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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.

Tortuga Bay: Paradise, Found in the Dominican Republic


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tortuga Bay

There's a reason the press has gone wild for this Dominican Republic Resort. A-listers have been flocking to the DR's Punta Canta Resort and Club to frolic on the white sand beaches, revel in the many restos and bars, and play golf on two championship courses (one designed by Pete Dye and the other by Tom Fazio). In this gorgeous tropical oasis, Tortuga Bay is a private enclave adored by Vogue Magazine with interiors designed by Oscar de la Renta. The fifteen villas range from one- to four-bedroom suites and are elegantly appointed with authentic, local materials. You'll find Frette linens, separate kitchens for each bedroom, and corraline stone bathrooms. Plus, you get a golf cart for convenient travel throughout the resort. What's more? You'll enjoy VIP whisking service through immigration, luggage retrieval and customs and use of a VIP lounge at the Punta Cana International Airport.


The Dollar is Sunny for Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort


By: K. Clare Johnson

Recession? What recession? Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, St. Lucia's luxury travel spot, is doing its part to stimulate the economy. Windjammer Landing Villa Beach ResortAll new vacation bookings, now through April 28, 2009, will receive a fifty percent resort credit in Sun Dollars. Sun Dollars can be used for exciting activities and amenities at Windjammer Landing. Chose a spa treatment at Serenity Spa, a room upgrade (depending on space availability), fine wine, a Jacquot Kid's Club off-premise outing, or even high adventure activities like Zip Lining through the rainforest, horseback riding, on the beach or scuba diving! Sun Dollars credit is based on the nightly rate of accommodation and are not refundable or redeemable for cash. Sun Dollars are credited to the guests' bill upon check-in to be applied toward resort purchases.


Girlfriends’ Getaway at Old Bahama Bay


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Old Bahama BayFinally! It's your turn to plan the yearly girls' getaway. Why not impress them all with a Girlfriends' Getaway Escape to Paradise at the Old Bahama Bay by Ginn Sur Mer? With your 3 night minimum stay, choose your luxurious accommodations from either the Junior Suite or the 2 Bedroom suite. You'll get round trip airport transfers, breakfast daily (excluding arrival day), welcome cocktails, and use of the non-motorized water sport equipment, and shopping excursions. This package does not include tax or gratuity. Old Bahama Bay offers beautiful waters, extraordinary beaches, and incredible surroundings for your stay. There is the 4,000 square foot heated swimming pool and infinity edge lounging area with massage jets for relaxation. For those shopping excursions to the Grand Bahama Island, remember is is duty and tax free! If you and your friends are feeling more energetic you can arrange a "Swim with the Dolphins" excursions with Unexsco, or go golfing or fishing. Snorkeling equipment, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and scuba diving excursions are also available.


News from the Caribbean: Hotel Carl Gustaf, St. Barts Opens New Restaurant, Lounge and Royal Suite


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Carl GustafAs if this swank hotel could get any better, the Hotel Carl Gustaf is about to debut some glorious new amenities. Perched high atop a bluff overlooking the glittering harbor of Gustavia, and surrounded by tropical vegetation, the 14-room hotel is a favorite for glamorous visitors to St. Barts who frolic in their private plunge pools while gazing out to the azure sea. This month marks the opening of the newly renovated restaurant, Victoria's, under the helm of acclaimed chef Emmanuel Motte, who serves up fine French cuisine with a Caribbean flair with the freshest ingredients possible. The Carl Gustaf Lounge was also completely redesigned, and promises to be one of the best spots in the world for sunset cocktails. Listen to live music while sipping creative cocktails, Champagne, or Armagnac. Yes, eau-de-vie is available, along with exotic cigars. Another talked-up addition is the Royal Suite, 2,600 square feet of luxury with terraces, a fully equipped kitchen, and all the latest technology.


Get the Fourth Night Free at the Turks and Caicos Club


By: K. Clare Johnson

Stay at the Turks & Caicos Club and enjoy your ultimate Caribbean escape with savings on any 1- or 2-bedroom oceanfront suite or 2-bedroom poolside suite. Turks and Caicos Club Located on the white sands of Grace Bay Beach on the island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, next to the island's finest snorkeling reef, the 21-suite Turks & Caicos Club is offering every 4th night free. Book before December 15, 2008 and travel before January 31, 2009, and you'll only pay for three nights (while you stay four) at this luxurious resort. Also included in the deal is full American breakfast daily, welcome rum punch, twice-daily maid service, afternoon sorbet, airport runs, complimentary water sports, and more. Turks & Caicos Club been named one of Travel + Leisure's 50 Most Romantic Retreats, so now is your chance to snuggle up with the one you love for less.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: All Five Star Alliance guests at the Turks and Caicos Club will receive a complimentary bottle of Champagne in their room upon arrival.


Get on Track with Vitality Weeks at Carlisle Bay


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Vitality is defined as a living force, ability to sustain life, or vigor and endurance. Carlisle BayYou can now get your vitality renewed with a Vitality Week at Carlisle Bay. A year-long series of highly personalized Vitality Weeks that are designed to boost your health and well-being was just launched at Carlisle Bay, Antigua's award winning contemporary luxury hotel. These 4 or 7 night Vitality weeks are planned to begin December 7th, January 4th, March 1st, May 17th, June 7th, July 5th, and August 9th.

