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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.

Doggie Happy Hour at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria, Virginia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Doggie Happy Hour at Hotel MonacoBring your four-legged friend to the courtyard of the Hotel Monaco Alexandria every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. As pointed out by the good folks at Daily Candy, both "pups and peeps" will have a great time at this pet-friendly gathering. The hotel even has a Director of Pet Relations "Charlie" (described as a "very handsome Bischon"). Nestled in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria just minutes from Washington D.C., the Hotel Monaco recently emerged from an elaborate mega-renovation. At the Doggie Happy Hour, Fido can chow down on complimentary gourmet doggie snacks while you feast on regional American cuisine from the adjacent restaurant Jackson 20-- focusing on ingredients sourced from local waters and nearby farms.


Hot Dining in Lausanne: New Sushi Bar at the Beau-Rivage Palace


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beau-Rivage Palace, LausanneThe award-winning Beau-Rivage Palace knows a thing or two about gastronomy. As described by Travel and Leisure, the hotel is "considered by many to be the finest hotel in Switzerland" and Coco Chanel herself lived in one of the 29 suites. The Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, La Rotonde, boasts an exquisite setting in the center of a park with views of the Alps and Lac Leman. (The wine selection is mind-blowing.) The Café Beau-Rivage is a deluxe brasserie with a large lakeside terrace. And just opened last Fall: the stylish, contemporary Miyako Lausanne, serving traditional Japanese cuisine with sushi and sashimi prepared on the spot.


“We Pay the Tax While You Just Relax” Weekend Package from Omni Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Omni HoustonGetting ready to get your Economic Stimulus Plan check? The Omni Orlando Resort and the Omni Hotels Texas Collection have come up with a clever weekend package to celebrate tax refunds. With your extra cash, treat yourself with a weekend vacay, invest in the economy, and get all sorts of credits including a $25 American Express gift card and $25 hotel food and bev credit. Additionally, Omni will pay all local and state taxes on the guests' room rate (and in Florida, hotel tax ain't cheap!) rather than guests giving a portion of their extra money back to the government. Package rates start at $179 per night; available May 1- September 30, 2008. Head to the Lone Star State and enjoy luxurious amenities at the Omni Houston Hotel, including complimentary Wifi and custom-designed four-, six- or nine-course meals at Noé Restaurant. At Omni's Orlando resort, take up golf lessons at the world headquarters of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.


Hotel Credit at the Newly-Opened Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons St. LouisThe swankiest hotel to hit St. Louis is open and ready for business. The 19-storey tower of luxury on the banks of the Mississippi has a great location and unrivaled views of the iconic Gateway Arch. You'll enjoy signature Four Seasons service, 24-hour service at the business center, and the city's most comprehensive menu of treatments at the spa. Enjoy a stay at this strikingly modern Four Seasons hotel with a special package that offers a $100 credit per room per stay to be used towards accommodations or incidentals. The two-night package starts from just $245 per night and is available until December 31, 2008.


Great Price with Free Amenities Included at Hotel Claris, Barcelona


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Claris, BarcelonaA stay at one of the prettiest boutique hotels in Barcelona, complete with a rooftop swimming pool and a museum-quality art collection, can be yours starting from just EUR 219. Hotel Claris has a fantastic location on Paseo de Gracia smack dab in the middle of the city. The two-night "Enjoy Barcelona" package includes all sorts of free add-ons-- like daily buffet breakfast, a bottle of Spanish red wine, use of a Mercedes Smart car for 1/2 day to enjoy Barcelona at your own pace, daily newspaper, parking, late-check out, and tickets to the Barcelona Egyptian Museum with the possibility of a guided tour with an Egyptologist. And that's not all. Lucky guests will also enjoy a themed guided tour in the city center accompanied by a team of professionals passionate about Barcelona. Choose either the Modernist Tour (admire the master works of the modernist architects like Antoni Gaudí at the Eixample), Picasso Tour (follow in the footsteps of Picasso), Gothic Tour (discover the city's history as you stroll through one of the best preserved medieval districts in the world) or Gourmet Tour (enjoy a flavor-filled journey through the old town and discover Barcelona's gastronomic culture).


Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, Thailand: King’s Cup Elephant Polo, Elephant Trekking and the Elephant Camp


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anantara Resort Golden TriangleOverlooking the rugged hills of Laos and Burma and the winding Mekong River in Thailand's mystical Golden Triangle region, Anantara Resort is a luxury nature retreat set on 160 acres of tropical jungle. The resort is just as evocative as its surroundings. From your private balcony with a built-in sofa, you can check out the views of three different countries! The 58 guest rooms feature traditional Thai art, hardwood floors, and open bathrooms with oversized tubs for two. Go elephant trekking, learn exotic Thai flavors at the resort's own cooking school, take a guided excursion to Burma's colorful markets. The resort offers myriad conservation activities, and the luxurious facilities include a hilltop infinity pool overlooking the Mekong valley, pampering Anantara Spa, and signature restaurants.

