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.

Summer Escape in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains: Keswick Hall, Charlottesville


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Keswick Hall Discover what Thomas Jefferson called Utopia, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Just minutes from Jefferson's historic Monticello in the heart of Virginia hunt country, Keswick Hall is an intimate luxury hotel that recreates the grace and style of the Old World. Overlooking the Arnold Palmer designed golf course, rolling green hills of the Piedmont, and the spectacular mountain ridges in the distance, Keswick Hall's 48 guest rooms are the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, designed with overstuffed ottomans, antique club chairs, beautiful armoires, and beds piled high with comforters and feather pillows. Unwind by the horizon infinity pool and enjoy decadent poolside service. Improve your game on the resort's clay and hard tennis courts, or with private and group instruction. Play a round on the world-class golf course, its lush grounds dotted with beautiful old growth trees. And of course the delights of Charlottesville-- vineyards, elegant antique stores, Jefferson's University of Virginia, and Monticello itself-- abound. Dine at Fossett's Restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase a magnificent panorama, and sample the sumptuous afternoon tea in the Villa Crawford. (In the evenings, relax with a single malt scotch and a fine cigar in this after-dinner gathering place.) With the Summer Escape package, enjoy a welcoming seasonal beverage and cookies upon arrival at Keswick Hall, delight in an award-winning three-course dinner for two, and then wake up with a continental breakfast. Rates start at $415 per night in a Signature Room.


Announcing Baccarat Hotels and Resorts


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Baccarat Joining the likes of Waldorf-Astoria, Bulgari, and Crillon Hotels, Baccarat Hotels and Resorts is the latest luxury hotel brand on the block. Starwood recently announced its latest venture into the foray of five-star hotels, inspired by Baccarat's iconic status with its fine, hand-crafted luxury goods (as the "provider of crystal to kings"). The first for the brand will be the Baccarat Wailea in Hawaii, scheduled to open in 2010 with 193 condominium homes furnished by Baccarat, the ultimate luxury living experience. Of course lobbies will be adorned with those signature Baccarat chandeliers. Other locations will follow in the Caribbean, Europe, and the Far East.

Related Articles:

HotelChatter, PM Linkage: Stay at a Baccarat Hotel in 2010

TravelWeekly, Starwood Capital launches Baccarat Hotels and Resorts brand


Happy July Fourth!


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

July Fourth Wishing you a happy and safe July 4th from all of us at Five Star Alliance and The Informed Traveler.


Celebrate 07/07/07 this Weekend


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

French cuisine Chances are, your calendar is booked for a wedding or two this weekend, as July 7, 2007-- a.k.a., "07/07/07"-- is the luckiest date of the century. Eva Longoria and Tony Parker weren't alone in choosing this day to get hitched; it's the most popular wedding date in history. (There's even a Flickr group devoted to snapping the best 7 shots on 7/7/07!) The wedding industry is bracing itself for the weekend, while the hospitality sector is also going gaga with special packages and promotions, from the "Seven Deadly Sins" to "7 Nights in 7th Heaven," from "Test Your Luck" gambling vacations (Lady Luck is on your side in Sin City!) to "Lucky in Love" romantic escapes. Whatever your destination this weekend, go ahead and indulge. Days like this come once in a lifetime.

P.S. If you miss out on all these decadent festivities, you can still look forward to 08/08/08 next year. Not quite as lucky, but still exciting.


Beach Bargains in Mexico: Fairmont Pierre Marques, Acapulco


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Pierre Marques, Acapulco Go coastal this summer and head south of the border to Acapulco, the oft-overlooked Pacific Coast retreat nestled between the soaring mountains of the Sierra Madre on one side and the crystal blue bay on the other. Book a stay at the premier resort in the area, the Fairmont Pierre Marques, once the private getaway of J. Paul Getty, and enjoy fantastic savings with "Only One Way" summer rates, starting at just $149 through early September. With refreshing infinity pools overlooking the ocean, a state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis, golf, and aquatic sports galore, this landmark hotel offers endless fun in the sun for a real steal. (The hotel's sister property, Fairmont Acapulco Princess, has likewise reduced its summer rates.)


