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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.

Sneak Peek: The World's Best Hotels and Resorts 2014

November 22, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

We've done it again! And we are giving you a sneak peek! Our team of luxury hotel experts is proud to present our most current collection of the World's Best Luxury Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Who better to select the best luxury hotels in the world than the travel agency with the most comprehensive collection of 100% luxury hotels? This year we've hand-picked the best luxury hotels worldwide grouped into 15 different categories and based on great feedback from our loyal customers. Need a ski break? We've got 20 of the world's best luxury ski resorts. Beach more your style? We've got 20 of the world's best luxury beach hotels and resorts. It's safe to say that no matter your destination, hotel style, amenities, activities, or interests, we’ve got one of the world’s best luxury hotel and resort that will fulfill your every desire.

 

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Blackberry Farm Hosts Kelly Clarkson's Wedding

October 22, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

Blackberry Farm recently played host to one of the biggest celebrity weddings this year, and it was a low-key affair.  The original American Idol Kelly Clarkson married Brandon Blackstock at the luxury hotel on Friday. Blackstock is also musical royalty, as his stepmother is none other than Reba McEntire.

Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm is a 62-room Relais and Chateaux and Relais Gourmand property situated on 9,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. The gorgeous tranquility of the property is perfect for private nuptials. Best wishes to the happy couple!

Click here for rates, details, and more images of Blackberry Farm >>

 

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Image of the Day: Las Alamandas

September 16, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

Las Alamandas is an exclusive beachfront hideaway situated on over 1,500 acres of unspoilt tropical Paradise with only seven villas accommodating a maximum of 42 guests.

Las Alamandas

Fall Rates as Las Alamandas start at $185 per night >>

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The Story of The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC

July 12, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa, recently acquired by Omni Hotels, set atop Sunset Mountain features guestrooms with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its lush Donald Ross–designed golf course and is is one of the South's best-loved resorts. Celebrating its Centennial today, the luxurious Grove Park Inn opened on July 12, 1913. Here's the story of how it all began: 

The Grove Park Inn - Then and Now"Edwin Wiley Grove, known as the "Father of Modern Asheville" was born in 1850 on a small farm in Tennessee. After serving in the Civil War he had a very definite plan for his life and career – the pharmaceutical business and the determination to rise from his early poverty to great wealth and success.

He purchased a pharmacy in Paris, Tennessee in his mid-twenties. He put all of his energy into formulating a tasteless quinine to prevent malaria, a life-threatening disease that permeated the South in the 19th century (he suspended quinine in liquid form). After experimenting for several years, Grove introduced Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic and experienced immediate success. In the late 1890's Grove's Tasteless Chill Tonic, which had become a household staple, sold more bottles than Coca-Cola. After 20 years on the market, Grove had sold over 1.5 million bottles of his Tonic and surpassed his dreams by making millions of dollars. 

Grove himself was often ill, afflicted with periods of bronchitis and exhaustion and his doctors recommended the clean mountain air of Asheville, NC to relax and recover. He spent time in Asheville throughout the year and that is where he would realize his next big dream.

While still pursuing new pharmaceutical inventions, Grove met Fred Seely in Detroit, who was making a name for himself in the pharmaceutical business. While working together in Detroit, the two sparked a friendship and mutual admiration. Grove invited Seely to his summer home in Asheville. One week later he left his position in Detroit to work for Grove and his Paris Medicine Company. But business was not the only thing that interested Seely. When Grove introduced his daughter, Evelyn, to the bachelor, within 24 hours Grove had given Seely permission to wed her.

Grove Park Inn and SpaSeely began working for the Paris Medicine Company in June 1898 and in October of that year married Evelyn. Both men ventured into other businesses including real estate. In Asheville Grove began purchasing property, he had successfully developed residential neighborhoods in Atlanta and was considering doing the same in prospering Asheville. With the expansion of the railroad and publicity surrounding the opening of George Vanderbilt's Biltmore House, Grove was positioning himself as a serious investor in the future of Asheville. In 1909 Grove purchased 408 acres in north Asheville, including what would become The Grove Park Inn. But he would concentrate on residential neighborhoods before ever considering building a hotel.

Two years later Grove began to plan the building of a hotel on Sunset Mountain. In 1911 Seely became involved with the plans. After reviewing the plans of several prominent architects, Grove did not find any of them satisfactory. The consummate visionary, Seely presented a sketch of the proposed hotel to Grove and he not only accepted the plan but gave Seely the enormous task of building the hotel.

