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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.

Thanksgiving in New York at The Mark Hotel

November 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Mark Hotel, Thanksgiving

The holidays are fast approaching... Does this illustrate your Thanksgiving predicament? We feel your pain. Forget the turkey. Head to The Mark and let Jean-Georges take care of your Thanksgiving feast. What could be better than a tastebud-tickling gourmet extravaganza by a renowned culinary talent? Catch a glimpse of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, get a head-start on your Christmas shopping in NYC, and relax in luxury at The Mark. Who needs bickering with the in-laws when The Mark makes it so easy? "Thanksgiving at The Mark" can be booked for two people in a Mark Premier one-bedroom suite (including Thanksgiving dinner for two at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges), or for four people in a Mark Two-Bedroom Suite or Mark Premier Two-Bedroom Suite with Thanksgiving dinner for four.


Christmas at Plaza Athénée, Paris: Plant Your Own Tree at the Palace of Versailles

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisHere's your chance to "plant your roots in French History" at the Château de Versailles. Talk about cool Christmas gifts! The Hotel Plaza Athénée, the luxurious Parisian palace hotel, is offering you a special limited-time special offer to buy a Christmas tree and plant it at the legendary Château, where you'll have your name engraved, and get free access to the Château de Versailles for one year. Not only that, you'll also receive your very own ownership certificate to show off to friends back home. The sprawling palace-- a symbol of royal opulence-- is surrounded by an important forest, currently being replanted by local governmental organizations. To be part of the legend, you must act fast! The Plaza Athénée's "My Private Tree" offer is limited to 10 available trees. Here's what's included in the package, priced from 1428 euros in a Deluxe Room (with guaranteed upgrade to a Junior Suite):

* At Château de Versailles: Your own Tree (Value 1000 euros) only 10 trees available; Ownership certificate; Your name engraved at the Château de Versailles; Free access to the Château de Versailles for one year

* At the Plaza Athénée: Daily Continental breakfast for two and a bottle of organic Champagne with your luxurious accommodations

Rates are per night for a two nights stay minimum. Available until December 28, 2011.


Caribbean Winter Deals: A Free Night and Resort Credit with Starwood Hotels

November 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto RicoThe epic snowfall in October gave us a taste of what's in store this winter, and you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll be trading in our snow boots for a pair of flipflops when the arctic cold gets to be too much to handle. Lucky for us, Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts are making it easy-- with a swell "Retreat to the Heat" offer that hands out a free night, a resort credit (ranging from $75 to $250), and a room upgrade (based on availability). Take a peek at some of the participating hotels below and start dreaming about your winter getaway. (Psst. What a great Christmas gift!) The offer is available for booking now through December 15, 2011 for travel through January 31, 2012, and blackout dates do apply.

* Aruba: The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba

* Grand Cayman:The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman

* Puerto Rico: The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island

* St. Maarten: The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten

* U.S. Virgin Islands: The Westin St. John Resort & Villas


Frosty Fridays at Boston's Colonnade Hotel: The Temperature Sets Your Room Rate

November 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Colonnade Hotel, BostonThe Colonnade Hotel in Boston's Back Bay had an extreme makeover this year- we're talking $25 million worth- and now it has all the press gabbing about its "clean, modern look" and "fab high-tech coffee makers." Within walking distance to Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Newbury Street, this Four Diamond hotel is eager to show guests that the winter season is just as fabulous in Boston, showing off New England's snow-covered splendor. So they're rolling out their popular two-night "Frosty Fridays" package- which affords guests a first-night rate according to the temperature at 5 p.m. on Friday as measured by the National Weather Service. For example: If the thermometer reads 17 degrees, guests will pay $17 for their Friday night stay and a special rate of $295 for Saturday night. "Frosty Fridays" is valid from November 15, 2011 through March 31, 2012 and includes a double occupancy luxe room; the choice of two tickets to either the Old Town Trolley Tour or admission and skating rentals at The Boston Common Frog Pond Skating Rink; hot chocolate for two at Brasserie JO; and overnight parking. Rates are based on a two-night stay and subject to applicable taxes and availability.


Heli-Skiing in Utah with the Waldorf Astoria Park City

November 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waldorf Astoria Park CityLooking for a high-adventure vacation out west? The Waldorf Astoria Park City can arrange heli-skiing adventures sure to excite adrenaline hounds. Hit the "greatest snow on earth" in Utah's backcountry far from the crowds... (Of course, ski bunnies who may feel more comfortable on the groomed slopes can enjoy some 4,000 acres of skiable terrain accessed by the hotel's dedicated gondola just outside the front door.) When you return from your heli-skiing trip, head to the Golden Door Spa for a Mountain Salvation massage- the best way to soothe tired muscles after a day in the mountains. The "Heli-Skiing Adventure" must be arranged at least 14-days in advance of your stay between January 1 and March 30, 2012. Included in the special offer: the heli-skiing trip for two adults with lunch, followed by one 50-minute Mountain Salvation massage for two adults at the swank spa. Four night minimum stay required.


Win a Pampering Spa Day at The Berkeley in London

November 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Berkeley, LondonBaby, it's cold outside! What you need to warm up: two hours of perfect pampering at The Berkeley Health Club and Spa. The stylish hotel in Knightsbridge has a sublime spa created with the expert guidance of Howard Consulting, the premier spa consultancy. A range of massages and therapies are available, and the rooftop pool and gym have knock-out views over Hyde Park. For a limited time only, the hotel is running a contest where you can win a five-star spa experience. Here's what's included in the "Perfect Retreat": Body Skin Preparation (25 mins), Comfort Touch Massage (25 mins) and Rebalance Facial (55 mins) for her; and Comfort Touch Massage (25 mins), Pure Performance Facial (55 mins) and Men’s Manicure (25 mins) for him. Guaranteed to restore lost energy and relax your body and mind! To enter, simply sign up to receive email updates from The Berkeley, and all entries will be entered into a prize draw. Closing date: November 30, 2011. The winner will be notified by email on December 7, 2011.


