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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.

Winterlicious at Windsor Arms Hotel, Toronto

January 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Windsor Arms Hotel

Tis the season. The fourth annual Winterlicious culinary extravaganza will take Toronto by storm, starting January 26, 2007. For two delicious weeks, Toronto's superb restaurants dazzle diners with mouthwatering culinary events and the ever-popular prix fixe promotion at 130 top dining establishments. This incredible value is also available at Courtyard Cafe, the elegant dining room located at Toronto's most luxurious hotel, the Windsor Arms. A landmark since 1927, the fashionable boutique hotel is a favorite hideaway for celebrities visiting the city, who enjoy sophisticated service, lavish suites, luxurious spa, and fine dining. Courtyard Cafe is beautiful and romantic, and offers a brilliant dining experience with impeccable wait staff. For the 2007 Winterlicious, Windsor Arms Hotel will offer ever-popular prix fixe menus of $20 lunch and $35 dinner. (Beverages, tax, and gratuity are not included.) The lunch menu features starters like roast celeriac and leek puree (with crab claw tempura and coriander essence) and bonito crusted corn and salmon cakes (with red pepper-chile sauce and pickled mushroom fennel slaw), followed by main plates like sole "maki" roulade with prawn mousse, smoked paprika beurre blanc, fingerling confit and haricot vert. The dinner menu is equally as extravagant, with appetizer choices like roasted beets, balsamic poached strawberries, tender greens, mascarpone bavarois and cashew pumpkinseed vinaigrette, followed by braised beef short-ribs with black bean-sherry reduction, white bean ragout and maple roasted brussel sprouts. Created in house, the heavenly desserts are designed to seduce the eyes and delight the palate. Choose from chocolate terrine with pistachio creme anglaise and candied mandarin zest, chocolate walnut roulade with dolce leche mousse and late-harvest wine poached kumquat, or almond-apricot joconde cake with cassis sauce.


Valentine’s Escapade at Plaza Athenee, Royal Meridien, Bangkok

January 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Plaza Athenee Bangkok

Escape to the sultry city of Bangkok and celebrate the season of love at Plaza Athénée, A Royal Meridien Hotel with a special Valentine's Day package. Priced at $209 (per room, per night), the Valentine's Escapade includes complimentary daily breakfast for two, a bottle of Les Amauts red wine and chocolate delights delivered to your room, 30 percent discount on a romantic dinner for two at The Reflexions, and a complimentary $100 Spa voucher, where you can indulge in a Romantic Spa treatment for two at Spa Athénée. The offer is available from February 1-28, 2007 and a two-night minimum stay is required. A true oasis in the heart of Bangkok, the Plaza Athénée is located just minutes from all the best shopping hotspots, and only 30 minutes from the recently opened Suvarnabhumi Airport. The hotel features the super Spa Athenee, a fully equipped gym, squash courts, stately gardens, and a breathtaking outdoor pool with terrace, bar, and teak deck chairs.


Special Mid-Winter Rates at Wynn Las Vegas

January 22, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn Las Vegas

Act fast on this exclusive offer from the hottest hotel in Vegas. Now through February 28, 2007, stay at Wynn Las Vegas in a stylish Resort Room and receive a complimentary upgrade (Panoramic View Room) for only $179 a night. What a steal. The first Vegas resort in history to win the coveted Mobil Five Star Award for its Tower Suites, Wynn Las Vegas is the height of luxury. The resort boasts 19 fine dining establishments with superstar chefs, amazing spa, huge casino, and its very own 18-hole championship golf course (the only place on the Strip with such bragging rights). Rooms are positively decadent, especially the Tower Suites wing which have their own VIP check-in, private concierge, spa-like bathrooms, and posh entertaining areas with gorgeous views over the city.

(Black-out dates apply for this special mid-winter rate. Offer available on the following dates only: January 21, 25 and 28 and February 5-7, 11, 19-22, 25-28.)


Record Snowfall in Whistler: Winter Escape to Fairmont Chateau

January 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

The conditions are epic. Skiers and snowboarders are dazzled. Since November 1, 2006, North America's number 1 ski resort has been blanketed with over 26 feet (8 meters) of snow. The locals are claiming this is Whistler's best season ever. So what are you waiting for? Escape to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for a magical ski holiday and enjoy Only One Way Winter Rates, starting from just CAD $299 CAD per night (approximately $269 USD). Experience the luxury of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler's sublime accommodations, with adventure right at your doorstep: 8,100 acres of prime ski and snowboard terrain out the front door. (Nestled at the foot of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the resort boasts excellent ski-in/ski-out facilities.) Relax in the rejuvenating Vida Wellness Spa, enjoy the heated swimming pool with its underwater music, or hit the health club and Eucalyptus steam rooms. The dining experience at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is likewise unforgettable; a talented culinary team crafts exquisite Pacific Northwest cuisine.


