for their food to arrive when ordering room service. That’s why all of the Four Seasons hotels promise to offer a 15 Minute Room Service option by the end of the year. The quick meals will be airline security friendly, and guests will have the option to have them delivered to their room, car, or left at the front desk for pick up on their way out. The meal options available will vary by hotel, and each Four Seasons will use high quality ingredients and deliver in a timely manner. The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North will offer a tequila-lime chicken wrap with slaw, kettle chips, a chocolate chip cookie, and iced tea, and the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong will offer wonton noodle soup with Chinese greens. Some of the hotels will offer full meals, while other will offer a la carte options.

Incredible food with a quick delivery time? It doesn’t get better than that!


Luxury Hotels in Bermuda and the Caribbean with December Availability!


By: Oksana Balytsky

The winter holidays are just around the corner, but if you haven’t had a chance to make your travel plans just yet, then keep reading to discover which hotels still have availability in late December!

Escaping the snow and lounging on the beach sounds pretty appealing, making Bermuda and the Caribbean an extremely popular getaway during the holiday season for our luxury travelers. Many hotels are booked solid, but there are still a few left with availability in late December. Be sure to make your reservations soon; these availabilities won’t last long!

Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino in Palm Beach, Aruba

The Reefs in Southampton, Bermuda

                                                                                    Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Hamilton, Bermuda

                                                                                    Fairmont Southampton in Southampton, Bermuda

                                                                                    Pompano Beach Club in Southampton, Bermuda

                                                                                    Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

                                                                                    Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic

                                                                                    Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza in San Juan, Puerto Rico

                                                                                    El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa in Fajardo, Puerto Rico

                                                                                    Marigot Bay Hotel in Marigot, St. Lucia, West Indies


Nothing Cheap About It: Cheap Sally's Top Amazing Hotel and Spa Destinations


By: Christopher Roney

It's not every day that an infographic so awesome comes around.  Over at Cheap Sally, an online discount site, their travel experts have aggregated a list of some of the wildest hotel and vacation sites in the US, and it features some of our favorite US properties.  For the whole list, check out the infographic below, but I'd like to highlight some of our favorites.

Long at the top of our list of the Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the world, The Point at Saranac Lake, NY, is so exclusive, you aren't told where exactly on the pristine Adirondack lake it is until you've confirmed your reservation.  Complete with a 3-star Michelin chef and only 11 rooms on the property, you are guaranteed to experience a personalized, secluded stay in one of the world's most elite properties.

In terms of crazy spa treatments, it's hard to top the over 250-gallon Evian bath only available in the penthouse suite of the Hotel Victor on Miami Beach.  This spa treatment costs only slightly less than the suite itself and features a bath of pure Evian water sprinkled with rose petals.

But if you're like me and you like your baths with a little more kick to them, then the Kenwood Inn and Spa vinotherapy treatment is just what you're looking for:  Bathe in wine and grape seed extract to soak your skin in the antioxidant polyphenol which powerfully slows the aging of skin.  You'll come out looking and feeling younger than even a couple glasses of the same wine would make you feel.

There's a just a few of the wonderful and crazy hotels and spas located around the US, and you can some more great examples below.  Make sure to check out Five Star Alliance to book these great destinations or if you're looking for a deal or digital coupon for any of over 11,000 retailers, Cheap Sally is your girl.  

Click for full image.

 

Infographic courtesy of Cheap Sally


Home, I Have No Home: NYT Examines the Hotel Lifestyle


By: Christopher Roney

Recently the hotel lifestyle got quite the shout-out in the New York Times. Guy Trebay offers an insightful look at the experience of being a frequent traveler and the allure of luxury hotels as well as the simple charm of a roadside motel. It’s part story of a lifetime of travel and part examination of the the at-home feeling of otherness we all feel as strangers temporarily filling up an empty space with our lives. The transience of a hotel room, coupled with the fake familiarity of its wait staff is both welcoming and fleeting, like a summer romance. He gives special mention of a few hotels with which he’s shared the remarkable journey: Claridge’s, Halekulani, the various Raffles hotels, the Grand Hotel d’Angkor. It’s certainly well worth a read – he understands well the mind of the restless traveler, at home in impermanence, on the vacation that is so beautiful precisely because it is stepping out of your life.


