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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.

Presidential July 4th River Cruise with the Willard InterContinental


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Willard InterContinentalThis July 4th set sail with the Willard InterContinental on the USS Sequoia Presidential Yacht for a Fireworks Cruise on the historic Potomac River in Washington, DC. The luxury Willard Hotel is offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the national fireworks with the "Presidential Extravaganza Fireworks Cruise package". Along with the USS Sequoia cruise (featuring excellent views of the fireworks display), guests enjoy a pre-cruise cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception in a luxury Willard Hotel suite; Red Carpet hotel departure, Transportation to and from the Sequoia Yacht; Onboard gourmet buffet, open bar and champagne, music and dancing, Valet parking, Overnight in deluxe accommodation at the Willard InterContinental Washington (or transferable certificate for a one night stay valid for one year) with breakfast and parking, plus a keepsake gift.

The cost? $1890 per couple. But don't wait too long to make your reservations, the 104-foot, 100-ton wooden, teak-paneled Sequoia only accommodates 50 guests total.


Good and Bad News for Montage Resort, Laguna Beach, California


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Montage Resort First: the good news. The prestigious Mobil Travel guide has unveiled its fourth annual ratings of North America's top hotel and resort spas and Montage tops the list, along with the Mandarin Oriental, New York, as the only Mobil Five-Star winners. After all, this super-luxury resort has a serious wow-factor. Perched on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific in South Laguna, Montage = oceanfront opulence. Surrounded by three pools, white sand beaches and lush landscaping, the spa is as elegant as they come. Now, the bad news. On Sunday, a couple was shot dead in their resort bungalow after a confrontation with the police. Details are still emerging.

Related Articles:

Laguna Beach Montage Resort: Surrender Spa Package for Men


Dining in San Francisco: Michael Mina at Westin St. Francis


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Michael Mina High-end restaurants in SF abound. But Michael Mina's namesake restaurant, housed in the landmark Westin St. Francis on Union Square, genuinely dazzles serious SF diners with create-your-own prix fixe three-course dinners centered around fresh seasonal ingredients. Offerings are unique and extravagant. Plus, the wine list includes 2,200 wines from all over the world. Awarded two Michelin stars, Michael Mina continues to get lots of hype. Executive Chef Michael Mina was named Bon Appetit Chef of the Year 2005-2006, San Francisco Magazine Chef of the Year 2005-2006, as well as Restaurateur of the Year 2005-2006 by the International Food and Beverage Forum.

Related Articles:

Gridskipper, Weirdest Menus in San Francisco

The Lobby, San Francisco History at the Westin St. Francis

SFist, Gastronomique: Thomas Keller Kicks Alice Waters's Michelin Ass!*


Mansion on Forsyth Park: Southern Comfort in Savannah, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Mansion on Forsyth Park Plan a spring escape to the magical city of Savannah and experience the ultimate in Southern hospitality at The Mansion on Forsyth Park. Housed in a restored Victorian mansion in the heart of the historic district, the hotel is magnificent: onyx marble lobby, opulent furnishings, graced by the collection of over 400 pieces of original artwork. Rooms are likewise swoon-worthy, appointed with sumptuous fabrics and all of the technological conveniences expected by the 21st century traveler. Relax at the spa and indulge in the celebrated cuisine at the hotel's restaurant. Or try your hand at preparing your own tasty meals at the hotel's 700 Kitchen Cooking School, where hands-on classes are overseen by Chef Darin Sehnert, Culinary Director. (You can even arrange a private party or special event at the cooking school.) Hone your culinary skills and learn new flavorful recipes with the two-night Culinary Getaway Package at The Mansion on Forsyth Park. Sherman's Travel Magazine recommends the package as a real deal. Priced from $437 per night, the package has extras which are worth $300 alone. Includes two nights in a Premium King room, one culinary class per person at 700 Kitchen Cooking School, gourmet breakfast for two, three-course dinner for two at 700 Drayton restaurant, and complimentary 700 Kitchen aprons.


California Escapes: Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Huntington Sunshine seekers, botanists, landscape lovers: pay heed. The LA Times Daily Deal Blog has highlighted an excellent getaway for visitors to SoCal. Discover the rugged beauty of the spectacular Desert Garden at Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. Celebrating its 100th birthday, the Desert Garden showcases magnificent cacti and rare specimens, some of which are no longer found in the wild. Shack up at Pasadena's landmark hotel, the splendid turn-of-the-century Ritz-Carlton Huntington, and take advantage of the Ritz-Carlton Cultural Escape Package, starting at $305. Available through December 28, 2007, the package includes accommodations for one night, breakfast for two on the Terrace, complimentary valet parking, and tickets to either the Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens or the Norton Simon Museum.


