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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.

New Culinary Garden with Honey Beehives at the Fairmont San Francisco

June 23, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont San Francisco HotelThe buzzz in San Francisco? As part of Fairmont Hotels' commitment to the environment, the Nob Hill hotel has planted a new culinary garden with four honey beehives. The idea? To grow herbs and produce for the kitchen, while also cultivating home-harvested honey, thereby supporting the honeybee population which has seen a dangerous decline of 90% since the 1980's.* In partnership with Marshall's Farm (known for their award-winning organic honey), Executive Chef JW Foster of the Fairmont San Francisco installed the beehives last week, each containing 20,000 bees. When the beehives mature, they will each contain 50,000 bees, producing a total of 250 pounds of honey which will be served in the hotel's dining outlets (which emphasize local, organic cuisine). Think soups, salads, pastries, ice cream, and as an accompaniment to the hotel's tea service.

*To quote the hotel's press release: "The United States Department of Agriculture believes a virus is responsible for the collapse of honey bee colonies. This situation is often called "CCD" or Colony Collapse Disorder. Without honey bees, pollination is not possible. The decrease of the honey bee population is extremely significant since one out of three mouthfuls in the diet is affected by the honey bee population."

Related Articles: The Days are Numbered for the Tonga Room at the Fairmont San Francisco


Travel Buzz: Ritz-Carlton Hotels Ditches Plastic for Eco-Friendly Water Bottles

June 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Hotels, new eco-friendly water bottlesHot off the press. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is paving the way in finding solutions to the plastic water bottle crisis. Committed to environmental sustainability, the company is leading the pack, reducing plastic bottle use in the hospitality industry by introducing a cutting-edge new technology: an all-natural, biodegradable bottle which is making its debut at Ritz-Carlton properties in North America and the Caribbean. Here's the word from the official press release:

Noting the waste that is caused by using an estimated five million, 16oz plastic bottles every year at the properties, Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, challenged his team responsible for sustainable programs to find a better solution. He noted, “Plastic bottles are made from crude oil, take a significant amount of energy to produce, and less than 20% are sent to recycling facilities. Even when recycled, these bottles cannot be used to make the same quality of plastic,” Cooper said.

After 18 months of research, and working with a variety of vendors, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company developed a partnership with PrimaTM to create a co-branded bottle that is rich with sustainability opportunities. The 16oz bottles are made 100% from plants, are all natural, can decompose in 30 days in a commercial composting facility, or can be reprocessed and remade 100% into new bottles.

Manufacturing the new bottle requires 49% less fossil fuels, 45% less energy, and 75% less greenhouse gases than a PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) classic bottle. In addition, the bottle does not contain BPA (Bisphenol A), the harmful product found in many plastics.


Hotel Trends: Underground Eco-Friendly Pad in the Italian Alps

May 28, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eco-friendly underground hotel in the AlpsHotel design is going underground. Last year we reported on a London project to build a subterranean five-star hotel underneath a golf course. Striving to preserve the Green Belt countryside, the hotel isn't compromising on luxurious amenities: like a spa underneath a green roof. Now we're hearing reports about a new, unobtrusive project in the Italian Alps designed by Italian architect Matteo Thun. Built into the side of a mountain slope, the eco-friendly hotel will be crafted from local materials with a green roof to regulate the inside temperatures year-round. Best part of all? These "hobbit houses" will still boast stellar views of the surrounding mountainscape.

Image via Treehugger


New Baby Elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

May 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Baby elephant at the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

Some good news from one of our fave Thai resorts: there's a new addition at the Anantara Elephant Camp. "A 100 kg bundle of joy" to be exact. Baby elephant Nong 'Phil (officially called "Plai Pa Choke," meaning "to bring good luck") was born on May 23, 2010. Congratulations to all the Anantara staff! Overlooking the rugged hills of Laos and Burma in Thailand's mystical Golden Triangle region, the Anantara Resort is famed for its on-site Elephant Camp where pachyderms are rescued and cared for. In fact, the resort's annual King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament raises money for the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Guests appreciate the opportunity to learn about these noble creatures almost as much as they appreciate the resort's laid-back luxury surrounded by 160 acres of lush tropical jungle.