The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Announces $95 Million Renovation

January 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

The AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is Hawaii's premier golf resort. Surrounded by sweeping greens, a historic pineapple plantation, and the rolling blue of the Pacific, the resort is Maui's finest. (It's home to the season-opening, champions only, PGA TOUR event: the Mercedes-Benz Championship.) The facilities take your breath away: six tennis courts, a basketball court, a 10,000-sq-ft three-tiered swimming pool, two outdoor whirlpool spas, nine-hole putting green, croquet and bocce ball lawn, shuffleboard, the 7,000-sq-ft fitness room and spa, and a secluded beach. As if this wasn't enough, the celebrated resort has just announced plans for a big-time transformation. The detailed renovation will feature enhanced dining restaurants, upgrades to the Spa, additional children's activities, 363 renovated guestrooms, and 107 full-ownership Residential Suites. Inspired by the natural beauty of the islands, the interior design concept will use indigenous materials (such as coconut and shells) and feature traditional Hawaiian artwork. Construction kicks off on July 2 and is scheduled for completion by the Holiday Season 2007.


Pre-Arrival Concierge and Special Winter Escape at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

January 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon

Talk about exceptional customer service. Jamaica's preeminent luxury resort, Half Moon, just introduced a pre-arrival concierge, to help create the ultimate, unique vacation experiences for its guests. The pre-arrival concierge service will gather guest preferences before the guest actually arrives to create a customized itinerary that will include anything from pre-arranged tee times at the resort's newly-renovated golf course, to spa treatments, dinner reservations and off-site excursions. Crave organic snacks for the mini-bar? Now guests can make special requests for items in the mini-bar, in-room amenities, and special deliveries for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.

Experience the benefits of individually customized service while enjoying excellent savings at Half Moon with the Winter Escapes Packages. Guests reserving Half Moon's luxurious Royal Villas this winter can receive up to $1400 in resort credit! With the Winter Escape package, guests of the Royal Villas who book a minimum of 5 nights will receive a resort credit of $1000 for a 5-bedroom villa, $1200 for a 6-bedroom villa and $1400 for a 7-bedroom villa. The package also includes daily breakfast as well as round-trip airport transfers in Montego Bay. The credit is applicable for restaurants, activities and other services at the resort.

Half Moon's villa rates start at $2000 per night for a luxurious 5-bedroom villa and features the exclusive services of a private butler, cook and housekeeper. Villas range from five- to seven-bedrooms with private en suite bathrooms, spacious living room, dining room and private pool. Guests also have use of two golf carts to traverse the 400-acre resort.

The Winter Escape package is also available for guests staying in any of Half Moon's 204 hotel rooms and suites. Valid for stays through April 15, 2007, with black-out dates from February 14-22, 2007.


Making Memories at the Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid: Romantic Valentine’s Day

January 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mirror Lake Inn

Situated on the shores of Lake Placid, this elegant Adirondack hideaway is beloved for its warmth and gracious hospitality. For decades the traditional inn has delighted its guests with its beautiful setting, excellent facilities, and impeccable service. The Mirror Lake Inn has been a place where memories are made and traditions begin. The inn has been a part of guests' marriage proposals, anniversaries, birthdays, family reunions, quiet romantic weekends and other memorable events. In light of this fact, the inn is now running a Memory Contest... Submit your best memory for a chance to win a free weekend for two at the inn, including dinner at The View, spa treatments, and breakfasts. Second and third place winners will receive Mirror Lake Inn gift certificates. Share your Mirror Lake Inn Memory by April 16, 2007, when the staff will choose three finalists.

