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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.

Winter Escapes: Sundance Resort, Utah

November 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sundance Resort

Created by Robert Redford, Sundance Resort is an intimate preserve that balances art, nature, and community. Situated at the base of 12,000 foot Mount Timpanogos, the resort consists of 95 luxurious guest cottages and 6,000 acres of pristine mountain wilderness to explore. Though rooms may be all booked for the celebrated Sundance Film Festival (January 18-28, 2007), superb winter packages entice guests to indulge in a luxurious hideaway at Sundance. Dine in the highest Zagat-rated fine restaurant in the state of Utah, the Tree Room. Pamper yourself at the Native American-inspired spa, which utilizes all organic products in its sumptuous treatments. Take a class at the artisan center: jewelry making, photography, painting, pottery, and recycled glass blowing demonstrations. And explore Utah's beautiful terrain with a vast array of mountain activities including biking, hiking, fly-fishing, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing. For a limited time, enjoy a one-night escape at an amazing value, starting at $160.25 (based on double occupancy). Package includes a luxurious night in one of the mountain cottages and a full American breakfast for two in the Foundry Grill. Available until December 7, 2006. Sundance Resort offers another excellent package: Stay 3 Ski Free. If you book three or more nights in a cottage suite, enjoy two all day lift passes per day. Also includes breakfast for two. Package starts at $927 based on double occupancy.


Spectacular Ski Package at Keystone Lodge to Celebrate Early Ski Season

November 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Keystone Lodge

Skiers rejoice! The Rocky Mountains continue to receive record snowfalls and many resorts, including Keystone, are opening earlier than expected. It's a winter wonderland out there and Keystone Lodge is offering a fantastic ski package to celebrate. Surrounded by majestic peaks and thousands of acres of national forest, Keystone Lodge is an AAA four diamond destination. The elegant mountain lodge features a spa, outdoor swimming in heated pools and whirlpools, and fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment. Plus, the resort is committed to 100 percent wind energy (how cool is that?) The Early Season Ski package starts at $101 per person per night, and includes nightly accommodations and daily lift tickets for two to Keystone Resort. Valid until December 16, 2006. Rate is per night based on double occupancy, not inclusive of taxes and resort surcharge.


Why Winter in Whistler: North America’s Top Ski Destination

November 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pan Pacific Whistler

Eager skiers are anxiously counting down the days until the November 23, 2006 opening day of ski season at Whistler Blackcomb. The biggest ski resort in North America may also be the best-- judging by the number of accolades it's racked up recently. According to Conde Nast Traveler's annual readers' choice awards, Whistler hotels are the best in Canada: the Pan Pacific Mountainside, Four Seasons Whistler, and Westin are the top three. Luxury Spa Finder magazine ranked the The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Whistler as the third best spa in the world. Australia's Luxury Travel Magazine (Summer 2006) named Whistler the best overseas ski resort, and Forbes Traveler (along with Skiing Magazine) voted Whistler Blackcomb as the number one resort in North America. With the biggest vertical rise in North America (a whopping 5,280 feet) and the most terrain (8,171 acres), it's little wonder why Whistler has swept up the awards.


Aspen World Cup Ski Package at the St. Regis Resort Aspen

October 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Regis Resort Aspen

The prestige and excitement of World Cup ski racing returns to Aspen again this winter. Take advantage of the exclusive World Cup Ski Package at the St. Regis Resort, easily the most fashionable spot in Aspen. Gorgeous rooms, the all-new Remède Spa (the flagship of the global spa brand developed for St. Regis), heated outdoor pool, attentive service... this is the ultimate in indulgence for the discerning traveler. The package includes luxurious accommodations, two lift tickets daily, breakfast for two at Olives, two authentic Swiss cow bells for race day, and USA Ski Team souvenirs. Rates start from $460 per night when you arrive Sunday through Thursday for a minimum two-night stay. Available from November 23 through December 21, 2006.


Spotlight On: Llao Llao Hotel and Resort, Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina

October 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Llao Llao

This could be the most dramatic setting on earth: amidst deep blue lakes, snow-capped mountains, and the rivers and forests of Nauel Huapi National Park in Northwest Patagonia. Welcome to the Llao Llao Hotel and Resort, where the spectacular surroundings are only enhanced by extraordinary facilities. Recently recognized as one of the top three resorts in Central/South America by Conde Nast Traveler's 19th annual Readers' Choice Awards, Llao Llao is a luxurious mountain lodge, designed in the style of Canada's greatest ski lodges, with exposed timbers and grand stone fireplaces. No matter what season, Llao Llao's a picture-perfect destination, with numerous recreational activities: 18-hole golf course, state-of-the-art spa, spectacular heated swimming pool with mountain views, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, horse back riding, sailing. (And awesome skiing in the off-season, come next May/June.)


Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia

October 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Homestead

Since 1766, The Homestead has provided a luxurious escape for Princes, heads of state and sports fanatics. Located in Virginia's Allegheny mountains, the National Historic Landmark is now ranked among the world's top Spa and Golf resorts. Folks have been flocking here since the 1700s to "take the waters" at the historic hot springs and naturally-heated pools. And they continue to flock to this timeless retreat to enjoy the world-class facilities and beautiful setting. It's the ideal spot to start or preserve a family tradition (The Homestead makes it easy with endless activities for the whole family to enjoy). Here's the skinny on all the fun holiday happenings:

Big Band Weekend: November 10-12, 2006. Dining, dancing and absolute luxury packages starting at just $314

Thanksgiving and Christmas Celebration: Special dining, holiday events and plenty of holiday spirit. Packages starting at $295.

