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The 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.


Perched on the 14th and 15th floors overlooking the harbor, the spacious Admiral Suites at the Four Seasons Baltimore feature floor-to-ceiling windows with waterfront views. Furnished in chic earth tones, the suites have American black-walnut woodwork, hardwood floors, contemporary artwork, mingled with accents of blue and gold. There are stone-clad built-in fireplaces within each suite, and the living rooms have large LCD TVs with Bose home theater systems.  Plus, there are expansive outdoor patios with seating areas, and in-suite powder rooms for guests. Read more below the photo.

The Admiral Suite Living Room at the Four Seasons Baltimore

Ideal for entertaining, the Admiral Suites have separate dining rooms with custom-designed dining tables with seating for eight people. There are fully-equipped pantries with stainless Sub Zero and Wolf appliances, as well as wet bars.  Continue reading below the photo.

Admiral Suite Dining Room at the Four Seasons Baltimore

Within each Admiral Suite, there is a secluded bedroom with plush amenities and an en suite marble bath with heated tile floors. There's also glass-walled showers, large soaking tubs, and dual sinks. For additional space, the suites can be connected to an additional guest room.

Admiral Suite Master Bath at Four Seasons Baltimore

The Four Seasons Baltimore provides a resort-like retreat in the heart of Harbor East. Surrounded by a strollable waterfront neighborhood with shopping, upscale dining, and entertainment, the hotel offers a variety of amenities including an outdoor splash terrace with a lap pool and restaurant, full-service spa, 24-hour business services, and a house car. 

Learn more about the Four Seasons Baltimore


Set along Rue Saint Sulpice in Montreal's historic quarter, Le Saint-Sulpice Hotel Montreal offers an all-suite setting tucked behind Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. Adjacent to the Sulpician Gardens and a quiet religious community, the hotel was built around historic stone walls that can be seen in some of the hallways, event spaces (photo below), and select suites. Recently, Five Star Alliance had the opportunity to stay at the property. Continue reading about the experience below.

Event Space at Le Saint-Sulpice

From the moment guests step inside from the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal, the hotel encourages visitors to "Indulge Your Imagination" through cinema, art, and literature. This theme is infused throughout the hotel within artwork and music. The "Body and Soul" exhibit turns the boutique hotel into an art gallery with an immersive experience where using a mobile phone or tablet, guests can listen to music by Quebec Composer François Dompierre and violinist Angèle Dubeau while discovering portraits created by Quebec designer Jean-Claude Poitras, spread throughout five floors. Read more below the photo of one of the art installations.

Art installation at Le Saint-Sulpice

Within the suites, guests are invited to watch "La Valise" a short film produced by the hotel, and to read "Suite Stories, The Book" featuring a collection of short stories created by 14 authors who wrote the stories while staying at the hotel. The book is also available for purchase. 

The spacious accommodations have kitchenettes with Nespresso machines, minifridges, microwaves, and sinks. There's also a full range of dishes, making it an ideal setting for travelers seeking to prepare simple in-room meals, or travelers planning longer stays. Continue reading below the photo.

Suite Kitchenette at Le Saint-Sulpice

There are sitting areas with couches and coffee tables, large work desks, and French style windows that fully open to allow fresh breezes into the suites.

Suite Living Room at Le Saint-Sulpice

Bathrooms (which are set to be renovated throughout 2017) offer dual sinks, walk-in showers, soaking tubs, and L'Occitane bath products. 

Suite Bathroom at Le Saint-Sulpice

Editor's Note: For a truly unique setting, the Presidential Suite offers an exceptional space with a large living room, fireplace, and a spacious terrace with views of the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. Read more after the photo.

Presidential Suite Terrace at Le Saint-Sulpice

Le Saint-Sulpice Montreal has the Sinclair Restaurant with chef-prepared contemporary cuisine, as well as an outdoor terrace ideal for enjoying dinner or a weekend brunch during the warmer months. There's a lobby lounge for cocktails, and in-room dining is also available. Surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and historic sites, the property is an ideal setting for exploring Old Montreal. 

Check rates and availability at Le Saint-Sulpice Montreal


Featured Journeys: Luxury Tour of Japan

In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a Luxury Tour of Japan. The country's four main islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku) are connected via a network of railways. For this journey, we recommend beginning in Tokyo, then using the country's network of trains to reach Kyoto and Osaka. Japan's shinkansen (bullet trains) operate local and express routes, while long-haul routes referred to as futsū or kaku-eki-teisha, have green car carriages which are more spacious and similar to business class. 


