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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.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Announces $95 Million Renovation


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

The AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is Hawaii's premier golf resort. Surrounded by sweeping greens, a historic pineapple plantation, and the rolling blue of the Pacific, the resort is Maui's finest. (It's home to the season-opening, champions only, PGA TOUR event: the Mercedes-Benz Championship.) The facilities take your breath away: six tennis courts, a basketball court, a 10,000-sq-ft three-tiered swimming pool, two outdoor whirlpool spas, nine-hole putting green, croquet and bocce ball lawn, shuffleboard, the 7,000-sq-ft fitness room and spa, and a secluded beach. As if this wasn't enough, the celebrated resort has just announced plans for a big-time transformation. The detailed renovation will feature enhanced dining restaurants, upgrades to the Spa, additional children's activities, 363 renovated guestrooms, and 107 full-ownership Residential Suites. Inspired by the natural beauty of the islands, the interior design concept will use indigenous materials (such as coconut and shells) and feature traditional Hawaiian artwork. Construction kicks off on July 2 and is scheduled for completion by the Holiday Season 2007.


Pre-Arrival Concierge and Special Winter Escape at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon

Talk about exceptional customer service. Jamaica's preeminent luxury resort, Half Moon, just introduced a pre-arrival concierge, to help create the ultimate, unique vacation experiences for its guests. The pre-arrival concierge service will gather guest preferences before the guest actually arrives to create a customized itinerary that will include anything from pre-arranged tee times at the resort's newly-renovated golf course, to spa treatments, dinner reservations and off-site excursions. Crave organic snacks for the mini-bar? Now guests can make special requests for items in the mini-bar, in-room amenities, and special deliveries for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.

Experience the benefits of individually customized service while enjoying excellent savings at Half Moon with the Winter Escapes Packages. Guests reserving Half Moon's luxurious Royal Villas this winter can receive up to $1400 in resort credit! With the Winter Escape package, guests of the Royal Villas who book a minimum of 5 nights will receive a resort credit of $1000 for a 5-bedroom villa, $1200 for a 6-bedroom villa and $1400 for a 7-bedroom villa. The package also includes daily breakfast as well as round-trip airport transfers in Montego Bay. The credit is applicable for restaurants, activities and other services at the resort.

Half Moon's villa rates start at $2000 per night for a luxurious 5-bedroom villa and features the exclusive services of a private butler, cook and housekeeper. Villas range from five- to seven-bedrooms with private en suite bathrooms, spacious living room, dining room and private pool. Guests also have use of two golf carts to traverse the 400-acre resort.

The Winter Escape package is also available for guests staying in any of Half Moon's 204 hotel rooms and suites. Valid for stays through April 15, 2007, with black-out dates from February 14-22, 2007.


Ponte Vedra Inn and Club Unveils New Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ponte Vedra Inn and Club

It's no wonder the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is the recipient of the coveted AAA five diamond award, one of only 30 such resorts in the United States. With its opulent accommodations and top recreational facilities, this 300 acre oceanfront resort leaves nothing to be desired. Miles of windswept Florida beaches. 36 holes of golf. 15 hydro tennis courts. Four heated pools. Bicycling, boating, and fishing. Excellent restaurants and lounges. Children's Playground and Nursery... Truly a landmark in American hospitality, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has indulged three generations of guests since its celebrated opening in 1928. To quote Zagat: "rooms and service are rated extraordinary to perfection."

But now Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has improved on perfection-- with the November opening of its new, sophisticated spa. At 30,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art facility is the region's largest. Situated on three acres amidst signature waterfalls and water sculptures, the spa offers an extensive menu of over 100 services including the Lomi Lomi Massage, Fiji Tropical Isle Coconut Scrub, Rose Hydrating Cocoon, Hydra Pure Hydration Facial, La Stone Therapy, Body Polish, Hot Paraffin Manicures, Pedicures, and Hair Care. There is even a Men's Barber Shop on-site. Escape to Florida's sunshine and indulge in some luxurious spa treatments at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. For a limited time, guests can take advantage of the Spa Getaway Package, which includes lodging and a pampering spa service, from just $269 a night (based on double occupancy). Available through February.

Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals


Coeur D’Alene Resort, Idaho: Escape the Winter Blues


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Coeur D'Alene

Head to the Winter Blues Festival at Coeur D'Alene Golf and Spa Resort and ditch those winter blues. The idyllic landscape at the resort's lakeside setting may be cure enough for the inevitable wintry blahs (not to mention the luxurious accommodations, spa treatments, and sumptuous cuisine). But this award-winning destination resort has designed an added enticement: the Winter Blues Festival on the weekend of February 16-18, 2007. The Northwest's preeminent blues artists will be showcased at this inaugural event, including Seattle's Lloyd Jones Struggle and "Blueswoman of the Year" Nicole Fournier (& Her 3 lb. Universe). The lineup features nine bands playing the blues for some 15 hours over the three evenings. All the musical events will take place at four intimate music venues conveniently located inside the resort, including two stages inside the newly remodeled Conference Center as well as an exciting Blues Cruise on the lake Saturday after dark. Take advantage of the special Winter Blues Festival Package which includes accommodations and access to all the music venues for the weekend. Packages begin at $149 per person nightly. Daily tickets are $10 Friday and Sunday, and $35 on Saturday.


Golf Improvement Program at Sea Island Resort, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Golf Improvement Program

Ranked number 1 in Golf Digest's "75 Best Golf Resorts in North America," Sea Island Resort boasts 54 holes of elegant fairways and greens. The three championship golf courses include the Seaside Course (updated in 1999 by Tom Fazio and now considered one of the top 100 courses in the US), the Plantation Course (a dazzling mix of ancient live oak forest and tidal creeks, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean), and the Retreat Course (designed by PGA Champion Davis Love III). On March 15-17, 2007, join five of the resort's nationally recognized instructors-- Jack Lumpkin, Todd Anderson, Mike Shannon, Randy Myers, Dr. Morris Pickens-- for the intensive 16-hour evaluation and instruction program. On the first day, experience a four hour evaluation of your game, equipment, body and mind. Then, on the second and third day, spend five and a half hours working on a program that is specifically designed to improve the weak areas of your game. (Includes optional afternoon lesson, video analysis using V1 computer graphics and swing comparison with take home video or DVD, and a club fitting using Trackman Launch Monitor.) $3,300 per person, with Sea Island gift bag and notebook, and dinner with the Instructors on the first night. Limited to ten students.


The Marvelous Metamorphosis of The Greenbrier


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Greenbrier

Come April 1, 2007, The Greenbrier will debut a sassy new makeover. For over two centuries this distinguished resort-- a National Historic Landmark-- has charmed discerning travelers with its stately architecture, scenic beauty, abundant recreational activities (50! including a world-class spa and golf), and impeccable service. But this symbol of ultra-luxury lost its Mobil five star rating in 2000 after 38 consecutive years ranked as one of the top resorts in North America. With this exciting $50 million renovation, The Greenbrier seeks to regain its superstar status. For the first time since World War II, The Greenbrier is closing from January 3 until April 1, 2007 to complete the makeover, which includes new restaurants and nightlife, and luscious, new beds and linens and flat-screen TVs for all 721 guest rooms. Hemisphere will debut in the former Old White Lounge area, featuring exciting global cuisine from Chef Michael Voltaggio. 38°80 will be The Greenbrier's new entertainment venue in what was formerly The Tavern Room, with handcrafted flights and world lounge music that will evolve as the evening progresses-- a sultry, sexy ambience. In addition, the full renovation of 63 guest rooms will add new marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers and executive-style desks. Be the first to discover the new Greenbrier in Spring 2007; reservations are now being accepted.


