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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.

Family Vacation in Canada’s Banff National Park with Fairmont Hotels

August 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseIt's not too late to plan the ultimate summer/autumn family vacation in the heart of Canada's Rocky Mountains. Discover the alpine majesty of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can go hiking, mountain bike The Great Divide, take a Bow River float trip, and let the kids embark on a photo expedition. After a fun-filled day, unwind at a Fairmont spa and reconnect with your family over dinner. Fairmont makes it easy with a special themed package at its two Banff hotels: the Fairmont Banff Springs, styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a resort recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism. The Mountain Adventure package gives you the freedom to enjoy activities with a $100 CAD resort credit, plus kids eat for free. Available until December 20, 2010, the package starts from $339 CAD per night at the Fairmont Banff Springs and $299 CAD per night at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.


“See Dubai Before You Die”: Check into the Palm Tree Court and Spa

August 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palm Tree Court and Spa, DubaiA recent article in The Telegraph (UK) "chronicles the endless possibilities for fun days and hot nights in the expat hotspot of the UAE, Dubai." The author's conclusion? "See Dubai Before You Die." Of all the places to stay in this over-the-top tourism destination in the desert, you can't go wrong with the 128-acre Jeleb Ali Golf Resort and Spa which recently finished a five-month refurbishment:

She truly is a classy, sassy oasis in this part of the desert, just a rapid free transfer to downtown Dubai. Close enough to be near. Far enough away to be relaxed and refreshed among the peacocks (a gift from the Maktoums) and other exotic flora, fauna and wildlife. The warm and welcoming staff are ultimately friendly, yet unerringly discreet (damn it). Tiger Woods came alone a while ago (probably not for long though) as he visited his "TigerWorld" development of palaces (really!) and signature golf course not far away. And the world-class sporting facilities, including a nine-hole golf course, marina, dive centre, horse-riding complex and spa have attracted sporting clubs, including English premiership sides, to the resort for warm-weather training. It's split into two. The Jebel Ali Hotel and the Palm Tree Court and Spa. Both are faultlessly five star and rightly lay claim to the title of "Dubai's Only True Resort." The food here is fantastic, from any of the dozen or so restaurants, including the award-winning French-inspired Signatures and La Fontana where a sumptuous breakfast buffet sets the day alight. And no matter in which part you stay, you are never more than a minute or two's walk from a private beach of bleached sand and the gently lapping Gulf.

Note: The all-inclusive package at the Palm Tree Court and Spa includes meals at any of the resort's 15 restaurants-- a deal The Telegraph's journalist would not doubt heartily endorse.


Hot Deal: Outdoor Adventure with a Resort Credit at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler

August 6, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has one of the most dramatic settings imaginable-- nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, a four-season playground with breathtaking scenery. From skiing at North America's no. 1 ski resort with true ski-in/ski-out convenience to championship golf on the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course, the resort has it all. You can enjoy all this, while discovering the Fairmont's high standard of luxury, and get a great deal with the "Mountain Adventure Package" which balances outdoor excursions in Whistler with indoor pampering. Priced from just $249 CAD, the package includes a $100 CAD resort credit (per day/room) for use at the restaurants and/or your choice of popular mountain activities (activities vary by season). Think tours via ATV, horseback, canoe or Hummer in the summer, or snowshoeing, sleigh rides, snowmobile and dog sled tours in the winter. You can also apply your daily credit to items signed to your guest room from:

o The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club

o Mountain Adventure Centre (bike and ski rentals)

o Vida Wellness Spa

o The Wine Room for perfectly paired food & wine

o The Wildflower for casual dining

o Portobello's fresh market and bakery

o The Mallard Lounge & Terrace with slope-side outdoor fire pits

o The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Clubhouse

This offer is valid year-round, subject to availability.


$100 Resort Credit at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando

August 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waldorf Astoria OrlandoTake the fam on a summer vacay to Orlando and stay in style at the Waldorf Astoria, a unique luxury property nestled on over 482 pristine acres in Bonnet Creek and the first Waldorf Astoria to be built outside the flagship property in New York City. Surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World Resort, the Waldorf Astoria has a prime location, plus a complimentary private shuttle service direct from the hotel to Disney Parks. In addition to Orlando's prime attractions, you'll get a kick out of the hotel's extensive amenities-- including the spa by Guerlain, the celebrated restos and bars of the original in New York City, and the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club featuring a Rees Jones-designed championship golf course. Currently the hotel has some enticing special offers; you can score a resort credit of $100 per night with a stay in a deluxe guestroom or suite with rates starting from $259 per night. Also available: a 4th night free when you stay for three consecutive nights.


Exclusive Late Summer Offer at Sicily’s Verdura Golf and Spa Resort

August 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Verdura Golf and Spa Resort, SicilyOne of our favorite Mediterranean resorts-- the new Verdura Golf & Spa Resort-- is a bastion of luxury on the sun-splashed island of Sicily. Recently added to the Five Star Alliance hotel collection, this Rocco Forte resort has it all-- from smashing interiors to its destination spa and Kyle Phillips-designed golf courses. For a first-hand review, check out this article in Luxury Travel Advisor. We've just learned about a special offer at Verdura that coincides with the best possible time of year to visit Sicily (September and October). The exclusive Verdura Late-Summer Package is available from September 3 to October 30, 2010 and includes the following:

• 3 nights' accommodation or more

• Welcome cocktail upon arrival

• Fresh fruit on the arrival day

• Daily breakfast

• A 3-course dinner every night in one of the restaurants

• A complimentary spa treatment or one round of golf, per person per stay

• Complimentary full board for children 11 and under when sharing room with their parents

• Complimentary access to Spa with use of Sauna, Hammam, indoor pool, tennis courts and bikes.

