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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.

Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro: The Jewel of South America

April 30, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Copacabana Palace There's no bad time to visit Rio. So what if it's autumn; you can always heat things up in Brazil! And the off-season means cheaper airfares and deals aplenty. Head to Copacabana beach to experience the unrivaled beauty of Rio's world-famous sand and surf. Here, the Copacabana Palace looms over the beach in all its splendor (and not just any part of the beach-- we're talking prime Rio real estate). The Copacabana Palace is so legendary, so famous, it's secured its own listing in the book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. Indeed the Copacabana Palace embodies the glamour of Rio. Throughout the hotel's distinguished history, royalty, film stars, politicians, and business leaders have flocked to the sophisticated meeting place for Rio's high society. The hotel's dining establishments-- The Hotel Cipriani Restaurant and The Pergula Restaurant-- are two of the city's finest. Other facilities include semi-Olympic size swimming pool, tennis court, Fitness Centre, Beauty Salon, and Beach Service. The 6th floor Penthouse suites feature works of art, oriental carpets and French fabrics and an exclusive swimming pool.


Buzzworthy: Small Luxury Hotels Adds Properties in South America

March 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel Say hello to the latest additions to the prestigious hotel collection of SLH. We've raved before about Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel in Peru, the luxury boutique gem actually located within Machu Picchu's Historical Sanctuary. Surrounded by stunning waterfalls and lush cloud forest, this mountainside refuge features whitewashed cottages, a glass-walled restaurant, and terraces boasting impressive views. This is the perfect location from which to explore the historic trails of the Incas. (Rates start at $350 per night.) Correntoso Lake and River Hotel in Patagonia, Argentina is likewise surrounded by incredible natural beauty, set over the mouth of the Correntoso river where it meets the Nahuel Huapi lake in Patagonia. Within this unparalleled scenic setting at the foot of the Andes, the 27-room hotel provides a haven for adventure enthusiasts and luxury travelers. (Rates start at $290 a night.)


Fifth Night Free at Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

March 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Costa RicaExperience the magic of a tropical forest. Trek below the leafy canopy as howler monkeys swing overhead. Spot hummingbirds from your treetop verandah. Explore two unspoiled beaches just steps from the resort. Drift off with a massage in the beautiful, indigenous spa. Soak up the mesmerizing views from the comfort of your generously-sized guest room, which blends luxurious indoor and outdoor living spaces. At the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, enjoy life as a pampered species. Get a complimentary fifth night when you pay for four consecutive nights. Rates begin at $470 per room, per night. Available from April 21- November 16, 2007.


Far-Flung Journeys with International Expeditions

February 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

International Expeditions Announcing new, exciting destinations with International Expeditions, the world leader in nature travel tours and environmentally responsible expeditions. Listed on Travel and Leisure magazine's 2006 list of "World's Best" tour operators, International Expeditions plans small-ship voyages and enriching land expeditions with exceptional naturalist guides. The Far-Flung Adventures take you to all corners of the world-- remarkable, less-traveled places like the Sahara, Falkland Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Croatia and Bhutan. You stay in top-rate accommodations, from stylish riverboats on the Amazon to romantic tented camps in Africa. Samplings of upcoming adventures include: Bhutan-- learn about the cultures of this remote Himalayan kingdom, and explore its pristine environment (June 19, 2007, 14 days from $4,298), Mongolia-- explore the Gobi Desert, Lake Hovsgol, Hustain Nuruu National Reserve and the rich nomadic cultures of Mongolia (June 22, 2007, 14 days from $3,998), Papua New Guinea-- take in one of the last of the great highland "sing-sings," and visit the most interesting river villages (August 15, 2007, 19 days from $7,698), and Cape to Cairo-- journey to the most compelling places on the entire African continent on the expedition to see the "Best of Africa" (October 22, 2007, 18 days from $14,498).


What’s Hot: Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Quepos, Costa Rica

February 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gaia Hotel and ReserveCongratulations to Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Costa Rica's luxurious hideaway, for winning a prestigious award from Conde Nast Johansens. The international luxury travel guide recently named Gaia "Most Excellent Hotel" for the entire Central America and Mexico region. This fabulous, eco-friendly hotel deserves some serious props. Nestled in the gorgeous coastal forests near Manuel Antonio National Park, the hotel's beautiful suites feature wrap-around views of the lush tropical surroundings. (You can even appreciate the sensational vistas while soaking in your own Jacuzzi.) This is an exotic setting without compare. Dedicated to the preservation of the pristine nature preserve surrounding the property, Gaia offers sublime luxury and a chic ambience. Conveniences include full-service spa, al fresco dining room, three-tiered infinity-edge pool, gym, restaurant, private butler service, and 24/7 room service.


Serious Savings at Cayo Espanto, Ambergris Cay, Belize

January 29, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cayo Espanto

This is almost too good to be true. The exclusive private island of Cayo Espanto, located just eight minutes by boat from Ambergris Cay, Belize, has discounted its rates more than 40 percent for five night stays. For a limited time, take advantage of rates starting from $995 per couple, per night (compared to the usual $1,695 per night), including meals and transportation from the San Pedro Airport. The ultra-luxurious Cayo Espanto pampers guests with spa services, private plunge pools, personalized gourmet meals, and 24-hour butler service. From your own oceanfront villa, enjoy 180 degree wrap-around views of the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. Or contemplate the blue deep from your private dock, or al fresco shower. Activities are plentiful: fly-fishing, sailing, boating, conching, and scuba diving and snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world. But hurry, you must book this offer by February 14, 2007.

Via Washington Post "What's the Deal?"

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Buzzworthy: Villa Camilla, Azuero Peninsula, Panama

January 4, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Camilla

Renowned French architect Gilles Saint-Gilles has transformed his bold vision into sublime reality with the beautiful Villa Camilla, which opened on Panama's idyllic Pacific coast in December 2005. "I want to live a refined lifestyle that doesn't compromise my childrens' future,” so says the architect, who has created a luxurious, exclusive retreat in harmony with the spectacular natural surroundings of lush green hills and sparkling Pacific. With a team of European craftsmen, Gilles built on-site workshops to train local artisans who have designed virtually every component of the guesthouse and private homes on-site: teak doors and shutters, bamboo ceilings, terra cotta brick floors, Chiriqui stone walls, and parquet floors patterned from purpleheart wood mixed with French oak wine caskets-- the ultimate mix of the Old World and New. This attention to detail has also been focused on the natural environment, as Gilles' team has restored the Tropical Dry Forest eco-system that originally existed in the province, providing wildlife habitat for the future. Villa Camilla (and its aesthetically magnificent guest rooms) is just one aspect of this elegant oceanside community; it is possible to purchase one of 71 lots and Saint-Gilles will custom-design the home to build on it.


Buzzworthy: Fasano Hotel, Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

November 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rio de Janeiro

The legendary Fasano Hotel of São Paulo-- site of one of the best Italian restaurants in the world-- is coming to Rio de Janeiro. Destined to wow both trendsetting locals and savvy travelers alike, the elegant new hotel will be situated in the heart of Ipanema Beach. Rogerio Fasano commissioned Philippe Starck in its design, which exudes understated sophistication, with decor from the 1950's and 60's. From the rooftop (guests only), the views are absolutely spectacular. In addition to the happening Lobby Lounge, Londra, the hotel features the Fasano Al Mare, Rogerio Fasano's gastronomic restaurant (serving traditional Italian seafood), beautiful pool, fitness center, sauna, massage and coffee shop for light meals.

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Explore the Amazon in Peru with International Expeditions

November 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amazon Expedition

For 25 years, International Expeditions travelers have been observing the natural wonders of the Amazon on riverboat expeditions in Peru. The Amazon is the mightiest river in the world, surrounded by pristine rainforest which shelters the most diverse ecosystem on the planet. On the 10-day expedition, travelers voyage along the Amazon's tributaries and see incredible wildlife: monkeys, birds, sloths, pink and gray dolphins, and more. The expedition travels deep into the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest wetland reserve in the world. Expert local naturalist guides accompany each expedition. Despite the remote rainforest locale, guests enjoy fine accommodations-- state rooms are elegant, the bathrooms, spacious-- and delicious cuisine. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer and enjoy savings of $500 per person. Explore the Peruvian Amazon on a 10-day journey with International Expeditions departing January 5, 2007 and get a real deal (It's often hard to persuade people to travel anywhere the first week of January, and thus there are still some spots remaining for this voyage. IE is rolling back the prices as a special inducement to fill the spots.) Lower deck cabins are priced at $2,398, and upper deck cabins for $2,498. Hurry! Just a few spots left. Call 1-800-633-4734 for reservations.


Cycling and Walking Trips in Europe with Duvine Adventures

October 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Duvine Adventures

Recently the French Tourist Office recognized Duvine Adventures with a grand award (Best Special Interest Product in France) for its deluxe, personalized bicycle trips through the unspoiled villages of Europe. The French aren't the only ones who love Duvine. Time, Bicycling, and Outside have all raved about the tours, where lucky cyclists experience stunning landscapes, charming inns and chateaux, and gourmet cuisine and fine wines. It's one of the best ways to encounter the off-the-beaten-path joys of European destinations. And now Duvine has grown to include other destinations (with year round availability), including tours in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Napa and Sonoma counties in California. Beginning in 2007, Duvine will also offer walking tours in France, Italy, and Ireland. Check out their new movie.