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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.

The Shuttered Life: Shutters on the Beach in California

February 29, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The city of Los Angeles is pretty well known for a couple of things.  There's the glitzy, glamorous side, Hollywood in all of its glory, and there's the less charming urban sprawl, full of smog and angry drivers.  However, there's a third, hidden side to the City of Angels.  Tucked away on the beaches of Santa Monica is Shutters on the Beach, a wonderful hotel that explores all that this third face of Los Angeles has to offer.  Windswept beaches and the comfortable elegance of an exclusive resort are the marks of an escape from the bustle and adventure of the city.  Shutters on the Beach is everything that Los Angeles isn't; serene, idyllic, and personal.

The Conde Nast Award Winner plays host to all of the pampering activities we've come to love from beachfront resorts.  Its spa offers Shiatsu, Deep Tissue massage, and Reflexology, and oceanfront fine dining is just steps away from your room. Twenty six miles of beaches are the perfect setting for a morning run, and you'll find unsurpassed views from the three presidential suites that make up the top floors.  Shutters on the Beach is one of my favorite properties, and simply for the reason that it's everything you wouldn't expect, and more.

 


The Golf Coast: Kiawah Island's Golf Courses Are as Nice as Their Resorts

February 21, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Springtime is on the offensive on the East Coast, and that means one thing: Time to break out the clubs.  Golfing weather is looking like it's here to stay in South Carolina, and that means the closely cropped greens and devilish sand traps are calling your ball in equal measure, like the angel and devil of so many cartoons.  It's time to break out your woods and irons for the spring season and put your other sets away.  Maybe you were playing Settlers of Catan? I don't know. This whole analogy thing is harder than a brick wall. No, no, a diamond. Wait, maybe the Ko'olau Golf Club in Oahu.  There we go; now it's topical.  Anyway, I can't think of a better place to enjoy the newly found weather than on five championship courses of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Home of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 1997 and 2003 World Cups of Golf, you're getting a top class playing experience in one of the most breathtaking regions on the eastern seaboard.  And between games, you can relax along ten miles of romantic beaches or head out in search of the other sorts of eagles, who have nested in the region for centuries.  This Conde Nast Award winner even has three pool complexes and a child program available to keep the tiny tots out from underfoot while you're swinging a large metal rod around.  The Kiawah Island Golf Resort and accompanying Sanctuary at Kiawah Island are natural, beautiful, and definitely in season, so it might be worth planning a trip this spring.


Conde Nast Platinum Circle 2012: Hotel de la Cite

February 15, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

We've been spotlighting a list of Conde Nast's award-winning Gold List Hotels for 2012, and each one is amazing in its own right. In a clear case of never enough of a good thing, Conde Nast has yet an additional level to their awards, the meta-prestigious Platinum Circle Hotels, distinguished for being consistent Gold List winners for the last five years. Perhaps it could have been more aptly named the Conde Nast Award for Continued Excellence in the Having of Conde Nast Awards, but that's probably just my jealousy talking. It takes a certain level of cachet to be able to recognize someone for being recognized by you, and the Conde Nast Awards carry that weight. Regardless, the Platinum Circle hotels are undoubtedly some of the best of the best and have the mark of consistency that other hotels can only aspire to.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

Though some of us may have visited Carcasonne on our very own dining room tables, there's certainly reason enough to see one of the most storied feudal regions of France.  To collect double points, the proprieters completed Hotel de la Cite in 1909 on the site of a former Bishop's palace in a neo-gothic style.  Stain-glass windows and mosaic patterning adorn a hotel that echoes the sensibilities of 12th century France, and views of Saint Michel cathedral give it an eerily medieval quality.  From within the circular citadel walls, Hotel de la Cite overlooks the surrounding farmland with all the commanding presence of the original fiefdom.  Itself a UNESCO world heritage site, the fortified castle represents one of the most idyllic historic locations you could visit.  If you're looking to get out of Paris to explore the rich history of a medieval France, there's nowhere better than Hotel de la Cite.

Check rates, availability, photos and more of the Hotel de la Cite here!


Top 5 Romantic Valentine's Day Hotels: #1 The Point, Saranac Lake

February 9, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Valentine's Day is coming up, and, as such, it's time to think about where you'd like to spend the day with that special someone. Whether you're enjoying a cozy night in or an adventure on the town, a night in a luxury hotel can be the perfect gift to the both of you, a chance to escape to another world where no expense will be spared in giving you the night of a lifetime. What follows is just one in a series of our favorite romantic hotels, and, we think, a great place to take him or her this February the 14th.

#1 The Point, Saranac Lake

What's The Point, you ask? While us single folks might attribute such a question to the vague sense of ennui that a romantic holiday instills, for the couples out there, you're clearly wanting to know more about the resort on Saranac Lake that just might be the most tranquil and exclusive hotel you could take your significant figure this weekend.  I use 'hotel' in only the loosest of sense to describe The Point, since the 11-room lodge is what you would imagine renting a 5-star private cabin might be like.  This lakefront lodge in upstate New York has all the serenity of a hushed winter morning where even the birds are afraid to break the silence, and it's personal service is unrivalled anywhere.

