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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.

Sail with the Pros: Bitter End Yacht Club’s Pro Am Regatta 2009

September 15, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bitter End Yacht ClubBitter End Yacht Club-- the famous water sports resort and nautical village on Virgin Gorda-- is not just the setting for an idyllic Caribbean escape. It's also home to the annual Bitter End Pro Am Regatta, a world-class sailing event that matches up amateur sailors with America's Cup skippers, Olympic Medalists, and Around the World Race Winners:

Picture yourself teamed with Serena Williams or Roger Federer in the doubles final at the U.S. Open. Few, if any, sporting events in the world offer the fan an opportunity to participate at such lofty levels. The Bitter End Pro Am Regatta is different from any sporting event or regatta on earth.

Bitter End Yacht ClubThe 23rd annual event will take place from October 31- November 7, 2009, and will use Lasers, Hobie Waves, ICs, and Hunter 216s. Even first time sailors are welcome. Snorkel, windsurf, and relax on the beach during your down time. There's even an excursion to Norman Island or Anegada scheduled for Wednesday, the layday, which is devoted to non-sailing. Don't miss the evenings of rum-infused merry-making: cocktail parties, wine dinners, pub gatherings, organized Q&A sessions, etc. Book the "Pro Am Admiral's Package" and you'll get showered with all kinds of good stuff: three meals a day, cocktails, sunset cruises, and an Introduction to Sailing Course.


The Hydroponic Farm and Organic Gardens at Cuisinart Resort and Spa, Anguilla

September 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cuisinart Resort and SpaAs if we needed another reason to love this Caribbean resort of whitewashed villas and turquoise infinity pools... Cuisinart Resort and Spa boasts the world's only hydroponic resort farm- saving water through the use of recirculation systems and drip irrigation, recycling the drainage from the greenhouse to feed the outdoor landscape plants. This soil-free growing process produces fresh, quality vegetables and edible flowers that are harvested daily and used in the resort's kitchen by Executive Chef Daniel Orr and his team. What's more-- the plants and flowers also serve as ingredients in treatments at the newly-expanded spa. Guests can tour the farm with the manager on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 am. See the greenhouse (built to withstand winds of up to 110 mph), lettuce ponds, and raised beds containing herbs and peppers. The organic garden is likewise brimming with colorful produce all year round-- Caribbean callaloo, black-eyed peas, peppers, pumpkins, okra, soybeans, Chinese long beans, and melons-- while fruit-bearing trees in the orchards produce avocados, guavas, tamarinds, limes, oranges, and star fruit.


The Palmyra, A Solis Resort Preps for Its Grand Opening in Montego Bay

September 4, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Palmyra, A Solis ResortSo we jumped the gun a little bit on this one. Blame it on our feverish hotel addiction-- we simply can't wait for the opening of The Palmyra, A Solis Resort on the grounds of a former Jamaican plantation in Rose Hall. The latest word on the grand opening is winter/spring 2010 with special introductory rates of $239 per night. The setting: white sandy beaches, lush gardens, and waterfalls against the backdrop of Jamaica's Blue Mountains. Super-swank accommodations coupled with extensive facilities (golf, spa, and all that jazz) promise a superlative luxury hotel experience.


Seventh Night Free at Carlisle Bay: Deals in High Season in the Caribbean

August 31, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Carlisle BayIt's not often that we see deals like this at one of the hottest hotels in the Caribbean. Oozing contemporary chic, Carlisle Bay in Antigua is the sister property to London's One Aldwych. (And soon, Le Gray in Beirut, as hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray works his magic with a new hotel debut.) Nestled in the sand and surrounded by tropical gardens and rainforest, Carlisle Bay has top-notch amenities, including its own private screening room. If you book a seven-night stay by November 30, 2009, for stays between January 3- April 1, 2010,* you'll get a night free. This is the middle of high season in the Caribbean, need we say more?

*Black-out dates: Valentine's Day week.


Get Hitched in Barbados at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion

August 27, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Royal Pavilion

With the average American wedding costing upwards of $30,000, some engaged couples are looking to downsize it. Why not fete the day with a small affair in an island paradise? The Fairmont Royal Pavilion in Barbados has you covered. For just $1,750 (excluding accommodation), the luxury hotel will throw you an unforgettable wedding for six guests-- complete with wedding co-ordinator, marriage license, wedding arch decorated with fresh flowers in the lush tropical garden, her wedding bouquet and his boutonniere, champagne for the special toast, a two-tier wedding cake, and the clergyman to pronounce you man and wife. This "Wedding Package" is available until December 31, 2010.


