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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.

Shopping and Dining in Key West, Florida


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sailing Key West

Amidst the rowdy hordes of spring-break revelers, tacky t-shirt stands and shops spilling flamingo kitsch, wary sun-seekers may despair: where is the colorful, whimsical Key West of old?! But step away from the mobs on Duvall Street, the wet t-shirt contests and "clothing optional" bars and tacky sunset scene of Mallory Square-- where the shadow of an enormous Carnival Cruise ship looms-- and the palm-lined alleys and side-streets reveal the other side to Key West's Old Town: white clapboard Victorian houses framed by fuchsia bougainvillea blossoms, Gypsy roosters clucking and crowing alongside the city's famous fat lounging cats, art galleries and Cuban coffee shops, friendly and eccentric locals.

The best dining in Key West-- hands down-- is Cafe Sole, located off the beaten path on Southard and Francis Streets. Chef John Correa learned his magic in Provence and Bordeaux, and superb dishes-- like Hog Snapper smother in a red pepper hollandaise sauce-- reflect his culinary training. For the island's best brunch, head to Blue Heaven in Bahama Village, where you can devour blueberry pancakes and lobster benedict in a flowering, friendly backyard-- full of whimsy and good cheer.

Shopping? Don't despair on Duvall. A few steps away on Petronia Street, Besame Mucho is one of the world's most pleasant boutiques. The fragrant interior is full of fine jewelry, exquisite Provencal soaps, Kiehl's products, luscious gourmet candies and beautiful Moroccan shoes. Indeed, as the slogan goes: "shop here once and life will be a joy forever.”


More Luxury Hotel Recipes from The Regency


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From Gary Stram, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Regency, A Loews Hotel

The Regency, A Loews Hotel in New York City has already provided us with two recipes - Roast American Rack of Lamb and Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce. As promised, they have sent us a third recipe from their executive chefs for Lemon Crusted Shrimp with a Mint and Olive Oil Glaze. Recipe after the jump.

Bon Appetite!

Shrimp The Regency New York Loews

Lemon Crusted Shrimp with Mint and Olive Oil Glaze

Serves 6

This recipe calls for brining the shrimp first. Shrimp are grilled in their shells, retaining their flavor and juices.

For the Brine

1 qt. water

1/2 cup salt

1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar

2 lbs-Jumbo shrimp-10 to a lb.

2 ea lemons-juiced

1 bunch mint-chopped

For the Glaze

1⁄2 cup virgin olive oil

1⁄2 cup chardonnay-Paumanok Winery

2 cloves garlic minced

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 Tablespoon chopped mint

2 ea limes –juiced –zest reserved

2 Tablespoon-chopped Capers

salt & pepper to taste

1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1⁄2 stick lightly salted butter

Method…

For the brine combine first five ingredients in large bowl and whisk thoroughly. Reserve.

Using kitchen scissors cut shrimp shells down back all the way to the tail. Remove vein and pull out legs.

Add raw shrimp to the brine and refrigerate for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, drain shrimp and transfer to a large platter. Brine can now be discarded.

For the glaze combine the next 10 ingredients in a large saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Once glaze reduces by 1⁄2, slowly whisk in butter and reserve.

Turn grill on and preheat on high for 10 minutes. Once grill is hot, place shrimp flesh side down until pink approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill and place on warm platter. Pour heated glaze over shrimp and enjoy!

The Regency, A Loews Hotel, Official Site

The Regency, A Loews Hotel, Five Star Alliance


Ladies First at the Water Club, San Juan, Puerto Rico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Water Club

Take a jaunt to Puerto Rico for a few days of girls' pampering and beachfront luxury. Who can resist an offer like this? Especially with Jet Blue's easy and affordable flights to San Juan. The Water Club is San Juan's only luxury boutique hotel on the beach, oozing Latin sophistication and chic elegance. Home to San Juan's hottest bar, Liquid, and the exotic open-air rooftop lounge, Wet, boasting the island's best sushi bar. The two-night package includes luxury accommodations in an ocean front room, dinner for two (champagne and sushi, of course!) at Wet and VIP list privileges at a local night club, in-room manicures and pedicures, massages at Wet, and a private dinner for two on your second night (Chef Nelson Rosado will cook tableside and then you'll receive 2 rum guns to get things going.) $999, based on double occupancy. Package valid for travel Sunday-Thursday only March 1-April 16, and 7 days a week April 17- September 30, 2006; blackout dates may apply; reserve by March 31, 2006.

The Water Club, Official Site

The Water Club, Five Star Alliance


Chocoholics Rejoice! The Chocoholic Bar at The Sutton Place Vancouver


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From Kostas Christopoulos and Don MacCorquodale, The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver

Sutton Place Vancouver Chocoholic Bar

After finishing a five million dollar renovation of the guest rooms, The Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver (again a recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award in 2006) has added a sweet touch to its tradition of elegance with the unique Chocoholic Bar. The Bar is the city's only all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet.

Famous with local Vancouverites, the Chocoholic Buffet provides delectable offerings including an array of home made luscious cakes, pastries and pies, exquisite sorbets and ice creams, topped only by the Bar's own renowned Brittany crepes, a house specialty made right before your eyes. Join The Sutton Place Hotel's Master Chocolatier and Pastry Chef Wolfgang Dauke for an evening of sinful delights.

This chocolate-lover's dream come true, the Chocoholic Bar, is offered in two seatings, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Fleuri Restaurant, located on the lobby level.The buffet is $23.00 per person and is also available for banquet or catering functions outside the hotel.