Thus far, many of these submissions are decidedly romantic, illustrating Mirror Lake Inn as the place to be for Valentine's Day. The Gallery of Memories is a collection of first-person testimonials which describe the inn as an unforgettable spot for a honeymoon, engagement, or Valentine's Day getaway. The inn is now offering two special Valentine's Day escapes. The Mirror Lake Inn Valentine's Day Package includes overnight accommodations in an elegant Marcy Room, Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, dinner for two at The View, and breakfast for two. Available February 11-15, 2007, priced at $300 per evening, per couple. For a more lavish getaway, opt for the Valentine's Day Indulgence Package, which includes overnight accommodations in a Noonmark Room, Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, special dinner menu prepared by Chef Sorgule, and a Swedish massage for two. Available from February 11-15, 2007, priced at $450 per evening, per couple.


Ski New England at Topnotch Resort and Spa, Stowe, Vermont

January 17, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Topnotch Resort and Spa

The highest rated ski resort in New England, Topnotch Resort and Spa is nestled in the rolling Green Mountains of Vermont on 120 wooded acres. In addition to excellent skiing at Stowe, the four season luxury resort offers an abundance of recreational pursuits including mountain biking, snowshoeing, hiking, sleigh rides, heated swimming pools and cross-country skiing. After a day on the slopes (the Ski Concierge will deliver lift tickets directly to your door), relax in the critically acclaimed Spa (choose from 120 treatments and luxury services), before taking in the extraordinary views at the resort's signature restaurant, Norma's. Because the snow's been scarce this winter, the resort is offering some incredible special offers to entice travelers for a sophisticated getaway. Lock in great rates and valuable perks by booking a winter stay at Topnotch Resort and Spa, an excellent place to enjoy the season, whatever the weather. With the Topnotch In-Season Special, enjoy a $150 Resort Credit for every night of your stay from Sunday through Thursday, to be used toward incidental charges at on-site restaurants, in-room dining, Topnotch Spa and the Tennis Center. Available through March 31, 2007. With the Bed and Breakfast Special, enjoy a newly decorated Deluxe Room at Topnotch for just $299 per room, per night (based on double occupancy), including Full American Breakfast for two daily, hot tea and homemade cookies served every afternoon in Topnotch's fireside living room, and Spa access. Available through March 31, 2007. Advance reservations required.


Ponte Vedra Inn and Club Unveils New Spa

January 17, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ponte Vedra Inn and Club

It's no wonder the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is the recipient of the coveted AAA five diamond award, one of only 30 such resorts in the United States. With its opulent accommodations and top recreational facilities, this 300 acre oceanfront resort leaves nothing to be desired. Miles of windswept Florida beaches. 36 holes of golf. 15 hydro tennis courts. Four heated pools. Bicycling, boating, and fishing. Excellent restaurants and lounges. Children's Playground and Nursery... Truly a landmark in American hospitality, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has indulged three generations of guests since its celebrated opening in 1928. To quote Zagat: "rooms and service are rated extraordinary to perfection."

But now Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has improved on perfection-- with the November opening of its new, sophisticated spa. At 30,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art facility is the region's largest. Situated on three acres amidst signature waterfalls and water sculptures, the spa offers an extensive menu of over 100 services including the Lomi Lomi Massage, Fiji Tropical Isle Coconut Scrub, Rose Hydrating Cocoon, Hydra Pure Hydration Facial, La Stone Therapy, Body Polish, Hot Paraffin Manicures, Pedicures, and Hair Care. There is even a Men's Barber Shop on-site. Escape to Florida's sunshine and indulge in some luxurious spa treatments at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. For a limited time, guests can take advantage of the Spa Getaway Package, which includes lodging and a pampering spa service, from just $269 a night (based on double occupancy). Available through February.

Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals


Luxury Cruises: Cunard Launches the New Queen Victoria

January 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Queen Victoria

When Cunard unveils its newest ship, Queen Victoria in December 2007, three ships will sail together under the Cunard banner for the first time ever. The ships-- Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2, and the Queen Victoria-- are part of a legacy of ocean-crossing that symbolizes the refinement and elegance of a bygone era, when trans-Atlantic journeys were civilized events for the privileged few. These glorious voyages continue today with ocean liners that are "floating palaces of art deco splendor and Edwardian excess." Cunard pampers guest with every comfort and elegance in the ultimate luxury travel experience. The maiden voyage of the Queen Victoria is scheduled for December 11, 2007. Amenities include the dramatic three-tier Grand Lobby, Winter Garden (with glass roof), Royal Court Theater, a two-story library, and a Todd English Mediterranean style restaurant. Sweeping staircases, soaring ceilings, and elaborate chandeliers will dazzle the passengers. 86 percent of the 1,007 guest staterooms will be outside, and 71 percent will have a private balcony.