Sponsored Article: Winter Wonderland in Canada with Fairmont Hotels

November 7, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Skiing in Whistler, Fairmont HotelsLet it snow! November means it’s time to take advantage of some early-season ski deals so you can hit the powder fast. Without a doubt, the best place to embrace the winter is our neighbor to the north. Canada’s pristine wilderness is home to the number one ski resort in North America (Whistler), and Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a storybook winter setting in the Canadian Rockies. Here, the wide-open wilderness makes for some epic skiing on what feels like your very own private pistes.

Fairmont offers three legendary resorts where skiers and non-skiers alike revel in luxury while soaking up the surrounding natural beauty. Styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, the Fairmont Banff Springs resort is located in the heart of the park with three pristine ski resorts at your doorstep. With the “Couples Holiday Getaway,” you get a third night for free when you stay for the festive Christmas season between December 17th and December 30th, 2011. Another hot offer: With “Extend Your Stay,” you’ll get discounts until February 10, 2012. Stay two nights and save 25% off each night when you stay two nights; 30% off each night when you stay three nights; 35% off each night when you stay four or more nights.

Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseAlso located in Banff National Park, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the ultimate winter playground. Oft described as Canada’s most scenic ski resort, the Lake Louise Ski Resort has 139 marked ski runs and back bowls on four mountain faces. Beyond skiing, the snow adventures are endless-- from dog sledding the Great Divide to horse-drawn sleigh rides through the glacial shadows. Take advantage of the resort’s “Ski & Play for Free” and you’re guaranteed the ski trip of a lifetime. Included in the package: luxury accommodations, two adult Lake Louise Ski Resort passes per room per night OR a $100 Fairmont Chateau lake Louise resort credit (in place of each ski day), plus transportation to the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Valid from November 15th, 2011 until May 1st, 2012, starting from $299 CAD per night.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler-- nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain-- offers ski-in/ski-out access, amenities for pets, and a lavish spa. The “Ski for Free” package means you get Whistler Blackcomb lift tickets included with your low room rates (from $269 CAD per night) until November 23, 2011. Or book the “Everyone's An Original Winter Offer “ for double airline reward miles.


The Reindeer are Coming Back to Play at Trump International Chicago

November 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rudolph at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, ChicagoLast year Chicago got a kick out of the live reindeer imported to the Trump International Hotel & Tower to play on the River Walk. Now that's our kind of holiday party! We hear that the luxury hotel is at it again this year, organizing a special celebratory family event on Saturday, November 19 with two reindeer, holiday music, lots of good food, and a viewing of Chicago's annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival fireworks show. Straight from the horse's reindeer's mouth: "Rudolph has informed us of his master plan to escape the North Pole and join us for the magical Festival of Lights. Rudolph will be staying at Trump International Hotel & Tower with a few of his friends and is eager to meet you."

Book "Rudolph's Great Escape," starting from $465 per night, and enjoy accommodations in a Deluxe King Guestroom; assorted cookies and milk at turndown; a vintage Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer DVD; complimentary meals for children under 10 years-old from the in-room dining children's menu (only when accompanied with an adult entree); photos with the reindeer; and a plush stuffed reindoor toy.


What's Hot: Introductory Rates at Angsana's New Flagship Resort on Phuket

November 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Angsana Laguna PhuketCome hell or high water, the Angsana Laguna Phuket will be opening its doors on December 1, 2011. The new flagship for Angsana Hotels and Resorts, the property closed earlier this year for a multi-million dollar overhaul, and promises to dazzle after a dramatic makeover. The guest rooms and public spaces are stylish and contemporary in design, with traditional Thai touches (think steep arched roofs, waterways winding through the grounds, and vividly colored fabrics).

Nestled on Bang Tao Bay in the northwest of Phuket Island in Southern Thailand, Angsana Laguna Phuket is part of Laguna Phuket, Asia’s first integrated resort, which is comprised of five luxury hotels, six palm-fringed lagoons, 600 acres of parkland, three kilometers of pristine beach and a slew of recreational activities and dining options. We like the sound of the 323 metre free-form pool that meanders throughout the Angsana Laguna Phuket and the award-winning Angsana Spa. Did we mention the treehouse-inspired Kids Club? This resort is family friendly (and they even have a special kiddies pool called the toddler's "tub").

Hot rates: The resort is currently offering $199 introductory rates with breakfast included, and they'll throw in a resort credit of $98 when you stay in two nights or more. Stay a minimum of three nights, and you'll get a free 90-minute massage.


Holidays in the Sun: Fun Freebies at Santa Monica's Hotel Shangri-La

November 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Shangri-La Santa MonicaA dose of California sunshine could be just what the doctor ordered this holiday season. Why not take a break in style at Santa Monica's Art Deco beacon on the bluff? Newly revamped, the Hotel Shangri-La promises Old Hollywood glamour just steps from the sand and the historic Santa Monica Pier. Each room captures gorgeous ocean views, as does the posh rooftop bar, Suite 700, where the sunset-viewing is out-of-this-world. As if you needed more tempting, the Hotel Shangri-La has rolled out the "Holidays in the Sun" package which is packed with freebies: freshly baked cookies & milk upon arrival, two complimentary holiday cocktails, a $50 VISA gift card, Ice Skating for two (one hour), and complimentary valet parking. Available November 15, 2011 – January 31, 2012 from $385 in a one-bedroom suite with a full gourmet kitchen.