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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.

Phoenix Cooks! 2006 at Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa

July 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Arizona Biltmore Culinary Event

Labor Day weekend is a mouth-watering affair at the legendary Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. Phoenix Cooks! is Arizona's premier culinary event, developed by Clear Channel Radio, The Biltmore, and Food and Life Magazine to showcase the Valley's top chefs and their talents. Foodies indulge in a weekend of culinary adventures at the Biltmore, including the Parade of Chefs reception on Friday, September 1 (eight local celebrity chefs do their thing and cook up signature dishes, paired with fine wines), Saturday's Gourmet Food and Kitchen Show (interactive cooking demonstrations and food forums with top chefs, wine tastings, gourmet kitchen displays by Dacor and Viking, a beer garden, and a chef's marketplace), the Wine Maker Dinner (a five-course extravaganza with specialties from five different chefs), and the Chef's Champagne Brunch (simply divine). Individual tickets may be purchased for the events, though the Arizona Biltmore has designed an exceptional VIP package specifically for the event.

The Phoenix Cooks! package includes two nights luxurious accommodations, a VIP chef's amenity, and admission to the Parade of Chef's Reception, the Gourmet Food and Kitchen Show, the Wine Maker Dinner and the Chef's Champagne Brunch. Package price is $399, which is a real deal, considering individual ticket prices range from $55 per person (Champagne Brunch) to $95 per person (the Parade of Chefs).


Dining with a view in Athens

July 13, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Rob Wilder, Food & Wine Editor and Member of the Five Star Alliance Editorial Advisory Board In the US, great views usually are accompanied by mediocre food. Fortunately in Athens a different rule applies. Three of the better restaurants in town treat you to spectacular views. The menu at Pil Pil is only marginally Greek, but the location reminds you why you came to Athens. The dramatically lit Acropolis literally soars above this romantic patio, atop a small townhouse by the ancient agora. It is an "only in the movies" kind of setting! While somewhat pricey, Pil Pil delivers with fine Greco-Mediterranean dishes and excellent service. For an equally dramatic but very different panorama, ride the funicular to the top of Mount Lycavetus to Orizondes, a highly respected modern Greek restaurant perched atop this 1,000 foot cliff. With the chaotic jumble of Athens way below you, Orizondes produces wonderful food and service. Both restaurants have good selections of high quality Greek wines... look for any by Gerovasiliou or Kyr-Yianni. Finally, for a Michelin one-star experience with an almost equal view, head to the rooftop at Varoulko. Creative interpretations of every kind of Greek seafood are excellent. Perhaps the best overall dining experience in Athens? During our meal a summer lightning storm crashed around us, and our Greek friends coolly told us not to worry, the storm would miss us. Even when a few drops started falling, not a single diner budged from their open air seats- too enthralled with their dinners. The storm miraculously passed us by - Another magical evening in Athens! On the hotel front, we have had two good experiences at the St. George Lycabetus, perched on a hill over the upscale shopping area of Kolonaki. Fine rooms, great views (and rooftop pool), and an excellent location. Friends have also loved the Grand Bretagne, but it is both more expensive and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Syntagma Square. The shops and restaurants of Kolonaki are big draw - our favorite is Papadakis, a youthful and modern take on the Greek Taverna with wonderful food and service. 9 Luxury Hotels in Athens from Five Star Alliance


Summer Special at Esperanza Resort, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

July 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Esperanza Resort

In an incomparable setting on Baja's turquoise Sea of Cortes, Esperanza is a chic and alluring paradise created by Auberge Resorts. The sandstone villas are impossibly romantic: carved into the bluffs overlooking the sea, where the humpback whales migrate just offshore. The infinity pool seems to spill into the private cove beneath, with stunning views of the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula. At the terraced Restaurant, enjoy a star-studded menu of local fish, like almond seared rare yellowfin tuna with warm avocado pie or grilled dorado steak with ricotta crepes and dark pasilla-huitlacoche mole. Or toss back a Piña Dorada at El Bar, watching the sun dip below the Pacific's horizon. The resort's 56 guest rooms and suites have oversized tubs, large outdoor terraces and handcrafted furniture. Unique spa treatments--like grated coconut and lime body exfoliation-- feature natural, indigenous ingredients. After a yoga or pilates class, relax in the warm soaking pool or the indoor steam cave. Other recreational activities include diving, sailing and kayaking trips.

