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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.

Wanted: A Little Valentine’s Romance for our Readers

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Have some romantic recs for Valentine's Day? (Don't be jaded, now....) Bursting at the seams to share your favorite romantic destination, story or restaurant? We'd love to hear 'em. Send in your stories or hotel suggestions and we'll publish them here or in our monthly newsletter.

Happy Holidays from the Informed Traveler and Five Star Alliance!

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

We're on break for a few days, but will be back soon with lots of hotel recs and special luxury travel offers for the new year. (For anyone who can guess where I'm taking this hiatus, I'll publish your hotel/travel story! Can anyone guess the charming locale?)

How Are We Doing?

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dear esteemed reader, It's been seven weeks since our launch: 140 posts of favorite luxury hotels, special offers, and trends in luxury travel. What stories have you liked? What's peaked your interest? Or helped in planning a vacation? What would you like to see more of? What do you want axed? Let us know! Additionally, we're always on the look-out for submissions from guest contributors. Burning to share a story from your latest travel adventure? Want to be published? Send them in! We're all ears… (or would that be "eyes")

Thanksgiving Tales from Abroad

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Can't find a turkey in Japan? How 'bout cooking up a Cornish hen with wasabi? Feasting in Amsterdam? Let your host invite every single guest in the hotel (the more the merrier, right?) No supermarket in El Salvador? Chase down the turkey (and chop off that head) yourself! Our stories pale next to yours. Send 'em in! We’d love to hear about your adventures gobbling down turkey in foreign lands.

Royal Gazette Fancies Five Star Alliance World’s Best Lists

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cambridge Beaches

A recent article in the Royal Gazette highlights the top honor bestowed on Cambridge Beaches—chosen by Five Star Alliance as one of the world’s most luxurious beach resorts. Situated on its own private 25 acre peninsula, the cottages at Cambridge Beaches are each unique-- individually decorated and designed. This is the oldest resort of its kind. Apparently one of the buildings (almost 300 years old) was built by a privateer!

Cambridge Beaches, Official Site

Cambridge Beaches, Five Star Alliance

Five Star Alliance Releases “World’s Best Luxury Hotels” Lists

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

After much passionate debate, our Five Star Alliance crew of somewhat obsessive luxury hotel fans was finally able to come to agreement on what we consider to be world's best luxury hotels. Coming up with our lists (which cover luxury spa resorts, golf resorts, beach resorts, business hotels, and even honeymoon resorts) wasn't easy, but we're asked for our recommendations so often that we figured we might as well tell the world. Hopefully you'll find the lists as much fun to read as we do. Do you have a favorite that didn't make our lists? After checking them out, come back and discuss your favorites with us! (You'll find a link for comments at the bottom of each list.)

Defining Luxury: Articulating the Intangible

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Luxury Hotel So you're given the altogether grueling, Herculean task of evaluating the world's best hotels. Fragile orchids float through lobbies, delicacies tease the tongue at Michelin-anointed restaurants, infinity pools evaporate into the blue horizon, spas dazzle both body and spirit. Webster defines luxury as "something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary." How to possibly measure the immeasurable? Ultimately, luxury is an experience of the senses. Hotel guests are immersed in the radiant colors of furnishings, the perfect aesthetics of architectural design, the softness of fabrics, the sensations of comfort and warmth, the fragrances that infuse the air. But beyond this, the true luxury hotels are distinguished by their service, and their uncanny eye for detail. There are many places that boast sumptuous surroundings, but true luxury hotels cater to your every (perhaps childish) whim and desire: particular desires and even some you haven't even thought of yet. And they fulfill those requests with savvy and graceful style. But beyond this, how can one assess this luxury experience? Five Star Alliance travel agency has established a concrete framework by which they examine new hotel properties to add to their comprehensive, handpicked directory. Hotels are assessed by the following tangible criteria: 1. The industry awards (a.k.a. let the other guys work for you). Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List, Travel and Leisure's Top 500, Mobil 5 star, AAA 5 diamonds. 2. Hotels that are part of renowned brands, like Ritz-Carlton, Rocco Forte, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Fairmont, Mandarin-Oriental, Oberoi, Peninsula, Relais and Chateau. 3. Other categories or brands: Small Luxury Hotels, Luxury Collection, Leading Hotels of the World, American Express Guide, Robb Report, Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report. 4. Significant references: in the press, word-of-mouth, and personal experience. 5. Facts and figures. Sometimes the rates say it all. If a hotel charges less than $150 per night, one can safely assume that it is not of a certain caliber. These criteria provide the matrix, but not the automatic or guaranteed endorsement. For example, Leading Hotels of the World boasts a collection of many superior properties, but a hotel's affiliation with LHW does not signify obligatory inclusion on the Five Star site. So, readers, help us define, like Webster, the meaning of "luxury"; let us know about luxury properties you recommend. Even the sharp eyes of Five Star Alliance editors may have missed something! In the future, Five Star Alliance hopes to provide a feedback tool directly on the website, where travelers can share their own perceptions about a luxury property. For luxury, like beauty, must ultimately be in the eye of the beholder.

Welcome to The Informed Traveler!

By: Mary Winston Nicklin


The Informed Traveler is a brand-spankin new web log published by Five Star Alliance. We're healthily obsessed with luxury hotels and upscale travel, and we'll soon be bringing you a unique dose of news, info, links, deals and special promos.

Stay tuned right here, we're just about to get started!