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The 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.


Featured Journeys: All-American Patriotic Road Trip

This edition of Featured Journeys: All-American Patriotic Road Trip takes us on a journey along the East Coast of the U.S.A. The journey begins in Boston to explore historic sites and iconic attractions, then it's on to New York City for the Statue of Liberty, Broadway Shows, and famous pizza. Next up, Philadelphia, home of the new Museum of the American Revolution and the Liberty Bell. The road trip wraps up in the capital city of Washington, D.C. Whether you choose to travel via car, rail, or air, this journey offers an itinerary filled with history and must-see attractions, along with top luxury hotel choices to start and end each day in pure comfort. 

Boston
New York City
Philadelphia
Washington, D.C.

Boston

One of the country's oldest cities, Boston is a walkable city known for history and seafood. Begin your trip with a walk along the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, where you'll visit 16 iconic landmarks while walking along a red-lined trail. Explore museums, churches, meeting houses, and burying grounds with historical significance, including King's Chapel, Faneuil Hall, Old State House, Paul Revere House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Bunker Hill Monument. While you're here, be sure to try some local seafood, perhaps at the city's oldest restaurant, Ye Old Union Oyster House, a National Historic Landmark. You'll also want to try a cup of clam chowder, and maybe some Boston Cream Pie. If it's summer, head to Fenway Park for a one-of-a-kind baseball viewing experience at the national's oldest Major League Baseball Stadium or visit Boston Common and go for a swan boat ride. Those who love to shop will want to visit the boutiques along Newbury Street. 

Here are a few of our top Boston Luxury Hotels:

Liberty Hotel

Lobby of the Liberty Hotel

Spend the night in a former jail at the Liberty Hotel. Formerly the Charles Street Jail, the property is considered one of the best examples of "Boston Granite Style" from the mid-19th century. Transformed into a luxury hotel in 2007, The Liberty has 298 guest rooms and suites featuring playful nods to the building's past, the Clink restaurant serving seafood and New England fare, Alibi serving cocktails and late night snacks, and the Liberty Bar. Editor's note: this is an extremely pet-friendly hotel with "yappy hours" and special amenities for four-legged friends. 

Check rates at the Liberty Hotel

Fifteen Beacon

Fifteen Beacon

Reigning over the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, Fifteen Beacon is luxury boutique hotel set within a turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts Building. Focused on discreet service and bespoke amenities, the property mixes modern with an original caged-glass elevator, grand marble staircase, and mahogany paneling. The property's Mooo...restaurant offers a modern take on a steakhouse menu with regional influences, warm lighting, and sleek furnishings. 

Learn more about Fifteen Beacon

Fairmont Copley Plaza

Signature Interior Courtyard King

Since opening in 1912, the Fairmont Copley Plaza has been an iconic Boston landmark. Situated in Boston's historic Back Bay, the property is located along the Freedom Trail, steps from the Boston Public Library, Newbury Street boutiques, and Copley Place Mall. Carley Copley--the resident canine welcomes guests, and the hotel's 383 lavish guest rooms and suites are furnished in classic style infused with Boston influences. There's a rooftop health club overlooking the city, and the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is an American brasserie serving locally-sourced cuisine. 

Check rates at Fairmont Copley Plaza

Explore All Boston Luxury Hotels

 

New York City

After exploring the historic city of Boston, it's time to head south to New York City. From Times Square and the Broadway Theaters, to Fifth Avenue's shopping, NYC is an iconic destination in itself. Central Park offers a retreat from the hussle and bustle, the Empire State Building features one-of-a-kind views of the metropolis, and a visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island provides visitors with a look at what life was like for the immigrants arriving in the 1800s. While you're here, be sure to a slice (or two) of New York Pizza, see a Broadway Show, and perhaps check out a baseball game at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field. 

Here are a few of our top New York City Luxury Hotels:

The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park

The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park

For a room with a view of the Statue of Liberty, The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park provides an ideal setting. In the heart of the city's financial district in Lower Manhtattan, the hotel offers luxury accommodations with a waterfront setting. There's a full-service spa and fitness center, along with Ritz Kids programming and amenities, and the 2West modern American bistro. Steps from Battery Park and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the hotel is perfect for business and leisure travelers. 

Learn more about The Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park

The Plaza Hotel

Dining at The Plaza New York

An iconic NYC landmark, The Plaza Hotel recently completed a major restoration transforming the property into a historic luxury hotel infused with a contemporary spirit for the modern traveler. Guest rooms and suites feature in-room iPads for visitors to control their entire experience, and suite guests receive 24 hour butler service. The Palm Court serves a legendary Afternoon Tea, and new offerings include the Champagne Bar, stylish Rose Club, The Todd English Food Hall, and The Plaza Food Hall.