Elephant Polo at AnantaraAs we've been eagerly anticipating for months, Anantara Resort Golden Triangle recently hosted the 7th King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament on a new polo pitch set just feet from the Ruak River dividing Thailand from Burma. From March 31-April 6, 2008, 12 elite teams battled it out. (There was even an all-female London-Irish team!) After some exciting matches, the Mercedes team clinched the title in a close finish against Chivas Regal of Scotland. But the real winners? The elephants themselves, as the tournaments raise money for the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Over $200,000 has been raised to help provide protection for the threatened Thai elephant. In fact, Anantara Resort is praised for its on-site Elephant Camp where some 27 elephants are in residence. Funds have been used for a custom-built elephant ambulance and a (powder) milk bank for baby elephants.


Vacation at Pablo Escobar’s Retreat: Casa Magna in Tulum, Mexico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa Magna, Amansala, TulumThe Colombian cocaine kingpin sure did pick a nice spot. Tulum and the Riviera Maya have become Mexico's hottest destination in the last decade, and it's little wonder why. The picture-perfect setting of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, coupled with the easy proximity to the U.S. East Coast, continues to lure vacationers seeking a little piece of paradise. On the secluded coast near Tulum, south of Cancun, a new eco-chic resort called Casa Magna has been making waves. Legend has it that Escobar himself camped out here (and there are the bullet-proof walls, a secret tunnel, and "look-out turrets" to prove it). After the drug lord's death, the place was abandoned and deteriorated into a mess of concrete... At least until Amansala took on a massive renovation project and created this eco-friendly hideaway touting "rustic luxury." On this pristine stretch of beach, you'll find spacious rooms, yoga classes, fitness training, and a restaurant serving the freshest fish and tasty mango margaritas.


Your Own Private Boat on the Seine: Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, private boatLeave it to the Hotel Plaza Athénée, that prestigious bastion of luxury on the Avenue Montaigne, Carrie Bradshaw's favorite haunt, to come up with this exclusive Parisian experience. Discover the thrilling sights of Paris while aboard your own private motorboat with Champagne and hand-made Macaroons. Glide under the romantic bridges of the Seine, watch the Louvre and Eiffel Tower slide by, while sipping flutes of Champagne served by your Hostess. The package also includes delightfully-appointed accommodations at the Plaza Athénée, full American breakfast for two people, flowers on arrival, and a personalized welcome. Starting from EUR 1,525 in a Junior Suite based on a two-night minimum stay. Available until August 15, 2008.


Glamorous Girlfriend Getaway at the Willard


By: Madelyn Giblin

Willard Hotel BathroomExperience elegance at the Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. with their Glamorous Girlfriend Getaway package. Enjoy a stay in one of the Willard's fabulous suites for you and up to three of your best girlfriends. The suite comes with complimentary delicious tea sandwiches and cocktails upon your arrival, and guests are also treated to an in-suite thirty minute aromatherapy massage, finished off with a dusting of 24-karat gold powder. The package includes a visit from a representative of Washington's The Tiny Jewel Box with a selection of real jewelry for you and your friends for your exciting night out. Guests also enjoy a nighttime limousine tour of the monuments and picnic dinner basket along with champagne. And finally, join the A-list at Washington's hottest night spot The Park at Fourteenth, with limousine drop off and pick up and VIP entrance into the club. Rates start at $1,244 for a two person suite.


Caribbean Deals: Discover Nevis with the Four Seasons Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons NevisImagine: a guava wrap (or rum tonic body treatment) in the luxurious haven of the Four Seasons spa. Golf and tennis by the crystal-clear sea. Beaches of silky-soft sand stretching as far as the eye can see. Sunset dining at the water's edge. Four Seasons Nevis offers all that, and more; the resort has also distinguished itself as a fun and elegant Caribbean hideaway perfect for families. Starting April 19, 2008, you can score a $100/night resort credit with the "Discover Nevis" package. So the longer you stay, the more value you get at Four Seasons Nevis-- with no maximum limit! You can also combine this promotion with the "Family Plan" which allows you to get a second room at 50 percent off. Prices start at $335 per night on May 31, 2008. (The rate is $449 from April 19-May 30, 2008).