Four-hundred men worked 10-hour shifts six days a week. With only the use of mules, wagons and ropes, granite boulders, some weighing as much as 10,000 pounds, were hauled from Sunset Mountain to build the hotel. Seely kept his promise to be open for business in less than one year from the ground breaking.

Just three days shy of one year, The Grove Park Inn opened on July 12, 1913. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, delivered the keynote address to four hundred of the most distinguished men of the South, gathered for the opening banquet. 

Another version of this story is available at http://www.groveparkinn.com/the-grove-park-inn-story

View more photos and check rates and availability for The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa >>


The Value of an All-Inclusive Resort

May 6, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

Wes Moss recently asked the question "Is the all-inclusive vacation a good deal?" in the personal finance section of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Five Star Alliance features a number of luxury all-inclusive resorts (you can view our favorite's here) and we get asked that question a lot.

Spring break is over. Mercifully. When there’s no school for the kids, but mom and dad still have to work, it’s no vacation for anyone. All of a sudden, it’s a circus at the house. It’s enough to make you think it will be worth the money to go somewhere.

Exterior of Grand Velas All Suites and Spa Resort All Inclusive HotelI’ve always wondered about the financial wisdom of the all-inclusive trip. Is it really a good deal? So this year I talked to several families that went to an all-inclusive resort with their children for spring break. I found out the real numbers behind (at least one) popular family destination.

I looked specifically at Beaches, a company that offers all-inclusive packages in Turks & Caicos, which is just a quick – and direct! – two-and-a-half-hour flight from Atlanta. A passport is required, and I’m not factoring the cost of a passport into my calculations. You’d need it for this destination whether you were going all-inclusive or pay-as-you-go.

Here’s the math. Minus airfare, here’s what a day in an all-inclusive paradise will cost you, based on a family of four. I’m assuming there are two adults and two kids.

Five nights (Sunday through Thursday) will run you about $3,750. Spring for a sixth night, and you’re looking at about $4,500. Either way, the average cost, including lodging, food and all the incidentals at the all-inclusive resort cost is $750 per day.

Patio of Barcelo Puerto Vallarta All-inclusiveNow, let’s break down what a typical day, per family, costs at a place where you’re paying a la carte. These costs may even be on the low side. Kids have a way of turning parents into human ATMs:

Breakfast buffet: $15 x 4 = $60
Snacks and desserts: $30
In-room waters/soda: $15
Kayaks and windsurfing: $15
Kids' camp in the morning: $60
Kids' camp in the afternoon: $60
Lunch $ 17.50 x 4 = $70
Dinner for the two grown-ups, with drinks: $100
Afternoon drinks, 5 x $10 = $50 (One for each family member, plus an extra)
Other (there's always something else!) and after-dinner drinks: $50
Nightly entertainment/shows for the whole family (fire twirlers, comedy): FREE
Gym workout (For your sanity – not for the kids) FREE
Hotel: $250 (at least) per night
Without the hotel, we're looking at approximately $510 a day in food, drinks and fun. And that doesn’t even count gratuity. That could be another 20 percent on top of $515 per day. If you pay $102 a day in tips, your per day total is $612.

If you add in a hotel room for $250 per night, we're at $862 – certainly higher than the $750 per night at the all-inclusive resort.

And at the all-inclusive place, you've also saved yourself the hassle of paying for every meal, drink, dessert, show and bottled water.

Throw in Xbox games, water slides, a lazy river, ice cream three times a day, another umbrella drink for mom and dad at the pool, souvenirs, sunscreen, aloe for the sunburn and all the other extras, and it looks like all-inclusive is the better deal.

Next spring break, go all in(clusive).

The original article by Wes Moss is posted at The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Find, research, and book your luxury all-inclusive resort now >>


The Salamander Resort & Spa Sets August 2013 Opening

April 1, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

Salamander Resort in Middleburg, VASalamander Resort & Spa, set on over 300 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains amid Virginia's famed horse country and lush vineyards announced that it is set to open this August. Located in the 18th century village of Middleburg, Salamander Resort is 30 minutes west of Dulles International Airport and an hour from downtown Washington, DC.

Set on 340 acres of farmland, the brand new resort will offer what was said to be "an unparalleled luxury experience in the region" with 168 guest rooms and suites; a culinary program led by Chef Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant in DC including two restaurants, wine bar, cooking studio and two-acre culinary garden; a spa with 14 treatment rooms and a couples suite; and various activities including an onsite Equestrian program, with a 22-stall barn, practice ring, riding trails and instructional classes.

