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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.

The Luxury Private Yacht at Mandarin Oriental’s Elbow Beach in Bermuda

October 20, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elbow Beach, Bermuda

We've sung the praises of Bermuda's Elbow Beach Resort, recently revamped and repositioned by Mandarin Oriental. A $5.5 million facelift has transformed the property into a boutique resort with just 98 luxury guest rooms and suites, stocked with all the latest, cutting-edge amenities: personal espresso machines, exclusive Mandarin Oriental bedding, iPod docking stations, and more. Nestled on a private beach (with Bermuda's signature pink sand, of course), the resort offers a wide variety of leisure pursuits. One of the best ways to explore the brilliant turquoise waters surrounding the resort is onboard The Venetian, the resort's 100-foot yacht that's billed as "the only truly luxurious super yacht available for charter in Bermuda." Throw a private party on The Venetian and you'll discover the yacht's "flawless design, exemplary crew and some of the finest catering on the sea." Treatments from The Spa at Elbow Beach are also available on board.


Jump into the New Infinity Pool at Grace Bay Club, Turks and Caicos

October 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grace Bay ClubGet ready for an awesome new pool experience at the Grace Bay Club, the first luxury all-suite resort that opened in Turks and Caicos, perched on 11 acres of blissful beach. (The resort is divided into three separate sections for travelers with different tastes, so you've got the adults-only hotel area with its own pool, the family-friendly Villas, and the uber-luxe Estate, boasting its own exclusive amenities.) The resort is getting ready to unveil the culminating feature of its $1 million renovation project: an adults-only, glass-edge infinity pool and bar experience. Now more than twice the size of the original, the redesigned pool has a 12-foot glass wall facing the turquoise Caribbean, said to create an "aquarium-type experience." While relaxing poolside, guests will be able to sip cocktails from the Infiniti Bar, the longest bar in the Caribbean, stretching across the Club to the beach. Also to be unveiled in November: the enhanced Anani Spa featuring a new treatment room with an outdoor soaking tub, Fitness Center, and Boutique.


Buzz: The Boating Butler and Island Hopper Experience at Westin St. John Resort

October 8, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin St. John ResortKeen to frolic between all the tropical Caribbean isles that make up the US Virgin Islands? The Westin St. John Resort has just launched a unique new service that lets you do exactly that. Coordinated by a Boating Butler, the "Island Hopper Experience" lets adventurous guests explore the open waters with personalized boating adventures-- from St. John to St. Thomas to St. Croix and back. Book a five-night "Island Hopper Experience" and you'll receive a resort credit of $150 that can be applied at time of checkout towards boat rentals. Stays of six nights or greater receive a $200 resort credit. Choose between the following:

* For the whimsical wanderluster : Catamaran Island Spirit

"Island Spirit" is a brand new custom built sailing catamaran, the first of its kind in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the vessel can accommodate up to 70 passengers. The cabin features a large U shaped bar for beverage and food service, upholstered seating in both sun or shaded areas, and stereo throughout the vessel.

* For the family frolicker: Dinghy boat rental

Be your own captain aboard a 12 foot dinghy powered by a 15 hp Yamaha outboard. Take a picnic lunch and cruise the U.S. Virgin Islands at your own pace. Visit stunning beaches like, Honeymoon, Caneel, Hawksnest and Trunk Bay.

Westin St. John Resort* For the adventurous explorer: Powerboat Rentals with Nauti Nymph

Fountain Powerboats offer simplified elegance teamed up with the highest quality and best performance. The vessel makes for one of the smoothest riding, best handling and safest boats in its class.

