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.

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.)


Celebrate Christmas at Nisbet Plantation, Nevis


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Nisbet PlantationIt's not too late to plan your Christmas holiday getaway. This year "Celebrate Christmas" at Nisbet Plantation, the Caribbean's only plantation resort on the beach at Nevis. Arrive between 12/15 and 12/20, check out out on 12/27 (or before) and your Christmas presents may include something extra dependent on your length of stay. For example stay 3 - 4 nights and receive a complimentary bottle of champagne, stay 5 - 6 nights and receive a complimentary one hour massage, stay 7 - 10 nights, and Christmas is free, including taxes. Gifts are cumulative, so you will enjoy it all: the last night free, bottle of champagne and the massage! Nisbet Plantation features a beautifully restored Great House and 36 charming cottages spread out over 30 lush tropical acres. Recently re-appointed and modernized to provide maximum comfort with casual elegance and recognized as one of the best luxurious hotels in the Caribbean and Latin America and recipient of the 2008 Trip Advisor Choice Awards, Nisbet Plantation offers a multitude of activities from swimming to the complimentary tennis and snorkeling equipment, hot tub, pool eco tours, hiking and much, much more. Come be part of the family at Nisbet Plantation where the warmth and comfort of a Caribbean breeze offer the unmatched Nevisian hospitality. Let Nisbet Plantation do the cooking, decorating and gather your presents this year for your Christmas.


Stay in James Bond’s Swanky Digs: One and Only Ocean Club, Bahamas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One and Only Ocean Club, BahamasThere's been lots of Bond mania since the debut of the latest film, Quantum of Solace, over the weekend. Die-hard fans are seeking out spots where Bond had frequented-- from martini bars to Jamaica beaches. Top on our list? The uber-luxury hotel where Bond stayed in Casino Royale, famous for its Versailles-style formal gardens and personal butler service. A playground for the world's elite, the One and Only Ocean Club is the best of the Bahamas. The colonial-style estate even boasts an 18-hole golf course and cuisine by culinary legend Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Rumor has it that Daniel Craig stayed in Villa 1085.

PS. With plummeting hotel rates at hotels worldwide-- just check out HotelChatter's "Room Rate Drop Watch"-- you may be able to score a deal at the One and Only Ocean Club just like this one at its sister property in Cabo.


Caribbean Savings: All Meals Included, Plus $500 Air Taxi Credit at Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Little Dix BayWord on the street island is that Rosewood's Little Dix Bay, the prestigious Caribbean resort located on beautiful Virgin Gorda in the BVI, is now including all meals to its $850 per day winter room rate. Add to that the $500 air taxi credit for easy resort arrival, and a luxurious Caribbean experience is yours for the taking in high season. The resort is offering the air taxi credit through February 12, 2009 (with a minimum five-night stay) so that guests can get down to the islands and discover a new, signature wellness activity called Poolates, combining the flexibility and core-strengthening principles of Pilates with the joint-friendly benefits of water. The classes will be taught in the resort's oceanside swimming pool against the gorgeous backdrop of the half-mile crescent-shaped beach. This is the newest offering from Sense, A Rosewood Spa, perched on a seaside cliff at the celebrated resort and offering an extensive menu of indigenously focused, therapeutic practices and progressive concepts of beauty and well-being.


Book Now: Limited Space Available for the Holidays at the Jamaica Inn


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jamaica InnThere's still time to reserve a little piece of paradise for the holidays. The elegant Jamaica Inn, consistently ranked No. 1 resort in Jamaica and one of the top hotels in the Caribbean by leading travel magazines, has a few more rooms available for both Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years. But don't delay- make haste in booking your room as these will no doubt fill up fast. Nestled around a secluded private beach (considered the prettiest in Jamaica), the Jamaica Inn has just 47 suites overlooking the sand and sea from private balustraded balconies and large verandahs. The Jamaica Inn captures the timeless elegance of the Caribbean with tasteful accommodations and impeccable service. Recreational facilities run the gamut from croquet and tennis to snorkeling and windsurfing. And lucky guests can bliss out with a treatment at the KiYara spa perched on the seaside cliffs. For Thanksgiving week, you can grab a room in the following categories: Superior Balcony Suites, Deluxe Verandah Suites, Premier Verandah Suites, Cowdray Suite, Jamaica Inn Cottage (without pool). For Christmas and New Years, there are still a few rooms available: 2 Superior Balcony Suites, 2 Deluxe Verandah Suites, 1 Premier Verandah Suite, The Blue Cottage, and Cottage 4.


Affordable Honeymoons in the Caribbean: Island Romance at El Conquistador, Puerto Rico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

El Conquistador Resort, Puerto RicoScouting out the ideal honeymoon spot? For a real luxury value, consider the vibrant isle of Puerto Rico, just a short flight away from the East Coast. El Conquistador Resort and Golden Door Spa is situated high on a cliff overlooking the sparkling azure sea. You may just want to relax by the pool, but when you're feeling restless, a slew of activities awaits: world-class golf, spa, casino, water park, wind surfing, scuba diving, and fishing. When you book the Island Romance package, you can enjoy rates starting from just $275 based on a four night minimum stay. You'll be picked up at the airport, then treated to chilled Champagne and tropical fruit in-room upon arrival. You'll also get full Caribbean breakfast daily, and two 50-minute massages. Available until December 31, 2009. (Rates vary depending on the season-- as high as $521 in March-- but are still quite the deal.)