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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.

Thanksgiving at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina

September 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Inn at Palmetto Bluff

What could be better than good Southern eats, coupled with that legendary Southern hospitality, at the elegant Inn at Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina's picturesque Low Country? The 2006 Andrew Harper's Hideaway Grand Award Winner is a peaceful and luxurious retreat just minutes from Savannah and Hilton Head Island. Surrounded by flowering gardens overlooking the May River, the Inn provides the ultimate pampering resort experience expected of a world-renowned Auberge Resort. It is also South Carolina's greatest golf resort.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday with the Inn at Palmetto Bluff and treat yourself to a delicious, traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the River House along with a slew of exciting family-oriented activities. Beginning Thursday, November 23 and continuing through Sunday, November 26, 2006 fun-filled adventures include: family games, the Crab Cake Social, 5K Turkey Trot, oyster roast, cider and hot chocolate around the fire pits, cooking and and wine demonstration, and a cruise on the May River for dolphin watching.


Reasons to Love The Jefferson Hotel Richmond

September 6, 2006
By: Courtney W. May

The Jefferson - Room 606 - Turn Down Service

I stayed at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia on the night of July 15th in Guest Room 606 (a deluxe room). I admit I got an awesome rate last minute and because I have a travel agency IATA card (for full disclosure I must mention that), I got a nice rate, but it wasn't free and I made no promises about my reviews. Now I'll cut to the chase and just list for you all of the good (and maybe bad) things to consider on your trip to Richmond.

* The rooms (at least all of the ones I saw) are HUGE (ceilings are tall, windows are large, and the closest had tons of space).

* The city of Richmond is not the absolute greatest view to have -I am not saying it's not bad)- but most importantly - none of the rooms at The Jefferson have views that are into walls, parking garages, or anything like that.

* The hotel pool is indoors, which might be nice in the winter, but Richmond is incredibly hot and in the summer a nice outdoor pool would be really, really nice.

* The Sunday Brunch is everything, plus more, that you've heard about.

* Again, let me say, Richmond is really, really hot in the summer.

* The employees are some of the best I've ever come across (they couldn't have been more helpful).

* I was able to walk to all of the locations I wanted to visit while in Richmond, but if I didn't want to the hotel would have provided a town car free of charge.

The Pool

* Although not associated with the hotel, the Shockoe Slip area of Richmond is a lot of fun and has great restaurants.

* The guest rooms have a strange layout and you can never expect two rooms in the same room category to be exactly equal - but that is because the hotel was built in 1895.

* It is really hard to get reservations for the Sunday morning brunch - so make sure you reserve early.

* Make sure to ask for a non-smoking room if you don't smoke - you're in tobacco country.

The end result is that I definitely want to go back. I traveled from the DC area (which prices for everything are much, much higher) and wouldn't mind spending two or three weekends in the fall, winter and spring in the Richmond area. Rates for this five star hotel are lower then you will find in more places - yet provide you with some of the best services I have experienced. You may not think you have a reason to visit Richmond, but The Jefferson is it.

More candid photos from the trip can be found in my Richmond, VA Photoset on Flickr.


The Newly Renovated Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele, Hawaii, Accepting Reservations

August 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Lanai

Escape to the private Hawaiian island of Lana'i at the new Four Seasons Lanai, The Lodge at Koele, a gracious retreat situated in the island's dramatic central highlands amidst manicured gardens and Hawaii's incredible natural beauty. After an extensive renovation, the resort will reopen on November 15, 2006. Guests enjoy activities such as horseback riding, hiking and world-class golf on two courses, including the new Greg Norman-designed championship course overlooking mountains, lush greens, and cascading waterfalls in awe-inspiring landscapes. Watersports, and a full service spa, are available at the companion resort, Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay, so pampered guests on Lana'i can experience the best of both worlds: highlands and ocean. Savor peaceful tranquility at the pool, surrounded by rolling hills and landscaped gardens, where Four Seasons poolside services include ice water, Evian spritzes, and chilled towels offered by pool attendants. The 901 square foot fitness center is state-of-the-art, with weight room, spa treatment room, and men's and women's lockers. Now taking ressies.


