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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.

Cancun is Ready

December 9, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mexican Pres. Vicente Fox is even planning a flag-waving ceremony to advertise the resort area's reopening after that nasty hurricane. But, the Washington Post queries, how ready is it? The resorts to the south, in Tulum and Playa del Carmen, are faring better than treeless Cancun, where about half the town's 27,000 available hotel rooms are open, and a lot of resorts are sadly scarred by eroded beaches.


Top Spa Trends 2006

December 9, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Steam Room

Feng Shui'd gyms, McSpa, off-menu spa treatments, lots more traditional water treatments, men-only spas, spa virtual communites (???)… Leave it to SpaFinder to survey the industry and forecast the trends. And some are a little bizarre, to say the least. Massage table in the bedroom, anyone? (The "home-spa integration" thing is going to be BIG.)


What’s Hot: New Year’s Eve at the Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles

December 8, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel Air

For over fifty years, the Hotel Bel-Air has been synonymous with Beverly Hills elegance. An urban oasis with 12 acres of gardens and fountain courtyards, just minutes from Century City, Beverly Hills and Westwood, the hotel is prestigious and exquisitely luxurious, while retaining an understated glamour. After all, this is a Mobile five star award winner. 91 guestrooms and suites feature private entrances, fireplaces, French doors, and tiled courtyards with private outdoor spas. Toast 2006 at the event of the year: Hotel Bel Air's New Year's Eve Cabaret Gala Dinner. Enjoy a five-course gourmet dinner with wine pairings, imbibe plenty of champagne, and dance the night away to live music. $375 per person.

Hotel Bel-Air, Official Site

Hotel Bel-Air, Five Star Alliance


Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival

December 7, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paso Robles wine

Perfectly located halfway between LA and San Fran, the Paso Robles region is known for its zesty Zinfandel. The wine's celebratory gala is hugely popular, now running for 14 straight years. More than 80 wineries host the three-day festival, packed with events including winemakers dinners, special tastings, food pairings, seminars and live and silent auctions. When? March 17, 18, and 19 of next year, but tix just went on sale, in time for the holidays.


Upscale Shopping in Bangkok: H1

December 6, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri La Bangkok

A single street in Bangkok-- previously a non-descript alley off Sukhumvit Road-- is now the capital of chic. At the heart of Thonglor's scene (and its style revolution) is H1, a Modernist glass mini-mall, designed by architect Duangrit Bunnag. Easily accessible by the newly expanded underground system, the H1 complex is home to stylish, locally-owned boutiques and one of Bangkok's hottest tables: To Die For. Owned by designer Bhanu Inkawat, the restaurant has a contemporary menu that includes items like vodka and caviar pasta (a little odd, but the trendy crowd raves....) Another draw is the eclectic lifestyle store Geo, stashed with everything from gardening tools to handmade picture frames. The best time to shop is after sunset, when H1 is illuminated with lots of lights.

Related Reading:

"Great Neighborhoods/Asia," Travel and Leisure November issue

Bangkok's Chic Street, Time Asia

Bangkok's Revolution in Creativity, International Herald Tribune


Benjamin Franklin’s Tercentenary

December 6, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ben Franklin

2006 marks another big birthday; this time on our side of the big pond. January 17, 2006 is the 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin—the first founding father to reach this milestone. In honor of this extraordinary man (what career and hobby didn't he pursue?), Philadelphia is hosting year-long celebrations. The most noteworthy is the major international traveling exhibition: Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, which opens in Philly on December 15, and then travels around to four other museums nationwide, before its final showing in Paris in 2008.


Mozart 2006 in Austria

November 30, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mozart

2006 marks Wolfgang's 250th birthday, and Austria is celebrating in style with an extensive calendar of events. The musical genius will be honored with new museums, operatic performances, extraordinary concert series, festivals and galas, expos and special exhibitions, all across the country. In Vienna--for example-- Mozart's big day will be marked by an open party for the whole city on January 27-29. He will be celebrated all over the city with music, films and readings on a variety of themes-- arranged in to five different tours (Mozart. Friends and Enemies; Mozart. Viennese and Cosmopolitan; Mozart. Art and Love; Mozart. Life and Death; and Mozart. Yesterday and Today). On each tour, visitors experience four different events and a special children's program. My favorite event? The Vienna Boys' Choir will give a concert in St. Stephen's Cathedral on January 27, featuring Mozart's most beautiful works of sacred music.


The Bar and Living Room at the Little Nell, Aspen

November 30, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Little Nell Living Room

After a recent redesign, the legendary apres-ski scene at the Little Nell is hotter than ever. Savor the delicacies from the fresh seafood bar, followed by some fondue, and of course there's drinks all night at the Bar. Thaw by a roaring fire in the Living Room, or "ski-watch" the day away.

The Little Nell, Official Site

The Little Nell, Five Star Alliance


Finding a Hotel in the Caribbean for the Holidays

November 28, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Lucia

Attempting the impossible task of booking a luxury hotel in the Caribbean for the holidays? Most luxury hotels have been booked solid for months. But don't be discouraged in your quest for a well-deserved (albeit last-minute) Caribbean respite! I've found a few delightful gems that still have availability:

Casa Colonial in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: Long stretches of white sand beaches. Elegantly furnished all-suites hotel. World-class spa. Conde Nast Traveler's 2005 Hot List. Impeccable service. Enough said.

Casa Colonial, Official Site

Casa Colonial, Five Star Alliance

Anse Chastanet Resort, in the lush mountain paradise of St. Lucia. With 600 acres of tropical foliage, the soaring peaks of Petit Pitons, and extraordinary beaches, this is paradise on earth. Romantic and secluded. Scuba, spa, waters sports and mountain biking.

Anse Chastanet, Official Site

Anse Chastanet, Five Star Alliance

Petit St. Vincent Resort is available for the Christmas week, though not the post-Christmas week. Individual cottages set on a 113 acre privately-owned island of exquisite white sand beaches.

Petit St. Vincent, Official Site

Petit St. Vincent, Five Star Alliance

Martineau Bay Resort and Spa (which I've blogged about recently) in the idyllic, secluded island of Vieques, near Puerto Rico.

Martineau Bay Resort and Spa, Official Site

Martineau Bay Resort and Spa, Five Star Alliance


Remembering Rembrandt: Holland’s 2006 Birthday Bash

November 28, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rembrandt's Mother

After all, the guy turns 400 next year. And the country is going nuts in celebration. Rembrandt 400 is a yearlong party for the artist's 400th birthday. Unique exhibitions and events are scheduled, and travel agents are jumping on the bandwagon with special packages galore. The first of the spectacular exhibitions-- Rembrandt's Mother, Myth and Reality-- opens on December 16 in the Municipal Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden (the artist’s birthplace). In Amsterdam, The Masterpieces opens on January 2, exhibiting 400 exceptional paintings. Why not stake out a room at The Dylan Amsterdam, situated in a 17th century landmark on one of the city's most famous canals? Smack in the city center, but the essence of tranquil.

The Dylan Amsterdam, Official Site

The Dylan Amsterdam, Five Star Alliance