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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.

Catch Me If You Can: A Legal Art Heist?


By: Christopher Roney

SubtleHere's a promotion that's got so much panache, it's making everyone in the industry stand up and take note.  The Art Series Hotels in Melbourne, The Blackman, The Cullen, and The Olsen, have been rotating two Banksy paintings, valued at a bounty of $20,000, around their hotels from Dec 15 through Jan 15.  And here's where the promotion gets cool:  They're inviting you to try to steal them without getting caught.  If you succeed, you get to keep the painting.

The first of the two Banksy paintings is "No Ball Games," one of only a few signed and authenticated Banksy works in Australia.  And it's already already fallen.  After failed attempts to hack the security cameras, place a listening device at the concierge desk, and simply to vault over the desk in plain sight of all the staff (this didn't go too well for the perpetrator), Maura Tuohy and Megan Aney pulled the heist off.

 The trick?  People listen to you if you act like you know what you're doing.  And that's just what they did.  Maura researched all of the names and brief bios of the marketing people in the hotel's PR firm and strode into the hotel in plain sight, claiming to be charged to move it to the next hotel.  

After a series of questions about her connections, which she passed with flying colors, they demanded to have her story verified.  That's when she had them call up her accomplice, who impersonating the manager, backed up her story.   The hotel staff even helped her load up the painting into her car.  Fifteen minutes later, she came back to let them know they'd let a $15,000 painting walk right out their front door, a la Frank Abagnale.

The second, "Pulp Fiction" is still up for grabs in a very literal sense, so pull on your balaclava, rent a mini-cooper, and wear down your sneakers because the next heist is going to have to be even trickier.  If you need a nearby staging area, make sure to check out some of the other top-notch luxury hotels in Melbourne.

Photos courtesy of Art Series Hotels site and Twitter


Word to the Wise: Stay and Save at the Hotel Plaza Athenee New York


By: Christopher Roney

If you're sitting at work thinking, boy it's really about time I got that promotion I deserve, you need wait no more.  The Hotel Plaza Athenee New York is offering you not just one but five promotions, all available through March 31st.  They might not come with a raise, but they might as well, since you'll be saving a good chunk of cash while staying at one of the top hotels in New York.  

First up are the straight money-saving specials.  Stay three or more nights in an executive room and save 30% off the BAR (not including amenities).  If you're looking stay just three nights, then go ahead and book two and get the third free in either Superior or Deluxe rooms. 

If you'd rather just be getting more for your investment, then the Winter Nights, City Lights promotion offers a guaranteed upgrade from Classic to Superior and Superior to Deluxe on any length stay.  Or go for Serenity in the City and wake up every morning to a delicious continental breakfast for two and receive 25% off BAR.  The Classic Suite Special is a similar 20% off BAR and free breakfast for the suite-minded folks.  It's hard to go wrong when such a great hotel, just a short stroll from Central Park and all of Midtown, is ushering in the New Year with some great specials.  I know I resolved to travel more this year, and this might just be what gets me out the door.  So maybe I'll see you at the Plaza Athenee New York!


Nothing Cheap About It: Cheap Sally's Top Amazing Hotel and Spa Destinations


By: Christopher Roney

It's not every day that an infographic so awesome comes around.  Over at Cheap Sally, an online discount site, their travel experts have aggregated a list of some of the wildest hotel and vacation sites in the US, and it features some of our favorite US properties.  For the whole list, check out the infographic below, but I'd like to highlight some of our favorites.

Long at the top of our list of the Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the world, The Point at Saranac Lake, NY, is so exclusive, you aren't told where exactly on the pristine Adirondack lake it is until you've confirmed your reservation.  Complete with a 3-star Michelin chef and only 11 rooms on the property, you are guaranteed to experience a personalized, secluded stay in one of the world's most elite properties.

In terms of crazy spa treatments, it's hard to top the over 250-gallon Evian bath only available in the penthouse suite of the Hotel Victor on Miami Beach.  This spa treatment costs only slightly less than the suite itself and features a bath of pure Evian water sprinkled with rose petals.

