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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.

Get Your Own Digs at the Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles: The Fabulous $20 Million Renovations


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel-Air

Ahhh, the Hotel Bel-Air. Discriminating Los Angeles hot spot, Mobil five-star award winner, the most prestigious address in the city, and the embodiment of Hollywood glamour and luxury. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Hotel Bel-Air has recently completed a $20 million, four-year renovation to several public areas and private guest suites. These upgrades include a new technology-equipped boardroom, state of the art equipment in the fitness center, new banquettes on The Restaurant's Terrace, new teak furniture at the pool, and in-room workstations for those workaholics who set up camp in their suites. The most interesting new feature? The customized suites for long-stay guests, who often stay at the hotel for several months of the year, and consider it their home away from home (lucky ducks). Specific examples include The Chalon Suite (150)—with hardwood flooring, custom-painted mural on the ceiling, new lighting, different color scheme for the bedding, drapery and upholstery, and a wet bar—and the Herb Garden Suite (264)—with reupholstered furniture, a new color scheme for paint, wallpaper and drapery, lighted make-up mirrors in the bathroom, new carpet in the living room, and hardwood flooring in the foyer. Fourteen of these rooms and suites were updated with suggestions by Hotel Bel-Air's long-stay guests.


San Diego Dining: Le Fountainebleau at the Westgate Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Westgate Hotel

French formal dining at its best. The award-winning Le Fountainebleau is a San Diego treasure, its focus on attentive service and artfully conceived menus incorporating fresh seasonal ingredients. The dining room is elegant, full of antiques and beautiful floral arrangements, with a grand piano setting the mood with background music. Named San Diego's most romantic restaurant by the San Diego Reader, the restaurant is also beloved for its Friday night seafood buffet. The Seafood Soiree features over 30 items: a sumptuous display of oysters, caviar, lobster, mussels, gourmet sushi and other favorites. Located in the Westgate Hotel.


Escape to the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, California


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Regis Monarch

Named to Fodor's Top Ten Luxury Resort Spas, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa sits high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. This beautiful resort is a sun-kissed landmark, inspired by the architecture of Tuscany. With its private beach club, world-class spa, oceanfront golf course, and personalized (ever attentive) service, this is the ideal spot for a luxurious escape. For a limited time, stay four nights but only pay for three! If you book three consecutive nights by December 15, 2006, your fourth night is on the house. This offer is available every day of the week.


59th Annual Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maine Lobster

From August 2-6, 2006, Rockland, Maine is transformed into a lively playground of gourmet tents serving delicious Maine seafood (loads of succulent lobster), with lots of entertainment and events. The world's largest lobster cooker is a sight to behold. During last year's Lobster Festival, a whopping twelve tons of lobster were prepared and consumed. (That's over 25,000 lbs, folks!) And if you tire of lobster, stuff yourself with steamed and fried clams, fried Maine shrimp, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels in wine and vegetable sauce, and endless dishes of traditional Maine summer fair food. Other festival highlights include the coronation of the Sea Goddess, Lobster Crate Race (sprint along a string of partially submerged lobster crates before falling into the freezing Atlantic), Cooking Contest, Fine Art Tent (with works by local artists in oil, watercolor, photography, etc.), Craft Tent, and Parade down Rockland's Main Street on August 5th, which draws an audience of over 25,000.


Shopping for all Seasons at the Four Seasons Vancouver


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Vancouver

Four Seasons has got shopping on the brain. Another fabulous shopping package brought to you by the luxury hotelier… The Four Seasons Vancouver has teamed up with Holt Renfrew, Canada's leading fashion specialty department store for men and women, to design the Shopping for all Seasons package, which includes a $100 Holt Renfrew gift card. Rising above the 200 fine shops of Pacific Centre, the hotel boasts a perfect location to check out the hottest looks and trends, with easy access to Holt Renfrew through a private entrance in the hotel lobby. Break for lunch at the Garden Terrace, a favorite city oasis for urbanites, where a delightful informal menu is served to diners amidst a garden of trees, ferns, and flowers. And after you shop til you drop, relax with a cocktail in the elegant Terrace Bar, which features a circular copper-topped bar padded with leather, while silk pendants from Italy (studded with Murano glass beads) are suspended overhead. Starting at CAD 205.