Take Ownership of Peaks Resort in Telluride, Colorado


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peaks Resort

Hot off the press. You can now own a piece of the Telluride icon, the Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa. The resort's about to undergo a $60 million transformation into a condominium-hotel with exclusive Colorado homes and vacation condos available to a privileged few. 174 guest rooms will be converted into studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, available for individual ownership, priced from $500,000 each. Ideally located in the center of Mountain Village with ski-in/ski-out access, The Peaks embraces the spectacular mountain landscape that surrounds it. Condo owners will receive all the benefits of the five star resort: the impeccable personalized service, privileges at the Telluride Ski and Golf Company championship golf course, ski-in/ski-out access, Ski Valet to heat and tune boots and assist with equipment storage, four restaurants and 24-hour in-room dining, daily housekeeping, garment care, tennis, VIP Concierge to coordinate travel, arrange dining reservations and provide detailed information on the area's vast array of activities, and access to the Golden Door Spa, now available exclusively to members, residents, and guests. The best of both worlds.


Spotlight On: Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paradisus Palma Real

The DR has got it all: sun-soaked sandy beaches, excellent recreational activities, and oodles of outstanding resorts. Case in point: Paradisus Palma Real-- an all-inclusive, all-suite luxury resort with spectacular ocean views just minutes from the hot spot of Punta Cana. 554 suites feature private terraces, mahogany furniture, flat screen TV, DVD and CD player, and complimentary high speed Internet access. Six restaurants offer a culinary tour of delicious cuisine from around the world (from Mediterranean to Chinese). There are three outdoor pools set in magnificent tropical gardens, tennis courts, a full fitness program at the gym, the ultimate in spa treatments, the Cocotal Golf and Country Club, and a slew of water sports. What more could you ask for? (Did I mention there's unlimited Premium brand drinks at your choice of six bars?)

Related Articles:

NYT, "Family Destination of the Year: Dominican Republic"

Hotel Designs, "Hotels: Paradisus Palma Real Opens"


Wine Maker Dinners at The Breakers, Palm Beach


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Breakers

This winter, escape to Southern Florida's classic landmark for a truly luxurious experience. Situated directly on a private white sand beach, the Italian Renaissance style hotel was founded in 1896 and has been legendary ever since. (And with a Beach club, oceanfront spa, 36 holes of championship golf, 10 tennis courts, kids' programs, four oceanside pools, and excellent restaurants... what's not to love?) Here at The Breakers, L'Escalier offers one of the country's finest dining experiences and is the proud recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award and Wine Spectator's highest honor, the Grand Award. The restaurant now presents the specialty wine dinners of the 2007 Winter Wine Series. Master Sommelier Virginia Philip has invited celebrated winemakers from around the world to present three unforgettable evenings of food and wine pairings. A reception with tastings is followed by a five-course dinner prepared by the exceptional culinary team led by Chef Kevin Ives. Dinners are $300 inclusive of tax and service charge. (The March 5, 2007 dinner is priced at $575). Seating is limited so make your reservations soon.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Joseph Phelps Winery

Featuring Tom Shelton, President and CEO

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Silver Oak Winery

Featuring Tom Johnson, Vice President

Monday, March 5, 2007

Clos de Tart and Mommessin Wineries

Featuring Clos de Tart with Sylvain Pitiot, winemaker


Valentines Getaway: February Relationship Menu at Cambridge Beaches Bermuda


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cambridge Beaches

Romance-starved? Nothing that champagne, chocolates, and private island fine dining can't fix. The four-diamond Cambridge Beaches, oft considered one of the world's most romantic resorts, is offering couples the opportunity to rekindle their relationship during the month of February, which has been dedicated to romance with a new Relationship Menu. Escape the grind of our daily lives and relax at one of the resort's five private beaches, relish a fine dining experience on the private Isle of TT, or rejuvenate at the resort's world-class two-level 10,000 sq. ft. Ocean Spa. Discover the fine art of preparing finger foods and sensual desserts as a couple. Uncover the island's most romantic spots (the Romance Concierge will give you the inside scoop). Enjoy turn down gifts. Watch romantic movies by candlelight. Try your hand at couples vs. couples golf tournaments. Experience a champagne horse n' buggy ride, 1001 Arabian Nights Themed Dinner, and romantic picnic basket excursion. And then there's the seminars, offered from February 11-23, 2007. Covering subjects like Venus and Mars Balance, Communication for Couples, Creating a Special Place for the Ultimate Romance, and Introduction to Tantra. Prices for the romance menu package start at $875 a night per couple in the new, lavishly appointed infinity plunge pool suite which overlooks the ocean.