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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.

St. Barth’s Hotel Guanahani & Spa Gets a Makeover

August 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

GuanahaniNews from St. Barth's in the French West Indies: the Hotel Guanahani & Spa-- famously open year-round-- has closed its doors for a few months to undergo major renovations. Nested on a private 16-acre peninsula surrounded by the sparkling Caribbean, the luxurious resort has an unparalleled location unlike any other on the island-- boasting two private beaches: one facing the Atlantic and one facing a quiet lagoon perfect for windsurfing on Marigot Bay. Set to reopen on December 15 just in time for the winter season, Hotel Guanahani will be refurbishing its guest rooms, all housed in private bungalows. Some bathrooms will be remodeled to open onto private outdoor gardens, and the terraces/decks of more than 20 rooms will be enlarged and decked out with plush new lounge chairs. Overseen by architect David Schwarz, interior designer Luis Pons and local architect Nicolas Lossent from Lotus Architectes, the renovation will also include the addition of one new, luxury suite that resembles a villa and has exclusive access to a private beach. This Admiral Suite is named for Christopher Columbus, who received the title "Admiral" from the King of Spain after his first expedition to the Americas; he discovered the island of St Barth's during his second expedition in 1493.


Off-Season Deals in the Caribbean at Hermitage Bay and Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

August 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hermitage BaySummer's winding down, so now it's time to start plotting a fall getaway- preferably somewhere fabulous and tropical. We've got our eyes on two heavenly Caribbean properties: the first, an all-adults, all-inclusive resort on the island of Antigua, the second, a sleek boutique hotel on the sand on the Turks and Caicos' Grace Bay, one of the world's most beautiful beaches. Hermitage Bay offers 25 sumptuous private cottage suites spread out across the hillside overlooking Antigua's West Coast. The best part of a stay at this five-star hideaway: the all-inclusive amenities including meals, beverages, and unlimited water sports. On the Turks + Caicos islands, the Gansevoort channels a "sensual island vibe" while also reflecting the urban chic associated with the flagship hotel in New York. On site: a gorgeous infinity pool, trendy beach lounge, and award-winning spa.

We've scouted out some special offers for the fall at these two Caribbean hideaways. Hermitage Bay is offering 30% savings between August 28 and September 5, and also between October 10 and October 30. Three night minimum stay required, with roundtrip airport transfers, meals with drinks and one 30-minute massage included. At the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, stay two nights in September and October and you'll get the third night free (full payment required in advance; October 8 and 9 are black-out dates).


The World’s Best Up and Coming Hotels

August 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James ChicagoIn its August 2010 issue, Travel + Leisure highlights "20 to Watch: 2010's Best Up-and-Coming Hotels," many of which can be found in the Five Star Alliance collection. Predicting "the next hottest hotels around the globe," Travel + Leisure scoured the globe "to pick out this year's new and refurbished, expanding, or otherwise evolving hotels." What the magazine's editors found: domestic hotels are raising the bar, with fantastic luxury hotels in the United States and Canada. So without further ado, here's the list:

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires

Amangiri, Utah

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Four Seasons Beirut

The James Chicago

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

The Peninsula Chicago

The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel

Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan, Paris

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, London

Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, India

Veranda Resort, Turks & Caicos

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia

Destination Spa: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu , Malibu, California


Nominate Someone for Rosewood’s 30 Under 30 Program

July 28, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Carlyle, A Rosewood HotelRosewood Hotels & Resorts is celebrating their 30th anniversary with a special recognition program called 30 Under 30. Do you know someone under 30 who shows special drive and promise and is on their way to becoming a leader in their field? Rosewood is looking for nominations for the program; the individuals should demonstrate qualities that Rosewood considers on par with the company's own core values:

*Mindful of the community

*Leadership with integrity

*Passion of conviction

*Dedication to preserving our natural environment

*Strong sense of life balance

Applications will be accepted through November 1, 2010 and on December 1, Rosewood will debut a website of 30 Under 30, featuring the 30 people who most lead lives of consequence. On behalf of each finalist, Rosewood will make a $100 donation to the non-profit organization of their choice. What's more-- each finalist will enjoy a complimentary dinner for two at any Rosewood property (like The Carlyle in New York, pictured). The grand prize: Rosewood will select just one nominee whose life is truly exemplary to receive a $1,000 donation to the non-profit of their choice and a complimentary three-night stay at any Rosewood hotel or resort. Helping to select the best 30 Under 30 will be a panel of judges including Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor, Jason Binn, CEO of Niche Media and Pamela Fiori, Editor-at-Large of Town & Country.


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

July 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Resort, JamaicaA corner of Caribbean paradise is yours for the taking with exclusive Five Star Alliance rates at Half Moon, the legendary resort nestled on two miles of white sandy beach on Jamaica's Montego Bay. Score a great luxury value starting from just $250 per night in a Garden View room. Snag these discounted rates by booking at Five Star Alliance, then vacation in style with a host of luxurious resort amenities at your fingertips: from the Fern Tree Spa to the 13-lit tennis courts.