Check rates at The Plaza Hotel

The NoMad Hotel

Guest room at The NoMad Hotel

Close to the Flatiron District and Gramercy Park, The NoMad Hotel is nestled within a turn of the century Beaux Arts building. Featuring a boutique style setting by renowned French Designer Jacques Garcia, the chic guest rooms have custom-designed furnishings and original artwork. Public spaces are designed as gathering spaces, and the hotel's restaurant serves casually-elegant food and beverages by acclaimed Chef Daniel Humm and Restauranteur Will Guidara, founders of the critically acclaimed Michelin three-star rated Eleven Madison Park.  

Learn more about The NoMad Hotel

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Philadelphia

Next stop, the City of Brotherly Love. On the Five Star Alliance's List of "17 Places to go in 2017", and founded by William Penn in 1682, Philadelphia is a must-see for history enthusiasts. The Independence National Historic Park is home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where visitors can stand in the room where the Declaration of Independence was drafted. Two blocks away, the newly opened Museum of the American Revolution, provides guests with an in-depth look at how the country gained its freedom with interactive exhibits and historic artifacts like George Washington's tent.

Here are a few of our top Philadelphia Luxury Hotels:

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

Situated within an Art Deco-style building, Hotel Palomar Philadelphia provides a city center location in the popular Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. The eco-friendly property features a variety of art infused with political and historical figures, including three brightly-colored Ben Franklin effigies, the Square 1682 restaurant with chef-prepared new American cuisine, and daily hosted wine hours. 

Check rates at Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Hotel

The Rittenhouse Hotel

Almost as iconic as the city itself, the Rittenhouse Hotel towers nine stories above Philadelphia. Guest rooms and suites are spacious, and the hotel offers family travel amenities such as welcome gifts, children's bathrobes, baby bathtubs, in-room movies and popcorn, and a copy of the book, "Goodnight Philadelphia". There's also Afternoon Tea, brunch, and fine dining at LaCroix, and the Rittenhouse Spa and Club with Hair by Paul Labrecque. 

Learn more about the Rittenhouse Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia

The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia

Steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia is set beneath the marble dome of a former bank building. Originally built as a reconstruction of the Pantheon in 1908 by the Girard Trust Company, the hotel recently completed a $25 million redesign. The refreshed property offers reimagined modern guest rooms and suites, Club Lounge,  and a revitalized lobby with Aqimero--a new restaurant, bar, and lounge. 

Check rates at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia

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Washington, D.C.

The final stop of this Featured Journey takes us to the nation's capital city. From the White House to the National Mall, the city offers iconic landmarks and sites to see. The Smithsonian Museums provide free admission, giving visitors the opportunity to explore as many of the museums as time allows. During the summer months, take in a Nationals Game or go kayaking along the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. To learn more about the country's government, visit the Capital's Senate and House Chambers, then be sure to stop and enjoy the views of the memorials along the National Mall. For shopping, head to Georgetown with an array of international and local boutiques, and check out one of the city's rooftop bars for a nightcap with one-of-a-kind vistas. 

Here are a few of our top Washington, D.C. Luxury Hotels:

The Hay-Adams Hotel

White House View Room at The Hay-Adams Hotel

Overlooking the White House, The Hay-Adams Hotel offers accommodations with iconic views, including the White House View Room (shown above). Built in 1928, the iconic hotel housed in an Italian Renaissance-style mansion features original details like high ceilings, ornate plaster moldings, and a walnut-paneled lobby. Close to the city's top attractions, the hotel's Lafayette Restaurant has fine dining with views of Lafayette Park, the Off the Record Bar is popular with politicos and visitors, and children receive nightly turn-down service with milk and cookies.

Learn more about The Hay-Adams Hotel

The Watergate Hotel

One Bedroom Suite at The Watergate Hotel

Fresh off a $200 million renovation, The Watergate Hotel provides an urban retreat in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. The infamous hotel features the Top of the Gate--a rooftop bar and lounge with panoramic Potomac views, Kingbird restaurant, and The Next Whisky Bar. Plus, the Argentta Spa with the hotel's original indoor pool, along with a fitness center and barre studio. Five Star Alliance Perk: Guests booking through Five Star Alliance receive a $50 hotel credit to use during their stay.

Check rates at The Watergate Hotel

The Dupont Circle Hotel

LEVEL NINE Suite at The Dupont Circle Hotel

Perched above one of the city's most vibrant neighborhoods, The Dupont Circle Hotel offers spacious and contemporary accommodations. Rooms on the hotel's LEVEL NINE provide elevated luxuries, private glass-walled balconies, and memorable city views. Cafe Dupont serves an American menu wtih French influences, and Bar Dupont has a happy hour popular with the cosmopolitan after-work crowd. 

