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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.

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.


Escape the Cold to Mexico: Unlimited Golf at Four Seasons Punta Mita

December 31, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Punta MitaCan't get used to the arctic cold temps? Tired of bundling up against the chill? Bad news-- we won't get a thaw anytime soon. The forecast predicts an unseasonably cold (and long) winter for the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Take charge and jet to Mexico, where discounted hotel rates and plenty of sunshine await. Even Four Seasons Punta Mita-- the gorgeous celebrity hang-out near Puerto Vallarta-- is offering a special deal. With the "Spa or Unlimited Golf" package, you can choose either a day of unlimited golf on both of the resort's courses or an 80-minute massage at the Apuane Spa, along with your accommodations and daily breakfast. You'll also get unlimited non-motorized water sports. Priced at $150 above the rack rates, though you get lots of extras.


Wacky and Weird Hotels: Underground Five-Star Pad in London

December 30, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

underground five-star hotel in LondonWe've giddily written about some of the weirder accommodations options out there-- from a luxury underwater resort in the Bahamas to the floating pyramid-shaped hotel near Cancun to the Galactic Suite Space Resort. Here's another one to file under the category of world's weirdest hotels: a project in Surrey, London to build a subterranean five-star hotel underneath a golf course. Guests may not be privy to rooms with a view, but they'll appreciate the eco-friendly design features including, of course, a green roof. Designed by ReardonSmith Architects, the hotel aims to preserve the Green Belt countryside while offering a host of luxurious facilities-- spa, included.

Via Gawker


Charles Gibson Retires from ABC News – Luxury Hotels Ideas for Retirees

December 22, 2009
By: Daniel L. Moses

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Charles Gibson, who has been an ABC News stalwart since 1975, aired his final network primetime news show for the Disney-owned network on Friday evening. With his famous sign off, simply, that his viewers have “had a good day,” Gibson filled the anchor seat for the last time. Now, starting a much deserved retirement, the world is Charles Gibson’s oyster, and like for any new retiree, there are plenty of luxury hotel options that can fill his days and nights to come.

The first thing I think of when pondering retirement is golf. And, frankly, there are few golf resorts more ideal than the sun-drenched luxury of The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island. This amazing island resort near Charleston, South Carolina boasts an incredible 5 courses, all done by masters of golf architecture! A true delight for retirees or duffers of any age.

For a more physical enterprise, retirees the world over are known indulgers in skiing, and I have to believe Charles Gibson and his ilk would choose the Badrutts Palace Hotel nestled amongst the Swiss Alps in world-renowned St. Moritz. The Badrutts Palace has something for everyone in all seasons, but in the place where winter sports became a favoured pastime, the skiing speaks for itself.

Sporting activities aside, the beach is the place to sun your retired bones, and the stunning La Samanna resort in St. Maarten, French West Indies is amongst the world’s best. There are few better words to describe than paradise.

So best of luck to Charles Gibson in retirement, and may this next chapter be filled with luxury!


Top Family Resorts: Get a $200 Credit at South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island

December 21, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

South Seas Island Resort, CaptivaPlan a winter escape the whole family will enjoy to South Seas Island Resort on Florida's Captiva Island. Named No. 3 of the "10 Best Family Beach Resorts" by Parents Magazine, this refuge offers endless family recreation and a unique island experience (think guided shell walks and kayak excursions through the mangroves). Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Florida Gulf Coast, this 330-acre family haven has something for guests of all ages. Book the Winter Escapes package and receive a $50 resort credit per room for every two nights stayed, to be used towards dining, golf, or other resort activities. Stay 2-3 nights, get a $50 credit; stay 4-5 nights, get $100... (You get the picture.) Winter rates start from $229 per night.


