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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.

Now Open: The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Dazzles After $160 Million Renovation

January 7, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton KapaluaThis winter, make it Maui. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua officially opened today after a massive makeover. A dramatic new design and added amenities mean an unparalleled guest experience surrounded by championship golf greens, brilliant beaches, and the crashing Pacific surf. What's in store? The 463 guest rooms and suites are equipped with all new furnishings, travertine bathrooms, area rug designs with Kukui florals, and Hawaiian artwork framed with Koa wood. All the latest technology means LCD flat-screen televisions, iPod Docking Stations, DVD players and wireless Internet access. But that's not all. The resort's restaurants have been redesigned, and the signature Banyan Tree restaurant has a new destination outdoor bar and lounge with spectacular views of the Pacific and an innovative menu by Chef de Cuisine Jojo Vasquez. There's a new children's pool and enlarged cabanas by the 10,000 square foot, three-tiered pool, and the spanking new Fitness Center, open 24 hours a day, overlooks the ocean. An Environmental Education Center will be open by mid year. And there will be a new Ritz-Carlton Spa opening in May 2008, to boot. (Never fear-- there's a temporary spa offering spa and salon services until this gem opens.) Book now and be one of the first to experience the new digs at this AAA Five-Diamond oceanfront property.


Special Opening Offer at Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya

January 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

MayakobaIt's here. Rosewood Mayakoba has opened its doors on the coast of Mexico's Riviera Maya, where ocean, jungle and sky meet. Consisting of five top-tier properties, Mayakoba is a new kind of eco-friendly luxury community of upscale resorts committed to sustainable development and environmental protection. The Rosewood is nestled on a mile-long arc of white sand, 30 minutes south of Cancun and just north of the charming seaside village of Playa del Carmen. The resort's 128 suites-- modern in design yet crafted from local indigenous materials-- are built along a network of gorgeous lagoons and the Caribbean Sea. Upon arrival, guests are whisked away to their own personal sanctuary by luxury boat or golf cart. The resort complex boasts championship golf at the signature Greg Norman El Camaleon 18-hole course, infinity-edge and spa lap pools, myriad water sports, snorkeling and diving excursions to the world's second largest reef or in the crystal-clear cenotes that spring from subterranean rivers, day-trips to explore Mayan ruins, horseback riding, daily yoga, and more. Sense, A Rosewood Spa, will debut in February 2008. If you book by January 31 (for a stay between February 1-April 30, 2008), you'll get $100 off regular rack rates (which start at $595 per night) plus daily breakfast.


Winter Warm Up in Miami at The Conrad

December 27, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad MiamiWinter blues got you down? Take a weekend trip to Miami, where the luxurious amenities of the Conrad await: dazzling contemporary guest rooms with all the latest technology, tennis courts and hot tub surrounding the rooftop pool, the Spa Conrad with breathtaking views from the 24th floor, and the Sky Lobby overlooking Biscayne Bay and the city's glittering nightlife... Located in an innovative building of concave glass and steel in the heart of Miami's financial district, the Conrad Miami provides quick and easy access to South Beach, Coconut Grove, and Key Biscayne. Improve your swing this winter with the "Winter Warm Up" package, which includes two nights accommodation, decadent daily breakfast, one round of golf at the stunning 18-hole Crandon Golf course in Key Biscayne, complimentary transportation to and from the golf course and a 50 percent discount on purchases and rentals from the pro shop. Also included in the package are two 60-minute wellness treatments of your choice at the new Spa Chakra, a complimentary rejuvenating foot bath upon arrival at the spa and the luxury of a late 3 p.m. check-out. Starting from $549 per room, per night.


Escape the Winter Blues at Half Moon, Jamaica and Get Resort Credit

December 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon, JamaicaHalf Moon has been delivering the picture-perfect vacation for over fifty years. And recently, Half Moon has been the talk of the Caribbean with the opening of its dreamy Fern Tree Spa. Celebrate the good life in a magical setting: sandy crescent beaches dotted with palms, white washed cottages surrounded by fragrant gardens. Stretching across 400 lushly landscaped acres, the resort boasts top-notch facilities: a championship, 72-par Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf course, 18-hole putting green, 13-lit tennis courts, a full range of water sports, an exclusive natural Dolphin Lagoon, six gourmet restaurants and over half a dozen informal snack bars, and shopping village.

Book the Winter Escape package and receive big-time resort credit: $1,000 resort credit for a 5-bedroom villa, $1,200 for a 6-bedroom villa and $1,400 for a 7-bedroom villa to be used at restaurants, activities and other services at the resort. The package includes daily breakfast and round-trip airport transfers. The villas offer a grand home away from home for your friends and family-- with a personal staff of a butler, housekeeper and a cook, private pool, 2 golf carts, and all the amenities of a luxury resort. The Winter Escape package is also available for guests staying in any of Half Moon's 201 hotel rooms and suites and offers $200 in resort credit. 5-night minimum stay required. Valid for stays January 5- April 15, 2008 with blackout dates Feb. 14- 22, 2008.


