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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.

Trends in Travel: Spas are Using Locally Grown Ingredients

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Miraval ResortLike the farm-to-table food movement, spas are sourcing locally grown ingredients like chamomile and lavender. This new trend was highlighted in the International Spa Association's annual trend showcase in New York on August 18. Another new direction that spas are taking? Treatments are focusing not just on beauty but also on remedying stress and pain. Lastly, as The Washington Post points out, spa treatments are embracing technology:

  • The Spa at Trump demonstrated a pulsating light treatment on hands at the ISPA event; the LED therapy is used in facials at Trump Hotel spas ($150 for 30 minutes at Trump Soho). The Trump team also showed off a sparkly new line of SpaRitual vegan nail polish (animal fat can be an ingredient in nail polish).

And the spa market is looking pretty healthy, too, with statistics showing that the industry is recovering from the recession. An annual study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that revenue was up to $12.8 billion in 2010, a 4% increase over 2009, with spa visits increasing from 143 million to 150 million.

Pictured: A spa treatment at Miraval Resort in Arizona.


Win a Trip to New Orleans with the Hotel Monteleone

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monteleone, New OrleansWant to go on a trip to the Big Easy? The Hotel Monteleone has launched its second and final social media-based trip giveaway to New Orleans in conjunction with its 125th Anniversary. The contest, “History, Holidays and the Hotel Monteleone,” is running through the Hotel’s Facebook page and will end on November 4 at 11:59 p.m. (CST). The prize includes round-trip airfare to New Orleans from any location in the continental United States, a two-night stay in one of the hotel’s luxury suites, a signed copy of the Hotel’s 125th Anniversary history book, "Hotel Monteleone: More Than a Landmark, The Heart of New Orleans Since 1886," and a set of limited edition 125th Anniversary Mignon Faget cocktail glasses.

How to enter? It couldn't be easier. Simply visit the Hotel Monteleone’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/hotelmonteleone and click “Like” if you're not already a fan. Next, click "Contest" on the Left sidebar. Contestants must enter their first and last names, state and email address. That’s it. The Hotel Monteleone will randomly select a winner at the end of the contest period on November 4 and will announce the winner on November 9 through Facebook.


The Biggest Hotel Pool in Paris at Le Royal Monceau's Swank New Spa

September 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Monceau, Raffles ParisWe're giddy over the news: Le Royal Monceau, the gorgeous Raffles hotel in Paris, has opened a spa designed exclusively by Philippe Starck. (Read: Some serious eye candy is in store!) It's a sprawling, contemporary space-- 16,000 square feet all in white-- with custom furnishings and delightful amenities. The best part of all? The 92-foot swimming pool that's the largest hotel pool in Paris! There are seven treatment rooms including a VIP suite, a gym with all the latest equipment, and private fitness classes and training sessions. You could be content to hang out all day in the spa. The separate men's and women's relaxation areas come with hammams, saunas, ice fountains, and more. But The Spa My Blend by Clarins offers some revolutionary facial treatments, too...


Announcing the Park Hyatt Marrakech Al Maaden

September 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Marrakech

As if you needed further proof of Marrakech's status as a global capital of hotel cool: Park Hyatt is opening a property there in 2012. (This is the hotel brand that scored top honors with Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme- recently named by the French government as one of just eight "palace" hotels in France.) Located within the within the Al Maaden Golf Resort, the Park Hyatt Marrakech Al Maaden will have rooms with views of both the Atlas Mountains and the 18-hole golf course, created by award-winning golf course designer Kyle Phillips in the style of a classic Moroccan garden. Top digs: Each of the 45 villas will have a living room, dining room, fireplace and pool. Ooh la la!


New in London: Wolfgang Puck's Cut at 45 Park Lane

August 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

45 Park LaneWe've been waiting with bated breath for the opening of Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant in Europe: Cut at 45 Park Lane. The newest hotel from The Dorchester Collection will have the honor of housing the steakhouse, mirroring "the award-winning and hugely popular original CUT in Beverly Hills." And now-- courtesy of Daily Candy London-- we've got a few more details:

1. The chef’s favourite dish on the menu is sauteed Dover sole meuniere served with preserved lemon and parsley.

2. It’s the first time this many (sixteen) of Damien Hirst’s prints from a certain series have appeared in the same location.