Learn more about The Dupont Circle Hotel

Explore All Washington, D.C. Luxury Hotels

 

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An iconic destination since 1888, the Hotel del Coronado has welcomed celebrities, dignitaries, and royalty from around the world. For a luxurious setting within the hotel's original Victorian Building, the Victorian Junior Suites have a spacious sitting area along with one king or two queen-sized beds, or the larger Ocean View Victorian Signature Suites offer a king-sized bed, plus a separate living room with a queen-sized pull-out sofa bed. Due to the historical nature of the property, each of the Signature Suites varies in size and layout, which also lends a unique charm to the coastal chic furnishings of the suites. To top it off, the suites feature private balconies with panoramic views of the hotel's beach and the Pacific Ocean. Read more below the photo of the Victorian Junior Suite. 

Victorian Junior Suite at the Hotel del Coronado

For families looking for additional space, the hotel's Two-Bedroom Victorian Blue Octopus Family Suite offers spacious accommodations, including a separate bedroom for the kids with ocean-inspired whimsical decor and bunk beds. Plus, there are two bathrooms and a living room with a sofa bed. Read more below the photo of the Hotel del Coronado swimming pool. 

Main Pool at the Hotel del Coronado

The Hotel del Coronado is a National Historic Landmark with the Victorian Building, contemporary Ocean Towers, California Cabanas, and oceanfront cottages and villas within the Beach Village. The iconic property combines Southern California seaside charm with fine dining at 1500 Ocean, a legendary Crown Room Brunch, spa, and the Sunset Bar with a firepit, seaside location, and seasonal cocktails. Continue reading below the Crown Room photo for a special Perk for Five Star Alliance guests.

Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado

Five Star Alliance Perk: Guests booking through Five Star Alliance receive a commemorative book celebrating the history of the Hotel del Coronado. 

Check rates and availability at Hotel del Coronado


Perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron, the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island is steeped in history. Built in 1887, the elegant property is located between the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan on the car-free Mackinac Island. Providing guests the opportunity to step back in time with horse drawn carriage rides, the 390-room hotel offers more than three dozen themed suites, which offer unique accommodations and one-of-a-kind style including the Lincoln Suite and the Hollywood Suite. Read more below the photo of the hotel.

Exterior view of the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

For an ultra-luxe stay, six of the hotel's themed suites are Two-Bedroom Suites with Parlors. These accommodations include the Presidential Suite, which features an elegant setting with antiques, photos, and paintings of U.S. Presidents, and an elegant parlor with a regal emerald green color palette. There's also the Cupola Suites which debuted in 2015 when the property began restoring the hotel's original dormers from the late 1800s. Work is currently ongoing, and new Cupola Suites will be added in the 2017/18 offseason. Continue reading below the photo of one of the hotel's suites.

Suite at the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

In addition to the suites, the hotel's Masco Cottage is a four-bedroom private residence with an exclusive entrance. Guests staying within the cottage can arrange private dinners prepared by a personal chef, relax in an outdoor hot tub, play games on the Wii gaming system, and experience cocktails and hors d'oeuvres within the privacy of the summer cottage. They also receive discounts on ferry boat tickets and charter air services. 

The historic, award-winning property has been family-owned for three generations, and is a National Historic Landmark. Celebrating it's 130th Anniversary Season in 2017, the Grand Hotel offers old world elegance with afternoon tea in the parlor, dressing up for dinner (the hotel has a dress code), and nightly dancing to the sounds of the Grand Hotel Orchestra. For those seeking relaxation, the hotel offers the world's longest porch with rocking chairs and panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac. Read more below the porch photo.

The front porch of the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

Check rates and availability at the Grand Hotel Mackinac Island


Sponsored Post*

Featuring a family-friendly atmosphere steps away from the historic sites of downtown, the Belmond Charleston Place is ideal for family vacations. For a limited time, the hotel is offering the Rooftop Relaxation Package, which includes luxurious accommodations, complimentary breakfast for children 12 and under in The Palmetto Cafe when accompanied by a paid adult meal, and a 25% discount at the Clock Tower Terrace, which is located next to the hotel's rooftop pool. Continue reading below the photo. 

The Rooftop Clocktower Bar at the Belmond Charleston Place

From the Belmond Charleston Place, families can explore the city on foot or bicycle, or enjoy strolling the streets in a horse-drawn carriage. The South Carolina Aquarium and Waterfront Park are nearby, and historic attractions such as Middleton Plantation with a petting zoo are a short drive away. Continue reading below the photo.

