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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.

Special Introductory Rates at the Ritz-Carlton Beijing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton BeijingIt's here. The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing officially opened on December 12 in China Central Place. And the arrival of Ritz-Carlton on the scene bodes well for the thriving capital, utterly transformed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. (Hint: Book now for the Summer Games!) With millions of athletes and visitors expected in just a few months, the city has gone all out with new tourism facilities. The debut of the Ritz-Carlton couldn't have come at a better time. The company's third property in China, the 305-room hotel is offering special introductory rates for as low as $200 per night until February 29, 2008. Designed by the renowned design consultants, Hirsch Bedner Associates of Atlanta, the hotel's interiors were styled like an English country manor. In the guest rooms, classic furnishings blend seamlessly with the latest in-room technology from flat screen TVs to iPod docking stations. Facilities include fitness area, spa, 14,000 square feet of meeting space, and a wide selection of dining experiences. There's even a Wedding Chapel, the first for a Beijing hotel.


Ski Free Stay Free: Rocky Mountain Getaway with RockResorts


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

RockResorts ColoradoThe snow is falling fast. In the past week, the Rockies have been blanketed with over three feet of snow. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience powder-filled slopes and sunny skies at one of RockResort's Colorado hotels! Nestled at the base of some of the best ski resorts in the world, RockResorts combine unmatched skiing with luxurious accommodations and award-winning service. Take advantage of a special package and get free nights and lift tickets. At the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, for example, the Ski Free Stay Free package (starting from $450 per night) means a fourth night free plus one day of skiing and complimentary slopeside ski storage at Aspen Sports. Or choose the package at Keystone, starting at $459 per night, and discover hundreds of acres of varied terrain from Dercum Mountain's beginner terrain to The Outback's expert terrain and Area 51, Colorado's largest nightpark. And at the Pines Lodge, with access to Vail and Beaver Creek, the package starts at $348 per night.


The Caribbean’s Longest Bar: Wow Factors at Grace Bay Club, Turks and Caicos


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grace Bay Club, Infiniti BarAfter some big time renovations in September 2007, Grace Bay Club has emerged as one of the finest resorts on the scene in the hopping destination of Turks and Caicos. What's new in terms of luxury amenities? Anani Spa Tents (manicures, pedicures and massage therapy just steps from the lapping sea), 100 chic new day beds (think chilled sorbet, fresh fruit and traditional beach service by the pool), a kid's treehouse, chic new beachfront interiors at the celebrated gourmet eatery Anancaona, and as reported in the NYT this weekend, the Infiniti Bar, the Caribbean's longest. Stretching 90 feet across the Grace Bay Club beach, the bar is constructed of black marble, creating the illusion that the entire structure is floating above the sand and extending indefinitely into the Caribbean Sea. Dine under shaded umbrellas with the waves at your feet. Inside, baccarat black glass chandeliers decorate the ceiling and the walls glow in blue and gold Bisazza glass tiles.

Image Via NYT


The Four Seasons Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu


By: Courtney W. May

Set on the exclusive Kona-Kohala Coast, the Four Seasons is a magical, tropical oasis that captures the essence of Hawaii's golden age. It offers seclusion without isolation, complemented by an award-winning sports club and spa and a private Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Experience an oasis of beachfront and golf club bungalows that captures the essence of Hawaii's golden age. Play the Jack Nicklaus signature Hualalai Golf course. Dine beside the rolling surf. Snorkel among 3,500 fish. Surrender to massage in fragrant gardens. Be inspired to live each moment to the fullest.


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