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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.

Enter Velas Resorts' Photo Contest to Win $25,000 Dream Wedding

October 27, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Velas Riviera MayaHurry, it's the last week for newly-engaged couples to enter the Velas Weddings' contest to win a tantalizing, $25,000 dream wedding at Grand Velas Riviera Maya! All you have to do is submit the story of your creative marriage proposal along with a photo (optional) of your best moment together on the on the Velas Weddings, Xcaret, and Xel-Há Facebook pages. Ten finalists will be chosen by Velas Resorts in a random drawing on November 1st. On November 2nd the 10 finalists will be notified, and public voting will take place from November 2nd - 19th on the Velas Weddings Facebook Page. The winners will be notified on November 20th, 2011. To see the winning couple from this past spring's contest tie the knot in paradise at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, tune in to www.velasresorts.com/grandwedding for live coverage on October 30. .

Curious to hear more about the winning prize? Read on to learn the details about this all-expenses paid beach wedding on Mexico's idyllic Riviera Maya...

The winning couple will enjoy a unique Mayan ceremony at Xel-Ha, known to be one of the most beautiful natural aquariums in the world, followed by a symbolic or legal ceremony complemented with flowers and music at Xcaret eco-archeological park, which showcases Mexico's mystical natural wonders, biodiversity and cultural heritage. The prize package includes four days and three nights in a luxury ocean-front Ambassador Pool Suite, a beach-side cocktail hour, a three-course wedding reception, live music, hair and makeup for the bride, decorations, wedding cake, $250 gift certificate courtesy of Diamonds International, event photography by Humberto Castilla, "Trash the dress" photo session by Dream Art and a Ultrafemme gift certificate. The couple and guests will also enjoy a welcome dinner at the resort's exclusive Piaf restaurant, dolphin swim courtesy of Delphinus, special shopping excursions to Luxury Avenue and nature tours courtesy of Rio Secreto.


Best of the Best: Royal Hideaway Playacar is Best Luxury Coastal Resort of 2011

September 30, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Royal Hideaway Playacar, Mexico

 We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance know better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We'd like to welcome you to our new blog series, Best of the Best, where we’ll be featuring the best and most luxurious resorts in various categories. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards, so you can relax and stop worrying about your upcoming trip, knowing that it truly will be the best of the best.

It’s probably a little out of place to use a gambling metaphor for a coastal resort, but with a name like Royal Hideaway Playacar, it’s hard not to resort [Ed: stop that!] to it when such a shameless pun is on the line: Play your cards right, and you’ll be staying at the Playacar in no time.

Located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the Royal Hideaway lies on the bluest, clearest waters you’ll ever see. The major selling point? The Hideaway has a minimum age of 13, so there won’t be any of those pesky kids running about and distracting you from the pure relaxation of the Mexican coast. The adult-oriented resort boasts a AAA Five Diamond award and boy has it earned it. Sandy tropical beaches accent the colonial Mexican architecture and leafy palm trees that shade you from the tanning sun. And now that fall is upon us, there’s no better time to escape to a place where the changing of the seasons hasn’t brought a slight chill to the air. Take in the warm rays of sunlight on the furnished balcony or terrace that comes with every single room, and avail yourself of world-class spa treatments. So make sure you check out the Best Luxury Coastal Resort of 2011.


Friday Photos: Mayan Riviera Magic at Maroma Resort and Spa

August 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maroma Resort and Spa

 

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more postcard-perfect setting. White, sandy beaches fringed by verdant jungle... And a spectacular coral reef, just offshore in the lapis-blue Caribbean waters, teeming with colorful underwater life. Maroma Resort and Spa, a Yucatan paradise by Orient-Express, is the spot for pure escapism. Indulge with a spa treatment, based on ancient Mayan healing, at the resort's Kinan Spa. (You can even take a class on Stress & Anxiety Reduction or Insomnia Relief.) Tuck into a ceviche and tequila feast on the beach, or experience a wine tasting in the Wine Cellar. After a day snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, or sailing, unwind in your luxurious guest room, appointed with unique handpainted tiles, soft wool rugs, original art and furniture from the resort's own workshops.

Maroma Resort and Spa


Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya Closes for Renovations

June 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental Riviera MayaWhen it opened in 2008 in the Mexican Caribbean paradise south of Cancun, the editors of Travel + Leisure's "It List" described the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya as "one of the year's most anticipated hotel openings." (they had to put their name on two waiting lists to get in). It's a dreamy destination: where the white sandy coastline of the Yucatan peninsula is fringed by tropical jungle, and just offshore lies the second largest coral reef in the world. Eager to go? Hold your horses; the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya is temporarily closed. On the hotel's website, the "closure statement" indicates that the hotel shut its doors "in order to complete necessary improvements to its facilities." They'll announce a re-opening date "in due course."

Need an alternative in the Playa del Carmen area? Five Star Alliance has a bevy of four- and five-star hotels to choose from. (Warning: The photos might inspire some serious travel lust.)