But if you're like me and you like your baths with a little more kick to them, then the Kenwood Inn and Spa vinotherapy treatment is just what you're looking for:  Bathe in wine and grape seed extract to soak your skin in the antioxidant polyphenol which powerfully slows the aging of skin.  You'll come out looking and feeling younger than even a couple glasses of the same wine would make you feel.

There's a just a few of the wonderful and crazy hotels and spas located around the US, and you can some more great examples below.  Make sure to check out Five Star Alliance to book these great destinations or if you're looking for a deal or digital coupon for any of over 11,000 retailers, Cheap Sally is your girl.  

Click for full image.

 

Infographic courtesy of Cheap Sally


Incredible Deals at the Taj Campton Place Hotel


By: Oksana Balytsky

The Taj Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco is offering a few incredible offers and promotions that are too good to pass up! This luxurious, boutique hotel offers personalized service that accommodates the needs of all travelers, and its restaurant is one of the top San Francisco restaurants, offering award-winning European cuisine. Starting now, the Taj Campton Place Hotel has the following deals that’ll be sure to inspire you to explore the Bay Area.

Shop Til You Drop Package: The Taj Campton Place Hotel is located steps from San Fran’s shopping center of Union Square and San Francisco Centre. This package is perfect for those hoping to buy all of their holiday gifts and get a little something in return. This package includes a special San Francisco cable car ornament of blown-glass and VIP treatment at Bloomingdales including: an appointment with At Your Service personal shopper, a $75 gift card, a 15% off all-day savings certificate, a signature gift, a Dior makeup consultation, and personal package delivery service to Taj Campton Place for purchases of $250 or more. This package is subject to availability, valid until January 7th, 2012, and requires a minimum two night stay. (Blackout dates may apply)

Stay a Bit Longer Package: Extend your stay and experience a little more of this exciting city. This package allows guests to stay two nights, and get the third night free! This offer is limited to a maximum of two complimentary nights available per stay. This package is subject to availability, valid until March 31st, 2012, and requires a minimum of a three night stay. (Blackout dates apply) Please be advised that the rates are adjusted at checkout. 

Suite Celebrations Package: Book a suite and enjoy a 50% discount on the second night. All of the suites at the Taj Campton Palace overlook Union Square, so you’ll get to enjoy an incredible deal along with an incredible view. This package is subject to availability, valid until March 31st, 2012, and requires a minimum of a two nights stay. Rates are subject to 14% occupancy and 1.5% tourism assessment fees, per room, per night. Please be advised that the rates are adjusted at checkout. 


Action Alert: Only a Few Suites Left in the Turks and Caicos Post-Christmas


By: Christopher Roney

The Turks and Caicos is one of our most popular destinations for Christmas break, and for good reason.  The sunny beaches and azure waters are the perfect scene for a tropical getaway.  Many of the hotels are sold out already, so I thought it would be a good time to let our loyal customers know that there's still some availability if you're looking for at least a full week stay the week after Christmas.  Both the Regent Grand Turks and Caicos and the Villa Renaissance still have suites available, so snap them up while you still can.  


Buzzworthy: Special Intro Rates at the Saguaro Hotel, Scottsdale


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Saguaro

There's a new hotel on the Scottsdale scene and it's causing quite the stir. Inspired by the contemporary architecture of Mexico and the Arizona desert, The Saguaro is the place to go to "stay cool in the desert." Awash in vivid color, the hotel is the first property for a new brand developed by Sydell Group, and Joie de Vivre-- famed for fun hotels across Cali (like Hotel Vitale in San Francisco)-- has been tapped to manage it. To quote the Los Angeles Times: "So what does this new translation of the desert look like in a hotel motif? Forget cool beiges and browns; the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale takes its cue from bright yellows, oranges and pinks derived from the flowers that bloom there." Smack dab in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, the hotel has a spa featuring indigenous treatments; two outdoor, heated pools with cabanas; and a large fitness center. Snag the "Centennial Rate" to celebrate Arizona's 100th year of statehood, and you'll be living large for just $100 per night. That's a savings of 50 percent. This rate is available for the first 100 rooms booked each week, ending March 1, 2012.