Go Where the Wild Things Are With the Conrad Centennial Singapore

August 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Centennial Singapore

Excellent location. Panoramic views of the city and bay from the guest rooms. Superb business facilities and health club. Highly personalized service. The Conrad Centennial Singapore has it all... a luxurious respite for both business and leisure travelers in the heart of the city. And for a limited time, the hotel is offering two fun special offers. With the "Night Safari Weekender" and "Zoo Weekender" packages, receive luxury accommodation, buffet breakfast and a choice of admission to either the Singapore Zoological Garden for 2 people or 2 tickets to the Night Safari, where visitors check out an awesome array of nocturnal wildlife. Guests are also hooked up with complimentary tram rides around the zoological gardens or safari park. Rates for the "Zoo Weekender" offer start at $233 per room per night, and the "Night Safari Weekender" starts at $243 per room per night. Valid alid until December 30, 2006, over weekends only (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Two-night minimum stay required.


Roughing it in Luxury at The Resort at Paws Up, Montana

August 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Resort at Paws Up

The posh canvas tents at The Resort at Paws Up are more akin to a five-star hotel than camping out. And with the resort's superior five-star amenities, this is the way to experience Montana's epic wilderness in style. Opened in June 2005 on 37,000 acres in Blackfoot Valley, just outside of Missoula, The Resort at Paws Up is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice in this slice of heaven: saddle up and go horseback on the hundreds of miles of trails, take your best shot at the sporting clays course, cast a fly with an expert guide with the best kind of Montana fly-fishing experience, or go swimming in the lake, boating, hiking, mountain biking, rafting, or play a round at the nearby championship golf course. This is the ultimate wilderness adventure playground. After a day enjoying the country, return to a sumptuous in-room spa treatment. Soak up the rustic elegance at Tent City, with featherbeds, fine linens, and all the modern conveniences offered at the resort's other luxury vacation homes, overlooking the grandeur of the Montana wilderness. The Resort at Paws Up offers a truly unique western experience.


Family Travel Package at Grace Bay Club

August 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grace Bay Club Clear turquoise water, lush tropical gardens, white powdery sand on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean… Located on Providenciales in the beautiful Turks and Caicos islands, Grace Bay Club is an all-suite luxury resort comprised of 38 new family-friendly suites at the Villas and the 22-suite adults-only Hotel. A winner of the Five-Star Diamond Award, Grace Bay Club has been a fixture on Travel and Leisure's "World's Best" awards, the "T and L 500" and Conde Nast Traveler's "Gold List." This island getaway promises the best kind of family vacation in paradise. And the new "Portrait in Paradise" package captures the beauty of your Turks and Caicos family holiday with a custom-tailored professional portrait session that will make this year's holiday memorable for the entire family. The four-night package includes a gorgeous professional portrait, accommodations in an oceanview suite at the resort's new Villas, airport meet and greet as well as roundtrip transfers, welcome amenity of chilled champagne and fresh fruit basket, daily continental breakfast, daily three-course, candlelight dinner, in the newly renovated Anacaona Restaurant (children over 12 only) or the family-friendly Grill, and a soothing massage for each adult at the new Anani Spa. Offered through December 19, 2006. Pricing starts at $2,681 per suite, based on double occupancy, and category of suite selected. Additional family members can be accommodated depending on suite type for an additional charge; children under 7 stay free.


A Family Fling in New Orleans at Le Pavillon Hotel

August 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Pavillon

This New Orleans gem is straight out of the Gilded Age. Situated in the heart of the city, adjacent to the French Quarter, Le Pavillon is a grand historic hotel dating from 1907. A member of Historic Hotels of America, Le Pavillon is the recipient of the AAA four-diamond award, and was named to the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List 2006. Each of the hotel's guestrooms is individually decorated, featuring special antiques, such as the hand-carved wooden fireplace mantle in Suite 730 (circa 1600's), Full Tester Bed in Room 316 (what the New Orleans aristocracy slept on in the mid 19th century), and Marble Bathtub, Palace Suite 730 (once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte). The hotel's rooftop—with heated swimming pool, fitness center, hot tub, sun deck and private cabanas—offers spectacular views of the city. In the evenings, Le Pavillon treats its guests to a long-standing tradition: freshly made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches alongside ice cold milk and piping hot chocolate served in the magnificent lobby at 10 pm. This is the perfect hotel for a family getaway, and with so many things for kids to enjoy in the Big Easy, Le Pavillon has put together an excellent Family Fling Package. Starting at $499 per night, the package includes two nights accommodations for four in a two-bedded guestroom, daily breakfast, complimentary parking, passes for admission to the nationally heralded Audubon Zoo, and a copy of 101 Things for Kids to do in New Orleans.

