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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.

Soul Sisters in Seattle: Girls Getaway at Hotel Andra


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Andra

Chic, discreet, and utterly fabulous, Hotel Andra is Seattle's premier address for urban luxury. Located on the edge of the trendy Belltown neighborhood, the hotel embraces the vibe of the area: progressive sophistication and style. This is a luxury boutique delight in the epicenter of downtown Seattle. Inspired by the surrounding artist studios and galleries, Hotel Andra is all about design: celebrating the strong elements of the Northwest-- water, woods and stone-- along with Scandinavian design influences. For the ultimate Girls Getaway Weekend, take advantage of the Syster Sjal package (Soul Sisters, don't you know!) Relax in your Andra Suite with two queen beds; refresh with two chilled "Sofias" (a sparkling Blanc de Blanc from the acclaimed Niebaum Coppola Winery); rejuvenate with $100 credit for each of you at Red Salon and Spa; and recharge with breakfast at Lola. Also includes $30 gift card. Priced at $490, available until the end of the year.


Eos Airlines Special Offer: Fly Free With JetBlue


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eos Airlines

Hurry! For a limited time only, when you fly Eos between New York and London, you will receive a free roundtrip ticket anywhere JetBlue flies. Eos is the swanky, all-premium class airline that has everyone talkin.' Passengers are spoiled with a highly personalized level of service, enormous suites (with fully horizontal beds and the most personal space of any commercial airline), curbside escort service through "fast-track" check-in, and complimentary, premium car service upon arrival or departure at London Stansted. Book a roundtrip on Eos by December 22, 2006 (that's tomorrow, folks!) and complete travel by April 30, 2007 and you'll receive 100 JetBlue TrueBlue points-- enough for a free roundtrip anywhere JetBlue flies. (Have your TrueBlue number ready when you make the reservation.)


San Diego Restaurant Week: Three Course Dinner Promotion for $30


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

A.R. Valentien

Foodies rejoice! From Sunday, January 7 through Friday, January 12, 2007, gourmands will delight in San Diego's third annual Restaurant Week, where over 125 restaurants will offer special fixed price, three course dinner menus for just $30 or $40 per person. This is a steal considering the participating restaurants are stars on the county's culinary scene. At award-winning A.R. Valentien, for example, guests can indulge in an exquisite menu including such items as the homemade Charcuterie Plate for starters, followed by the Roasted Vande Rose Pork Loin with Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Apple, Frisee and Toasted Hazelnuts, and the Boca Negra with Mocha Cream to finish. For this weeklong culinary celebration, reservations are highly recommended.


Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort: Last Minute New Year’s Getaways


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Lake Las Vegas

Happy New Loews! Escape to Vegas and ring in the New Year at the new resort we've been drooling over. Surrounded by the magnificent lake and desert landscapes, Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort has got it all-- just 17 miles from the Vegas Strip. Rates are a shockingly low $179 per night with the third night free when you stay three nights or more. For a real splurge, choose the Rockin' the Casbah package: an unforgettable Moroccan-style New Year's Eve celebration. $7,007 gets you:

*One night deluxe lakefront accommodations for four in a signature casbah

*Dinner for four at Marssa, where Master sushi chef Fuji’s unique approach to Asian fusion will certainly wow you

*Transportation to and from the Las Vegas strip in a Hummer limo

*VIP passes to TAO, Las Vegas' premier nightclub

*Hangover breakfast for four in the suite

*50-minute Moulay massage for four people at Spa Moulay

*Late check-out


Festive Ice Cream Pedicures at the Peninsula Beverly Hills


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ice Cream Pedicures at Peninsula Beverly Hills

Dreamin' of ice cream? Indulge in a luxurious Ice Cream Bath Pedicure, now being offered by the Spa at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Create your own personal ice cream sundae formula from the selection of delicious flavors. Select a scoop of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry kiwi, Hawaiian lei, or papaya nectar for the bath bomb-- the flavors are tempting enough to want to eat! Next, enjoy the Sensual Sugar Sherbet Scrub exfoliating lather, available in ice cream flavors. Banish rough heels with a classic ice-cream sandwich and take the pumice stone home with you to guarantee feet look perfect in between pedicures. Then, treat your feet to the luxurious Recovery Wrap in flavors of chocolate, caramel, or marshmallow. Lastly, drench your feet in a selection of toppings infused with Shea Butter and Vitamins A, C, and E during the reflexology-enhanced foot massage. 60 minutes, $130.


The Umstead Hotel to Open in Raleigh, North Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Umstead Hotel

Unparalleled luxury is coming to North Carolina's Triangle area. Located just fifteen minutes from downtown Raleigh (and only six minutes from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport), adjacent to the William B. Umstead State Park, the brand new Umstead Hotel is central to all the attractions in the Triangle. Embracing the natural beauty of the surrounding region, the 150-room hotel is nestled alongside a three-acre lake surrounded by 12 acres of gardens and woodland. The luxurious hotel also expresses a profound appreciation for the arts with its vast collection of original art and sculpture, commissioned by Ann Goodnight. The elegant guestrooms feature 42-inch plasma TVs, pillow-top beds, Rivolta Italian linens, writing desks, wired and wireless Internet access, stocked refrigerators, and marble bathrooms with separate shower and deep soaking tub.

