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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.

Win Cool Stuff with the MINI Countryman Wanderlust Campaign


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rusty Parrot Lodge, WyomingGot a case of wanderlust? Go on: dream up your next adventure and then take to the open road! MINI is encouraging folks to take a risk and indulge their road trip fantasies with a new marketing campaign called MINI Countryman Wanderlust. Share your idea on how to escape the everyday for a chance to win weekly prizes like a MINI Countryman Picnic Seat Set. Here's the skinny:

The uploaded idea with the most weekly community votes will win and be announced each Tuesday of the following week. If you turn your idea into reality and tell the story here on MINI Space, you’ll have the chance to win the big one – a brand new MINI Countryman! The most impressive and realized event gets selected by our jury as winner of the MINI Countryman on June 6 so stay tuned! MINI Countryman Wanderlust ends May 27, 2011.


Travel Trends: Hotels Offer Tea Sommeliers & Tea Tasting Menus


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental Dhara DheviThe world's Grande Dame hotels have long offered stellar Afternoon Tea services, but now luxury hotels are upping the ante with tea-paired tasting menus inspired by wine tasting menus. The Independent (UK) reports that the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has "created a Tea & Dine experience at its Chinese restaurant Jiang-Nan Chun, allowing guests to tuck into traditional Cantonese fare accompanied by a perfect range of teas." Each course-- whether stir-fried phoenix prawn or steamed bai ling mushroom and seafood-- is accompanied with its very own tea choice. In this case, a cup of longjing then rain flower tea. Paris' Yam'Tcha restaurant has been making waves for its tea-paired culinary feasts, and other hotels around the world-- from Thailand's Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi to London's Royal Garden Hotel-- have jumped on the bandwagon in offering tea menus. Let's not forget Vegas, where Caesar's Palace has a Tea Sommelier on staff!


The World's Best New Hotels for 2011


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, Acapulco

It's that time of year again. Conde Nast Traveler recently published their 2011 Hot List of the best new hotels in the world. The venerable rag describes this year's Hot List as "an eclectic group- from tree houses to farmhouses" in some 43 countries on six continents. What unites them? "A common standard in their artful blend of high style and a strong sense of place." We've selected a few of our favorites below. To gawk over the full list (and some splendid photography), check out the magazine's website.

North America: Thompson Toronto, Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Andaz Fifth Avenue, The Chatwal, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The James New York City, The Redbury, Waikiki Edition...

Europe: Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, The Savoy, Le Burgundy, Le Royal Monceau, Radisson Royal Hotel Moscow...

Asia: Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai, St. Regis Lhasa Resort, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, W Retreat Koh Samui...


Easter in Miami at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort, MiamiEaster's right around the corner (April 24)... Do you know yet where you're chasing the Easter bunny? Hop over to the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort, a 300-acre haven of tropical fun north of Miami beach, and get in on the festivities. You'll be tickled pink by the (eggs-traordinary) Easter brunch at Cascata Grille, and the kids will get eggs-cited over the Easter egg hunt on the resort's Laguna Lawn, where there will be arts & crafts, goodies, and a chef's hat awaiting. Brunch sounds lavish: an interactive station to make eggs any-style, French toast and pancakes; a carving station; and specialties from the resort’s award-winning culinary team. Brunch seatings are available between noon and 3 p.m., with the egg hunt taking place at 1 p.m. $50 per adult and $25 per child, includes kids’ egg hunt, and reservations are required.


Top 10 Beach Resorts in the World


By: Five Star Alliance

Halekulani, HawaiiWe admit it. We're suckers for a good Top 10 List. (And who isn't?) So when the Toronto Sun recently published their list of the "World's Top Beachfront Hotels," we ate it up. They single out the following:

 

But where's Peter Island? And those swanky resorts in the Maldives? Or the celeb-mobbed hot spots on St. Barths?


Summer Camp at Jamaica’s Half Moon Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Resort, JamaicaThe kids can embark on action-packed adventures at Camp Half Moon, while their parents can take a breather and bask in some well-deserved down time. Why not schedule a treatment at Half Moon's award-winning Fern Tree Spa? Play a round of golf? The world's your oyster at this top-notch Caribbean resort. The kids will have more than enough to keep them happy and entertained. Under the watchful supervision of Penn State certified counselors, children can get creative at Craft Court, get wet and wild with water sports, try Performing Arts, and more. The camp is priced at $180 per week, including lunch, activities, and snacks; and runs from July 4-28 and August 1-11. Camp is also available by the day. Complement this camp experience with the Stay Free, Eat Free Special. Book a minimum stay of 4 nights and the 4th night is FREE. Plus, receive $150 food and beverage credit. What's even better: Kids 11 years and under stay free when sharing room with parents. Start planning your summer vacation today!