Photo Via Twitter/@SLHLuxuryHotels

Related Articles:

Play Polo with Pachyderms in Thailand at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort

Three Countries in One Day from Anantara Resort Golden Triangle


Green Hotel Rooms on Display at the Hospitality Design Expo in Vegas

May 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoCutting-edge green hotels like Napa's Bardessono are paving the way for the future of hotel design. In fact, the recent Hospitality Design Expo in Las Vegas held the first-ever "green" hotel room design competition (sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Society of Interior Designers and the Hospitality Industry Network). The winning room had neat eco-friendly features: an outdoor deck with lavender plants irrigated with water from the shower, recycled materials, solar-heated water, and no tub. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun:

Sustainable or "green" may be one of the most overhyped buzzwords in corporate America — one that’s often more about marketing gimmickry than environmental stewardship. And yet, luxury-hotel companies say operating buildings that are less harmful to the environment will soon become a business mandate, although it's far from mainstream today. Contests and trade shows like this one are spreading that message in the hotel industry, which is behind others in adopting green standards.


Suite Caribbean Escapes: Special at CuisinArt Resort, Anguilla

May 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

CuisinArt Resort and Spa, AnguillaTwo miles of beaches and a dazzling infinity pool await on the pristine Caribbean isle of Anguilla. The CuisinArt Resort-- home to the expansive Venus Spa-- wows guests of Rendezvous Bay. Not only does CuisinArt boast tennis, sailing, and fitness classes at the gym, but it also offers the world's only resort hydroponic farm-- which produces fresh, organic veggies for the restaurant. We've just learned about an enticing special promotion valid until November 23, 2010. Stay five nights or more and enjoy sumptuous accommodations at a discounted rate, starting from $320 per night. The "Suite Escapes" rate is available across all room categories-- starting from a Luxury Room ($320) continuing up the ladder to the Penthouse 2001 ($1,840). A host of amenities is included in your room rates:

– Anquilla Airport or Ferry Greeting

– Caribbean Welcome Drink upon Arrival

– Continental Breakfast Daily

– Complimentary use of Health Club

– Scheduled Fitness Classes

– Use of Three Night-lit Tennis Courts

– Use of Non-Motorized Water Sports


The World’s Hottest New Hotels: Travel + Leisure’s New “It List 2010″

May 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoIt's our favorite time of year. Travel + Leisure has released their "It List 2010" of the 45 best new hotels in the world. The mag's esteemed editors have hand-picked the year's most exciting hotel debuts, to be revealed in the June issue which hits newsstands this month. What's especially cool to see: ten of the properties have room rates of less than $300 per night. Can't wait til May 21st to see the list? We've got the skinny:

UNITED STATES

Andaz Wall Street+ Bardessono, Yountville, California

+ St. Regis Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

+ Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

+ Andaz Wall Street, New York, New York*

+ Crosby Street Hotel, New York, New York

+ Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

+ Waldorf Astoria, Park City, Utah

THE CARIBBEAN , MEXICO, AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA

+ Viceroy Anguilla, Barnes Bay, Anguilla

+ Gansevoort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

+ W Santiago, Santiago, Chile*

+ Tcherassi Hotel & Spa, Cartagena, Colombia

+ Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, Acapulco, Mexico

+ Hotel Boca Chica, Acapulco, Mexico*

+ Las Alcobas, Mexico City, Mexico

EUROPE

+ Lime Wood, Hampshire, England*

+ Dean Street Townhouse, London, England*

+ InterContinental Paris Avenue Marceau, Paris, France

+ La Réserve Ramatuelle, Ramatuelle, France

+ Heidelberg Suites, Heidelberg, Germany

+ Il Salviatino, Fiesole, Italy

+ Maison Moschino, Milan, Italy

+ Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Italy

+ Palazzina Grassi, Venice, Italy

+ Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, Spain

+ Hotel Consolaciόn, Teruel, Spain*

+ Argos in Cappadocia, Uchisar, Turkey*

ASIA

+ Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China

+ Upper House, Hong Kong, China

+ Peninsula Shanghai, Shanghai, China*

+ PuLi Hotel & Spa, Shanghai, China

+ Serai Jaisalmer, Jaisalmer, India

+ Raas, Jodhpur, India*

+ Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

+ Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay, Philippines

+ Capella Singapore, Sentosa Island, Singapore

+ Langham Place Samui at Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand*

+ Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand

AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, AUSTRALIA

+ Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel

+ Evason Ma’In Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa, Ma’in, Jordan

+ Le Gray, Beirut, Lebanon

+ Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles

+ One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Taj Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

+ Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

+ Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Lithgow, Australia

*Property has starting room rates of $300/night, double, or less.


Win a Night at Napa’s Bardessono, the Green Luxury Hotel Everyone’s Talking About

April 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoWe're just in the mood today to hook up our readers with insider tips on freebies and giveaways. Here's another not to miss: A Giveaway contest at Bardessono, "the greenest luxury hotel in America" that wins acclaim for its gorgeous spa, rooftop pool, artisan-crafted cocktails, carbon-fiber bicycles free for guest use, local wine-makers' dinners, and pet-friendly vibe... For a list of the top 10 reasons why we're enamored with this Napa Valley resort, click here. Now Bardessono is running a Giveway promotion on Facebook:

In honor of Earth Month AND our new Facebook page, we want to give away 1 night free at the hotel! How to enter? Become a fan, tell a friend, and make sure to comment! Giveaway runs through 4/28, winner announced after! Spread the word.

Hurry-- just a few more days to enter this contest!


Hot Hotel Openings of the Year: Coworth Park from the Dorchester Collection

April 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Coworth Park, EnglandHow's this for a teaser? Sure got us excited for the launch of The Dorchester Collection's luxurious country retreat. "You'll know your 'peg out' from your 'double tap.' You'll be comfortable dining under (and alongside) the stars. You'll know which single malt to sip, which New World white to quaff. You'll be ready to leave the past behind and make your mark on the future. You'll be ready for a country house hotel quite unlike any other. Welcome to Coworth Park."

 

 

Coworth Park-- "the country house hotel that rewrites the rules"-- will be opening this summer in the English countryside, just 40 minutes from central London. The setting? 237 acres of parkland bordering Great Windsor Park-- near Ascot and the golf clubs at Wentworth and Sunningdale. What's in store? A carbon-neutral spa, for starters. One of the first of its kind in the UK, the eco-spa was built unobtrusively into the landscape with a roof covered in herbs, later plucked for use in spa treatments. Outdoor pursuits run the gamut from archery to tennis. There's even an equestrian center and pro polo fields.

 

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Luxury Eco-Tour of Istanbul with Urban Nomads and the Newly Renovated Pera Palace

March 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pera Palace, IstanbulAfter a two-year, $30 million renovation, Istanbul's Pera Palace is back on top. Built in 1892 to host passengers of the Orient-Express, the historic hotel was one of the most luxurious of its era, welcoming all kinds of royalty and celebrity guests, including Agatha Christie, who is rumored to have written "Murder on the Orient Express" at the hotel. (Room No. 411 has been preserved as the "Agatha Christie Room.") Stay tuned for details of the hotel's grand re-opening, slated for later this year... Buzzworthy: Visitors can now partake in a luxury eco-friendly tour of Istanbul for Christie's inaugural Green Auction,* courtesy of the Pera Palace and Urbane Nomads, a luxury travel company. Guests will stay in the Agatha Christie Studio Room for four nights, and visit Istanbul via fuel-efficient vehicles in a tour led by Gursan Ergil, a famous designer of eco-friendly furniture in Istanbul. At the Grand Bazaar, visitors will get the skinny on the city's sustainable produce.

*Christie's Green Auction will take place on April 22, 2010, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.