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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.

Five-Star Dining in Phoenix, Arizona: Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort

November 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass

Kai, the renowned restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa on the Gila River Reservation, was recently awarded the covered five-diamond award from AAA. Located within the rugged expanse of Arizona's Sonoran Desert, the resort is designed to be an authentic representation of the Gila River Indian Community's cultural heritage. Its restaurant, Kai (meaning "seed" in the Pima language) is tribe-owned, and offers a menu rich in Native American culture. In fact, Executive Chef Michael O'Dowd and Native American Chef de Cuisine Jack Strong have masterfully created an indigenous menu focusing on locally farmed ingredients. (James Beard Award-winning Chef Janos Wilder is consulting chef for Kai.) Sample menu items include Tenderloin of Buffalo from the Cheyenne River Tribe (with Smoked Corn Puree, Barbeque Scarlet Runner Beans, Saguaro Blossom Syrup, Cholla Buds and Seasonal Mushrooms) and Sugpiaq Black Cod with Los Palacios Chorizo and Red Lake Wild Rice (accompanied by Plantain Creme Brulee, Guava Nectar, Caramelized Young Pineapple Wild Rice and Yucatan Coconut Cream). Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, reservations are recommended.

Via AZCentral.com


Thanksgiving in Charleston, South Carolina at Charleston Place

November 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Charleston Place

Welcome to the finest hotel in Charleston, the stunning Orient-Express property located at 205 Meeting Street. At Charleston Place, guests are charmed by the best Southern hospitality in elegant surroundings. Relax in your beautifully appointed room, or treat yourself to some time at the incredibly lavish European-style Spa (there's a clay tennis court and heated horizon edged swimming pool with retractable glass roof). The NYT raves:

With a prime location, two top-flight restaurants, and an indoor-outdoor pool, this 450-room sister ship of Venice Cipriani easily tops the roster of Charleston Hotels.

The Charleston Place Thanksgiving Package includes three nights room accommodation, two tickets to the Thanksgiving Culinary Celebration at the elegant Palmetto Cafe, and a $25 gift certificate good for use in any of the Shops at Charleston Place. Valid from November 21-26, 2006. Starting from $808 in a Deluxe Room (Club Level Room is $1,138). Taxes and gratuities not included.


Magical Melbourne, Australia: Sip, Shop and Spa at the Lyall Hotel

November 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lyall Hotel and Spa

Escape down under for some fun in the sun and a most fashionable getaway to South Yarra in Melbourne, one of the world's most cosmopolitan destinations. South Yarra's got it all: hip bars and restaurants, designer shops, and the award-winning Lyall Hotel and Spa. The area's most elegant address, The Lyall emanates sophistication, with each floor of the hotel transformed into a mini art gallery. Rooms are spacious and luxurious, the lounge boasts an open fireplace, the Champagne Bar is happening, and the spa features a full-service menu with all natural products. (Plus the courteous staff will hook you up with an exclusive Privilege Shopping Card for use in over twenty stores and a shortlist of restaurants personally recommended by the owners of The Lyall.) Until December 31, 2006, enjoy the Lyall Sip, Shop and Spa package. Available every night of the week, this package includes accommodation in a one-bedroom Deluxe Suites, a la carte breakfast, a bottle of Australian sparkling wine, two 20-minute steam sessions, and one 60-minute massage or facial. Rates from AUD 470 per room, per night, inclusive of tax and service. Maximum 7 nights stay.


Cycling and Walking Trips in Europe with Duvine Adventures

October 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Duvine Adventures

Recently the French Tourist Office recognized Duvine Adventures with a grand award (Best Special Interest Product in France) for its deluxe, personalized bicycle trips through the unspoiled villages of Europe. The French aren't the only ones who love Duvine. Time, Bicycling, and Outside have all raved about the tours, where lucky cyclists experience stunning landscapes, charming inns and chateaux, and gourmet cuisine and fine wines. It's one of the best ways to encounter the off-the-beaten-path joys of European destinations. And now Duvine has grown to include other destinations (with year round availability), including tours in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Napa and Sonoma counties in California. Beginning in 2007, Duvine will also offer walking tours in France, Italy, and Ireland. Check out their new movie.


Festive Flavors of Spain with Omni Hotels

October 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Festive Flavors of Spain

Omni's at it again, devising some entertaining and clever packages to entice even the most world-weary of travelers. Starting on November 18th, guests at participating Omni Hotels can experience Spanish culture first-hand with the "Discover Spain" package, which includes luxurious overnight accommodations, a 2-hour Spanish cooking class with a specially-trained Omni executive chef, five-course dinner and wine pairing, Sunday morning breakfast, and a culinary gift bag complete with one cooking apron, imported Spanish food items, recipe cards, and a Spanish CD. The cuisine promises to tantalize the tastebuds: mouth-watering cheeses, meats, seafood, and of course—a delicious array of traditional Spanish Tapas. To prep for this Flavors of the World campaign, 50 executive chefs from Omni Hotels visited the Castilla y Leon region of Spain this past summer for tutelage under culinary masters. Learn the secrets to making authentic Spanish tapas with this fabulous culinary adventure. Available through January 2007. The full list of participating Omni Hotels can be found here.

