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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.

North Lake Tahoe’s Annual SnowFest is Coming to Town

November 22, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Celebrate 31 years of family fun at this year’s SnowFest, which will take place March 2 – 11, 2012 in North Lake Tahoe. Every spring, North Lake Tahoe tourists and locals come together and take part in various activities and events perfect for folks of all ages. This year, SnowFest will be bringing back the annual favorites along with exciting, new events. The majority of events are free to spectators, and SnowFest draws in thousands of visitors every year. A few events that are brand new this year include a snow art building competition, an ice sculpting competition, and a pub crawl starting in Incline Village and ending in Crystal Bay.

The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino is located in Incline Village, and it’s the perfect place to stay to be surrounded by the excitement of SnowFest. Aside from the festivities, this resort is the ideal setting for year-round pampering. Reconnect with family members, friends, and yourself while enjoying the natural wonders of Lake Tahoe. Be sure to make your travel plans early, start practicing your snowman building, and get ready for an incredible getaway.


Keeping it Chilly at the W Los Angeles Westwood

November 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

We can definitely see the humor and fun in ice skating without heavy winter clothes holding you down, so we’re thrilled that the W Los Angeles Westwood has recently re-opened its signature ice rink for the third year in a row! This hotel’s 1600 square foot ice rink is made with environmentally friendly ice hybrid and is open for use by hotel guests until January 1st, 2012. This ice rink will also be the hot spot for access to the Ice Bar, serving signature food and cocktails, a skate-up cabana, a gingerbread cookie decoration station for kids, and regular Saturday performances by the BH Cabaret Theater. The ice rink is open from 3pm – 10pm on weekdays, 10am – 10pm on weekends, and $10 gets you a full hour of skating and includes a skate rental. The gingerbread cookie decoration station is open on weekends from 11am – 1pm, and the BH Cabaret Theater puts on a show at 6pm.

The W Los Angeles Westwood is conveniently located between Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica beaches, and it is surrounded by beautiful boutique shops and beaches. Be sure to add this hotel to your list of places to stay and practice your ice skating tricks.


Early Season Specials at Silverado Lodge at The Canyons Resort, Park City

November 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Silverado Lodge at The CanyonsDo you live for the snow? Opening day for the 2011/2012 ski season at The Canyons-- Utah's largest ski and snowboard resort-- is November 25, so what are you waiting for? After all, Utah's motto is "the greatest snow on earth," and The Canyons is already getting blanketed with powder. Take advantage of some fantastic early season deals and score a free night in the mountains. Guests arriving between November 24 and December 13, 2011 receive the fourth night free at The Canyon's properties like the Silverado Lodge. Or, guests who arrive between December 14 and December 17, 2011 receive the fifth night free. For more details about the Silverado Lodge, and for some beautiful photos, click here.


Christmas in Cali: Gingerbread Mountain Village at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

November 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Aviara, gingerbreadEvery year the pastry chefs at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad create the Gingerbread Mountain Village, a sight to behold. Chef Franck Riffaud and his team use more than 22 pounds of gingerbread dough, 400 pounds of sugar icing and 18 pounds of chocolate to build an amazing village that includes Santa’s Workshop, Frosty’s Ski-Daddle Ski School, Snow Tube Rental and Blitzen’s Ale & Spirits. On display in the Lobby from November 27th through December 26th, the Gingerbread Mountain Village is one of the area's must-see holiday attractions.

Celebrate the festive season with a gingerbread housemaking-class at the resort. With a step-by-step tutorial on the art of gingerbread modeling, the hands-on decorating class will teach you how to create the perfect dough, to hand-color, and to add artful details with icing and gum paste. Of course you'll indulge in plenty of delicious treats during the course, and all confections made in class can be taken home with you. The first class will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, with additional classes on December 10th and 17th. All classes are held from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and are priced at $20 for adults and $15 for children. Unlimited gingerbread houses for decoration are available for $25 each.

Image via Sign On San Diego


Luxury for Less: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Hotel Deals

November 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lorien HotelGearing up for Black Friday? Planning your strategy for Cyber Monday (the biggest online shopping day of the year)? Expect deals galore, especially if you're looking to travel. Hotels are catering to travelers looking for internet savings. We've been keeping tabs on the great online deals available. And the offers keep flooding in! Here's a sampling.

Marriott’s Florida Resorts (like Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach and Doral Golf Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort) are joining together to offer up to 25% savings on Cyber Monday with rates starting from $95 to $186 per night. Available online on Monday, Nov. 28 only, the savings can be applied on stays from Nov. 29, 2011 through Jan. 8, 2012.

Kimpton is holding a 72-hour Cyber Monday Sale, starting 12 am on Monday, November 28, 2011, for 12 Mid-Atlantic region hotels in DC, Virginia and Maryland, giving away top suites and specialty rooms for the price of a standard guestroom. Hotels include Hotel Palomar Washington DC and the Lorien in Alexandria, where you can nab an overnight stay in the one-of-a-kind Diplomat Suite, featuring a 550-foot private furnished balcony, wet bar, and oversized bathroom for just $159 per night.

Trump ChicagoThe newly-renovated Warwick New York Hotel is offering a four-day Black Friday deal of 30% off the best available rate with savings extending through Feb. 29, 2012.

The Trump Hotel Collection is offering 30% off all suites that are booked on November 28, 2011 only. Available for travel January 1- March 31, 2012 at all Trump Hotel Collection properties – New York (Central Park and SoHo), Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki, Panama and Toronto (opening Jan. 31, 2012).