Tokyo
Kyoto
Osaka

Tokyo

This megapolis offers a study of contrasts, from Shiodome's skyscrapers to the trendy Harajuku, and Zen-like gardens that come alove with cherry blossome in the springtime, Tokyo offers a mix of urban settings and traditional gardens. For a spectacular display of Japanese arts, visit the Tokyo National Museum. Be sure to meander the indoor Tsukiji Fish Market--one of the largest fish markets in the world, and go to the 45th floor of the Tokyo Government Office (TMG) for a panoramic view of the metropolis and Mount Fuji on clear days. When it's time for contemplation, head to Hama Rikyu Garden with fish ponds, moon-viewing pavilion, and teahouses. From the garden's pier, visitors can board the ferry to Asakusa, filled with traditional homes and narrow streets that were once the pleasure quarters of the old Edo. The area, sometimes referred to as shitamachi (old town), is also home to the Buddhist Sensoji Temple, dating back to A.D. 628, it is the city's oldest temple, and it is reachable via the Nakimise Dori, a colorful pedestrian lane lined with shops selling traditional products and souvenirs. For electronics, Akihabara is Japan's shopping destination for electronics, appliances, gadgets, and the latest gizmos, while Ginza is Tokyo's upscale shopping district with international boutiques, exclusive restaurants, and department stores. Nightlife options include kabuki dance-drama shows at Kabuki-za, sumo wrestling at Kokugikan Stadium, and Nippon Professional Baseball games from late March to early October. 

Here are a few of the top Tokyo Luxury Hotels:

Aman Tokyo

Suite bathroom at the Aman Tokyo

Perched on the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo combines modernity and tradition. Designed to offer a warm sanctuary, guest rooms and suite feature Washi paper, timbers, and stone furnishings mingled with luxurious fabrics. Located in Otemachi, the property is close to Tokyo Station and the Nihonbashi district. 

Check availability at Aman Tokyo

 

The Peninsula Tokyo

The Pool at The Peninsula Tokyo

Opposite the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park, The Peninsula Tokyo is steps away from the upscale shopping district of Ginza. From the outdoor terrace of The Peninsula Spa, guests can see the Imperial Palace, or relax in the indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, saunas, and relaxation areas. Offering five unique restaurants, the property also has a wedding chapel, Japanese ceremony room, two ballrooms, and six function rooms.

Learn more about The Peninsula Tokyo

 

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

The Lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Upon arrival at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, guests are ushered to a private entrance and whisked to the hotel's Sky Lobby on the 38th floor. For a serene experience, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental has heat and water experiences, a crystal steam room for meditation, four treatment rooms, and five private spa suites with views of the city 36 floors below. There's also gourmet dining, and a fully-equipped fitness center with a high-tech gymnasium. 

Check availability at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

 

Explore all Tokyo Luxury Hotels

 

Kyoto

While Tokyo may showcase the futuristic side of Japan, Kyoto offers visitors a glimpse into the country's mysterious past. Featuring thousands of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, visitors can travel back in time to the city's age of empires at the Imperial Palace with moat-ringed gardens and the cypress wood carvings at Nijo Castle. In Gion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, geishas glide through cobblestone alleys past traditional teahouses, and Ryoanji provides a peaceful rock garden setting for meditation. As the craft capital of Japan, the Kyoto Handicraft Center is the place to find fans, wooden combs, and fabrics ideal for hosting a tea ceremony, while department stores are best for kimonos and lacquerwares. Kyoto is also filled with cherry trees, making it an ideal destination during sakara, the cherry blossom season (usually mid-March to mid-April) with Imperial Palace Park (Kyoto Gosho) and the canalside Path of Philosophy (Tetsugaku-no-Michi) both offering ideal places to view the blossoms. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

The Garden Terrace Suite Tatami at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

Providing scenic views of the Higashiyama Sanju-Roppo, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto is located on the banks of the Kamogawa River. The property's 134 guest rooms and suites were designed by Remedios Design Studio and feature a blend of traditional Japanese decor, Kyoto craft traditions, and luxurious modern comforts such as private Zen garden terrace decks, traditional tatami mats, and views of the river and Higashiyama mountains. 

Learn more about The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

 

The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

Receiving guests since 1890, The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto is perched on a hilltop with 16 acres of Japanese gardens and a wild bird sanctuary. Close to temples and Kyoto sites, there's a light-filled indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light and mountain views, plus a seasonal Lake Biwa-shaped outdoor pool. 

Check availability at The Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto

 

Suiran

Springtime at Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Situated along the river, Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel, is located within a historic Kyoto community. Steps away from the Tenryu-ji World Heritage Site, the hotel provides an authentic Japanese experience. There are two restaurants on-site serving local cuisine, plus a spa nestled within a Japanese garden with two treatment rooms featuring open-air baths with healing waters from the Arashiyama hot springs. 

Learn more about Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel

 

Explore all Kyoto Luxury Hotels

 

Osaka

Considered the Gateway to Western Japan, Osaka has a history dating back nearly 1,500 years. Over time, the city became an important distribution center, especially for the rice trade. Today, Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, and known as an international and progressive business center. The Osaka Castle was built about 400 years ago, offering visitors a glimpse into the past along with panoramic city views from the castle's observation deck. To learn more about the city, the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living has a replica of the city and a variety of exhibits. One of the city's most recognizable landmarks is the Umeda Sky Building, which has an observation deck, and Universal Studios Japan is a short train ride from the city. Known for its strong food culture, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and udon should be on visitors lists of foods to try.

The St. Regis Osaka

The St. Regis Osaka

Set along the famed street of Midosuji, referred to as the Champs Elysées of Osaka, The St. Regis Osaka provides an ultra-luxe setting with gastronomic discoveries and high end services, including personalized St. Regis Butler Service. There's multiple gourmet dining options, and guest rooms have upscale amenities including pillow menus with 11 options, 300-thread-count-sheets, and espresso machines. Plus, the Family Traditions program offers unique experiences geared toward young travelers.

