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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.

Escape to Bermuda: $129 Rates at Fairmont Southampton

November 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Southampton BermudaHere's a deal for all you luxury lovers out there: the swank Fairmont Southampton Bermuda is currently on sale for seven days only with room rates starting at just $129 per night!* What this means: Act fast if you want to score luxury for less on a spring break trip to paradise! A palatial landmark on Bermuda’s gorgeous south shore, the Fairmont Southampton Bermuda is nestled on an 100-acre tropical estate with towering palm trees and has direct access to miles of pink sand beaches. The property is consistently voted one of the top resorts in the region by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. As for the facilities, the Fairmont Southampton is the crème de la crème. There's an 18-hole par three golf course, a 31,000-square-feet Willow Stream Spa, some of the island’s best restaurants, a sprawling oceanfront beach club with an on site PADI dive center, tennis courts and more. Most of the spacious guest rooms have sweeping views of the Atlantic from private balconies.

*For travel until April 30, 2012; some blackout dates apply. Rooms cost $299 per night when you travel between May 1, 2012 - August 31, 2012.


What's On in San Francisco: 47th Annual Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting

November 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ghiradelli Square Tree Lighting CeremonyA tip for travelers to San Francisco this week: Ghirardelli Square will be hosting the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Black Friday, November 25. After feasting on Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings, celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with some festive merry-making (and lots of Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark Squares!) in San Francisco's Ghirardelli Square. The whole family will enjoy the free, live entertainment throughout the day- with performances by the San Francisco City Opera, Contra Coastal Chorale and Yuletide Carolers. It all culminates with the lighting of the Ghirardelli Square tree at 5:30 pm.

Psst. Lola Toy Stop will be offering a small gift for each child visiting the toy stop during The 47th Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting Ceremony! In addition to sampling your fair share of complimentary Ghiradelli chocolate squares, we suggest indulging in their world-famous hot chocolate, too.

Looking for a place to crash in the lovely City by the Bay? Five Star Alliance has a bevy of recommendations for four- and five-star hotels.

Photo by Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco


Hot off the Press: "The Most Wanted Winter Spa Treatments" by In Style Magazine

November 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One and Only Palmilla, CaboIt's that time of year again. When we start bemoaning our cracked hands, chapped lips and parched winter skin, we know it's time to book a spa treatment ASAP. But where's the best place to rejuvenate with that ultimate winter pick-me up (pre- or post-fête?). In Style to the rescue. Lucky for us, the mag has put together a fab list of "The Most Wanted Winter Spa Treatments." There's the Hot Chocolate Synergy Massage, inspired by the ancient Mayans and using warm chocolate oil to enhance the mood, at One & Only Palmilla, Los Cabos; the Candy Cane Ritual at the Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa, Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas; the Pumpkin Nectar Facial at Remède Spa, St. Regis Mexico City; the Peppermint Pedicure
 
to sooth tired feet at Remede Spa, St. Regis San Francisco (Lady Gaga's a fan of the hotel); Santa's Little Helpers Mandara Four Hand Massage at The Cove Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas; and more! For all the delicious details, be sure to check out the article.


Christmas in the Caribbean: 40% Off Holiday Rates at Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort

November 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort and SpaIt's not too late to book a holiday getaway to the Caribbean this year. There's room at the inn at the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, a 500-acre beachfront paradise nestled on a mile of palm-lined sand in the shadow of Puerto Rico's lush mountains. For the window of time between December 24, 2011- January 4, 2012-- a frequently sold-out holiday period-- the resort is offering 40% off sun-infused holiday rates. From championship golf and tennis to scuba diving and sailing, the Rio Mar has plenty of recreational facilities to keep you entertained. Let's not forget the on-site casino! (And some 12 restaurants....) Sun-seekers can take advantage of irresistible rates starting at $268, based on availability. (Black out dates do apply.) So what are you waiting for? Ditch the parka, jet to the Caribbean, and get your tan on!


Spot The Langham's Pink Taxi in Boston; Win a Trip to London!

November 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham Boston, pink taxiHere's your chance to win a getaway to London! The Langham, Boston has rolled out a cool, new Facebook sweepstakes where one lucky winner will have a chance to jet off to London in luxury with Premium Economy airfare for two courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Airways and stay three nights at The Langham, London-- originally opened in 1865 as Europe’s first 'Grand Hotel.' (Don't miss Afternoon Tea in Palm Court!) All you have to do to enter the contest is spot The Langham, Boston's Pink Taxi around Beantown, snap a photo, and upload it to The Langham, Boston's Facebook page. Submissions will be accepted on Facebook from now until January 12, 2012 with the winner to be picked at random and announced on or about January 31, 2012.

We're loving this authentic English taxi in Langham's signature pink!


Friday Photos: Wouldn't You Rather Be at West Bay Club, Turks and Caicos?