3. Unlike at other branches, Cut in London will be open for breakfast (salt beef hash cakes, poached eggs with bearnaise sauce and buttermilk pancakes with whipped bourbon-maple butter) and lunch (Dorset crab and lobster Louis cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish, smaller cuts of signature steaks).

For more exciting information about the resto, check out Daily Candy's article.


Now at Four Seasons Hotels: Paraben-Free Toiletries by L'Occitane

August 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Punta MitaGood news for all you toiletry hoarders out there. The Four Seasons hotel chain has announced that it will be changing to paraben-free toiletries after numerous studies have linked the chemical paraben to certain cancers. As The USA Today Hotel Check-In blog reports, Four Seasons is rolling out a new line of bath products by L'Occitane: "The move coincides with the Four Seasons chain's broader effort to use more natural products in its spas." City hotels have already started to replace their toiletry inventory, and Four Seasons resorts will start receiving their shipments in September. And by the end of this year, all Four Seasons hotels will feature an organic, chemical-free product in their spas.

Pictured: The Four Seasons Punta Mita in Mexico.


The Waikiki Edition Hotel is Now the Waikiki Modern

August 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waikiki EditionThe owners of the Waikiki Edition changed their locks overnight, according to The Wall Street Journal, installing new management, kicking out Marriott International Inc., even changing the signs. Marriott partnered with hotel pioneer Ian Schrager to launch the trendy new brand, but since the debut of the Waikiki property, it has floundered. The owners filed "a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court that Marriott had failed to make the flashy new Edition hotel brand a success, resulting in the Waikiki location underperforming relative to its market." Marriott has also opened an Edition hotel in Istanbul, and planned to open additional properties in London and Miami Beach. What's next in this dramatic hotel saga? Will Marriott regain control of the Edition? Only time will tell...


$96 Per Night: 96-Hour Sale at RockResorts Hotels

August 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Arrabelle at Vail SquareWhether you're looking to tear it up on the slopes in Colorado, lounge by the beach on St. Lucia, go snorkeling in Jamaica, or savor some Southwestern flavor in Santa Fe, RockResorts is giving you the chance. Score lavish accommodations at affordable prices with a 96-hour sale with rooms starting from just $96 a night. Available for travel seven days a week through April 8, 2012, this offer must be booked by Wednesday, August 31, 2011, at Midnight MDT. Check out some of these fab destinations: The Osprey at Beaver Creek, The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Keystone Lodge and Spa, The Lodge at Vail, The Arrabelle at Vail Square, The Landings St. Lucia in the West Indies, Half Moon in Jamaica, Snake River Lodge & Spa in Wyoming, Tempo in Miami, and La Posada de Santa Fe.


Italy is the Top Vacation Pick for Americans?

August 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Naples, ItalyWhere are Americans lusting to travel to right now? According to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, Italy is the top choice for vacations. When 2,183 American adults were surveyed about their top pick for travel outside of the U.S. (irrespective of cost), the No. 1 pick, for the second year in a row, was Italy. The poll results are not new; Italy has been a top pick for Americans for some time - it has ranked as either the first or second choice for the past 8 years in The Harris Poll. Coming in No. 2: Great Britain, followed by Australia in 3rd place. Rounding out this year's top 5 are Ireland (4) and France (5).

Pictured: The Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples.


The Buzz in Baltimore: Four Seasons Hotel to Open in November

August 26, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Baltimore

There's a new hotel on the block in Baltimore. Four Seasons is building a temple to luxury on the water in Harbor East, "the city's hippest new district" (to quote the hotel's official website). Billed as a "chic, five-star, resort-like getaway," the new urban retreat is now accepting reservations starting November 20, 2011. There will be a spa to be sure (this is Four Seasons we're talking about), and a restaurant by chef Michael Mina called Wit and Wisdom, a Tavern. Forget what you see on "The Wire" (the HBO hit); Balty's getting a makeover! The city was ranked by Forbes as America's third best shopping destination in 2010.