Check availability at The St. Regis Osaka

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

Japanese Suite at the Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

Within walking distance of boutique shopping and ancient sites, The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka is located in the prestigious Nishi-Umeda district. Featuring a style reminiscent of an 18th century English manor house, the hotel has a 450-piece art and antique collection. There's Japanese, Chinese, and Italian restaurants, plus a spa, and fitness center with a heated indoor pool, saunas, and indoor and outdoor whirlpools. 

Learn more about The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

 

Hotel Hankyu International

Hotel Hankyu International

Featuring European-inspired interiors, Hotel Hankyu International occupies the top ten floors and the first six levels of the Applause Tower. Inspired by the 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, public spaces evoke the feel of Venice and Florence with atrium ceilings, a courtyard with a fountain, and elevators with golden ceilings. Overlooking the city, mountains, and Yodo River, guest rooms and suites have spacious bathrooms with marble floors and large windows. 

Check availability at Hotel Hankyu International

Explore all Osaka Luxury Hotels

 

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Offering a grand balcony with panoramic views of old Kongens Nytorv square, the Royal Suite at Hotel D'Angleterre provides a palatial setting in the heart of Copenhagen. The legendary suite has welcomed political icons, Hollywood legends, and pop stars to its opulent space with gilded paneling and gleaming chandeliers. Read more below the balcony photo.

Royal Suite Balcony at Hotel D'Angleterre

Within the suite there is a master bedroom with a DUX king bed and en-suite marble bathroom featuring a bathtub with TV, separate shower, douche toilet, and Amazing Space Spa bathroom amenities. Continue reading below the photos of the master bedroom and bathroom. 

Royal Suite Master Bedroom at the Hotel D'Angleterre

Royal Suite Bathroom at Hotel D'Angleterre

There's a spacious living room with a 42-inch B&O LED TV and media hub, a private dining room, and a minibar with a Nespresso machine. Guests of the Royal Suite are welcomed with fresh fruit, homemade gourmet chocolates, and a bottle of champagne. Plus, complimentary airport transfers are available. For additional space, the Royal Suite can be combined with the rest of the first floor, making it the largest presidential suite in Copenhagen. Read more below the photo. 

Royal Suite Dining Room at  Hotel D'Angleterre

The Hotel D'Angleterre Copenhagen is a neoclassic palace fully refurbished in 2013, which maintained its 1870s historical aspects while blending in the latest technology and modern elegance. Offering an iconic setting in the heart of Copenhagen, the property has a Michelin star restaurant, spa, fitness center, and indoor swimming pool. Situated next to the Royal Danish Theatre on the Kongens Nytorv Square, the hotel offers a centralized location connected to the Strøget pedestrian shopping street. 

Check rates and availability at Hotel D'Angleterre Copenhagen


Sponsored Post*

Located in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, Belmond Charleston Place blends Southern charm with elegance and luxury. Continue reading below the photo.

Courtyard of Belmond Charleston Place

Now having recently completed a $40 million, four-year renovation project, this landmark hotel is at its finest. Tailored to embrace the iconic allure of the Holy City, 434 guest rooms and suites radiate a historic essence while embracing the innovative lifestyle of today. The rooms feature sophisticated, modern designs and slick, in-room technology like one touch lighting and high-speed wireless internet. The redesigned Club Level is available by private access only and is located on the top two floors of the hotel. With a picturesque view of the Charleston skyline, the Club Lounge offers a cosmopolitan space including a marble bar, cozy banquette that spans an entire wall and complimentary all day food and beverage service. Read more below the photo.

Newly Renovated Guest Room at Belmond Charleston Place

Enjoy the heated, rooftop mineral water pool and the adjacent Clock Tower Terrace, a new rooftop bar overlooking historic King Street. And now offering even more space to unwind, Meeting at Market, a sophisticated yet relaxing pub, caters to all sport enthusiasts, while the Thoroughbred Club’s new patio allows guests to bask in the fresh outdoors with a cocktail during their stay. Read more below the photo.

Meeting at Market Pub at Belmond Charleston Place

Belmond Charleston Place is the perfect place for you to experience the undisputed charm of Charleston, SC in a setting unlike any other. The hotel offers newly renovated, luxurious rooms and suites, Four Diamond restaurants, a full-service spa and rooftop pool, refined shopping and unbeatable Sothern hospitality. 

Check rates and availability at Belmond Charleston Place

Rooftop Pool at the Belmond Charleston Place

*The content of this sponsored article was provided by Belmond Charleston Place. Offers and details are subject to change.


Featured Journeys: Luxury Road Trip Along California's Highway 1In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a luxury road trip along California's iconic Highway One. Set along the coastline, and extending over 600 miles, this picturesque route is one of the most famous driving routes in the world. We recommend starting your journey in San Francisco then heading south to Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Laguna Beach. Please note: Due to winter storms, part of Highway One is closed. It is set to reopen mid-April, but please check on the status of road closures before planning your trip. 