Get Ready, Miami: The James Royal Palm Hotel is Coming to Town


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James New YorkDid you hear the news? We can barely contain our excitement: The James Hotels brand is moving to Miami! Word on the street is that the Royal Palm Hotel was bought up last month and will be renovated to a tune of $42 million to become the James Royal Palm. This Miami pad will join the 297-room James hotel in Chicago and the 114-room James that opened last year in NYC. (Pssst. You could win a FREE 3-night stay at The James New York if you enter our Giveaway Contest!) No word yet on the opening date, but to echo what HotelChatter says, "Since we're huge fans of both the James Chicago and the James New York, we're excited to see what they bring to Miami. But we hope their staples of peekaboo bathrooms, carefully cultivated art and of course free WiFi remain."

Image via The Wall Street Journal


Summer in Paris: The Barbie and Hot Wheels Rooms at Hotel Plaza Athénée


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Barbie Room, Hotel Plaza Athenee

It's back. A little girl's fantasy come true: a pink bedroom decked out with Barbie furniture, heart-patterned curtains, accessories, and all kinds of fun wall art. Last summer the Hôtel Plaza Athénée got dolled up for their pint-sized guests, and this year they're rolling out the limited-time fantasy rooms again for the month of August. And this time there's a Hot Wheels-themed room, too, equipped with a car-shaped bed, flame-motif mirrors, and a Hot Wheels race track with all kinds of surprises. Little princesses can choose between two Barbie styles: "Modern Princess" or "Fashion Icon" (for the slighter older crowd). Start planning your summer vacation and get a special offer for a room or suite of your own connecting with the Barbie Room or Hot Wheels Room at Hôtel Plaza Athénée: Deluxe Parental Room from €1700; Deluxe Parental Suite from €2800, with continental breakfast for children and parents included. Offer valid August 2-30, 2011. Barbie and Hot Wheels Rooms not suitable for children under 3 or teenagers over 16.


Celebrate Earth Day with an Eco-Massage at Kimpton Hotels (Just $50 More!)


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Argonaut, San FranciscoEarth Day is just around the corner (April 22) and to celebrate, Kimpton Hotels is launching EarthCare Week in 23 cities nationwide-- designed to inspire you with eco-events, amenities, earth-friendly cuisine, and more. On the menu at Kimpton restaurants? Organic dishes, showcasing local flavors specific to each Kimpton hotel location, paired with biodynamic and organic wines. You'll also find pop-up Eco Art exhibits, as Kimpton has partnered with local artists to create gorgeous artwork made from recycled materials. Here's another fun way to celebrate Earth Day: Kimpton's Pedometer Contest! Grab a pedometer from hotel reception, pound the pavement, and rack up steps to win prizes. (Pets welcome!) Kimpton's EarthCare Week runs from April 15- April 22, 2011. Take advantage of a special offer at Kimpton Hotels and get a 50-minute in-room Eco-Massage for just $50 more during EarthCare Week, valid until April 30, 2011 at participating Kimpton Hotels including the Hotel Solamar in San Diego; Hotel Monaco, Hotel Palomar, The Argonaut, and Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco; 70 Park Avenue and Eventi in New York; Hotel Palomar Philadelphia; Morrison House in Alexandria, VA; Hotel Vintage Park in Seattle; Nine Zero Hotel in Boston and Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, MA.


Boca Raton Resort Takes the Cake with a Giant, 600-Pound Iced Hotel Replica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Boca Raton Resort, Giant Hotel CakeIt only took Pastry Artist Stephen Day 110 hours to create a a 600-pound hotel replica from hundreds of pounds of sugar, flour, egg, chocolate, butter cream and royal icing. (Don't worry, he wasn't alone in his efforts. Day has a very capable patisserie team!) Check out the video to see the cake version of a La Quinta hotel take shape in time-lapse fashion. Why did the Boca Resort pastry team go to such lengths? La Quinta was celebrating a corporate milestone with a recent event at the Boca Resort. And what a way to celebrate. Looks like the Boca Raton Resort & Club may just take the cake in staging memorable corporate meetings.

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