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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.

Organic Luxury at Cheeca Lodge’s New Spa

February 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cheeca LodgeFlorida Keys fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when the legendary Islamorada resort reopened after a big fire (and renovation). Cheeca Lodge is back this winter, and they've recently debuted a new spa focusing on "organic sustainable luxury." At the helm? New spa director Tricia Banister, who previously had stints at The Spa at The Setai and TheSpaAtDavidBartonGym at Gansevoort South in Miami Beach. The locally-inspired treatment menu features high quality ingredients from sustainable farms-- including Voya from Ireland (the world's first certified organic, hand-harvested seaweed based products). We like the sound of the Lava Shell Massage which uses "warming oil and ionizing lava shells straight from the sea." Also available at the resort: the Signature Seaweed Soak in the resort's new Premier Spa Suites, where terraces have open-air bathtubs for two. Be sure to arrive early for your appointment to savor a foot bath before your spa treatment.


Eco-Friendly Hotels in Thailand: Save Sea Turtles with the Aleenta Resort, Phuket

February 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Aleenta Resort and SpaTalk about guilt-free luxury. The Phuket resort prized for its chic, beachfront rooms and rejuvenating spa is environmentally-friendly, too. The Aleenta Resort and Spa Phuket – Phangnga has created a Marine Turtle Foundation to support the repopulation and rehabilitation of the local turtles that are threatened by over-development and over-fishing. Thailand's four species of marine turtles include the Leatherback, the world's largest living reptile, which has been listed as globally endangered since 1970. Aleenta is located just 20 minutes south from gorgeous Khao Lumpee- Haad Thaymuang National Park, where the Turtle Sanctuary is located. Here guests can learn about conservation with staff, including an Aleenta representative, who tend to over 200 turtle hatchlings. Aleenta offers day-trips to the park so that guests can learn about the turtles. The resort also matches donations of THB40/per night which are made to the Sanctuary.


VIP (Very Important Planet) Package at Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere, Paris

February 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Fouquet's Barriere, Paris

When we first checked out Hotel Fouquet's Barrière in the months before it opened in Paris, we were impressed by its caliber of luxury. Standing on the corner of two fabled boulevards, the Champs-Elysées and Avenue George V, the hotel has opulent interiors designed by Jacques Garcia, a teak rooftop terrace, and an expansive spa with swimming pool. Now we've learned that this ultra-luxury property is also environmentally-friendly. A new VIP ("Very Important Planet") package caters to travelers concerned about their environmental impact. Not only does the package include a carbon offset (through the non-profit Action Carbone), but it also includes organic treats and eco-friendly amenities. Along with your swank accommodations, you'll get a special "Fitness Breakfast" for two (loaded with healthy offerings like egg white omelets and freshly squeezed juice); a 50-minute natural oil treatment at the hotel's U Spa, per person; organic lunch for two at the hotel's Joy Gallery; a bottle of eco-friendly Pop Earth Champagne in-room upon arrival. Priced from €990 based on double occupancy.


Spotlight On: The Organic Garden at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

January 27, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons SingaporeDespite its urban setting-- smack dab in the middle of one of Asia's most dynamic city centers-- the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore is growing an eco-garden. Launched in June 2009, the 1,000 square foot garden is cultivated by each department of the hotel's staff-- from the engineering team (who tend the banana trees) to the finance department (responsible for the limes and lemongrass). The bountiful harvest is plucked for the hotel's kitchens, where Executive Chef Bruno Correa works his magic with exceptional, freshly-harvested ingredients. Six months later, the organic garden-- irrigated with rainwater, nurtured with organic compost-- is a symbol of sustainability in Singapore. And the crop is only growing; now they've added Chinese veggies like bok choy to the mix.


Green Hotels: Donating and/or Recycling Shampoo and Bath Amenities

January 8, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pan Pacific SeattleWe're always on the look-out for hotels that provide both a stellar guest experience and an eco-friendly philosophy. Bardessono in Napa Valley is one of our faves, as is the Cuisinart Resort in Anguilla. We keep tabs on green building techniques, recycling programs, and renewable energy sources. But pouring out unused shampoo bottles, sorting them, and recycling them? That gets serious props. This weekend's Washington Post Travel section, the devoted "Hotel Issue," points out two hotels that do just that:

International House in New Orleans goes to the trouble of pouring out unused shampoo, soap and lotion, sorting the bottles and sending everything to the nonprofit Clean the World, which then distributes the recycled cleansers and bottles to shelters in the United States and to children in poor countries overseas. The Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle also donates partially used amenities to a local women's shelter.

The International House's Reimer said that her hotel opted for the more expensive charitable route instead of installing bulk shampoo and soap dispensers of the sort used elsewhere. "In a four-star hotel, it just looks too motel-ish," she said.