Winter Retreat in Los Cabos: $400 Resort Credit, 4th Night Free at One & Only Palmilla

December 4, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One & Only PalmillaHang with the beautiful people at the jetset paradise known as One & Only Palmilla, and get a $400 resort credit this winter. Back in the day, this Los Cabos playground (the original Palmilla resort) played host to A-listers like Bing Crosby, Harlow, and Papa Hemingway. Now under the ownership of the ultra-luxe One & Only brand, the "Jewel of Baja" pampers VIPs in a verdant oasis at the tip of the Baja peninsula, where the sea meats the mountainous desert. Stay four nights in paradise and get your fourth night free for bookings made now through May 13, 2010 for stays from January 2- May 13, 2010. The $400 credit breaks down like this: $200 towards dining, spa, or golf, $100 for food & bev, and two $50 spa certificates to use towards the One & Only Experience by ESPA.


New Year’s in Patagonia at Llao Llao Hotel and Resort

December 1, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Llao Llao Hotel and Resort

Looking to bid adieu to recession-racked 2009 and ring in 2010 in an extraordinary setting? Think the crystal clear lakes and snow-capped Andean peaks of Patagonia, where the Llao Llao Hotel and Resort offers romance and more at the gateway to Nahuel Huapi National Park. Ranked one of the best resorts in all of South America, Llao Llao offers inspiring panoramas from the floor-to-ceiling windows in all guest rooms. With golf, a spa, a heated indoor pool, and ample recreational activities in the beautiful surroundings, Llao Llao has it all. For New Year's Eve the resort will be hosting a special masquerade dinner in the the Bustillo and Llao Llao ballrooms. This "Phantom of the Opera" themed celebration will have an artistic show and raffles while DJs spin tunes on the dance floor all night long.


Sponsored Article: Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa on South Africa’s Garden Route

December 1, 2009
By: Five Star Alliance

This article is sponsored by the Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa on the banks of the Knysna lagoon in the heart of the Garden Route of South Africa.

Pezula Resort HotelWhatever your dream is – a romantic honeymoon, a family holiday, a quiet weekend break or a week of pampering and relaxation – Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa offers the perfect venue. With superb accommodation, gourmet dining, an award-winning spa and a host of activities, the choice is endless.

Located on the Eastern Head of Knysna on the exquisite Western Cape coast, just a 40-minute flight from Cape Town, Pezula is surrounded by rugged cliffs, ancient forests and sheltered beaches. With sweeping views of Pezula Championship Golf Course, the Indian Ocean and the Knysna Lagoon, it is a haven of privacy and luxury.

Pezula Resort HotelSeventy-eight stylish suites, including two presidential suites, are housed in detached villas and deliver a whole new world of luxury in an elegant African style. Each has its own patio or balcony, individual climate control, satellite television, a DVD player, electronic safe, direct telephone, Wi-Fi connectivity and walk-in wardrobe. A pantry kitchen with delicious deli snacks, a well stocked drinks cabinet and real log fireplaces add unparalleled luxury to the accommodation.

Bathrooms are huge with oval-shaped calabash baths and wet rooms big enough for two. Beds are beautifully dressed with Egyptian cotton linen and guests are supplied with luxurious toweling gowns and slippers.

The main building houses a sumptuous cigar lounge, champagne and whisky bar, library, wine cellar and gourmet restaurant, Zachary’s. Executive chef Geoffrey Murray delights in serving up the freshest local ingredients in his inimitable style. His menu offers a variety of 'modern ethnic' dishes inspired by his worldwide experiences.

The hotel offers a number of other exciting dining options. The Boma is the ideal venue for a meal with an authentic African feel. Sit around the open fire as you watch a spectacular African sunset. As the light begins to fade, allow the sounds of the night to seduce your senses. Then relax at the elegant safari-style table while the staff prepare and serve traditional barbeque fair.

The Montrose Castle on the beach offers hotel guests a stunning beach venue. Recently renovated, the castle, which was built in the 1930s, is on Noetzie Beach, one of the most unspoilt and secluded beaches on the Garden Route coast. Here hotel guests can enjoy a picnic prepared by Zachary’s restaurant while they relax and soak up the sun.

