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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 Best of Interlaken, Switzerland: Spa Cruise and More with the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa

August 15, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lake BrienzA stay at Interlaken's finest hotel, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa, is itself an unforgettable experience. The panoramic views, over the lakes of Thun and Brienz to the Alps, are breathtaking. With an outstanding spa and wellness center and impeccable service, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel embodies Old World European grandeur and is beloved by connoisseurs who appreciate the finer things in life. The best hotel in Switzerland's beautiful resort town of Interlaken, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand is also a fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, which describes this first-class resort as follows:

Hardwood floors and bright colors create a loftlike feel in rooms, while stained glass windows in the reception area and satin-upholstered chairs pay homage to La Belle Epoque. "The old and new opulence are in great balance." The nineteenth-century lakefront property surveys a park and snowcapped mountains. Dining on Swiss food in the Jungfrau Brasserie is "like eating in an old-fashioned grand ballroom."

The Spa Cruise with Victoria-Jungfrau Grand HotelOver two weekends in September, the Victoria-Jungfrau partners with the Bernese Oberland Shipping Company to offer guests a luxurious spa cruise on the magnificent Lake Brienz (pictured). The MS Jungfrau is transformed into a "floating oasis of pleasure" so that guests can relax and take a deep breath in these majestic surroundings. Awaiting onboard: a variety of wellness and fitness activities, such as massages, masks, foot rituals, taiji, qigong and speeding bikes. Available Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st, and September 27th and 28th.

Photo of Lake Brienz Via Switzerland Traveler


Babymoons and More: Complimentary Fourth Night at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek

July 15, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor GulchWinter is certainly not the only time to visit this Rocky Mountain luxury destination. Situated next to Beaver Creek Mountain and surrounded by vast, sublime wilderness, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch exudes the pioneering spirit of the American West. A year-round destination resort, guests can enjoy Colorado's highest rated golf courses, with preferred tee times courtesy of the private Red Sky Golf Club, countless outdoor adventures, Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant, and the unrivaled luxury of The Bachelor Gulch Spa, the Vail Valley's only Mobil Four-Star Spa. And of course this AAA Five-Diamond resort offers the finest service, in the Ritz-Carlton tradition, with a Guest Relations team who will help custom-design your Vail Valley experience even before your arrival. Here's a special for American-Express Cardholders: Book 3 consecutive nights at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch and the fourth night is on the house! (Payment must be made by American Express card. Valid through September 30.) Plus, parents-to-be can enjoy a Babymoon Spa Experience at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulf, recently highlighted as a Deal of the Week by the New York Daily News. Start off with a 30-minute prenatal yoga class for moms-to-be while dads get personal training tips with a certified fitness instructor. Next, the couple will enjoy side-by-side massages (the women get the Mellow Mama Maternity Massage, while les hommes get the Bachelor Gulf Signature Massage.) You’ll also get a picnic for two. Available through October, with rates starting at $420.


Group Hikes in the Green Mountains and Organic Eats at Topnotch Resort, Vermont

July 10, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Topnotch Resort and SpaThe Green Mountains of Vermont are not just a favorite destination for skiiers. The summer recreational pursuits are unlimited at Topnotch Resort and Spa, a premier destination retreat in New England. Try your hand at fly-fishing, hit the trails on a mountain bike, go canoeing, or enjoy guided English and Western trail rides from the Topnotch Equestrian Center. For the second season, the popular Group Hiking program returns to Topnotch, with moderately paced, fitness-focused and small-group hikes into the Green Mountains departing each Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day. Of course guests at the AAA-Four Diamond resort may be content to just stay on-site. After all, the Tennis Center at Topnotch was recognized as the No. 1 tennis resort in the Northeast in 2006 by Tennis Magazine. And the 35,000 square-foot Spa has been acclaimed as one of the Top 10 Resort Spas in America. Other facilities include an indoor pool with a cascading massage waterfall, two new outdoor pools, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Plus, summer guests will swoon over the new menu at Norma's, the resort's signature restaurant, featuring local organic provisions served up in the action-packed open kitchen. Summer rates start at $385 per night (double occupancy).

PS. Pets are welcome at TopNotch.


Rock Resorts Gears up for The Osprey at Beaver Creek, the Closest Hotel to a Chairlift in North America

May 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Osprey at Beaver CreekAnnouncing the latest hotel opening from Rock Resorts, the first new one in Beaver Creek in over 10 years. The Osprey has a sweet location, described as the "closest hotel to a chairlift in North America." Scheduled to open during the winter season 2008/2009 after a $7 million transformation this summer, the Osprey was formerly called the Inn at Beaver Creek. The ski-in/ski-out hotel promises unparalleled personalized services, daily complimentary breakfast, an outdoor pool and hot tub, fitness center, ski valet, a brand-new tapas restaurant, and butler and concierge services. Book your stay for December 19, 2008. Rates vary from $245 to $925 depending on the time period.


