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 a Trip Around the World with Sofitel Hotels

May 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Paris Arc de TriompheDreaming of embarking on a grand world tour? Here's your chance to win a trip around the globe. Sofitel Hotels has launched a nifty competition called "80 Magnifique Nights"- inspired by both the 1001 Nights tale and the famous Jules Verne novel "Around the World in 80 Days." You're invited to create your ideal voyage at eight Sofitel destinations worldwide in a virtual travel diary.

Enter this sweepstakes and you could win the incredible grand prize: 31 nights for two people in a selection of Sofitel hotels and two round the world passes. Seven other winners will score a fabulous prize: seven nights for two people at one of his/her previously selected Sofitel destinations, like the Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe (pictured), a gem of a hotel located in the City of Light's prestigious Golden Triangle.

Psst. Get 5 more chances to win by: *Being or becoming fan of the Sofitel Facebook page *Being or becoming a member of the loyalty program A|CLUB *Sharing the postcard of your 8 favorite destinations with 5 friends

Abandoned Oil Platforms Reborn as Hotels?

May 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oil Rig Platform Turned HotelFile this under wacky, weird, and true. You've got a steel oil rig surrounded by water sunk into the ocean floor. What to do with this piece of real estate once it retires? Word is that designers are plotting to recycle old oil platforms and turn them into vacation rentals- maybe even luxury hotels. And what a praise-worthy project it is. The io9 blog quotes two Malaysian design students thoughts on it:

"This design explores the possibility of living on the oil rig, above and below the ocean level. The general population can live above the water while specialized researchers such as marine biologists will work in underwater labs. The in-between zone will be used for housing and recreational areas. The existing structures could be strengthen with the use of peripheral steel beams that allow for high velocity wind to filter through the platform without obstructions."

Back in 2009, Gadling also reported that a oil rig-cum-hotel project was underway by Morris Architects, "a design firm with offices in Houston, Los Angeles and Orlando who won an international hospitality award with the concept."

Image via io9

Win Cool Stuff with the MINI Countryman Wanderlust Campaign

May 17, 2011
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

May 13, 2011
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

April 21, 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

April 14, 2011
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

April 13, 2011
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

April 13, 2011
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

April 13, 2011
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

April 12, 2011
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.