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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.

Trends in Luxury Travel: Babymoons

July 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Las Ventanas

We've written about the Babymoon Packages at the Four Seasons Chicago and Peter Island in the Caribbean. And now it seems the trend is catching on. More and more expectant couples are choosing to travel before the baby's arrival-- to treat themselves to a few days of romance and pampering before the baby makes three. And more and more luxury hotels are organizing Babymoon packages to accommodate them. As highlighted in Newsweek International, Jamaica's Half Moon resort has organized an elaborate, five-day package where moms-to-be (in their first trimester) can even swim with dolphins, which use sonar to communicate with the fetus. At Las Ventanas in Los Cabos, the four-night maternity spa package offers prenatal yoga and exercises, and a special gift of a silver baby fork-and-spoon set.


Coming Soon: The Brand New Ritz-Carlton, St. Lucia

July 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton St. Lucia

Ritz-Carlton is expanding its portfolio of award-winning luxury properties in the Caribbean, with its eight hotel in St. Lucia slated to open in 2009. And the island destination isn't a shabby choice; St. Lucia is celebrated for its unspoiled natural beauty and verdant landscape marked by the Piton volcanoes. Situated on Half Moon Bay with spectacular views of the Piton peaks, the new Ritz-Carlton will be an exclusive haven of 275 oceanfront rooms. The resort will be enhanced by a 20,000 square foot spa and two 18-hole golf courses overlooking the Atlantic, including one designed by Arnold-Palmer. Dining venues will include a specialty restaurant with pool grill, 30-seat lobby lounge, and a clubhouse restaurant and bar next to the golf course. Ritz-Carlton is already anticipating the St. Lucia resort to be a hot spot for destination weddings and meetings.

Via TravelWeekly


The O Property Collection to Build $1 Billion Hotel Development, Turks and Caicos

July 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Turks and Caicos

It's being called the "largest development in the hemisphere." The O Property Collection has announced its development of 2.24 sq-mile Dellis Cay, a breaktakingly beautiful island in the Turks and Caicos. With stunning tropical beaches and lagoons, the islands are also known for their spectacular diving and snorkeling, as the third largest coral reef system in the world is located just off-shore. This flagship project is located just 20 minutes from Providenciales. According to Travel Weekly:

Scheduled to open in 2008, the project is estimated to generate a billion dollars worth of sales within the next five years… The development will be divided into lifestyle zones, each designed by a different architect. OPC, which also has projects planned in the Mediterranean and Asia, will partner with hotel management companies to run the individual properties worldwide. Although each property development will be different, Kinay said that they will all "bear the marks of the OPC signature brand -- timeless architecture, sleek design, a fit with the natural surroundings and the finest in amenities and services."

But the company's website is remarkably vague about a project of this magnitude:

The Project involves building infrastructure and about 70,000 square meters of construction within the next three to five years. On the island, which will be divided into "lifestyle areas" designed by the world's foremost architects, the focus will be on creating an upscale, exclusive private island serving the needs of affluent travelers.


Sizzling Summer Package at the Water and Beach Club Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico

July 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Water Club

The city's only boutique hotel on the beach, The Water Club was named "one of the coolest hotels in the world" by Conde Nast Traveler. The rooftop bar, Wet, offers cocktails and sushi under the stars, while the rooftop sundeck, pool and Jacuzzi likewise boast breathtaking ocean views. The enormous suites feature large telescopes to appreciate the panoramic vistas. This is a San Juan hot spot, with its bar, Liquid, a happening and loud party mecca, so non-party peeps should steer clear.

Right now The Water Club is offering an unbelievable Summer Package, starting at just $89 per person.The Sizzling Summer Package includes welcome Melon Lips Martini for two, complimentary breakfast for two at Tangerine, one night of VIP list privileges at a local night club, and a complimentary gift upon arrival.

Related articles:

Chicago Tribune, Old San Juan


Hotel Star Ratings in the Caribbean, Courtesy of Mobil

June 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

It's about time. The Mobil Travel Guide--the illustrious bible which has provided comprehensive hotel ratings in the US and Canada since 1958 (using 750 criteria, no less)-- has announced plans to bring that expertise to evaluation of Caribbean hotels. Mobil bills itself as the "originator of the prestigious Five-Star ratings and certifications program for hotels, restaurants, and spas." The company's evaluation of Caribbean hotels, in of the most popular tourist regions in the world, is the beginning of an effort to bring their renowned rating system to properties worldwide.


Announcing the Fern Tree Spa at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

June 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon

This summer, the award-winning Half Moon resort will begun work on a new $4 million spa facility. The resort's signature villa, Fern Tree House, will be converted into a 68,000 sq ft sanctuary to debut in early 2007. The colonial styled treatment rooms will be set within lush gardens, and the ultra-private couples massage room will include a private dipping pool. The extensive treatment menu will draw from Jamaica's ancient healing remedies and will incorporate native herbs, fruits and botanicals.

The Fern Tree Spa Complex will also house a spa cottage (for families and wedding parties), relaxation lounge, yoga pavilion, hydrotherapy swimming pool, sculpture garden, and six beachfront spa suites. These signature suites, located adjacent to the Spa, will provide all of the traditional hotel amenities along with added spa features, including oversized bathrooms, private patio with outdoor soaking tub and shower overlooking the Caribbean, personal studio for yoga and en-suite treatments, and organic refreshment bar.

The Fern Tree Spa is the third in a series of major refurbishing projects to be undertaken by Half Moon in last five years. Other upgrades included the rebuilding of the resort's beachfront Hibiscus Suites, adding a children's play area, the renovation of the 41-year old Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed golf course, and refurbishing of the Oleander deluxe suites.