Vitality Weeks at Carlisle Bay include an individually tailored exercise program, personal consultation on arrival and follow-up advice after you return home, morning activities such as running, hiking, beach circuits, yoga or Pilates, and afternoon activities such as gym cardio circuits, tennis clinics, or swimming in the bay. Along with two 60 minute well-being massages in Blue, the spa at Carlisle Bay, nutritional advice will be provided by the executive chef, Alex Grimley, to enhance your exercise program. Optional activities can be arranged like a zip ride over the rainforest, sailing racing lessons in English Harbour or kite surfing. Additionally, during the Kundalini Yoga Weeks, (May 17th), twice daily yoga classes with Maya Fiennes are included. During Tennis Weeks (March 1st and July 5th), tennis fitness, coaching and competitions are offered.

You will stay in an elegantly-furnished Garden Suite, boasting luxurious silks and crisp white Frette bed linens. These Garden Suites have private balconies or terraces with a daybed in which to laze away and enjoy the breathtaking ocean views. Your stay will include all meals, afternoon tea, and fresh fruit delivered daily to your suite. An opening night reception and dinner and a day off with a coastal hike and picnic, and downtime for you to enjoy Carlisle Bay's beautiful surroundings are planned. Prices for the 4 night stay are $1,700 per person for 2 sharing the Garden Suite, and the 7 night stay is available for $2,660. Single occupancy rates are available. Prices exclude any government or service tax. So whether you come alone or with a friend, plan to revitalize yourself with a Vitality Week at Carlisle Bay, a great way to begin the holidays or fulfill your New Years resolution for a renewed and healthier you.


Scuba Diving the Caribbean at St. James’s Club and Villas, Antigua


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. James's Club and VillasExploring the teeming underwater life around Antigua is easy with the St. James's Club, the full-service resort tucked away on a 100-acre peninsula. Since the resort opened its Dive Center, thrilled divers have come face to face with some 70 species of fish that live on the colorful reefs of Mamora Bay, just offshore. (The faint of heart can quickly don complimentary fins and snorkeling gear from the Watersports Center, and stay on the water's surface.) In addition to the plentiful sea life, there are myriad shipwrecks to discover, like the Andes, a three-masted merchant ship which sank bow-first after a dramatic onboard conflagration in June 1905. Dive packages start at $75.


Half Moon Rendezvous in Jamaica


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Planning a romantic rendezvous to impress that special someone can't be any easier than booking your "Ultimate Escapes" at Half Moon. Half Moon You and your sweetheart will have all the luxury and more as you indulge in your romantic retreat at Half Moon, the luxury resort located on a crescent shaped white sand beach. Your romantic stay includes private dining for 2 (breakfast, lunch and dinner), one "Heaven For Two" Spa Treatment, a bottle of champagne and welcome gift in room on arrival, luxurious accommodations, and airport transfers.

With a minimum 3 night stay, now through December 14, 2008, the "Ultimate Escapes" at Half Moon is available starting at $530 per night. So whisk your special someone away and come enjoy the beach, spa, fitness center, golf, equestrian center, pools, Dolphin Lagoon, water sports, and superb cuisine during your "Ultimate Escapes."


Celebrity Chefs Galore! Cayman Cookout at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand CaymanDitch the winter blues and head to Grand Cayman for the Caribbean's premiere epicurean event, the Cayman Cookout, hosted by Eric Ripert over the weekend of July 16 - 19, 2009. Against a stunning turquoise backdrop at the Ritz-Carlton, you'll enjoy an array of events, tastings, demos and wine seminars from Ripert's all-star colleagues:

Eric RipertEric Ripert – Chef and Co-Owner of Le Bernardin and Creator of Blue by Eric Ripert

Anthony Bourdain – Chef, Les Halles, Best selling author, No Reservations

Dean Fearing – Chef, Partner Fearings Restaurant

Ingrid Hoffmann – Television host and author of Simply Delicioso

Laurent Manrique – Corporate Executive Chef, Aqua

Michel Richard – Chef, Citronelle and Central

Laurent Tourondel - Executive Chef and partner of BLT Restaurants

Anthony Giglio – Sommelier, Journalist and Author

Ray Isle – Sommelier, Senior Wine Editor, Food & Wine

Joy Spence – Master Rum Blender, Appleton

Joshua Wesson – Sommelier, Co-CEO and Wine Director of Best Cellars, Inc

Bed down at the Ritz-Carlton and take advantage of the Cayman Cookout package, which includes three nights accommodation in a Resort View or Ocean Front guest room, breakfast daily in "7" restaurant, welcome reception on Seven Mile Beach, four tastings and demonstrations (from a diverse selection of 10), Rum Point Cookout, and the Farewell breakfast in Periwinkle.


News: Leading Hotels of the World Announces Award Winners


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel CiprianiLeading Hotels of the World held its annual convention in Boston recently and doled out some pretty prestigious awards. Considering that the organization represents some 450 of the world's finest hotels, these accolades should not be taken lightly. And without further ado, the winners are:

Commitment to Excellence Awards: Hotel de l'Europe, Taj Boston, Brenner's Park

Commitment to Quality Awards: The Chedi Muscat, Al Maha Desert Resort, The Datai, Rambagh Palace, Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin, Hotel Caruso, One&Only Palmilla, Tortuga Bay, Island Hotel (Newport Beach), and SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand.

Sixth Annual Juan Gaspart Award recognizing an outstanding employee of a Leading Hotel pursuing a career in the hospitality industry:  Mr. Colin Field, head bartender at Ritz Paris.

(Pictured: Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin- which received the highest score overall during LHW's anonymous inspections.)