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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.

Announcing the Fern Tree Spa at Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

June 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon

This summer, the award-winning Half Moon resort will begun work on a new $4 million spa facility. The resort's signature villa, Fern Tree House, will be converted into a 68,000 sq ft sanctuary to debut in early 2007. The colonial styled treatment rooms will be set within lush gardens, and the ultra-private couples massage room will include a private dipping pool. The extensive treatment menu will draw from Jamaica's ancient healing remedies and will incorporate native herbs, fruits and botanicals.

The Fern Tree Spa Complex will also house a spa cottage (for families and wedding parties), relaxation lounge, yoga pavilion, hydrotherapy swimming pool, sculpture garden, and six beachfront spa suites. These signature suites, located adjacent to the Spa, will provide all of the traditional hotel amenities along with added spa features, including oversized bathrooms, private patio with outdoor soaking tub and shower overlooking the Caribbean, personal studio for yoga and en-suite treatments, and organic refreshment bar.

The Fern Tree Spa is the third in a series of major refurbishing projects to be undertaken by Half Moon in last five years. Other upgrades included the rebuilding of the resort's beachfront Hibiscus Suites, adding a children's play area, the renovation of the 41-year old Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed golf course, and refurbishing of the Oleander deluxe suites.

Via Travel Weekly


The New Spa Suites at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico

June 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Las Ventanas

The resort and its spa have been acclaimed worldwide as the premier five-star experience in North America. And now Las Ventanas brings its clients a fundamentally new way to experience a resort spa, with is three new Spa Suites that offer a self-contained "total spa lifestyle" within the privacy of your own ultra-lavish suite.

These suites feature a dedicated Spa Butler who coordinates your personalized spa program, a state-of-the-art, in-suite treatment room, and a spa ambiance that includes organic mini-bar, magnetic mattresses, infrared sauna, Infinity-edge Jacuzzi (with a breathtaking view over the Sea of Cortez), and iSqueeze Reflexology Boots for daily foot massages. The 3,893 sq. foot suites offer two full bedroom suites (master and guest) with full baths, oversize jet tubs, living room, full kitchen, two patios, adobe fireplaces, and telescopes for whale-watching.

The individualized spa activity program-- built around health, fitness, nutrition, and beauty-- is results-oriented, with multi-faceted activities (bodywork, meditation, nutrition, facials, herbal remedies, swimming, saunas, etc.) Starting at Las Ventanas, guests achieve measured results, and then continue an at-home program for a lasting lifetime impact.

Rates for Spa Suite Programs start at $13,425 for a four-night program for two.


Join the Quest for the Kermode Bear Experience: King Pacific Lodge, British Columbia

June 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

King Pacific Lodge

Black bear sightings, excellent King Salmon fishing, kayaking through fjords with orca and dolphin-viewings, heavenly spa treatments, extraordinary outdoor adventures… The season has begun at King Pacific Lodge, a luxurious haven in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Named the world's # 1 Wilderness Lodge by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, King Pacific Lodge is located on Princess Royal Island in British Columbia, and offers an unparalleled, exclusive wilderness experience. A Rosewood Resort, the King Pacific Lodge is the essence of luxury, its seventeen oversized accommodations showcasing sumptuous down duvets, window-side seating areas that overlook spectacular views of the landscape, and slate-lined bathrooms with deep soaker-tubs. A peaceful and unspoiled getaway in the midst of nature's rugged marvels. The Lodge is now promoting a special offer, to celebrate the recent creation of the Great Bear Rainforest protected area (and the Spirit Bear being named BC's official animal). Guests booking a stay at the lodge in September will receive a one-day complimentary bear-viewing eco-adventure.


What’s New for The Tides South Beach

June 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Tides South Beach The Kor Hotel Group has big plans for this chic oceanfront boutique. Kor purchased "The Diva of Ocean Drive" in January, and recently announced a $7 million makeover for the sophisticated Art Deco landmark. The refurbishment will take place during the low-season (when the hurricane threat keeps most travelers at bay) from July to September. The redo is all cosmetic-- guest rooms, public spaces, the pool and front terrace--led by famed interior designer Kelly Wearstler, known for her design of the Bergdorf Goodman Restaurant in NYC and the Hard Rock High Roller Suite in Las Vegas. The hotel's sleek and spacious suites, each with ocean views, are a huge draw for the celebrities who flock here. (Along with the three penthouse suites with private sundecks and Jacuzzis.) The planned makeover will no doubt enhance these cutting-edge interiors, while preserving the historical Art Deco exterior so cherished by the city and its visitors. Via TravelWeekly