Via Travel Weekly


Going to Bermuda

June 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cambridge Beaches Golfing, diving, hiking, boating, dining... Bermuda's got it all. Reminiscent of the Caribbean, yet with a more temperate climate, and dash of British sophistication and decorum, Bermuda is the perfect spot for a summer holiday. A recent article in Coastal Living pinpoints the best culinary highlights, tourist attractions, historical landmarks, and resort options. Check it out now; after all, summer is the season for Bermuda! Related Articles: "Cruising the Coast, the Newport Bermuda Race Centenniel" "What's Happening Now and Ahead at Cambridge Beaches"


Escape World Cup Madness with SLH Member Hotels

June 15, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Courtney W. May and Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Chateau St Gerlach

Now that the World Cup is officially underway in Germany (my bracket has the Czech Republic walking away with it all - even though I am a huge US fan), some travelers might be looking for alternatives to dealing with the crazed soccer fans who have descended on Germany this summer. Personally, I can't imagine not wanting to be in the thick of things, but if you're one of those looking to go away during June, SLH has the following promotion "7 : 0 for Small Luxury Hotels: Best Escapes from the Soccer World Championship".

With World Cup madness hitting Germany and much of Western Europe, here are seven ways to visit the region and escape to a world of private luxury and ultimate experiences.

Wild Water Rafting in the Austrian alps: Around Kitzbuhel numerous river routes through spectacular mountain gorges are available for wild water rafting excursions, which the Hotel Tennerhof (www.slh.com/tennerhof) can arrange for its guests. A more tranquil alternative exclusiv for hotel guests: Fishing at a lake nearby where the Tennerhof holds private fishing rights.

Falconry in baroque gardens: As stylish as the ambiance of the castle hotel Chateau St. Gerlach (Netherlands) are the leisure activities of this SLH hotel: Golf, Horse-Riding, Tennis and falconry are on offer in the hotel's baroque gardens and in the wonderful nature of the Geul valley. (pictured)

Clay Pigeon shooting high above Mozart town: Salzburg lies afoot the Vitalhotel Kobenzl. On the Gaisberg mountain, high above the city, which celebrates this year Mozart's 250th anniversary, the Hotel offers attractive sporting alternatives: Clay Pigeon shooting, fishing, mountain hiking and biking as well as sailing, tennis and croquet.

Hot Air Balooning in the Black Forest: The Hotel Belle Epoque (www.slh.com/belleepoque), a neo renaissance villa from 1870, arranges sightseeing flights from Baden-Baden into the wonderful nature of the Black Forrest.

Archery in nature's paradise: Golf, Horse-riding, archery, mountain climbing and many more activities offers the Hoteldorf Gruner Baum (www.slh.com/grunerbaum) in the spectacular mountain world of Gastein. The main building of the hotel was built 1831 as hunting lodge for Duke Johann. Besides the countless leisure activities of the hotel the surroundings tempt visitors with romantic castles, dripstone caves and the national parc Hohentauern.

Formula 1 at the Hotel die Hirschgasse: The hotel offers a Formel 1-Package, which includes a three nights stay in a suite with jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet and a bottle of champagne at arrival. Tickets and transfer to the Grand Prix at Hockenheimring can be arranged by the concierge. The package is available from 27 to 30. July 2006 and costs 1.300 Euro per room. www.slh.com/diehirschgasse

Arlberg from a bird's eye view: Many guests of the SLH Hotel Kristiania Lech in Austria (www.slh.com/kistiania) arrive by helicopter and enjoy a bird's eye view of the wonderful alpine nature: only 300 metres from the hotel, guests can also find a paragliding field .

View more Small Luxury Hotels with Five Star Alliance.


Buzzworthy: Tortuga Bay, Dominican Republic

June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Vogue applauds the newest boutique on the "beach-blessed east coast of the Dominican Republic," its glamorous villas designed by Dominican-born Oscar de la Renta. Travel and Leisure describes a gorgeous tropical oasis, where "the only contact to the outside world is a golf cart, a satellite TV hookup, and a cell phone connection to a concierge." Tortuga Bay is located within the Puntacana Resort and Club, which boasts extensive facilities: two golf courses (the one designed by Pete Dye and the other by Tom Fazio), eight restaurants, five bars, and glorious stretches of private white sand beaches. Yet Tortuga Bay is blissfully private and quiet. The 50 suites (situated within 15 villas) were designed by Oscar de la Renta, both inside and out, graced with locally crafted mahogany and rattan furniture. Guests enjoy use of a golf cart (to navigate the awesome facilities, including Puntacana's spa), and are pampered by impeccable service from the personal villa manager who organizes all details of their stay. Needless to say, the stars are flocking to the DR to be pampered with Tortuga Bay's low-key luxury. Summer rates start at $650 for a one-bedroom suite. Related Articles: Vogue, "Travel: Bathing Beauties" Travel and Leisure, "The New Gold Coast" (June 2006)


Summer Savings in Barbados at the Elegant Hotels Group

June 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Turtle Beach

Beachfront properties that offer a superb range of facilities, loads of charm, and lots of informal elegance… The Elegant Hotels are located in some of the most exquisite areas of Barbados; four sit beachfront on the west coast and a fifth, Turtle Beach Resort, sits on the sand on the island's south coast. For a limited time, get incredible savings (up to 30 percent!) with the Elegant Hotels summer sale. Score a deal at the all-inclusive Turtle Beach Resort, for example, with a Junior Suite (Pool/Garden View) for $308. Rates at Crystal Cove start at $332 per night for specified summer stays.

Via Washington Post "What's the Deal?"