Related Articles:

IT, Run from the Relatives this Holiday Season with Omni Hotels

HotelChatter, Omni Hotels Will Teach You to Make Spanish Tapas

SF Chronicle, Rick Steves' Europe Meaty Look at Spain: Salty ham, nun-made cupcakes, bullfights


Hampton’s at the Intercontinental Harbor Court Hotel: The Best Baltimore Eats

October 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hamptons at Harbor Court Hotel

Welcome to the "Greatest City in America." These days Balty is a shining star, welcoming tourists in droves to the glittering Inner Harbor. By far the best Baltimore restaurant for exceptional cuisine and service is Hampton's, located in the award-winning Intercontinental Harbor Court Hotel directly on the waterfront. The dining room at Maryland's premier restaurant is genteel and elegant, featuring antique mahogany breakfronts, Chinese laquered screens, overstuffed armchairs, and fine art. But the contemporary American cuisine is what makes the restaurant worth the trip. Incorporating only the freshest local ingredients of the season, Hampton's is renowned for its signature dishes like lobster bisque, broiled Maryland crab cakes with a grilled Granny Smith apple slaw, and grilled Hereford Rib-Eye with potato and wild mushroom millefeuille. The restaurant has been recognized for excellence by Gourmet, Zagat, Conde Nast Traveler, and DiRoNa, the Distinguished Restaurants of North America. Open nightly for dinner and Sunday for Champagne Brunch. Dress is business casual; jacket preferred but not required.


Casa de Sierra Nevada and Sazon Cooking School, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

October 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa de Sierra Nevada

Cool terraces and gardens, bubbling fountains, stone arches, and traditional wooden doors… The elegance and charm of Colonial Mexico beckons at Casa de Sierra Nevada. The luxurious boutique hotel, acquired by Orient-Express Hotels, Trains and Cruises in February, is a historical landmark, dating from 1580. The hotel is comprised of a collection of colonial mansions centered around cool, flowering courtyards, and consists of 33 deluxe rooms and suites. Highlighting the distinctive original architecture, these rooms are each unique, boasting rich art and antiques, exquisite fabrics, tiled bathrooms, working fireplaces, and private terraces overlooking San Miguel. Recognized as one of the finest hotels in the world, Casa de Sierra Nevada has an impressive list of accolades: Conde Nast Traveler World's Best Awards and Gold List, Zagat's 2006 Top International Hotels, Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, Travel and Leisure T500, Robb Report, NYT…(whew).

The hotel is reason enough to visit this magnificent city, steeped in rich history and culture. But Orient Express has just announced an exciting new enticement: the acquisition of the Sazón Cooking School, which will now be part of the hotel. Guests learn to cook with the masters of Mexican cuisine, with a variety of programs ranging from one hour cooking classes on local specialties to week-long culinary packages. In addition to featuring regional culinary talent, the hotel will also include a "Toque Travels" series, featuring renowned chefs from around the world, such as Chef Raymond Blanc of Orient-Express's Michelin two star, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, England.


Thanksgiving in Scottsdale: Cafe Zuzu at Hotel Valley Ho

October 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Valley Ho

Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale's hip urban resort, is home to one of the most stellar restaurants in town. Recently praised by Bon Appetit Magazine as one of "America's Top Tables" and recognized in Phoenix Magazine as one of the "Best New Restaurants" of 2006, Cafe Zuzu serves contemporary American comfort food and handcrafted cocktails in an ultra-cool, retro setting. This Fall, the restaurant launched its Monday Nights Chef's Table, a gourmet extravaganza featuring one supplier, regional American Cuisine, one particular ingredient, paired with wine... every Monday night. Themes for November's Chef's Tables include "The Fleeting Fruit of Fall: Pomegranates, Persimmons, and Quince" (Nov 6) and "In Celebration of Oysters: The Best of Both Coasts" (Nov 27). Thanksgiving promises to be a feast to remember, with a delectable four-course menu including their famous slow-roasted Young's Farm turkey, awesome side dishes, and warm, fluffy Parkerhouse rolls. Mmmm.


The World’s Hottest Hotel Bars: The Plaza Athenee, Paris

October 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Bar at Plaza Athenee

Le Bar at Plaza Athenee is the place to be in the City of Light. Fashionable and sexy, Le Bar has become the city's contemporary and trendy meeting spot. Designed by hot Parisian designer Patrick Jouin, a former protégé of Philippe Starck, Le Bar is distinguished by a long illuminated bar-- sculpted with curve-shaped glass with an ice-blue lighting, resembling a luminous, glowing iceberg— and leather club chairs and large paintings whose frames allow patrons to actually sit inside and become part of the art. The drinks are likewise innovative; the bartender crafts delicious concoctions like Rose Royal (raspberry and champagne), Flower Power (flower elixir distilled in an oxygen-enriched 'eau de source'), and ice-cream drinks. A word of caution: celebrity-sightings galore.


The Peninsula Chicago Cooking Classes

October 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Chicago

Embark on some exciting culinary adventures at The Peninsula Chicago, where Shanghai Terrace (specializing in Shanghainese and Cantonese delicacies) and the newly-renovated Avenues (contemporary cuisine served from an exhibition kitchen) woo diners with discriminating palates. With the Peninsula Chicago Cookery Classes, learn superb culinary skills from two of the top chefs in Chitown. The classes provide guests with the opportunity to prepare four signature dishes from either Shanghai Terrace or Avenues, recently named "Restaurant of the Year 2005" by the Chicago Sun-Times. Learn how to prepare mouth-watering dishes served in Avenues under the professional guidance of Graham Elliot Bowles, recently named one of the "Ten Best New Chefs" by Food and Wine magazine, and nominated as a Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation in 2006. Or master the craft behind Shanghai Terrace's delicious dishes-- from classic dim sum to kung pao chicken-- with Executive Chef Terry Crandall.