Five Star Alliance
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
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.

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas: The World’s Largest Cruise Ships

December 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Freedom of the Seas

And then there were three. The media went wild when Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas set sail: the 208 ft, 160,000 ton mega ship with a capacity for 4,000 passengers. The world's largest passenger ship featured all sorts of never-before-seen facilities like rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink with Willy Bietak's Ice Skating Musical Extravaganza, mini-golf, boxing ring, water park, and top-deck surfing simulator pool called "Flow Rider." Royal Caribbean's second Freedom-class ship, called Liberty of the Seas, will debut in May 2008. It will depart Miami on Saturdays for seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries. (Ports of call include San Juan, St. Maarten, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.) And the cruise line recently announced that there is a third ship under construction in Finland, which will be dubbed Independence of the Seas. The sister ships will all share the same signature amenities, including the 1,215 sq ft Presidential Family Suite which sleeps up to 14.


Spotlight On: Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

December 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paradisus Palma Real

The DR has got it all: sun-soaked sandy beaches, excellent recreational activities, and oodles of outstanding resorts. Case in point: Paradisus Palma Real-- an all-inclusive, all-suite luxury resort with spectacular ocean views just minutes from the hot spot of Punta Cana. 554 suites feature private terraces, mahogany furniture, flat screen TV, DVD and CD player, and complimentary high speed Internet access. Six restaurants offer a culinary tour of delicious cuisine from around the world (from Mediterranean to Chinese). There are three outdoor pools set in magnificent tropical gardens, tennis courts, a full fitness program at the gym, the ultimate in spa treatments, the Cocotal Golf and Country Club, and a slew of water sports. What more could you ask for? (Did I mention there's unlimited Premium brand drinks at your choice of six bars?)

Related Articles:

NYT, "Family Destination of the Year: Dominican Republic"

Hotel Designs, "Hotels: Paradisus Palma Real Opens"


Last-Minute Caribbean Getaways for the Holidays

December 12, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Villa BAJ BAJ Turks & Caicos

Looking for a last minute getaway trip for the holidays? At this point, just about all of the hotels and resorts in the Caribbean are sold out for the holidays. Any luxury hotels or resorts that do still have availablity, such as the Jamaica Inn, require longer minumum stays (Jamaica Inn has a 10 night min.) There are a few luxury hotels and resorts in Mexico City and South America where you can still find availability.

Seagrape - Little Thatch Island

But don't worry - luxury villas are still available for a last minute holiday getaway in the Caribbean. Luxury caribbean villas are the perfect solution for a last minute luxury getaway with the whole family or with friends.

Luxury Carribean Villas for the Holidays
Grand Cayman: 4 Bedroom beach villa with private boat dock and cabana
Virgin Gorda, BVI: New 3 Bedroom villa with tennis, just steps from the beach
Tortola, BVI: 1 Bedroom beachfront villa on private island off Tortola
Mustique: 9 Bedroom Japanese style villa with pitch & putt
Provo, Turks & Caicos: 5 Bedroom Palace Resort with boat
See all of our Luxury Villas in the Carribean for Christmas and New Years

Not planning on traveling to the Caribbean? Check out what last minute packages are still available in other parts of the world:
Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Miami, FL
The 12 Best Ski Resorts Worldwide
Los Angeles Area Luxury Hotels
Luxury Family Friendly Hotels in Paris

View More of our Recommended Luxury Hotels & Resorts for last minute trips


Don’t Cook - Let the Conrad Chicago

December 11, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Conrad Chicago Cerise During the holiday season, keep your kitchen clean by dining at the Conrad Chicago instead. The Conrad Hotel is located at the heart of Chicago's financial district on Michigan Avenue, also known as "the Magnificent Mile", connected to Nordstrom and Westfield North Bridge shopping centers. Make your reservations for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunch, or New Years Eve dinner now to avoid being turned away. Plus, if you make overnight room reservations with Five Star Alliance at the Conrad, you'll also get a welcome amenity, continental breakfast for two (2) daily, and a possible upgrade upon check-in based upon availability. Christmas Eve (December 24, 2006) 3 Course prix-fixes Menu $55 Adult + Wine pairing additional $24 Christmas Brunch (December 25, 2006) Hours: 11:30a-3:00p $65.00 Adult / $25.00 under 12 New Years Eve Dinner (December 31, 2006) 7 Course dinner Hours: 7:00p-12:00a $90 per adult, optional wine pairings $56