Special Offers in Hawaii: Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Lodge at Koele As if you needed an excuse to plan an escape to Hawaii. Four Seasons Lodge at Koele has announced a spectacular special: Get a fourth night free when booking three consecutive nights until December 19, 2007. Luxuriate in style at this opulent outpost surrounded by gardens and reflecting pools, ancient pines bordering expansive greens, and a magical orchid greenhouse. Hidden within the central highlands on Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele is the place to be to savor Hawaii's natural beauty. In addition to the spectacular golf courses, pool, and in-room spa services, the resort offers a slew of activities-- from archery to horseback riding. Rooms start at $295 per night.

Related Articles:

Fodor's, "Luxury for Less: 4 Nights for 3 Special on Lanai"

Vagablond, "Luau For Less: Four Seasons Lana'i Lodge at Koele"


The Grand Bar and Lounge at the Soho Grand: Hot Hotel Bars in New York


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Bar at Soho Grand Hotel Has the Grand Bar kept its cool? The Soho Grand opened in 1996 (the first hotel to go up in stylish Soho in over a century) and its glamorous lounge took off as the hip place to be. It appears that this joint still epitomizes all that is trendy in Manhattan's downtown. Amber-hued lighting, copper tables, plush chairs, creative bar drinks, and oversized windows overlooking West Broadway. And indeed, it seems the Grand Bar and Lounge is the hot spot where celebs are both getting it on, and breaking things off.

Photo Via Yahoo Travel


Westin Chantilly Hotel: Luxury Addition at Washington Dulles Airport


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Washington Dulles For frequent travelers to Washington's lovely Dulles airport (will they finish the construction already?!), there's good news on the horizon. The DC suburbs-- aka "Virginia's high-tech corridor"-- are growing a mile-a-minute. Starwood's announcement yesterday is part of this incredible regional development. The new luxury hotel on the block will be the Westin Chantilly, a 211-room hotel to be built within the Commonwealth Centre development about three miles from Dulles. Outfitted with Westin's signature services and amenities (including the brand's Heavenly Bed and Bath), the new hotel will be open in Spring 2009. Guests can look forward to the "Westin signature sensory welcome"-- white tea scent and mood music, anyone?-- along with Unwind: A Westin Evening Ritual. (Looks like Westin's even branded their happy hour cocktails.)

Photo Via DCist


Golfing Gals Boot Camp at Kiawah Island, South Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kiawah Island Get your game on at Kiawah, selected as the "Best Golf Resort in the US" by Travel and Leisure Golf. (The awards list isn't exactly short.) Golfers flock to Kiawah for unmatched play on the five championship courses designed by Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Gary Player and Clyde Johnston. The world-famous Ocean Course-- ranked third in the "Top 100 You Can Play" by Golf Magazine-- recently got a $4 million makeover. Plan a girl's getaway and enjoy some of the best golf in the world as well as the beautiful beach, fantastic spa, shopping and natural beauty that has made Kiawah such a sought-after destination. The two-night Golfing Gals Bootcamp is designed for two people and includes ocean-view accommodations, champagne and chocolate covered berries on arrival, daily breakfast, dinner at Jasmine Porch, round of golf (not the Ocean course), half day golf school, nine holes of on-course instruction (for three people), and two Kiawah visors. Kiawah's team of instructors will cater the package to suit every skill level-- from beginners to pros looking to refine their game.


Dine Above Big Sur, California at Sierra Mar, Post Ranch Inn


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Post Ranch Inn How do we love Sierra Mar restaurant? Let me count the ways. Awe-inspiring views of the California coast above the craggy cliffs of Big Sur. The innovative prix fixe menu with four courses of heavenly, seasonal fare. 4,000-label wine list. All glass dining room, all the better to contemplate that amazing seascape. Located at the numero uno hotel in Cali-- according to Travel and Leisure's Top 500 (January 2007)-- the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant offers one of the most memorable dining experiences on the West Coast.

Please note: Until July 30, 2007, Post Ranch Inn's superb restaurant has moved to a custom designed Rancho Sierra Mar building next to the swimming pool while the original kitchen is remodeled. Guests can expect the same incredible grub, while enjoying a special private exhibit of eight large-scale powerful sepia toned photographs by Canadian born artist Gregory Colbert.