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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.

Celebrate Earth Day with Better World Packages from Banyan Tree


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree MaldivesExplore Australia's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest with a certified eco-guide at the Angsana Resort Great Barrier Reef. At the Banyan Tree Bintan (situated on an island just off Singapore), take off on a nature walk amongst 100-year-old trees and other fascinating flora and fauna, followed by a rejuvenating foot massage. You can also plant a tree. At the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru in the Maldives, which houses the first-of-its-kind Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, you'll have the opportunity for guided snorkeling and coral planting under the watchful eyes of dedicated Marine Biologists. You can also take part in a reef survey, take a manta tow ride, learn the technique of measuring and weighing endangered green sea turtles, and enjoy a special dive to the Lotus, an artificial reef. Angsana Velavaru, located in the South Nilandhe Atoll, and Angsana Ihuru in the North Male Atoll, offer similar packages including a marine biology and ecology session, coral planting and guided snorkeling trip to house reefs, and a dolphin cruise led by the respective Marine Lab's resident Marine Biologist. The Banyan Tree Group has launched these earth-friendly activities to celebrate Earth Day, and the "Better World" packages will be available until the end of the year.


An Interview with the Concierge: Aleenta Resort & Spa Phuket


By: Courtney W. May

An Interview with the Concierge Aleenta Resort Spa Phuket Located on the beach, past fields of pineapple and coconut which is a pure, simple and elegant resort - Aleenta Resort and Spa - where you can relax, enjoy and discover. The resort's concierge recently took some time to answer a few of our questions below.

What activity do you recommend the most often?

Private Yacht Charter on Ferretti 680 (which is simply the most luxurious charter vessel on offer in Phuket; featuring air-conditioning 2 LCD satellite TVs , jet ski and scuba equipment) to Phi Phi Islands, Krabi or Phang-Nga Bay.

Do you have any Do's and Don'ts for travelers to the hotel and the city?

Do experience the Thai Culture, food and the turtle conservation at Aleenta. Don't go to the beach without sun block.

What types of things have you been unable to do for guests?

We weren't able to do a sunset blessing wedding by the monks, due to the fact that monks only bless weddings before 11am.

What is the funniest request you've gotten from a guest?

A male guest requested to have his privates waxed.

What is the strangest request you've gotten from a guest?

See above.

Because you are in a major international tourism destination, what kinds of language problems come up?

When two cultures meet and neither of them speaks English, it becomes a challenge.

Which restaurant do you recommend the most often and why? Who is it best for?

We have several recommendations for restaurant first and for most is our Aleenta main restaurant which has Thai cuisine, than we have our Chefs' Table fine dining Restaurant which has French and European cuisine. Apart from our restaurant we have small local beach shack located 10minutes drive from the Resort which gives an authentic Thai meal eating experience.

What are the things that you wish guests knew about the Concierge?

The time and effort that goes into ensuring that our guest's leave with not only a positive image of our Resort, but also of Thailand.

How big is the Concierge staff at the hotel?

1 concierge staff and 2 front office agents

Are there any specialty concierges or all generalists for everyone?

Generalists for everyone, concierge is an area of expertise for all our Front Office staff.

What is the average number of requests a day?

20 per day.

What is your personal favorite part of the hotel?

Our Aleenta Ka Spa and the view from the outdoor dining area of our Chef's Table fine dining restaurant.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

I love to interact with the guest and teach them about the Thai culture.