Via National Geographic Traveler A List


Special Offers: Family Vacations at Half Moon, Jamaica

August 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon

Get away from it all, while also getting back to it all, enjoying time together with your family at Half Moon. Since 1954, this gorgeous Jamaica resort has played host to discerning travelers from around the world, who delight in the luxurious accommodations and limitless array of excellent activities. And now Half Moon—with its soft, sandy beaches and 50 freshwater pools—is offering an excellent Homecoming Offer for your family to enjoy some pampering and "together time" on Montego Bay, Jamaica. Available for the months of August, September and October, the Homecoming Offer starts at $289, a savings of up to 20 percent off rack rates. The package includes luxurious accommodations, sumptuous daily breakfast, round trip airport transfers, unlimited use of tennis courts and fitness center, Managers cocktail party, and all taxes and service charges. Children under 2 stay free, while children between 3 and 12 pay only $12.50 per child per night when sharing a room with two adults. (Children aged 13-18 pay $25 per child per night when sharing a room with two adults.)


Free Fourth Night at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina

August 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Just outside the charming historical city of Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a secluded haven of unspoiled beaches, championship golf (five courses! including the world-famous Ocean Course), and nature trails through lush semi-tropical wetlands where alligators, egrets and other natural residents seek refuge. This oceanside resort is likewise paradise for the guests who flock here-- to experience the luxurious accommodations and abundant recreational facilities which provide fun for the whole family to enjoy. Ranked as a top travel destination in North America by Conde Nast Traveler, Kiawah Island offers a slew of lavish accommodations from the fine rooms at The Sanctuary to condos, from private oceanfront homes with private docks to the well-appointed villas with breezy balconies overlooking the sea. And for a limited time, when you reserve a three night stay in the villas, receive an additional night for free! Or stay two nights in a villa, and receive a 50 percent discount on your third night. Both offers includes breakfast for two each day. Valid through December 30, 2006; reserve by September 15, 2006.


An Interview with the General Manager

August 8, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Jonathan Critchard is the General Manager of the five-star deluxe Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London. He has held the position since 1993 and has over 21 years experience heading some of the most prestigious hotels and residences in the United Kingdom and worldwide. He has left his professional imprint on Blakes Hotel, The Hempel, The Dorchester and 3A Palace Green (the world's most luxurious apartment complex located in Kensington Palace Gardens in London); Amberley Castle in West Sussex and The Regent in Hong Kong.

Jonathan Critchard

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Mr. Critchard: By good fortune

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Mr. Critchard: We are family owned and have a warm, friendly and intimate persona.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Mr. Critchard: Our market is predominantly from the USA. We have a repeat guest factor of 45% which is split between corporate and leisure business.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Mr. Critchard: The best thing about our location is that it is incredibly central and situated right opposite Green Park. My favorite thing to do in the surrounding area is to enjoy the open spaces of London’s parks.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Mr. Critchard: Unfortunately not, we are renowned for our discretion in the entertainment industry.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages?

Mr. Critchard: All our apartments are individual and unique, offering both contemporary and traditional styles of decor. 30% of our hotel rooms have stunning views overlooking Green Park.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Mr. Critchard: AA Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh used to live in our apartments. During the war Winston Churchill spent a lot of time in the Down Street underground station, opposite the side of the hotel, and rumor has it, that we kept him supplied with his favorite drink of Pol Roger.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Mr. Critchard: What is their service ethic, how warm is the welcome, and I focus on the quest for both comfort and service.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager?

Mr. Critchard: To juggle a myriad of priorities and key issues to help determine what is best for the business, people and guest.

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Mr. Critchard: The Peninsula in Hong Kong which is the epitome of quality service. Gravetye Manor in Sussex which is a classic country house hotel in stunning surroundings, which offers a wonderful old world charm, hospitality and service.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?

Mr. Critchard: We have recently completed a major refurbishment of our ground floor public areas and dining facilities. This is part of an ongoing project desire to maintain our property to a high standard.

More info on the Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments.