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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 Skinny on Flexjet and Fractional Jet Ownership

April 3, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Lance Armstrong Flexjet

By Courtney W. May

When I first saw the Flexjet advertisement with Lance Armstrong, I was mostly confused because I had no idea what a Bombardier was or what fractional jet ownership would be. (I was also confused because I thought the images of Lance didn't do him justice-- see right-- and wasn't sure what advertiser would want to do such a thing.)

Lance Armstrong Flexjet

I did a little bit of research to figure out what Fractional Ownership was and why someone would want to do it. I got most of my information from the F.A.Q. section on the Flexjet website. So is Fractional Jet Ownership like a timeshare? Yes, although a little different since you get access and availability 24 hours a day, every day. And yes, your pet is welcome to travel with you as a member of your family: "A pet safety belt will be provided for pets weighing over 25 pounds. Pets smaller than 25 pounds may ride in a pet carrier or on your lap."

The part I really wanted to know about was price (not that I could afford it). For Flexjet, there are 4 variables as well as financing options which I won't get into here but you can find on the F.A.Q page I mentioned. And of course they aren't going to tell you outright what it's going to cost you-- they want you to contact their 'experienced sales team.' So instead I found an example within a press release from 2004:

"'Jet Rich Quick' The monthly payment ranges from approximately $4,600 for a 1/16th share of a Learjet 45 over a four-year term, to $12,000 for a 1/16th share of a Challenger 604 over a two-year term."

So is it worth it? I'm not sure, but I would be willing to try a couple complimentary flights to find out...


Luxury Airline Eos Offers Reduced Fare and Money Back Guarantee

March 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eos Airlines

As if you needed (yet) another reason to fly the best transatlantic luxury airline in business (besides complimentary car service from London Stansted, the rad frequent flyer program, boutique catering on a 48-seat aircraft designed to transport 5x that number of passengers....) The folks at Eos are so convinced that you'll agree, they're now offering a money-back guarantee for business class flyers of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Get a load of this:

Maybe you think you're flying the best business class to London. But we're willing to bet you're wrong. Our all-premium class airline is designed to be better. And if after flying with us you disagree, we will give you your money back.

Book by April 12, and as a first-timer, you'll also get a special reduced fare: $3,500 or GBP 2,000. Did I mention that this fare includes free car service and a "refresher room" for London arrivals? And if it doesn't add up, rest easy: you'll get a full refund.


The New Mega Suite at the Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico

March 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Punta Mita

So close to Puerto Vallarta (42 kilometers), and yet so isolated in a pristine, tropical paradise. Surrounded by long stretches of white-sand beaches and the turquoise Pacific, Four Seasons Punta Mita offers an unrivaled vacation destination, with luxurious spa and Jack Nicklaus golf. But perhaps the coolest thing about the Punta Mita is the new five-bedroom beachfront Arena Suite, a breathtaking beachfront villa perfect for a family reunion or gathering of friends. The $2.8 million retreat is 13,000 sq feet, with complete privacy, butler service, and magnificent sunset views and whale-watching from a hacienda patio. Amenities include flat screen televisions, high speed internet access, and full marble bathrooms each with a deep soaking tub, separate glass-enclosed shower, and double vanity. Reservations for this suite also includes a daily poolside cabana in the new, adult-oriented Tamai pool complex, complete with 42" plasma tv, DVD, iPod, Bose Wave sound and wifi.

Four Seasons Punta Mita, Official Site

Four Seasons Punta Mita, Five Star Alliance


At Last: Acqualina, A Rosewood Resort, Accepting Reservations

March 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Acqualina

The moment we've all been waiting for. The glorious Sunny Isles beach resort we've been raving about for months, is officially accepting ressies for April 28th arrivals. The setting couldn't be more perfect: 400 feet of gorgeous Florida coastline halfway between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. This luxurious haven features 97 suites, all with private terraces, the Il Mulino New York restaurant, the first ESPA Spa in the US, three swimming pools and the marine biology inspired AcquaMarine children's program. We've been excitedly anticipating this one for months. Enjoy.

Acqualina, Official Site

Acqualina, Five Star Alliance


Special Introductory Offer at Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, Las Vegas

March 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Red Rock

Let the countdown begin. Las Vegas' newest resort opens April 18, with a huge fireworks celebration at approximately 9:30 pm. Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, located at I-215 and West Charleston, is surrounded by serene and inspiring landscapes, just minutes from the Strip. The pool back yard is three acres of fun in the sun, with 19 private cabanas, swim-up gaming, and a tropical island. And the luxurious accommodations are equipped with 42-inch plasma TVs, iPod sound systems, in-room spa service and lustrous linens. For a limited time, take advantage of the exclusive introductory room offer from $129 per night!

Related Article:

The Informed Traveler, "New Las Vegas Hotels: Red Rock Station"


Have You Been Disappointed by your Luxury Travel Vacation?

March 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

A luxury train ride promised to be epic, and it stank to high heaven? A private jet experience gone wrong? The Times UK weighs in:

They're icons of luxury travel: the Orient-Express, the Queen Mary 2, the private jet. Travel on them and you wave goodbye to the common herd. Sure, they cost a small fortune, but you've got to experience them at least once in a lifetime. Or have you? Are the most prestigious train, boat and plane rides in the world all they’re cracked up to be?
The Times sent three writers to find out, whose overwhelming response-- "Damn straight, it's worth it!"-- was a little surprising... Can these icons of luxury travel deliver perfect performances each time? Is there no room for improvement?


The Newly Renovated Spa at The Peninsula Beverly Hills

March 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula Beverly Hills Moonlight Massage

So what if the hotel spa had racked up a mountain of awards, including #1 in service by Conde Nast Traveler readers? The only hotel in Southern California to score both the AAA Five Diamond and Mobil Five Star awards for twelve consecutive years doesn't get complacent or sit pretty on their laurels. Instead, they inject $7 million in renovations into an already picture-perfect spa. The newly transformed Peninsula Spa opened its doors in Beverly Hills last month; its new look is cutting-edge, characterized by limestone, clear glass and mosaic tile-work. The lavish range of treatments include special treatments for men (that run the gamut from facials, sports, body, hand and foot experiences), and a dedicated skin therapy room overlooking the Hollywood Hills. In addition, there is now a Couples Treatment Room, and Spa robes, wraps and headbands from Frette. Spa technicians are fashionably clad in St. John custom-designed uniforms. And the best part of all: the exclusive Shiffa Precious Gem Treatments, which incorporate Shiffa gem oils containing rubies, emeralds and sapphires (oh my!) to relay the gems' healing powers and create serenity.

The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Official Site

The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Five Star Alliance


Announcing the Grand Opening of the Conrad Indianapolis

March 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Indianapolis

At last, a luxury destination hotel for business travelers in the heart of Indiana's capital. The Conrad Indianapolis debuts today (and Conrad's been prepping for this opening ceremony for months!) The 241 guest rooms are loaded with technology and amenities for business travelers: 42 inch flat screen TVs with satellite, high speed wireless internet, spacious work areas, three telephones and fax. In addition, the hotel's got ample meeting space (10,000 sq ft. of it), excellent spa facilities, and fine dining. The Vitesse tapas and caviar bar may even lure East and West coasters into the depths of the Heartland's fly-over territory.


What’s Hot: The 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky

March 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

21C Museum Hotel

The media is abuzz: Louisville's 21C is the hottest thing this side of the Mississippi. The newly-opened boutique hotel-- listed on the National Register of Historic Places-- is part of what the New York Times calls Louisville's "downtown renaissance." The 90 rooms (including six premier suites) are elegantly decorated and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including 42' flat-screen televisions and WiFi. But this masterpiece is not merely a luxury boutique hotel; 21C is also a museum of contemporary art, housing pieces from the owner's mind-blowing $10 million art collection. (Philanthropists Steve Wilson and Laura Brown, a husband and wife team, are the co-developers.)


Four Seasons Hotel Chicago Announces Kevin Hickey as New Executive Chef

March 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Chicago restaurant

The award-winning hotel that is oft considered the best city hotel in the United States has a dining room to match. Seasons Restaurant is an opulent dining experience, both in its gorgeous seventh-floor setting overlooking Chicago's avenues, and in its creative Franco-American cuisine. The new executive chef brings with him an 11 year career with the company. A Chicago native, Hickey is a frequent shopper of neighborhood ethnic markets, incorporating local, organic products into his distinct menus of American cuisine.

As described by Chicago Magazine:

Seven months ago, four-star executive chef Robert Sulatycky left Seasons for Napa Valley to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker. Since the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels are sister properties, that left Kevin Hickey, the executive chef of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, responsible for the entire kitchens of both hotels. The guy says he has literally been running across the street in his chef whites as many as four times a day, "writing menus, driving the creative force, being involved with events." How do you do it? Dish asked. "I don’t know," Hickey replied, "but I delegated a lot. I have great sous chefs and put a little bit more work on their shoulders." One set of those shoulders belongs to the executive sous chef at the Ritz, Mark Payne, a UK native with credentials that include nine years with the Four Seasons family from properties in Nevis (West Indies) to New York City. Clearly Payne and Hickey each performed at the top of their culinary game because Hans Willimann, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, has announced that as of April 1st, Hickey will become the executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel and Payne will be promoted to the top toque position at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Both chefs expect to have their new dining room menus in place by mid-May.