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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.

Romantic Getaway Package at Banyan Tree Bangkok


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Bangkok Spa

Voted to the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List of the World's Best Places to Stay, Banyan Tree Bangkok is located in the heart of the bustling commercial center of the city. With easy access to the shopping and entertainment access of Silom road, the all-suite Banyan Tree Bangkok is a rejuvenating sanctuary away from it all. Dining is a treat, both for the tasty gourmet meals and the superb views over the city. These fine dining establishments are the highest in the city (Vertigo Grill is on the 61st flooor!) The Spa--a heavenly oasis with the service and quality of treatments to be expected at Banyan Tree--is likewise situated high above the city: a whopping 54 floors above Bangkok. For the ultimate luxury, reserve the Presidential Suite (the preferred choice of presidents and business leaders), which consists of a two-storey glass dome with spectacular city views, and a loft style bedroom. The Spa Suites are similarly lavish, with their own private treatment rooms, and your choice of bath salts, scrubs, essential oils, and incense.

Splurge on a romantic getaway to Bangkok: immerse the senses with the incredible cultural stimuli of the city, and then retreat to your private urban oasis at the Banyan Tree where you can indulge in sumptuous spa treatments. The Romance in Bangkok Package includes: daily continental breakfast for two persons, one romantic dinner per stay at Bai Yun or Saffron restaurant, choice of one 2-hour 'Rejuvenation' or 'Renewal' spa treatment per person per stay, one 'Intimate Moments' suite decoration including one bottle of wine per stay, Banyan Tree Gallery gift, 10 percent discount at Bai Yun, Saffron and Rom Sai restaurant, and return transfer by Mercedes Benz limousine from the airport to the hotel. Starting at $305 per night. Valid until December 31, 2006. Minimum three night stay.


Babymoons at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

The award-winning Chicago hotel caters to expectant couples who seek a weekend of pampering, and a few days of revelry as a couple, before the baby's arrival. Babymoons are all the rage these days; USA Today reports that 60 percent of new parents opt for a babymoon these days. And at Four Seasons Chicago, they do it right, with the ultimate in lux accommodations and lots of fun amenities. Here's the scoop on the Expecting You Package: includes plush accommodations (with sweeping views of the city and Lake Michigan and body contour pillows to keep comfortable the mother-to-be), a copy of the book "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" with a book light for late night reading, complimentary manicure from the Spa when booking a pregnancy massage, complimentary "Toast to Fatherhood" in Seasons Bar for the dads-to-be, complimentary Midwest breakfast from Room Service or in the Cafe, complimentary visit from The Ice Cream Man, and special savings from premier shopping partners (for example, receive a complimentary bassinet at Neiman Marcus with any $200 purchase in Layette clothing). Rates begin at $480 per night.


Golf at Pebble Beach, California: The Inn at Spanish Bay


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Inn at Spanish Bay

Jack Nicklaus raved about the award-winning course: "If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach. I've loved this course from the first time I saw it. It's possibly the best in the world." Ranked the number 1 golf resort by Golf Digest Magazine, Pebble Beach offers four unique courses of breathtaking beauty, including the Scottish links-style Links at Spanish Bay. Perched dramatically on the Pacific coastline, nestled within groves of tall Monterey pines, The Inn at Spanish Bay offers more than just world-class golf. The 269 luxurious rooms and suites feature a private patio or balcony view over the Monterey Peninsula, along with a cozy fireplace. Outstanding facilities include The Spanish Bay Club, Oceanside Beach and Tennis Club, outdoor pools and Jacuzzi, and full-service spa and salon.


A Recipe for Romance: The Cook Together Package at The Lodge at Sea Island, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Lodge at Sea Island

How's this for a romantic retreat: a weekend at the legendary Lodge at Sea Island devoted to cooking classes and culinary delights (of course there's superb golf and relaxing spa treatments, too!) The award-winning resort-- rated number one small hotel and number 1 for top dining in the 2006 Zagat survey top US hotels, AAA five-diamond award, Mobil five-star award three years in a row-- pampers its guests with genuine Georgia hospitality and unparalleled personal service. This summer, The Lodge at Sea Island has plans for great food, fine wine and good times with its weekend Cook Together Package. The package includes luxury accommodations for the weekend, private reception and dinner with Chef Johannes Klapdohr in The Lodge Wine Cellar, Cooking School with lunch prepared by the participants, "How To's" of wine tasting with Lodge sommelier Jane Rate, and monogrammed Chef's jackets. The July Cooking School Themes are Grilling and Smoking, including barbecue shrimp and fallen'-off-the- bone baby back ribs, on July 8-9, and Summer Soups and Salads, featuring heirloom fruits and vegetables, on July 21-22. From August 2-5, the theme is Grilling and Smoking. And on August 18-19, the class focuses on Tailgating Octoberfest Style, with lessons on cooking schnitzels, sourbraten, spatzle and more. Cook Together Package starts at $825 per room per night, with a two-night minimum stay required.


