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.

Buy Fresh, Buy Local: Hotel Chefs Are Planting Gardens

October 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elysian Hotel ChicagoA recent article in The New York Times calls attention to hotels' efforts to buy local produce for their hotel kitchens, if not growing veggies themselves. The new trend has gained steam across the nation, and we've given shout-outs in the past to the InterContinental Harbor Court Baltimore for its urban culinary garden and the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto for its rooftop honeybees. The NYT article singles out Fairmont for its commitment to the "eat local" food movement:

Fairmont’s property in Montreal, the Queen Elizabeth, for example, adopted a goat whose milk is used to make fresh cheese, and the Fairmont in Washington features honey-based drinks. Eleven Fairmont hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Kenya and China keep bees, overseen by local groups or resident beekeepers, and almost half of the brand’s 64 properties worldwide keep gardens.

The article also draws attention to the Elysian Hotel in Chicago for establishing a close relationship with nearby farms, even changing their dinner menu daily depending on what products they get.

PS. Live in the D.C. area and want to support the local food movement? Buy tickets to Farmland Feast 2010, hosted by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on November 1. This culinary extravaganza will shine the spotlight on Chesapeake Bay farmers with a five-course autumnal dinner.

“Green” Eggs and Ham Breakfast at the LEED Gold-Certified Hotel Palomar, Philadelphia

October 14, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Palomar PhiladelphiaHotel Palomar Philadelphia earned Gold LEED certification this year, not an easy feat. (Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification of a building's eco-friendly construction.) Kimpton is toasting the big win with a special offer at their Philly property. Guests can grab gold at Hotel Palomar with lots of green goodies. Available until December 30, 2010, the "We Got Gold" package includes:

* Rates starting at $329

* Deluxe accommodations

* Receive a reusable Hotel Palomar Philadelphia shopping bag

* A special "green" eggs and ham breakfast for two, made with local, organic ingredients in Square 1682, a LEED-certified, chef-driven Kimpton restaurant, located adjacent to the hotel.

In addition, guests can choose from the following:

* Green Can Be Gorgeous: Sustainable spa products will be waiting in your room, including an organic candle, organic massage oils, and organic bath salts.

* Low Carb(on): Enjoy a healthy, farm-to-table boxed lunch made from locally sourced, fresh ingredients by hotel Executive Chef Guillermo Tellez. Or savor a farm-fresh brunch for two in Square 1682.

* Peace of Mind Massage: Relax with an Earth-friendly, in-room temple massage using organic peppermint oil, followed by a Swedish massage with organic lavender oil.

Halloween in Napa: Trick or Treat Yourself to a Special at Bardessono

October 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoFlee from the ghouls and ghosts and instead trick or treat yourself to a Halloween night in Yountville at the new luxury hotel everyone's talking about: Bardessono. Get overnight accommodations in a King Spa Suite, a four-course dinner for two with wine pairings, and breakfast for two for $449 per couple. Stay an extra night or two for $299 per night. The only LEED Platinum Certified hotel in California and one of only two in the U.S., Bardessono has won rave reviews for its gorgeous contemporary design that's committed to environmental sustainability. What could be better than sampling the farm-fresh menu and organic wines in the restaurant, lounging by the rooftop pool, or treating yourself to vinotherapy at the gorgeous spa? In-room treatments are pretty awesome, too, as the sleek guest rooms "double as in-room spas."

Polo Fields and Spa Treatments by Dr. Alkaitis: Coworth Park Debuts Today in the UK

September 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Coworth ParkWe've been waiting with bated breath and now the moment's arrived: Coworth Park opened its doors today on the border of Windsor Great Park in the English countryside. Just 45 minutes from central London, the 70-room estate is the first luxury country house hotel from the Dorchester Collection. We can barely contain our excitement about the luxe offerings: three restaurants overseen by Michelin-starred Chef John Campbell; a contemporary design that enhances the Georgian charm of the original Coworth Park's manor house; an equestrian center; sunken gardens and polo fields; a carbon neutral spa that's the first in the world to offer treatments by Dr. Alkaitis, renowned for his 100% organic, paraben free ingredients. This is the year to celebrate the yuletide season in Merry Ole England!

Go Ahead and Overpack: InterContinental Hotels Pays for Your Checked Airline Bag

September 13, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Times Square New YorkWe just learned about a cool promotion from IHG brand hotels worldwide. When you stay any weekend at any one of their 4,500 hotels and pay with your visa card, you can say goodbye to luggage fees. Straight from the horse's mouth: "Overpack. There's plenty of room for the maybes and why nots. We're paying." They'll reimburse you for your checked airline bag with an IHG Visa Prepaid Card (up to $50). IHG brands include InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo and Candlewood Suites. One of our favorites is the swank new InterContinental Times Square New York (pictured). We also can't help but fall for The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. Book today! (Promotion is valid until December 30, 2010. Open to residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who have attained the age of majority in the jurisdiction of their residence.)