Around the World Culinary Experiences at Viceroy Santa Monica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Viceroy Santa Monica Foodies flock to Whist at Viceroy Santa Monica, ranked in the top hotel restaurants in the U.S. for its fabulous Modern American cuisine. In this stylish hot spot, Executive Chef Warren Schwartz serves up highly addictive bites using fresh local provisions. This summer, Taste of Tuesday transforms Viceroy Santa Monica's famed poolside into a gourmand's mecca; guests can relax by the pool while indulging in tasty treats every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Servers circulate small plates to accompany classy cocktails like the Bartinis-- a low carb/low calorie selection of martinis with flavors like blue raspberry, cranberry cosmo, and dessert key lime. In addition, guests at Viceroy Santa Monica can enjoy "Warren's Culinary Journal," a new menu at Whist showcasing recipes from the globe-trotting Executive Chef that he's collected on his extensive travels. Taste your way around the world without leaving the luxurious comfort of the Viceroy.

Related Articles:

Vagablond, "Viceroy Santa Monica : Posh, Sexy and Star Studded"


Jewel in the Jungle: Tides Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tides Riviera Maya Hidden in the tropical forest on the white sands of the Riviera Maya, the Tides is a 30-villa property that epitomizes barefoot luxury. Located just outside Playa del Carmen, this seaside refuge has been touted as "a sexy, eco-conscious hideaway in the jungle" by Travel and Leisure magazine. Taste the award-winning "Yucatecan Cuisine," take a yoga class overlooking coastal splendor, discover nearby ancient Mayan cities, frolic on the seven miles of white sand beach. Here in paradise, the Tides provides unique services and facilities: Temazcal, the stunning Maya-style sauna right on the beach, a "tropical butler" to deliver iced face towels poolside, and a "dine anywhere, anytime" policy. Leave your cell phones behind (they're not allowed here!) and get ready for some serious relaxation, both in your palapa-roofed villa (decorated with sophisticated simplicity) and the full-service holistic spa. If you book the Barefoot Luxury package, you can enjoy four nights at the Tides Riviera Maya along with a private Mayan cooking class or Tequila and Ceviche tasting. Priced at $2,740, includes a departure amenity.


Hot Eats in Phoenix: Wright’s at Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Arizona Biltmore Sup on the finest traditional American cuisine in a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired atmosphere at the Arizona Biltmore's acclaimed restaurant. The chefs at Wright's use only the best hand-crafted organic ingredients from boutique farms across the country-- goat cheese from Maui, escargot from Oregon, or elk from Wyoming-- with the menu changing weekly to reflect what's in season. It's all about getting back to basics rather than manipulating the food. This philosophy also applies to the service, which is warm and attentive, but not at all stuffy. In addition to the fantastic à la carte menu, Wright's offers diners a tasting menu each evening. Open daily for dinner and Sunday for brunch.


Banyan Tree Resorts Goes Trans Fat Free


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Maldives In the wake of the decision by most major hotel chains to go trans fat free, Banyan Tree has announced its plan to eliminate trans-fat from their larders by August 1, 2007. Loews, Omni, Starwood, even Carnival Cruises have made the verdict on the evils of trans fat (you can educate yourself on the health risks of those nasty hydrogenated fast foods here). It's good to see hotels one upping each other to help their guests achieve healthier lifestyles. Now let's hope green environmental policies (thanks to Fairmont) becomes as big of a fad.


Surf into Relaxation at Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Spa, San Diego


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Coronado Bay Resort Ahhh, summer in San Diego, where the surf's up, the breeze is balmy, and the temperatures are just right. Take the whole family (including your doggie) to Loews Coronado Bay Resort for some fun in the sun. The recreational facilities are remarkable: tennis courts, Sea Spa, fitness center, beach and three outdoor swimming pools, private marina, gondola rides on the nearby canals, bicycling, rollerblading, whatever your little heart desires. Your family's teenage jetsetter will dig the Super Suite Vacation package-- replete with surfing lessons, custom-designed INT surfboard, and two spa treatments in the resort's Teen Spa Room designed by Pottery Barn's PBteen. This taste of the suite life, a perfect blend of sun and surf, goes for $2,000 for a two-night stay. Prior to arrival, your teen can select the color and graphics for the surf board. Loews also offers a Su'ruff Camp, where your doggie can get a surfing lesson with Coronado Surfing Academy at Coronado's Dog Beach. The package also includes a Surf & turf room service meal for your pet, board shorts or a surfing bandana for your pup, and a copy of The Dog's Guide to Surfing.