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.

Five Star Alliance Partners with Signature Travel Network


By: Five Star Alliance

WASHINGTON, DC ─ Five Star Alliance, the leading site for luxury hotel recommendations and reservations, has recently partnered with leading luxury consortia Signature Travel Network.

Through this partnership, Five Star Alliance will tap into Signature's collection of member hotels and resorts worldwide to enhance the "Five Star Alliance Perks" program, which offers clients added value amenities to their bookings. Examples include breakfast for two daily, a dining or resort credit, spa credits, complimentary round of golf, airport transfers, in-room/welcome gifts, VIP welcome and more.

Courtney W. May, General Manager of Five Star Alliance, said the partnership is a key strategic move for the brand.  

"We are delighted to collaborate on this advantageous endeavor with Signature Travel Network," said May. "As one of the strongest luxury communities in the marketplace, the pairing of our two luxury brands together will help us offer greater travel opportunities around the world to our discerning audience of travelers - including new cruise and tour packages."

Signature Travel Network is a member-owned cooperative comprised of the travel industry's leading retail agencies representing more than 6,000 professional travel consultants — and generating more than $7 Billion in annual sales.

Part of the Questex Travel Group, Five Star Alliance launched in 2005 as the leader in luxury hotel and resort recommendations worldwide and offers a comprehensive editorial listing of reviews, rates, reservations at more than 3,000 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide. 

August 2016

Signature Travel Network


Relaxing Retreat At The Umstead


By: Rachael Weir

Nestled amongst the Carolina Pines just a few miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, The Umstead Hotel and Spa offers a peaceful retreat-like setting. Surrounded by 12 acres of wooded land, with gardens, fine art, and a shimmering lake encircled with a trail, the property feels worlds away from it all, yet it's just minutes away from the Triangle.

Five Star Alliance was invited to visit The Umstead Hotel and Spa to discover all the property has to offer. Read more below.

Exterior of The Umstead

Walking into the entrance, we were greeted by friendly doormen, along with a soothing lobby featuring a view of an exquisite piece of art by glass artist, Dale Chihuly, piano music, and sunshine flowing in from the hotel's expansive patio. 

Dale Chihuly Sculpture at the Umstead Hotel

Our spacious spa-inspired guest rooms offered a peaceful setting with large windows, plush beds with fluffy goosedown comforters, and a neutral color palette. The large marble bathrooms have soaking tubs complete with a bath caddy and bath salts, separate showers, and an array of Lather bath products, plus a special black towel designated for makeup removal. Continue reading below the guest room images.

Guest Room at The Umstead Hotel

Bathroom at the Umstead Hotel

Bath caddy and makeup towel at the Umstead

The Umstead Spa is an ideal setting for relaxing and melting away the stresses of daily life. Featuring a variety of massages, skin treatments, the air is filled with soothing botanical fragrances and soft music. Visitors are provided with a plush robe, along with access to separate men's and women's relaxation lounges with therapeutic whirlpools, eucalyptus saunas and steam rooms, and an outdoor meditation courtyard. There are teas and fruit-infused waters, along with cool towels and cucumber slices to add to the overall rejuvenating environment. Plus, a boutique filled with pampering products to add to one's spa experience.

Lake at the Umstead HotelSurrounded by trees and overlooking a 3-acre lake, the Umstead offers a retreat-like feel with manicured gardens and a lakeside 1/4-mile walking/jogging trail. There are bicycles, helmets, and trail maps available to explore the trails around the property leading to the William B. Umstead State Park. For added relaxation, the hotel's outdoor swimming pool is set amongst the serene setting with large sundeck, lounge chairs, cabanas, and poolside food and beverage service. 

Pool Deck at the Umstead Hotel

For an elegant dining experience, Herons, the hotel's signature Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. On select days, afternoon tea service is served in the lounge area along with a harp serenade. If you're looking for casual dining, there's an outdoor patio overlooking the gardens and lake. During the evenings, there is live music and crafted cocktails in the bar & lounge - an ideal spot to sip and reminisce about the day's events. Feeling like staying in? We recommend room service.

Tip: Be sure to inquire with the concierge about morning yoga, bike, and art tours as the property offers a variety of events for guests.

On a side note, we noticed the hotel is very pet-friendly, with special accommodations for canine guests and the DogWoods enclosed play area. 

Check rates and plan your relaxing retreat at The Umstead Hotel and Spa >>

The Umstead Hotel

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Screening Suite at W London Leicester Square


By: Rachael Weir

Watch in-room movies like never before within the Screening Suite at the W London Leicester Square. This unique and seductive space offers a private bedroom cinema with a Sony 3D HD video projection system, 3-meter screen, ambiant ceiling lighting, in-bed movement system, media hub with surround sound, and open movie pass. (Read more below)

The Bedroom in the Screening Suite of the W London Leicester Square

When you're not lounging in bed watching movies, you can relax in the suite's contemporary spa-inspired bathroom which includes a deep-soaking tub, separate steam shower, and Bliss bath products. Plus, plush robes and slippers to add to the overall spa-like feel. (Continue reading below the photos.)

