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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.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa: North Carolina’s Finest

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

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!

Verdura Golf and Spa Resort: Sun and Sea in Sicily

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Verdura Golf and Spa Resort, SicilySir Rocco Forte will unveil a splendid new resort in 2009. Lapped by Mediterranean waters, Sicily is a land of ancient history, a cultural crossroads of temples and fortresses, overshadowed by the volcano Mt. Etna. Here, in a small village called Verdura (near Sciacca on the southern coast), the Rocco Forte Collection is building a EUR 129 million hotel and golf resort. Centered around the restoration of several historical buildings, the hotel will no doubt reflect the history and character of the region. Overlooking the sea, the 200-room Verdura Golf and Spa Resort will boast two championship golf courses, a hydrotherapy spa, and recreational facilities.

Fourth Night Free: Golf in Hawaii at the Four Seasons Lana’i, Lodge at Koele

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Challenge at Manele, Four Seasons Lodge at KoeleLana'i-- aka Hawaii's private island-- is drop-dead gorgeous. It's also known for its incredible golf. Try your game at the Challenge at Manele, the Jack-Nicklaus designed course that's ranked in the top 20 in the U.S. Or play a round at the Experience at Koele, the championship course designed by Greg Norman with stunning views of mountains and lush greens, with the ocean in the distance. Celebrated for its incredible downhill drop of 250 feet from the eighth tee to the fairway, the course offers an incredible combination of highland terrain, inspired landscape architecture and a range of play challenges. Just your luck: the swanky Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele, has a special offer: You'll get a fourth night free with three paid nights. Plus, the rates are a steal at $295 a night for a garden room.

Beaver Creek Lodge: Luxury Mountain Experience On and Off the Slopes

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beaver Creek LodgeThere's a reason skiers flock to Vail's upscale sister resort for the season's first powder. Beaver Creek offers a luxurious ski and snowboarding experience with top-notch service. The ski resort serves fresh-baked cookies every afternoon on the slopes, offers complimentary ski-check for mountain guests, and e-mails grooming reports and snow conditions to the local hotels each morning. Rumor has it there are even snowboarding butlers available on the slopes. Talk about a stellar luxury mountain! The place to stay is the Beaver Creek Lodge, the resort's only luxury all-suite boutique hotel, located right at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. Nestled within the charming alpine village, Beaver Creek Lodge embodies mountain chic luxury. The sublime retreat has newly renovated suites and condos with cozy fireplaces, ski-in/ski-out convenience, fine dining at Rocks Modern Grill, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, championship golf, and off-site spa relaxation.

Opening Day is November 21, 2007.

St. Kitts Goes Classy: New Hotels by Auberge Resorts and Mandarin Oriental

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Auberge Resort, St. KittsJust across from the isle of Nevis in the lower Caribbean, St. Kitts hasn't defined its own tourism niche the way neighboring Nevis has lured well-heeled travelers. Until now, anyway. There's a new high-end development in store, and it promises to dazzle. Christophe Harbour, the 2,500-acre development, will boast luxury hotels from Mandarin Oriental and Auberge Resorts. And if Auberge's new Sandy Bank Bay is any bit as exceptional as its other properties (Auberge du Soleil, Esperanza, The Inn at Palmetto Bluff), we're in for a treat. Situated on a peninsula, the resort site features seven miles of sandy coastline facing both the turquoise Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. There will also be a spa and a Tom Fazio-designed golf course. Auberge's resort is slated for 2009, with the Mandarin Oriental following in 2010.

Elegance and Etiquette Weekend at The Sanctuary, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Sanctuary at Kiawah IslandSo you've committed some ugly etiquette atrocities. Elbows on the table isn't the worst of it. You've written Miss Manners hoping for her unfailing wisdom on correct behavior. But really, what you need is a dose of the South: a weekend of elegance and etiquette at one of the top resorts in the U.S. After all, Charleston-- only a short drive from the island-- is considered the most mannerly city in America, where etiquette is considered an important part of everyday life. And the resort's AAA Five-Diamond Sanctuary Hotel prides itself on having class, composure, and elegance. To help you and your family learn the etiquette of the south, The Sanctuary has designed a special Elegance and Etiquette Weekend to be held on November 9-11, 2007. The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette will help you refine your social skills: both in the business environment and social arena (the art of dining, and host/guest etiquette). Meanwhile, your kids will learn all sorts of useful tips: setting the table, dining in style, writing thank-you notes and invitations. The two-night event package includes accommodations, welcome tea reception, Etiquette Program sessions, one lunch and dinner, one brunch, and a thank-you cards amenity. Priced from $2,169 for one adult and one child at The Sanctuary (oceanview accommodations).

Fuchun Resort: High-Design Heaven in China’s Hangzhou Province

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fuchun ResortJust 150 miles from Shanghai, you'll find a stylish sanctuary-- a modern day imperial compound-- that's hailed as China's leading resort. Nestled in the tea-covered hills of Fuyang village in Hangzhou province, the magical Fuchun Resort was inspired by a 700-year old painting. These lush surroundings were where Yuan dynasty painter Wang Gongwang went into exile, and it's easy to see why this storybook setting prompted his classic landscape painting, "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains." And with villas designed by Jean-Michel Gathy of Amanresort fame, it's no wonder Condé Nast described the Fuchun Resort as one of the World's Best New Hotels (2005)-- the only hotel in China to make the list. The accommodations are stunning, with Jacuzzis and oodles of technological gadgetry. From your private balcony, you'll contemplate incredible mountain views. Other facilities include a glamorous spa, golf course, two tennis courts, a mountaintop conference pavilion, and a ballroom.

For more photos, check out Flickr

Last Minute Special at Chateau Elan, Georgia

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau ElanHurry! The award-winning Chateau Elan, the wildly popular winery and resort situated just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, has announced a last-minute Spooky Weekend Special. Buy one night at the regular rate of $199 and get the second for free! Looks like it's all treats and no tricks for the folks that can snag this offer. (Only a limited number of rooms are available at this special rate.) Book for Friday and Saturday night (October 26 and 27, 2007) or check in on Saturday and enjoy your free night on Sunday, October 28.

Seasonal Discount at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Scottsdale PrincessIt's not often that you see discounts at an AAA Five Diamond resort, where both the spa and championship golf courses are considered among the best in North America. Starting November 1, 2007, you'll find a special seasonal value offered by the Southwest's premier resort, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. With their "Only One Way Winter Rates," you can treat your family and friends to a winter getaway that feels more like summer-- with the warm sunny days and refreshingly cool nights of the Sonoran Desert. Just leave your coats at home. Rates start at just $379 per night, plus you can earn double airline miles with Fairmont's participating airline partners. Valid until April 15, 2008.