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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.

Destination Deauville: Where to Stay in Normandy's Chic Seaside Town

June 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Royal Barriere, Deauville, FranceJust two hours by train outside of Paris, Deauville is a sublime seaside destination. Since its creation as a resort in the 19th century, Deauville has lured the chic and the fashionable for weekend jaunts on the beach boardwalk. After all, this is the spot where Coco Chanel first opened a boutique in 1913, and fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent used to come to unwind. (Deauville hits the spotlight each September for the annual American Film Festival, and was the recent host of the G8 Summit, when the world's leaders gathered in Normandy for a few days of meetings in May.) For a town of just 4,000 year-round inhabitants, there's not much Deauville doesn't offer. Horse races at the Hippodrome, gambling at the casino, sun-bathing on the beach, shopping the cornucopia of couture boutiques, sailing the high seas, relaxing at the thalassotherapy spas, and teeing off on the scenic golf courses...

*The* place to stay in town is the Royal Barrière, home to Deauville's only Michelin-starred resto. Smack dab on the seafront, the five-star hotel is a favorite of Hollywood stars and Parisian society. (The walls are lined with autographed photos of A-listers.) Sister hotel, the Normandy Barrière, a masterpiece of Tudor architecture, is another splendid option. Indeed, the Lucien Barrière Hotels Group has been a central part of the Deauville scene since the early 20th century, and is a frequent sponsor of cinema, music and equestrian events.


A Spectacular July 4th at The Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia

June 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Homestead Resort, VirginiaNestled in Allegheny Mountains, The Homestead is a treasured Virginia resort destination, where generations of families vacation in mountain splendor and partake in an endless array of indoor and outdoor activities-- from canoeing and horseback riding to archery and golf. A National Historic Landmark, The Homestead first welcomed its first guests a decade before the American Revolution, and princes and presidents alike have flocked to the resort to "take the waters" at the healing hot springs.

This 4th of July, make it a family affair with a vacation at The Homestead. With festivities like an All-American cookout, "A Concert Under the Stars" and a spectacular fireworks display, the resort's July 4th is guaranteed to be a holiday to remember. The Homestead is currently offering a "3rd Night Free" with unlimited resort activities, priced from $345 per night. Must book by June 17, for travel through August 31, 2011.


3rd Night Free at The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai

June 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Peace Hotel, ShanghaiHere's your chance to get luxury for less at the newly renovated hotel everyone's talking about. Closed for three years for a top-to-bottom restoration by Fairmont Hotels, the historic Peace Hotel opened its doors in summer 2010 to glowing reviews. Back in the day (1929), the hotel was known as the "Number One Mansion in the Far East." And now it's been hailed "the highest-profile hotel in China." And with a sky-lit swimming pool, Willow Stream Spa, the famous Jazz Bar, and 8th floor terrace with knock-out views, we can see why. Special offer: Fairmont has unrolled a "3rd Night Free" offer at its hotels across China, including this glam Shanghai landmark, the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Valid on stays to August 31, 2011. Starting from 2,100 CNY per night, based on double occupancy in a Fairmont room. Based on availability, and some black-out dates may apply.


Barack Obama in Ireland: Ashford Castle Creates Special Presidential Package

May 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ashford CastleIreland's hit the headlines recently as Queen Elizabeth paid an official state visit to the Emerald Isle (the first one in a century by a British monarch) and President Barack Obama arrived today in Ireland to kick off a six-day trip to Europe. In their honor, Ashford Castle-- the impressive estate in County Mayo that was once the home of the Guinness family-- has created two unique packages complete with helicopter rides, a stay in the Presidential suite, and falconry lessons. Celebrating its 800th anniversary this year, Ashford Castle has hosted numerous world leaders and political figures. The Royal Package, priced at €1025 per person includes:

* First-class train from Dublin to Claremorris

* Limousine transfer from Claremorris to Ashford Castle

* Two nights' accommodation in the Royal Suite

* Clay shooting and falconry lessons for two

* Historical walk on the grounds with local historian Mick Maye

* Dinner on both nights at George V Dining Room

The Presidential Package, priced at €2175 per person, includes:

* Helicopter transfer from anywhere in Ireland to the Ashford Castle helipad

* Two nights' accommodation in the Presidential Suite

* Private dinner in room 224, replicating the scene and the menu of President Ronald Reagan's visit * Dinnertime entertainment by resident harpist Annette Griffin

* Guided walk with local historian Mick Maye along the same route taken by President Ronald Reagan


Act Fast: Summer Sale at San Diego's Hotel del Coronado

May 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel del Coronado, San DiegoThere's a lot to love at the Hotel del Coronado. Perched on the sand, The Del is a San Diego icon and a National Historic Landmark. The beachfront resort has a sumptuous spa, fab coastal cuisine, two sparkling pools, an abundance of recreational activities... not to mention an enviable climate (and lots of year-round sunshine). Hot rates: The hotel is currently running a 3-Day Summer Sale with reduced room rates of just $229 per night. The rate is good for stays through December. Hurry, grab this while you can! The deal must booked by Friday. Note: The Los Angeles Times points out that the rate applies to the older, Victorian-style rooms that have one queen bed and no ocean view. With this summer sale, you also get a reduced parking rate of $10 instead of $25 per night, and 25% off the price of a second room. Subject to availability.