W London Leicester Square Screening Suite Spa Bathroom

W London Leicester Square

If you're ready to hit the town, the hotel's designer wardrobe room service can assist you with just the right look for exploring London in style.

The W London Leicester Square is 192-room contemporary boutique hotel in London's West End. Steps away from the city's theater and entertainment hub, the property is ideally located for exploring London's cultural scene.

Check rates and learn more about the W London Leicester Square >>

 


Explore the National Parks at Enchantment Resort


By: Five Star Alliance

In honor of the U.S. National Parks 100th Anniversary, the Enchantment Resort is offering an “Over-the-Top Grand Canyon Adventure Package”, which includes a private helicopter ride for four people from the resort to the Grand Canyon. Ideal for families, the Sedona Resort is surrounded by natural vermillion-colored rock formations, with hiking trails, Camp Coyote kid's club, Mii amo spa, outdoor swimming pool, golf, and tennis. Read more below about this special package from our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, written by Ruthanne Terrero.

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

A Southwest getaway for the family should include active experiences plus some quality downtime. We say Enchantment Resort in Sedona might just fit the bill, especially with the program it's created for the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. The “Over-the-Top Grand Canyon Adventure Package” provides for a private helicopter ride for four people to take a flight from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. When it's time to come home, a clay wrap spa treatment is included, at Enchantment's sister property, Mii amo. Which room works best for families? We're thinking it's the two-bedroom “Full Hacienda Suite,” which has a living room (think high ceilings and a fireplace) with two queen pull-down beds. If a family member likes to barbecue, a nice big deck has a built-in grill and lots of seating for the family to sit around and critique the cook. There's a kitchen inside as well and a dining room area for six. There's no arguing over who gets the best bedroom since both are masters (some with king beds, some with two queens, just ask). All told, there are plenty of private bathrooms for all, including one off the living room.

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

Enchantment, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, has a program for children ages four to 12, which provides nature walks, pottery classes, star gazing, scavenger hunts, cooking classes and yoga. Older children and teens can also participate in tennis camp clinics. They can also take a Pink Jeep tour and visit Native American ruins in the area.

Family Dining Tip: Enchantment has two restaurants. Tii Gavo has a more casual Southwestern vibe while Che-Ah-Chi is the fine-dining venue. Reservations can be made at any time for either, but do know that both have great views of the red rock canyon. We suggest making reservations at least two weeks out for a window seat or outdoor table for optimal views. 

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

Good to know: Families sometimes want to relax and not worry about disturbing guests around them, so, we suggest a private room at Che-Ah-Chi for parties of six to 12. Another fun option is to request in-room dining served on your private patio. Enchantment has plenty of other venues for larger groups.

Tip: Spring and summer are peak seasons at Enchantment Resort, so management recommends booking six to 12 months in advance.

Check rates and learn more about Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa>>

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

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Grande Colonial La Jolla's NINE-TEN Restaurant


By: Five Star Alliance

Sponsored Post*

NINE-TEN Restaurant at the Grande Colonial Hotel La Jolla

NINE-TEN Restaurant, located at the landmark Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, California, was recognized by the California Restaurant Association with "San Diego's Best Hotel Fine Dining Restaurant Award". This is the seventh consecutive win for NINE-TEN, recognizing the restaurant's excellence in Evolving California Cuisine. Celebrating more than a decade of service, NINE-TEN offers the perfect combination of sophistication and casual elegance. Diners enjoy the best of the harvest from local farmers, where produce is selected daily for the restaurant's farm-to-table menus.

Click here to visit the NINE-TEN Restaurant website >>

Welcoming guests since 1913, The Grande Colonial Hotel is a 93-room historic hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. One-block from the beach, the property offers can outdoor pool, meeting space, and the award-winning NINE-TEN Restaurant featuring a Wine Spectator-recognized wine list.

Check rates and learn more about the the Grande Colonial Hotel La Jolla >>

Grande Colonial Hotel

*The content of this sponsored article was provided by Grande Colonial Hotel. 

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Savor Life Slowly at SLS South Beach


By: Five Star Alliance

Sponsored Post*

Savor Life Slowly at SLS South Beach. Indulge your senses at The Bazaar by José Andrés, featuring a vibrant mix of sophisticated cuisine and a playful indoor-outdoor environment. The Bazaar menu blends Andrés' Spanish heritage, tradition and ingenuity with influences from South Beach's local Latin flavors. Read more below.