Family Vacation in Las Vegas at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas

Just 17 miles from the Vegas strip, the AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas is close enough to enjoy all that Vegas has to offer, and yet far enough away to experience the beautiful seclusion of the Nevada desert and surrounding mountains. The Tuscan-inspired lakeside resort has a breathtaking setting; its 349 guestrooms enjoy panoramic views of the high-desert mountains. The facilities are in a category all their own: 36 holes of championship golf designed by Nicklaus and Weiskopf, the award-winning spa and fitness center (one of the top in the country), beach and lake sports, indoor and outdoor dining, heated outdoor pool, lakeside entertainment and concerts, excellent kid's program and activities. This is the ultimate family retreat, with something to please the whole family. From now until September 4, 2006, the luxurious resort is offering an unbeatable Vegas Family Vacation Package. Starting at $249 a night, the package includes complimentary breakfast and lunch for kids under 12, 50 percent spa savings for parents, and a fourth night free of charge. (Kids under 12 can share a room with their parents with no extra cost.)


Move Over Ritz-Carlton: Hilton Plans a Waldorf Astoria for Orlando


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will be the first new property under the Waldorf-Astoria Collection Brand. Hilton announced the new brand as a strategy to increase its share of the profitable luxury hotel market. The new luxury line includes the original Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The 500-room Orlando hotel will be part of a development including a 1,000-room Hilton, located next to the Walt Disney World Resort. Slated for a summer 2009 opening, the Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will feature many of the restaurants and bars as the Manhattan original: Peacock Alley, The Bull and Bear, Sir Harry's Bar, and Oscar's. Combined with the new Hilton, the two hotels will share a 25,000 sq ft spa, 145,000 sq ft of meeting and event space, and a golf course designed by Rees Jones. Via TravelWeekly


Fairmont to Manage St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa, Scotland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Andrews Bay

Starting July 1, 2006, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is slated to take over management of Scotland's destination golf resort. The 209-room resort has a spectacular location in the renowned "home of golf," just two miles from the medieval town of St. Andrews and the acclaimed Old Course, and surrounded by 10 golf courses in the vicinity. Overlooking the River Tay estuary and the North Sea, the hotel and its two clifftop championship courses—The Torrance and The Devlin—boast panoramic views. St. Andrews Bay Golf Resort also features five dining outlets, a 3,500 sq ft spa and health club, and excellent conference facilities. The new management anticipates a GBP 10 million refurbishment, which will renovate the existing facilities over a few years time.


Experience the Wild Beauty of Vancouver Island in Style: The Wickaninnish Inn


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wickaninnish Inn

Situated on Vancouver Island's rugged western shore, the Wickaninnish Inn is a prestigious getaway, an exclusive Relais and Chateaux property voted "One of the Top Ten Hotels in North America" by Travel and Leisure readers. Just minutes from the picturesque town of Tofino, the Inn is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific, nearby islands, and Chesterman Beach, not far from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Clayoquot Sound. From your guestroom's private balcony, take in the panoramic views, and fall asleep in luxury each evening, listening to the sounds of the surf. Indulge in a massage at the Ancient Cedars Spa, delight in a delicious meal at the award-winning Pointe Restaurant, and savor the countless recreational activities to discover the region's heartstopping beauty: explore the wide sandy beaches, go fishing or whale-watching, kayak or canoe the waterways, or hike through the old-growth forests.


Dole Food Company to Open California Wellbeing Institute and Four Seasons Westlake Village, California


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Westlake Village

In the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, adjacent to its world headquarters, Dole Food Co. has completed a $250 million project in Westlake Village that includes a 270-room Four Seasons Hotel, state-of-the-art wellness center, and 58,000 sq-ft spa and fitness center. Located just 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the landmark complex sprawls over 20 acres of waterfalls, rose gardens, and bamboo groves. This destination is all about health and well-being: the Four Seasons offers a tranquil spa retreat and the wellness center pioneers cutting-edge systems to improve quality of life with focuses on food and nutrition, fitness, recreation and emotional health. There is also a Health and Longevity Institute staffed with physicians and boasting excellent medical services and facilities. And lastly, there is a TV production facility that will be used to develop "food network" cable TV programs, instructing people about eating well and living healthier lives. Dole is playing a leading role in educating its consumers on these important health issues.

At the Four Seasons, enjoy a treatment in a private spa suite, enroll in a lifestyle program at the California Wellbeing Institute, or relax by the pool. After a healthy sushi dinner, retreat to your luxurious, and generously sized guest room, overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains. Other features of the hotel include more than 40,000 square feet of function space, including conference center with eight meeting rooms, grand ballroom (capacity of 350 guests), and business center.


Family Fun in the Sun at Esencia, Playa del Carmen, Mexico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Esencia The newest chic spot on Mexico's Riviera Maya, Esencia is a small boutique hotel which was once the home of a European duchess. Located on one of the best white sand beaches on the Yucatan, Esencia has been recognized for its elegant cuisine, personalized butler service and modern amenities. The 29 rooms and suites offer exquisite views, private gardens and pools, and in-room bathtubs. The luxurious Aroma Spa prides itself on its organic focus, with plant extracts and botanical essences used in the treatments. From now through August, Esencia is offering a five-night "Family Fun in the Sun" package with discounts of more than 30 percent. The package includes a garden suite with plunge pool, daily breakfast and transfers, for two adults and one child under age 12. Starting at $1,725. (Nightly rates usually start at $475) Via Washington Post "What's the Deal?"