Rates start at €1,680 for 3 nights (minimum), double occupancy.


Top Chef Checks Into The PGA National Resort & Spa

July 28, 2010
By: Daniel L. Moses

Eric Ripert, celebrity chef and judge on this season’s Top Chef – Washington, DC, currently airing on Bravo, said it best when speaking about contestant Kenny Gilbert of PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  "I love garlic, and I use it a lot."  Wait, hold on, that’s not the quote I’m looking for.  Wasn’t there one about Kenny, and how brilliant he is…? PGA National Resort & Spa

I’ll keep searching, but this might be a time where, and pardon the cliche, the food speaks for itself.  Yes, Kenny Gilbert… IS… THAT… GOOD!

And he’s proven it, week after week, on the latest season of Top Chef.

Yet if those dazzling concoctions that you see every week don’t draw you into the culinary master world of Kenny Gilbert, than perhaps his long history as an outstanding chef will.  At only 23 years of age, Gilbert became the youngest African-American chef to ever run a Ritz-Carlton hotel restaurant, and he just keeps getting better.

Now in his mid-30s (peak years for chefs), Kenny Gilbert is mesmerizing diners everyday as the Executive Chef at the PGA National Resort & Spa.  The food is so good that patrons are forgetting that the PGA National Resort & Spa. is most famous for award-winning golf on a luxurious setting.  Heck, you’ll even be forgiven if you only shoot nine holes so you can have more time for dinner.

But don’t take my word for it… What does Eric Ripert have to say about Kenny's food?  "For us, it’s the grand slam!"  Thanks, chef.  That’s more like it!


Great Luxury Value in the Caribbean with Five Star Alliance Rates at Half Moon

July 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Resort, JamaicaA corner of Caribbean paradise is yours for the taking with exclusive Five Star Alliance rates at Half Moon, the legendary resort nestled on two miles of white sandy beach on Jamaica's Montego Bay. Score a great luxury value starting from just $250 per night in a Garden View room. Snag these discounted rates by booking at Five Star Alliance, then vacation in style with a host of luxurious resort amenities at your fingertips: from the Fern Tree Spa to the 13-lit tennis courts.


Whisky Tastings and Michelin-Starred Food in Scotland at The Balmoral and Gleneagles

July 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Balmoral, EdinburghTravel to Scotland and get a taste of both the town and the country with a lavish gourmet experience offered by two legendary hotels: The Balmoral, the landmark in Edinburgh that's part of the Rocco Forte Collection, and The Gleneagles Hotel, a five-star destination for golfing & spa-ing in scenic Perthshire. The two hotels have teamed up to offer "A Taste of Scotland," spoiling guests with a bounty of epicurean delights. Start your vacay in Edinburgh with two nights at The Balmoral and enjoy a complimentary upgrade to an Executive Room, complete with a bottle of Bollinger on ice and dinner at the Michelin-starred number one, recognized as one of Scotland's best restaurants for its trendsetting cuisine using only the freshest Scottish ingredients.

GleneaglesOnce you've sampled city life, head to the countryside to relax at Gleneagles. Check out your sprawling Estate Room before indulging in a Whisky Tasting for two in the bar, followed by dinner at the two Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie for superb French cuisine with a Scottish twist. (Don't miss the signature "Smoked Lobster" dish, "which involves smoking lobster shells over old whisky barrels for up to twelve hours.") The package is priced from £1200 for two people sharing with two nights at each hotel (consecutive nights). £1382 for two people sharing with two nights at each hotel valid from April 1- September 30, 2010, excluding August. August is priced from £1702 for two people sharing with two nights at each hotel.)


Best of Boca: Inclusive Package from $199 at Waldorf Astoria’s Boca Raton Resort

July 21, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Boca Raton Resort and Club, Florida$109 nightly rates at the fabled Boca Raton Resort & Club may sound nice, but we've found another offer that's even more tempting. Part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, the village-style resort is nestled on 365 acres bordered by a half-mile private beach along Florida's Gold Coast in Palm Beach County. Until September 30, 2010, you can experience the "Best of Boca" package-- with a host of inclusions, like breakfast and unlimited golf greens fees-- for just $199 per night. This package deal means savings of up to 50%. Here's the skinny: along with your luxurious accommodations, you'll get valet parking, daily breakfast for two, late check-out, a two-hour "Fun in the Sun Catamaran Sail" on the Intracoastal Waterway, IBeach Umbrella rental for a day, plus 25% discounts on spa treatments, tennis, and Camp Boca. Resort fee included. Subject to availability.


Free Golf & Spa Specials: Rates from $117 at Fairmont Turnberry Isle, Miami

July 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Turnberry IsleTurnberry Isle is the place to be this summer. Not only will you find something for everyone at this 300-acre Mediterranean-style resort, but you'll also find some great deals. Like free golf for all guests (no joke), a string of spa specials at the award-winning Willow Stream Spa (a 90-minute treatment for just $99!), plus kids eat for free. Did we mention you can find rates from just $116.50 per night (through September 30, 2010)? Located midway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort is also home to a private beachfront Ocean Club right on the Atlantic, a tennis facility with four clay HydroCourts, three pools including a new lagoon-style pool featuring a waterslide and lazy river, plus Bourbon Steak restaurant, the only South Florida experience from famous restaurateur Michael Mina. (Don't miss the new Chef's Market Menu, a three-course special menu for just $49 created specially for summer.)