New Year's Eve Celebration: A year that starts this way is sure to be a great one. Dance, dine and celebrate the arrival of 2007! Packages start at $375.


Fine Dining at Grouse Mountain Grill, Pines Lodge, Beaver Creek, Colorado

October 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pines Lodge

Stay slopeside at the luxurious Pines Lodge, and dine like a king at the Grouse Mountain Grill, the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant that features stunning views of Beaver Creek Resort. Zagat raves about the joint as the best in the region, and Grouse is the highlight of the annual Beaver Creek Culinary Festival. Executive Chef Ted Schneider prepares elegant game, beef, fish and fowl with a signature rustic style, served graciously in a warm, welcoming environment. For a divine taste of Grouse Mountain, try the recipe for honey & lemon venison osso buco with goat cheese risotto at home:

Honey & Lemon Venison Osso Buco

with Goat Cheese Risotto

Serves four

Venison

8 venison shanks, cut "osso buco" style

3 T vegetable oil

Flour

1 cup lemon peel, fresh

2 cups lemon juice

1 cup honey

1 cup brown sauce

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper venison shanks. Dredge in flour and fry in vegetable oil, turning to make sure both sides have browned. Place in a baking dish. Add lemon juice, honey, lemon peel and brown sauce. Bake at 350° covered for 1 to 2 hours or until "fork" tender. Skim off excess fat, and serve over the goat cheese risotto with some of the sauce.

Goat Cheese Risotto

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped

1 3/4 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups chicken stock, hot

4 T butter

6 oz goat cheese, room temperature

Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and stir until translucent. Add rice, stir until coated with oil. Add wine and simmer until evaporated. Add half chicken stock, simmer until evaporated. Add remaining stock and simmer until evaporated until rice is soft on the outside with a chewy center. If rice is crunchy, add another cup of stock and allow it to evaporate. Repeat if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf to Develop Fairmont Tamarack, Luxury Hotel and Residences

October 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Tamarack

The dream team has been scheming to open a stunning all-season resort in the mountains of Idaho, and now the Fairmont Tamarack development is official. Agassi Graf Development LLC has partnered with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, who will manage the luxury hotel and residences in two locations: Tamarack's village and a mid-mountain site. The terrain is breathtaking (check out the sleek virtual brochure) and the resort promises extraordinary skiing, excellent fly fishing, a challenging Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course (with new Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf), white water rafting and watersports on the nearby rivers and Lake Cascade. To quote the daring duo:

Time together with family is one of the most treasured things in our lives. We value the days we spend together and the quality of the moments we share. We have discovered a location in the heart of central Idaho that creates the perfect backdrop for exceptional experiences and precious memories. Tamarack Resort, with its all-season landscape, provides families like ours an active outdoor lifestyle and a chance to appreciate its surrounding beauty. Fairmont Tamarack is our opportunity to share this extraordinary experience with you.

This "outdoor enthusiast's dream" is scheduled to open in 2008.


Amangani in Winter: The Ultimate Ski Experience, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

October 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amangani

Start making plans now for the coming ski season. The ultra-luxurious Amangani is the place to be, ranked among the top après-ski destinations in the world and also consistently voted the nation's best spa by readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Set atop East Gros Ventre Butte, Amangani offers panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks around Grand Teton National Park. This is one of America's last true wilderness refuges, and guests can view the magnificent wildlife—elk, bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer and the occasional moose seek the sanctuary of the National Elk Refuge when snow blankets the higher altitudes—by cross-country skis or snowshoes. Jackson Hole's Rendezvous and Apres Vous mountains offer a host of excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Amangani's private Ski Lounge is conveniently located below Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Bridger Gondola at the base of Rendezvous mountain, a quick 20-minute complimentary transfer from the resort. The Ski Lounge is staffed with a ski valet to assist with rentals and other details, and provides boot and glove warmers, ski racks, baskets for ski gloves, mittens and goggles to ensure that all equipment stays dry and comfortable. Soak up the warm après-ski ambience back at Amangani, sipping a hot toddy, mulled wine or ginger tea by the large fireplaces while gazing out the two-storey window wall at the Snake River range. And of course the award-winning spa is a welcome retreat after a day on the slopes, featuring slate-lined steam rooms, luxurious spa treatments, and the stunning 35-meter open-air pool, warm enough to be enjoyed all year round.


Highlights from the Launch of ForbesTraveler.com: The Little Nell, Aspen

September 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Little Nell

Forbes has unveiled a brand, spanking new luxury travel site-- dedicated to distinctive travel experiences for the discerning traveler. Forbes has long had its finger on the pulse of luxury travel trends, so the stand-alone site is a welcome addition to its portfolio. The folks at ForbesTraveler are scheming all sorts of unique content, including destination guides and specialized focus on luxury hotels (that's what we like to hear). The first edition shares a local insider's guide to Aspen, with tips including the following rec. for private jets:

A great trip to Aspen starts on the runway. It's been said that in an average year 10 percent of all the private jets in America land in Aspen, but not all charter outfits are equal. One good choice is Aspen Executive Air (also known as AEXJet), which knows the ins and outs of Sardy Field. Prices range from $2,200 per hour of flight time for a light jet to $10,000 per hour for something big enough to make an impression over cocktails at the Little Nell.

Of course the place to stay in Aspen is The Little Nell, where the legendary après-ski scene is hotter than ever (indulge with fondue or fresh seafood at the bar or thaw by a roaring fire in the Living Room). Just steps from the Silver Queen gondola, The Little Nell is the only five-star/five-diamond hotel in town. Rooms are lavish, and the heated outdoor swimming pool, facing Aspen Mountain, divine.