Escape World Cup Madness with SLH Member Hotels

June 15, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Courtney W. May and Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Chateau St Gerlach

Now that the World Cup is officially underway in Germany (my bracket has the Czech Republic walking away with it all - even though I am a huge US fan), some travelers might be looking for alternatives to dealing with the crazed soccer fans who have descended on Germany this summer. Personally, I can't imagine not wanting to be in the thick of things, but if you're one of those looking to go away during June, SLH has the following promotion "7 : 0 for Small Luxury Hotels: Best Escapes from the Soccer World Championship".

With World Cup madness hitting Germany and much of Western Europe, here are seven ways to visit the region and escape to a world of private luxury and ultimate experiences.

Wild Water Rafting in the Austrian alps: Around Kitzbuhel numerous river routes through spectacular mountain gorges are available for wild water rafting excursions, which the Hotel Tennerhof (www.slh.com/tennerhof) can arrange for its guests. A more tranquil alternative exclusiv for hotel guests: Fishing at a lake nearby where the Tennerhof holds private fishing rights.

Falconry in baroque gardens: As stylish as the ambiance of the castle hotel Chateau St. Gerlach (Netherlands) are the leisure activities of this SLH hotel: Golf, Horse-Riding, Tennis and falconry are on offer in the hotel's baroque gardens and in the wonderful nature of the Geul valley. (pictured)

Clay Pigeon shooting high above Mozart town: Salzburg lies afoot the Vitalhotel Kobenzl. On the Gaisberg mountain, high above the city, which celebrates this year Mozart's 250th anniversary, the Hotel offers attractive sporting alternatives: Clay Pigeon shooting, fishing, mountain hiking and biking as well as sailing, tennis and croquet.

Hot Air Balooning in the Black Forest: The Hotel Belle Epoque (www.slh.com/belleepoque), a neo renaissance villa from 1870, arranges sightseeing flights from Baden-Baden into the wonderful nature of the Black Forrest.

Archery in nature's paradise: Golf, Horse-riding, archery, mountain climbing and many more activities offers the Hoteldorf Gruner Baum (www.slh.com/grunerbaum) in the spectacular mountain world of Gastein. The main building of the hotel was built 1831 as hunting lodge for Duke Johann. Besides the countless leisure activities of the hotel the surroundings tempt visitors with romantic castles, dripstone caves and the national parc Hohentauern.

Formula 1 at the Hotel die Hirschgasse: The hotel offers a Formel 1-Package, which includes a three nights stay in a suite with jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet and a bottle of champagne at arrival. Tickets and transfer to the Grand Prix at Hockenheimring can be arranged by the concierge. The package is available from 27 to 30. July 2006 and costs 1.300 Euro per room. www.slh.com/diehirschgasse

Arlberg from a bird's eye view: Many guests of the SLH Hotel Kristiania Lech in Austria (www.slh.com/kistiania) arrive by helicopter and enjoy a bird's eye view of the wonderful alpine nature: only 300 metres from the hotel, guests can also find a paragliding field .

View more Small Luxury Hotels with Five Star Alliance.


Think Caribbean for Winter 2007: Jungle Bay Resort and Spa, Dominica

June 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jungle Bay

The lush, forested Caribbean isle of Dominica is a nature lover's delight, with miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, gorgeous beaches where whales can be spotted off-shore, and hot springs and glorious waterfalls amidst the rainforest. In this tropical paradise, the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa is a peaceful and luxurious retreat. With yoga studios, beachfront bar, gorgeous Spa, and Atlantic-facing restaurants, this resort could be heaven on earth. The 35 tropical hardwood cottages are nestled within the jungle, accessed by a series of graceful footpaths, and feature balconies and private outdoor showers. At night, fall asleep to the peaceful sounds of the spring fed stream in the forest below, or the Atlantic waves crashing into the soft sandy shore. Dining is an experience to remember, with delicious and fresh Caribbean specialities served in an outdoor Pavilion overlooking the stone pool and ocean.