* For the sophisticated traveler: Luxury Excursion with Magic Moments

Magic Moments Luxury Excursions caters to guests who want to discover the heights of luxury at sea level. Offering first class service and gourmet food and drink aboard a luxury yacht, guests are pampered with breathtaking destinations in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

* For the underwater voyager: Cruz Bay Watersports Diving Experience

Scuba diving around St. John is best described as fantastic, safe, easy and fun. Divers can discover more than 25 under water sites within a 15 minute boat ride. Shallow coral gardens, shear rock faces, and fringing coal reefs have an outstanding variety of hard and soft corals, sea fans and sponges of every hue. Visibility ranges from 50-100 feet, and water temperature between 78-84 degrees.

The offer is available for stays booked now through December 30, 2010, and is subject to availability. An "Island Hopper Experience" of at least five nights includes one free night, and also a complimentary upgrade based on availability.


Ritz-Carlton Rolls Out the Hotel Credits

October 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Grand CaymanWeekend getaway, here we come. Ritz-Carlton may never slash their room rates to lure guests, but they certainly know how to reel in well-heeled clients with alluring enticements. The "Reconnect" package is back, perfect for a quick, rejuvenating escape with luxurious accommodations, breakfast, and up to a $100 resort/hotel credit per night that can be used for shopping, dining, or spa services. All served on a silver platter, Ritz-Carlton style. Plan an adventure to a resort like Grand Cayman (pictured), Powerscourt, Half Moon Bay or Palm Beach (dining under the stars, anyone?), or plot a city escape to a world-class urban hotel.


$10 for the 3rd Night: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Unveils the 10/10/10 Promotion

October 6, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Key WestHow does a $10/room sound to you? At some swank Starwood hotels in 10 different southern U.S. and Caribbean destinations? This hot deal is yours for the taking-- as the one-of-a-kind date 10/10/10 fast approaches. Starwood Hotels & Resorts is rolling out their 10/10/10 promotion: 10 (Days to Book)/ 10 (Amazing Destinations)/ $10 (For the Third Night). Here's the deal: Just book two consecutive nights now through October 13, 2010-- for travel by December 23, 2010-- and you'll get your third night for just 10 bucks. (Subject to availability.)

Participating Caribbean Starwood Hotels and Resorts include the following properties: The Westin St. John Resort & Villas, USVI; Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort; Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino; The Westin Resort, Aruba; W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island; The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico; The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman.

Participating Continental U.S. Starwood Hotels & Resorts include the following properties: Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel; The Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale; The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida; The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa; The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa; W Fort Lauderdale; W South Beach; Walt Disney World Dolphin; Walt Disney World Swan; The Westin La Cantera Resort, San Antonio; Sheraton Sand Key Resort; Sheraton Suites Key West; Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort; The Ballantyne, Charlotte; The Westin Key West Resort & Marina.


Puerto Rico Fall Getaway: Discounts at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza

October 1, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad San Juan Condado PlazaLooking for a beach break just a short flight from the East Coast? A fall getaway for a song? Think Puerto Rico, where sandy beaches and alluring cocktails await. The Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza is offering an irresistible package deal with low rates and lots of perks. The Fall Getaways Promotion is priced from $179 per night and gives lucky guests a third night free. But that's not all. You'll also get 20 percent off spa treatments at the Zen Spa, a 10 percent discount at the hotel’s in-house car rental desk, a $25 casino match bet coupon and 20 percent off at participating restaurants, including Eight Noodle Bar (with late night hours) and the poolside Aqua Bar & Grill. Unique to the Conrad: a beach in downtown San Juan! The resort has it all-- from water sports and tennis to a 24-hour casino and a sprawling pool complex including San Juan's only filtered saltwater pool. The promotion, associated with Puerto Rico Getaways, must be booked by October 31, 2010 and is available for travel now through January 15, 2011.


