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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.

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


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


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 Travelagentcentral.com


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.