Nightly room rates are all-inclusive, so you can enjoy everything they have to offer. Not only that, dining is supervised by 3-star Michelin chef Albert Roux, which affords you a level of attention that even the top restaurants cannot afford to give their patrons.  No children under 18 are allowed on the property and there are no phones and televisons, so you need not worry about anything getting in the way of your perfect evening.  The Point offers the kind of intentional seclusion that is so rare in this connected world, and it is the perfect opportunity to lose yourself in romance.  

The Point is especially attractive to active couples who would enjoy the hiking, fishing, and animal tracking that the Point will happily recommend.  If a few biologists would just take a brief second to get out to The Point, they'd very quickly resolve one of the most hotly contested debates in modern science: nature vs nuture.  At The Point on Saranac lake, you can nurture your relationship by going back to nature, and there's no compromise involved. For my part, The Point is where I would take my hypothetical girlfriend this Valentine's Day.

 


Uniquely Suited: Armani Hotel Dubai

February 6, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Here at Five Star Alliance, we have a number of superlative hotels, in a very literal sense of the word.  The Armani Hotel Dubai's claim to fame is that, as the name suggests, it is the very first hotel designed by the world famous Giorgio Armani.  Epitomizing the stylistic elegance of the fine suits the same Armani is well known for, the hotel is sleek, modern, minimal, and luxurious.  It's hotel that feels comfortable in its clothes, and it knows it.  From the Eramosa stone floors to the zebrawood panelling, you'll find the Armani brings a unique understanding of unorthodox pairings that somehow feel natural together.  

While you're there, enjoy any one of eight restaurants and relax in a 12,000 sq ft spa whose thermal suites will melt the tension in your muscles like the chocolate from the Armani/Dolci sweets store will melt in your mouth.  

Of special note is the personally designed Armani Dubai Suite with breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf from your 390 sqm. space 39 floors above the streets below.  Two bedrooms, a spacious living room, and a bathroom with separate shower and bathtub are all uniquely laid out to maximize luxury, and that's not even to mention the full-service bar and pantry.  

The Armani Hotel Dubai is sleek, stylized, and hip and makes every effort to tailor your stay to the exact fit.  In a city made of luxury, the Armani somehow manages to stand out from the crowd, and that's certainly worth a second look.


Top 5 Romantic Valentine's Day Hotels: #3 Hotel Plaza Athenee

January 27, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Valentine's Day is coming up, and, as such, it's time to think about where you'd like to spend the day with that special someone. Whether you're enjoying a cozy night in or an adventure on the town, a night in a luxury hotel can be the perfect gift to the both of you, a chance to escape to another world where no expense will be spared in giving you the night of a lifetime. What follows is just one in a series of our favorite romantic hotels, and, we think, a great place to take him or her this February the 14th.

#3 The Hotel Plaza Athenee

For a city like Paris, its romantic image the stuff of fairy tales, it is almost impossible to pick our favorite romantic hotel.  Whether an iconic mainstay of the cityscape or a small boutique hotel tucked away in a charming neighborhood, each jewel in the Parisian crown has its sparkle. So instead of evaluating by some arbitrary metric, like roses/sqm or candles of candlelight, I just thought to myself, "Where would I take my girlfriend if I found myself in Paris just a few weeks from now?"  And once I stopped troubling myself with the details, the answer came quickly:  The Hotel Plaza Athenee. It's everything you could desire for your romantic evening, a dream of a hotel within a dream of a city. And for the girl of your dreams, how could you ask for anything less? 

Whether you're staying in the Eiffel Signature Exclusive Suite with a view onto the tower itself or a cozy room tucked away for perfect privacy, the Hotel Plaza Athenee promises to make a night you'll forget in the moment but remember forever. And with staff members outnumbering rooms nearly 3 to 1, you'll be sure that every detail is inch-perfect.

To set the evening off right, simply go downstairs to experience the cuisine world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse. The lightest brush of your lips against the bouquet of flavors in each of his dishes will create a never-before experienced synesthesia, a fusion of light and color emanating from your taste buds.  Savor each bite as time itself begins to slow to a rest. And when you pair your meal with a bottle of the finest French wine, well, I don't even have to tell you.

It's a rare hotel indeed that I can recommend without reservation, but I guarantee that the Hotel Plaza Athenee will give you the Valentine's day experience you didn't even know you were looking for.


White Up My Alley: Bianca Opens at the Delano in Miami Beach

January 25, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The notoriously blinding Delano Hotel in Miami Beach is opening the doors to its new restaurant, Bianca, this Friday.  Continuing the theme of its all-white guest rooms, Bianca promises to add to an already exclusive and delightful property.  Embracing the Slow Food movement, Bianca provides a gastronomical experience that supports local farming and organic produce, so you know that not only is what you're getting a top-notch holistic food experience, it also does its part to respect its origins. You'd better come prepared with your Visa Platinum, however.  Not only will its silvery sheen go well with the drapes, you'll need it to put back such highlights as All Natural Sirloin Bistecca at $46. 

