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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.

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).


Friday Photos in the Fiji Islands: Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa

October 23, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa

Dreaming of a South Pacific escape? Shangri-La's Fijian Resort is located on a private island called Yanuca, an 109-acre paradise of sandy beaches, swaying palms, and turquoise lagoons. Committed to protecting its pristine setting, the resort has engaged in conservation programs; its Yanuca Marine Protected Area, a co-operative project, was chosen as a model site for coral reef development by the United Nations Environmental Program. Comprehensive amenities-- including internet access, helicopter transfers, and a business center-- distinguish the luxury resort from others in Fiji. On-site facilities include the new Ratu Makutu Events Centre and the signature CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, which is the largest and most luxurious private spa in Fiji.

Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa


Eco-Design and Eco-Couture at Fashion Week in Portland Oregon

October 8, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Portland Fashion WeekFashion week is on in Portland, and it's gone green for the second year in a row. Featuring eco-couture, urban casual, street- and active-wear from all over North America and the globe, Portland Fashion Week is "the world's only comprehensively eco-sustainable production of a fashion week." Oregon Live reports that "even the venue -- the 14 Square building -- incorporates sustainable materials."  The runway? Made of recyclable materials, of course. Running until October 11, the week features many independent designers whose work was produced with minimal environmenal impact. Along with these hot fashions, the models will be wearing ecological cosmetics.

Looking for a place to shack up in Portland? Five Star Alliance recommends the Hotel Monaco (filled with original art from Pacific Northwest artists), the Heathman Hotel, The Nines from the Starwood Luxury Collection and The Allison in Oregon's wine country.

Image Via Fashion Tribes


Good Karma Abounds at Cambodia’s Amansara Hotel

September 28, 2009
By: Daniel L. Moses

AmansaraKarma is the word that most often comes up in discussions with the vibrant people of the largely Buddhist country of Cambodia. The notion that doing good deeds has its earthly rewards is a pleasing notion. It is therefore hardly surprising that the guests of the magnificent Amansara can get in on the good karma act too. The luxury hotel is often involved in local charitable projects through its Guest Community Help Program, since staying at the Amansara provides those earthly rewards in abundance. The program links its adventurous guests with organizations in need of a helping hand, and the guests are rewarded with a lifetime of memories. Just outside of the ancient capital of Angkor, and bursting with warmth, luxuriousness, and a generous helping of Khmer Buddhist culture, the Amansara is a bastion of luxury amongst the jungles of the Kingdom of Cambodia. And that certainly is good karma.


The Hydroponic Farm and Organic Gardens at Cuisinart Resort and Spa, Anguilla

September 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cuisinart Resort and SpaAs if we needed another reason to love this Caribbean resort of whitewashed villas and turquoise infinity pools... Cuisinart Resort and Spa boasts the world's only hydroponic resort farm- saving water through the use of recirculation systems and drip irrigation, recycling the drainage from the greenhouse to feed the outdoor landscape plants. This soil-free growing process produces fresh, quality vegetables and edible flowers that are harvested daily and used in the resort's kitchen by Executive Chef Daniel Orr and his team. What's more-- the plants and flowers also serve as ingredients in treatments at the newly-expanded spa. Guests can tour the farm with the manager on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 am. See the greenhouse (built to withstand winds of up to 110 mph), lettuce ponds, and raised beds containing herbs and peppers. The organic garden is likewise brimming with colorful produce all year round-- Caribbean callaloo, black-eyed peas, peppers, pumpkins, okra, soybeans, Chinese long beans, and melons-- while fruit-bearing trees in the orchards produce avocados, guavas, tamarinds, limes, oranges, and star fruit.