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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.

Boar’s Head Inn, Charlottesville: Virginia Hospitality in the Heart of the Blue Ridge Foothills


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Boar's Head Inn Most visitors to the Boar's Head Inn (myself included), find themselves drawn to the Old Mill Room, quickly enchanted with the impressive wood beams lining the ceiling, the large fireplace and cozy ambience of the fine dining restaurant. The Inn has a long and impressive history, and the Old Mill Room is the heart of it all.

The Boar's Head Inn was built from the timbers of an abandoned gristmill, formerly located along the banks of the Hardware River. Dating back to 1834, the mill had survived burning despite the orders of Generals Grant and Custer during their Civil War march. The old mill, a treasured Virginian artifact, was carefully dismantled and reconstructed on the Inn's site. The original fieldstones, pine beams and planks, and massive grist stones are displayed throughout the Inn, prominent reminders of the past.

For 19 years running, the Old Mill Room has earned the AAA Four-Diamond Award for culinary excellence. The menu spotlights heirloom vegetables, wild game, Chesapeake Bay fish and seafood, and wines from the region's finest vineyards and wineries, as well as from around the world.

From the property's early days as the site of Terrell's Ordinary in the 1730's to its development in the 1960's as a quintessential Virginia inn, Boar's Head Inn has enjoyed a reputation as a welcoming place to stop (anything but ordinary!) Indeed, the Boar's Head Tradition has endured since Shakespeare's day, when London's Boar's Head Inn was synonymous with good food and warm hospitality, a tradition maintained in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.

Nestled in the gently rolling hills of a 573-acre estate just outside Charlottesville, Boar's Head Inn combines the grace and hospitality of a country inn, with the luxurious amenities of a full-service resort. There's championship golf, top-rated tennis, a luxury spa, sports club, swimming pools, and four restaurants. The meeting facilities-- newly revamped-- are unrivaled in the region. When I recently attended a conference sponsored by Whole Foods Market (regional summits encourage local growers to get their products on the stores' shelves), I was impressed by both the venue (beautiful ballroom) and the delicious lunch.


Jumeirah Essex House, New York’s Icon, Finishes Awesome Renovation


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Essex House As a massive $70 million renovation comes to an end, the Grande Dame of New York has returned to her original splendor. Uniquely situated at the southern base of Central Park, Jumeirah Essex House is an internationally renowned urban oasis right in the heart of midtown Manhattan. A member of National Trust Historic Hotels, the 515-room landmark is part of Dubai-based luxury hospitality group Jumeirah and sister to the world's most luxurious hotel, Burj al Arab. The ambitious makeover project has enhanced the facilities and services of the hotel, rebuilding its status as one of New York's iconic luxury hotels. Here's the skinny on the exciting renovation. Come September 2007, guests will enjoy completely remodeled rooms and suites with the comfort and functionality of the 21st century, the latest in high-tech amenities, including an "electronic butler" system using LCD touch screens, and a more functional lobby where guests can enjoy Afternoon Tea and light fare. The completely renovated restaurant, transformed by Tony Chi, one of the world's top designers, is slated for the end of 2007, or early 2008. It promises to be one of the city's hottest culinary destinations.

Related Articles:

Jumeirah's Luxury Hotel Expansion and the Jumeirah Essex House, New York


Satchmo Summer Fest and Museums of New Orleans with the Windsor Court Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Windsor Court Hotel The weekend of August 2-5 honors New Orleans' native son, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, with entertainment, Sizzlin' Satchmo dinners, and educational programs in the French Quarter. Stay at the Windsor Court Hotel, the city's finest hotel, and luxuriate in the tranquility of the Garden District after partaking in the weekend's excitement. For chilled cocktails and cool music, head to the hotel's Polo Club Lounge, its overstuffed chairs and tobacco color scheme evoking the aura of an 18th century "gentlemen's withdrawing room." Take tea at Le Salon. And dine at the innovative, award-winning New Orleans Grill Room, where the new Executive Chef Greg Sonnier, James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef of the South, concocts delightful Louisiana dishes in the city's best restaurant.

With Windsor Court's Museum Package, get incredible savings (suites from $179 and Club Suites from $279 until September 30, 2007!) in the most luxurious hotel in the city, along with two complimentary tickets for one of the following museums: The National World War II Museum (formerly the National D-Day Museum), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, home to the most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world, or the New Orleans Museum of Art, located in New Orleans' acclaimed City Park. The Museum features 40,000 objects valued in excess of $200 million. The hotel itself features its own dazzling $8 million art collection, with masterpieces by Reynolds and Van Dyck.


Gastronome’s Geneva: Windows Restaurant at Hotel d’Angleterre


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel d'Angleterre There's more to Windows Restaurant than the mind-blowing views, overlooking Lake Geneva, the Jet d'Eau, and Mont Blanc. Windows scored a rating of 16 in the prestigious Gault & Millau Guide. After all, the restaurant is housed in the Hotel d'Angleterre, one of the best hotels in all of Europe, and the excellence of the dining experience matches the sheer sumptuousness of the rooms. This summer, indulge in an evening of Enchanting Indian Delicacy during a three-week extravaganza when a five-man team flies in from the Michelin star Tamarind restaurant in London. From July 30- August 18, 2007, discover the exciting flavors of northwest India in a fabulously luxurious setting. The gastronomic four-course dinners at Windows are prepared by Tamarind's renowned chef Alfred Passat and his team.


Family Fun Discount at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Get a $200 resort activity credit and complimentary breakfast for two when you book three nights or more at The Sanctuary, the beautiful seaside mansion within Kiawah Resort. Awarded five diamonds by AAA, the exquisite luxury hotel is located just thirty minutes from downtown Charleston, and embodies all of the grandeur and warm hospitality of the American South. Kids adore the range of activities on offer at Kiawah (unspoiled beaches, tennis, bike riding), while their parents enjoy luxurious spa indulgence and championship golf outings. The Family Fun Offer also applies to villa stays; book two or more nights in a villa and receive 20 percent off the nightly rate. Offer available from August 12- September 30, 2007.


Ivy Hotel: Sexy San Diego


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eden Bar at Ivy Hotel, San Diego There's been a lot of buzz about the opening of San Diego's hottest new hotel, the "posh adult playground" that is the Ivy Hotel. It's not just the rooms that are extravagant, the hotel has transformed San Diego's nightlife scene with Club Envy and the sultry rooftop lounge, Eden Bar. Guests at Ivy receive exclusive VIP passes to Envy:

a multilevel club with a gravitational pull that's hard to resist. Envy will swallow you up in its hidden corners, where beds become tables and tables become dance floors. Anticipate, expose, and play out fantasies.

...While Eden (pictured) is the largest rooftop space in San Diego, complete with pool and sundeck, where visitors soak up breathtaking views and myriad tropical cocktails. Head to The Quarter Kitchen, the hotel's acclaimed fine dining restaurant, for sensual and unique combos of simple food (caviar tacos, lobster pot pie...), cooked to perfection. Celebrity chef Damon Gordon has been an executive chef at some of the world's most exclusive hotels, including The Royalton Hotel in New York, The Delano in Miami, and St. Martins Lane Hotel in London.

Related Articles:

Announcing The Ivy Hotel, San Diego

San Diego Bloggers, Fresh: The Ivy Hotel


Posh Paris: The Delights of the Renovated Hotel Meurice


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Meurice Mosaic floors, hand-carved moldings, glorious antique furnishings, sumptuous French fabrics, and of course the Art Nouveau glass roof atop the Winter Garden... In a breath: Parisian opulence incarnate. Hotel Meurice, the legendary Palace hotel adored by visiting royalty, has long stood as a proud Parisian landmark facing the Tuileries Gardens. How could one possibly improve upon perfection? Hotel Meurice has gone hip with a massive renovation, and is now better than ever. Most rooms have wonderful views of the Louvre and Tuileries, or the brilliant white Sacré-Coeur, floating above the city. Each of the seven floors has a distinct style, with 121 rooms decorated in a style reminiscent of Louis XVI. All the rooms are soundproofed and have air conditioning, high-speed Internet access, multiple telephone lines, a direct line, fax machines upon request and cable television. The Spa Caudalíe, opened in 2001, features the rejuvenating and purifying effects of Caudalíe treatments (like the Crushed Cabernet scrub) as well as a separate state-of-the-art Fitness Center. Meals at Le Meurice are as close to perfect as it gets; Yannick Alléno garnered his third Michelin star this year and the critics can't stop raving about the exquisite dining experience-- smart service, stunning surroundings, and elegant French fare at its finest. And of course kids are spoiled rotten at Hotel Meurice: sweets and in-room Kids Kit awaiting upon arrival, a treasure hunt winding through the hotel...


