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.

Summer Staycations in Luxury at the Ballantyne Resort

July 9, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Ballantyne ResortNow that summer has arrived a luxury staycation experience at the Ballantyne Resort, Charlotte, NC to enjoy spa, golf, tennis, shopping or the exclusive exhibits of the Shain Gallery are now yours to experience. For the art collector or those who just appreciate art, the Shain Gallery offers one of the finest collections of contemporary art in Charlotte. A variety of styles and techniques featuring local, regional and nationally recognized artists are displayed here and something is sure to catch your imagination. Though the Golf Course is closed until September 15th, you can still visit the Pro Shop and participate at the Dana Rader Golf School. Ballantyne Resort Summer Staycation rates at the Ballantyne Resort are available from June 20th through September 3rd starting at $199.

Other special Summer Staycations include a Summer Gas Credit of $25 per night, available through September 20th. Stay 2 Nights and get the 3rd Free (Thursday-Monday) and a Holiday Rates of $189 per night (tax included) at the Ballantyne is offered for the 4th of July (June 30- July 13), Labor Day (September 1- 7), Thanksgiving (November 21- 30) and Christmas (December 19-31). For a Taste of Luxury, stay 3 nights in July, August, November or December and get the 4th night free. This special features a staycation in an elegant guest room, a delicious breakfast in the Gallery Restaurant, and complementary valet parking.

Washington D.C. Monuments By Night, Fourth Night Free at the Hay-Adams Hotel

July 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hay-Adams HotelTake advantage of a sizzling summer offer at the Hay-Adams, the capital's leading luxury boutique hotel. Overlooking Lafayette Square and the White House, this Washington landmark is offering an escape from the heat of the summer. Until the end of August, stay four nights in Deluxe accommodations and you'll receive the fourth night for free. This "Summer Sizzling" package includes complimentary valet parking, full American breakfast for two and a complimentary upgrade to the next room category. Rates begin at $479 per night. The Hay-Adams is also offering a fabulous "Monuments By Night" package, so that you can make the most of the history that surrounds you with a two-hour evening tour of Washington's famous monuments. Relax in luxurious comfort in your private sedan and share your deluxe goodie basket while you experience the dramatic beauty of Washington at night. Your package includes accommodations, private tour, Champagne and a full American Breakfast for two. Package rates for rooms starting at $599 per night, based on availability.

Go Green in St. Moritz with Badrutt’s Palace

July 9, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau

St. Moritz is renown for its clean air, clean lakes and pleasant climate and now Badrutt's Palace is making its green contribution to protecting the environment and natural beauty of St. Moritz with the new "Go Green in St. Moritz" package that offers over a 20 percent savings for the opportunity to see, stay and save green. A recent green initiative of Badrutt's Palace is the installation of an innovative heating system utilizing a heat pump that drawls water from Lake St. Moritz and reduces CO2 emissions by 1,000 tons! As part of the 3 night package for 2, tickets to discover the Clean Energy Tour around St. Moritz on your own and a guided tour of the Badrutt's Palace heating system are included. Other amenities with this package are complimentary tickets for all mountain railways and cable cars in St. Moritz, as well as public transportation within the village, hiking Map of the Region, Horse-drawn carriage trip to Poseg Glacier with return transfer to Pontresina, one organic Palace picnic basket per person, extensive buffet breakfast. free use of mini bar, movie channels, internet and free newspaper, daily set dinners with regional specialties in Palace Restaurant and upgrade to next room category upon availability. Recommended Trips in and around Badrutt's Palace include a bike tour from Lake St. Moritz to Lake Staz, on through the woods to Pontresina and back via Celerina; or for the experienced hiker, a day trip of the glacier hike from Diavolezza to Morteratsch which is available every Thursday. So for true luxury and the time to rest and relax amid the purity of nature in the Swiss Alps- GO GREEN in ST. MORITZ at Badrutt's Palace.

Destination Montreal: Watch the Video from the Concierge at InterContinental Montreal

July 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental MontrealWhat better way to get the inside scoop on the locals' favorite haunts and stomping grounds? We're big fans of the series of local video guides narrated by the concierges at InterContinental Hotels. Going to Montreal this summer? (the ideal place to experience a beautiful slice of Europe in your own backyard!) Before checking into the sophisticated InterContinental Montreal*, get a head start on your vacay by following the concierge on a whirlwind tour of the city. Take a horse-drawn carriage around the magnificent Old City, visit the Point a Calliere Museum and literally see how Montreal began. Go shopping in an underground city linking over 500 boutiques, and embark on a culinary adventure with the 9-course menu at Europe.