Culinary Travel: A Book-Inspired Food Experience at Cap Maison, St. Lucia

July 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap Maison, St. LuciaAttention foodies: you can experience the best of the Caribbean's spice-laden cuisine with a new culinary experience at Cap Maison, the stylish boutique resort perched on an oceanfront bluff on St. Lucia. Inspired by the release of Ann Vanderhoof's book, "The Spice Necklace; My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life," this package deal was designed to give guests the opportunity to create a "foodoir" memoir of their own. Shack up at Cap Maison-- delighting in the setting high above a secluded beach-- and get treated to meals at The Cliff at Cap restaurant, where Executive Chef Craig Jones cooks up creative, contemporary cuisine focusing on the island spices and fresh local ingredients that Vanderhoof discovers during her journey by sailboat through the Eastern Caribbean. Along with all your meals, the package also includes a personalized shopping tour of the Castries Central Market (for West Indian produce and spices galore!), airport transfers, and a complimentary copy of the book. Available through December 18, 2010, "The Spice Necklace" Experience is priced at $2400 per couple for accommodation for three nights in a Villa Suite with pool.

PS. Don't miss the St. Lucian aphrodisiac cocktail the author refers to as "island Viagra"!


Daily Pool Party on St. Bart’s at Hotel Le Toiny

July 8, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Le Toiny, St. BartsWhile vacationing on St. Bart's, stop by Hotel Le Toiny for dynamite eats at Restaurant Le Gaïac. The resto is considered one of the best on the island; Chef Stéphane Mazières was awarded Grand Chef in 2009 by the prestigious Relais & Chateaux Group, the first time a Caribbean eatery has ever snagged this award. Notably, three greenhouses supply the restaurant's farm-to-table fare, with some 20 herbs, veggies and fruit including tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers, egg plant, lettuce, Indian spinach, pineapple, lime and guava. The cuisine may be tops (cod with eggplant mousse and local lemon marmalade, mmmm), but the views are a close second. And when you come for the French Caribbean style lunch, you can stay and enjoy the hotel's pool and outdoor lounging area overlooking the ocean and the Bay of Toiny. Come in your bathing suit and cover-up, indulge in a delicious meal, then chill by the pool for the rest of the day. (It's quite the scene.) Originally just a Sunday brunch affair, the "Dine and Dip" pool party has now been extended daily.

Related Article (a deal at Le Toiny!): Summer Bliss on St. Bart's: 5th Night Free at Hotel Le Toiny


Summer Special in the Turks and Caicos at Seven Stars Resort

June 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Seven Stars ResortHave you heard about the $100 million Seven Stars Resort? When it debuted in April 2008 as the newest property on the white sands of Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos, Seven Stars got rave reviews for its extensive amenities-- from the water sports program to the complimentary Continental breakfast and Internet. The New York Times says: "You can't miss its aqua-colored roofs on the island's fast-developing skyline, and while that might not garner the hotel a seven-star rating, the top-notch service does." Expect the star treatment while you unwind in paradise, lounging in an ocean-facing cabana by the mosaic-lined pool, the beautiful centerpiece of the resort. But it's not just pool attendants who treat guests right; the highest caliber personalized service can be expected in every corner of the resort: the supervised children's program, the dedicated concierge, the private shopping service, and the exclusive island excursions. This summer Seven Stars Resort is luring sun-seekers with a Special Summer Offer-- with room rates starting at $350 per night for a Garden View Junior Suite, with a three-night minimum required. This limited offer is subject to availability at time of booking, valid until September 6, 2010.


Travel Buzz: Ritz-Carlton Hotels Ditches Plastic for Eco-Friendly Water Bottles

June 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Hotels, new eco-friendly water bottlesHot off the press. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is paving the way in finding solutions to the plastic water bottle crisis. Committed to environmental sustainability, the company is leading the pack, reducing plastic bottle use in the hospitality industry by introducing a cutting-edge new technology: an all-natural, biodegradable bottle which is making its debut at Ritz-Carlton properties in North America and the Caribbean. Here's the word from the official press release:

Noting the waste that is caused by using an estimated five million, 16oz plastic bottles every year at the properties, Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, challenged his team responsible for sustainable programs to find a better solution. He noted, “Plastic bottles are made from crude oil, take a significant amount of energy to produce, and less than 20% are sent to recycling facilities. Even when recycled, these bottles cannot be used to make the same quality of plastic,” Cooper said.

After 18 months of research, and working with a variety of vendors, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company developed a partnership with PrimaTM to create a co-branded bottle that is rich with sustainability opportunities. The 16oz bottles are made 100% from plants, are all natural, can decompose in 30 days in a commercial composting facility, or can be reprocessed and remade 100% into new bottles.

Manufacturing the new bottle requires 49% less fossil fuels, 45% less energy, and 75% less greenhouse gases than a PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) classic bottle. In addition, the bottle does not contain BPA (Bisphenol A), the harmful product found in many plastics.


Save 25% at the Swank One & Only Ocean Club, Bahamas

June 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One & Only Ocean Club, BahamasOnce you've stayed at a One & Only resort, it's hard to settle for less. This portfolio of ultra-lux properties-- "conceived as hallmarks of excellence"-- are located in idyllic settings around the globe-- from the pristine blue lagoons of the Maldives to the sandy beaches of the Bahamas. Committed to creating the finest guest experience on every level, these resorts are known for their impeccable service standards, dreamy spas, and top-notch cuisine. The One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, for example, features culinary delights from chef Jean-George Vongerichten at Dune restaurant. And the spa... Let's just put it this way: Head-to-toe pampering doesn't get any better than this. Traditional spa therapies incorporate natural spices, fruits and minerals indigenous to The Bahamas; guests relax in one of eight Balinese-style treatment villas, and are spoiled with herbal teas and fresh fruit in a Japanese Tea Ceremony after the spa treatment. A hedonist's playground of golf, tennis, and water activities, the One & Only Ocean Club guarantees an unforgettable vacation experience. Tip: Take advantage of a special offer of 25% off, valid until November 23, 2010.