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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.

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.


Take a Minimoon at Peter Island Resort, British Virgin Islands

January 16, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peter Island

Stressed out by your wedding planning? Before the honeymoon--even before the wedding--why not try a Minimoon, the quick getaway for the future bride and groom to remind each other, amidst all the wedding stress, why they agreed to tie the knot... Indulge in a little pre-wedding relaxation, and celebrate your future marriage at Peter Island, the idyllic Caribbean Classic. The legendary resort, consistently awarded one of the world's best places to stay, combines the sophistication and exclusivity of a private island retreat with the understated elegance of the BVI. Accessibly only by boat or helicopter, Peter Island is 1,800 acres of lush, tropical beauty, and features five beaches, a private yacht, tennis courts, scuba diving, and an incredible staff. Here's the skinny on Peter Island's De-stressor for the Stressed-out Bride and Groom Minimoon: The package includes a welcoming bottle of champagne and an invitation to a gourmet vintner dinner, choice of a day trip to St. Thomas (Tuesday and Saturday) or to Virgin Gorda (Thursday), a trip to the Peter Island Loop to watch the sunset including wine, fruit, and cheese, a private spa experience for two at one of the the Spa at Peter Island's private, seaside bohios, a private dinner on the beach (tiki lights and all!), and a special departing gift to help prepare for marital bliss. Package includes four nights accommodations in an Ocean View Room, all meals and most activities. Rates start at $4,490 per couple, from January 4 through April 15, 2007. From April 16 through November 16, 2007, rates start at $3,205 per couple.


Be My Valentine at Hotel Jerome, Aspen

January 15, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Jerome

This Valentine's Day, hit the slopes at Aspen and indulge in a stay at the quintessential Aspen hotel. Opened in 1889 at the height of Colorado's silver boom, this luxurious boutique hotel has become a symbol of Aspen itself. Surrounded by the majestic Rocky mountains, Hotel Jerome is just minutes from downtown Aspen. The hotel features 92 sophisticated guest rooms which have been individually decorated with luxurious amenities. Guests enjoy exquisite American cuisine, excellent service, year-round heated pool and two Jacuzzis, and ski resort transfers. Hotel Jerome has created the Be My Valentine Package for the perfect Valentine's getaway. Available from February 13-15, 2007, the package includes deluxe room or suite accommodations, Champagne and a special treat prepared by Pastry Chef Heather Campbell in your room upon arrival, daily lift tickets for two, candlelit dinner for two in the Century Room, nightly bath butler service, and daily continental breakfast buffet in Jacob's Corner. Rates start at $595, two nights minimum stay required.

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Frommer's, "Valentine's Day Deals Worth Their Weight in Chocolate"


Koh Samui, Thailand Goes Upscale with New Conrad Hotel and W Retreat

January 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Koh Samui

No longer a backpacker's tropical paradise, the island of Koh Samui is getting a luxe makeover with a plethora of new hotel openings. First up, the W Retreat and Residences-Koh Samui, the third such luxury resort in the world for the stylish lifestyle brand, following the debut of the fabulous W Maldives in September 2006 and the W Vieques, scheduled for 2007. The Koh Samui retreat, slated for late 2008, will be an upscale, 70 villa property which will include 20 residential units for purchase. Situated on the secluded Maenam beach on the north shore of the island, the new W will have a prime position to enjoy Koh Samui's best windsurfing and snorkeling sites. Of course guests can enjoy all the stylish services and amenities they've come to expect at W Hotels and Retreats: the signature Living Room and lounge, trendy restaurant, 24-hour concierge, and Whatever/Whenever service.

Likewise scheduled for late 2008, the new Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa is to be located on the exact opposite of the island, overlooking Aow Thai Beach on Koh Samui's southwest tip. (It doesn't get any better than this for contemplating the dazzling sunsets.) From its perch on a hill, the 118-villa resort will feature panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand and outlying islands. Surrounded by lush coconut plantations, the resort will offer a variety of fine dining restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, and meeting and business center facilities. The luxurious villas will be enormous, with plenty of outdoor space for private plunge pools and sundecks.