The Salamander Resort outside Washington, DCThe property similarly boasts tennis courts and an outdoor pool complex, and guests have privileges at the nearby Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Fifty wineries are within an hour's drive of the resort, as are opportunities for whitewater rafting, sporting clays and raceway spectating.

Salamander Resort is also eyeing to be a destination for meetings or events. The property features a 5,000 square foot Grand Ballroom, as well as more intimate settings including a 1,800 square foot Junior Ballroom, Executive Boardrooms and breakout rooms, hospitality suites and 2,000 square foot Presidential Suite with an entertainment balcony.

Indoor and outdoor event facilities at Salamander are eyed to make events stand out, including the Equestrian Barn event room, the Stallion Barn, a, over a hundred year old stone building adjacent to the Grand Lawn, and the Cooking Studio, which may be reserved by groups for private events.

 


Top 10 Most Romantic Luxury Hotel Ideas

February 14, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

Couples massages. Champagne and strawberries. Rose petals scattered on the bed and tub. A hammock made for two. These are just a few of the romantic gestures you will find at almost all luxury hotels. But we wanted to find some of the more creative choices available for lovers.  These suggestions might be too late for this year's Valentine's Day, but there's always next year!

1. Floating love seat at Four Seasons Bora Bora. Guests will enjoy weightlessness on an inflatable love seat, which is anchored to their bungalow or delivered to their villa for the day.

2-Stargazing at Post Ranch Inn. The night sky in Big Sur is just one of the romantic activities available at the ranch.

3-Bryant Park Hotel offers a sex toy menu. Options from swanky adult toy store The Pleasure Chest are available for couples or singles.

4-Mondrian Hotel has a minibar that offers, in addition to upscale snacks, intimate accessories for the discerning couple.

5-Beverly Wilshire has a Rolls Royce Phantom guests can employ to squire that somebody special around town.

6-Conrad Maldives will transform its underwater restaurant into a one-night only underwater suite. Gives sleeps with the fishes such a positive spin.

7-Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego has a 33-foot gondola equipped with two professional massage beds. After leaving the resort’s private marina, guests enjoy a 40-minute massage.

8- Six Senses Hideaway at Zighy Bay will allow you to make a dramatic entrance. Strap yourself to a professional paraglider and soar to the resort’s front steps from a nearby cliff.

9-The Surrey New York has an in-room mixologist is on call 24 hours a day, arriving within minutes with a fully stocked cocktail cart.

10-The Lodge at Doonbeg offers an on-site geneaologist, so your Irish lad or lass can trace their roots and visit their ancestral villages.

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The Goring is Royally Warranted

January 17, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

A Royal Warrant has been issued for The Goring Hotel.  For those not familiar with it, a Royal Warrant is a mark of recognition that tradesmen are regular suppliers of goods and services to the royal households. Royal Warrant holders may display the relevant Royal Arms with the words "By Appointment" on their product, stationery, buildings, vehicles, advertising, and packaging. 

Fans of The Goring will remember it as the hotel where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a single lady. The Family-owned and run five-star deluxe hotel is located in Belgravia, adjacent to Buckingham Palace.

 


12 Days of Hotels: 5 Best Hotels & Resorts for Destination Weddings

January 1, 2013
By: Oksana Balytsky

Instead of 12 Days of Christmas, Five Star Alliance is having its own countdown featuring 12 Days of Hotels! We unfortunately don’t have a song to go along with our countdown, but we will be featuring a variety of categories. Today we’re featuring the 5 best hotels to tie the knot!

1. The Oberoi Udaivilas

Udaivilas is a luxury resort located on Udaipur's legendary Lake Pichola overlooking its beautiful island palaces and the Udaipur city palace. It is accessible by land and boat.

2. One and Only Palmilla

Considered The "Jewel Of Baja" And Located On Once the tropical hideaway for the likes of Hemingway and Harlow, the serenely private and sensually elegant One&Only Palmilla features expansive ocean-facing accommodation, each with veranda, sunbeds, and indulgent amenities.

3. Hayman Island Resort

Surrounded by idyllic coral fringed beaches and lapping the waters of the Coral Sea, on the south-western side of the island, Hayman offers 244 guest rooms, suites, penthouses and a beach villa.

4. Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

The luxurious Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa lies where earth, sea and sky meet, poised above Atlantic rollers and flanked by the majestic Table Mountain and The Twelve Apostles Mountain Range in glorious Cape Town, South Africa.

5. The Point

The Point Resort is a unique, private Adirondack estate where you are free to enjoy your special time in splendid circumstances. It's a vibrant and exclusive house party, an elegant hideaway, the essence of rustic splendor, luxury and whimsy amid Adirondack Mountain wilderness.