Charleston Carriage Ride at Belmond Charleston Place

The recently remodeled Belmond Charleston Place provides a luxurious setting in the historic district close to the Charleston City Market. Overlooking King Street and downtown, the heated rooftop saltwater pool has a retractable roof as well as the Clock Tower Terrace for outdoor dining. There's also the Shops at Belmond Charleston Place with upscale boutiques, the award-winning Charleston Grill, Palmetto Cafe for casual dining, and a health club. 

Visit the Belmond Charleston Place website to learn more

*The content of this sponsored article was provided by Belmond Charleston Place. Offers and packages are subject to change.


Perched along a sandy beach on a quiet bay, Porto Zante Villas and Spa offers a secluded luxury retreat on the island of Zakynthos. The all-villa resort has one-, two-, and four-bedroom villas, all with private pools (some with beachfront areas) and high-end amenities such as Armani Casa & Gervasoni furnishings, Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems, Bernardaud design porcelain, Christofle Paris cutlery and glasses, BVLGARI guest amenities, and artwork by prominent Greek artists. Continue reading below the photo for more about the resort and a special perk for Five Star Alliance guests.

Porto Zante Villas and Spa

Open seasonally from April to October, the beachfront Porto Zante provides guests with an array of unique experiences and activities. For water sports, the resort has sea cycles, canoes, stand-up paddle boarding, parascending, water skiing, wakeboarding, and jet-skiing. Fitness options include beachfront yoga, a fitness center, personal training, tennis, and horse riding, while family options include a kids' club with organized activities, a water park with water slides, and the Kids' Corner playground. Guests interested in culture and off-site excursions can visit wineries, the Kiliomeno mountain village, St. Dionisios Monastery, Byzantine Museum, Ancient Olympia, and the Museum of Dionisios Solomos or explore the Navagio Beach shipwreck, Blue Caves, Bochali, as well as see the endangered Caretta-Caretta Turtles in their natural habitat on Marathonisi Island. Continue reading below the photo.

Activities at Porto Zante

Five Star Alliance Perk: Guests that book through Five Star Alliance receive complimentary butler service, kid's entertainment, and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne upon arrival.

Check rates and availability at Porto Zante Villas and Spa

 


Featured Journeys: Luxury Road Trip Along California's Highway 1In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a luxury road trip along California's iconic Highway One. Set along the coastline, and extending over 600 miles, this picturesque route is one of the most famous driving routes in the world. We recommend starting your journey in San Francisco then heading south to Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Laguna Beach. Please note: Due to winter storms, part of Highway One is closed. It is set to reopen mid-April, but please check on the status of road closures before planning your trip. 

San Francisco
Monterey
Santa Barbara
Laguna Beach

San Francisco

The journey begins in San Francisco. Offering an international airport with gateways around the world, begin your road trip here, spending a few days exploring what the city has to offer, then continue on down the coast. Known as the "City by the Bay" this iconic locale is home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombardi Street, and Alcatraz. Ride the cable cars, tour a Victorian mansion, take in the views at Golden Gate Park, and sample some authentic flavors in Chinatown. Editor's note: From April to September, the San Francisco Giants play in the heart of the city at AT&T Park, an ideal place to try some regional cuisine while taking in a ballgame with stellar views of the city. 

Here are a few of our top San Francisco hotels:

Fairmont San Francisco

Fairmont San Francisco Signature Golden Gate Suite

Set atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco is a landmark hotel with an iconic setting, that sits at the only point in San Francisco where each of the city's cable car lines meet. Known for its grandeur and reputation for impeccable service, the grand property has a Penthouse Suite that spans the entire eight floor of the historic Main Building. Guest rooms blend historic charm with modern elegance, and there is the famous Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, offering Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine and a Tiki-style setting where thunder and rain storms occur as part of the entertainment. Planning this trip with a family or group? The Fairmont offers a Double Queen with a pull-out sofa bed. 

Check rates at the Fairmont San Francisco

 

Palace Hotel

Palace Hotel San Francisco

Occupying an entire city block in downtown, the Palace Hotel was built in the Golden Age of Travel. The 1909 Beaux-Arts property greets guests with wrought iron filigree work, gold leaf embellishment, and angels over every doorway. Once inside, there are marble floors, coved ceilings, and soaring archways. Recently renovated guest rooms and suites feature historic details, mixed with modern amenities and furnishings in plum, charcoal, and dove grey. There are three famous restaurants: The Garden Court, GC Lounge, and the Pied Piper, plus an indoor sky-lit swimming pool, and 24-hour fitness center. 

Learn more about the Palace Hotel

 

Four Seasons San Francisco

Four Seasons San Francisco

Two blocks from Union Square's famed shopping district, the Four Seasons San Francisco offers a centralized SoMa location on Market Street across from Yerba Buena Gardens. Featuring modern decor with a neutral color palette, guest rooms have a residential feel with floor-to-ceiling windows providing city views, spacious marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, and glass-enclosed showers. There's an on-site spa, children's amenities, a 75-foot indoor lap pool for adults at the adjoining Equinox Sports Club, and the MKT Restaurant.

