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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.

Tides Hotels Partners with Oceana Conservancy Group to Protect Oceans


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tides ZihuatanejoIn a quest to help "turn the tides," the Tides brand of chic, luxury hotels has partnered with Oceana, the largest international organization focused on protecting the world's oceans. Considering that all Tides hotels and resorts (like the fabulous hotspots in South Beach, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Zihuatanejo) are set in pristine coastal settings, this is a match made in heaven. Beginning January 1, 2008, guests can book Oceana room rates at all Tides locations through the dedicated Web site, helpturnthetides.com, and a portion of the room rate will be donated to Oceana to help fund ongoing efforts (protecting essential ocean habitat such as coral reefs, reducing pollution, eliminating government subsidies worldwide that promote over-fishing). To celebrate the partnership, the newly-revamped Tides South Beach is hosting a New Year's Eve Soiree to honor Oceana. The five-course dinner will include sustainable seafood selections such as Alaskan sablefish and Maine lobster, and Chef Pietro Rota of The Tides South Beach's highly acclaimed La Marea restaurant will welcome special guests, high-profile activists and Oceana donors to enjoy an unforgettable evening.


Kids Ski Free at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The HomesteadEnjoy endless winter activities-- skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice-skating and guided snowmobile tours for the whole family-- at The Homestead, one of the most celebrated and storied Virginia resorts. Reward the whole family with a getaway in the mountains and discover a winter wonderland. Outdoors, days are filled with fun in the snow. Indoors, you'll find a world-class spa, fitness center, bowling alley, historic movie theater and indoor pool. Rooms start from just $199 per night, plus kids under 12 ski for free! Available from January 2- March 15, 2008.


Luxury Travel Trends: The Best Airport Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Radisson SAS StandstedKiss goodbye the era of lousy overnights at airport hotels. The latest trend, as detailed in Forbes Traveler, is a spectacular array of posh properties at airports around the world. In 2007, the industry pumped millions into capital investment for luxury airport hotels. Case in point: the swanky Radisson SAS which opened at London Stansted Airport, home to the business class-only airlines Eos and MaxJet. Road warriors will find four restaurants, excellently-appointed guest rooms, and full meeting and fitness facilities. The best part of all? "The 13-meter-high wine tower which holds 4,000 bottles of wine obtained each evening by 'wine angels' who fly on cables to retrieve your choice." For the full list of exciting airport hotels, check out ForbesTraveler's slide show.


Special December Rates in Toronto at the Windsor Arms Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Windsor Arms HotelFashionable and discreet, the Windsor Arms Hotel is a perfect blend of Old World charm and modern decadence. Voted the #1 hotel in Toronto by Conde Nast Traveler (2007), the Windsor Arms is the preferred choice of a faithful clientele who gush about the 24-hour butler service and the hotel's ideal location just steps from the city's most exciting shopping and entertainment. New-millennium amenities include jazuzzi tubs and separate showers, state-of-the-art gadgetry, and the most sumptuous Frette linens. There's a spa, swimming pool, fine dining restaurants and a Kosher Kitchen. (Rumor has it that there are 450 bottles of Cristal Champagne on hand in the cellar.) And with a staff to guest ratio of 6:1 (the highest in Canada), no wonder the hotel's guests keep coming back for more. Until December 30, 2007, the Windsor Arms Hotel is offering special rates starting from just CAD 200 for a Standard Room. The Premier Two-Bedroom and Corner Suites are only $500 per night. Children 10 and under stay for free.


Hong Kong Holiday at the InterContinental Grand Stanford


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong KongThe city's mood is on a celebratory high note, and the InterContinental Grand Stanford is the place to be during this festive season. With breathtaking views of the sparkling lights of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong's internationally-renowned hotel (located in Kowloon) offers the highest levels of service and elegant five-star facilities. During the holiday season, the InterContinental Grand Stanford proudly presents glittering Gold and Black Christmas Celebrations along with a champagne-infused New Year's Eve party that promises to dazzle. Enjoy a traditional Christmas Eve lunch or dinner in The Mistral with a sensational eight-course Italian dinner prepared by Chef Claudio. Or head to Café Rendezvous for the harbour-view buffet featuring all your perennial favorites with all the finest trimmings. There's live music and a Santa visit, to boot.


