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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.

Puerto Rico for Pennies: Water Club Beach Hotel, San Juan

August 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

San Juan Water and Beach Club When new rules were established requiring U.S. citizens to carry passports for all Caribbean destinations (then relaxed again, after the worst passport waiting lines in history), savvy travelers avoided all the passport mayhem and booked vacas in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were the only two paradisiacal Caribbean destinations not affected. Old San Juan has been luring and exciting visitors with a renaissance of sorts; one of the oldest cities in the Americas has gotten a dose of South Beach glamour. Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Dior have opened stores along the waterfront in the Condado neighborhood. With the opening of myriad trendy restaurants and clubs, there's a cool vibe in the air. Liquid, on the top floor of the Water Club hotel, is one of the hottest spots in town. Indeed, the Water Club, named one of the coolest hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, embodies South Beach chic. San Juan's only luxury boutique on the beach, the hotel boasts floor to ceiling windows with endless ocean views. Theatrical lighting brings the outdoors indoors; elevators have waterfalls (behind glass); corridor sounds are gentle surf. Doors are made of murano glass, and there are photographs of pebbles instead of corridor carpeting. For such a fabulous hotel, the rates are surprisingly modest. With the "Turn the Page" package at the Water Club, guests are spoiled with library benefits, book selection, free iPod using during their stay, and late check-out-- all for $149 per night. Valid through September 30, 2007.


Buzzworthy: Art Workshops with Michelle Torrez at Caneel Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands

August 1, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Caneel Bay Escape to the Caribbean this October for some sun and artistic inspiration, where art workshops with renowned artist Michelle Torrez will be held at Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort. You couldn't ask for a finer destination, as St. John's beauty has been luring artists for decades. Set on 170 pristine acres in Virgin Islands National Park, Caneel Bay has been a sought-after getaway for loyal clientele since its founding 50 years ago by Laurance Rockefeller. And with its perfect beaches and lavish facilities (spa, tennis, four distinct restaurants), it's easy to see why. The art workshops with Torrez are the latest of several recent travel packages featuring notable personalities at Caneel Bay, like last January's Hot Type: Visiting Author Series with New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik, and May's wine tasting with Margaret Duckhorn, Co-founder of Duckhorn Wine Company in Napa Valley.

The three-day art workshops will take place at the Turtle Bay Estate House, an 18th century plantation house perched on a cliff high above the sea. Michelle Torrez is a talented painter whose highly collectable works have been featured in numerous publications; she has gained quite a following both in the U.S. and worldwide. At Caneel Bay, Torrez will focus on the human form, making extensive use of a female model over three days of instruction while inspiring students to take a fresh approach to expressing themselves. Torrez will work closely, personally and rigorously with serious artists and earnest aspirants. The four-night/three-day getaways are available at Caneel Bay October 15- 19 or 20- 24, 2007, and include accommodations in an Ocean View Room, a welcome reception, working breakfast, lunch and breaks daily, all the art materials sufficient for the workshop, as well as three full days of personal instruction from Michelle Torrez in the intimate setting of the Turtle Bay Estate House. Priced at $2,800 per person including all taxes.


Five Star Alliance Selects World’s Best Luxury Hotels 2007

July 26, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peter Island It's official. Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel agency for luxury hotels, has released the annual "World's Best Luxury Hotels" lists. Our crew of somewhat obsessive luxury hotel fans gives recs so often, we decided it's important to share that info with the world. Along with the company's expertise, the criteria used to select the World's Best Luxury Hotels includes honest feedback from Five Star Alliance clients and the popularity of hotels. Since Five Star Alliance only focuses only luxury hotels, these picks are truly la crème de la crème.

The world's most luxurious hotels are selected for eight categories, including Luxury Beach Resorts, Business Hotels, Luxury Honeymoon Resorts, Luxury Golf Resorts, Luxury Spa Resorts, Luxury Ski Resorts, Luxury Resorts for Families, and Romantic Resorts.

Do you have a favorite that didn't make our lists? After checking them out, come back and discuss your favorites with us! (You'll find a link for comments at the bottom of each list.)


Buzzworthy: The Landings St. Lucia Resort Opens in December 2007

July 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Landings St. Lucia Just in time for the winter holidays, RockResorts will open its latest luxury hotel in this idyllic Caribbean island: The Landings St. Lucia. Nestled on 19 oceanfront acres on Rodney Bay's white sand beaches, The Landings St. Lucia will have lavish accommodations with water views, a Spa, and 80-slip marina. St. Lucia has recently outshined the Turks and Caicos islands as the Caribbean "it" spot, with myriad luxury hotel openings making headlines this year-- Discovery at Marigot Bay, Raffles, Ritz-Carlton, to name a few. To celebrate the opening, The Landings is offering low rates of $329 per night (May 24 - November 1, 2008), while 2007 holiday rates start at $549 per night.


Announcing Baccarat Hotels and Resorts

July 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Baccarat Joining the likes of Waldorf-Astoria, Bulgari, and Crillon Hotels, Baccarat Hotels and Resorts is the latest luxury hotel brand on the block. Starwood recently announced its latest venture into the foray of five-star hotels, inspired by Baccarat's iconic status with its fine, hand-crafted luxury goods (as the "provider of crystal to kings"). The first for the brand will be the Baccarat Wailea in Hawaii, scheduled to open in 2010 with 193 condominium homes furnished by Baccarat, the ultimate luxury living experience. Of course lobbies will be adorned with those signature Baccarat chandeliers. Other locations will follow in the Caribbean, Europe, and the Far East.

