Five Star Alliance
NEED ASSISTANCE? 1-(888)-5STAR-11
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
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.

Football World Cup 2010 in South Africa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Plettenberg Get ready. The 2010 World Cup promises to be one of the biggest sporting events of the century (over a billion people are expected to follow the month-long tournament). And this is the first time in history when the World Cup will be hosted by an African nation. Here's the skinny on the ten proposed stadiums for World Cup South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Nelspruit, Rustenburg, Pretoria, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Orkney, and Bloemfontein. Relais & Châteaux's got it covered, with some seriously swanky (and unique) properties to discover. Check in, and then check out the nearby soccer matches, glorious surroundings, and exciting experiences that await in South Africa. A sampling of properties includes the ocean-facing Plettenberg, which seems to float above the sky and sea (check out the photo), and the award-winning Singita Lebombo & Sweni hotel located within the stunning game reserve north of Joburg.


Now Open: The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Greenbrier The Greenbrier is back, and better than ever. The world-renowned resort has re-opened its doors after a $50 million renovation. How could this legendary spot-- the pinnacle of elegance in the Allegheny mountains-- get any more luxurious? Here's what's in store for lucky guests: 63 updated guest rooms with spa-like bathrooms and updated décor, sumptuous new bedding and linens for all guest rooms, and lots of new technology: large plasma-screen TV's , new electronic locks, improved cell phone and Internet service. Coming in summer 2007: an entirely new culinary experience with the opening of Hemisphere restaurant and 38°80, a unique cocktail lounge. The Greenbrier has long been a favorite hideaway for politicians and celebrities; the resort has a distinguished history (this is site of the famous Bunker, the former U.S. Government Relocation Facility where Congress was to be housed in the event of a nuclear attack in the '50s). The historic resort offers over 50 recreational activities to its guests, including indoor and outdoor tennis, golf on three championship courses, rock climbing, 40,000 square foot spa, and even the ancient sport of falconry.


Easter Savings at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Homestead It's not too late to plan a fun-filled Easter weekend the whole family will enjoy. The Homestead is offering bargain rates and a slew of themed activities-- Easter brunch, egg dyeing for the kids, traditional Easter Egg Hunt with more than 4,000 eggs filled with toys and candy, and of course, a visit with the Easter Bunny-- for the coming weekend. Rates begin at just $249 for the weekend of April 6-8, 2007. Nestled in Virginia's beautiful Allegheny mountains, The Homestead is a National Historic Landmark which is ranked among the world's top Spa and Golf resorts. Since 1766, the historic hot springs have enticed guests to the naturally-heated pools at The Homestead, where one can also indulge in world-class facilities and an endless array of recreational activities.


Luxury for Less at the Spa at The Biltmore, Coral Gables


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Biltmore, Coral Gables Ahh, The Biltmore: the sprawling national historic landmark which showers guests in a good dose of nostalgic elegance right outside Miami. Step into the lobby and you'll catch my drift. Marble columns, massive arches, painted ceiling, colorful Oriental rugs, and of course, High Tea. Guest rooms are likewise luxurious (spruced up after the hotel's big renovation). Grandiose and majestic, The Biltmore is world-famous for its facilities: enormous health club, on-site golf course, and the largest hotel swimming pool in the continental U.S. As recently featured in Luxury Spa Finder magazine, The Biltmore is also the spot to find a spa experience that's "high luxe at half off:"

For $750 (taxes included) the Biltmore Spa Splendor package seems too good to be true: a junior suite for two nights and a $250 spa credit.

Located on the seventh floor, the Spa is an oasis of water cascades, flowing rivers, fountains, and bamboo floors. Treatments run the gamut-- from massages to rejuvenating body treatments, deep cleansing facials to Terme Spa baths.


Mont Tremblant: Quebec’s Perfect Ski Town


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mont Tremblant As recently featured in the New York Times, Mont Tremblant offers mountain chic just 80 miles from Montreal. Second-home owners are attracted to this beautiful ski resort, fashionable but not overly glamorous; the NYT raves:

Tucked into the Laurentian Mountains less than 80 miles north of Montreal, Mont Tremblant is a stunning Quebec ski town perched at the southern tip of Lake Tremblant. It somehow manages to blend the kitsch of a Disney-like ski resort, the elegance of a small cosmopolitan city and the serenity of fir-and-pine-covered mountains.

The place to stay is the Fairmont Tremblant, situated in the heart of the picturesque village at the base of the majestic Laurentian peaks. Here, you can climb aboard a high-speed chair lift directly at your doorstep. The facilities at this award-winning hotel are state-of-the-art: heated outdoor and indoor pools, spa and health club, golf, excellent culinary options, and beautiful guest rooms.


