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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 Escape to Costa Rica: Special at JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort

March 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort, Costa RicaTake the kids on an adventure to Costa Rica. Discover unspoiled beaches surrounded by pristine nature where the whole fam can go for hikes, partake in ecological activities, and spy some exotic wildlife. Smack dab on the Pacific oceanfront in Guanacaste, the JW Marriott offers treasure hunts and kite-making for pint-sized guests, while their parents lounge by the pool (or secluded beach), sip tropical cocktails at sunset, or luxuriate in the spa. There's even an equestrian center and championship golf available. The 310 guest rooms feature furnished balconies with to-die-for views over the pool and the serene Pacific. The Family Escape package provides the fun after an activity-filled day; relax with a movie, pizza, and cookies with milk in your room. Priced from $269 per night and available through December 19, 2010, the package also includes accommodations in a deluxe garden view room and daily buffet breakfast.

Related Articles: Up Close: The New JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa, Costa Rica

Luxurious Ireland at Ashford Castle, Once the Home of the Guinness Family

March 8, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ashford CastleEver dreamed of lording over your very own castle? Learning the art of falconry and flying a hawk? Well you can at Ashford Castle, the castle-turned-luxury hotel in the picturesque Irish countryside. Dating back to 1228 and once the home of the Guinness family, the castle is situated on 350 acres on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland's second largest lake. In fact, the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle just featured Ashford in an article called "How the Emerald Isle has added polish." And certainly this posh estate allows its guests to luxuriate. From massages to fishing to golfing on the 9-hole course, Ashford Castle has it all. Best of all: Take a spring vacation for Easter and score your third night free, including full Irish breakfast daily, for a total of 390 euros.

Get Hitched in La Jolla, California: Weddings at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

March 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Lodge at Torrey PinesLooking for a wedding venue in So Cal? Look no further than The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Here's why. The setting is picture-perfect: adjacent to the 18th green of the Torrey Pines Golf Course overlooking the Pacific. Right next door: the Torrey Pines State Reserve with 2,000 acres of unspoiled beaches, forest, and a lagoon frequented by migrating seabirds. Plus, you've got over 13,000 square feet of meeting and wedding facilities that can be configured in a variety of ways, depending on the type of event you're throwing-- large, small, open, quiet or festive. Best of all: the Arroyo Terrace, 10,000 square feet of space where you can exchange your vows while surrounded by spectacular natural scenery. Of course at a resort of this caliber, also famous for its signature restaurant, A.R. Valentien, you'll enjoy top-notch catering facilities, to boot.

Spring Break in Barbados: Free Stuff at Sandy Lane Resort

February 9, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sandy Lane Resort, BarbadosCabin fever? Think ahead to a spring fling in Barbados. The exclusive Sandy Lane Resort is enticing visitors for some fun in the sun with a special "Spring Break" offer that includes a free night, full breakfast, Bentley luxury airport transfers, and unlimited non-motorized water sports. What's to love about this swanky hideaway on Barbados' Gold Coast? Rooms that average 900 square feet, eight restaurants and bars, two Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole golf courses, a sprawling spa, and oodles of activities for kids at the Treehouse Club. Book a six-night spring vacation for the whole family and get a free night with the Spring Break package. Available between March 1 and 26, 2010, the package is priced from $1400 in an Orchid Room.

Stay at a Resort for Competitive Hotel Prices: Loews Lake Las Vegas is a “Resort” No More

January 28, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Lake Las VegasAs reported by the Wall Street Journal, more and more properties are dropping "resort" from their names as a result of the "AIG effect." The stigma remains for businesses to hold events at seemingly lavish resorts so companies are being very conscious when choosing sites for conferences. In response to the trend, properties are changing their names. This is good news for guests who get to partake in the luxurious facilities without doling out the dough. Case in point: The Loews Lake Las Vegas (formerly with "resort" attached to the end of the name) boasts a golf course, lavish spa, swimming pools galore, and even gondola rides on Lake Las Vegas. To quote the Wall Street Journal:

Other than the name-dropping, little else has changed... Those at the Loews Lake Las Vegas—a resort no more—aren't deprived of the property's "white-sand beach" on the lake nor master sushi chef Osamu "Fuji" Fujita's culinary creations.