*We recommend booking one of the 15 Tourelle Suites, located within the hotel's dramatic turret, with panoramic 180-degree views of the city of Montreal.

An Interview with the General Manager: Marty Wall of The Woodlands Resort & Inn

July 9, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

Marty Wall Woodlands ResortThe Woodlands Resort & Inn is one of only three lodging properties in America to be awarded the Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond awards for both lodging and dining - in large part to Marty Wall, General Manager and InnKeeper of the property. Mr. Wall took some time to answer our questions below.

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?

Marty Wall: By far the most distinctive characteristic or feature of the Inn is the attitude and desire to serve that exist within the staff. We have blended together personalities from all around the world who enjoy what they do and challenge themselves each day to provide the highest level of service in the most friendly and genuinely sincere manner. The service and facility would be best described as residential versus the typical commercial hotel environment. Our goal is that each guest feels that they have been invited to spend the night with family versus just buying a hotel room. Woodlands is essentially their home away from home.

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

Marty Wall: Because of our membership in Five Star Alliance, Virtuoso, Andrew Harper, and Relais & Chateaux, as well as our many national and international awards, our guests really come from all parts of the world. Also because of our very celebrated culinary team under the direction of Executive Chef Tarver King, many of our guests are here to experience what has been recognized as one of the top dining rooms in the country.

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?

Marty Wall: There have been several movies filmed in the Charleston area and as a result we have had a number of celebrities stay with us. In an effort to protect their privacy and in hopes that we see them regularly, we prefer not to mention specific names.

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

Marty Wall: The Inn is actually located in Summerville, SC which is a charming bedroom community to historic Charleston. The area is rich in history and has also become a very desirable dining destination. Visiting the many historic sights, eating at the many wonderful restaurants and enjoying the numerous outdoor activities provide plenty of options for guests of all ages.

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? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Marty Wall: We believe all of our rooms are special and each one offers something a little different or unique. Because the original house was constructed in 1906 a couple of the rooms in the original section offer distinctive features. The most noted being our 3rd floor suite that is often referred to as the "honeymoon suite". It offers a larger living room area, lofted bedroom, beautiful bathroom with a large Jacuzzi tub and the best feature is the spiral staircase leading to the "cupola" which overlooks the entire house and most of the grounds.

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?

Marty Wall: In that the original home was built in 1906 there is a lot of history within the walls. The original owners used the house for numerous events to entertain the country's military troops during the war. The house was also regularly used to host lavish debutant parties for many of their local friends and families.

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?

Marty Wall: If I were checking in I would definitely want to know just how outstanding the restaurant is.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of The Woodlands Resort and Inn?

Marty Wall: After spending several years in large luxury hotels, primarily in large urban environments, and after the birth of our third child, I was searching for a place that would provide balance in the business that I love and with my family which is as it should be, the most important thing in my life. I thought a smaller market and a smaller facility would be the answer. I had no idea I would find a place as special as Woodlands in a community as special as Charleston, South Carolina.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Marty Wall: There is nothing hard about my job... I LOVE what I do!!!

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?

Marty Wall: It would be hard for me to choose just 2 or 3 great hotels as there are so many incredible places in the world. Every new luxury hotel being built today is trying to provide something unique or special that you can not find anywhere else. That is what keeps us all on our toes and makes if difficult to pick what is the best... it will change tomorrow.

Villa Principe Leopoldo and Residence: Discover One of Europe’s Last Paradises at Lake Lugano, Switzerland

July 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Principe LeopoldoThe magnificent setting on the Collina d'Oro (Golden Hill) overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Lugano has inspired many visitors, including the Nobel laureate author Hermann Hesse who lived here in Montagnola for 45 years and called it "one of Europe's last paradises." This sunny corner of Switzerland, encircled by softly rounded mountains, offers a magic backdrop for the best kind of European getaway-- and it's not far from Zurich and Milan. The place to stay is the Villa Principe Leopoldo, named in homage to Prince Leopold Von Hohenzollern, for whom the villa was built in 1926. Guests here feel like they are staying in a princely private residence high above the sparkling white city of Lugano; the luxurious suites and sumptuous drawing room are adorned with magnificent art and the service embodies the finest traditional Swiss hospitality. There is a wealth of activities and excursions available in the area- from hiking and boating, to shopping in the lakeside resort of Lugano. A member of the Relais and Chateaux Collection, the Villa Principe Leopoldo is a privileged place made for the joy of living.