Herons, the signature restaurant, will offer modern American cuisine with a Southern flair; the open kitchen and Chef's Table provide a unique culinary theater experience. Here, it's all about regional, organic ingredients from the agriculturally rich Triangle area. The finest local products are incorporated into time-honored Southern dishes. And the exquisite meals will be complemented by carefully selected wines from the 2,500-bottle wine cellar. The outdoor terrace, flanked by a fireplace, features beautiful views overlooking the butterfly and hummingbird gardens. In addition, there's a heated outdoor pool, 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, fitness studio, and a world-class Spa-- filled with natural light-- complete with 10 treatment rooms, meditation courtyard, sauna, steam room, whirl pools, and relaxation lounges. Get ready for sheer indulgence; the hotel is set to open on January 15, 2007 and is now accepting reservations. Special introductory rates are being offered between the dates of January 15 and March 31, 2007.


Travel Weekly Announces 2006 Readers Choice Award Winners


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Travel Weekly Readers Awards

The 4th annual Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards winners were revealed at a black-tie gala dinner at the luxurious Pierre Hotel in Manhattan on December 14, 2006. Four Seasons rocked the luxury hotel chain category, with Travel Weekly readers awarding it both the best "luxury chain" and the best "upscale chain." Starwood Hotels and Resorts led the rankings for both Europe and South Pacific regional hotel brand of the year. And Mandarin Oriental grabbed top honors for Asia's top hotel chain. (Domestic chain? None other than Marriott managed to snag that award.) The top resort worldwide was awarded to St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora.


LA Happenings: The Modern West, American Landscapes at LACMA


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Georgia O'Keefe, Evening Star

Coming March 4, 2007: The first major exhibition to explore the role of the American West in the development of modernism in the United States. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Modern West will be at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until June 3. View one hundred paintings, watercolors, and photographs from such influential artists as Frederic Remington, Georgia O'Keefe, Jackson Pollack and Ansel Adams. This extraordinary exhibition demonstrates the enormous impact of the Western landscape on American modernism-- a conceit which has long been underestimated.


Announcing The Ivy Hotel, San Diego


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Ivy Hotel

After an $85 million upgrade, The Ivy Hotel will open in February 2007 as a "new luxury urban resort" in San Diego. A member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts, The Ivy is being billed as a "posh, adult playground...focused on luxury, pleasure, and decadent surprises." Located next to the Gaslamp Quarter at 6th Avenue and F Street, the hotel strives for an unique aesthetic, seeking to combine "New York style and chic, Las Vegas vibe and energy and L.A.'s casual elegance." The original building, once the crown jewel of downtown San Diego, has experienced a makeover; the interior spaces are all about contemporary luxury, with the most up-to-date technology. There will be 159 rooms including two presidential suites and one signature suite (boasting two levels and a spiral staircase leading to a private poolside cabana). Other facilities include the 17,000 square foot rooftop with pool, sundeck, and sultry Eden bar, Envy nightclub, Quartier Kitchen fine dining restaurant, and 10,000 square feet of meeting and function space.

Related Articles:

HotelChatter, "The Ivy Hotel Gets Its 'Adult Playground' Ready"

TripAdvisor, The Ivy Hotel


The Best Restaurants in Jackson Hole, Wyoming: GameFish at Snake River Lodge


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

GameFish

In the midst of Wyoming's rugged grandeur, situated slopeside at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Snake River Lodge and Spa exudes informal elegance. Guests enjoy spectacular views of the Gros Ventre Mountain Range, recently-renovated guest rooms, and the 17,000 square foot Avanyu Spa, complete with indoor/outdoor pool, hot tubs, sauna, and treatment rooms. At the hotel's AAA four-diamond award-winning GameFish restaurant, discover distinctive Western cuisine and a comprehensive wine list. GameFish is renowned for its regional specialties like Wyoming Angus steaks, native fish, and grilled and smoked game. Savor the Porcini-dusted Wild Salmon and taste the Wild West.

Recipe for Porcini-dusted Wild Salmon

Florentine Orzo

1 lb orzo pasta

1 lb spinach

6 Roma tomatoes

4 sprigs thyme

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup heavy cream

2 T grated Parmesan

Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Blanch spinach in boiling salted water for 10 seconds and place immediately in ice bath. Drain well and chop finely. Cook orzo in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse and reserve. In a small saucepan, sweat spinach in dash of olive oil. Add cream, reduce by 1/3;

add Parmesan. Just before plating, heat orzo in the cream with chopped spinach; season with salt and pepper.

Balsamic Brown Butter Emulsion

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1 lb unsalted butter

Reduce the balsamic vinegar by half. While vinegar is reducing, brown the butter over high heat until it gives off nutty aroma. When vinegar has reduced, using an immersion blender combine the brown butter to the vinegar in a slow steady stream. Reserve keeping warm.

King Salmon

4 each 7 oz salmon fillets

2 T porcini powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup olive oil

Combine the flour and porcini powder. Season and dredge the salmon in the flour mixture. If porcini powder is not available, grind dried porcinis in a spice grinder to achieve same results. In a large saute pan, heat 2 T of olive oil. Place the salmon in the pan and brown. When one side is browned, flip and place into a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes. (Depends on thickness of fillets and preferred temperature of salmon.) To plate, place equal parts of Florentine orzo on 4 plates, arrange salmon, then spoon balsamic emulsion around the salmon.

Serves 4.