Visit the Aleenta Resort and Spa in Phuket


Caribbean Deals: Families Get 50 Percent off Second Room at Little Dix Bay


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Little Dix BayHere's an offer that's almost impossible to refuse. Rosewood Little Dix Bay, the gorgeous Caribbean resort located on Virgin Gorda in the BVI, has a stellar promotion for families. One of the Caribbean's "original" luxury resorts, this lavish spot is also carving a nice as a welcoming resort for families-- with a wide array of water sports, beginner tennis clinics, Kids' Yoga and Move n' Groove classes, and activities like eco-explorations and pirate dinner parties. To celebrate the expansion of Children's Grove, Little Dix Bay is offering 50 percent off the second room when booking an Ocean Cottage or Rosewood Junior Suite from May 1- December 19, 2008. Plus, kids aged 5-11 will receive 50 percent off their meal plans when joining their parents' plan (kids under 4 eat free). Set in the shade of a mahogany preserve, Children's Grove is the centerpiece of the resort's children's program: 2,500 square feet of interior space devoted to creative play. Kids will go gaga over the "monkey lounge," shipwreck and outside play area. When they arrive, children are greeted with a basket of sand toys, games, books and puzzles. For older kids, the resort offers a Teen Room with pool table, foosball, and lending library stocked with CDs, DVDs, books and board games.


Parrot Cay Summer Offer


By: Madelyn Giblin

Parrot Cay Summer OfferThere's nothing better than going on vacation and knowing you have complete privacy and are safely tucked away from the mayhem of your everyday life. Parrot Cay and COMO Shambhala Resort offers just that on their astonishingly beautiful private island in the Caribbean. With beautiful white sand beaches and sparkling tropical waters, summer is the perfect time to visit Parrot Cay. Featuring a main resort as well as a collection of private homes farther away, Parrot Cay Estate is ideal for families looking to spend quality time together. And from June 1 to October 31, 2008 Parrot Cay is offering a number of specials.

Parrot Cay Summer OfferFor guests staying in the private homes, Parrot Cay offers one complimentary dinner with a Personal Chef during your stay. Guests booking a seven night stay should take advantage of the "7 for 6" offer, in which guests only pay for a six night stay for all rooms, villas, and private homes. This offer also comes with daily breakfast, and transportation to the airport for travel. Families with young children may also benefit from the variety of children's programs offered by the resort, including sailing trips, shark tooth crafts, and trips to Iguana Island. Parrot Cay has something for the whole family to enjoy. Rates start at USD 315 for a single room.


Art and Cooking Classes at Le Meridien Tahiti


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meridien TahitiNot like anyone could ever get bored of over-water bungalows and the paradise setting of Tahiti: white sandy beaches and dramatic green mountains rising from the South Pacific. But the luxurious Le Meridien Tahiti has organized art and cooking classes for those who want to do more than lounge in the sandy-bottom swimming pool or scuba dive the seas. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the resort highlights the colorful cultural heritage of these beautiful islands, the inspiration for so many artists (like Paul Gauguin). Discover art and cuisine first-hand with L'Atelier du Chef, the new cooking class program for 2008. Study the art of Tahitian cooking with the Executive Chef Sebastien Philizot during several interactive classes and learn how to make tasty dishes like crispy shrimp with fresh mint and mango salsa. Classes are offered daily, except Thursdays, for approx. $55. You can combine cooking classes with the noteworthy L'Atelier Art program. Immerse yourself in the rich art history of the islands by meeting local artists and receiving painting instruction through several courses. There are 4 and 5 day packages available.


Serious Savings on Nantucket at The Wauwinet


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

WauwinetSnag a deal at one of the finest hotels on Nantucket Island. Spring is here, the perfect time to visit this exclusive resort destination when the summertime crowds have not yet flooded the beaches. The Wauwinet is a world-class property that's home to Topper's Restaurant (the top hotel restaurant in Massachusetts, according to Zagat) and the island's first resort spa. During peak season, rooms at this award-winning hotel go for $700 and up. In May you can score a room for $290 a night with the "Too Good to be True" rates.


