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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.

America’s Favorite Architecture: Willard InterContinental, Washington DC


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Willard InterContinental An American institution that has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce, The Willard InterContinental was recently listed as one of the most iconic buildings in the US. The Empire State Building and the White House topped the list of America's Favorite Architecture, according to a public poll of the 150 best works of architecture conducted by Harris Interactive and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The only DC hotel on the list, The Willard dominates the Pennsylvania corridor between the White House and the Capitol and was originally built in 1901 on the site of an older Willard property. At that time, Joseph Willard Jr. decided to create one of the city's first skyscrapers to "out-dazzle" anything else on the Washington horizon. The hotel's style? French Second Empire Beaux-Arts, distinguished by vast proportions and great columns, with an interior marked by huge chandeliers, inlaid mosaic marble tile floors, elaborate plaster work and painted and carved ceilings. Truly majestic. The newspapers of the day raved that The Willard was "The Handsomest of Washington Hotels," and today, guests are still dazzled by the hotel's architectural magnificence.


Dining in Scottsdale: Cafe Zuzu at Hotel Valley Ho


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Valley Ho The Monday Night Chef's Table continue to dazzle diners at the ultra-cool Café Zuzu, located at Scottsdale's hip urban resort, Hotel Valley Ho. Since the hotel's opening in late 2005, Café Zuzu has been racking up the awards. Critics swoon over the stylish American comfort food, hand-crafted cocktails, and fun retro setting. The next Monday Night Chef's Table: The Great White-- Rediscovering Chardonnay on Monday, March 5. A note of explanation from the witty chef:

A few months ago, a Monday night theme was ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), a sentiment shared by some wine lovers in the '90s when overly oaky, flabby and overpriced renditions of the grape were emerging from California. It's not that we have anything against chardonnay; we simply wanted to expose our guests to some alternatives. The truth is though, when chardonnay is poorly done it's extremely difficult to pair with food. We do enjoy a well made chard however, so we thought it was high time to rediscover this extremely popular varietal and design a menu around it ("The Great White") just in time for summer.

The menu looks divine: Smoked Salmon (hearts of palm and garlic cream), Braised Pork Belly (roasted cipollini and foraged mushrooms), Pheasant Breast (truffle gnocchi, English peas and tomato confit), and Peach Tarte Tatin (honey mascarpone cream and blackberry nectar). From 6:30-8pm, priced at $42 per person.


Double Your Fun at Rose Hall Resort and Country Club, Jamaica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rose Hall Resort and Country ClubOverlooking the turquoise waters of Montego Bay, Rose Hall Resort and Country Club was once an 18th century sugar plantation. Now this enchanting property-- with a private beach, championship golf, and the Caribbean's largest water park-- is surrounded by 400 acres of the historic Rose Hall Plantation. This all-inclusive resort is now offering a special "Buy One, Get One Free" discount for all couples visiting between January 1 through March 31, 2007. Buy a space for any of the following tours or spa services, and you'll receive a second space for free: Negril Sunset Tour, Ocho Rios 1/2 Day or Full Day Tour, or Swedish Massage (buy one half-hour Swedish massage, and receive a second one free).


Relais Bernard Loiseau, Burgundy: The Best Restaurants in France


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bernard LoiseauIn the heart of Burgundy, surrounded by some of the world's finest vineyards, discover a culinary sensation. In a land celebrated for its gastronomy, this could be one of the best restaurants in the entire pays. Indeed, the Relais Bernard Loiseau has built a reputation as one of France's finest gourmet restaurants. Begin your meal by perusing the menu over drinks in one of the property's fireside seating areas. Be sure to try one of Bernard Loiseau's legendary creations: frog's legs with garlic puree and parsley juice, Pikeperch grilled skin-side down with sautéed shallots and red wine sauce, and steamed fattened free-range Bresse chicken "Alexandre Dumaine" with truffled rice. Executive Chef Patrick Bertron follows in the footsteps of his life-long mentor with his new menu offerings. (He hails from Brittany, so there's lots of tasty shellfish on offer.) There are prix-fixe menus, if you so choose, starting with the two-course "Délice" at EUR 120. The restaurant boasts one of Burgundy's most extensive wine cellars with 45,000 bottles.

And the best part of all? You can sleep off your food coma at one of the exquisite 32 guest rooms and suites! After all, this restaurant/hotel is part of the prestigious Relais and Chateaux luxury properties, and the rooms-- decked out with Burgundy stones and red-clay tiles, period woodworks, and antique furnishings-- won't disappoint. Other premium services include library, billiards room, spa, and swimming pool... all surrounded by beautiful wooded grounds and landscaped gardens.


The One Hotel, Angkor Wat, Cambodia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The One Hotel, Cambodia A one-room hotel? I kid you not. The One Hotel Angkor is a stylish, one-suite hotel, offering the ultimate privacy in the heart of Siem Reap. Located in the town's Old Market area, the hotel is devoted to you and you alone. Perks include intimate, stunning dining experiences (the choice is up to you), a mobile phone for the duration of your stay, and in-room spa treatments.