San Francisco
Monterey
Santa Barbara
Laguna Beach

San Francisco

The journey begins in San Francisco. Offering an international airport with gateways around the world, begin your road trip here, spending a few days exploring what the city has to offer, then continue on down the coast. Known as the "City by the Bay" this iconic locale is home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombardi Street, and Alcatraz. Ride the cable cars, tour a Victorian mansion, take in the views at Golden Gate Park, and sample some authentic flavors in Chinatown. Editor's note: From April to September, the San Francisco Giants play in the heart of the city at AT&T Park, an ideal place to try some regional cuisine while taking in a ballgame with stellar views of the city. 

Here are a few of our top San Francisco hotels:

Fairmont San Francisco

Fairmont San Francisco Signature Golden Gate Suite

Set atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco is a landmark hotel with an iconic setting, that sits at the only point in San Francisco where each of the city's cable car lines meet. Known for its grandeur and reputation for impeccable service, the grand property has a Penthouse Suite that spans the entire eight floor of the historic Main Building. Guest rooms blend historic charm with modern elegance, and there is the famous Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, offering Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine and a Tiki-style setting where thunder and rain storms occur as part of the entertainment. Planning this trip with a family or group? The Fairmont offers a Double Queen with a pull-out sofa bed. 

Check rates at the Fairmont San Francisco

 

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Occupying an entire city block in downtown, the Palace Hotel was built in the Golden Age of Travel. The 1909 Beaux-Arts property greets guests with wrought iron filigree work, gold leaf embellishment, and angels over every doorway. Once inside, there are marble floors, coved ceilings, and soaring archways. Recently renovated guest rooms and suites feature historic details, mixed with modern amenities and furnishings in plum, charcoal, and dove grey. There are three famous restaurants: The Garden Court, GC Lounge, and the Pied Piper, plus an indoor sky-lit swimming pool, and 24-hour fitness center. 

Learn more about the Palace Hotel

 

Four Seasons San Francisco

Four Seasons San Francisco

Two blocks from Union Square's famed shopping district, the Four Seasons San Francisco offers a centralized SoMa location on Market Street across from Yerba Buena Gardens. Featuring modern decor with a neutral color palette, guest rooms have a residential feel with floor-to-ceiling windows providing city views, spacious marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, and glass-enclosed showers. There's an on-site spa, children's amenities, a 75-foot indoor lap pool for adults at the adjoining Equinox Sports Club, and the MKT Restaurant.

Check rates and availability at Four Seasons San Francisco

Explore more San Francisco luxury hotels

 

Monterey

About two hours south of downtown San Francisco, Monterey is a historic fishing town. Today, the famous Cannery Row is home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, art studios, boutiques, and restaurants. Close to Big Sur, Carmel-by-the Sea, and Pebble Beach, the picturesque area offers a variety of luxury lodging, as well as golf, upscale shopping, vineyards, and opportunities to see local wildlife including whales, sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Be sure to go along the 17-mile drive for some of the best scenery and to visit our first featured luxury hotel in the Monterey area. 

Here are a few of our top Monterey hotels:

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

Set at the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Lodge at Pebble Beach provides an oceanside setting. Guest rooms feature views of golf course and sea, along with wood burning fireplaces, patios or balconies, and marble bathrooms. In addition to the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Spa at Pebble Beach is a recipient of the Forbes Five-Star Award, there are multiple award-winning dining options, a retail arcade with a variety of shops, and guests have access to the Beach & Tennis Club--Monterey Peninsula's private club. 

Learn more about The Lodge at Pebble Beach

 

Post Ranch Inn 

Post Ranch Inn

Set along Highway One in Big Sur, the Post Ranch Inn is a modern retreat blending rustic elegance with luxury and comfort. Perched along the coastline (ideal for seasonal whale watching), the adults-only property is designed for guests to reconnect with nature and travel partners, so guest rooms do not have TVs or alarm clocks. There is a heated outdoor pool, fitness center, and two heated whirlpools overlooking the sea, plus the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant. Amenities include daily gourmet breakfast, morning yoga, art walks, star gazing, edible tours of the chef's garden, and culinary walks. Please note: this property is currently closed until mid-April 2017, due to weather-related road repairs. 

Check rates and availability at the Post Ranch Inn

 

Ventana Inn & Spa

Ventana Inn & Spa

Perched along the Big Sur coastline amidst 243 acres of redwoods, meadows, and ridges, the Ventana Inn & Spa features a rustic, yet refined atmosphere with a spa, two outdoor swimming pools--including one clothing-optional pool, daily yoga classes, hour-long guided property walks, and afternoon wine and cheese receptions. The Restaurant at Ventana is set within an upscale environment with an eclectic menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, and a patio overlooking 50 miles of coastline. For creatives, the property offers "Art and Seekers" programs such as photography hikes, mandala coloring for couples, and block printing. Accommodation options include guest rooms, suites, the Cottage House, and new in 2017, the Redwood Retreats providing an upscale glamping experience. 

Learn more about the Ventana Inn & Spa

Explore more Monterey luxury hotels

 

Santa Barbara

Considered the American Riviera, Santa Barbara has a Mediterranean-like climate, along with cool ocean breezes and sandy beaches. Set between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, the city is known for stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, palm trees, boutiques along State Street, and waterfront dining. For families, there's the Santa Barbara Zoo, art enthusiasts can see works by Matisse and early 20th century French and American artists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Santa Ynez Valley is known for pinot noir, chardonnay, and Syrah vintages. The Santa Barbara Harbor is ideal for kayaking, sailing, and boating, and Arroyo Burro Beach County Park offers waves ideal for surfing and bodysurfing. 