Bazaar by Jose Andres at SLS South Beach

Katsuya South Beach infuses traditional Japanese cuisine with a provocative twist as Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi unleashes his culinary artistry with a menu of innovative sushi and robata dishes uniquely adapted for the American palate. For the perfect nightcap, Bar Centro by José Andrés is where cocktails become adventurous undertakings with a variety of fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables, as well as modern tools of liquid nitrogen and organic emulsifiers to create Manhattans with liquid cherries and margaritas with salt air that accompany delightful selections of caviar and Andrés' signature snacks. Continue reading below.

Katsuya at the SLS South Beach

Click here to visit the SLS South Beach website >>

Set in the heart of South Beach, the SLS Hotel combines impeccable design, imaginative dining, and a luxurious atmosphere with an outdoor pool that transforms into a chic evening lounge. Offering direct beach access and city views, the high-style property is steps away from upscale boutiques, dining and nightlife.

Five Star Alliance Perk: Guest that book through Five Star Alliance receive a $50.00 resort credit during their stay.  

Check rates and learn more about the SLS South Beach >> 

SLS South Beach

Guest room at the SLS South Beach

*The content of this sponsored article was provided by the SLS South Beach.


Wow, what a view at the Springs Resort and Spa


By: Five Star Alliance

Wow, what a view at The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Courtesy of instagram user /Safarianne, the boutique hotel sits on a mountainside 1,000 feet above the Arenal. The tropical resort has 28 thermal spring pools with the highest quality mineral content in the area, the famous "Monkey Slide" at Perdidos Springs, and the Club Rio Outdoor Center set on one-mile of the Arenal River with on-site adventures such as water tubing, rock climbing, and horseback riding. There's also a wildlife sanctuary with more than 100 rescued animals including monkeys, deer, sloths, toucans, jungle cats, and crocodiles.

As you can see, guest rooms feature views of the volcano and surrounding valley, with hardwood floors and ceilings, carved wood furniture, marble bathrooms with dual sinks, and sitting areas. 

The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal from /safarianne


Chic Villas at Baoase Resort in Curaçao


By: Five Star Alliance

If you are a first timer, or even a seasoned traveler, looking for a swanky villa within a luxury resort, we've got the best option for you in the Caribbean at the uber chic Baoase Luxury Resort in Curaçao. Nestled amidst tropical gardens and caressed by the azure water of the Caribbean Sea our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, has the following insight:

Baoase Luxury Resort in Curaçao is a great fit for LGBT guests and all seasoned Caribbean travelers looking for an island where everything is accepted and celebrated. The local airport, Curaçao International, is about a 25-minute drive from the resort, which also has a helipad. Hint: Guests can opt for a VIP transfer, and a chauffeur will pick them up inside Curaçao International Airport, allow them to pass through customs and immigration more quickly, bypassing the lines, and then take them to the property in a luxury car. Note: There is a private jet center at the Curaçao International airport.

More below >>

Villa with private pool at the Baoase Luxury Resort in Curaçao

Even though the Ocean Front Villa is the most requested accommodation here, but we were told families cannot go wrong in booking the Private Pool Villa, the Superior Private Pool Villa and the Master Villa (the only one with butler service).

Note: The resort doesn't have a spa. However, guests can request treatments ranging from traditional massages and body scrubs to manicures and pedicures on the property's private beach. In-room group treatments are also available for wedding parties. Tip: Guests are advised to book spa treatments at least two days in advance. 

The resort’s Baoase Culinary Beach Restaurant is open to locals. The most popular fare here is "The Chef’s Menu," a full seven-course menu, which changes constantly and makes use of fresh ingredients. Additional recommended dishes include tuna tartare, lionfish and ginger cheesecake. Nice Touch: All of the seating at this restaurant is beachfront. Although it is fairly easy to get a reservation at the resort, we were told guests should book two weeks in advance to be on the safe side.

More below >>

Outdoor bathroom and tub in a Superior Beachfront pool suite at the Baoase Luxury Resort in Curaçao

For VIPs tying the knot, the resort can do everything from buyouts to ceremonies for 10 guests and rehearsal dinners. The property can accommodate almost any over-the-top request. For instance, A-listers can hire a private jet to drop rose petals during the ceremony. Other extravagant needs that the resort has fulfilled in the past include delivering 100 flowers to a couple's room during their honeymoon, and flying in wagyu beef from Japan to meet a guests request for dinner.

Additional experiences include a bottle of champagne upon arrival; a four-course “Surprise Menu” created by the chef in a romantic gazebo set up on the beach; and private picnic on the beach.

Tip: For those VIPs looking to get some shopping done, there are some high-end jewelry shops in Punda, which is roughly a five- to 10-minute drive from the resort. The property can provide VIP transport to and from the shops.