Winter Thaw: Get a Spa Credit at Renaissance Aruba Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Renaissance Aruba ResortBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, meaning Christmas is right around the corner. If you're feeling a little Scrooge-like about the holiday season (bah humbug!), a dose of Caribbean sunshine may do wonders for your outlook. Get thee to Aruba for some sun, sand, and maybe a little casino gambling, and you'll return to the winter weather with a spring in your step. Awarded four AAA diamonds, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is nestled on a 40-acre island paradise with the only private beach in Aruba. The exclusive Okeanos Spa Cove promises the ultimate in rejuvenation (just try the "Spice of Life Sampler"). To make sure you take advantage of the indulgent spa, the resort is currently offering the "Pure Magic Spa" deal where they'll throw in a $100 spa credit with your four-night stay. Rates from $189 per night.


Escape to Bermuda: $129 Rates at Fairmont Southampton


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Southampton BermudaHere's a deal for all you luxury lovers out there: the swank Fairmont Southampton Bermuda is currently on sale for seven days only with room rates starting at just $129 per night!* What this means: Act fast if you want to score luxury for less on a spring break trip to paradise! A palatial landmark on Bermuda’s gorgeous south shore, the Fairmont Southampton Bermuda is nestled on an 100-acre tropical estate with towering palm trees and has direct access to miles of pink sand beaches. The property is consistently voted one of the top resorts in the region by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. As for the facilities, the Fairmont Southampton is the crème de la crème. There's an 18-hole par three golf course, a 31,000-square-feet Willow Stream Spa, some of the island’s best restaurants, a sprawling oceanfront beach club with an on site PADI dive center, tennis courts and more. Most of the spacious guest rooms have sweeping views of the Atlantic from private balconies.

*For travel until April 30, 2012; some blackout dates apply. Rooms cost $299 per night when you travel between May 1, 2012 - August 31, 2012.


Winter White Out: Discounts at Boston's XV Beacon Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fifteen BeaconWhen snowfall covers Boston, we can't think of a better place to warm up than XV Beacon- the stylish hotel perched at the crest of Beacon Hill. Housed in a landmark, turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts building, XV Beacon pampers guests all year round- but the winter season is extra special. Cozy up in front of the hotel's fireplace with a hot toddy (or cider), and embrace Boston's festive season with some shopping on the lamp-lit streets and cobblestone alleys. Bostonians know how to enjoy the colder weather! Splash out with a feast at one of the city's renowned restaurants, attend a show, go skating on the Frog Pond, and discover the beauty of traditional New England holidays. As an added enticement, XV Beacon is offering a "Winter White Out" deal with discounts on room rates, plus a food credit of $40 to be used at the hotel's excellent Mooo restaurant (or room service). Stay two nights and receive 15% off per night; stay three nights or more, and receive 20% off per night. Bookable now for stays starting December 1, 2011 through March 19, 2012. Rates starting from $295. Package based on availability and blackout dates may apply.


Christmas in the Caribbean: 40% Off Holiday Rates at Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort and SpaIt's not too late to book a holiday getaway to the Caribbean this year. There's room at the inn at the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, a 500-acre beachfront paradise nestled on a mile of palm-lined sand in the shadow of Puerto Rico's lush mountains. For the window of time between December 24, 2011- January 4, 2012-- a frequently sold-out holiday period-- the resort is offering 40% off sun-infused holiday rates. From championship golf and tennis to scuba diving and sailing, the Rio Mar has plenty of recreational facilities to keep you entertained. Let's not forget the on-site casino! (And some 12 restaurants....) Sun-seekers can take advantage of irresistible rates starting at $268, based on availability. (Black out dates do apply.) So what are you waiting for? Ditch the parka, jet to the Caribbean, and get your tan on!