Raffles Comes to St. Lucia, West Indies


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Lucia Hot off the press. Raffles will open a spectacular luxury resort in St. Lucia. What to expect at Raffles' latest dazzling property? Exquisite fine dining, five pools, the 10,000 square foot RafflesAmrita Spa, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the centerpiece of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club St. Lucia, with stunning views of the Caribbean and the island's dramatic coastline. St. Lucia is a logical choice for the setting of the newest Raffles Hotel. The idyllic island-- an undeveloped tropical paradise with lush mountainous landscapes and picture-perfect beaches-- is the latest "it" spot in the Caribbean. New properties like The Discovery at Marigot Bay have been making waves in the region.

P.S. The opening date has not yet been announced.


California Dreaming: Spring Break Fun for the Family at Estancia La Jolla


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Estancia La Jolla Escape to the San Diego sunshine for a Spring Break the whole family will enjoy. Consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world, Estancia La Jolla is a California Rancho-style coastal retreat surrounded by lush gardens, only minutes from San Diego's attractions and the beaches of La Jolla. At this garden oasis by the sea, indulge in memorable meals, pool-side lounging, and excellent spa services. The world-class facilities and gracious hospitality ensure an extraordinary spring getaway. The Spring Break Getaway, priced from $795 for the family of four, is available from March 30-April 14, 2007, and includes:

*Three nights in a luxurious double queen Verandah room

*Family Picnic Lunch and Beach Bundle For Four (includes sand toys, beach blankets, and umbrella)

*Estancia Classic: 2 hour on-site kid's golf clinic hosted by a Torrey Pines Golf Course Instructor. Available for children 7 and up.

*Flick & Float movie tickets for family movie night by the pool (Each Saturday Night at 6:30pm)

*Complimentary Valet Parking


Golf in Scottsdale at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Play like a pro (or at least feel like one) on some of the top rated courses in the world. The AAA five-diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, the magnificent destination resort which boasts one of the best spas in North America, is offering the Championship Golf Package for avid golf enthusiasts to walk in the footsteps of some of the PGA TOUR's finest players. Now's your chance to take your best shot on what the resort's Golf Concierge calls "the Four Grand Slam Courses" in the Valley. Package includes accommodations, daily breakfast, one round of golf per person (per paid night) at any of the resort's preferred courses, complimentary use of practice facility prior to your round, transportation to/from the courses, and, of course, complimentary Golf Concierge service. Starting from $569 per room, this spring.


An Interview with the General Manager: Tony McHale of Keswick Hall


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Tony McHale of Keswick HallTony McHale is the current General Manager at Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia - just outside Charlottesville. He took some time out of his busy schedule (you'd be busy too if you had an Arnold Palmer golf course at your office) to answer some of our questions.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Tony McHale: I was the General Manager of the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, also an Orient Express property, and transferred to Keswick following Katrina.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Tony McHale: Keswick is like a country home. It is intimate and charming with gracious service and hospitality, in a breath taking setting, on a private 600 acre Estate.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Tony McHale: Private, yet just 15 minutes from downtown Charlottesville. Curl up with a book in front of one of the six fireplaces, or enjoy golf on our private Arnold Palmer Championship Golf course. Hot air ballooning, shooting, riding, fishing or biking are one of many pursuits.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed at Keswick Hall, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Tony McHale: Mic Jagger, James Brown, Michael J. Fox, Sissy Spacek, Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, and Paul Newman to name a few.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages?

Tony McHale: Balcony State Rooms 9 and 27: Both are corner rooms located on the 2nd floor. They have private balconies and exquisite views overlooking the Arnold Palmer Golf Course. They are requested time and time again by our regular guests.

Five Star Alliance: If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Tony McHale: A favorite Signature Room (standard) would be # 10. It has a full size balcony overlooking the Horizon Edge Pool and Arnold Palmer Golf Course.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Tony McHale: Strongest markets are New York and Washington, though people travel from all over including Europe.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Tony McHale: Check-in/out times, dining options (both on and off property), recreational activities, things to do in the area: shopping, wineries, etc, parking fee, and safety deposit box.

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Tony McHale: Villa San Michele in Florence and the Maroma Resort in Cancun.


Easter at Kiawah Island, South Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Easter at Kiawah Island Celebrate Easter traditions at Kiawah and treat your family to a memorable stay at the AAA Five Diamond-rated Sanctuary Hotel or in a spacious private home or villa. The weather is spectacular, the variety of activities is endless, not to mention the fantastic Easter Dining and fun holiday festivities. (Sand sculpting contest, fabulous food and wine bar, live music, Easter Egg Hunt, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!)

Take advantage of the Sanctuary Easter Package starting from just $639 per room, which includes one night accommodation in a garden view room, buffet breakfast for two, and the Grand Easter buffet for two adults. With the Villa Easter Package at Kiawah, enjoy buffet breakfast for two, and Easter Buffet at Osprey Point (for two), along with the luxurious accommodations in a one bedroom scenic view villa. Starting from $382 per night, seven-night minimum stay required.