Here are a few of our top Santa Barbara hotels:

Bacara Resort & Spa

Bacara Resort & Spa Pools

Situated along 78 acres of oceanfront property in Santa Barbara, Bacara Resort & Spa offers 358 newly renovated guest rooms and suites. The full-service resort has an array of family-friendly amenities, including beach activities, infinity-edge pools, on-site hiking trails, and a seasonal kids' club. The Spa at Bacara is a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center with HydraFacial services, rooftop terrace, adults-only pool, wellness classes, redwood sauna, Jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, and fireside lounge areas. There's also the new Angel Oak oceanfront restaurant, lighted tennis courts, and the Sandpiper Golf Club is adjacent to the resort. 

Check rates and availability at Bacara Resort & Spa

 

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore Resort

Nestled amongst 22 acres of lush gardens and foliage, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is steps away from beaches with private bungalows and terraces overlooking the Channel Islands and Pacific Ocean. Featuring Spanish-inspired architecture and accenting the casually sophisticated California lifestyle, the property offers the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (for select room categories, award-winning spa designed by Peter Marino, Jose Eber salon, three tennis courts, and two outdoor swimming pools. Guests also receive access to the members only Montecito Country Club, and there are bicycle rentals, and Kids for All Seasons programs. 

Learn more about the Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

 

Belmond El Encanto 

Belmond El Encanto

An iconic landmark since the 1920s, Belmond El Encanto is set within California Craftsman and Spanish Revival bungalows. Perched above the city amongst hills and lush gardens with panoramic views of the town and ocean, the property has a zero-edge pool, seven-acre garden, and a spa. There's a fitness center and studio with a variety of clases, plus bicycles for use, and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to shuttle guests around the nearby area. 

Check rates and availability at Belmond El Encanto

Explore more Santa Barbara luxury hotels

 

Laguna Beach

Our luxury road trip ends in Laguna Beach. Situated in Orange County, about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, this coastal city is known for its seven-mile stretch of sand with surfing, art boutiques, and basking on the beach. During the annual grey whale migration (March to May), Laguna Beach provides an ideal vantage point for watching these gentle giants. While art enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy including the Laguna Art-A-Fair featuring local and national artists, open daily from June 30 to September 3, 2017, and art classes offered year-round at the Sawdust. 

Here are a few of our top Laguna Beach hotels:

Monarch Beach Resort 

Monarch Beach Resort

Perched on a hillside, the Monarch Beach Resort features a family-friendly beachside setting in Dana Point, Orange County. Following a two year, $40 million transformation, the resort exemplifies the California Coastal lifestyle with a Miraval Life in Balance Spa, five gourmet restaurants including Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern, and a championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Accommodations feature ocean-inspired color palattes with a coastal feel, and there's an expansive multi-level pool complex which includes a Family Pool with splash zone, the adults-only Monarch Pool, and a second level dedicated to sunning and lounging with cabanas and firepits. There's also a private beach club with water-related activities, paddle boarding, trail hikes, and surf lessons led by the resort's Surf Host. 

Learn more about the Monarch Beach Resort

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Set halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego along the coast of Dana Point, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel provides a luxurious surfside retreat. Perched atop a 150-foot bluff above Salt Creek Beach, the property offers cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. There's California Coastal cuisine, a spa focused on the essential elements from the ocean, and a variety of adventures including surfing experiences, basketball, Ping Pong, two tennis courts, and two swimming pools. There's also an Eco-Adventure Center with expert naturalist-led programs for adults, families, and children, along with the Ritz Kids programs with activities for young travelers.

Check rates and availability at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

 

Montage Resort and Spa

Montage Laguna Beach

Perched atop a coastal bluff, Montage Laguna Beach is a luxury resort featuring craftsman-style architecture and an idyllic SoCal setting. In the midst of the city's preeminent artist colony, the resort offers a collection of museum-quality works of art, plus two outdoor pools, and gourmet dining at Studio, The Loft, or Mosaic Bar and Grille. Situated within 30 acres of oceanfront property, there's a 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage with panoramic Pacific views, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, redwood saunas, lap pool, movement studio, and eucalyptus steam rooms. 

Learn more about Montage Resort and Spa

Explore more Laguna Beach luxury hotels

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Destination Spotlight: Dublin

From distilleries to art museums, there's plenty to see in Ireland's capital city. Set at the mouth of the River Liffey along the country's east coast, Dublin was originally a Viking settlement. During the 17th century, the city prospered, and Georgian style architecture flourished. "The Fair City" became a cultural center and destination for artists and writers.

Today, the charming and bustling city offers an eclectic mix of Victorian pubs, modern buildings, and historical attractions such as manuscripts at The Book of Kells at Trinity College, the Jeanie Johnston Famine Memorial Ship, and the Kilmainhaim Gaol where visitors learn what life was like in Ireland's prisons. Literary enthusiasts will want to discover Dublin's writer haunts, cyclists can venture the Three Rock Cycle Loop in the Dublin mountains, and those that seek fresh sea air can explore nearby coastal towns like Howth. And no visit to Dublin would be complete without some shopping along Grafton Street, the Guinness Storehouse, and a visit to a few local pubs in Temple Bar. 

