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.

Vacation at Pablo Escobar’s Retreat: Casa Magna in Tulum, Mexico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa Magna, Amansala, TulumThe Colombian cocaine kingpin sure did pick a nice spot. Tulum and the Riviera Maya have become Mexico's hottest destination in the last decade, and it's little wonder why. The picture-perfect setting of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, coupled with the easy proximity to the U.S. East Coast, continues to lure vacationers seeking a little piece of paradise. On the secluded coast near Tulum, south of Cancun, a new eco-chic resort called Casa Magna has been making waves. Legend has it that Escobar himself camped out here (and there are the bullet-proof walls, a secret tunnel, and "look-out turrets" to prove it). After the drug lord's death, the place was abandoned and deteriorated into a mess of concrete... At least until Amansala took on a massive renovation project and created this eco-friendly hideaway touting "rustic luxury." On this pristine stretch of beach, you'll find spacious rooms, yoga classes, fitness training, and a restaurant serving the freshest fish and tasty mango margaritas.


Your Own Private Boat on the Seine: Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, private boatLeave it to the Hotel Plaza Athénée, that prestigious bastion of luxury on the Avenue Montaigne, Carrie Bradshaw's favorite haunt, to come up with this exclusive Parisian experience. Discover the thrilling sights of Paris while aboard your own private motorboat with Champagne and hand-made Macaroons. Glide under the romantic bridges of the Seine, watch the Louvre and Eiffel Tower slide by, while sipping flutes of Champagne served by your Hostess. The package also includes delightfully-appointed accommodations at the Plaza Athénée, full American breakfast for two people, flowers on arrival, and a personalized welcome. Starting from EUR 1,525 in a Junior Suite based on a two-night minimum stay. Available until August 15, 2008.


Glamorous Girlfriend Getaway at the Willard


By: Madelyn Giblin

Willard Hotel BathroomExperience elegance at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. with their Glamorous Girlfriend Getaway package. Enjoy a stay in one of the Willard's fabulous suites for you and up to three of your best girlfriends. The suite comes with complimentary delicious tea sandwiches and cocktails upon your arrival, and guests are also treated to an in-suite thirty minute aromatherapy massage, finished off with a dusting of 24-karat gold powder. The package includes a visit from a representative of Washington's The Tiny Jewel Box with a selection of real jewelry for you and your friends for your exciting night out. Guests also enjoy a nighttime limousine tour of the monuments and picnic dinner basket along with champagne. And finally, join the A-list at Washington's hottest night spot The Park at Fourteenth, with limousine drop off and pick up and VIP entrance into the club. Rates start at $1,244 for a two person suite.


Caribbean Deals: Discover Nevis with the Four Seasons Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons NevisImagine: a guava wrap (or rum tonic body treatment) in the luxurious haven of the Four Seasons spa. Golf and tennis by the crystal-clear sea. Beaches of silky-soft sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Sunset dining at the water's edge. Four Seasons Nevis offers all that, and more; the resort has also distinguished itself as a fun and elegant Caribbean hideaway perfect for families. Starting April 19, 2008, you can score a $100/night resort credit with the "Discover Nevis" package. So the longer you stay, the more value you get at Four Seasons Nevis-- with no maximum limit! You can also combine this promotion with the "Family Plan" which allows you to get a second room at 50 percent off. Prices start at $335 per night on May 31, 2008. (The rate is $449 from April 19-May 30, 2008).


Spring Savings at The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The HomesteadGet your springtime groove on with special savings from The Homestead. Until April 30, 2008, the storied Virginia resort has room rates starting from $199. From championship golf and horseback riding to fly fishing, shooting, biking and hiking, there's no better way to enjoy the Allegheny Mountains. A National Historic Landmark, The Homestead is also celebrated for its spa and spring-fed indoor pool. After all, these thermal hot springs have been luring travelers since the 1700s! Ranked among the top family resorts in the country, The Homestead has a great children's program, including the fun-filled KidsClub offering nonstop games and activities.


Surf’s Up in San Diego, Music in Nashville: Teen Edu-cation Packages with Loews Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

NashvilleTraveling with a troubled teen? Parents will be thrilled about exclusive packages from Loews Hotels combining vacation time with educational experiences. Designed to please the tricky adolescent set, these one- and two-night packages are both fun and instructional. Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville offers a "Music and Lyrics by Loews" package that's perfect for the budding music star. Your teen(s) will enjoy a song-writing session with award-winning songwriter, Thom Shepherd, a one-hour guitar lesson, plus a voucher for an acoustic guitar. The whole fam can attend a performance at the famed Bluebird Café, where Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea and Vince Gill got their starts. Priced at $1,200, the package includes luxurious accommodations for up to two adults and two teens.

Les ados also get psyched about "My Super Suite Vacation" at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, where they get private surfing lessons on INT surfboards custom-designed for each teen to take home. (Followed by spa treatments in the resort's Teen Spa Room, no joke.) Or perhaps your teen is already on their way to Wall Street? Loews Regency Hotel in New York offers "Inside Financial Markets" to provide the inside scoop on this exciting, complex industry. Priced at $900, the one-night package includes Power Breakfast for two, with rotating speakers from the financial world, viewing of the Nasdaq Opening Bell and tour of NASDAQ's Marketsite, photo of the teen's image on the Nasdaq Tower, and a special turn-down amenity. Or head to South Beach to learn the secrets of party-planning! The two-night "Culinary Arts Experience" at Loews Miami Beach Hotel includes a one-on-one South Beach exclusive "food arts" lesson with Barton G. Wiess, dining experience for teen and parents at the Barton G. Restaurant, and a customized apron personalized by Barton.


