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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.

Fantasy Meets Reality: Crete Has Legendary Beaches, Minotaurs

By: Christopher Roney

 Elounda Villas

Hello, Sir or Madam.  Welcome to my little corner of the internet.  You’ve probably come because you Googled something like “luxury hotels + minotaur” or “best hotel in Crete + part 2 of a series of real-life destinations that will spark the imagination and transport you to another world.”  You didn’t?  Well, in any case, do have a seat; and, if you’ll let me, I’d love to tell you a bit about another destination as well known for its fantasy as its reality.  Check out Part 1 here.


Part 2 - Crete

What do you call someone from Crete? A Cretin? Cretacious? Creatine? Well, four thousand years ago, it was the Minoans who called it home. Besides having the most powerful mercantile fleet in the Mediterranean, the Minoans are most well-known for their namesake, King Minos.  As the stories tell it, Minos was beholden to the legendary Minotaur who lived in a vast labyrinth and demanded a sacrifice of 14 young men and women every nine years. For decades, the king complied, until the hero Theseus promised to slay the Minotaur.  As much a ladies’ man as beast-slayer, Theseus killed the minotaur and survived only with help from his lover, Ariadne, who provided him with a ball of string he used to track his path through the maze.  Theseus returned home in triumph, but unfortunately for his father, raised the black sails that indicate he had died on the voyage, and his father threw himself from a cliff in anguish before Theseus reached the port.  Little did we know the whole story was just an allegory for calling your family. 

Not surprisingly, modern-day Crete is better known for its beaches than its endless mazes.  Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, the coastal waters are as blue as the summer sky.  And while your journey to Crete is unlikely to involve slaying a legendary beast, you might vanquish a few canapés as you enjoy the pristine waters and unequaled service at Elounda, one of the world’s most exclusive beach resorts.  While you’re there, make a trip to Knossos to check out the ruins of the 1000-room palace that was the site of the myth of the Minotaur.  Just remember to raise your white sail on the return home. 


A Fall Escape: Villa d'Este on Lake Como is Sublime

By: Christopher Roney

Villa d'Este, Lake Como, Italy

With the bustle of autumn upon us, kids back to school and the summertime lull over, I catch myself daydreaming about getting away to a place where I am treated like royalty.  With the Fall Escape at Villa d’Este, overlooking the ethereal Lake Como just north of the historic city of Milan, that fantasy can become a reality.  Built in 1568, the Villa D’Este has been the destination spot for noble families ever since, including the Queen of England herself.  And it’s no wonder; its 25 acres of gardens and majestic view over the lake have been painted and photographed for centuries.  If you saw it hanging in a museum, you wouldn’t believe it was real. 

Maintained to preserve its original elegance, each of the Villa D’Este’s unique rooms offers a variation on classical renaissance décor befitting of its status as one of the best in the world.  So if you need a place to escape to this fall, don your purple bathrobe and look no further than the Villa D’Este, and prepare to be treated like a King (or Queen!).

The Fall Escape deal includes

  •  Breakfast at the restaurant or continental served in your room

  •  Free access to the Villa’s state-of-the-art sporting facilities.

  •   Free breakfast and bedding for children under seven years of age.

  •  A substantial discount on room price over a variety of world-class options


Celebrate Fashion Season with Chic Cocktails from the Dorchester Collection

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, cocktailsPop the cork, fashion season is upon us! To fete the occasion in Europe, The Dorchester Collection has unveiled some lovely libations- inspired by the five designers who have been shortlisted for the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. These sexy drinks are available exclusively from September 15- October 5, 2011 at The Dorchester Collection’s hotels in the leading fashion capitals: 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester in London, Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, and Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris. We're keen to try the “Anndra Neen Ruby,” created by Hôtel Plaza Athénée's bar manager Thierry Hernandez: a red mescal-based drink inspired by the Mexican heritage of Phoebe and Annette Stephens, the sisterly duo behind Anndra Neen.

Summer Sale in Europe at InterContinental Hotels

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Paris Le GrandTake a jaunt to Europe this summer and reap the rewards with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. Whether shopping your way across the City of Light (with a little help from InterContinental Paris Le Grand's customizable Paris Authentic 2CV tour), experiencing the "Veranos de la Villa" festival while bedding down in Madrid, or photographing London's diverse neighborhoods (with tips from the EYE Photographic Workshop at InterContinental London Park Lane), you're guaranteed a memorable European vacation. InterContinental's "Insider" concierge teams are known for doling out all kinds of local wisdom on where to go and what to do in each destination. The "Summer Package"is available from July 14- September 11, 2011. For every five consecutive nights book at an InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property in Europe, guests receive one night free, as well as a EUR 100 Food & Beverage voucher to use at that property. Participating properties also include the InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden and InterContinental Hamburg in Germany, Athenaeum InterContinental Hotel in Athens, InterContinental Bucharest, and properties in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.