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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.

2 for the Price of 1: Golf at Southshore with Loews Lake Las Vegas

June 24, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Lake Las Vegas ResortWithin easy reach of the glitz and glamor of the Vegas Strip but a world away on the shores of a 320-acre lake, Loews Lake Las Vegas offers a resort experience for wholly affordable prices. (Rates average $160 per night.) You can loll on the resort's white sand beach, grab a kayak (or hop in a gondola) for lake exploration, swim in one of the two signature pools, taste master sushi chef Osamu Fujita's culinary creations, or escape to the Moroccan-style Spa Moulay for some soothing body treatments. Loews Lake Las Vegas also caters to golfers with a special package at The Golf Club at SouthShore. Named by Golf Digest one of the "Top 10 New Private Golf Courses in America" when it debuted in 1996, SouthShore's 6,917-yard championship course was designed by Jack Nicklaus on the shores of Lake Las Vegas. For a limited time, two players can play for the price of one on SouthShore's Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. All rental equipment and luxurious accommodations are included with rates starting as low as $299/night. Rate is subject to availability and YouFirst Benefits apply. 2 for 1 rates available until September 6th, 2010.


The Grand Opening of the Casino Club at The Greenbrier

June 21, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The GreenbrierSaved from bankruptcy, The Greenbrier will soon return to glory, hopes new owner Jim Justice, a West Virginia coal baron. Extensive renovations are underway in an attempt to regain a fifth star for the storied resort, which lost its acclaim in recent years. Justice decided to hire interior designer Carlton Varney, who owns Dorothy Draper Inc., in a nod to the designer who originally styled the resort, leaving her trademark of signature floral patterns and bold colors. The biggest change of all for The Greenbrier? The addition of a 90,000-square-foot casino. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports on The Greenbrier's new era:

With the sounds of cranes and jackhammers behind him, Justice surveyed the work and discussed the massive renovation project. "It's going to be an entertainment area. It's not going to be a casino like you think of in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. It's even going to be better than Monte Carlo. I just sent a whole team of people there, and they came back and said we think we are going to be the best place in the world." There will be a strict dress code and no-smoking policy. The area will include eight mezzanine-level shops, the Twelve Oaks lounge and the Infusion Sushi Bar.

The Grand Opening of the Casino Club will take place on July 2, 2010. From the official website: "The Greenbrier is making history again! Be there when The Greenbrier unveils the grandest casino experience in the world. This celebration of epic fashions includes an entire evening of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a live performance by Lionel Richie."


“Hollywood & Wine” Festival plus July 4th Fireworks: $119 Rates at the Arizona Biltmore

June 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Arizona Biltmore ResortArizona's Grand Dame-- built as one of Phoenix's first resorts in 1929 with Frank Lloyd Wright as the consulting architect-- has hosted its share of U.S. presidents and celebs. Part of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, the Arizona Biltmore continues to dazzle guests with its eight swimming pools, seven tennis courts, full-service spa, and two 18-hole PGA golf courses (adjacent to the resort at the Arizona Biltmore Country Club). This summer, the landmark resort is staging a summer-long "Hollywood & Wine" festival featuring celebrity bands and winemakers, Hollywood behind-the-scenes shows, blockbuster dive-in movies, theater productions and culinary events. While June has been all about "Hollywood Live On-Stage," with live theater performances by the Southwest Shakespeare Company and music from celebrated bassist Miles Mosley, July focuses on "Hollywood Blockbusters." There will be screenings of classic American movies and a synchronized swim show featuring the Aqualillies. On July 4th, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra Pops and fireworks will salute America. Talk about serious summer fun. The best part of all? Blockbuster rates at the Arizona Biltmore starting from just $119. [Map]


July 4 Celebration at San Diego’s New Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (Formerly Four Seasons)

June 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Aviara, Carlsbad

Come June 21, 2010, Park Hyatt Aviara will open its doors on California's sun-splashed Pacific coast, just north of San Diego in Carlsbad. Formerly a Four Seasons property, this Spanish Colonial style resort sits atop a ridge overlooking the ocean and Batiquitos Lagoon, a protected wildlife sanctuary considered one of California's most precious wetlands. Hyatt took over resort management after a scandalous clash between the hotel owners and Four Seasons, accused of mismanaging the 329-room property. Surrounded by 200 acres of rolling hills and valleys, the Park Hyatt Aviara has expansive facilities: a full-service spa, sparkling pools, a fitness center, and an Arnold Palmer designed 18-hole championship golf course. Each of the guest rooms has a private balcony or terraced balcony to take in the views. Book a stay for July 4th and you'll be treated to a grand Independence Day celebration with fireworks galore.


Family Fun and the Dog Days of Summer at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson

June 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Ventana Canyon ResortFor a fantastic family vacation, consider the desert dreamscape at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, nestled in Arizona's Catalina Mountains. With pampering spa treatments, two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, plenty of water activities, and some of the best hiking in the West, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort has something for everyone. Not to mention the kids. The Loews Loves Kids Program gets props for its special themed perks: from Fisher-Price welcome gifts to "teens only" food bars. Moreover, there's no need to leave Fido at home. Loews Ventana Canyon is pet-friendly. Two packages to consider this summer: "Family Fun" means 50% off a second room, plus a complimentary 1/2 day Kid's Club credit. (Kids 12 and under eat free.) With the "Dog Days of Summer" package, available until August 31, 2010, your pampered pooch will get a special barbeque meal created by Master Chef Marc Ehrler. "Scooby BBQ Sliders" are veterinarian approved! Also included is a "Fling Thing" Frisbee from West Paw Design and dog walking tips from pet expert Wendy Diamond, author of "It's a Dog's World."