Kids Ski Free at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia

December 14, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The HomesteadEnjoy endless winter activities-- skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice-skating and guided snowmobile tours for the whole family-- at The Homestead, one of the most celebrated and storied Virginia resorts. Reward the whole family with a getaway in the mountains and discover a winter wonderland. Outdoors, days are filled with fun in the snow. Indoors, you'll find a world-class spa, fitness center, bowling alley, historic movie theater and indoor pool. Rooms start from just $199 per night, plus kids under 12 ski for free! Available from January 2- March 15, 2008.


Extraordinary Rates for a December Golf Date at Sea Island, Georgia

December 12, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sea Islands GeorgiaLooking for a quick getaway? Escape the busy holiday season for a last-minute retreat at Georgia's exclusive Sea Islands, where championship golf, elegant dining, and charming Southern hospitality will restore your body and mind. Act fast! This last-minute offer is available until December 16, 2007. Starting from just $395 per night, enjoy luxury accommodations at The Cloister or The Lodge plus one round of green fees, cart, forecaddie, and range balls per person, per night. (Based on availability during these dates only. Play on Seaside incurs a $50 surcharge. Forecaddie gratuity is additional.)


Hit the Slopes this Saturday at Mystic Mountain, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort

December 6, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nemacolin WoodlandsEast Coasters, grab your skis and snowboards. Snow is falling in the Laurel Highlands and winter weather is in the forecast. Mystic Mountain-- 25 acres of fun, short lines, friendly trails and experienced instructors-- will be open to welcome skiers of all levels on Saturday, December 8, 2007. This is Western Pennsylvania's ideal learning environment for first-timers, but there is also plenty of terrain for the pros. There are 10 slopes, ranging from beginner to expert, with a 300 foot vertical drop, three lifts-- 100 percent illuminated for night skiing. Easily accessible and incredibly popular during its 20 year history, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is your indoor and outdoor winter destination. With winter weather on the horizon, you'll find all sorts of activities at the resort: dog sledding, surrey rides, snow-tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. But if snowsports aren't your thing, head inside and indulge in some special holiday treatments at the world-class Woodlands Spa or fine dining with French flair at the AAA Five-Diamond Lautrec restaurant.


Free Stuff at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Caribbean

November 28, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort NevisIt’s that time of year again. The sparse weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the temperatures keep dropping and we find ourselves "cubicle dreamin." The locale of choice? Any old tropical paradise will do, as long as it's surrounded by crystal clear water and lots of silken sand. But here's a deal that could turn those day-dreams into reality: the deliciously luxurious Four Seasons Resort on the Caribbean island of Nevis is offering a resort credit to guests who choose to head south between now and December 14, 2007. Lucky guests will get $100 a night, which they can use at the restaurants, island golf, or award-winning spa. You'll also get a complimentary upgrade, based upon availability. Two-night minimum stay required.


The Umstead Hotel and Spa: North Carolina’s Finest

November 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Umstead Resort and SpaThe opening of the The Umstead Hotel and Spa caused quite the stir last year. One of the finest hotels in the Mid-Atlantic region, The Umstead was recently awarded the prestigious AAA Five-Diamond award for 2008, one of only eight new hotels on the list. Pretty impressive for a hotel that's barely a year old. (The list of accolades isn't short; the hotel is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and was listed on the Hot List.) You can find sumptuous luxury just six minutes from RDU International Airport in N.C.'s Triangle area. The Umstead has become a destination in and of itself. Play golf at Prestonwood Country Club, indulge at the full-service spa, and chow down in style at the award-winning Herons restaurant, where you can catch live music nightly. Guests rave about the afternoon tea: Villeroy & Boch China and silver tea service featuring dainty tea sandwiches with southern flair (like Mini Buttermilk-Chive Biscuits with Johnston County Country Ham and Jalapeno-Strawberry Preserves).


Home for the Holidays at Keswick Hall at Monticello, Charlottesville

November 7, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Keswick HallCelebrate the holiday season in the magical surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Get cozy by the roaring fireplaces with a cup of hot cider or homemade hot chocolate, soak up the views, and enjoy spectacular seasonal decorations. Keswick Hall is the ideal home away from home during the festive season. The resort has arranged an abundance of traditions for your friends and family to enjoy during the month of December. First up: The Lighting of the Holiday Tree on December 1, 2007 with holiday carolers and an appearance by Santa in his sleigh. Throughout the month, enjoy the Sunday Champagne Holiday brunch, Holiday Family Photo Sessions, and Traditional Afternoon Tea for the Generations in the beautiful setting of the Hall's Villa Crawford (think delectable tea sandwiches, clotted cream, and scones with homemade marmalades and lemon curd). And of course there will be Christmas Eve carols and a magnificent Christmas lunch. From December 2- December 27, 2007, book the Home for the Holidays Escape and enjoy rates as low as $265 per night (Sundays-Thursday).

PS. Look out for the mistletoe!