Check rates and availability at Four Seasons San Francisco

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Monterey

About two hours south of downtown San Francisco, Monterey is a historic fishing town. Today, the famous Cannery Row is home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, art studios, boutiques, and restaurants. Close to Big Sur, Carmel-by-the Sea, and Pebble Beach, the picturesque area offers a variety of luxury lodging, as well as golf, upscale shopping, vineyards, and opportunities to see local wildlife including whales, sea otters, seals, and sea lions. Be sure to go along the 17-mile drive for some of the best scenery and to visit our first featured luxury hotel in the Monterey area. 

Here are a few of our top Monterey hotels:

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

The Lodge at Pebble Beach

Set at the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Lodge at Pebble Beach provides an oceanside setting. Guest rooms feature views of golf course and sea, along with wood burning fireplaces, patios or balconies, and marble bathrooms. In addition to the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Spa at Pebble Beach is a recipient of the Forbes Five-Star Award, there are multiple award-winning dining options, a retail arcade with a variety of shops, and guests have access to the Beach & Tennis Club--Monterey Peninsula's private club. 

Learn more about The Lodge at Pebble Beach

 

Post Ranch Inn 

Post Ranch Inn

Set along Highway One in Big Sur, the Post Ranch Inn is a modern retreat blending rustic elegance with luxury and comfort. Perched along the coastline (ideal for seasonal whale watching), the adults-only property is designed for guests to reconnect with nature and travel partners, so guest rooms do not have TVs or alarm clocks. There is a heated outdoor pool, fitness center, and two heated whirlpools overlooking the sea, plus the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant. Amenities include daily gourmet breakfast, morning yoga, art walks, star gazing, edible tours of the chef's garden, and culinary walks. Please note: this property is currently closed until mid-April 2017, due to weather-related road repairs. 

Check rates and availability at the Post Ranch Inn

 

Ventana Inn & Spa

Ventana Inn & Spa

Perched along the Big Sur coastline amidst 243 acres of redwoods, meadows, and ridges, the Ventana Inn & Spa features a rustic, yet refined atmosphere with a spa, two outdoor swimming pools--including one clothing-optional pool, daily yoga classes, hour-long guided property walks, and afternoon wine and cheese receptions. The Restaurant at Ventana is set within an upscale environment with an eclectic menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, and a patio overlooking 50 miles of coastline. For creatives, the property offers "Art and Seekers" programs such as photography hikes, mandala coloring for couples, and block printing. Accommodation options include guest rooms, suites, the Cottage House, and new in 2017, the Redwood Retreats providing an upscale glamping experience. 

Learn more about the Ventana Inn & Spa

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Santa Barbara

Considered the American Riviera, Santa Barbara has a Mediterranean-like climate, along with cool ocean breezes and sandy beaches. Set between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, the city is known for stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, palm trees, boutiques along State Street, and waterfront dining. For families, there's the Santa Barbara Zoo, art enthusiasts can see works by Matisse and early 20th century French and American artists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Santa Ynez Valley is known for pinot noir, chardonnay, and Syrah vintages. The Santa Barbara Harbor is ideal for kayaking, sailing, and boating, and Arroyo Burro Beach County Park offers waves ideal for surfing and bodysurfing. 

Here are a few of our top Santa Barbara hotels:

Bacara Resort & Spa

Bacara Resort & Spa Pools

Situated along 78 acres of oceanfront property in Santa Barbara, Bacara Resort & Spa offers 358 newly renovated guest rooms and suites. The full-service resort has an array of family-friendly amenities, including beach activities, infinity-edge pools, on-site hiking trails, and a seasonal kids' club. The Spa at Bacara is a 42,000-square-foot spa and wellness center with HydraFacial services, rooftop terrace, adults-only pool, wellness classes, redwood sauna, Jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, and fireside lounge areas. There's also the new Angel Oak oceanfront restaurant, lighted tennis courts, and the Sandpiper Golf Club is adjacent to the resort. 

Check rates and availability at Bacara Resort & Spa

 

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore Resort

Nestled amongst 22 acres of lush gardens and foliage, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is steps away from beaches with private bungalows and terraces overlooking the Channel Islands and Pacific Ocean. Featuring Spanish-inspired architecture and accenting the casually sophisticated California lifestyle, the property offers the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (for select room categories, award-winning spa designed by Peter Marino, Jose Eber salon, three tennis courts, and two outdoor swimming pools. Guests also receive access to the members only Montecito Country Club, and there are bicycle rentals, and Kids for All Seasons programs. 