Until September 30, guests can save up to 35 percent off with a special summer package at Esperanza: a five-night (midweek) getaway starting at $2,217 per couple. The "Baja Bliss" package includes five accommodations in an ocean-view terrace casita, two 60-minute Tropical Essence Spa treatments, complimentary yoga classes, nonalcoholic refreshments in a mini bar, complimentary DVD and CD library, and complimentary use of beach cabanas. Inclusive of taxes and service charges. The Baja Bliss package is also available for a five-night weekend package, starting from $2,697.

Via National Geographic Traveler A List


Summer in the South of France: The Hotel Negresco in Nice

July 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Negresco

The Hotel Negresco is a legend, its pink dome a symbol of the French Riviera, its name evoking the essence of "art de vivre." For over a century, the national historic monument has dominated the Promenade des Anglais, overlooking the Bay of Angels and the scenic Mediterranean. Situated on the seafront promenade on the beach, the hotel is like a living museum, filled with antiques, oil paintings, and contemporary art. Each of the 121 guestrooms and 24 suites are individually decorated in styles spanning the historic spectrum from Louis XIII to Art Deco. The Michelin award-winning restaurant The Chantecler is celebrated as one of the best in Nice. From now until September 20, 2006, take advantage of the Prestige Package which includes daily breakfast, a welcome gift upon arrival, and complimentary access to the property's secluded private beach, "Le Neptune." From $445.


Hot Tables in Boston: The Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

July 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oak Room

Named "Best Steakhouse" by Boston Magazine, the Oak Room is also beloved by Zagat, which notes that diners "indulge in the finer things' – like 'killer Châteaubriand' and 'real martinis', 'high ceilings' and swathes of 'brocade' – at this 'grande dame' " of American restaurants. This is old Boston at its finest: an elegant antique setting with dark wood paneling, mirrored walls, intricate white plasterwork, and Waterford crystal chandeliers. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant dishes up award-winning cuisine, while the adjacent Oak Bar offers a slew of specialty martinis and one of Boston's best raw bars. Reservations are strongly recommended. After enjoying a superb meal, check out the elegant Fairmont Copley Plaza, which recently completed a stunning renovation of its 383 guestrooms and suites.


Terrace Movie Night at Conrad Chicago

July 6, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May for the Editorial Advisory Board Last week, the Conrad Chicago continued their renovations and updates with new linens in the guest rooms (500 thread count Pratesi linens) and plush Pratesi towels and bathrobes. They have also rolled out the complimentary high speed wireless internet throughout the entire hotel, comp shoe shine services and evening turndown service with comp bottled water. Other ongoing renovations include 42' flat screen HD plasma tvs and Bose home theater systems. 4 floors within the Conrad's building have been completed and the 5th floor of guest rooms should be done by the end of July - but all rooms should be upgraded with these new amenities by mid October of 2006.

Just past the fifth-floor lobby of downtown Chicago's Conrad Hotel is an alfresco escape -- The Terrace at Conrad (see image). It is a great place to unwind in a chic outdoor setting with fantastic cityscape views. This alfresco dining destination just recently opened at the end of May. Best of all, on Sunday and Monday nights you can enjoy movie night on the Terrace! The July movie line up includes: 6/2 – Guess who is coming to dinner 6/3 – Guy’s and Dolls 6/9 – Citizen Cane 6/10 – Star Wars 6/16 – Dr. Strangelove 6/17 – Rear Window 6/23 – Annie Hall 6/24 – All About Eve 6/30 – On the Water Front 6/31 – Ben Hur (but remember - movies may be subject to change so check with them first) And don't forget about the Special Offer from Five Star Alliance for the Conrad Chicago: Guests making their reservations through Five Star Alliance will receive a welcome amenity, continental breakfast for two (2) daily, and a possible upgrade upon check-in based upon availability.