‘Man’cations at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

June 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Chicago

Could it be the hottest new trend in travel? The new romantic comedy from Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Aniston, The Break Up, introduces the term 'Man'cations (Vince is at it again, in a role where he champions hanging out with the boys), and now Fairmont has put together some neat and unique ways for the guys to get together on 'Man'cations across North America. The Fairmont Chicago partners with wine and spirits producer Brown-Forman to bring the gents the ultimate Chitown 'Man'cation. The package includes a Woodford reserve whiskey tasting led by master distiller, Chris Morris, a three-course steak dinner with wine pairings by Brown-Forman, and a post-dinner cocktail seminar led by Brown Forman's CEO Tim Laird. Starting July 28, priced at $150 for seminars, dinner, alcohol, and overnight accommodations starting at $249 with a special "hair-of-the-dog" turndown amenity. Or get the crew together for some spa pampering at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. The Speed Meets Spa package caters to both the need for speed and the desire for pampering. With this package, guests receive enrollment at the ESPN Russell Racing School's introductory three day driving course at Infineon Raceway, three nights accommodation, dinner for two at the Inn's handsome fine-dining restaurant, two 50-minute spa treatments, tasting for two at the Gloria Ferrer winery and a bottle of Sonoma Sparkling Wine upon arrival. Available until December 30, 2006, rates start at $3,595 for the entire three-night stay, based on double occupancy.


Get the Royal Treatment in Tuscany: L’Andana Hotel and Restaurant

June 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

L'Andana Hotel

Once owned by Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, this spectacular villa was transformed from an agricultural estate into an exquisite country inn and restaurant by legendary celebrity chef Alain Ducasse. Set within olive groves and vineyards, L'Andana Hotel is situated on a 500-hectare estate where gourmet olive oil and divine wine are produced for expectant foodies. The 33 guestrooms are beautifully appointed with views over the surrounding Tuscan countryside, and the suites boast fireplaces. The restaurant, as expected of Alain Ducasse, is excellent. There are recreational activities aplenty: cooking courses, horseback riding, tennis, heated swimming pool, guided tours, mountain biking, and (coming soon) golf. And the newly opened spa is a food-inspired dream, featuring ingredients from the kitchen garden such as olives, lavender, grapes, sunflowers and herbs. Enjoy relaxing treatments overlooking the vineyards and outdoor marble pool.


Green and Groovy: The g Hotel in Galway, Ireland

June 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The g Galway

In the energetic arts capital of Ireland, The g is the height of hip. Let's start with the reception area. Black glass walls frame a tank of seahorses. Philip Treacy-designed concierge wall is covered in white Venetian plaster to look like a seashell. Next stop: the lounges on the ground floor, connected by the signature red carpeted corridor. Golden doorways mark the entrances to the Pink Salon, Grand Salon, and Blue Lounge. Over-the-top or fashionably contemporary? The hotel likens it to "walking through a glamorous dolls house." Moving on to the guestrooms. Extremely original and stylish, the decorative details (wallpaper, lighting, art, and flooring) were inspired by the landscapes of the countryside surrounding Galway. Of course in these sensual spaces, the technology and amenities are cutting edge and sophisticated. The restaurant (serving Italian cuisine) and cocktail bar are likewise decadent and glamorous. But amongst all this theater, the ESpa is certainly the hotel's highlight. Located in the top two floors of the hotel, the spa features four beauty suites, rock sauna, steam room, relaxation room with Japanese garden, and an ice fountain. The architectural design is stunning, with stone, wood, linen and glass blended in luxurious harmony. Extensive treatment list available.


Sybarites in Italy: The Best Views in Venice at the Bauer Il Palazzo Hotel

June 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bauer Il Palazzo

When in Venice, do like the locals (or visiting celebs) and head to the outdoor terrace at the 18th century Bauer Il Palazzo hotel. It's extraordinary. The cleverly named Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven) is a rooftop lounge on the 7th floor, with spectacular panoramic views over the city and lagoon. Here, breakfast is served exclusively for lucky guests, and the entire terrace and rooftop jacuzzi are available to rent for private functions. The hotel has the best spot in the floating city after all, in St. Mark's Basin, with its own private dock on the Grand Canal. In the heart of Venice, the Bauer Il Palazzo is an intimate boutique hotel with a stunning Gothic facade and opulent Venetian aura. The guestrooms likewise boast impressive views of the best of Venice. Many of the 44 luxurious rooms and 38 suites--lavishly appointed with fine furniture, fabrics, and Murano glass chandeliers-- offer balconies and terraces overlooking the beautiful city of canals. (Never mind that it's sinking.)