Wanted: Social Media-Savvy Guest to Check in for the Summer (and Tweet about it)

June 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Balsams ResortAnd we thought the job of tanning butler at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach was cool. The historic Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire is looking for an "Inn-Bedded Resorter," a social media-savvy guest to check in for the summer and get paid to use Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to document life at the resort. As reported by the Boston Herald, the Dixville resort is now accepting applications (deadline: June 18th at midnight). The winner gets paid $2,500 to stay as a guest for the months of July and August at the hotel famous as the spot where voters "gather at midnight to cast the first votes in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary." Meals and accommodations included. Nestled on 8,000 acres surrounded by rugged mountains, the resort has golf, tennis, kayaking, mountain biking, and more.


Pezula Resort, South Africa: The Choice of the French Team for the FIFA World Cup

June 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, South AfricaA world-class spa? Check. Gourmet eats? Check. A magnificent setting on the coastline of the Western Cape? The Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa has jaw-dropping views of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon, and the Outeniqua Mountains from its 1,000-hectare estate. The French soccer team certainly doesn't compromise when it comes to luxury digs for the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The 1998 champions may be struggling a bit on the field this year, but they're still planning to enjoy the Word Cup challenge (and Pezula's renowned hospitality) while in South Africa this summer. What else will they find at this sparkling resort? A slew of on-site activities to enjoy during their down-time, like tennis, championship golf, hiking through indigenous forest, canoeing along the Noetzie River to a beautiful secluded beach, even an animal "touch farm." And the 78 suites? They're equipped with private balconies or patios, log fireplaces and sumptuous en-suite bathrooms. If les bleus are victorious, they can party at the Champagne & Whisky Bar.


Sizzling Summer Special: Up to 14 Nights Free at Half Moon Resort

June 4, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon Resort, JamaicaStay a week in paradise and start earning free nights. Half Moon-- the stately Caribbean oasis bordered by twin crescent-shaped beaches on Montego Bay-- has an offer that's difficult to refuse. Book a summer vacation to take advantage of Half Moon's luxe facilities on a mile-long white sand beach: play a round on the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed championship golf course, get pampered at the Fern Tree Spa, soak in one of the many pools and lagoons, go sailing or horse-back riding... While frolicking in the summer sun, you'll be racking up the free nights depending on the length of your stay. Valid for travel between June 1- October 31, 2010, the Sizzling Summer Special translates to up to 2 weeks free. (Stay 7-8 nights, get 1 night free; Stay 9 nights, get 2 nights free... Stay 14 nights, get 7 nights free; stay 28 or more nights and get 14 nights free!) This offer is subject to availability and applies to new bookings only.


The Six Senses Spa Experience at Oscar de la Renta’s Tortuga Bay

May 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tortuga Bay, Dominican RepublicTalk about Caribbean pampering. Tortuga Bay-- located within the world-famous Punta Canta Resort and Club-- has Oscar de la Renta-designed villas with heart-stopping views over the turquoise sea. Think Dominican-inspired decor, kitchens, coralline stone bathrooms, and balconies. Here's what HotelChatter had to say after a recent visit to the swank property:

There's a reason that the Oscar de la Renta-designed Tortuga Bay hotel in Punta Cana, Dominica Republic has a perfect five-star rating on TripAdvisor, and that reason is some of the most excellent hotel service that can be had anywhere. From picking you up from your flight right on the tarmac, as if you had arrived by private plane, to getting you tee times at one of the world's most exclusive golf courses, Tortuga can easily go beyond your greatest expectations.

Tortuga Bay, Dominican RepublicGuests get bicycles, kayaks, and golf carts during their stay. Plus, they enjoy the services of a personal concierge who'll take care of private check-in at your villa after you've been whisked through immigration at the airport. Another reason you'll fall in love? The Six Senses Spa, which offers the patented services of one of the world's premier spa brands. The resort has put together a "Six Senses Spa Experience" package to help you make the most of your stay. Along with accommodations in an Ocean View Junior Suite, you'll be treated to the Oriental Six Senses Package featuring a number of specialty treatments: Thai Herbal Body Glow, Traditional Thai Massage, Natural Thai Facial, Scalp Massage, and Foot Acupressure. You'll also get daily breakfast at Bamboo Restaurant and a welcome drink. The three-night package is priced from US2,465 (single occupancy).


Last Minute Deals: Memorial Day Escapes Close to Home

May 25, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Andaz West HollywoodNo plans for Memorial Day? Why not fete summer's arrival with a last-minute getaway? There are deals to be had! Lucky you; Five Star Alliance has some hot rates at luxury hotels across the country. Check out the sampling below:

Boca Raton Resort in Florida for $109

Boca Raton Resort and ClubMoana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii for $177

The Liberty Hotel in Boston for $192

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower for $185

Andaz West Hollywood for $220

Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix for $159

Loews Lake Las Vegas Hotel for $139

The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado for $135

W Washington DC for $226