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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.

Did You Know? Fisher Island Hotel And Resort


By: Five Star Alliance

Fisher Island Resort and Spa
Fisher Island was a wedge of land with coconut palms and mangroves that sat in Biscayne Bay. In 1919, Miami Beach founder and developer Carl Fisher bought it from Dana Dorsey, South Florida's first black millionaire. Fisher, when trying to expand the island and build deep-water docks, experienced quite a bit of push back from the County, which delayed his progress. The construction of the Port of Miami served to separate the lush appendage from Miami Beach, creating an entirely distinctive island. In the 1920's, Carl Fisher traded 7-acres of Fisher Island for a yacht from William K. Vanderbilt II.

In 1936,  Vanderbilt began building his $1.5 million private island retreat on Fisher Island with a Mediterranean-style mansion. He surrounded this mansion with lush landscaping, gracious guest homes, tennis courts and swimming pools.The main home and the surrounding guest cottages were completed in 1941. Rosemary's Cottage was built for Vanderbilt's stepdaughter Rosemary (Rosamund's daughter from her first marriage.) The studio cottage was built for Rosamund to paint in, as she was an artist. The North and South Cottages were for the their servants. The building now referred to today as the Jr. Suites was built to house the crewman for his yacht. The building now the Spa Internazionale was Vanderbilt's personal airplane hanger.

Book a stay at Fisher Island Hotel and Resort >>


Did You Know? Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn


By: Five Star Alliance

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is located on the former site of Boyes Hot Springs Hotel. Native Americans who were the first to discover the natural underground hot mineral waters here. This site was considered a sacred healing ground. In 1923, a disastrous fire destroyed the hotel and most of Boyes Hot Springs. However, in 1927, the current Inn rose from the ashes as an architecturally accurate replica of a California Mission. Once again, the Inn was filled with guests, and this unique hot springs resort was hailed as one of the finest in all of Northern California. In 1980, major renovation returned the Inn to its 1920's grandeur, and the Spa, added in 1981, attracted visitors from around the globe. Since then, the most recent additions and renovations, began in 1999 and completed in 2000, include the expansion of the Spa, to its 40,000 sq.ft. indoor and outdoor space, beautifully appointed, lush landscaping making this a true European Spa.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

Book a stay at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn >> 


Your Questions Answered: Can You Recommend a Family-Friendly Resort in Teton Village?


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Snake River Lodge and SpaWe at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our blog series Your Questions Answered to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

QUESTION: What's a family friendly resort in Teton Village for a family of 4, children ages 8 and 11?

ANSWER: Snake River Lodge and Spa.This luxury full service hotel is located slopeside at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The lodge features 131 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites. Guests enjoy access to the 17,000 square foot Avanyu Spa and Fitness Center and enjoy fine dining at Gamefish. Area attractions include Grand Teton and Yellowston National Parks, The Grand Teton Music Festival, National Museum Of Wildlife Art, and the many art galleries and restaurants in the town of Jackson. Gues enjoy summer activities such as golf, fly-fishing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and arts. During winter, Nordic and Alpine skiing and snowboarding are available, along with snowmobiling, dog-sledding, and winter wildlife viewing excursions. 

The Lodge offers the following family-friendly amenities and activites:Snake River Lodge and Spa

- Unique lodge architecture with bear sculptures around the hotel and the famous Bear Bench.
- Swim through indoor/outdoor pool - the only pool of its kind in Jackson Hole.
- Indoor/outdoor hot tubs, stone sauna, and outdoor grotto waterfalls.
- Gamefish Restaurant with a huge family friendly buffet and kids menu.
- Full Concierge services to assist in all family activities.
- Located next door to the world famous Jackson Hole Mountain Aerial Tram, awe inspiring 4000
vertical foot trip to the top of Jackson Hole Mountain.
- Convenience market for beverages, snacks, sandwiches and desserts available 24 hours per day.
- Ski valet service with boot warmers, ski tuning, and waxing. Special discounts on ski and snowboard equipment rentals with professional on-site fittings at our ski valet provided by JH SKIS: Jackson Hole's premier ski and snowboard outfitter.

For Your Family's Needs, We Recommend:
Deluxe Two Queens connects to Deluxe 2 Queens. A beautifully renovated guest room, approximately 325 square feet, featuring two queen size beds. Additional features include high speed wireless internet, 42 inch flat screen TV, two-line telephone, refrigerator, electronic safe and daily Starbucks coffee and tea service. Luxurious bathroom with granite countertop, plush robe, slippers, and fine amenities.
Ski in property with a short walk to lift.