Plus, there's an array of events happening throughout the year including the Dublin Film Festival every February, the St. Patrick's Day Festival on March 17, soccer matches, concerts, and performing arts events. 

To compliment Dublin's activities and cultural options, Five Star Alliance offers a selection of luxury hotels that will appeal to a range of travelers including Irish Classics, Contemporary Properties, and Country Estates. 

Explore all Dublin Luxury Hotels

 

Irish Classics

The Merrion

Drawing Room at The Merrion Hotel Dublin

Set within four restored Georgian townhouses across from the Government Buildings, National Museum of Ireland, and the National Gallery of Ireland, The Merrion is within walking distance of Grafton Street's shops and restaurants. Featuring an extensive 19th and 20th century art collection, the hotel offers an "Art Tea" where edible works of art inspired by the property's paintings are served on fine china in The Merrion's Drawing Rooms. Overlooking classical gardens, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is the country's only Michelin two star restaurant, and the Tethra Spa has private treatment rooms, fitness center, and an 18-meter indoor infinity pool.

Check rates at The Merrion

The Shelbourne Dublin 

The Shelbourne Dublin

Across from St. Stephen's Green, The Shelbourne Dublin provides a luxurious setting with a geneology concierge to help guests trace their Irish ancestry, and a leisure club offering an indoor pool and signature spa. Built in 1824, the iconic hotel is infused with Old World charm and historic details.There's elegant dining at The Saddle Rock and Lord Mayor's Lounge, and opulent guest rooms have plush beds, flat-screen TVs, and marble bathrooms. Close to Trinity College, the National Museum of Ireland, and the National Library of Ireland, the property offers a central location for exploring the city. 

Learn more about The Shelbourne Dublin

The Westbury Hotel

Afternoon Tea at The Westbury

From custom Irish wool carpets to an iconic afternoon tea, The Westbury Hotel Dublin offers a classic Irish experience. The hotel's restaurant, Wilde at The Westbury celebrates the country's finest produce in much-loved local dishes and classic international cusine, in a setting that fuses greenery with 1930s glamour. The Sidecar offers a classic cocktail setting, and the hotel is steps away from the upscale boutiques, shops, and restaurants along Grafton Street. 

Check rates at The Westbury Hotel Dublin

 

Contemporary Properties

The Marker Hotel

The Marker Bar at The Marker Hotel Dublin

A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Marker Hotel offers an urban retreat with contemporary style. Guest rooms and suites are set in unique geometric layouts, and there's an elemental style running throughout the hotel from the lobby to the rooftop garden. Situated between the River Liffey and the Grand Canal in the Dublin Docklands, there property has a spa and wellness center with a 23-meter infinity pool and fully-equipped fitness center. 

Learn more about The Marker Hotel

The Clarence

The Clarence Hotel

Contemporary, yet exuding Irish charm, The Clarence is located steps away from Temple Bar's pubs and restaurants. Owned by Bono and The Edge of U2, guest rooms and suites offer simple modern furnishings, such as white linen bedding, Shaker oak furniture, and leather seating. For dining, Cleaver East serves fine Irish and international cuisine at approachable prices, with a unique "Not Afternoon Tea" menu that features a creative spin on tea time with savoury and sweet bites and a rocking cocktail menu. 

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The Gibson Hotel

The Gibson Dublin

Close to the 02, The Gibson Hotel Dublin is located in the city's new cultural hub. Featuring a contemporary design with calming water features, towering bamboo trees, and creative accents throughout. Guest rooms and suites feature clean lines and modern furnishings, and the bar offers healthy dining options along with a contemporary Asian-inspired outdoor courtyard.

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The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Executive Room at The Fitzpatrick Hotel Dublin

Situated in the heart of Dublin, between St. Stephen's Green and the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, The Fitzwilliam Hotel features contemporary Irish decor. Providing a friendly and modern feel, guest rooms feature a color paletted of lime greens, aubergine, and white, with window seats, upholstered headboards, laptop-friendly safes, and Murdock bath amenities. The Spirit Beauty Salon offers a range of services, along with facials, waxing, massages, and nail treatments. There are two on-site restaurants, and a modern afternoon tea within the hotel's Inn on the Green. 

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Country Estates

The Powerscourt Hotel

The Powerscourt Hotel

About 30 minutes outside of Dublin, The Powerscourt Hotel is located on the famous Powerscourt Estate with a historic house, landscaped gardens, and a famous waterfall. The Great Sugar Loaf Mountain can be seen across the valley, and the seven-level hotel features Palladian-style architecture. There are two championship golf courses on-site, a signature restaurant, luxurious ESPA spa, and an Irish Pub. Plus, guests can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, horse riding, fishing, cooking classes at the Ballyknocken House, off-roading experiences, hiking, and river walks. 

