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.

Tax Rebate Package at Acqualina Resort, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

AcqualinaOf all the tax rebate packages offered by hotels right now, this has got to be one of the best deals. Rosewood's sumptuous Acqualina Resort, situated on the white sand between Ft Lauderdale and Miami, was one of the hottest hotel openings of 2006. Guests are lured by the ESPA oceanfront spa, acclaimed Il Mulino New York restaurant, marine-biology based kids' program, and glorious swimming pools overlooking the Atlantic. Here's the skinny on the tax rebate package: A couple can take their $1200 and splurge on a two night stay in an oceanfront room, daily continental breakfast for two, and a 60-minute spa treatment per person. Considering that the rack rate for 2008 is $1050 per night, lucky guests are getting a good value. Valid from May-September.


Ritz-Carlton and Jean-Michel Cousteau Expand the Ambassadors of the Environment Program


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanWe're big fans of the aquatic education program at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, run by Jean-Michel Cousteau, the son of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Emphasizing education and respect for ecosystem sustainability with "hands-on" activities, the program was recently awarded "Best Children's Program for 2007" by Virtuoso. Participants explore coral reefs by snorkeling on the ocean floor, discover the critical role of mangrove trees in the ecosystem on pontoon expeditions, and participate in the breeding programs of rare species like the Blue Iguana. Now this collaboration between Ritz-Carlton and Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society will be expanded to other select destinations around the world, including Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui and Sanya, which opened April 24th, 2008.


News: Cap Juluca Plans Renovation, Plus Summer Bargains in Anguilla


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap JulucaThe stunning Caribbean property of Cap Juluca was recently acquired by an investor syndicate led by travel industry executive Adam M. Aron (the former chairman of Vail Resorts and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. was named to Travel Weekly's "Club 33," as in the 33 most influential folks in travel and tourism worldwide), and an $80 million renovation is in the works. Nestled on two miles of pristine white sand on the little island of Anguilla, an isolated enclave just minutes by air or motor launch from St. Maarten, Cap Juluca is heralded for its unparalleled luxury. A fixture on lists of the best resorts in the world, Cap Juluca will be getting an all-new spa and resort pool, in addition to a top-to-bottom renovation of all 18 guest villas.

Book a summertime stay at this intoxicating Caribbean resort and you'll get a real bargain. While winter rates start at $825 per night, the summer means serious savings-- starting at $400 per night at Cap Juluca, plus a seventh night free with six paid nights. Available for stays from May through August, including daily breakfast, afternoon tea, bottle of rum in-room, and all water sports, tennis and croquet.


Summer Savings and Spa Special at The Breakers, Palm Beach


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Breakers, Palm BeachGuests of The Breakers, take heed! We love us some beachfront luxury and The Breakers, the exclusive Palm Beach getaway, epitomizes the very best. From now until the end of May, you'll get a free 25-minute spa service-- choose a reflexology foot massage, sea salt scrub, classic manicure, or a soothing eye treatment-- when you treat yourself to an 80-minute massage or facial. Plus, if you book a summer vacation from June 1 to September 30, 2008, you can take advantage of the Stay Longer and Save promotion-- guaranteed savings and a room upgrade-- and get increased savings based on length of stay. [Map]


The Somerset on Grace Bay: Sand Castle University, Extreme Croquet, and Orchid Gardens on Turks and Caicos


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Somerset on Grace BayIt doesn't get much better than this. The Somerset on Grace Bay opened at the end of 2006 and has been turning heads ever since. The resort is both a romantic island hideaway and beachfront family haven. (Where else would you find a Sand Castle University for kids to learn to build awesome sand sculptures?) A member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World, The Somerset on Grace Bay offers pure indulgence on 4.6 acres of pristine beach. There are 54 residence suites equipped with living, dining and entertaining spaces. You'll even find a fully stocked gourmet kitchen with Viking appliances and a wine storage fridge. All suites offer balconies with jaw-dropping ocean views (and the exclusive Estates boast wrap-around terraces with hot tubs). On the manicured croquet lawn, play Somerset eXtreme Croquet (the series of cut-throat challenges includes "Water Slaughter" when a player roquets an opponent's ball into the ocean). Soak in the huge infinity pool, which seems to flow into the Atlantic itself. There's a state-of-the-art underwater sound system, to boot. Recreational pursuits run the gamut from bone-fishing to snorkeling. Discover a piece of paradise in the islands of Turks and Caicos.


Don Cesar Beach Resort: Pampered Like a Princess Mother’s Day Package


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Don Cesar Beach ResortSpoil Mom with a stay at Florida's Legendary Pink Palace over Mother's Day weekend. An ultra-luxurious Gulf playground on St. Pete's Beach, Don Cesar has been pampering its elite clientele since its debut in 1928. Complete with sugar-white beaches and the fabulous new Spa Oceana, Don Cesar Beach Resort knows a thing or two about taking care of guests (F. Scott Fitzgerald was a fan). Here's what's in store with the Mother's Day Package: two nights in a partial Gulfview room, two spa treatments, moisturizing and remineralizing every inch of the skin with 24K golden mineral dust and oils, pink roses upon arrival, and cookies and milk turndown. Starting at $294 in a Bay View Room.


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.