Is it possible to overdose on chocolate?

The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Official Site

The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Five Star Alliance


Easter at the Gran Hotel Son Net, Mallorca, Spain


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Easter at Son Net

This Easter, think Spain. The gorgeous Mediterranean isle of Mallorca, awash with flowers and olive groves, is home to the 17th century hacienda-turned-boutique hotel: Gran Hotel Son Net. Its 25 rooms are each unique, lavishly and individually decorated; the suites boast large windows overlooking the countryside, and private terraces, gardens and swimming pools. The Easter special includes four nights luxurious accommodations, four Son Net breakfasts, cava and fresh fruit in-room upon arrival, traditional Good Friday dinner and Easter Buffet-Brunch at the L'Orangerie Restaurant, and private transfer service from and to Palma airport. Starting at EUR 1,670, valid April 13-18.

Gran Hotel Son Net, Official Site

Gran Hotel Son Net, Five Star Alliance


Going to Buenos Aires: the Grand Alvear Palace Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Alvear Palace Hotel

Welcome to the most elegant hotel in Latin America. The awards are numerous--Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report ("Among the World's 20 Best"), Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler (Top Hotels in the World)-- and the service, impeccable. Among the wide avenues, magnificent architecture, and splendid boutiques of the elegant Recoleta neighborhood in the "Paris of South America," the Belle Epoque Alvear Palace is a city historical monument. Furnished in the style of Luis XV, the rooms and suites are adorned with antiques and crystal chandeliers. Amenities include Hermes de Paris bath products, personal butler service, 500 thread Egyptian cotton sheets, telephone with intelligent screen to regulate AC, Wifi, and DVD players. Bathrooms are nothing short of magnificent, often equipped with jacuzzi and sauna. Guests are treated to the best buffet breakfast in the city, at Orangerie Restaurant, and the fine-dining restaurant-- La Bourgogne—is considered the best in the city, awarded "Latin America's Best Restaurant" by Wine Spectator. Indeed, the Alvear Palace Hotel is itself a symbol of Buenos Aires.

Alvear Palace Hotel, Official Site

Alvear Palace Hotel, Five Star Alliance


South Beach Hot Spots: the Delicious and Daring Delano


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Delano Hotel

I know, I know, I'm a sucker for the white beds in the bar at the Delano. The fact is—I'm a sucker for everything Delano. The chic white bedrooms, the private beach, the magnificent pool, the elegant Indoor/Outdoor Lobby. This is the very best kind of luxurious urban resort, smack dab in the middle of South Beach. With fabulous dining (and did I mention the bars?), this is the place to see and be seen. Paradise could be the cool poolside bungalows, with custom Starck-designed furnishings, luxurious marble bathrooms, and billowing white curtains.

The Delano, Official Site

The Delano, Five Star Alliance


W Hotels Reopens New Orleans Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W New Orleans French Quarter

You may have missed Mardi Gras, but Jazz Fest is on the horizon. And both W hotels—which had sustained serious wind and water damage from Hurricane Katrina—have recently reopened in time for the best of spring festivals. W French Quarter is contemporary and full of sleek technology—as all W Hotels are—yet plenty romantic and old-world European at the same time. Plus, as its name suggests, it's in the heart of it all in the French Quarter. Its restaurant Bacco is considered one of the best in the city. Hot and hip, the other W New Orleans is equally well-located, a trendy and fashionable hotel that is the home of Rande Gerber's happening bar Whiskey Blue.

W New Orleans, Official Site

W New Orleans, Five Star Alliance

W French Quarter, Official Site

W French Quarter, Five Star Alliance


South Beach Spring Special at the Setai, Miami


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Setai

The art deco landmark and oceanfront South Beach destination is surrounded by tropical gardens and turquoise pools overlooking the Atlantic. Originally built in the 1930's as the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, Adrian Zecha's Setai opened to much fanfare in 2005. In the hot South Beach scene, The Setai stands out for its intimacy, impeccable service, and elegant Asian touches. 75 guestrooms and 50 suites are detailed with exquisite amenities: espresso machines, in-room bars, Bose surround-sound DVD/CD systems, deep soaking tubs and rain showers, luxurious bath amenities, and flat screen LCD and plasma TVs. Enjoy a deep therapeutic massage at the luxurious spa overlooking the sand and sea, and then savor the gastronomic delights at the Crustacean restaurant. With the South Beach Spring Special, take advantage of special rates starting at $675.

The Setai, Official Site

The Setai, Five Star Alliance


Upscale Dining in Las Vegas: Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in the MGM Grand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Joel Robuchon

Upscale Vegas dining at its finest. Brought to you by the legendary Joel Robuchon, whose phenomenal Paris restaurant earned the highest honor from Michelin (three stars) in a mere three years, the fastest of any chef on earth. Named "Chef of the Century" by French guidebook Gault Millau, Robuchon has created an epic, gastronomique restaurant sure to delight the senses in a once-in-a-lifetime dining extravaganza. Indeed, the tempting 16-course menu is stacked with heavenly delights. Ready to start salivating? How about a fresh scallop cooked in its shell with a lemon and seaweed butter, duck foie gras and spring vegetables in a green cabbage ravioli, sea urchin flan flavored with fennel, or Brittany lobster under a disappearing saffron hostie in a seafood bouillon... Reservations are highly recommended-- book ahead. After all, there is only one seating of 60 for dinner. Priced at $275 per person.