For Sale: Medieval French Prison To Become Luxe Hotel, Avignon


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Saint Anne Avignon Prison-Hotel200-room property with "exceptional location next to the Papal Palace" overlooking the river Rhône. 10,280 square meters of living space, including cells and "women's detention area." Must be turned into luxury hotel. Interested? Submit your bid by January 23, 2008. And we thought Boston's Liberty Hotel was unique. The French government has decided to sell off this dilapidated state-owned property to a hotel group willing to convert it into an 110-room luxury hotel. If Sarkozy's plan works, Sainte-Anne's prison will be the first of eight unused jails to go on the market.

Image of Avignon via Le Monde


What’s Hot: Mondrian South Beach


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mondrian South BeachWe've been waiting with bated breath, and now the opening date is just around the corner. Come May 2008, you can get your Spring Break groove on at the Mondrian South Beach, the first project by Morgans Hotel Group to include residences. We've gushed about the nearby Delano, and the Mondrian promises to be just as cool:

Around the pools, gardens and bay, Mondrian South Beach makes playful use of space with multiple outdoor living areas. A large swimming pool is adorned with an oversized custom lamp by plunge pools, a pool bar and cabanas for private rental, and surrounded by lush gardens hung with hammocks and landscaped into a labyrinthine trail with lounge areas, secret pathways and "kissing corners."

Located on the west side of Miami Beach, the hotel will offer jet skis and water sports on Biscayne Bay. As to be expected from a top-notch interior designer (Marcel Wanders was named "Designer of the Year" by Elle), the lobby will showcase an "exuberant style with oversized furniture and motifs inspired by fairy tales." From the second level terrace, guests can take in some incredible sunset views. There will be a five-star restaurant, fully-equipped gym, and spa. For more pics, check out Hotelchatter's exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage.

Photo Via NYT


Extraordinary Rates for a December Golf Date at Sea Island, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sea Islands GeorgiaLooking for a quick getaway? Escape the busy holiday season for a last-minute retreat at Georgia's exclusive Sea Islands, where championship golf, elegant dining, and charming Southern hospitality will restore your body and mind. Act fast! This last-minute offer is available until December 16, 2007. Starting from just $395 per night, enjoy luxury accommodations at The Cloister or The Lodge plus one round of green fees, cart, forecaddie, and range balls per person, per night. (Based on availability during these dates only. Play on Seaside incurs a $50 surcharge. Forecaddie gratuity is additional.)


Shanghai Gets a Langham Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

ShanghaiFans of Langham Hotels will be thrilled to learn about a new boutique in the works: The Langham Yangtze Boutique, Shanghai. The hotel group currently has eight properties in six gateway cities-- London, Boston, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Auckland and Toronto-- and now they're adding Shanghai to the mix. And if this hotel is anything like the others, we're in luck. The goal? Recreate the history and romance of Old Shanghai in a historic landmark in the central business district. Designed by architect Li Pan in the 1930s, the building is an iconic masterpiece of art deco and neoclassical architecture. After undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, the 101-room hotel will re-open in mid-2008 as a five-star boutique hotel.


Viceroy Anguilla: Spring Escape in the Caribbean


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Viceroy AnguillaForget St. Barts. Head to Anguilla, the jewel of the British West Indies, where laid-back luxury and a "magnificent island lifestyle" will be celebrated at the brand new Viceroy Anguilla. The Caribbean island was recently picked by the NYT as one of "53 places to go in 2008" and the latest offering from the Kor Hotel Group's Viceroy brand is a major reason why. Nestled on 35 acres of exclusive beachfront, the resort promises every possible pleasure with incomparable amenities: a world-class spa village, fine dining, elite concierge services, and a wealth of recreational amenities including tennis courts, infinity-edge pools, resort boats service, and Kids Club. This Spring 2008, discover "where the sublime meets the sea."