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.

Wine Dinners at Summer Lodge, Evershot, Dorset Downs, England

January 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Summer Lodge

Enjoy the tranquility of this luxurious English Country House retreat, ranked as one of Britain's top twenty hotels by Tatler magazine. Set amidst beautifully manicured English country gardens in the picturesque village of Evershot in Dorset Downs, Summer Lodge offers its guests a range of country pursuits, from horseback riding to shooting. But perhaps the most splendid part of the hotel is the 3 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant, where Chef Steven Titman's extravagant cuisine is matched by the fine wines chosen by Eric Zwiebel, UK Sommelier of the Year. (Indeed, Wine Spectator bestowed its Best of Award of Excellence in 2006 for the outstanding wine list.) The famous Summer Lodge Wine Dinners, held on the first Tuesday of every month, are memorable evenings where guests are spoiled with a four course dinner and a selection of five fine wines from a specific wine region. Guest speakers showcase the wines. The program for 2007 begins on March 6, 2007 with an evening dedicated to the best small family-owned domains in the Rhone Valley, France. (The dinner is priced at GBP 65.)

Le Royal Beirut and the Dead Sea Mud Bath Package

January 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Beirut

Beirut's most luxurious hotel, Le Royal Beirut, has recently opened. Situated on a hill overlooking the city, just 15 km from the International Airport, the five-star hotel is blessed with beautiful views of the azure Mediterranean from its 231 guest rooms and rooftop restaurant. Guests can now enjoy the hotel's excellent restaurants and bars, state-of-the-art health club (with personal trainers), outdoor pool and terrace, and the exclusive Royal Spa, spread out over four floors with panoramic vistas. The Spa offers lavish treatments, including the famed Dead Sea Mud Baths. The Dead Sea Mud Bath Package includes one night's accommodation in a Deluxe Sea View room, breakfast at Le Jardin du Royal, Dead Sea Mud Bath (45 minutes), late check-out, and complimentary access to swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and fitness facilities. Priced at $250 for two persons.

Winter in Style at the Park Hyatt Washington DC

December 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Washington

Say hello to the newest and most innovative luxury hotel in the nation's capital. Following a $24 million renovation, Park Hyatt Washington opened its doors in Summer 2006 to much fanfare and celebration. This exclusive hotel is located just a few blocks from Georgetown and minutes from Embassy Row, National Monuments, and the Smithsonian. Renowned designer Tony Chi was the mastermind behind the makeover, which showcases a Tea Cellar (offering rare and vintage selections), spa-inspired bathrooms (gray limestone rain showers and deep soaking tubs), and a signature fragrance designed for the hotel by artisan perfumer Blaise Mautin. Dynamic and modern, the hotel's design pays homage to the city itself: the hotel entrance celebrates DC's famous cherry blossoms with impressive glass sculptures. The 215 guest rooms are contemporary and stylish; the Park Deluxe rooms are the largest in the city. And each room also highlights Classic American Heritage, with antique gameboards, a selection of books about American history and crafts, Windsor style chairs, and Modern American artwork. The hotel's new restaurant, the Blue Duck Tavern, features an open kitchen with a wood burning oven, welcoming patrons with a warm, friendly ambience. The menu focuses on simple and traditional cooking methods with the freshest ingredients: slow-roasting in wood embers, braising, preserving and smoking techniques brings the true flavors of America's great and simple foods to the table.

This winter, experience the city at its most pleasant, when it's blissfully empty of tourist crowds, and as described by the New York Times, "when the locals come out to play." With the Comfort and Joy Winter Package at the Park Hyatt, take pleasure in the warmth of a cozy night: savor a rare tea from the Tea Cellar, soak in a steaming tub, relax in your lavishly appointed guest room, and if you must go out in the cold, the heated seats of a brand new custom designed Audi A8 L can transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination. The package includes a complimentary upgrade to Park Deluxe room, a pot of tea from Park Hyatt Washington's unique Tea Cellar, your choice of Valet Parking for the length of stay OR full American breakfast for two each morning, welcome amenity for children, or complimentary custom designed Audi A8 L to transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination within Washington. Available until February 28, 2007.