Four Seasons Chicago Celebrates Marshall Field’s, the Chicago Legend


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marshall Field's

Since its opening in downtown Chicago in 1852, Marshall Field's has earned a reputation as one of the premier department stores in the United States. The store is an architectural landmark; its Tiffany Ceiling is the largest glass mosaic of its kind and the Great Clock at the corner of State and Washington streets, over a century old, was painted by American artist Norman Rockwell. Four Seasons Chicago has put together an exclusive shopping experience designed to celebrate the legend of Marshall Field's while pampering its customers. The "Celebrate Marshall Field's" package, an exclusive weekend offer, runs from August 4 - September 4, 2006 and features a variety of amenities and special services including: a specially created and complimentary Frangotini served by the hotel's famed Martini Man, a complimentary manicure with purchase of the Shopper's Foot Indulgence at the Spa, Marshall Field's personal shopper to cater and service your special buying needs, as well as an exclusive gift from Marshall Field's. Starting from $360.


Time is Running Out: Win a Five-Star Stay in Washington DC


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hay Adams Hotel

Just a few more days until one lucky winner is chosen. Enter our luxury hotel Giveaway for a chance to win a two-night stay in a fabulous Junior Suite at the historic Hay-Adams hotel. It's totally free to enter (simply sign up for our free monthly newsletter), and the prize is valued at $2,400. So what are you waiting for? Enter the contest!


Private Napa Wine Tours at the Harvest Inn, St. Helena, California


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Harvest Inn

Situated in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, the Harvest Inn is an intimate luxury retreat in St. Helena, California. Surrounded by rolling vineyards and a distant mountain backdrop, the Inn is an inspiring Napa hideaway amidst lush gardens and winding pathways through redwood groves. Guests enjoy the cottages with handcrafted fireplaces, intricate woodwork, and private terraces with intimate spa tubs. The heated outdoor pools and Jacuzzis are nestled within the gardens. This year, the Harvest Inn has partnered with Magnum Tours to offer guests a unique Napa experience with its Napa Confidential Package, allowing guests access to winemakers in the area's smaller, family-owned wineries. Included in the package are personal wine tasting tours at three such estates, chosen by the guest booking the package, as well as a picnic lunch with one of the winemakers. Additional amenities include one bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Noir wine, Woodhouse Chocolate Truffles, and an arrangement of red roses, two outdoor spa treatments in the Redwood Cove adjacent to the vineyard or in the privacy of the guestroom, and two personalized, monogrammed Harvest Inn robes. The two-night package is priced at $2,269 for Friday and Saturday night stays and $1,799 for Sunday through Thursday night stays.

Via National Geographic Traveler A List


Get the Royal Treatment at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The AAA-Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is nothing short of magnificent. Let me count the ways. Breathtaking surroundings of mountains and sun-splashed desert. A vast network of five swimming pools, including the Sonoran Splash pool with waterslides. A premier tennis facility with seven hard courts and a 6,300-seat capacity Stadium Court. Two 18-hole championship Golf courses, one of which is home to the Annual PGA Tour FBR Open (formerly the Phoenix Open). Award-winning restaurants. And the 44,000 square foot Willow Stream Spa, one of the best in North America. Useful tip: In the Spa's MVP room, men find the quintessential spa escape for guys, with plasma screens with wireless headsets, leather and wood decor, the "Bentley" of multi-tasking massage beds, authentic spa treatment menus that are easy-to-understand, the latest issues of sports magazines and business journals, and even tasty home-baked cookies. After a full day on the Tournament Players Club Stadium Course, treat yourself to a 60-minute Golf Performance Treatment Massage ($169 USD), which targets sore muscles after exercise.


Why Go Now: Charleston, South Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Charleston Golf

The delightful port city of Charleston—brimming with historic charm-- was ranked the fourth best city in the nation by readers of Travel and Leisure magazine. The Golf courses are beloved by readers of Golf Digest magazine. Additionally, Charleston was named a top art destination by American Style Magazine, for its lovely art galleries and exhibits. And come October, Charleston will host the Southern Living Cook-Off 2006, the largest annual cook-off in America, at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, where finalists will prepare their recipes for judges prior to the main event.

Plus, Charleston is home to some of the country's top-ranking hotels, like The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, an oceanside resort celebrated for its incredible natural beauty, championship golf courses and excellent recreational activities, and the stunning Charleston Place, where guests are treated to the finest Southern hospitality in elegant surroundings. (Not to mention the incredibly lavish European-style Spa, with clay tennis court, and a horizon edged swimming pool with retractable glass roof.)