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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.

Watch the Rugby World Cup at The Merrion Hotel’s Cellar Bar, Dublin


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Cellar Bar at The Merrion Hotel Rugby fans can have a ball in Dublin at The Merrion, the fine five-star hotel whose Cellar Bar is the perfect spot to cheer on your team with friends and fellow fans. The atmosphere couldn't be better: vaulted ceilings, cozy surroundings, and the fabulous big screen for all to view the Rugby World Cup. The full menu is available from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the expert bartenders serve up plenty of celebratory cocktails along with creamy pints of Guinness and their signature Irish Coffee. (This is the spot where the entire French rugby team once camped out for an hour and a half and slurped down 150 of the tasty beverages.) Watch Ireland take on France on Friday, September 21.


Temptations of Turkey: Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ciragan Palace Discover the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul (not Constantinople!), where modern meets ancient and East meets West in a vibrant cultural collision. As capital of the Ottoman Empire, the city was the center of it all. And to this day, Istanbul remains a lively and exciting city, enticing travelers with spice markets, excellent restaurants and nightlife, and the signature minarets and domes of numerous architectural wonders. Stake your claim to a room at the glamorous Ciragan Palace Kempinski, formerly a grand palace for the sultan, now lovingly restored with marvelous historical details intact. Right on the banks of the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Palace offers the pinnacle of Turkish elegance. (Make sure to choose a room with a waterfront view.) Luxurious facilities are matched by impeccable service, including a personal butler for all guests. After a day exploring the mystical city, enjoy a swim in the infinity pool and feel like you're floating on the Bosphorus. Relax in the authentic Hammam, as the sultans once did, before indulging in the hotel's award-winning cuisine.


Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort: Experience the Old West in Style


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort Escape to Santa Barbara wine country and the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, where the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort welcomes you to the romance and majesty of the old west. Set on a 10,000 acre working cattle ranch, California's premier guest ranch transports you to a bygone era. Surrounded by wide open spaces and unspoiled natural beauty, Alisal has served as a hideaway for generations. Leave behind your cell phone (guest cottages are telephone and TV-free!), and hit the 50 miles of horseback riding trails which surround the ranch. Or play a round on one of the two eighteen-hole championship golf courses. There's also tennis, and lots of water sports on the 100-acre spring-fed lake (like fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking.)

And coming soon (May 2008): a spectacular new fitness center, with weight/cardio room, five massage therapy rooms, group fitness room (with yoga and Pilates classes), and locker rooms with steam saunas, and a spacious lobby with a fireplace and fresh juice bar.


Luxury for Less: Telluride Ski Packages from Inn at Lost Creek


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Inn at Lost Creek Enjoy the Inn's extraordinary hospitality while savoring some serious savings with the Early Season Bonanza package at the Inn at Lost Creek. Frequently featured in travel magazines across the country, the luxury boutique hotel is situated on the slopes of Telluride Ski Resort in Southwest Colorado, just 100 yards from the gondola system. What's so special about this three-night package? Complimentary ski services include on-slope ski valet, nightly ski or snowboard waxing and de-burring, boot drying and ski storage. With rates starting from just $135 per adult per night, guests also get lift tickets and a 30 percent discount off rental packages at Christy Sports. In your Studio, enjoy a deluxe kitchenette, HDTV flat panel TV, jetted tub, and balcony with French doors. (The one-bedroom residence is yours for $153 per person, per night.) Plus, when you reserve this ski package at Inn at Lost Creek, you'll get pre-arrival vacation itineraries, Telluride airport transfers, private use of the Inn's new roof-top spa, and nightly turn-down service. Available November 21- December 14, 2007.


The Best of Buenos Aires at La Cabana Steakhouse


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La Cabana Steakhouse, Buenos Aires Taste the very best Argentinian beef at one of the country's most celebrated restaurants. Smack dab in the heart of Buenos Aires, La Cabaña steakhouse serves up the tastiest regional cuisine in a convivial atmosphere. Truly a dining experience not to be missed, the famous restaurant's degustation menu is a seven-course delight, offering a sampler of the various cuts renowned around the world. The Parilla Menu of Discovery starts with three cuts (sweetbread, chorizo, and rib strip) complemented with a glass of wine, followed by a small lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate. The main course showcases three additional cuts of beef (rib eye, rumpsteak, and a tenderloin medallion), also paired with an exquisite glass of wine. To finish, enjoy a tasty dessert with a glass of champagne.


Buzzworthy: Philippe Starck and Adrian Zecha Design Cape Yamu in Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Yamu, Phuket Overlooking the limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, Cape Yamu is a new luxury development slated for Thailand's popular Phuket island. This elegant private community will be composed of beautiful villas with private access to a world-class spa, restaurant, and hotel services by GHM, the hotel management company operated by Amanresort's legendary founder, Adrian Zecha. Designed by Philippe Starck of YOO by Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy, celebrated for his work with Amanresorts, the development promises stunning design and architecture in an unrivaled setting. Construction has begun for the on-site five-star hotel called The Yamu. Set to open in 2008, the boutique hotel will have 61 guest rooms and two duplex suites, one of which will be attached to a state-of-the-art recording studio. Expect an 100-meter swimming pool, gorgeous spa, and restaurant and bar destined to be a Phuket hotspot.


Madeline Children’s Tea Party at Bemelmans Bar, The Carlyle New York


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle The Carlyle, the internationally acclaimed luxury hotel and East Side institution, has launched the Madeline High Tea at Bemelmans Bar for children of all ages. From 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, Bemelmans Bar plays host to a three-tiered tea served on Madeline-inspired linen and china. Seated among the renowned Madeline murals (the book's author paid for 18 months of room and board at the legendary hotel by painting murals illustrating the popular book), guests can enjoy Madeline's favorites like Bemelmans Teany Burgers and Fries, Pepitos Crudités and Dips, Petite Banana Splits Fontainebleau, and Eiffel Tower Hot Fudge Sundae with a cherry on top. Reservations required. Cost is $40 per person.