Related Articles:

HotelChatter, PM Linkage: Stay at a Baccarat Hotel in 2010

TravelWeekly, Starwood Capital launches Baccarat Hotels and Resorts brand


Caribbean Pirate Adventure at Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

July 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumby Bay Make like Johnny Depp and celebrate the outlaw life with the whole family at Jumby Bay. The exclusive resort-- nestled two miles off the coast of Antigua on a picture-perfect private island-- has devised a fantastic adventure of treasure hunts, pirate movies, and pancake parties for a luxe family-fun getaway. Set amidst a paradise of palms and tropical flowers, Jumby Bay is a secluded hideaway accessible only by boat, known worldwide for its world-class amenities and service. Embrace your inner buccaneer with the Pirate Adventure Package, which includes seven nights luxury accommodations in an Oceanview Suite, all meals, the Burger Mania menu (gourmet speciality burgers for lunch), Pirate Movie Night under the stars, Caribbean Beach Party, Private Island Treasure Hunt, Sunday Pancake Party where kids can make their own pancakes, Sorbet from the "Sorbet Butler" who roams the beach with complimentary refreshments, and Turtle Watching on Pasture Bay Beach. Adults will enjoy the sunset cocktail cruise, Nanny Service for six hours, and choice of two 50-minute massages or tennis lessons. Most activities are complimentary: bicycles, tennis, pool, fitness center, croquet, and non-motorized watersports. Rates for the Pirate Adventure Package at Jumby Bay start at $950 per night, for two adults and one child under age 12 sharing a room (additional rates apply for a fourth person). Available through October 31, 2007.


Raffles to Open Resort on Tortola, British Virgin Islands

June 27, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

British Virgin Islands Hot on the heels of the debut of its new St. Lucia hotel, Raffles will open a third Caribbean property in 2010: set on 50 pristine beachfront acres on the northeastern end of Tortola in the BVI. Raffles luxury hotels have distinguished themselves as landmarks in their respective cities around the globe (the flagship in Singapore is world-renowned), so the new Tortola hotel will no doubt bring a high standard of luxury to the secluded white sand beaches of the "sailing capital of the Caribbean." The 100-room resort will feature four restaurants and bars, three swimming pools, a fitness center, two beach clubs, and the signature RafflesAmrita Spa, occupying 15,000 square feet. Cool fact: the resort, though managed by Raffles, is 100 percent owned by British Virgin Islanders.


Wedding Travel Trends: New Cruise Packages at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

June 25, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Now you can tie the knot in style with the best of both worlds: a Caribbean cruise and a destination wedding in paradise at Half Moon. The prestigious resort has just introduced Cruise Day Wedding Packages, so that cruise passengers arriving at Jamaica's Montego Bay Cruise Ship Pier can be whisked away to Half Moon for a luxurious and memorable wedding. The Shore Romance package, priced at $3,900, includes all the amenities needed for the perfect wedding: marriage officer, professional videographer and photographer, two chilled bottles of champagne, chef's selection of hot and cold d'oeuvres for up to ten persons, wedding cake, two witnesses, plus the services of a June Wedding Incorporated certified wedding planner. Valid until December 14, 2007, includes a day use room at the resort. You can really go all out with the Shore Paradise package, which includes all the amenities of the Shore Romance package, plus professional make-up for the bride, lavish floral arrangements, Swedish massage for the bride and groom, a flautist or violinist, all for $6,200. Rest assured-- there's an army of event staff on-site (including a romance specialist) to handle all the planning logistics.


Summer Savings at Caneel Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands

June 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Caneel Bay The temperatures may be rising but the prices are dropping at luxury hotels in paradisiacal off-season destinations. Case in point: Caneel Bay, the alluring hideaway on the island gem of St. John in the US Virgin Islands, recently ranked number 1 resort in the Caribbean by Tennis Resorts Online. Rates are as low as $315 per night with the Rosewood Escape Summer Special. Give yourself a taste of paradise at a fraction of the cost of high season rates. Since its founding by Laurance Rockefeller fifty years ago, Caneel Bay has attracted a loyal clientele who enjoy the resort's pristine natural surroundings, white sand beaches, and low-key luxury. Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort, offers four distinct restaurants, private Wine Room, The Self Centre, fitness center, Turtle Town for kids, and the impressive 11-court tennis complex.


Dream Escape on St. Bart’s, French West Indies, at Le Toiny

June 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Toiny Experience a summer vacation on the chic Caribbean island of St. Bart's, where the exclusive Le Toiny Hotel has designed a unique and romantic five-night escape package, called "Awaken in the Dream." Upon arrival in St. Bart's airport, you'll receive a VIP welcome, then the chauffeur will escort you to the exclusive hotel, where your secluded Villa Suite awaits-- with private pool and tropical garden. Pop open the bottle of champagne and canapés that have been prepared for you, and then choose a convenient time for your dinner at the Le Gaïac restaurant, where a table awaits overlooking the beautiful bay. Each morning your French continental breakfast will be served on your private terrace next to your pool. Choose a location for your day's outing in the rental car reserved for your use (automatic soft top Jeep). Enjoy wonderfully prepared lunches in the restaurant, and in-suite massages for two, along with a professional manicure for one. You'll also receive a goodbye gift of a Le Toiny tote bag, perfect for your carry-ons. Priced from EUR 3380 for two people, available until August 31, 2007.