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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.

Special Prices at New Villas at Jalousie Plantation, St. Lucia

March 31, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. LuciaJalousie Plantation (you know, the gorgeous Caribbean resort you saw on The Bachelor) has a killer location on St. Lucia- on a bay between the twin cones of the Piton mountains. The setting? 192 lush acres of rainforest edged by white sandy beaches. We've been keeping tabs on the property as it undergoes a metamorphosis into The Tides Sugar Beach, the first Caribbean property for the The Tides brand of chic, high-design hotels by the sea. The $100 million redesign hasn't yet been completed, but in the meantime, the resort is unveiling new villas, as the resort's existing cottages have been transformed into luxurious villas. Buzz: While the (unobtrusive) construction is going on-- carefully orchestrated so as not to disturb the hotel residents-- you can snag a deal at one of the villas. And for die-hard Bachelor fans, Jalousie Plantation offers a "Wings of Love" package so you can relive the experience with your very own Bachelor/Bachelorette. (Spa treatments and long-stemmed red rose included.)


The Benefits of All-Inclusive Resorts: Check Out Paradisus Punta Cana

March 19, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paradisus Punta CanaWhen scouting out options for your next tropical vacation, sometimes "all-inclusive" is the answer. With meals and activities included in your room rates, all-inclusive resorts make it easy to take your family on vacation- without worrying about hidden costs or expenses. Case in point: Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, an all-suite Caribbean playground surrounded by tropical gardens, native mangrove forests, and the clear turquoise waters of the sea. The resort offers every sport imaginable, most of them included in your room rates, along with tennis, golf, a casino, a spa, and some 7 swimming pools. Every night, choose from an array of 12 restaurants offering contemporary world cuisine (anything you're in the mood for!) and 8 bars. What's more- there's nightly entertainment, plus an array of life-enriching activities like sushi-making, wine-tasting, and photography workshops. You'll only need to pony up extra cash if you choose to play black jack at the casino or indulge in massages at the spa.


Sea, Sun, and Sand in St. Lucia: Free Night Plus Food Credit at Cap Maison Resort

March 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap Maison Resort and Spa, St. LuciaThe Caribbean island of St. Lucia has certainly emerged on travelers' radar screens recently-- the hideaway of choice for the likes of Amy Winehouse and The Bachelor. And with a dreamy landscape-- the rainforest-carpeted Piton peaks rising from the shimmering sea-- it's easy to see why. Spring break is just around the corner and St. Lucia beckons. We've found a fab deal at Cap Maison, the luxe spa resort set atop an ocean-front bluff above a secluded sandy beach. You can nab a free 5th night and a $250 food & beverage credit with the "Dig Your Toes in the Sand Package," available from April 1- December 19, 2010 in all room and villa categories. Breakfast is also included. Without the package, a 5-night stay in a garden view room would set you back $2,025; with the package it's $1,620.


Hit the St. Lucia Jazz Festival: 4th Night Free at Ladera, the Eco-Luxury Resort

March 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ladera Resort, St. LuciaThe Ladera Resort is reason enough to head to St. Lucia in May. Rated among the best hotels in the Caribbean (and the world) by readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, Ladera is a dreamy hideaway perched high above the sparkling sea, its 9 villas and 23 suites each featuring an open wall so that guests have an open-air experience in the rainforest, taking in spectacular views over the Caribbean. But May also marks the 19th anniversary of the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, a 10-day jazz extravaganza with a star-studded line-up from the US, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. From formal performances to open-air concerts to late-night club events, St Lucia Jazz offers a range of exciting shows. This May event has evolved into one of the most anticipated on the Caribbean's calendar. Check into Ladera-- where you'll dig the swanky, eco-chic accommodations and farm-to-table menus at Dasheene-- and you can score a fourth night free. Subject to availability, this offer is available until December 20, 2010.


From $169: San Juan Water & Beach Club, Now Run By Morgans Hotel Group

March 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

San Juan Water and Beach ClubFor chic on the beach in San Juan, check into the San Juan Water & Beach Club, a hip boutique hotel that's now run by Morgans Hotel Group. The new management has a collection of sleek, noteworthy properties around the globe- from London's Sanderson to the Delano and Mondrian in South Beach to the Clift in San Francisco. Spotted recently at the San Juan hotel: Snoop Dogg, Benicio Del Toro and Kid Rock. The hotel's rooftop bar is already a happening scene, and we hear Morgans is planning to add daybeds around the pool. Just 15 minutes from the airport, San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows in all guest rooms, capturing gorgeous views of the tropical Atlantic and San Juan's finest beach. Oceanfront suites have large telescopes for stargazing. Currently the hotel is offering a special Advanced Purchase Package from $169, where you get 15% off the best available rates when you book 14 days or more in advance of your stay. Subject to availability.


