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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.

Jane Austen Festival to Run This September in Bath, England

July 30, 2010
By: Ruthanne Terrero

Bath PrioryThe 2010 Jane Austen Festival takes place in Bath from September 17th-25th. Now in its 10th year, the event grows annually, with more and more  people dressing in Regency-style costume celebrating the life and works of Jane Austen.

Tickets for each event are now on sale at the Bath Festivals Box Office. The most spectacular day each year is the first Saturday, when the festival officially “opens” with the Regency Costumed Promenade through the streets of Bath. (Think promenaders from all over the world dressing in 18th-century attire led by Bath’s Town Crier and accompanied by soldiers and sailors.)

The rest of the festival is comprised of small soirees, theater, concerts, walking tours, food, talks and dancing, plus the opportunity to dress throughout the week, if you wish, in 18th century costume.

Where to stay in Bath? We suggest two charming options: The Bath Spa Hotel and The Bath Priory Hotel Restaurant and Spa.


“Hollywood & Wine” Festival plus July 4th Fireworks: $119 Rates at the Arizona Biltmore

June 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Arizona Biltmore ResortArizona's Grand Dame-- built as one of Phoenix's first resorts in 1929 with Frank Lloyd Wright as the consulting architect-- has hosted its share of U.S. presidents and celebs. Part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, the Arizona Biltmore continues to dazzle guests with its eight swimming pools, seven tennis courts, full-service spa, and two 18-hole PGA golf courses (adjacent to the resort at the Arizona Biltmore Country Club). This summer, the landmark resort is staging a summer-long "Hollywood & Wine" festival featuring celebrity bands and winemakers, Hollywood behind-the-scenes shows, blockbuster dive-in movies, theater productions and culinary events. While June has been all about "Hollywood Live On-Stage," with live theater performances by the Southwest Shakespeare Company and music from celebrated bassist Miles Mosley, July focuses on "Hollywood Blockbusters." There will be screenings of classic American movies and a synchronized swim show featuring the Aqualillies. On July 4th, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra Pops and fireworks will salute America. Talk about serious summer fun. The best part of all? Blockbuster rates at the Arizona Biltmore starting from just $119. [Map]


Boom with a View: July 4th with Adrian Grenier at the W Washington DC

June 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel Washington DCThe capital city's cool new hotel has commanding rooftop views of major landmarks- clearly one of the top spots in D.C. to check out the best July 4th fireworks in the country. (And while you're ogling the view, you can also check out the scene at the happening rooftop terrace.) Leave it to the W Hotel Washington D.C. to orchestrate a fab Fourth of July celebration high above the city. A true VIP experience, the rooftop party will feature an exclusive live performance by the Honey Brothers featuring Adrian Grenier, Andrew Vladeck, Ari Gold, Daniel Green and D.S. Posner and by New York-based DJ, Sky Nellor. Enjoy a premium open bar and delicious nibbles by Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges. The "Boom with a View!" package includes admission for two to the party (starting at 6 p.m.) and accommodations in a Wonderful Room. Priced from $619. Reservations are pre-paid and non-refundable. Just interested in the par-tay? Tix are $200.


The Nice Jazz Festival: Stay at Le Palais de La Mediterranee

June 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Palais de la Mediterranee, Nice, FranceTake advantage of the insanely favorable exchange rates right now and get to France for a summer on the Med. Check out the jazz greats who'll be playing the Nice Jazz Festival from July 17-24, 2010. When the festival was first launched in 1948 on the French Riviera, Louis Armstrong and his All Stars stole the show. Over the years, stars like Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, and Ella Fitzgerald have also taken the stage. (They also played at Jazz à Juan in Antibes Juan-les-Pins, the renowned festival celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.) The place to stay while in Nice is the Le Palais de la Méditerranée, situated directly on the Promenade des Anglais in a picture-perfect setting overlooking the Baie des Anges. Just a short distance from the snow-capped French Alps, the hotel sits directly at the heart of the famed Cote d'Azur. Behind the Art Deco facade, a gorgeous indoor/outdoor pool-- the pride of the hotel-- awaits. At Cedric Biron's signature restaurant, Le Padouk, you can dine on the terrace amidst the mandarin trees while savoring the panoramas of the Baie des Anges. Most of the 188 guest rooms have balconies with views over the sea and the surrounding city. There's also a casino, fitness center, sauna, and Turkish bath.


Cocktails and Decadent Desserts: Cherry Blossom Mania in Washington DC

March 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

National Cherry Blossom FestivalThe National Cherry Blossom Festival is in full swing in Washington D.C. and the capital is going all out with cherry-themed merriment. (For cherry blossom-related hotel packages, click here.) You can nosh on cherry-themed culinary treats or sip some cherry cocktails while celebrating springtime around town. We've got the skinny on some fun food & bev items. Tip: The Festival runs through April 11. Order up a hibiscus cocktail (made with orange blossom vodka, prosecco and Hibiscus grenadine) at Policy, or try the signature Cherry Blossom Cocktail, concocted with Emperor Vodka, cherry brandy and cola, at Mie N Yu. All the rage: the Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea at The Willard. Meanwhile, Vidalia is offering the chef's Cherry "Pie" served with cherry brandy ice cream and a cherry gelée; and Zola has cooked up a cherry-braised beef short ribs dish.