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The K Club

The K Club

Less than an hour from Dublin, The K Club is set amongst 550 acres of County Kildare Countryside.  The River Liffey runs through the resort, and guests can experience a range of activities including the on-site falconry, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, and tennis. The Ryder Cup venue has two Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf courses,  golf academy, and proshop. Within the original house, there's a wine cellar where visitors can enjoy informal tours, or schedule a gastronomic experience that begins in the cellar and ends with a feast. There's also Irish Whiskey tastings in the Vintage Crop Bar, plus a full-service spa for relaxing.

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The Ballyfin

The Ballyfin Dublin

Step back in time at the elegant Ballyfin. The estate is situated amongst 600 acres in County Laois. Less than two hours from Dublin, the lavish Regency mansion has just 15 rooms, each individually appointed with historically-influenced furnishings designed to mirror the style of the home, with canopied beds and marble bathrooms with bathtubs, walk-in showers, and luxurious toiletries. Plus, modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, minibars, and iPod docking stations. The estate's activities include fishing on the lake, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, tennis, archery, and falconry. 

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Offering an ideal retreat for well-being and relaxation, the Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso is situatated in the Vouliagmeni area of the Athenian Riviera, along the Saronic Gulf. Situated about 30 minutes from Athens, the property offers the region's only Thalassotherapy center, along with a spa providing an extensive selection of treatments focused on the healing effects of the sea. Continue reading below the photo of the Thalassotherapy Pool.

Thalassotherapy Pool at Divani Apollo Palace & Thalasso

Providing a beachfront setting, the ultra-luxe property has a private sand beach with sun beds and umbrellas, plus a variety of water activities including jet skiing, scuba diving, and waterskiing. There's also two outdoor swimming pools, including one with sea water. For lounging, guests can rent private "Love Seats" around the pool, or lounge in plush chaises while enjoying signature cocktails, juices, and smoothies. 

Divani Apollon Palace

Surrounded by extensive gardens, the hotel has four Mediterranean-inspired dining options, including the Mythos of the Sea Restaurant providing a unique setting for chef-prepared cuisine while watching Kavouri Bay sunsets. The Anemos Restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining with sea views, the Atlantis Lounge has a contemporary setting for afternoon tea, and Meltemi Poolside Snack Bar provides casual poolside dining. 

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Swimming Pools at Divani Apollon Palace Hotel


Featured Journeys: Romantic Trip Through Italy

Italy, known for food, art, and culture, it seems as if there's something new to discover at every turn. In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a Romantic Trip Through Italy. While there's so much to explore, this journey will feature three of the major cities, along with a stop in Tuscany for wine and enjoying la dolce vita. 

Rome
Siena
Florence
Venice

Rome

The journey begins in Rome. Founded around 753 B.C., the city is a haven for history lovers. Three of our favorite hotels below provide ideal locations to explore all the Eternal City has to offer, including the Colosseum, Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican, and the Trevi Fountain. Thanks to Italy's fashion houses, many of the city's major landmarks, including the Trevi Fountain have recently been refurbished, making it an ideal time to visit. 

Here are a few of our top Rome hotels:

Palazzo Manfredi

Palazzo Manfredi

Directly opposite the Colosseum, the Palazzo Manfredi is a boutique hotel set within a 17th century villa. Offering the Michelin star Aroma Restaurant, guests can dine on award-winning cuisine while enjoying views of the iconic Colosseum. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive daily breakfast for 2, complimentary welcome drink, and entrance tickets for 2 to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill.

Palazzo Montemartini

Palazzo Montemartini

Situated in central Rome, Palazzo Montemartini offers a modern, yet romantic setting. The only hotel in the city crossed by the Servian Walls, the luxury hotel is set within a stately former palazzo with a spa, Turkish bath, and indoor lap pool. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive a bottle of wine, plus a 10% discount at the Senses restaurant and spa treatments. 

Fendi Private Suites

Fendi Private Suites

Why only shop at the Fendi flagship boutique when you can spend the night in the Fendi Private Suites? Offering seven chic and creative suites within the Palazzo Fendi, the innovative designs incorporate the brand's classical visual language in the heart of Rome.

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Siena

Offering a medieval setting, the city of Siena makes for a great base for exploring Tuscany. While the town itself is charming, we recommend spending a few nights (or why not an entire week if timing allows?) at one of the area's vineyard hotels where you can relax, sip some wine, and take in the beauty of the Italian countryside. 

Here are a few of our top Siena hotels:

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

This majestic estate has an 800-year history. Set in Val d'Orcia just north of Montalcino, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is one of Tuscany's largest contiguous estates. Completely restored, the property offers a focus on the land, wine, and history. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive $100 USD resort credit, and a welcome bottle of Castiglion del Bosco wine. 

Castel Monastero

Castel Monastero

Set amongst the Chianti vines, Castel Monastero is situated within a medieval village from the 11th century. About 30 minutes from Siena, this country resort offers a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, an intimate church for weddings, wine cellar with Tuscan wine tastings, and spa with wellness programs and medical anti-aging treatments. Perk: Guests booking with Five Star Alliance receive a three course lunch for two with wine, and $100 spa credit. 