Learn How to Speak French in Paris: Special Package at the Pavillon de la Reine

May 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Pavillon de la Reine, ParisLooking for digs in the Marais for your next Paris jaunt? The Pavillon de la Reine is the only luxury hotel of its kind in this trendy neighborhood, tucked away off the Place des Vosges. With a recent makeover by interior designer Didier Benderli, a protégé of Jacques Garcia, the intimate hotel combines a contemporary style with beautiful historic touches. (It's a firm favorite of rock stars and fashion designers. Celeb sightings guaranteed.) The hotel recently unveiled a Saturday nail salon in its library, and now they're offering a special summer package for guests looking to brush up on their French during their Parisian sojourn. The "Learn How to Speak French" package includes breakfast, 20 minutes of French instruction daily, and a French-English dictionary, with rates starting at 350 euros per night.


Hot in London: The Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

April 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel LondonHold on to your hats. Acclaimed chef Marcus Wareing is opening a second restaurant and it's going to be good. In fact, its going to be "a great British brasserie" to quote the official website. Come May 5, The Gilbert Scott will debut at the newly renovated St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London and we can hardly wait. As befits its setting inside one of London's great architectural landmarks, the eatery will showcase smart interiors by the David Collins Studio that reference grand railway stations. The restaurant is named, in fact, for the building's original architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Gilbert Scott will "celebrate the very best of the UK's regional culinary history, subtly modernizing traditional dishes to unusual effect." Now taking online reservations. To learn more about the dramatic £150 million transformation of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, check out our article here


A Dose of Art in St. Petersburg: Special with the Renaissance Vinoy Resort

April 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Renaissance Vinoy Resort, St. PetersburgSun, sand, golf, and tennis... St. Petersburg, Florida has got its bases covered as a resort destination. But with the opening of the Chihuly Collection in summer 2010 and the addition of the new Salvador Dalí Museum in January 2011, St. Petes has become something of a cultural destination, too. To encourage you to discover the art on offer, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club is inviting guests on an Art Retreat. Priced from $174 per night, the getaway package includes an upgrade to a newly renovated bay view guest room; dinner for two at Marchand’s Bar & Grill from the 1925 Classic Dining Menu; and a choice of two tickets (valued at up to $42) to the Salvador Dalí Museum or the Chihuly Collection and the Morean Arts Center Glass Studio & Hot Shop. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club is also a work of art, showcasing Mediterranean Revival architecture from the 1920's, and its very own Chihuly sculpture in the Grand Ballroom, comprised of 750 pieces of individually hand-blown glass.


Get Your Nails Done in Paris: New Beauty Bar at Hotel Pavillon de la Reine

April 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pavillon de la Reine, ParisNew York-style nail salons are few and far between in the City of Light. So what's a gal to do when she needs a mani? Hotel Pavillon de la Reine to the rescue! The elegant hotel known for catering to celebs dodging the limelight has just opened a beauty bar in its library. So every Saturday you can get your nails buffed and lacquered (with OPI polish, of course) by the expert technicians from the hotel's Carita Spa. The beauty bar is open to the public, with no reservations required, with manicures priced at 25 euros.* Glass of Champagne included! Tucked away in a courtyard off the Place des Vosges, the oldest public square in Paris, Le Pavillon de la Reine is the only luxury hotel of its kind in the historic Marais quarter.

*Celeb sighting probable, though not guaranteed!


Limited Time Offer in Paris: 3rd Night Free at Radisson Blu Hotels

April 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Radisson Blu Le Dokhan's, ParisIt feels like summer in Paris this week. Actually, the weather's even better than summer: sunny and 70 degrees! The sidewalk cafes are packed with sun-bathers and people-watchers. Needless to say, work productivity may suffer this April... Take advantage of these glorious days in Paris with a special offer from the Radisson Blu Le Dokhan's and the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan. The two luxury hotels have launched a 3=2 offer for new bookings only. Stay three nights and pay for only two from April 15- April 25, 2011. Based on contracted mid-week rates in Deluxe rooms, subject to availability. Located between the Trocadero and the Arc de Triomphe, the neo-classical style Le Dokhan's is home to a beautiful Champagne bar. Near the Eiffel Tower, the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan features sleek contemporary interiors by designer François Champsaur (pictured at right).