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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.

Free Wireless in New Orleans

December 2, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Vagablond reports today that N'awlins has begun offering the first free wireless internet network owned and operated by a major city. Let's hope the trend catches on! In related news, Gadling's got a great piece about free wifi in the nation's airports. (MSN's top five include Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Jose, Miami, and- um- the hopping metropolis of Albuquerque.)


New Airport Security Measures

December 2, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

New screening procedures are going into effect on December 22 in the nation's airports, and even little scissors pass the test! So my tweezers won't be thrown out again by some overly-competent airport screener?! Could it be? I was told recently that a sea-shell was a hazardous and dangerous weapon that could not possibly be carried on the plane. Let's hope the rules of old do not linger residually... Via CNN


The Best of Hong Kong

November 30, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hong Kong at night

Check out these truly superb Top 10 lists-- best restaurants, walking tours, highlights, hotels-- from The Financial Times and Eyewitness Travel Guides. Their teaser: "Prepare to experience one of the most dramatic urban environments ever conceived."


Outrageous Deals on Fares Between Washington and Boston

November 29, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beginning January 17, JetBlue is starting service between Washingon Dulles and Boston, and-- get this!-- fares are $25 each way. Valid for travel through February 15, and must be booked by November 30. Via The Washington Post


Bringing the Luxury Hotel Experience Home

November 28, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Couldn't get enough of those plush towels and bedding during your Ritz-Carlton weekend? Coveted those bathroom tiles from your Italian vacation? Or even the sun lounger at the JW Marriott in Phuket, Thailand? Buy it online and bring it home with you! The International Herald Tribune has a great piece out today about the latest trend with fashion-savvy guests who are buying pieces of luxury hotels to take home with them.


Tune in to Talk of the Nation: Travel Misadventures

November 28, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lonely Planet Global Travel Director Don George and travel writer Rolf Potts talk travel today on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Lots of stories from LP's humor anthology By the Seat of My Pants will have you cracking up. Via Vagablogging


Finding a Hotel in the Caribbean for the Holidays

November 28, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Lucia

Attempting the impossible task of booking a luxury hotel in the Caribbean for the holidays? Most luxury hotels have been booked solid for months. But don't be discouraged in your quest for a well-deserved (albeit last-minute) Caribbean respite! I've found a few delightful gems that still have availability:

Casa Colonial in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic: Long stretches of white sand beaches. Elegantly furnished all-suites hotel. World-class spa. Conde Nast Traveler's 2005 Hot List. Impeccable service. Enough said.

Casa Colonial, Official Site

Casa Colonial, Five Star Alliance

Anse Chastanet Resort, in the lush mountain paradise of St. Lucia. With 600 acres of tropical foliage, the soaring peaks of Petit Pitons, and extraordinary beaches, this is paradise on earth. Romantic and secluded. Scuba, spa, waters sports and mountain biking.

Anse Chastanet, Official Site

Anse Chastanet, Five Star Alliance

Petit St. Vincent Resort is available for the Christmas week, though not the post-Christmas week. Individual cottages set on a 113 acre privately-owned island of exquisite white sand beaches.

Petit St. Vincent, Official Site

Petit St. Vincent, Five Star Alliance

Martineau Bay Resort and Spa (which I've blogged about recently) in the idyllic, secluded island of Vieques, near Puerto Rico.

Martineau Bay Resort and Spa, Official Site

Martineau Bay Resort and Spa, Five Star Alliance


Gadgets on the Go: Kodak EasyShare-One Digital Camera

November 25, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kodak EasyShare One

Introducing the world's first Wi-Fi consumer digital camera. Share pix instantly from your camera, without a computer! Four megapixel, with three-inch rotating screen, and 256 MB internal memory (enough for 1,500 shots). $600.


Travel with Rick Steves on iTunes

November 16, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rick Steves is the guru of European travel. With superb guidebooks and a website to match, the man knows his Continent. Now, you can also download podcasts of his new public radio show, “Travel with Rick Steves.” Ranked in iTunes “Top 100 Podcasts,” this dude’s a hit. Check it out.


From Singapore to Hong Kong: Shopping Festivals Across Asia

November 12, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shopping Bag

Check this out. A recent article in the International Herald Tribune highlighted a fantastic new trend: shopping wars escalating across Asia. With every big city in Asia competing to draw tourists, shopping festivals have become the focus of retail-themed vacations. July’s Great Singapore Sale generated incredible retail sales and record visitor arrivals. For the eight-week shopping fest, 1.9 million tourists indulged in tourism-shopping sprees. And these folks know how to shop. Apparently, more than half tourist expenditure went to shopping. Likewise, Kuala Lumpur has consolidated three discount shopping periods into the six-week Mega Sale Carnival, running from the end of July to the beginning of September. Not to be outdone, Hong Kong has created its own HK Shopping Festival, which transformed the usual slow end-of-summer-season into another peak travel season. Bangkok’s Amazing Thailand Grand Sale also runs during June and July.

What does this mean for consumers? Aggressive marketing campaigns and hefty competition means consumers score big with competitive pricing, give-aways and promotional gimmicks, like free foot massages in Malaysia and Lucky Draw prizes in HK (including diamonds and luxury watches.)

PS. In case you missed the summer’s shopping extravaganzas, never fear. The Dubai Shopping Festival takes place from January 4 to February 5, and includes raffle prize give-aways worth $2.7 million, 100 kilograms of gold and 10 cars.