November 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

West Bay Club

Jill's vacationing in Morroco; John's lounging in the Virgin Islands; Janet's plotting a jaunt to Paris; what about you? Here's a little travel inspiration as the week winds down and we start dreaming of seductive destinations. The Turks and Caicos have the Caribbean charm, white sandy beaches, and turquoise sea that's key for an island vacay, but most importantly: getting there is a breeze. Providenciales International Airport is easily reached from the major East Coast cities (just one hour from Miami; three hours from NYC). Voted the "top beach destination in the world" on TripAdvisor, the tiny island of Providenciales is home to The West Bay Club, where 47 sumptuous, sea-facing suites await you... Launch a Hobie Cat for a sailing adventure or simply kick back by the pool (it's a stunner!). After a tough day soaking up the tropical sun, head to the spa for a massage. It's a tough life at The West Bay Club.

West Bay Club


Christmas in Cali: Gingerbread Mountain Village at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

November 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Aviara, gingerbreadEvery year the pastry chefs at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad create the Gingerbread Mountain Village, a sight to behold. Chef Franck Riffaud and his team use more than 22 pounds of gingerbread dough, 400 pounds of sugar icing and 18 pounds of chocolate to build an amazing village that includes Santa’s Workshop, Frosty’s Ski-Daddle Ski School, Snow Tube Rental and Blitzen’s Ale & Spirits. On display in the Lobby from November 27th through December 26th, the Gingerbread Mountain Village is one of the area's must-see holiday attractions.

Celebrate the festive season with a gingerbread housemaking-class at the resort. With a step-by-step tutorial on the art of gingerbread modeling, the hands-on decorating class will teach you how to create the perfect dough, to hand-color, and to add artful details with icing and gum paste. Of course you'll indulge in plenty of delicious treats during the course, and all confections made in class can be taken home with you. The first class will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, with additional classes on December 10th and 17th. All classes are held from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and are priced at $20 for adults and $15 for children. Unlimited gingerbread houses for decoration are available for $25 each.

Image via Sign On San Diego


Luxury for Less: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Hotel Deals

November 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lorien HotelGearing up for Black Friday? Planning your strategy for Cyber Monday (the biggest online shopping day of the year)? Expect deals galore, especially if you're looking to travel. Hotels are catering to travelers looking for internet savings. We've been keeping tabs on the great online deals available. And the offers keep flooding in! Here's a sampling.

Marriott’s Florida Resorts (like Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach and Doral Golf Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort) are joining together to offer up to 25% savings on Cyber Monday with rates starting from $95 to $186 per night. Available online on Monday, Nov. 28 only, the savings can be applied on stays from Nov. 29, 2011 through Jan. 8, 2012.

Kimpton is holding a 72-hour Cyber Monday Sale, starting 12 am on Monday, November 28, 2011, for 12 Mid-Atlantic region hotels in DC, Virginia and Maryland, giving away top suites and specialty rooms for the price of a standard guestroom. Hotels include Hotel Palomar Washington DC and the Lorien in Alexandria, where you can nab an overnight stay in the one-of-a-kind Diplomat Suite, featuring a 550-foot private furnished balcony, wet bar, and oversized bathroom for just $159 per night.

Trump ChicagoThe newly-renovated Warwick New York Hotel is offering a four-day Black Friday deal of 30% off the best available rate with savings extending through Feb. 29, 2012.

The Trump Hotel Collection is offering 30% off all suites that are booked on November 28, 2011 only. Available for travel January 1- March 31, 2012 at all Trump Hotel Collection properties – New York (Central Park and SoHo), Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki, Panama and Toronto (opening Jan. 31, 2012).


Betsey Johnson Designs "Eloise"-Themed Christmas Tree for The Plaza, New York

November 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eloise Christmas Tree at The PlazaIn other festive news: We hear that fashion designer Betsey Johnson has partnered with The Plaza in New York to design the hotel’s first official Christmas Tree this holiday season. And guess her inspiration? Eloise, of course! The fictional heroine of Kay Thompson’s 1955 classic book already has her own suite at The Plaza, but now she'll be honored with her very own tree- prominently displayed in the Fifth Avenue foyer. See Betsey Johnson's sketch for the tree here, but if you want to take a gander at the Christmas tree with your very own eyes, book a table for the special ‘Tree Lighting Tea’ in The Palm Court on November 28 at 5pm, hosted by The Plaza and Betsey Johnson. The iconic New York City hotel-- recently honored as a member of Historic Hotels of America-- is excited to welcome the designer’s first holiday ‘popup’ shop, which opened its doors on November 14th and offers an exciting collection of giftable items.


A Gingerbread Pirate Ship at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island for Christmas

November 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, ChristmasLet the countdown begin. In just one week's time, the S.S. Amelia Gingerbread Pirate Ship-- made from 1,200 pounds of sugar and 3,000 eggs-- will dock in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. And it's little wonder they're televising the event live; the gingerbread pirate ship will be 17-ft high! The S.S. Amelia will serve as a backdrop for all the festive holiday events the resort has scheduled- from Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts to holiday wagon rides on the dunes, beach bonfires, and Santa tuck-ins. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting on November 23 at 5:30 pm kicks off the holiday season; the 40-ft tree will be beautifully illuminated and some 200,000 lights will glitter throughout the resort grounds. There will be plenty of hot apple cider for imbibing, and fireworks for ogling. Immediately after the Christmas Tree lighting, Santa and Mrs. Claus will host a dinner the whole family will enjoy. Santa's elves and reindeer will be hanging out, too.