Psst. If you book with Five Star Alliance, you'l receive a one-day free pass for boat cruises on the lake of Lugano to discover the region.

The Garden Restaurant at Castello del Nero

July 8, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Castello del NeroThe Garden Restaurant is now open at Castello del Nero in Tuscany, Italy. Featuring a stunning terrace for outdoor breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests can enjoy views of the surrounding countryside in the heart of Tuscany outside Florence. Indoor dining features the newly reopened "La Torre" Restaurant with traditional Tuscan fireplace, and welcoming décor featuring local culinary specialties. Beginning next week the dining options will feature a twice-weekly Summer BBQ to offer guests a chance to try market fresh grilled meat and grilled fish, in addition to inviting appetizers and desserts. Guests know they can enjoy the splendor of the Tuscan countryside while still having easy access to nearby Florence. In addition Castello del Nero offers its signature ESPA Spa with 10 treatment rooms, vitality pool, relaxation areas, and special gender specific heat treatments.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Five Star Alliance guests at Castello del Nero will receive an in-room welcome with a bottle of water and sweet delight.

Hot Deals Close to Home: Ritz-Carlton New Orleans from $129

July 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton New OrleansIt's hard to beat a price like this at the most elegant hotel in the Big Easy. Situated on world-famous Canal Street at the edge of the French Quarter, within close proximity to the city's most popular and unique attractions, the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans has rates as low as $129 per night for the summer including weekends. (There are slightly higher rates from July 16-19 and August 1-9, 23, 31. Blackout dates are July 20-26.) You'll experience traditional Southern ambience with art and furnishings that reflect the graciousness of the mansions in the Garden District's antebellum mansions. Plus, the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans features a newly-renovated 25,000 square foot destination spa and a new signature restaurant. Needless to say, the amenities at the grande dame of New Orleans are almost impossibly luxurious; plush linens and robes and Bulgari bath products in all the rooms, fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, and five-fixture Italian marble baths in the suites.

Hotel Gritti Palace Summer in the City Promotion

July 8, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau

Hotel Gritti PalaceOverlooking the Grand Canal with understated Venetian Romance 16th Century Style is the Hotel Gritti Palace. Renown for discreet attentive service, elegant luxury and named 2006 Travel & Leisure Top 500 Hotels and 2008 Gold List by Conde Nast, the Hotel Gritti Palace announces their Summer in the City Promotion. Book by August 29th with stays between July 1st to August 31st, stay 2 nights and get 3rd free or book 3 nights and get the fourth free. Both options will also garner double StarPoints. Hotel Gritti PalaceThe Hotel Gritti Palace features 91 uniquely decorated luxuriously appointed rooms and suites with precious fabrics, antique furniture and murano glass light fixtures. All rooms blend the old world, elegant feel with today's modern amenities for lavish comfort. Choose the breathtaking views of the Grand Canal or enjoy overlooking the activities of Santa Maria del Giglio Square. With the Hotel Gritti Palace as an elegant base, you can then enjoy a short walk to shopping or take the private motor launch to Venice Lido for use of the use of the private beach facilities, swimming pool, tennis or golf.

The Luxury Hotel Boom in Ft. Lauderdale: Trump International and W Hotels Ready to Debut

July 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Fort LauderdaleNever mind that some airlines are stopping service to Ft. Lauderdale as a way to cut costs. The luxury hotel scene continues to boom on the sandy beaches of South Florida. Case in point: the brand new Trump International Hotel and Tower, Ft. Lauderdale, ready to open its doors in October 2008. Soaring 25 storeys above the sand, the 298-room hotel will boast breathtaking views of the Atlantic from the oversized windows. Jumping on the signature bed bandwagon (like Westin's Heavenly bed), the condo-hotel will feature the new Trump by Stearns & Foster Plush Pillowtop, the exclusive sleep system of Trump Hotel Collection. Other facilities include five-star dining, the 5,000 square foot Spa at Trump, state-of-the-art fitness center, and roof deck with a mosaic-tiled pool. A nice perk will be the signature services of Trump Attaché. Also slated for October? The W Fort Lauderdale, overlooking the sand and surf on one side, and the intercoastal waterway on the other.