Christmas New Orleans Style

December 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Christmas in New Orleans

During the month of December, New Orleans is the place to be. More than 100 festivities are planned during the month-long event of Christmas New Orleans Style, a celebration of uniquely Cajun holiday activities in a city that is steeped in traditions of the past. The events kicked off with the December 2 tree lighting ceremony at the French Market on Decatur Street, and continued with La Fête de Noël, a Christmas Market at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on December 3. Throughout the month, enjoy caroling, river cruises, candlelight tours through the historic houses of the French Quarter (decorated for the season), and Reveillon, a Creole dining tradition adapted by participating restaurants with holiday prix-fixe menus. Don't miss the Chef's Holiday Cooking Demonstrations, on December 7, 14, and 21, at The Shops at Canal Place. Acclaimed local chefs share their culinary secrets and favorite recipes (and an abundance of yummy samples are yours for the taking). Demos start at 3 pm and last 45 minutes.


Say Hello to the New Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort

December 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Lake Las Vegas

Slated to open on December 9, 2006, Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort is a 25-acre resort surrounded by natural beauty, where the desert meets the mountains, only 17 miles from the Vegas strip. Escape to the Moroccan style Spa, featuring nine treatment rooms and full-service beauty salon and soothe your soul with massages, skin therapies, manicures and pedicures. Enjoy the two signature pools, swimming lagoon, and cabanas. Play a round on two challenging golf courses, including the 18-hole Reflection Bay Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus signature design championship golf course complete with instructional programs managed by Jim Flick Golf. Savor exquisite dining, and experience exhilarating water sports on Lake Las Vegas-- kayaks, pedal boats, canoes and electric boats-- or cruise Lake Mead. Take advantage of a special introductory offer, from $179 per night, valid for the month of December 2006. (Rates from $199 per night available in January 2007.)


Last Minute Holiday Getaways: Palais de la Mediterranee, Nice, France

December 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palais de la Mediterrannee

Now is the time to visit the fabled Mediterranean coast of France. The sun is shining but the crowds have dissipated on the Cote d'Azur. And legendary luxury hotels like the Palais de la Mediterranee in Nice are offering excellent holiday packages, to help spur the decision to ditch the usual harried holiday season at home (caroling and shopping overkill) and take the fam on a delightful winter escape. The most fashionable palace in Nice, situated on the Promenade Des Anglais, offers the ultimate Riviera experience with its Art Deco ambience, award-winning Le Padouk restaurant, panoramic poolside terrace, and splendid accommodations. Recently rated among the "Top 75 European Hotels" in Conde Nast Traveler magazine's Reader's Choice Awards 2006, the Palais de la Mediterranee has devised two great value offers for a joyous Christmas and New Year's. The Magical Christmas Package starts at an unbelievable EUR 285 per night, and includes accommodations in a superior city view room, daily breakfast buffet, welcome gift, Christmas lunch or dinner at Restaurant Le Padouk on December 25, complimentary extra bed and breakfast for one child under 12 and unlimited access to the indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, fitness center, sauna and steam room. Valid from December 22-26, 2006. Two night minimum stay. Sea view room is available for an additional EUR 25 per night. Likewise, the Cabaret Show Time New Year's Package is an excellent value, starting from EUR 425 per night. The package includes accommodations in a superior city view room, daily breakfast buffet, a VIP welcome, New Year's Eve gourmet dinner with beverages such as Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée 730, a French cabaret show and after dinner dancing, unlimited access to the indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, fitness center, sauna and steam room. Valid from December 28, 2006 to January 2, 2007. Minimum two night stay required.