Sailing in the Caribbean at the Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda

March 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bitter End Yacht ClubAs far as Caribbean hideaways go, the Bitter End Yacht Club delivers. Just ask the writers at Men's Journal who featured the resort in an article on the "Unknown Caribbean." If you're "tired of cookie-cutter tropical vacations among all the other tourists," why not escape to Virgin Gorda, where you can rig up a boat and join an "impromptu regatta" at Bitter End? After tearing it up on the open sea, head back for a rum punch on the beach. Avid scuba divers won't want to miss the pristine reef and wreck diving, easily accessible via the onsite dive outfitters. Bitter End has a number of value-added accommodations packages available- from romantic escapes to family fun weeks...

Pssst. Adrenaline junkies will also get a kick out of night kiting. (Note: Kite-surfing in the pitch black is not for the faint of heart.)


Opening This Month: The W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

March 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island

The opening date keeps getting pushed back, but we're hearing official reports that the W Retreat & Spa Vieques Island will *finally* open on March 25. Situated on the unspoiled island of Vieques, eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, the exclusive retreat promises luxurious villa living and indulgent island life. As if the wide empty beaches weren't enough to fulfill your vacation fantasy. R&R, W-style= a happening poolside scene next to the ocean, yoga on the terrace, rejuvenating body treatments at Spa Chakra, W signatures like the SWEAT fitness room and loungy Living Room, and Whatever/Whenever service taking care of all the details. Perhaps the most hyped of all: cuisine by Alain Ducasse at miX on the beach, the celebrity chef's first outpost in the Caribbean. Be the first to experience to experience the resort-- billed as "the latest worldwide wow"-- with insider rates starting from $249 per night.


Last-Minute Winter Escapes

March 1, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Hideaway Playacar, MexicoIn case you missed it, The New York Times had a terrific round-up of last-minute winter getaways in Sunday's Travel section. Craving a little warmth to get you through the final days of winter? Here are some sample deals:

Beach bash in Mexico's Yucatan. After an $80 million sand restoration project, the beaches south of Cancun are sitting pretty. Stay at the Gran Melia Cancun and score a 35% discount on rates plus a room upgrade and resort credit. Book the Royal Hideaway Playacar and get a 30% discount.

Puerto Rico sunshine: Take advantage of the "Winter Escapes" package at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, where room rates start at $199, and get breakfast for two plus a $50 room credit, which you can use at "the homegrown celebrity chef Wilo Benet’s Pikayo, which recently relocated to the hotel and has been luring diners to its communal table for lobster empanadas and bay scallop ceviche."


Barbados Bound: Friday Photos of the Glam Fairmont Royal Pavilion

February 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Royal Pavilion

As the winter drags on, we've decided to bring the beach to you... Specifically: the white and pink sands in front of the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, perched on the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea. At 'The Jewel in the Crown of Barbados," every room is an oceanview room, every guest a pampered VIP. Play tennis, snorkel, sail, water ski or just soak up the sun from the prime stretch of beach. The resort is currently running a special winter offer including accommodations and double miles for $469 per night. The "Everyone's An Original Winter Offer" is available til April 15, 2010.

Fairmont Royal Pavilion


The Great Winter Thaw at Jamaica’s Half Moon Resort

February 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Resort, JamaicaEscape the winter freeze on Half Moon's 400 sun-kissed acres and two-mile white sand beach. Did we mention the 68,000 square foot spa oasis called Fern Tree? (Half Moon's indoor/outdoor spa was voted "Top 10 in the Caribbean" by Travel + Leisure magazine. Inspired by Jamaica's centuries-old healing traditions, Fern Tree fuses modern spa techniques with ancient remedies of native herbs, fruits and botanicals.) Whether you're desperate for a spa retreat or just some fun in the sun, Half Moon is the place to thaw out. Half Moon Resort, JamaicaThe exclusive Montego Bay resort is currently offering a "Great Winter Thaw" package which is guaranteed to warm you up. Available til April 15, 2010, the package doles out a 7th night free when you pay for six nights. You'll also get 10 percent off spa services and sun activities (like horseback riding and dolphin encounters). Book before February 28, 2010. Valid in all room categories, for new bookings only. Blackout Dates: February 13 – 20, 2010 and March 27 – April 3, 2010