New Mondrian Hotel to Open in London


By: Oksana Balytsky

The sixth Mondrian Hotel will be coming to the South Bank of the London Thames River in 2014. This hotel is expected to have 100 more rooms than the Mondrian in New York, and it will be the first Mondrian hotel in Europe. This swanky hotel will reportedly have a restaurant, a ground floor bar, and a rooftop bar. This hotel is expected to bring a new excitement to the already exciting city of London, so keep an eye out for its grand opening in 2014!

Don’t want to wait until 2014? Then we encourage you to check out a few other Mondrian properties including the Mondrian Soho in New York City, the Mondrian South Beach in Miami Beach, and the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.


Luxury Resorts on the Slopes in the U.S. with Availability in December


By: Oksana Balytsky

We’re pretty excited about ski season, and apparently so are our luxury travelers! A number of hotels are solidly booked for the end of December, but there are still incredible hotels with availability. Be sure to make your arrangements pronto, and you’ll be swishing down the mountain before you know it!

The St. Regis Deer Valley in Park City, Utah is located in a private, gated community, and it stands upon the beautifully covered slopes of the Wasatch Mountains. The Snake River Lodge and Spa in Teton Village, Wyoming is located slope-side at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The Hyatt Escala Lodge in Park City, Utah is located within the mountainside village of the Canyons, and this all-suite property offers room options for families with easy slope access. The Four Seasons Resort Vail in Vail, Colorado is located high in the Colorado Rockies, and it is consistently ranked among the world’s top ski destinations. The Sky Hotel in Aspen, Colorado offers a unique experience at the base of Aspen Mountain. Last but certainly not least, the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, California, is nestled at the base of Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Looking to go outside the United States and ski new terrain? Then check out our list of the top ski resorts all over the world!

Please be advised that rates and availability are subject to change prior to making a reservation.


Missoni Fashion and Décor at the Four Seasons Maui


By: Oksana Balytsky

The 22 Knots Boutique in the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea recently partnered with Missoni to offer its full line of Italian décor as well as apparel to the beautiful city of Maui. Lee Ann Sauter, the CEO and Founder of Seaside Luxe states that “the Missoni collection is one we know our customer won’t want to leave the island without.” Two Missoni-inspired Cabanas have been added to the Serenity Pool, providing favorite beach accessories, pillows, blankets, and furnishings. 22 Knots Boutique will have Missoni’s latest collection of swimsuits, skirts, shorts, and accessories perfect for fashionable travelers.

Aside from incredible fashion options at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Missoni also has two luxurious, 5-star resorts in the United Kingdom and Kuwait. Both of these resorts embrace the Missoni Way of making the world more beautiful and comfortable. The rooms and suites at the Missoni Hotel Edinburgh have a dynamic color scheme, unique patterns, and elegantly apply signature Missoni design notes. All of the rooms and suites at the Hotel Missoni Kuwait have stunning views overlooking the Arabian Gulf Road. The Missoni properties, style, and décor embrace elegance and warmth, and we encourage you to experience what these properties have to offer!


Loews Hotels Prolonging the Thanksgiving Feast


By: Oksana Balytsky

If you, like us, wish that the incredible Thanksgiving feast could last longer than one day, then be sure to check out the following luxury hotels that have embraced the concept of leftovers. The Loews Hotels will offer a turkey sandwich menu addition all week long, and these properties can be found all over the U.S. and Canada. These hotels have found a way to embrace both the Thanksgiving tradition of turkey and a bit of creativity to offer creations such as turkey sushi rolls at the Loews Lake Las Vegas, a Cuban-style sandwich at the Loews Miami Beach, and a trio of sliders with gravy and mustard-cranberry mayonnaise at the Loews Regency in New York. Post-Thanksgiving travels not in the plan this year? Then check out Loews’ Facebook page for a full collection of their recipes and photos of each incredible dish!