Learn more about the Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore

 

Belmond El Encanto 

Belmond El Encanto

An iconic landmark since the 1920s, Belmond El Encanto is set within California Craftsman and Spanish Revival bungalows. Perched above the city amongst hills and lush gardens with panoramic views of the town and ocean, the property has a zero-edge pool, seven-acre garden, and a spa. There's a fitness center and studio with a variety of clases, plus bicycles for use, and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to shuttle guests around the nearby area. 

Check rates and availability at Belmond El Encanto

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Laguna Beach

Our luxury road trip ends in Laguna Beach. Situated in Orange County, about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, this coastal city is known for its seven-mile stretch of sand with surfing, art boutiques, and basking on the beach. During the annual grey whale migration (March to May), Laguna Beach provides an ideal vantage point for watching these gentle giants. While art enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy including the Laguna Art-A-Fair featuring local and national artists, open daily from June 30 to September 3, 2017, and art classes offered year-round at the Sawdust. 

Here are a few of our top Laguna Beach hotels:

Monarch Beach Resort 

Monarch Beach Resort

Perched on a hillside, the Monarch Beach Resort features a family-friendly beachside setting in Dana Point, Orange County. Following a two year, $40 million transformation, the resort exemplifies the California Coastal lifestyle with a Miraval Life in Balance Spa, five gourmet restaurants including Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern, and a championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Accommodations feature ocean-inspired color palattes with a coastal feel, and there's an expansive multi-level pool complex which includes a Family Pool with splash zone, the adults-only Monarch Pool, and a second level dedicated to sunning and lounging with cabanas and firepits. There's also a private beach club with water-related activities, paddle boarding, trail hikes, and surf lessons led by the resort's Surf Host. 

Learn more about the Monarch Beach Resort

 

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Set halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego along the coast of Dana Point, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel provides a luxurious surfside retreat. Perched atop a 150-foot bluff above Salt Creek Beach, the property offers cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. There's California Coastal cuisine, a spa focused on the essential elements from the ocean, and a variety of adventures including surfing experiences, basketball, Ping Pong, two tennis courts, and two swimming pools. There's also an Eco-Adventure Center with expert naturalist-led programs for adults, families, and children, along with the Ritz Kids programs with activities for young travelers.

Check rates and availability at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

 

Montage Resort and Spa

Montage Laguna Beach

Perched atop a coastal bluff, Montage Laguna Beach is a luxury resort featuring craftsman-style architecture and an idyllic SoCal setting. In the midst of the city's preeminent artist colony, the resort offers a collection of museum-quality works of art, plus two outdoor pools, and gourmet dining at Studio, The Loft, or Mosaic Bar and Grille. Situated within 30 acres of oceanfront property, there's a 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage with panoramic Pacific views, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, redwood saunas, lap pool, movement studio, and eucalyptus steam rooms. 

Learn more about Montage Resort and Spa

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Set along the Caribbean Sea, Beaches Turks and Caicos is a multi-faceted fantasy world consisting of four distinct areas: Caribbean Village, French Village, Italian Village, and Key West Village. The family-friendly all-inclusive resort provides a range of activities for children, including a kids' club and Sesame Street parades through the resort. In addition, the resort offers customizable options to accommodate dietary and sensory needs. 

Beaches Turks and Caicos Italian Village Overview

Five Star Alliance was recently invited to explore all the resort has to offer. Read more below the Italian Village photo to discover three top amenities at Beaches Turks and Caicos. 

1. Sprawling Grounds & Plenty of Space to Play

Beaches Turks and Caicos Play Options

From huge swimming pools to an on-site water park with a lazy river, or long sandy beaches, guests of the resort have an array spaces to have fun. Given the layout, the resort doesn't feel cramped, but rather open for exploring. Families can enjoy time by the pool, relax in a hammock on the beach, or meander the pathways exploring the resort...you may even encounter a resident gecko.

Gecko Crossing Sign at Beaches Turks and Caicos

2. Culinary Concierge

Dining at Beaches Turks and Caicos

For travelers with eating restrictions, and all-inclusive may not seem like the ideal getaway. At Beaches, the resort seeks to offer all guests with a variety of cuisine options. In an effort to tailor menus to guest needs, the resort's Culinary Concierge meets with guests upon arrival or via the phone prior to arrival to create specific menus to accommodate food allergies and intolerances, making enjoyable beachfront dining accessible to all guests. 

The Jerk Shack at Beaches Turks and Caicos

3. The Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children Program

Camp Sesame at Beaches Turks and Caicos

As part of the resort's partnership with Sesame Street, the Beaches Kids Camp is infused with character experiences. In an effort to provide a positive experience for all children at the resort, there are unique programs with customized sensory adjustments available on a case-by-case basis. The Sesame Street program is designed to not only bring awareness to unique qualities, but also to celebrate the similarities that all children possess. Guests can contact the Beaches Kids Camp Manager before arrival to discuss exact needs and options. The Sesame Street characters are carried throughout the property with special character photo opportunities and evening parades. Continue reading below the photo. 

Sesame Street at Beaches Turks and Caicos

In addition, the four distinct villages offer different types of accommodations:

The Caribbean and French Village have adjoinable guest rooms along with suite options. Guest rooms in both of these village offer standard amenities, while some of the new Caribbean Villa Suites (shown below) provide modern styling and upgraded offerings. 

Caribbean Villa Suite at Beaches Turks and Caicos

The French Village (shown below) offers the most adjoinable room configurations. 

French Village at Beaches Turks and Caicos

The Italian Village offers spacious suites designed for families with bunk beds and game consoles in one living space, and king size beds with large flat-screen TVs in the main sleeping area. Continue reading below the photos of an Italian Village Guest Suite. 

Italian Village at Beaches Turks and Caicos

For travelers seeking residence style accommodations, the Key West Village has villas with multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and butler service. Read more below the photo.

Key West Villa at Beaches Turks and Caicos

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Relaxing beach spot at Beaches Turks and Caicos


Situated within the 15,000-acre PUNTACANA Resort & Club, the Westin Puntacana offers three miles of Caribbean white-sand beaches, along with a range of activities including golf, tennis, voluntarism, and water sports. Guest rooms and suites feature modern, ocean-inspired decor with sleek dar wood furniture, marble floors, balconies with sitting areas, and Westin Heavenly Beds. There are three on-site restaurants: Anani Restaurant with international cuisine, Brassa Grill & Bar with a beachside setting and traditional American fare, and the Cigar & Rum Bar. The hotel offers an Activity Program that includes a range of daily offerings for guests ranging from yoga on the beach to Latin Mix cardio at the swimming pool. Discover more of the resort's top amenities below the photo.

Westin Puntacana Resort & Club

Top Reasons to Stay at Westin Puntacana Resort & Club:

Six Senses Spa

Recently revitalized, the spa offers an internationally influenced revitalization experience with a variety of treatments including a special spa menu for kids and teens, along with in-room spa treatments. The spa features a relaxation area, along with a sauna, steam bath, and ice bucket shower. Plus, an array of wellness activities including yoga and meditation. 
 

Two Golf Courses

The seaside resort offers guests 45 championship holes of golf, including six ocean front holes and 14 holes with views of the ocean. The Corales Golf Club is a Tom Fazio-designed course that culminates at the Devil's Elbow, while La Cana Golf Club is an eco-friendly P.B. Dye-designed course wtih 27 holes. After golf, guests have access to La Cana Golf & Beach Club's 19th Hole Terrace designed by island native, Oscar de la Renta. There's also golf pro shps with a range of upscale golfing apparel and gear, plus tournaments and professional advice. 

Oscar de la Renta Tennis Center

The resort's tennis center has nine clay courts, and one Har Tru court. Guests can scheduled lessons on a daily basis, and there are tennis summer camps offered from June to August. 

Water Sports

Guests have access to the Blue Vision Adventures and Kite Club Punta Cana water sports and activities, which include PADI, kayaking, snorkeling, waterskiing, and private cruises. 

Voluntarism

The resort provides oppportunities for visitors to give back to the local community with a variety of volunteer positions. Available for groups, students, and individuals, some of the experiences including educational days teaching english and music and the community center, medical missions, games sports exchanges, assisting with daily activities at the Childcare Yess Kinder and La Milagrosa Maternal and Child Center, as well as supporting the Nuestra Senora del Carmen Nursing Home, and Coral Reef Restoration Programs. 

Check rates and availability at Westin Puntacana Resort and Club

Westin Puntacana Resort & Club Guest Room


Destination Spotlight: Los Cabos

From sport fishing to world class golfing, Los Cabos is an outdoor lover's paradise. Situated where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, the 20-mile stretch of Los Cabos coastline includes the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Offering stunning beaches, regional cuisine, local arts, there are a variety of cultural experiences including Thursday evening Art Walks in June and November, the Los Cabos Comedy Festival in October, and the Los Cabos International Film Festival in November. The region is also part of the grey whale migration route, and is an ideal destination for whale watching between December and April.

To compliment the array of activities and cultural options, Five Star Alliance offers a selection of luxury hotels and resorts that will appeal to a range of travelers including contemporary boutique hotels, high end all-inclusives, and family-friendly oceanfront resorts. 