Sandals Resorts Buys Four Seasons Great Exuma, Rescues the Bahamas Resort

August 26, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Great ExumaDropping tourism numbers in the Caribbean has hurt the hospitality industry* this year, even leading to the closure of the Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay. But there's some good news for the luxury resort famous for its Greg Norman-designed golf course and paradise-on-earth setting. Sandals Resorts International is buying "one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate in the Caribbean," to quote CEO Adam Stewart. After injecting $12 million for a makeover, the resort will reopen in January 2010. According to the Associated Press, the enhancements will "include outdoor cabanas for spa treatments, an authentic British pub, a piano bar and a new half-acre pool that will be three times the size of the existing one."

*Now's the time to plan a trip to the Caribbean. Visitors will find steep discounts and special offers throughout the region.


Christmas in the Caribbean: 40 Percent Savings at Antigua’s All-Inclusive Resorts

August 18, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Galley Bay ResortCanceled your Christmas holiday in the Caribbean last year? Don't despair about 2009. Here's a recession-proof vacation opportunity that's bound to put a smile on your face. Elite Island Resorts is giving guests an early Christmas present by offering 40 percent off their award-winning Caribbean resorts in Antigua. Rates start as low as $189 per person, per night all-inclusive and include accommodations, all dining, all beverages, activities, taxes, and service charges. Hurry, reservations must be reserved and paid-in-full by September 1, 2009. Choose from one of three luxury resorts, each offering an all-inclusive paradise:

St. James's Club & Villas--Beach bliss for both couples and families, featuring a fun Kids Club

The Verandah Resort & Spa-- Turquoise waters and white-sand beaches make this the ultimate beachfront playground

Galley Bay Resort & Spa-- 40 acres of tropical gardens and a white sandy beach for couples seeking their own private hideaway


What’s New for Conrad Hotels in 2010: Openings Across the Globe

August 13, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad ShanghaiCalling all connoisseurs of luxury (and hotel addicts). You'll soon be able to get a dose of Conrad luxury in Shanghai, Koh Samui (Thailand), Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the Bahamas, and Portugal's Algarve. With the addition of these six hotels, Conrad is pursuing a bold expansion strategy. The current portfolio-- comprised of properties in diverse markets across the globe-- numbers 19. While the Conrad Shanghai has a striking contemporary design (pictured) and will house an urban spa, the Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa will consist of villas with private plunge pools and outdoor sundecks offering panoramic vistas-- all surrounded by a lush coconut plantation. The Conrad Bimini Resort & Casino is part of an overall new seaside village on the island of North Bimini, Bahamas. The Bimini Bay Resort has restaurants, a marina, spa and a casino. Click here for the full scoop.


Rum Tastings in the Caribbean at the All-Inclusive Palm Island Resort

August 13, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Island ResortThe best thing about the paradise called Palm Island Resort? Everything's included. Located near the southern tip of St. Vincent and the Grenadines-- an archipelago of 32 tropical cays-- the private island resort offers exclusivity and luxury in an idyllic setting of soft sand beaches lapped by crystal-clear water. The 135-acre retreat has just 42 guest lodgings, so you'll be sharing paradise with just a few other fortunate souls. Go for a stroll on one of the scenic nature trails, grab a snorkel and mask and explore the underwater reefs teeming with colorful fish, play a game of tennis, indulge in Afternoon Tea, nibble on a picnic lunch under a thatched umbrella, or take to the seas on a kayak or Hobie-style catamaran- it's all included. On Tuesdays you can partake in the complimentary Rum Tasting at the Royal Palm Bar, where you'll learn the history of rum-making in the Caribbean (and maybe how to make your own). You'll also get a few rum recipes, and learn to taste the difference between Puerto Rican, Jamaican, Barbados and West Indian Rums-- such as St. Vincent's own Sunset Rum.


Pilates at Parrot Cay Resort: 6 Night Retreat in November

August 11, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Parrot Cay

We can't think of a better spot* for an intensive five-day Pilates Retreat. Forbes calls Parrot Cay a "fantasy island"-- supremely popular with the Hollywood set. No wonder Bruce Willis chose it as the setting for his destination wedding. From November 8-14, 2009, Parrot Cay's resident Pilates teacher, Lynda Lippin will be hosting a retreat-- for both beginners and the more advanced. Lippin will be offering 16 hours of classes over a five-day period, ensuring that each student gets a private session (and lots of attention). Practicing Pilates for 20 years, Lippin has owned several award-winning Pilates studios in the U.S. Priced from $6,026 (single occupancy).

*It's possible to do an "Island Buy-Out." Just 1.5 hours from Miami, this small island in the Turks and Caicos-- 1000 unspoilt acres with a mile-long powdered beach-- can be rented out in its entirety.