Christmas Recipes from Sea Island Resorts, Georgia

December 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sea Islands Resorts

Georgia's Sea Islands Resorts-- renowned for its championship golf, incredible dining, legendary Southern hospitality, and exclusive accommodations-- offers a wonderful holiday escape this Christmas season for the whole family. Scheduled events include ballroom dancing, classical concerts, themed Christmas trees, gingerbread castles, spiced cider and hot toddy toasts, nightly elf tuck-in for the kiddies, crafts workshops, holiday bingo, and the Reindog Parade for pets with prizes awarded for the most festively costumed pet. Plus, the resort guarantees a White Christmas, with a special delivery of blown snow at the Beach Club for a seaside Snow Day. For a holiday treat, enjoy these favorite recipes from Sea Islands Pastry chefs:

Spiced Pumpkin Cheescake

Crust

1 cup Graham crumbs

5 TBSP melted butter

1 cup All-Purpose flour

1-1/2 cup granulated sugar

Cheesecake Batter

1-1/2 lbs cream cheese

1 cup sugar

1 TSP nutmeg

1/2 TSP ginger

1/2 TSP allspice

1 TBSP cinnamon

1/4 TSP cloves

1-1/4 cups pumpkin puree

3 eggs

4 egg yolks (mixed well)

Procedure

Press crust into pans. Fill to the top with batter. Bake in a waterbath at 250 F until done. Freeze until set hard. Release from the pans. Yield: 2 9-inch Cakes

Chewy Gingersnaps

Batter

2/3 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Primex

3 TBSP Molasses

1 Egg

1-3/4 cup All Purpose Flour

2 TSP Baking Soda

1/2 TSP Cinnamon

1 TBSP Ginger

1/2 TSP Cloves

1/2 TSP Nutmeg

1/4 TSP Salt

Procedure

Cream together the Fat, Sugar and Molasses. Add the egg and mix well. Scrape the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Scoop using desired ice cream scoop. Sprinkle with grain sugar and bake. 350 F for 20 minutes.


Magical London Package at Red Carnation Hotels

December 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Christmas in London

As winter blankets the city, London welcomes the yuletide season with seasonal spirit and festive celebrations. Head to the West End and watch a Christmas Classic like The Nutcracker, join in with the carol singers and merry revelers, skate across one of the many outdoor ice rinks, gather around the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, explore the plethora of Yuletide fairs, and of course shop 'til you drop on the best shopping streets in the world. The capital is at its festive best, decked out with lights and brimming with good cheer. To celebrate the season, Red Carnation Hotels is offering luxurious and fun-filled breaks at their three four-star London hotels-- The Chesterfield Mayfair, The Rubens at the Palace, and The Montague on the Gardens-- with a special Magical London package. The package includes two nights stay, welcome gift upon arrival, Santa Claus hat, full English breakfast daily, tea for two with Christmas cake, taxi to Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights and start your Holiday Sales Shopping (plus shopping map), and a stocking filled with seasonal goodies for those staying Christmas day. Upgrade to an Executive Suite and you'll enjoy a decorated Christmas Tree in your suite and a visit by Santa on Christmas day (if children accompany the guests). Magical London package rates start from: The Chesterfield – GBP 360 for the Double Room and GBP 620 for the Suite package; The Montague – GBP 330 for the Double Room and GBP 480 for the Suite package; The Rubens – GBP 330 for The Double Room and GBP 480 for the Suite package. The Magical London package rates are based on double occupancy for two nights, inclusive of taxes. Available until January 7, 2007.


Winter Fun Package at The Homestead, Virginia for only $109

November 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Homestead

The Homestead is the winter playground for generations of families. Ranked among the world's top spa and golf resorts, the National Historic Landmark is located in Virginia's Allegheny mountains, where a plethora of outdoor activities are at your beck and call: skiing (with the excellent Sepp Kober Ski School and its staff of international instructors), snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, snowmobile tours, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Indoors, there's the world-class spa, bowling, movies, video games, heated pool, billiards, and family games. Folks have been flocking here since the 1700s to "take the waters" at the historic hot springs and naturally-heated pools. And they continue to flock to this timeless retreat to enjoy the world-class facilities and beautiful setting. The Winter Fun Package at The Homestead starts at just $109 and includes luxurious accommodations, breakfast daily, use of fitness center and outdoor pool, and afternoon tea in the Great Hall. Children 12 and under eat breakfast free. Children 18 and under stay free.