Boutique Hotels

The Cape - A Thompson Hotel

The Cape - A Thompson Hotel
Providing views of El Arco from every guest room, The Cape - A Thompson Hotel is a contemporary property blending Southern California and Mexican styling with custom furniture, plunge pools, and a private stairway to Monuments Beach which offers a secluded setting for surfing. There's a signature restaurant, sunken lobby bar, and a rooftop lounge, all with regionally-inspired cuisine. Plus, a spa and fitness center, along with two pools, including one built wihtin a natural rock formation. 
 
 

Casa del Mar Cabo

Casa del Mar Cabo
Recently renovated, Casa del Mar Cabo is a 50-room boutique hotel offering a hacienda-style setting with an expansive beach on the Sea of Cortez. Guest rooms feature Mexican artwork, ceiling fans, and Antigua furnishings. There are multiple swimming pools, including a Main Pool with a children's area, and some pools have swim-up bars. Guests have access to the resort's Grupo Questro membership, with tee times available at neaby championship courses designed by Roy Dye, Jack Nicklaus, and Robert Jones Jr. 
 

 

Luxury All-Inclusives

Marquis Los Cabos

Marquis Los Cabos

An adults-only ocean view property, Marquis Los Cabos is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Featuring contemporary Mexican stying, the resort features a variety of daytime and evening activities. The all-inclusive resort has six restaurants, and there are multiple pools, and a world class spa with couples massage rooms. 

Learn more about Marquis Los Cabos

 

Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort and Spa

Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort and SpaSurrounded by eight championship golf courses, Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort and Spa is a family-friendly all-inclusive property with three swimming pools, including an adults-only pool with a swimup bar, and a children's pool. There's also an Explorer's Club for Kids, and the Dreams Spa by Pevonia. Offering a traditional Mexican design, the property is set along the Sea of Cortez with unlimited gourmet dining. 

Check rates at Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort and Spa

 

Family-Friendly Resorts

JW Marriott Los Cabos

JW Marriott Los Cabos

Ideal for family vacations, the JW Marriott Los Cabos is set along the beach in the upscale Puerto Los Cabos development with 10 swimming pools and multiple fine dining options. Offering the NAYAA Kids Club, KOT Teens Club, a family pool, kiddie beauty parlor, and on-site children's classes, there is an array of options for guests of all ages. There's also the Jasha Spa with an ancient pre-Hispanic Temazcal, indoor pool, and hydrotherapy circuit, plus guests have direct access to the Puerto Los Cabos Golf Club designed by Jack Nicklaus. 

Learn more about JW Marriott Los Cabos

 

One&Only Palmilla

One&Only PalmillaSet along the swimmable Pelican Beach, One&Only Palmilla is located along an idyllic stretch of land on the Sea of Cortez, perfect for season whale watching, water activities, and swimming. The ultra-luxe family-friendly property offers children's and teen's programs, and there are special amenities for pets, so even furry friends can enjoy a pampering getaway. For adults, there are five gourmet dining options, farm-to-table cooking classes, the One &Only Spa with a range of modern and ancient therapeutic services, and a Yoga Garden. Plus, the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed Palmilla Golf Course. 

Check rates and availability at One&Only Palmilla

For more Los Cabos options, discover our entire collection of Luxury Properties in Los Cabos


Three Reasons to Visit Grand Isla Navidad Resort

Set along a pristine lagoon in Manzanillo, the Grand Isla Navidad Resort features Spanish and Mediterranean-inspired architecture. Ideal for families and couples, the resort offers four dining options, along with multiple bars, marina, 27-hole championship golf course, spa, water sports, and tennis. Here are three reasons to visit the resort..

1. Dining at the Award-Winning Antonio's Restaurant

Antonio's Restaurant

Directed by  Executive Chef Jesus Magaña, Antonio's Restaurant specializes in gourmet Mexican and international cuisine. Combining classic culinary techniques with innovative flavors, diners experience exquistely crafted dishes. In 2017, the restaurant received its 15th AAA Four Diamond Award for outstanding service, quality, and cleanliness. 

 

2. Golfing at Isla Navidad Country Club

Golfing at Isla Navidad Country Club
 
This 27-hole championship course designed by Robert von Hagge is one of two golf courses in Mexico awarded Golf Magazine's "Gold Medal Award." Featuring mountain views from the five ocean front holes, the course incorporates the natural landscape with fresh water lagoons, and lush foliage. The three nines at Grand Isla Navidad Resort: Ocean 9, the Mountain 9, and the Lagoon 9 can be enjoyed by guests of all levels and aptitudes. 
 

3. Beachfront Setting

Lagoon Beach at Grand Isla Navidad
 
Set along a swimmable salt water lagoon, the resort offers a pristine beachfront ideal for relaxing or enjoying a walk along the beach to the Pacific Ocean. Guests can also take a boatride from the marina on-site to secluded beaches about 30 minutes away. 
 
Check rates and availability at Grand Isla Navidad Resort

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