Situated on the lower level of the hotel, the multi-award-winning Pezula Spa is a calm sanctuary that reflects the soul of Africa and provides world-class professionalism in the delivery of a superior health and wellness experience. This year the spa was named Favorite Spa in Africa by the SpaFinder Readers' Choice Awards and Best Overseas Hotel Spa by the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards.

The extraordinary facilities of the Pezula Spa include a 12m heated indoor pool, state-of-the-art gymnasium, outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, rainforest shower, nail bar, hair salon and nine therapy rooms, as well as a post-treatment room with heated water beds. It offers a comprehensive range of treatments which combine natural therapies with the most technologically advanced equipment available.

Guests of Pezula also have access to a vast range of activities including horse riding and hiking through the ancient indigenous forests, canoeing up the pristine Noetzie River, birding, nature trails and beach activities at secluded Noetzie Beach. The estate’s Field of Dreams sporting complex offers four world-class tennis courts, a multi-purpose sports oval for soccer, cricket, soft ball and other team sports, facilities for pétanque and archery and a 300m golf practice range.

Younger guests are well catered for with a number of supervised activities. Parents and guardians can be totally confident that their children will be taken care of by trained, experienced child minders. At Pezula the emphasis is on fun in a healthy, natural environment and wherever possible children are encouraged to play outdoors, interact with other children and learn about nature. Babysitters are available in the evenings if parents wish to dine alone.

Pezula Resort GolfPezula Championship Golf Course adjacent to Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa is a sweeping spectacle of fairways and greens rolling through the pristine Southern Cape landscape. The breathtaking, award-winning 18-hole course which was designed by David Dale and Ronald Fream of GolfPlan USA, rates amongst the best and the most scenic golf courses in the world.

Covering 254 ha on the Knysna cliff-tops, the Pezula Championship Course has views of both the Knysna Lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Par for the course is 72. It is designed to include a full range of shots, making it a challenging, rewarding and complete golf experience for players of all levels. Signature holes have been earmarked as the 13th and 14th. The average round takes 4 hours 50 minutes, including a half-way break.

The Clubhouse facilities are in keeping with the overall five-star experience and include a terrace, restaurant, bar, golf shop, short game practice area and putting green. The Shareholders' Lounge houses a library, private lounge, dining area and bar. Golf carts are obligatory and the resort's carts are fully equipped with GPS systems and computerised scoring. Golf lessons are available from the Club's PGA Professionals.

Pezula’s latest offering for the high-end market is Pezula Castle on Noetzie Beach which offers ultra-luxury accommodation for up to 10 guests in the spacious Main Castle and the romantic Honeymoon Castle.

Built into the rugged coastal cliff-face with its ancient milkwood forests the Castle offers panoramic views of the beach and the sea. Guests have every conceivable wish catered for by a team of hand-picked personnel including a resident chef, housekeeper and butler. Menus are selected daily in consultation with the chef according to the freshest available ingredients, and the bar is stocked with guests’ drinks of choice. A fully equipped gymnasium, heated outdoor pool and thatched gazebo complete the extraordinary facilities.

The hotel has a number of exciting packages for 2010 – visit www.pezularesorthotel.com or call +27 (0)44 302 3333 and let your holiday begin ...


Breakfast and a $200 Credit: Winter Escape with Walforf Astoria Hotels

November 30, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Reach Resort, Key WestDuring this lousy economic downturn, we've seen more and more luxury hotels enticing guests with special add-ons and credits. The latest to jump on the bandwagon: Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. Good at any of the collection's gorgeous hotels around the world, the Winter Escape Promotion doles out breakfast for two plus up to a $200 activity credit during your stay (the credit is earned per each night spent). Book before January 31, 2010 and you'll also receive a complimentary one-night certificate, redeemable for a future paid three-night stay. Hotels include the Arizona Biltmore, The Waldorf Towers New York, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, La Quinta (California), The Reach and Casa Marina in Key West, Grand Wailea in Maui, and the Boca Raton Resort.