Book a stay at Snake River Lodge and Spa >>

All rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges may apply. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as any extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.
 


Image of the Day: Esencia


By: Five Star Alliance

Esencia is a 50-acre private estate, with an awe-inspiring beachfront, two swimming pools, day spa, gourmet restaurant, and an indulgent atmosphere fitting of royalty. In fact, the property and many of the buildings once served as the exclusive beach-side retreat of an actual Italian duchess.

Esencia 

View rates, details, and more images of Esencia >>


Belmond Charleston Place: A Unique Balance Between Historic Charm and Modern Luxury


By: Five Star Alliance

Belmond Charleston PlaceTake a step back in time, exploring centuries-old gardens and antebellum architecture while staying in the heart of one of the most romantic and vibrant cities in the world.

There are few cities in the world that have been able to preserve its past like Charleston. History abounds on every street corner with beautifully maintained architecture from houses to churches to historic sites like Fort Sumter, the famous open-air market and the gardens and plantations, which are some of the country's oldest.

While the past is still very much alive in Charleston, the city has become a vibrant, cosmopolitan destination, tempting travelers around the world to experience its rich culture, boutique shopping and arguably one of the best culinary scenes in the country. Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Charleston the Number 1 City in the US for 4 years in a row and no hotel in Charleston better represents the city's unique balance between historic charm and modern luxury than Belmond Charleston Place.Belmond Charleston Place

One of the grandest properties in the Belmond collection, Belmond Charleston Place is consistently ranked among the best hotels by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. The hotel evokes the feeling of a grand, 17th century residence, from lush personal suites to the Italian marble lobby with a signature Georgian Open Arm staircase and 12-foot crystal chandelier. More than 200 rooms at Belmond Charleston Place have recently undergone a complete revitalization, resulting in modern, luxurious accommodations with slick in-room technology. The rooms feature new furniture, distinctive pieces of artwork and Carrera marble bathrooms.

The staff of Belmond Charleston Place is dedicated to indulging its guests with the finest in Southern hospitality. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s full-service European-style spa, horizon-edge swimming pool with retractable glass roof, upscale shops and the Charleston Grill, the on-site restaurant that’s been consistently recognized with an AAA Four Diamond Award, Mobil Four Star Award and "Best of Award of Excellence" from Wine Spectator. Executive Chef Michelle Weaver presents a menu that is a unique balance of Southern, French and Contemporary cuisines highlighted by favorites like the Charleston Grill Crab Cake or Okeechobee Catfish & Fried Shrimp. The sight of local fine art and sounds of live, world-class jazz featured nightly at Charleston Grill accompany the unparalleled culinary experience.
Belmond Charleston Place
Surrounded by historic homes and buildings, strolling distance to the city's delightful shops, galleries and restaurants, and close to pristine beaches, Belmond Charleston Place is the perfect place for guests to experience the unrivaled charm of Charleston, SC in a setting unlike any other.


Imagine being able to explore all Charleston has to offer you this season with an exceptional discount. Belmond Charleston Place's Upgrade Your Stay Offer includes a 20% discount on luxurious Club Level or Suite accommodations for a limited time. 

Book your stay at Belmond Charleston Place >>


Food and Wine Indulgences at Steamboat Bay Fishing Club


By: Five Star Alliance

Steamboat Bay Fishing Club
Steamboat Bay Fishing Club, the 
elite luxury Alaska sport fishing lodge, is the only resort on the unpopulated Noyes Island. The exclusive club accepts reservations for groups up to sixteen during the summer fishing season. The location’s remote privacy makes it the perfect venue for both intimate gatherings of friends and family, and for high end corporate events.

The world-class fishing and accommodations  at the club are matched by the world-class dining. The cuisine at Steamboat Bay Fishing Club is designed to invoke the great Alaskan wildnerness. The regionally inspired cuisine includes quality ingredients like wild game, prime cuts of meat, local seafood, and organic greens grown in The Club's gardens.

Steamboat Bay Fishing Club

The kitchen at Steamboat Bay is an open display-style, so guests can observe and interact with the Chef and his staff. Gourmet dining at The Club is all-inclusive and customized to guests’ individual tastes. Guests with food preferences or restrictions are easily accommodated with advance notice. The fine dining starts as early as 5am. Guests can fuel up for the long day of fishing. Lunch options include a picnic-style lunch on the water, which means no break in the fishing, or guests can return to the lodge from nearby fishing spots. The guides even call in lunch orders on the way back so the meal is ready as soon as the fisherman hit the shore. 