A Recipe for Romance: The Cook Together Package at The Lodge at Sea Island, Georgia

July 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Lodge at Sea Island

How's this for a romantic retreat: a weekend at the legendary Lodge at Sea Island devoted to cooking classes and culinary delights (of course there's superb golf and relaxing spa treatments, too!) The award-winning resort-- rated number one small hotel and number 1 for top dining in the 2006 Zagat survey top US hotels, AAA five-diamond award, Mobil five-star award three years in a row-- pampers its guests with genuine Georgia hospitality and unparalleled personal service. This summer, The Lodge at Sea Island has plans for great food, fine wine and good times with its weekend Cook Together Package. The package includes luxury accommodations for the weekend, private reception and dinner with Chef Johannes Klapdohr in The Lodge Wine Cellar, Cooking School with lunch prepared by the participants, "How To's" of wine tasting with Lodge sommelier Jane Rate, and monogrammed Chef's jackets. The July Cooking School Themes are Grilling and Smoking, including barbecue shrimp and fallen'-off-the- bone baby back ribs, on July 8-9, and Summer Soups and Salads, featuring heirloom fruits and vegetables, on July 21-22. From August 2-5, the theme is Grilling and Smoking. And on August 18-19, the class focuses on Tailgating Octoberfest Style, with lessons on cooking schnitzels, sourbraten, spatzle and more. Cook Together Package starts at $825 per room per night, with a two-night minimum stay required.


Experience the Wild Beauty of Vancouver Island in Style: The Wickaninnish Inn

June 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wickaninnish Inn

Situated on Vancouver Island's rugged western shore, the Wickaninnish Inn is a prestigious getaway, an exclusive Relais and Chateaux property voted "One of the Top Ten Hotels in North America" by Travel and Leisure readers. Just minutes from the picturesque town of Tofino, the Inn is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific, nearby islands, and Chesterman Beach, not far from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Clayoquot Sound. From your guestroom's private balcony, take in the panoramic views, and fall asleep in luxury each evening, listening to the sounds of the surf. Indulge in a massage at the Ancient Cedars Spa, delight in a delicious meal at the award-winning Pointe Restaurant, and savor the countless recreational activities to discover the region's heartstopping beauty: explore the wide sandy beaches, go fishing or whale-watching, kayak or canoe the waterways, or hike through the old-growth forests.


Dine on the Terrace at J. Taylor’s at L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa, California

June 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

J. Taylor's Terrace

Saffron-Mussel Bisque, followed by Smoked Prime Filet Mignon and Diver Scallops (with truffled potato croquettes), and a delicious dessert of warm chocolate volcano cake. At J. Taylor's, the Contemporary American cuisine is as heavenly as the outdoor ambience. Acclaimed local Chef, Paul McCabe, shines with this inspired and sophisticated menu. The restaurant is casually elegant, but heavy on the romance, with fireplace, lavish displays of orchids, and cathedral ceilings. French doors open to the outdoor courtyard and patio dining area, an exquisite setting with waterfalls and herb garden. Located at L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa across from the Del Mar Plaza. Valet parking is complimentary for guests. J.Taylor's is open seven days a week and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Brunch is available (and highly recommended) on weekends.

Image via CourtneyMay/Flickr


Chicago Hot Tables: Dine Overlooking the Skyscrapers at The Peninsula Chicago

June 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Outdoor Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago

The spot with the best Chinese food in the city--mouthwatering Shanghainese and Cantonese dishes--is also home to an exquisite (and unique) open-air terrace. Sit among the skyscrapers while experiencing the finest service for which the award-winning Peninsula Chicago is known. Voted number 1 hotel in the US by Travel and Leisure, the Peninsula Chicago is also a Mobil five star and AAA five diamond property. Located on the fourth floor of the hotel, the Shanghai Terrace is also known for its 1930's supper club atmosphere and elegant Asian decor.