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Green Hotels: The Urban Garden at Baltimore’s InterContinental Harbor Court Hotel

Cooking Classes, Wine Tastings, & Culinary Events with Kimpton Hotels

September 10, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lorien Hotel and SpaWe just received word about the fall line-up of awesome culinary events hosted by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants across the country. We're talking Bourbon Dinners, Farmer's Market Tours, Cooking Demos, and Classes. All emphasize local flavors. (Viva the 100-mile diet!) For example, Portland's Pazzo Ristorante, located adjacent to Hotel Vintage Plaza, is organizing a tour of the Inner Circle Farmer's Market tomorrow. After all, the Italian restaurant is known to celebrate Mediterranean dishes by showcasing the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Also coming this fall: The Grand Cafe in San Francisco will be hosting a Regional Dinner Series featuring Bordeaux in October, and Seattle's Library Bistro will be hosting Scotch, Whiskey, and Liquor Tastings. For the full calendar, click here.

Pictured: The Lorien Hotel in Alexandria, whose BRABO restaurant is out of this world.

Related Article:

Kimpton’s Summer Playground: Goodies for Just $10 More at Hotels like Philly’s Palomar

Hotel Discounts with Voluntourism: Give & Getaway with RockResorts

September 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Landings St LuciaAcross the globe, voluntourism projects are taking off. Hotels from Texas to the Maldives are giving discounts on accommodations when guests sign up for volunteering projects. Another example: the Give & Getaway program with RockResorts. They'll arrange an environmental conservation project for you-- such as light trail maintenance or working on an area community farm-- and you'll get a reduced rate on your stay plus complimentary swag like hydration packs. Give back to the environment and get rewarded for your efforts! Participating hotels in the RockResorts portfolio include:

The Arrabelle at Vail Square & The Lodge at Vail - Vail, Colorado

Guests have the option of two different dates doing trail restoration work in the Vail area.

Snake River Lodge & Spa - Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Snake River Lodge & Spa is partnering with Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation to remove miles of old buck and rail fence surrounding Grand Teton National Park.

The Landings St. Lucia – Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Spend the day harvesting locally grown fruits with St. Lucians on a working warm and end the day sampling locally caught seafood at the Anse La Ray Friday Fish Fry!

Prairie Produce Week and a Farmer’s Market at the Trump Chicago

August 31, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump ChicagoIt's Prairie Produce Week at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago! Frank Brunacci-- the hotel's executive chef-- is celebrating the "Prairie Produce" of local farms with menu items crafted from ingredients harvested within driving distance to Chicago. Time Out Chicago quotes the chef: "Prairie Produce week is a celebration of the fantastic bounty available right here in the Midwest and presents an exciting opportunity for us to make a new connection with our guests." In addition to these epicurean treats available at the restaurant, Prairie Produce Week will also bring a farmer's market to The Terrace at Trump on Thursday, September 2 from 7- 11 am. Here's what you can find at this "sky high farmer's market" on the hotel's 16th floor: "cheese from Nordic Creamery, sausages from Mint Creek Farm, handmade truffles from Katherine Anne Confections; produce from Nichols Farm; seasonal preserves from Rare Bird Preserves; beef and pork products from Slagel Farm; and much more." Sixteen (the restaurant) will also offer a breakfast buffet made up of all the displayed produce, plus you'll be able to have a "meet and greet with the farmers that put all those goods on your table."

Related Articles:

Now Open: Trump Chicago’s Outdoor River Walk and Plaza

Diamonds, Emeralds, Black Pearls: Jewel-Themed Spa Treatments at Trump International Chicago

Family Vacation in Canada’s Banff National Park with Fairmont Hotels

August 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseIt's not too late to plan the ultimate summer/autumn family vacation in the heart of Canada's Rocky Mountains. Discover the alpine majesty of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can go hiking, mountain bike The Great Divide, take a Bow River float trip, and let the kids embark on a photo expedition. After a fun-filled day, unwind at a Fairmont spa and reconnect with your family over dinner. Fairmont makes it easy with a special themed package at its two Banff hotels: the Fairmont Banff Springs, styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a resort recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism. The Mountain Adventure package gives you the freedom to enjoy activities with a $100 CAD resort credit, plus kids eat for free. Available until December 20, 2010, the package starts from $339 CAD per night at the Fairmont Banff Springs and $299 CAD per night at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

On-the-Farm Organic Lunch with the Chefs from Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego

August 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Coronado Bay ResortSan Diego's Loews Coronado Bay Resort gets props for its extensive facilities (private 80-slip marina, tennis courts, pools) and top-notch eats. One of our favorite dining spots is Mistral, which serves modern French cuisine with the finest, responsibly grown ingredients (including fresh herbs from the resort's own garden). The views at Mistral are just as spectacular as the grub: sunsets over the Pacific, vistas of Coronado Bay, and the glittering San Diego skyline stretch out beyond floor-to-ceiling windows. Buzzworthy: Master Chef Marc Ehrler and Mistral Chef de Cuisine Chef Patrick Ponsaty are launching an "On the Farm" series of events where guests get a hands-on farm encounter and enjoy a three-course lunch freshly made from organic farm ingredients. The first such event will take place at Suzie's Farm on Saturday, August 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features a Cocktail Reception & Mixology Lesson, Three-Course Lunch with Organic Bonterra Wine Pairings and Interactive Farm Exploration. $75 per person, plus tax & gratuity. Reservations are required at 619-424-4476 or Space is limited.