Squaw Valley Offers More than Just Skiing

November 14, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The winter months are rolling in, and that means it’s time to put away the shorts and start waxing your skis and snowboards. Squaw Valley, an incredible world class resort offers 4,000 acres of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of various ages and skill levels. My family is a group of avid skiers, and I have had the opportunity to ski at most of the resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, so I can confidently say that Squaw Valley is one of the best resorts with some of the toughest runs, but it’s also a resort that offers a lot more than just incredible slopes.

Come spring and summer, Squaw Valley offers access to its Umbrella Bar, the only mountain top bar in the United States with a pool and hot tub. This favorite drinking spot offers a relaxed environment to spend time with friends while making new ones. The Umbrella Bar is surrounded by breath-taking mountain views, making it the perfect place to relax after a day of outdoor adventures.

Hop on to the Cable Car and ride 2,000 vertical feet to High Camp. Check out the Olympic Museum and learn about the 1960 Olympics which took place at Squaw Valley. High Camp also serves as the gateway to beginner terrain, allowing visitors to enjoy access to plenty of wide, gentle slopes perfect for beginners developing their skills.

For luxurious accommodations located steps from the slopes, consider the Resort at Squaw Creek. This hotel provides ski-in/ski-out access, on-site cross country ski center, 18-hole championship golf course, heating swimming pools, waterslide, and beautiful hiking and biking trails.


The World's Best Hotels: Announcing the Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel-AirLooking to get inspired for your next getaway? The savvy editors at Fodor's have just released their first-ever list of the world's best hotels. After careful deliberation, the team of Fodor's editors and writers curated the "Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011" spanning eight hotel categories. Here's a sampling of some of our favorites that made the cut.

New & Noteworthy- The Year's Best New and Reinvented Hotels: Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Mondrian Soho in NYC, Hotel Bel-Air & The Redbury in Los Angeles

Grande Dame- Legendary Hotels with Superlative History and Service: The Carlyle in NYC, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, Hotel du Russie in Rome, The Savoy in London

Casual Chic- Effortlessly Stylish Hotels with Rustic-Modern Appeal: Cavo Tagoo in Mykonos, Bardessono in Napa, The Allison in Oregon

Design- Cutting-Edge Boutique Hotels at All Price Points: Hotel Missoni in Edinburgh, Jia in Hong Kong

Cavo Tagoo, MykonosLocal Flavor- Go-To Hotels for a Truly Authentic Experience: Fairmont Chateau Montebello in Quebec, Evason Ma'in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa in Jordan

Clubby Atmosphere- Hip Urban Pied-à-Terres: 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, The Liberty in Boston, The Augustine in Prague

Luxurious Retreat- Top Choices for a Complete Escape: Little Palm Island Resort and Spa in the Florida Keys, Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, Inkaterra Machu Picchu

Trusted Brand- World-Class Examples of International Hotel Chains: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, The Peninsula Bangkok


Heli-Skiing in Utah with the Waldorf Astoria Park City

November 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waldorf Astoria Park CityLooking for a high-adventure vacation out west? The Waldorf Astoria Park City can arrange heli-skiing adventures sure to excite adrenaline hounds. Hit the "greatest snow on earth" in Utah's backcountry far from the crowds... (Of course, ski bunnies who may feel more comfortable on the groomed slopes can enjoy some 4,000 acres of skiable terrain accessed by the hotel's dedicated gondola just outside the front door.) When you return from your heli-skiing trip, head to the Golden Door Spa for a Mountain Salvation massage- the best way to soothe tired muscles after a day in the mountains. The "Heli-Skiing Adventure" must be arranged at least 14-days in advance of your stay between January 1 and March 30, 2012. Included in the special offer: the heli-skiing trip for two adults with lunch, followed by one 50-minute Mountain Salvation massage for two adults at the swank spa. Four night minimum stay required.


Holidays in the Sun: Fun Freebies at Santa Monica's Hotel Shangri-La

November 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Shangri-La Santa MonicaA dose of California sunshine could be just what the doctor ordered this holiday season. Why not take a break in style at Santa Monica's Art Deco beacon on the bluff? Newly revamped, the Hotel Shangri-La promises Old Hollywood glamour just steps from the sand and the historic Santa Monica Pier. Each room captures gorgeous ocean views, as does the posh rooftop bar, Suite 700, where the sunset-viewing is out-of-this-world. As if you needed more tempting, the Hotel Shangri-La has rolled out the "Holidays in the Sun" package which is packed with freebies: freshly baked cookies & milk upon arrival, two complimentary holiday cocktails, a $50 VISA gift card, Ice Skating for two (one hour), and complimentary valet parking. Available November 15, 2011 – January 31, 2012 from $385 in a one-bedroom suite with a full gourmet kitchen.


Spend 11/11/11 in Las Vegas: Extravagant $11,111 Package at the Hard Rock Hotel

October 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Get in on the 11/11/11 hype with a jaunt to Las Vegas. It's a once-in-a-lifetime date so why not splurge at the Hard Rock? The resort and casino has orchestrated an over-the-top experience for music lovers that they're aptly calling the "Extravagant Package." This special offer, only available for two nights (Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13), includes a two-night stay in the Paradise Platinum Penthouse, a multi-course menu (lobster and steak and truffles, oh my!) at the newly-opened 35 Steaks + Martinis steakhouse, VIP tickets to watch one of Carlos Santana’s three encore performances at The Joint, signature treatments at Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa, a VIP table with bottle service at the upscale Vanity Nightclub and one-of-a-kind photography prints from the Hard Rock Store. The price tag? $11,111.