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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 Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Announces $95 Million Renovation

January 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Kapalua

The AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is Hawaii's premier golf resort. Surrounded by sweeping greens, a historic pineapple plantation, and the rolling blue of the Pacific, the resort is Maui's finest. (It's home to the season-opening, champions only, PGA TOUR event: the Mercedes-Benz Championship.) The facilities take your breath away: six tennis courts, a basketball court, a 10,000-sq-ft three-tiered swimming pool, two outdoor whirlpool spas, nine-hole putting green, croquet and bocce ball lawn, shuffleboard, the 7,000-sq-ft fitness room and spa, and a secluded beach. As if this wasn't enough, the celebrated resort has just announced plans for a big-time transformation. The detailed renovation will feature enhanced dining restaurants, upgrades to the Spa, additional children's activities, 363 renovated guestrooms, and 107 full-ownership Residential Suites. Inspired by the natural beauty of the islands, the interior design concept will use indigenous materials (such as coconut and shells) and feature traditional Hawaiian artwork. Construction kicks off on July 2 and is scheduled for completion by the Holiday Season 2007.


Ponte Vedra Inn and Club Unveils New Spa

January 17, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ponte Vedra Inn and Club

It's no wonder the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is the recipient of the coveted AAA five diamond award, one of only 30 such resorts in the United States. With its opulent accommodations and top recreational facilities, this 300 acre oceanfront resort leaves nothing to be desired. Miles of windswept Florida beaches. 36 holes of golf. 15 hydro tennis courts. Four heated pools. Bicycling, boating, and fishing. Excellent restaurants and lounges. Children's Playground and Nursery... Truly a landmark in American hospitality, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has indulged three generations of guests since its celebrated opening in 1928. To quote Zagat: "rooms and service are rated extraordinary to perfection."

But now Ponte Vedra Inn and Club has improved on perfection-- with the November opening of its new, sophisticated spa. At 30,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art facility is the region's largest. Situated on three acres amidst signature waterfalls and water sculptures, the spa offers an extensive menu of over 100 services including the Lomi Lomi Massage, Fiji Tropical Isle Coconut Scrub, Rose Hydrating Cocoon, Hydra Pure Hydration Facial, La Stone Therapy, Body Polish, Hot Paraffin Manicures, Pedicures, and Hair Care. There is even a Men's Barber Shop on-site. Escape to Florida's sunshine and indulge in some luxurious spa treatments at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. For a limited time, guests can take advantage of the Spa Getaway Package, which includes lodging and a pampering spa service, from just $269 a night (based on double occupancy). Available through February.

Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals


Conrad Brussels: Winter Wonderland On Ice

January 11, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Brussels

Most folks know the Conrad Brussels as the luxurious spot with the biggest guest rooms in the European capital. But that's not all. In addition to its world-class facilities, the Conrad Brussels has now created its own winter wonderland with a 300 sq meter private ice-skating rink in the hotel's beautiful inner courtyard. (So you can recreate the winter magic despite this year's bogus-- thanks, global warming-- season). Until February 14, 2007, enjoy Conrad On Ice in the heart of Brussels. Special packages start from EUR 249 per person, per night and include accommodations in a classic room, buffet breakfast, access to the Aspria Avenue Louise spa facilities, and two passes for Conrad On Ice with a delicious hot chocolate.


Suite Luxury at The Madison DC

January 10, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

In yet another installment of our series on the highest luxury level suites at the best hotels worldwide, below you can find more information (and some awesome photos) regarding the Presidential and Royal Suites at The Madison, a Loews Hotel in Washington, DC. Enjoy.

Presidential Suite

Location: 15th Floor, Size: 1370 sq. feet

Description:

Includes the Main Parlor/Master Bedchamber, Bedchamber Two, and may connect to additional rooms. The Presidential Suite features antique furniture and objet d'art throughout, unique imported fabrics from Italy and France, marble foyer, butler's pantry, dining area with stately Charleston dining table with Hepplewhite shield back mahogany chairs, large sitting area, 52" plasma TV with surround sound speakers, and custom designed US Axminster carpets. (See images after the jump below)

Royal Suite

Location: 15th Floor, Size: 1320 sq. feet

Description:

Includes the Main Parlor/Master Bedroom, and may connect to additional rooms. The suite includes a private balcony, butler’s pantry, powder room, large flat screen TV, foyer with marble floor, coat closet, sunken living area dressed in golds, peaches and greens, sitting alcove, ad black lacquer dining table with fully upholstered chairs.

View pictures of the rooms after the jump ...