Guests are treated to an evening reception. The Club's open bar is amply stocked with Pacific Coast wines, local microbrews and brand name beers, and premium spirits and mixers. For dinner, bay-side table service is available. There's also a special five-course Taste of Alaska option. Menus are updated daily, and personalized to accommodate guests individual tastes. 

Book your stay at Steamboat Bay Fishing Club >>


Image of the Day: Palihouse Santa Monica


By: Five Star Alliance

Palihouse Santa Monica is a boutique beach lodge offering 37 generously appointed classic rooms as well as stunning studios, one and two-bedroom guest suites featuring fully equipped kitchens. In continuous operation since 1927, Palihouse Santa Monica (formerly The Embassy Hotel Apartments) is an outstanding example of Moorish-influenced Mediterranean Revival Architecture. The hotel dates back to a time when Santa Monica was the last Los Angeles rail stop and travelers from all over the world came for seaside vacations all year round.

Palihouse Santa Monica

Book a stay at Palihouse Santa Monica >>


Countdown to the Most Haunted Hotel: The Stanley Hotel


By: K. Clare Johnson

The Stanley Hotel

Two words: The Shining. The Stanley Hotel was made famous by the Stephen King book and Stanley Kubrick film. King wrote much of the novel while staying in Room 217 at the hotel. The film wasn't shot there, and the hotel in the film is called Overlook Hotel, but a later TV movie was. The hotel fully embraces its haunted history. In fact, it might be the world's only hotel that offers an upgrade to a haunted room. The Ghost Adventure package includes a  guaranteed 4th Floor room, a K2 Meter per reservation, a glow-in-the-dark Stanley Hotel squishy ghost per person, and a REDRUM mug per person.

No one knows when the ghostly happenings started at The Stanley, but virtually all the rooms have had unexplained experiences reported. but unlike the movie, all the instances reported involve friendly, rather than malevolent, spirts.

Here's a few of the sightings:

- In 1911, the chief housekeeper was involved in an explosion in what is now room 217. She wasn't killed, but her ghost is known to perform extra housekeeping duties in the room. Expect unexplained unpacked bags and tidying. This is the room Stephen King occupied during his stay at The Stanley.

- Children are heard running and giggling in the hallway of the 4th floor. Somes guests will be tucked in by ghostly nannies. Room 418 is said to be the most haunted room in the hotel. 

- Frequent guests F.O. and Flora Stanley haven't let death stop them from regular visits. It is de rigeur to see F.O hanging around the lobby and Flora often plays the piano in the Music Room. 

- The Earl of Dunraven, the former owner of the land on which the hotel is built, haunted room 407. The scent of his tobacco is often smelled in the air, and a ghostly face has been seen at the room's window. 

Do you dare to check in to The Stanley Hotel?


Countdown to the Most Haunted Hotel: The Fairmont Banff Springs


By: K. Clare Johnson

Fairmont Banff Springs
Legend has it that a bride fell down the marble staircase at Fairmont Banff Springs and died on her wedding day. She's also rumored to have caught fire on the way down, due to the torches that lit the staircase.  The bride has been sighted dancing in the Cascade Ballroom, and cold air on the staircase is said to be her doing. 

Tip: If an elderly Scottish man offers to help with your bags, he's a ghost. Sam the Bellman was a longtime employee who has apparently made good on his threat to come back and haunt the place. The random opening and closing of the elevator doors is also attributed to Sam.

Book a spooky stay at Fairmont Banff Springs >>

 


Countdown to the Most Haunted Hotel: The Heathman Hotel


By: K. Clare Johnson

The Heathman Hotel
Long before 50 Shades of Gray made it popular, The Heathman Hotel had a reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in America. Rooms whose numbers end in 03 are rumored to be the most haunted in the hotel. The origin of this is a guest who committed suicide by jumping out of the window of room 1003. 703 is also considered haunted, but those not comfortable with the spirit world should avoid all 03 rooms. 

Guests have reported clean towels used when no one is in the room, glasses of water mysteriously emptying, and chairs moving around. Cold spots, sounds that can't be explained, and faces that appear in the dark have also been reported. Most chillingly, some guests have reported feeling a ghostly presence in bed with them. 

Shudder. Talk about double occupancy. 

Book your own ghostly stay at The Heathman Hotel >>