Castel Porrona Relais

Castel Porrona Relais

Nestled amongst vineyards, cypress trees, and olive groves, the Castel Porrona Relais is a historic village resort with an outdoor swimming pool, fine Tuscan cuisine at Il Chiostro Restaurant, and suites with personal butler service. The Agua Spa offers wine therapy baths, Moroccan-inspired hammam, and treatments incorporating Tuscan wine and olive oils. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive a complimentary bottle of wine and 15% discount on spa services. 

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Florence

Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a must-see for art lovers. Yes, Michelangelo's "David" is here, but there's so much more to see. Il Duomo, the Florence Cathedral was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, and was built on the site of 7th century Church of Santa Reparata, where visitors can see the remains of the foundation in the crypt. On the piazza outside of the cathedral is the Baptistery of St. John, considered the oldest religious site in all of Florence. Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio to the "newest" part of the city for shopping, and be sure to try the iconic Florentine Steak for one of your meals. 

Here are a few of our top Florence hotels:

Brunelleschi Hotel Florence

Brunelleschi Hotel Florence

Steps from Il Duomo Cathedral, Brunelleschi Hotel Florence is in the heart of historic city center. Set within a 6th century byzantine tower and medieval church from 1400, the luxury boutique hotel has an upscale Italian restaurant and traditional trattoria. Note: you may recognize the property, as it is where Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks' character) stays while in Florence in the DaVinci Code and Inferno. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive a $50 food and beverage credit per room, along with a welcome amenity. 

Hotel Il Salviatino

Hotel Il Salviatino

Perched on the hillside of Fiesole, Hotel Il Salviatino is set within a 15th century villa. Overlooking Florence and the rolling Tuscan hills, the unique property has outdoor pools set immersed in the green hills. There's a spa with aroma's of Dr Vranjes, an exclusive Florence perfume house, along with La Cucina serving Tuscan cuisine crafted with ingredients grown on the property. 

Belmond Villa San Michele

Belmond Villa San Michele

Surrounded by gardens with a facade attributed to Michelangelo, Belmond Villa San Michele is set within a former monastery. Minutes way from the center of Florence, the building was expertly restored with the assistance of the Florence Fine Arts Authority. There's an Italian Cookery School with hands-on cooking classes, La Loggia Restaurant, and a hilltop pool. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive lunch for two at the Pool Restaurant, fresh flowers, and fruit upon arrival. 

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Venice

The final stop on the journey is Venice. The City of Canals offers a romantic setting with ornate palaces lining the Grand Canal, narrow mysterious streets, and arched marble bridges crossing over canals with gondalas. Popular with artists and writers for centuries, the city is an ideal place to roam and wander with the one you love. Designed to approach from the water, Venice's iconic St. Mark's Square is a must-see, but can get crowded. We recommend visiting in the early morning.

Here are a few of our top Venice hotels:

Boscolo Venezia

Guest room at the Boscolo Venezia

Overlooking the lagoon, Boscolo Venezia is tucked inside a 16th century villa with a hidden garden. Providing a classic Venetian setting, the hotel's Giardino Segreto Restaurant provides a Boscolo Food Experience with themed islands, open kitchens, and an emphasis on food presentation. The Serenissima spa draws inspiration from the city's wellness traditions, and the hotel has a private boat offering transportation to St. Mark's Square. 

JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa

JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa

Tucked on the private island of Isola delle Rose, the JW Marriott Resort and Spa is a 15-minute boat ride across the lagoon to St. Mark's Square. There is a Wine & Cooking Academy providing guests with the opportunity to learn the art of Venetian cuisine, and the family-friendly property has a kids club and family activities. There is a romantic church, four restaurants, water sports, and a rooftop lounge with a pool. Perk: Five Star Alliance guests receive VIP status, Venetian sweets, and a bottle of prosecco. 

Aman Canal Grande Venice

Aman Canal Grande Venice

Overlooking the Grand Canal, guests typically arrive by boat to the Aman Canal Grande Venice. Evoking the feeling of bygone era with sweeping staircases, soaring ceilings, and historic frescoes, the luxury hotel has private gardens, and a boutique specializing in Venetian glassware. There's a roof terrace, along with the Dining Room serving Italian and Asian cuisines, and guests have walking access to San Polo. 

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Mixing contemporary design and European influences, Le Meridien New Orleans provides a modern setting close to the French Quarter and downtown. Fresh off a $29 million renovation, the property offers guests the opportunity to discover the arts through its "Unlock Art" partnership program with the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Ogden Musem of Southern Art. The program allows guests to visit the partner museums free of charge by showing their room keys. Read more below the photo.

Lobby of Le Meridien New Orleans

In addition to the art program, the hotel has a rooftop pool on the fourth floor. Surrounded by a sundeck, the pool has complimentary lounge chairs. Guests looking to upgrade their experience have acess to the reservable cabanas, which include TVs, couches, and lounge chairs for an additional fee. Continue reading below the image.

Le Meridien New Orleans

Centrally located, Le Meridien New Orleans is close to the French Quarter and downtown, yet removed enough to offer a quieter environment. Guest rooms and suites feature modern decor with large flat-screen TVs, pillowtop mattresses, work desks, and oversized windows with city views. In the hotel's Hub area designed for socializing, there's the Longitude 90 espresso bar, and the LMNO Restaurant serves New Orleans-inspired cuisine with Southern influences. 

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