Enter through a gallery-cafe on the ground floor. Ascend to your luxurious bedroom. A custom-made king size bed draped in Frette linen. Your personal iBook and iPod. 32" LCD screen television. Luxury and sensual indulgence continues into the bathroom. Choose from the two-person granito tub with underwater lighting or the soothing experience of your rainfall shower. A private rooftop terrace awaits above. Sink into your jacuzzi. The indoor-outdoor sound system allows you to accompany a romantic late evening dip with your favorite music. Lounge on the daybed. Dine at the table setting. Cast off your clothes for an outdoor shower. With the entire hotel to yourself, how you enjoy The One is up to you.

This hotel is no stranger to awards lists. Lavished with media attention, the One Hotel Angkor was recognized on Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List as one of the hottest luxury properties worldwide.


Elegant Dining in Buckhead, Atlanta at the Grand Hyatt


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hyatt Atlanta Where to dine in the trendy, popular neighborhood of Buckhead? Head to the Grand Hyatt Atlanta, where Cassis and Onyx Bar have made names for themselves in a crowded (and distinguished) playing field. Recently featured on Fox 5's "Good Day Atlanta," Executive Chef Billy Skiber has set the gold standard for hotel dining. Cassis is one of Atlanta's most successful kosher kitchens. This is the perfect place to enjoy an extravagant Sunday brunch; the spread includes everything from crab cakes to made-to-order omelets. Dinner is likewise memorable, pleasing palates with eclectic takes on traditional continental cuisine. For after-work happy hours and evening cocktails, head to Onyx Bar, where the extensive bar menu features fine liquors from around the world. Don't miss the elegant HyTea on Saturday afternoons from 2 to 6 pm served in the chic bar overlooking the tranquil Japanese gardens.


Barefoot Luxury at Edgewater Beach Hotel, Naples, Florida


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Edgewater Beach Hotel Treat yourself to a winter getaway in paradise starting from just $349 per night. Bordered by seven miles of palm-dotted beaches, the Edgewater Beach Hotel is an all-suite beachfront hotel on the Gulf of Mexico. With a chic, newly renovated lobby, new Coast restaurant, and enhanced services, this Naples hotel is all about casual luxury and barefoot elegance. So kick off your sandals and give in to indulgence. The Edgewater features 125 guest suites with private balconies, heated swimming pool and poolside bar, state-of-the-art fitness room, spa services, onsite restaurants, and engaging children's programs.


Banyan Tree Ringha, China’s Shangri-La Country


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Ringha Named Tatler Hotel of the Year 2007, Banyan Tree Ringha is set in the stunning, mountainous country which inspired the author of Lost Horizon to describe the remote, peaceful paradise of Shangri-La. The rugged landscape is mythical: snow-capped mountains towering over wide, open valleys. Designated the official "Shangri-La" by the Chinese government, this region of Yunnan province is part of Greater Tibet both historically and culturally. Here, 3,200 meters above sea level, Banyan Tree Ringha is a magical resort which reflects the local Tibetan culture. Crafted from traditional Tibetan farmhouses, the 32 spacious lodges and suites feature intricate woodcarvings, smoky fireplaces and wooden balconies with awe-inspiring views. Embark on a trek with a local guide through the Tibetan Mountains to crystalline lakes, deep canyons, mystical plateaus, and divine mountain peaks. At the end of the day, return to the heavenly spa and unwind in serene, luxurious comfort.


Creative Cocktails at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Badrutt's Palace Long hailed as a landmark in St. Moritz, Badrutt's Palace Hotel embodies the grandeur of the Swiss Alps. Situated amidst breathtaking scenery, the hotel has been a celeb-hounded hotspot since its opening in 1896. Dine at the hotel's new Nobu restaurant, the trendiest place in town and innovative addition to the storied hotel. After a lip-smacking good meal (legendary dishes like Tiradito, Black Cod with miso and New Style Sashimi are musts), head to the Renaissance Bar, the coziest bar in St. Moritz. Here, Mario, the well-known barkeeper, fixes both classic and creative cocktails. Sip the best Bellini in St. Moritz, or opt for the U2, the signature drink inspired by Mario's celebrity clientele. The shaken creation includes peach juice, cranberry juice, vodka, apricot brandy, a tumbler, and a straw.


Spring Fever at Sea Island Resort, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sea Island ResortGeorgia's Sea Island Resorts, renowned for its championship golf and exclusive accommodations, is welcoming the arrival of Spring with a slew of recreational activities. Beach walks for bird watching. Hands-on nature programs about raptors, reptiles and gifts from the sea. Cooking schools and wine tastings. Golf clinics to ready your game. Dance lessons and etiquette classes. Escape to Sea Island and break out of your winter shell. A visit to the magnificent 65,000- square-foot Spa at Sea will provide a rejuvenating spring glow. Enjoy the blooming azaleas and soak up the sunshine. And get ready to get doused in some serious Southern hospitality; the service at Sea Island is legendary.