Laid-Back Luxury on St. Barth’s: Le Sereno Gets Five-Star Status

September 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Sereno, St. Barth'sIt comes as no surprise that Le Sereno-- the intimate beachfront hotel on the French Caribbean isle of St. Barth's-- just nabbed five-star accreditation under the French government's new hotel ratings system. Le Sereno is the first St. Barth's property to achieve this status. (Previously, the system maxed out at four stars.) Situated on the famous Grand Cul-de-Sac beach with views over the turquoise lagoon, Le Sereno has just 37 suites and three new 7,000 square foot Villas designed by Parisian designer Christian Liaigre. With full access to the hotel's amenities, these independent Villas feature their own private pools and gardens. Guests can expect impeccable service from a round-the-clock staff. At this stylish sanctuary, guests have access to a beach club with attendants and freshwater swimming pool, in-room spa treatments by La Ligne St Barth and a fitness center. Not to be missed: The Restaurant des Pecheurs which specializes in fresh seafood simply and elegantly prepared.


The Dream Within a Dream - The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Dominican Republic

September 14, 2010
By: Daniel L. Moses

The Reserve at Paradisus Palma RealHave you seen the movie ‘Inception’ yet? I have. It’s pretty good stuff. But you’re probably now wondering how it relates to luxury travel, and more specifically, this blog. Well, it doesn’t really, but I’m making a point here. In the movie, and this is no great spoiler, Leonardo DiCaprio and his ‘Inception’ co-stars exploit the world of people’s dreams for their own various profit motives. Occasionally, when they need to do something especially awesome, they use the famous “dream within a dream” move. The dream within a dream is especially useful for those who might know they’re dreaming. Anyway, but I digress. The point of all this is that there is such a place on this great planet that is the luxury hotel equivalent of a dream within a dream, a place so special that only a few are allowed to enjoy its excellence.

That place is The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. You see, Paradisus is already an immaculate resort, with some of the best beaches, dining, golf, and you name it, but The Reserve takes it one step further. With Residential Concierge Suites, Suites with a private garden, Swim-up Suites, and (perhaps the dream within a dream within a dream) Presidential Suites, The Reserve doesn’t just want you to stay in luxury. That part is covered. The Reserve wants you to feel like royalty. You, and your family of princes and princesses if you so desire, will be made to feel like the king and/or queen that you deserve.

So while you may not have seen ‘Inception’, you can still be a part of that dream within a dream at The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.


Hotel Discounts with Voluntourism: Give & Getaway with RockResorts

September 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Landings St LuciaAcross the globe, voluntourism projects are taking off. Hotels from Texas to the Maldives are giving discounts on accommodations when guests sign up for volunteering projects. Another example: the Give & Getaway program with RockResorts. They'll arrange an environmental conservation project for you-- such as light trail maintenance or working on an area community farm-- and you'll get a reduced rate on your stay plus complimentary swag like hydration packs. Give back to the environment and get rewarded for your efforts! Participating hotels in the RockResorts portfolio include:

The Arrabelle at Vail Square & The Lodge at Vail - Vail, Colorado

Guests have the option of two different dates doing trail restoration work in the Vail area.

Snake River Lodge & Spa - Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Snake River Lodge & Spa is partnering with Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation to remove miles of old buck and rail fence surrounding Grand Teton National Park.

The Landings St. Lucia – Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Spend the day harvesting locally grown fruits with St. Lucians on a working warm and end the day sampling locally caught seafood at the Anse La Ray Friday Fish Fry!


Last Summer Fling in the Caribbean: 3rd Night Free at Half Moon Resort

August 30, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Resort, JamaicaExtend the summer with a jaunt to the Caribbean for some sun, sand, and surf before the cold days of autumn are upon us. Jamaica's Half Moon Resort-- home to a championship golf course, 13 tennis courts, the sumptuous Fern Tree Spa, and an exclusive dolphin lagoon-- has extended its Third Night Free promotion. For a limited time only (through September 30, 2010), travelers can book three nights for the price of two and enjoy accomodations at the luxurious resort located on Montego Bay in Rose Hall. This special offer is for travel from September 1 - October 31, 2010. Plus, as The Washington Post points out, "kids younger than 16 stay free in their parents' room."

Related Article:

Great Luxury Value in the Caribbean with Five Star Alliance Rates at Half Moon