Related Articles,

New York Times, "Washington: Decked-Out Capital (Without Crowds)"

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas: The World’s Largest Cruise Ships

December 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Freedom of the Seas

And then there were three. The media went wild when Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas set sail: the 208 ft, 160,000 ton mega ship with a capacity for 4,000 passengers. The world's largest passenger ship featured all sorts of never-before-seen facilities like rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink with Willy Bietak's Ice Skating Musical Extravaganza, mini-golf, boxing ring, water park, and top-deck surfing simulator pool called "Flow Rider." Royal Caribbean's second Freedom-class ship, called Liberty of the Seas, will debut in May 2008. It will depart Miami on Saturdays for seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. (Ports of call include San Juan, St. Maarten, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.) And the cruise line recently announced that there is a third ship under construction in Finland, which will be dubbed Independence of the Seas. The sister ships will all share the same signature amenities, including the 1,215 sq ft Presidential Family Suite which sleeps up to 14.

Spotlight On: Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

December 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paradisus Palma Real

The DR has got it all: sun-soaked sandy beaches, excellent recreational activities, and oodles of outstanding resorts. Case in point: Paradisus Palma Real-- an all-inclusive, all-suite luxury resort with spectacular ocean views just minutes from the hot spot of Punta Cana. 554 suites feature private terraces, mahogany furniture, flat screen TV, DVD and CD player, and complimentary high speed Internet access. Six restaurants offer a culinary tour of delicious cuisine from around the world (from Mediterranean to Chinese). There are three outdoor pools set in magnificent tropical gardens, tennis courts, a full fitness program at the gym, the ultimate in spa treatments, the Cocotal Golf and Country Club, and a slew of water sports. What more could you ask for? (Did I mention there's unlimited Premium brand drinks at your choice of six bars?)

Related Articles:

NYT, "Family Destination of the Year: Dominican Republic"

Hotel Designs, "Hotels: Paradisus Palma Real Opens"

Announcing the New Mandarin Oriental Sanya, Hainan, China

December 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental Sanya

At the southernmost tip of China, off the mainland coast in the South China Sea, there exists a large tropical island called Hainan, covered in greenery and shrouded in a balmy climate. The waters are emerald-turquoise, the sandy beaches are long and white, and the vegetation is lush. Hainan Island is not yet heavily industrialized (even though it's a Special Economic Zone), and the island has become a popular tourist destination because of its bountiful natural beauty. In mid-2007, Mandarin Oriental is slated to open its newest property, a private beach resort nestled in the green valley of the Wuzhi Mountain range. The Mandarin Oriental Sanya will be a peaceful retreat, situated on a secluded sandy cove with a colorful coral reef just offshore, teeming with marine life. The resort will consist of low rise villas within landscaped gardens; its 295 rooms promise stunning views of the sunset over the sea. Other features include a spectacular spa, four large swimming pools, the only outdoor conference facilities in Sanya, four restaurants, tennis courts, high tech gym, and water sports center with snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and deep sea fishing equipment. All just five minutes from Sanya City, and 20 minutes from the international airport.

Hot Hotel Bars: Felix at The Peninsula Hong Kong

December 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Felix at the Peninsula Hong Kong

Hip, stylish, and of course the most glamorous rendezvous in town: Felix is Hong Kong's place to see and place to be seen. Created by celebrity designer Philippe Starck, Felix sits on the 28th floor of The Peninsula, long renowned as one of the best hotels in the world. The "Grande Dame of the Far East" is legendary for its opulent rooms, fleet of Rolls-Royce limousines, helicopter shuttle service, and celebrated Peninsula service. The dining experience at Felix is thrilling not only for the contemporary cuisine (try crispy Indonesian crab cakes, grilled Ahi steak, honey tempura King Prawns, and pan fried foie gras with marinated figs) but because of the setting: sexy interiors and lighting, plus sweeping views of the harbor and Hong Kong's skyline. (Did I mention the people watching?) Open daily for dinner from 6 pm to 11 pm; last drinks at 2 am. Dress is "smart casual." Needless to say, reservations are essential.