Shangri-La Hotel, Xian: Check In to Luxury and Check Out China’s Terracotta Warriors


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel, XianWith all the Olympic buzz, the world's gaze has shifted to China. You may not be heading to the games in Beijing this summer, but a trip to China, ranked one of the top international destinations by the World Tourism Organization, may be on the horizon. An absolute must is a visit to Xian, an ancient capital of China and the terminus of the legendary Silk Road, home to the Terracotta Warriors, one of China's most renowned archaeological discoveries. Described as a "Natural History Museum," Xian is simply brimming with relics and sites. The city is also an important part of the economic revival of interior China, a bustling modern city. The place to stay is the Shangri-La Hotel, Xian, situated within easy reach of the top tourist attractions and the city's business and entertainment districts. The only luxury hotel located in the Gaoxin hi-tech development zone, The Shangri-La has choice guest quarters and an impressive service team including IT butlers. Also on site: four trendy designer restaurants, the largest meeting and banqueting facilities in Xian, and a fully-equipped health club with heated pool.


Himalayan Adventure at Wildflower Hall, Simla, India


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wildflower HallBritish colonials flocked to the hill towns of northern India for the cool climate and incredible scenery, and the region continues to lure folks looking for trekking, rafting, and pampering. In the midst of this mindblowing landscape of pine forests, terraced hillsides and snowcapped peaks, Wildflower Hall promises an unforgettable stay in alpine India. It's managed by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts (the company behind the No. 1 resort in the world)-- an indication of the level of luxury offered here in the mountains. Situated at an altitude of 8,250 feet, 45 minutes outside Simla, the resort boasts a teak-paneled lobby, spa by Banyan Tree, heated indoor pool with mosaic floors and chandeliers, and an outdoor deck where you can soak in the whirlpool while checking out the views.

Of course there are a slew of adventure sports on offer, and from now until June 30, 2008, you can take advantage of a "Himalayan Adventure" package, which includes a variety of activities: a three-hour rafting trip down the white-water rapids of the Sutlej River (with gourmet lunch on the riverbank included), mountain-biking the picturesque trails around the forests of Wildflower Hall with an experienced guide and all-terrain bikes, and full spa treatments to soothe the body and mind after a day of adventure. Starting from INR 61,000 (double occupancy), the offer includes: 4 nights stay for two in a Premier room, daily Breakfast, one 3 hour white water magic rafting trip, one 60-minute spa treatment, daily Yoga and meditation sessions, tennis or ice skating in the rink (weather permitting), complimentary use of indoor swimming pool and health club, and choose either 1-hour Mountain Biking trip or a 3-hour hike with a naturalist.

Image Via New York Times


Living La Dolce Vita: The Nijinsky Suite, Hotel de Russie, Rome


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Russie, RomeSituated between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, Hotel de Russie is a stylish retreat in the very heart of Rome. Celebs flock to de Russie for its picturesque terraced gardens-- a true rarity in a bustling city-- and fine health club with hydropool, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and Turkish steam bath. Don't miss the martinis served with caviar at the elegant Stravinskij Bar. For a truly unforgettable stay, book the Nijinsky Suite, the most exclusive Presidential Suite in the Eternal City. Sprawling over the sixth and top floor of the hotel, the Suite boasts a large terrace overlooking the butterfly garden and the rooftops of Rome. Lounge in the comfortable sitting area, surrounded by flowers. Too much sun? Adjust the electric movable canopy. Inside the Suite, you'll find a king bedroom, spacious dressing room, marble and mosaic bathroom with tub and separate shower, steam bath, living area with plasma TV, kitchen, and dining room with separate bar area.

Until April 30, 2008, take advantage of the "Living La Dolce Vita" offer-- a 2-night stay in the unparalleled Nijinsky Suite which also includes the following:

• Daily Buffet Breakfast

• Oysters and Louis Roederer Champagne in room upon arrival

• Transfer from and to the Airport by private sedan

• Early morning private tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums

• 2 hour ride around the glamorous shopping district of Rome with the De Russie Mobile (electric car)

• Romantic Dinner for two at Le Jardin de Russie Restaurant (beverage not included)

• 50 minute "Colour Massage" for two in the exclusive "Double Room" of the De Russie Wellness Zone

Priced at EUR 6,900.


Chocolate Business Cards at the Conrad Bangkok


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad BangkokLeave it to the innovative Conrad Bangkok-- the cutting-edge luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Thai capital at All Seasons Place-- to come up with this exciting amenity. Polish Executive Pasty Chef Slawek Golaszewski at Conrad Bangkok has created edible Chocolate Business Cards made from dark and white chocolates. Now available at Baht 30 (1 US$ = 32 Baht ) per piece at the Deli by Conrad. Within 24 hours, guests can have their details embossed in chocolate (actual business card size) to make a sweet impression on their business associates. To quote the Chef: "I simply combine two key points to produce this. Firstly, Conrad Bangkok is a business hotel and clients always find something unique to impress their clients. Secondly, we are famous in homemade chocolates and creativity is us."