Best part of all: room rates are wholly affordable, averaging $160 per night.

Vacation to Vegas: Luxury Hotels Continue to Slash Rates in a Big Way

January 25, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn Las VegasWe've been keeping you posted about all the deals to be had in Las Vegas: $99 weekend rates at Trump International Hotel and Tower, $65 rooms at the swanky M resort... And the hotel price war continues. Luxury hotels continue to slash their rates, with Steve Wynn leading the pack, of course, announcing additional discounts of 25 percent (plus a $100 spending credit) for bookings made 45 days in advance at Wynn Las Vegas and the Encore. And yes, you can use that spending credit on tickets to see the Garth Brooks show, "currently the hottest entertainment option on The Strip,"-- to quote Arthur Frommer. [Map]

Hawaii Prepares for Opening of Disney’s Aulani Resort, a Destination for Families

January 22, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Disney's Aulani Resort, HawaiiCome 2011, Mickey Mouse will stake his claim to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Nestled next to a sand-fringed blue lagoon, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa will be located on 21 oceanfront acres on the western side of the island. This is the first "stand-alone family destination resort" for Disney and the facilities promise to be extensive. Think snorkeling lagoon, various Kids Club programs, and a lazy river for tubing. Not to mention the adult-friendly spa and golf course. Guest room tally at the $800 million resort: 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom timeshare villas overlooking the ocean. Curious about the name? Aulani means "the place that speaks for the great ones" or "the place that speaks with deep messages."

Image (artistic rendering) via

Grape-Stomping in Virginia: Celebrate Jefferson in Charlottesville with Keswick Hall

January 15, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

MonticelloSmack dab in the middle of Virginia hunt country, Keswick Hall is just minutes away from Jefferson's Monticello and the University of Virginia, nestled between spectacular vineyards and landscapes. This 600-acre estate, managed by Orient-Express, has an Arnold Palmer 18-hole golf course and a spa. Since the resort is surrounded by vineyards, guests are invited each fall to crush local grapes to make the hotel's Chardonnay and Petit Verdot wines. Appropriate considering Jefferson's role in bringing viticulture to this country. In fact, Keswick Hall invites guest to learn the history behind what Thomas Jefferson called "the Eden of America" with a special "Celebrating Jefferson" package including daily Continental breakfast, a three course dinner at Fossett's, a Welcome Monticello guide, and Presidential passes and a tasting tour of Jefferson Vineyards. Priced from $335 per room, per night. Two-night minimum stay required.

Dominican Dreams: Winter Escape at Oscar de la Renta’s Tortuga Bay

January 8, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tortuga BayNeed to thaw out? Can't wait for spring break? Check into Oscar de la Renta-designed digs at Tortuga Bay, located within the world-famous Punta Canta Resort and Club, a celebrity favorite. Inspired by rich Dominican culture, the Tortuga Bay villas are crafted with authentic materials and feature balconies overlooking La Cana Golf Course or the intensely blue Caribbean waters. Expect to find the finest Frette linens, separate kitchens for each bedroom, and gorgeous coralline stone bathrooms in each villa. You'll get a golf cart to take spins around the resort (and enjoy plenty of frozen cocktails while lounging on the sandy beach). Book the Winter Dominican Escape and get a golf view Junior Suite starting from $595 plus taxes. Valid January 4 through March 22, 2010.

Top Kid-Friendly Hotels: Fairmont Scottsdale Offers National Geographic Explorers Camp

January 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont ScottsdaleWith the National Geographic Explorers Camp, the Fairmont Scottsdale has created a veritable paradise on earth for kids. Imagine: navigating with a GPS to discover desert creatures on a scavenger hunt, going on a photo safari, fishing on the resort's lagoon with aquatic ecologist Zeb Hogan, making rockets with NASA engineer Kobie Boykins... The camp offers a plethora of fun, discovery-based activities for children aged 5-12. Last year the AAA Five Diamond resort partnered with National Geographic to create the first National Geographic Explorers Camp and it was a huge hit with guests. Both half-day and full-day sessions are available, Tuesday-Sunday.