Via New York Times


Make it Mexico: InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Cozumel's finest resort-- hands down-- is the InterContinental Presidente, the island's palatial crown jewel. After Hurricane Wilma devastated Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula, the resort did a major renovation in 2006 and now offers the finest accommodations in Mexico's most beautiful Caribbean destination. Just offshore, the large barrier reef of Cozumel Marine National Park lures divers and snorkelers to one of the top diving destinations in the world. Set on a half mile of natural sandy beach, the resort boasts beautiful swimming pools, a scuba certification center, outstanding restaurants, and the lavish, new Serenity Spa which features a Mayan Temazcal steam bath, hydrotherapy, Jacuzzi, outdoor showers, and fitness center. It's not just the superlative facilities that have guests coming back for more-- but the exceptional service, as the hotel's staff learn your name and indulge all your preferences.


An Interview with the General Manager: John Luckett of La Posada De Santa Fe


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

John Luckett of La Posada de Santa Fe Mr. John Luckett is the General Manager of La Posada De Santa Fe, a luxurious six-acre hotel and spa located in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mr. Luckett took some time to answer a few of our questions - before retreating back to his award-winning dining at Fuego and his RockResorts Spa.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of La Posada De Santa Fe? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Mr. John Luckett: The rich history of The Staab House and our beautifully landscaped 6 acres make La Posada the best resort in Santa Fe. We provide guests a real “indigenous” Santa Fe experience.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Mr. John Luckett: We are conveniently located two blocks from Canyon Road and Historic Downtown Plaza. My favorite thing to do in Santa Fe is enjoy the outdoors with my family… hiking, cycling and skiing.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Mr. John Luckett: Often times we have famous guests stay or dine at our great resort but out of respect and guest privacy we do not share this information.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? What would you request?

Mr. John Luckett: Every guestroom at La Posada is different which makes each special in its own right. If I were to choose, I have to say Gallery Suites are my favorite. These unique suites are appointed with original works from some of Santa Fe's most prestigious galleries.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Mr. John Luckett: I previously worked at Keystone Lodge & Spa another RockResort property and I transferred to La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa October 2006.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Mr. John Luckett: Our customers are leisure travelers enjoying the arts, culture, entertainment and outdoor activities of Santa Fe. They come from New Mexico, Colorado, California, New York and Texas.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Mr. John Luckett: In the 1930s, R.H. and Eulalia Nason constructed a series of Pueblo Revival-style adobe casitas around the existing Staab Mansion and carriage house. The Nason's called their new business La Posada, Spanish for "inn" or "resting place." In the following years, La Posada became a summer arts school with many long-term guests who were an important part of Santa Fe's flourishing arts community.

Over the years, La Posada de Santa Fe has served the world of literature and cinema by accommodating writers such as Eliot Arnold, author of "The Gringo and Oliver," and many other well-known personalities.

After an extensive renovation in the late 1990s that included the construction of additional lodging, RockResorts Spa, and the Conference Center, La Posada opened as a member of RockResorts. Through its transformation into the full-service resort that it is today, La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa has retained its traditional Southwestern charm and intimate ambience.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Mr. John Luckett: I would want to know more about Fuego Restaurant and our RockResorts Spa.

At the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Fuego, innovative foods are infused with flavors reminiscent of classical traditions, and every dish is carefully presented with exceptionally attentive service.

RockResorts Spa offers complete renewal in the traditions of the Southwest. Featuring a state-of-the-art Fitness Center and nourishing treatments with local flavor, the spa aims to refresh both body and soul with numerous overnight and day spa packages

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Mr. John Luckett: The Keystone Lodge & Spa, A RockResort because I used to be the General Manager of this property and know the staff, amenities and location are excellent.

The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort is a luxurious hotel that combines the timeless elegance of Europe’s grand resorts with the romance and world-class style of Vail’s alpine heritage.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?

Mr. John Luckett: La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa is affiliated with Leading Hotels of the World and recognized by AAA as a AAA Four Diamond.

More Information on Mr. John Luckett:

John Luckett, an 19-year veteran of the hospitality industry, and was appointed General Manager of La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, A RockResort in 2006. In his position, Mr. Luckett oversees all operations of the 157-room historic resort.

Prior to joining La Posada, Mr. Luckett spent six years as General Manager of the Keystone Lodge, A RockResort in Colorado. Under his leadership, the lodge saw a significant increase in occupancy, revenue and guest satisfaction scores.

Prior to joining RockResorts, Mr. Luckett was Executive Assistant Manager at Adam's Mark St. Louis, Adam's Mark Houston, and held operational positions with Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Lexington, and Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort. He also served on the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association Board of Directors. Mr. Luckett graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management.


Bed and Breakfast Conrad Style: Chicago, Indianapolis, and Miami


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Chicago At the Conrad Chicago, you'll find tasty omelettes made from organic farm eggs with sides like Kessler smoked pork loin and apple wood smoked bacon. Design your own fruit smoothie shooters at the Conrad Indianapolis-- with a large selection of unusual and exotic fruits. In Miami, indulge with delicious delights like freshly poached eggs dipped in tempura batter and served with homemade sausage and bacon terrine. Chefs have launched a fabulous personalized breakfast service at Conrad's U.S. hotels. Overnight Bed and Breakfast packages start from just $239.