Buzz: Capella Niseko Resort, Designed by Tadao Ando, Set for Japan’s Renowned Ski Destination

April 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Niseko2010 won't come fast enough. Capella Hotels and Resorts is planning a top-tier resort for Niseko (boasting some of the world's finest powder- blown straight from Siberia), and it's going to knock our socks off. The famed architect Tadao Ando is going to work his magic in designing the luxury resort set on 32 acres adjacent to Annupuri-Niseko Mountain. Recipient of every major architecture award in the world (including the Prizker), Ando is renowned for his creative use of natural light and forms that follow the natural contour of the landscape. The resort will highlight the natural beauty of Niseko's incredible setting. What else would we expect from the posh, new Capella brand, led by legendary hotelier Horst Schulze (long-time president at Ritz-Carlton)? Capella is all about personalized luxury, and the resort promises an incredible wellness center and Auriga Spa, along with year-round recreational opportunities. A total of 9 Capella hotels worldwide have been announced; Schloss Velden, a Capella Hotel, in Austria, and Capella Castlemartyr, located in Cork, Ireland, were the first Capella resorts when they opened in 2007.

Image via Wayfaring


Spring Savings at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia

April 14, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The HomesteadGet your springtime groove on with special savings from The Homestead. Until April 30, 2008, the storied Virginia resort has room rates starting from $199. From championship golf and horseback riding to fly fishing, shooting, biking and hiking, there's no better way to enjoy the Allegheny Mountains. A National Historic Landmark, The Homestead is also celebrated for its spa and spring-fed indoor pool. After all, these thermal hot springs have been luring travelers since the 1700s! Ranked among the top family resorts in the country, The Homestead has a great children's program, including the fun-filled KidsClub offering nonstop games and activities.


Family Fun with Starwood Hotels and Resorts

April 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass ResortSo you're looking for some family bonding time, a weekend getaway, family vacation, something unique and memorable... Starwood Hotels to the rescue. The company has just announced "Love Your Family"-- a new, family-friendly program designed for both kids and adults alike. After lots of customer research, Starwood's come up with a program they feel caters to the whole family. The three signature experiences-- Fireside Storytelling (s'mores included), Stargazing, and Dive-In Movies (watch a family film from the pool)-- can now be found in 29 resort locations in the U.S. and the Caribbean under the Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection labels. Other "Love your Family" services? Connecting rooms, food and bev discounts, counselor-led kids nights, all coordinated by the resort's "Director of Fun."


Small Luxury Hotels Announces Photo Competition: Win Cool Trips and Prizes!

March 24, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hostellerie Les Frenes, ProvenceSmall Luxury Hotels of the World-- the exclusive brand of more than 440 independent properties in 70 countries-- recently launched its inaugural worldwide photography competition with some incredible prizes. The idea is for travelers to share their most inspired moments and experiences "caught on film" during their trips-- whether biking through the Tuscan hills or watching the sunset over a beach in the Indian Ocean. The possibilities are limitless! Running from March 17, 2008 through July 31, 2008, the contest will take place completely online via a dedicated competition website. You can register with the site and then upload up to 10 of your favorite photos that capture a sense of place and experience. All submitted photos will be viewable in an online gallery. Four overall winning photographs will be chosen by a panel of judges including celebrity photographer Andy Earl (who shot Madonna, Prince and Pink Floyd for their album covers). And get this: anybody who registers and submits at least one photo will be automatically entered into a prize draw for a five-night stay at any of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.

The top prize winners will all receive a brand new Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 Camera with an 18-135mm zoom lens, plus, choose one of four incredible prize getaways including two round-trip tickets on American Airlines. The available prize packages are:

* A six-night Costa Rican Adventure spent at both Hotel Punta Islita and Gaia Hotel and Reserve

* A five-night English Town and Country Experience spent at both The Capital Hotel in London and Luton Hoo Country Estate

* A four-night Mexican Escape at Esencia on the Riviera Maya

* A three night Big Apple Experience in New York City at The Iroquois New York


Spago at Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch: Hot Eats in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado

March 20, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Spago at Ritz-Carlton Bachelor GulchThe start of ski season (Dec. 2007) brought the opening of superstar chef Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant in the Colorado mountains at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. From its Beverly Hills roots, Spago has become a nation-wide phenomenon with locations in Vegas, Maui, and Beaver Creek. As to be expected, the Ritz-Carlton's Spago created quite the buzz. Housed in a sleek renovated space (designed by Tony Chi), the restaurant still manages to embrace the "rustic luxury" and "pioneering spirit of the American West" for which the resort is famous. You'll find "seasonal American cuisine with Asian Influences and Rocky Mountain sensibilities." Starters include spicy tuna tartare in sesame-miso tuile cones, and hand-made autumn pumpkin and mascarpone agnolotti. Scrumptious main dishes include Chinois style Colorado lamb chops, grilled Japanese Kobe New York Steak, and the pan-roasted buffalo filet. The gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch is a year-round resort destination, offering the very best activities in Colorado's vast surrounding wilderness, so you can check out the restaurant in any season.


96 Hour Sale: $96 Rates with Rock Resorts

March 12, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rock ResortsThe big sale is back. Stay at a luxurious RockResort from just $96 per night! From snug mountain hideaways in the Rockies to a blissful beachfront retreat in the Caribbean, Rock Resorts has some dazzling destinations: The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Aspen's Hotel Jerome, Keystone Lodge and Spa, The Lodge at Vail, La Posada de Santa Fe, and The Landings St. Lucia in the West Indies. Even the swanky new Arrabelle at Vail Square is going for just $136 per night. To take advantage of this exclusive offer, book your stay before Sunday, March 16, 2008, at 11:59 p.m. MDT. This offer is available for travel Sunday through Thursday nights, April 13, 2008 through November 13, 2008. Online bookings only. All bookings must be prepaid and are nonrefundable.