The Ivy Hotel, San Diego: The World’s Hottest Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ivy HotelWe've been oohing and ahhing over the posh urban resort that is San Diego's Ivy Hotel, and it looks like we're not the only ones to be swooning. The Ivy was just included in Conde Nast Traveler's 12th annual "Hot List" of the World's Top New 136 Hotels. Here's the word:

...substance also accompanies the sexy style. Each of the 159 rooms is assigned an amiable and efficient butler who will run a bubble bath or fetch more champagne. The rooftop sundeck (where after-dark movies are screened) is strewn with daybeds, private cabanas and wicker "pods" for two. At Quarter Kitchen, chef Damon Gordon's offbeat repertoire includes truffled leek empanadas and caviar tacos. The Ivy's nightlife scene remains a hot ticket in the Gaslamp Quarter, with the crowd gathering to watch the city lights (and one another) at the rooftop Eden Bar, before descending into the depths of Envy for techno and bottle service rendered by servers in pleather minidresses...


Sensational Summer Rates at Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jamaica InnBook a summer getaway to the Caribbean and experience real value at the award-winning Jamaica Inn, consistently awarded prestigious accolades and considered one of the finest properties in the region. Indeed, Travel and Leisure recently ranked Jamaica Inn among the Top 3 Hotels in the Caribbean for the World's Best Hotel Values (March 2008 issue). Summer rates have officially kicked in so now's the time to snag a real deal at this elegant 47-room property situated on the premier beach in Jamaica. Choose the "Quick Fix Getaway," priced at $1,541, and you'll enjoy three nights in a Deluxe Verandah Suite inclusive of Private Roundtrip Transfers from the Montego Bay Airport, Breakfast and Dinner Daily, and one 1-Hour Massage at the KiYara Ocean Spa per person. Or book the "5 for 4 Special" and you'll get a 5th night free when you pay for 4 nights! Available in the Superior Balcony Suite, the Deluxe Verandah Suite and the Premier Verandah Suite rates only. Or choose the "Girlfriends' Retreat," priced from just $1,661 for a four night stay, and you'll luxuriate in bliss at the KiYara Ocean Spa with a 1 hour and 45 minute treatment including a Cooling Aloe Mint Body Cleanser, a KiYara Deep Stress Relief Massage, and a Hydrating Aroma Facial per person. Breakfast is also included.

All the above-mentioned packages are available from May 1-October 31, 2008. The hotel will be closed from August 31-September 28, 2008 for their annual renovations.


Vacation at Pablo Escobar’s Retreat: Casa Magna in Tulum, Mexico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa Magna, Amansala, TulumThe Colombian cocaine kingpin sure did pick a nice spot. Tulum and the Riviera Maya have become Mexico's hottest destination in the last decade, and it's little wonder why. The picture-perfect setting of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, coupled with the easy proximity to the U.S. East Coast, continues to lure vacationers seeking a little piece of paradise. On the secluded coast near Tulum, south of Cancun, a new eco-chic resort called Casa Magna has been making waves. Legend has it that Escobar himself camped out here (and there are the bullet-proof walls, a secret tunnel, and "look-out turrets" to prove it). After the drug lord's death, the place was abandoned and deteriorated into a mess of concrete... At least until Amansala took on a massive renovation project and created this eco-friendly hideaway touting "rustic luxury." On this pristine stretch of beach, you'll find spacious rooms, yoga classes, fitness training, and a restaurant serving the freshest fish and tasty mango margaritas.


Caribbean Deals: Discover Nevis with the Four Seasons Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons NevisImagine: a guava wrap (or rum tonic body treatment) in the luxurious haven of the Four Seasons spa. Golf and tennis by the crystal-clear sea. Beaches of silky-soft sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Sunset dining at the water's edge. Four Seasons Nevis offers all that, and more; the resort has also distinguished itself as a fun and elegant Caribbean hideaway perfect for families. Starting April 19, 2008, you can score a $100/night resort credit with the "Discover Nevis" package. So the longer you stay, the more value you get at Four Seasons Nevis-- with no maximum limit! You can also combine this promotion with the "Family Plan" which allows you to get a second room at 50 percent off. Prices start at $335 per night on May 31, 2008. (The rate is $449 from April 19-May 30, 2008).