Wine Maker Dinners at The Breakers, Palm Beach

December 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Breakers

This winter, escape to Southern Florida's classic landmark for a truly luxurious experience. Situated directly on a private white sand beach, the Italian Renaissance style hotel was founded in 1896 and has been legendary ever since. (And with a Beach club, oceanfront spa, 36 holes of championship golf, 10 tennis courts, kids' programs, four oceanside pools, and excellent restaurants... what's not to love?) Here at The Breakers, L'Escalier offers one of the country's finest dining experiences and is the proud recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award and Wine Spectator's highest honor, the Grand Award. The restaurant now presents the specialty wine dinners of the 2007 Winter Wine Series. Master Sommelier Virginia Philip has invited celebrated winemakers from around the world to present three unforgettable evenings of food and wine pairings. A reception with tastings is followed by a five-course dinner prepared by the exceptional culinary team led by Chef Kevin Ives. Dinners are $300 inclusive of tax and service charge. (The March 5, 2007 dinner is priced at $575). Seating is limited so make your reservations soon.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Joseph Phelps Winery

Featuring Tom Shelton, President and CEO

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Silver Oak Winery

Featuring Tom Johnson, Vice President

Monday, March 5, 2007

Clos de Tart and Mommessin Wineries

Featuring Clos de Tart with Sylvain Pitiot, winemaker

Valentines Getaway: February Relationship Menu at Cambridge Beaches Bermuda

December 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cambridge Beaches

Romance-starved? Nothing that champagne, chocolates, and private island fine dining can't fix. The four-diamond Cambridge Beaches, oft considered one of the world's most romantic resorts, is offering couples the opportunity to rekindle their relationship during the month of February, which has been dedicated to romance with a new Relationship Menu. Escape the grind of our daily lives and relax at one of the resort's five private beaches, relish a fine dining experience on the private Isle of TT, or rejuvenate at the resort's world-class two-level 10,000 sq. ft. Ocean Spa. Discover the fine art of preparing finger foods and sensual desserts as a couple. Uncover the island's most romantic spots (the Romance Concierge will give you the inside scoop). Enjoy turn down gifts. Watch romantic movies by candlelight. Try your hand at couples vs. couples golf tournaments. Experience a champagne horse n' buggy ride, 1001 Arabian Nights Themed Dinner, and romantic picnic basket excursion. And then there's the seminars, offered from February 11-23, 2007. Covering subjects like Venus and Mars Balance, Communication for Couples, Creating a Special Place for the Ultimate Romance, and Introduction to Tantra. Prices for the romance menu package start at $875 a night per couple in the new, lavishly appointed infinity plunge pool suite which overlooks the ocean.

Soul Sisters in Seattle: Girls Getaway at Hotel Andra

December 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Andra

Chic, discreet, and utterly fabulous, Hotel Andra is Seattle's premier address for urban luxury. Located on the edge of the trendy Belltown neighborhood, the hotel embraces the vibe of the area: progressive sophistication and style. This is a luxury boutique delight in the epicenter of downtown Seattle. Inspired by the surrounding artist studios and galleries, Hotel Andra is all about design: celebrating the strong elements of the Northwest-- water, woods and stone-- along with Scandinavian design influences. For the ultimate Girls Getaway Weekend, take advantage of the Syster Sjal package (Soul Sisters, don't you know!) Relax in your Andra Suite with two queen beds; refresh with two chilled "Sofias" (a sparkling Blanc de Blanc from the acclaimed Niebaum Coppola Winery); rejuvenate with $100 credit for each of you at Red Salon and Spa; and recharge with breakfast at Lola. Also includes $30 gift card. Priced at $490, available until the end of the year.