Wacky and Weird Hotels: Underground Five-Star Pad in London

December 30, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

underground five-star hotel in LondonWe've giddily written about some of the weirder accommodations options out there-- from a luxury underwater resort in the Bahamas to the floating pyramid-shaped hotel near Cancun to the Galactic Suite Space Resort. Here's another one to file under the category of world's weirdest hotels: a project in Surrey, London to build a subterranean five-star hotel underneath a golf course. Guests may not be privy to rooms with a view, but they'll appreciate the eco-friendly design features including, of course, a green roof. Designed by ReardonSmith Architects, the hotel aims to preserve the Green Belt countryside while offering a host of luxurious facilities-- spa, included.

Via Gawker


The World’s Biggest and Most Expensive Hotel Suites: Soneva Kiri by Six Senses

December 16, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sonevi Kiri by Six Senses

One of the world's plushest suites can be found on the remote Thai island of Koh Kood, a tropical haven in the Gulf of Siam. To get there, guests of the luxurious Soneva Kiri by Six Senses are personally met at Bangkok's airport and transferred to the resort's own plane for the one-hour flight to the island's white sandy beaches. As recently profiled by the Sydney Morning Herald, the resort's "Private Beach Reserve" could be the largest suite available at any residential resort. We're talking 1,001 square meters of villa space, 209 square meters of pool, plus a tree house for the kids. Other cool perks: the gym, separate spa area, and water slide. Best part of all? You don't have to feel guilty about the $8,000/night splurge, since the resort "grows its own organic produce, uses solar power, and also involves the local communities, who helped build it."


10 Things We Love About Bardessono, the Eco-Friendly Hotel in Napa Valley

December 15, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoAs the world's gaze shifts to Copenhagen during the World Climate Talks, allow us to pontificate on one of our favorite new properties: Napa Valley's Bardessono, "the greenest luxury hotel in America." Why do we love this design gem in Yountville?

1. It's greener than green. The hotel's design showcases advanced environmental technologies ensuring a carbon footprint of zero.

Bardessono2. They'll bring you a steaming pot of French press coffee to your room (for a small additional fee).

3. A portion of your room rate is donated to the Napa Valley Land Trust.

4. Eco-friendly doesn't mean skimping on luxury. Rooms are equipped with In Fiore bath products, Coyuchi bed linens, and 40-inch Sony LCD HDTVs.

Bardessono5. Included in your room rate? Internet, valet parking, and bicycles for touring the town of Yountville.

6. Vinotherapie massages at the spa. Rejuvenate your skin with the anti-aging properties of organic Chardonnay Grape Seed Oil.

7. A wine menu featuring lots of organic and biodynamic bottle selections.

8. A stunning architectural design created by skilled artisans.

9. Nifty hidden massage tables in your guest room...

10. 940 rooftop solar panels.


Eco-Friendly Hotels: Go Green in Oregon at the Hotel Monaco Portland

November 17, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monaco PortlandJust another reason to love the Hotel Monaco Portland: it's Green Seal Silver Certified! What this means is that the Hotel Monaco Portland is one of just a few hotels nationwide that have met a rigorous set of environmental standards determined by Green Seal, a national nonprofit that created an unbiased environmental standard for the lodging industry with requirements for recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, and socially responsible purchasing. Props to Kimpton Hotels for its EarthCare program and eco-friendly initiatives. Some examples at the Hotel Monaco Portland: Cleaning Supplies (all rooms cleaned with environmentally friendly cleaning products), Soy Inks (all corporate collateral is printed on recycled paper using soy based ink), Organic Beverages (all complimentary lobby coffee is organic, shade grown and/or fair trade), Energy and Water Conservation (energy efficient bulbs are in place, along with low flow systems for faucets, toilets, and showers).


The Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire

November 6, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Manoir Aux Quat' SaisonsLearn to cook at one of the most illustrious luxury hotels in Britain. Nested in the picturesque countryside of Oxfordshire, Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons was the vision of celebrated chef Raymond Blanc. With 32 beautiful guest rooms and a two Michelin starred kitchen, Le Manoir has gathered quite the following since it opened in 1984. In fact, you'll so enjoy the resto that you'll wish to learn the tricks of the trade with the pros. Sign up for one, two, or four days at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School and you're guaranteed to learn a thing or two while having a blast. Novices and experienced cooks alike will learn the secrets of producing the finest food in hands-on culinary sessions. Here's a sampling of the classes: Artisan Bread Making, Learn to Cook in One Day, Blanc Vite (create fast, simple, and delicious dinner parties), Fish & Shellfish (learn a secret recipe for Bouillabaisse), Garden to Plate (using the bounty of the two-acre, organic garden, which produces 90 types of vegetable and over 70 varieties of herb, which are used in Le Manoir's kitchen).