Check rates and availability at the Baoase Luxury Resort in Curaçao >>

Beach at the Baoase Luxury Resort in Curacao


Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Offers #EpicMemories


By: Five Star Alliance

Sponsored Post*

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Family Beach VacationNestled along Southern California’s most recognizable and breathtaking coastline, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel provides the inspiration for guests to create #EpicMemories in 2016 with original and enduring packages and activities that awaken the soul, stimulate creativity rejuvenate the spirit and inspire the heart.

Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Outdoor PoolSea legs are embraced and the soul is awakened on the Eco-Adventure Center's Biggest Show on Earth excursion. See first-hand why Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West. A famous gathering area for aquatic animals, Dana Point attracts not only marine mammals but marine biologists and whale lovers from around the world. While on the adventure, majestic blue whales or gray whales can be seen as they travel past Dana Point, which is believed to serve as a visual landmark for several species of whales that migrate along the Pacific Coast. The Biggest Show on Earth is $110 per person and includes transportation to and from Dana Point Harbor.

The history of art is filled with stories of solitary artists abandoning society to pursue their creative expression. The 2016 Pageant of the Masters sets out in search of stories of compelling collaborations that led to the creation of unforgettable artworks in this summer's presentation of "Partners". Filled with provocative and passionate tales of some of art's dynamic duos - artists and patrons, models, muses, even dance partners, be sure to bring someone special with you, as "Partners" pulls back the curtain to reveal the significant others without whom the creation of great masterpieces might not have been possible.

Going backstage at the Pageant of the Masters stimulates creativity. The resort's Behind the Velvet Rope experience offers an exclusive opportunity to see how this grand production comes together behind the curtain and offers a peek into the mystery of how art comes to life. The experience also affords guests to rub elbows with the artists while on a private docent tour of the Festival of Arts. The resort also offers a Pageant of the Masters "Partners" package that includes two tickets to the performance. Pageant packages start at $849 per night and are available July 7 through August 31, 2016.

Rejuvenate the spirit with the Rejuvenate You package. Celebrate a new you with two 60-minute signature spa treatments, oceanfront Pilates and yoga, as well as a delectable lunch for two in Raya. The Ritz-Carlton Spa offers a selection of massage, facial and body treatments in a relaxing and tranquil environment. Rejuvenate You starts at $749 per night.

Guests can extend their stay with the Treat You package. Starting at $875 per night, the Treat You package includes accommodations on The Ritz-Carlton Club Level and one complimentary night when guests stay four nights. The Club Level experience offers the comfort, convenience and privacy of a hotel within a hotel. Located on the fourth floor of the resort, The Club Level is not just about luxurious surroundings; it's about personalized service. A dedicated concierge is available to meet any needs from hard to get restaurant reservations to assistance with changing airline flights. Only guests registered on Club Level can access the floor through use of a special elevator key, ensuring a sense of personal security. The focal point of Club is a spacious lounge area, furnished to resemble a comfortable living area and well stocked with books and a variety of magazines and newspapers.

Inspire the heart and fall in love all over again with the resort’s Sunset Romance package that includes overnight accommodations, Champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries, and breakfast for two. Enhance the experience with an upgrade to a fireside ocean guestroom where guests can toast the sunset by the warmth of the fire on the private patio and create #EpicMemories. Sunset Romance starts at $699 per night.

Throughout 2016, #EpicMemories experiences will be highlighted on the resorts social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. These experiences range from watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with your loved one to building a sand castle on the beach with your children. Guests are also encouraged to share their #EpicMemories.

Sunset at Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

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*The content of this sponsored article was provided by Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Offers and packages are subject to change.

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Penthouse Suite at Fairmont San Francisco


By: Rachael Weir

Occupying the entire eighth floor of The Fairmont San Francisco, a grand historic property in the heart of the city, The Penthouse has hosted royalty and celebrities alike, including John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Hussein of Jordan, Marlene Dietrich, and Mick Jagger.

The Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse Suite Living Room

The lavish suite offers three large bedrooms, a formal dining room with seating for up to 60 guests, ornately tiled billiard room, formal living room with a grand piano, and a two-story library. Plus, behind the bookshelves, there's a secret passageway adding to the allure of the fabled suite. Read more below.

The Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse Suite Dining Room

Hallway within the Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco opened in 1907. Set atop Nob Hill, the property offers panoramic views of the city, and its located at the only spot in San Francisco where each of the cable car lines meet. Fully restored with luxurious modern comforts, the hotel features the Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar with locally sourced ingredients, plus the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar featuring a tropical setting and Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine. Close to the Financial District, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf, the property offers a centralized location for business and leisure travelers.

Learn more and check rates at The Fairmont San Francisco >>

Penthouse Suite Balcony View at The Fairmont San Francisco

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