If you can wait for a little while, then come February, the Ume Sushi and Sake Bar will be opening alongside its Italian counterpart for an experience in the best of Eastern cuisine.  Definitely worth a trip to the Delano, now for both the unique decor and the food.  

 


Hotels with an Incredible View!: Singapore

January 23, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that an incredible view is of utmost importance to luxury travelers. After a day of exploring a new city, there’s nothing more enjoyable than returning to your luxurious accommodations and taking in the miraculous view before calling it a day. For others, there simply is not enough time in a day to enjoy everything a city has to offer, and the only exploration one has time for is to take in the view from the hotel. We’d like to introduce you to our new blog series, which will be featuring incredible hotels with incredible views! Whatever your travel reasons or however much time you have to enjoy your trip, we hope you leave thinking wow what a view!

Our first feature is the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. It’s located in the heart of Singapore along the Marina Bay Waterfront. This luxury hotel is the leading destination for business and leisure travelers visiting Asia. Its 2,561 rooms and suites have a classic luxury design, and the hotel has a museum, an incredible shopping mall, world-renown restaurants, a casino, and an outdoor event plaza. The rooftop Sands SkyPark is perched atop the hotel, 200 meters above the city, featuring exclusive restaurants, an infinity pool, an observation deck, and an unbeatable 360 degree view of the Singapore skyline.

Be sure to keep up with our blog series to discover various luxury hotels all over the world with the best views!

Photo via Hotel Chatter


Round Hill Hotel and Villas Hosts a Well-Rounded Cast

January 9, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

 Round Hill Hotel and VillasThe Round Hill Hotel and Villas has been playing host a panoply of stars lately, and this holiday period was so covered with them, we'd advise the use of shades for more than just the sun.  If you were down there in your post-Christmas festivities, you would've been enjoying the company of honeymooning Paul McCartney along with his daughter Stella McCartney, Ewan McGregor and wife, and if that weren't enough, the entire Ralph Lauren crew decided to come along for the ride.  So next time you're there, don't be surprised if you can't walk five feet without having to play it cool.  

And it's no wonder.  The Round Hill has always been one of, if not the top, resorts in Jamaica and the whole of the Caribbean.  Situated on Montego Bay, the cashmere sweater of luxury hotels is both soft and inviting and not showy in the least.  The 18th century great house turned luxury resort is one of the most low-key in our collection, and that's exactly as it should be.  If you're interested in the all-inclusive programs offered by the resort, simply  make sure to mention the All-Inclusive Platinum Plan to it added into your room rates.  As you're looking to shake off the winter snow and head to warmer climes, the Round Hill Hotel and Villas is definitely one to check out.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #1 Villa d'Este

December 31, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

Our countdown has come to an end, and it is time to announce the number one hotel as chosen by our discerning travelers and determined by sophisticated algorithms and more than a little bit of voodoo magic.  Five Star Alliance's #1 hotel for 2011 is

 Villa d'Este!


Quick facts about Villa d'Este:

- On the shore of Lake Como, one of the most secluded and breathtaking lakes in Italy, the Villa d'Este was originally the summer residence of Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and is just a short trip north of Milan, one of Italy's most romantic cities.

- Its 152 rooms, divided between two palatial residences, each offer a unique feel, a result of the meticulously maintained renaissance decor of the original residences built in 1568.  Live in true luxury, in rooms once occupied by the royal guests of the Cardinal and preserved in their original glory.

- The Villa is perfectly self-sufficient:  included in its amenities are eight tennis courts, several dining options, including sushi and classical Italian, a Turkish bath and sauna, winery tours by chaffeur, and one of the most challenging par 69s in Europe only seven miles away.

- If you want a change of scenery from your grand room, simply head outdoors to enjoy the 25-acre park, which is perfectly designed and continuously manicured in its original Renaissance style:  the entire park molds nature into a work of art.

- Its hotel pool was featured in our Ten Best Hotel Pools in the World for its floating pool, literally on the lake, not to mention an additional kids pool to keep them away from your relaxation:

"The pool at Villa d’Este on Lake Como would make Archimedes blush. Floating above the very lake that the Villa rests against, the pool features a built-in Jacuzzi and fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. It’s like swimming in the lake just inches below your feet, but it’s always the perfect temperature."

- Four reception rooms hold up to 400 people alongside another 250 in nine different meeting rooms, all to the same standards of luxury as rest of the classical Renaissance hotel.

- As if that weren't enough, it's also a Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure Award Winner.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at Villa d'Este > >

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! See below for the full list of Top Hotels for 2011!

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen  
#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore  
#18 – The Peninsula Chicago  
#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua  
#16 - Auberge du Soleil  
#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel  
#14 - The One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah  
#13 - The Hotel de Crillon  
#12 - Peninsula Hong Kong  
#11 - Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi  
#10 - Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona 
#9 - Jumeirah Essex House
#8 - Atlantis the Palm Dubai
#7 - Hotel Le St. James  
#6 - Half Moon, a Rock Resort
#5 - Charleston Place
#4 - King George Palace
#3 - La Tremoille
#2 - Don Cesar Beach Hotel
#1 - Villa d'Este