Coeur D’Alene Resort, Idaho: Escape the Winter Blues

January 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Coeur D'Alene

Head to the Winter Blues Festival at Coeur D'Alene Golf and Spa Resort and ditch those winter blues. The idyllic landscape at the resort's lakeside setting may be cure enough for the inevitable wintry blahs (not to mention the luxurious accommodations, spa treatments, and sumptuous cuisine). But this award-winning destination resort has designed an added enticement: the Winter Blues Festival on the weekend of February 16-18, 2007. The Northwest's preeminent blues artists will be showcased at this inaugural event, including Seattle's Lloyd Jones Struggle and "Blueswoman of the Year" Nicole Fournier (& Her 3 lb. Universe). The lineup features nine bands playing the blues for some 15 hours over the three evenings. All the musical events will take place at four intimate music venues conveniently located inside the resort, including two stages inside the newly remodeled Conference Center as well as an exciting Blues Cruise on the lake Saturday after dark. Take advantage of the special Winter Blues Festival Package which includes accommodations and access to all the music venues for the weekend. Packages begin at $149 per person nightly. Daily tickets are $10 Friday and Sunday, and $35 on Saturday.


Gourmet Fine Dining in British Columbia: Hastings House Country House Hotel

January 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hastings House

This is one of the best restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. Hastings House prides itself on incorporating the finest regional ingredients into its pris fixe menu. Each day, Chef Marcel Kauer designs a new menu to reflect the freshest local products: herbs, greens and fruit from the kitchen garden and orchards, fresh seafood from nearby waters, and meat, poultry and game from Salt Spring Island farmers. These constantly-changing menus, an effortless balance of texture and taste, revolve around what is fresh and in season from the "Organic Gardening Capital of Canada" (aka Salt Spring Island.) Winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its remarkable wine list, the restaurant is a culinary delight as much for its food as for its excellent service and spectacular views of Ganges Harbor. The four-course menu, with amuse bouche and palate cleansing sorbet, is priced at $95 (three courses is $85). Note: Now you can take a little piece of the kitchen home with you with the Hastings House Country Estate cookbook. The elegant 96-page hardcover blends colorful history with a passion for food. Great recipes are interspersed with fascinating anecdotes and stunning photography.


Maison 140, Beverly Hills: Vin et Fromage Tasting Series

January 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maison 140

Right in the heart of Beverly Hills, there is a perfectly stylish pied-a-terre managed by Kor Hotels (of Viceroy Santa Monica and Tides Miami fame). Maison 140 is an intimate, 43-room boutique hotel designed by Kelly Wearstler Interior Design with a contemporary (and Asian) twist on the classic Parisian inns of the last century. This unique luxury hotel toasts 2007 with a Vin et Fromage Tasting Series at the swanky Bar Noir. The monthly wine and cheese tasting event is hosted by Avalon's Gabrier Gil and Cindi Byun, along with Viceroy's Ben Meyer. Sessions will be held the third or fourth Monday of each month, and will feature a themed selection of labels, international cheeses, and specially-created canapés. Guests enjoy a fun-filled evening while learning about vintage history, tasting notes, and the proper pairing of cheese and wine. Vin et Fromage 2007 begins on January 22, 2007 with Fireplace Cabernets, paired with artisanal cheeses from classic Cabernet regions around the world. Each event is priced at $45 per person and runs from 6:30-8:30 pm. Parking is complimentary. Reservations are recommended, and a special $40 per person rate is offered with advance purchase. Note: You can also book privately scheduled Vin et Fromage sessions for that next business meeting or celebratory event.


Chateau Mcely, Czech Republic: Historical Grandeur Restored

January 10, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau Mcely

Welcome to the most luxurious hotel in the Czech Republic. (According to Dolce Vita magazine, anyway.) A proud member of Small Luxury Hotels, Chateau Mcely has opened as a five star hotel after an incredible renovation project. The former rural manor of the Thurn-Taxis aristocracy, the 17th century castle has a long and fascinating history. It is situated in the middle of the legendary St. George Forest above a small village, just an hour's drive from Prague. When the current owners discovered the property, it was a devastated ruin. The restoration of the chateau was close to miraculous; the sensitive attention to detail won the hotel an award for the "Best of Realty 2006 in Hotel Projects." Situated next to the lush Jabkenice Game Park (1,200 acres of forest and fish-filled lakes, with excellent walking trails), Chateau Mcely provides beautiful vistas for as far as the eye can see. The 24 guest rooms and suites are exquisitely decorated, each with its own style and name. Enjoy an aperitif at the Alchymist Bar and Plate Hall; choose from the fine selection of Czech and international wines, drinks, and single malt whiskies. Indulge in a massage at the Wellness Center. Go on a hot-air balloon ride, or marvel at the beautiful surrounding landscape on the ground, with the assistance of the Forestry Center.