The view from the Presidential Suite

Madison Presidential Suite

The Parlor of the Presidential Suite

The Madison Presidential Suite Parlor

The Bedroom of the Royal Suite

The Madison Royal Suite Bedroom

The Parlor of the Royal Suite

The Madison Royal Suite Parlor

Check Availability, Details, Photos and Make Reservations »


Ski the Pyrenees in Cauterets, France

January 8, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cauterets

Fringed by the tall, snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees, the French village of Cauterets is a picturesque resort destination, famed for its seasonal recreational activities. In the winter, Cauterets is almost always shrouded in a thick blanket of snow, and entices skiers and snowboarders of all levels to hit the slopes carved from the surrounding mountains. This year's scant snowfall has compelled most French ski resorts in the Pyrenees to close-- with the exception of Cauterets, of course. The town's proximity to some of the best hiking trails in France (the National Park of the Pyrenees straddles the Franco-Spanish border and boasts a wealth of natural beauty) ensures plenty of summertime visitors as well. After a day on the slopes, relax fatigued muscles in Les Thermes, the Roman style bath complex fed by hot springs. (The naturally-warm water may reek of rotten eggs, but the jet pools and showers are divine.) Sip an aperitif at one of many cozy bars or hit the casino, located near the river which flows through the town. At the small covered market, foodies drool over perfect wedges of local cheese, homemade blueberry torte, and seasoned charcuterie. Note: most shops are only open in the morning and evening hours.


The Marvelous Metamorphosis of The Greenbrier

January 5, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Greenbrier

Come April 1, 2007, The Greenbrier will debut a sassy new makeover. For over two centuries this distinguished resort-- a National Historic Landmark-- has charmed discerning travelers with its stately architecture, scenic beauty, abundant recreational activities (50! including a world-class spa and golf), and impeccable service. But this symbol of ultra-luxury lost its Mobil five star rating in 2000 after 38 consecutive years ranked as one of the top resorts in North America. With this exciting $50 million renovation, The Greenbrier seeks to regain its superstar status. For the first time since World War II, The Greenbrier is closing from January 3 until April 1, 2007 to complete the makeover, which includes new restaurants and nightlife, and luscious, new beds and linens and flat-screen TVs for all 721 guest rooms. Hemisphere will debut in the former Old White Lounge area, featuring exciting global cuisine from Chef Michael Voltaggio. 38°80 will be The Greenbrier's new entertainment venue in what was formerly The Tavern Room, with handcrafted flights and world lounge music that will evolve as the evening progresses-- a sultry, sexy ambience. In addition, the full renovation of 63 guest rooms will add new marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and walk-in showers and executive-style desks. Be the first to discover the new Greenbrier in Spring 2007; reservations are now being accepted.


Winter in Style at the Park Hyatt Washington DC

December 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Washington

Say hello to the newest and most innovative luxury hotel in the nation's capital. Following a $24 million renovation, Park Hyatt Washington opened its doors in Summer 2006 to much fanfare and celebration. This exclusive hotel is located just a few blocks from Georgetown and minutes from Embassy Row, National Monuments, and the Smithsonian. Renowned designer Tony Chi was the mastermind behind the makeover, which showcases a Tea Cellar (offering rare and vintage selections), spa-inspired bathrooms (gray limestone rain showers and deep soaking tubs), and a signature fragrance designed for the hotel by artisan perfumer Blaise Mautin. Dynamic and modern, the hotel's design pays homage to the city itself: the hotel entrance celebrates DC's famous cherry blossoms with impressive glass sculptures. The 215 guest rooms are contemporary and stylish; the Park Deluxe rooms are the largest in the city. And each room also highlights Classic American Heritage, with antique gameboards, a selection of books about American history and crafts, Windsor style chairs, and Modern American artwork. The hotel's new restaurant, the Blue Duck Tavern, features an open kitchen with a wood burning oven, welcoming patrons with a warm, friendly ambience. The menu focuses on simple and traditional cooking methods with the freshest ingredients: slow-roasting in wood embers, braising, preserving and smoking techniques brings the true flavors of America's great and simple foods to the table.

This winter, experience the city at its most pleasant, when it's blissfully empty of tourist crowds, and as described by the New York Times, "when the locals come out to play." With the Comfort and Joy Winter Package at the Park Hyatt, take pleasure in the warmth of a cozy night: savor a rare tea from the Tea Cellar, soak in a steaming tub, relax in your lavishly appointed guest room, and if you must go out in the cold, the heated seats of a brand new custom designed Audi A8 L can transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination. The package includes a complimentary upgrade to Park Deluxe room, a pot of tea from Park Hyatt Washington's unique Tea Cellar, your choice of Valet Parking for the length of stay OR full American breakfast for two each morning, welcome amenity for children, or complimentary custom designed Audi A8 L to transport you to your favorite shopping or sightseeing destination within Washington. Available until February 28, 2007.

Related Articles,

New York Times, "Washington: Decked-Out Capital (Without Crowds)"


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