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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.

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.


Buy One Night, Get the Second Night Free at The Arrabelle at Vail Square

February 29, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Arrabelle at Vail SquareSince the resort's opening this winter, there's been lots of buzz about The Arrabelle at Vail Square. Just steps from Vail's Eagle Bahn gondola, the luxury resort ups the ante for the region's luxury resorts. The 36 guest rooms are lavish, averaging 500 square feet each, and come with in-room martini bars, fireplaces and five-piece baths. Designed to reflect the ambiance of the European Alps, the resort has an après ski scene to match: with a grand lobby with bar and fireplace, rooftop pools, and an après ski deck. Guests are pampered with their very own personal concierge services (plus ski and book valet and storage). Take advantage of a special offer, "Buy One, Get One," from now until March 13, 2008. When you stay Sunday-Thursday at The Arrabelle at Vail Square, you'll get a complimentary second night stay when you buy one night. Rates starting from $425.

Note: The RockResorts Spa, fitness center, pool and hot tubs at The Arrabelle at Vail Square should open this weekend.


Four Seasons Resort Whistler: $400 Resort Credit and Complimentary Skiing

February 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons WhistlerWhistler is, hands down, North America's top ski destination. The numbers don't lie: Whistler's got the biggest vertical rise (5,280 feet) and the most terrain (8,171 acres) in North America. Surrounded by glaciers and soaring peaks, the future site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games is also home to some of Canada's most exclusive resorts. Four Seasons Whistler guarantees a mountain vacation like no other. With endless activities indoors and out, Four Seasons is the ultimate winter getaway. Think morning lessons with the exclusive Ski Elite program, cross-country skiing on more than 28 kilometers of trails, and sleigh rides through a winter wonderland. Limited time special offer: When you stay four nights at the Four Seasons, you'll receive a CAD 400 credit with one complimentary day of skiing! Rates start at CAD 435 per room, per night, and the credit can be used toward food, beverage or spa charges. After a day on the slopes, treat yourself to a signature skier's massage in the spa and fireside meal at Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar. The one-day free ski is based upon the purchase of a minimum three-day ski pass. Available until April 12, 2008.


Hotel de Charme Les Airelles: Ski the Alps in Courchevel, France

February 14, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Charme Les AirellesBed down in five-star luxury at the most sought-after lodgings in the Alps. The exclusive ski resort of Courchevel caters to a glamorous crowd of international jet-setters who flock here for the snow and hopping après-ski scene. Escape to the recently-renovated Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, the hotel of choice for the International Olympic Committee during the 1992 Winter Games. The fabulous spa, touted as a "winter wonderland" with waterfalls, soundproof shower booths, and a unique snow cave, is out of this world. Cozy, elegant and charming, Les Airelles resembles the grand ski chalets of another era. And the setting is just as stunning, with ski runs right out the door. The Ski Valet is there to help with your equipment and boots and give you the best tips about the "3 Vallées", arguably the greatest ski area in the world. The new restaurant, "Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles"-- serving cuisine from the superstar chef-- already has quite the following.


Leap Year Special at The Pines Lodge, Beaver Creek, from $115 per night

February 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rock Resorts ColoradoStay at The Pines Lodge, the award-winning ski-in/ski-out resort nestled at the base of Beaver Creek, during the 2008 Leap Year and receive one night of lodging for free! Situated between towering aspen and pine groves, The Pines Lodge is renowned for its AAA Four-Diamond dining at Grouse Mountain Grill, intimate accommodations, unmatched mountain views, and rich variety of amenities. Plus, there's a slew of outdoor activities right outside your front door! Book the Leap Year Special, available until December 22, 2008, and get an extra day soaking up all that luxury at The Pines Lodge. Rates start at just $115 per night for a three-night stay when you factor in the complimentary night.


Buzzworthy: The Little Nell, Aspen Will Open New Luxury Hotels

January 25, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Little NellThe legendary après-ski scene at The Little Nell in Aspen is about to hit the road. Rumor has it that the five-star Little Nell is expanding as a brand, with other hotels slated for Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Snowmass. This is great news for Little Nell devotees, who have come to see the luxurious accommodations and impeccable service at The Little Nell as a benchmark for ski resorts worldwide.


The Alps Melt and a Swiss Ski Resort Goes for $1

January 22, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The New York Times has the skinny on the fate of small Alpine ski stations in the face of melting snows brought about by global warming. Recently, Bruno Prior, a British entrepreneur, snatched up the ski resort of Ernen for one Swiss franc. After suffering heavy losses (and no snow), the Ernen ski-lift company was forced to shut down the four ski lifts. In an act of desperation, Ernen decided to give away the lifts to the investor who could best assist the village. With plans to invest as much as $45 million to build new hotels and lifts, Prior saved the small village from an uncertain fate.


The Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid Goes Green

January 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Whiteface LodgeNow there's another reason to love this award-winning hotel nestled in the Adirondacks. You can make your reservation carbon neutral! The Whiteface Lodge-- the magnificent rustic lodge fashioned after the Great Camps of the early 20th century-- recently announced its participation in the Leading Hotels of the World's Green Initiative, a carbon off-set program to encourage greener travel. Indulge yourself in a luxurious spa weekend or ski getaway,* while feeling good that your carbon footprint has been offset with carbon-neutral accommodations.

*Luxury translates into the details: 24 hour services including in-suite dining and concierge services, plus loads of in-room delights: jetted tubs, pillow-top beds, cast iron gas fireplaces and LCD, high-definition televisions. Plus, The Whiteface Lodge is the only luxury resort in the region to offer private jet service to guests as well as charter plane transportation to and from all major airports directly into Lake Placid.

Choose the 3 Night Winter Stay Package (priced at $395 per night for three consecutive nights in a superior or deluxe one bedroom suite) and get breakfast for two each day, plus a $300 room credit at the end of your stay. Available until March 31, 2008.