Cherry Blossom Tea at D.C.’s Willard Hotel for the National Cherry Blossom Festival

March 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

National Cherry Blossom FestivalBloom watch is officially underway in the nation's capital, as city residents and visitors get ready for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the famous harbinger of spring in Washington D.C. A gift from Japan in 1912, the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin explode with color in April... and the world comes to ogle them. We've been keeping tabs on the fun-filled hotel happenings for festival enthusiasts, and here's another one to add to the list. Not far from the tree-lined Tidal Basin and the Cherry Blossom Parade route, the Willard InterContinental is getting decked out for the season. Guests of the Willard can raise their glasses at the Round Robin Bar with special cocktails: the Cherry Blossom Fizz, Tidal Basin Bracer and the Maraschino Mojito. But what's really grabbed our attention is the Cherry Blossom Tea served in Peacock Alley, beautifully decorated with live cherry blossoms and a display showing historic photos of the first Japanese delegation to America. Offered seven days a week from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm throughout the festival, the Cherry Blossom Tea features themed nibbles-- like Petite Cherry Custard Tarts, Dried Cherry and Vanilla Scones with Homemade Cherry Marmalade and Devonshire Cream, and Hand Made Cherry Marshmallows-- paired with cherry-infused tea. Live music included. The price is $39 per person, or $49 per person including a glass of Champagne or Specialty Cherry Cocktail. Tea for children ages five through twelve is $25.


Water Fight in Koh Samui! Celebrate the Thai New Year with Napasai Resort

March 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Napasai, ThailandHeading to Thailand for the annual Water Festival? Held from April 13-15, Songkran celebrates the traditional Thai New Year, marking the end of the dry season, and thus means lots of water-related activities (read: a huge water fight!) To be expected, the paradise-island of Koh Samui has lots of revelry for the holiday. There's no better place to unwind on Koh Samui than Napasai-- the secluded luxury beach resort on Maenam Beach on the fashionable north coast-- and Napasai wants you to be part of the action this Songkran. With the "Water Festival Package," you can pair a little solitude and relaxation with the sights and sounds of the Thai New Year. Priced from 8,567 THB per night with a three-night minimum stay required, the "Water Festival Package" includes free transfers to town to participate in the water festival at leisure, a monk blessing ceremony, a relaxing one hour Thai massage at the spa, daily breakfast, a complimentary dinner, free Wifi and bottled water in-room, and airport transfers. Available from April 9-18, 2010.


Hit the St. Lucia Jazz Festival: 4th Night Free at Ladera, the Eco-Luxury Resort

March 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ladera Resort, St. LuciaThe Ladera Resort is reason enough to head to St. Lucia in May. Rated among the best hotels in the Caribbean (and the world) by readers of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, Ladera is a dreamy hideaway perched high above the sparkling sea, its 9 villas and 23 suites each featuring an open wall so that guests have an open-air experience in the rainforest, taking in spectacular views over the Caribbean. But May also marks the 19th anniversary of the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, a 10-day jazz extravaganza with a star-studded line-up from the US, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. From formal performances to open-air concerts to late-night club events, St Lucia Jazz offers a range of exciting shows. This May event has evolved into one of the most anticipated on the Caribbean's calendar. Check into Ladera-- where you'll dig the swanky, eco-chic accommodations and farm-to-table menus at Dasheene-- and you can score a fourth night free. Subject to availability, this offer is available until December 20, 2010.


Where to Stay for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.

March 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cherry blossoms in Washington DCSpring can't come soon enough. Thankfully the National Cherry Blossom Festival-- the festive harbinger of spring-- is right around the corner in Washington D.C. (Events will run from March 27-April 11; the average peak bloom date is April 4.) In past years, we've seen hotels in the nation's capital fete the occasion in a big way with cherry blossom cocktails and scented massages, served with a side of chocolate-covered cherries. Not to mention agreeable room rates with cherry blossom-themed packages. What's on for this year? The prestigious Hay-Adams Hotel, which just opened a state-of-the-art fitness facility, is giving out cherry blossom amenities, free parking, and full American breakfast with the Cherry Blossom Package (priced from $449 per night).

Park Hyatt Washington DCWashington's sleek Park Hyatt– stylishly designed by Tony Chi– is offering a Spring Blossom Package so you can embrace the season of renewal. Priced from $349, the package includes a complimentary upgrade to a Park Deluxe Room, a pot of Cherry Blossom Green Tea from the hotel's rare and vintage selection, a children's surprise backpack filled with sightseeing supplies to explore the cherry blossoms, and a choice of Valet Parking for the length of stay or Continental Breakfast Table for two.

St Regis Washington DCMeanwhile the St. Regis is giving away Jake Raj's Cherry Blossoms book, a cherry blossom delicacy, Parisian Breakfast for two adults (served in the award-winning Adour restaurant), and complimentary overnight valet parking with their Spring Traditions package, priced from $375.


St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin at the Westbury Hotel

February 25, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westbury Hotel, DublinSt. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and where better to celebrate than Dublin? The city will be host to all sorts of mischief and merry-making: comedy, music, film, cultural events, and family-friendly activities, to boot. To quote the official website: "St. Patrick's Festival is rolling out the green carpet for six days for an Irish celebration of monumental proportions... Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2010, St. Patrick's Festival brings the nation alive, and promises six lively days and nights of free celebrations and encompasses a feeling of what it means to be or just feel Irish."

Westbury Hotel, DublinBest of all: The St. Patrick's Day parade, which happens to be just a short stroll away from The Westbury Hotel, the place to stay while in town. Situated just off Grafton Street in the heart of town, The Westbury offers a luxurious and stylish five star experience that raises the bar in Dublin. Book the "Stay Irish" package at The Westbury and become part of the city-wide celebrations. Priced from €299 and available from March 14-17, 2010, the package includes:

* Overnight stay in a superior bedroom in The Westbury Hotel

* Breakfast in Wilde-The Restaurant

* Two pints of Guinness in The Marble Bar

* Dinner for two in Cafe Novo