The Rebirth of Malibu Beach Inn, the Only Luxury Hotel Between Santa Monica and Santa Barbara


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Malibu Beach Inn And we thought we were excited when Bacara first opened in Santa Barbara. For the ultimate luxury digs in So Cal, head to the newly renovated Malibu Beach Inn, situated on "Billionaire's Beach," where some of America's richest make their homes on Malibu's oceanfront bluffs. The multi-million dollar makeover means facilities that are downright decadent; the 47 elegantly appointed guest rooms boast breathtaking ocean views from private balconies, natural tile showers, contemporary furnishings made from exotic wenge wood, Dean and Deluca Refreshment Centers and Private Bars, and state-of-the-art technology. An added touch: the in-room wine rack with eight hand-selected Cali wines. The hotel's landscaping, architecture, and interior design reflect the natural beauty of Malibu's coastline, and a unique collection of artwork graces the hotel's walls. Come Fall 2007 (the official re-opening date), well-heeled guests can expect unsurpassed luxury at the area's only destination hotel.

P.S. The signature beach club promises to make a splash.


Bliss in Buenos Aires: Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Argentina's cosmopolitan capital has been high on the traveler's "it" list in recent years. Sizzling with style and sexiness, oozing sophistication, Buenos Aires is the place to be. What's more-- the city is incredibly affordable, so a night on the town-- pretty-people watching at tango parlors, indulging in an embarrassingly inexpensive feast-- can be had for a song. Not to mention the shopping. Stock up on beautiful, high-quality leather goods for a fraction of their cost in the U.S. Where to stay in the most sensual city on earth? The Palacio Duhau, built in 1934 by French architect Leon Dourge, is one of the few remaining palaces representing the city's traditional Porteña aristocracy. Located in the fashionable Recoleta district on Avenida Alvear, the hotel seamlessly blends B.A.'s legendary old time glamour with 21st century design and cutting edge technology. Duck into the Vinoteca to taste marvelous vintages from a formidable selection: 350 different labels, 3,500 bottles of Argentine wines featuring the best Argentine Malbecs. Wines are paired with dried fruits, homemade breads and marmalades, air dried ham, and the best artisanal cheeses selected by the Maitre Fromager in the Cheese Room.


Balinese Cooking Classes, Plus $250 Resort Credit, at Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, Bali


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Beneath a lotus pool floating above treetops, high above Bali's sacred Ayung River, discover a luxurious paradise nestled in the jungle. At Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, cooking classes offer a hands-on approach to the exotic world of Balinese cooking. During an escorted excursion to the local market, lucky guests marvel at the abundant selection of fresh fruits, vegetables and spices. After the chef conducts a tour of the gardens to show the herbs grown on-site, participants partake in an informative class in the Ayung Terrace kitchen. But the cooking class isn't the only thing delighting visitors to Bali's Four Seasons at Sayan. Enormous suites and private villas offer a tropical haven with Indonesian furnishings and local handmade fabrics. The two-level swimming pool, designed to follow the river's natural contours, is surrounded by a wooden deck from where guests gape at the views. With hot and cold plunge pools, outdoor bathing pavilions, and courtyard gardens, the spa is infused with elegant Balinese architecture throughout. Treatments focus on the rejuvenating elements found in nature: earthen clays, mountain botanicals and warming spices.

To discover the extraordinary diversity of Bali, pair your visit with a stay at Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay. From now until September 30, 2007, enjoy a $250 resort credit at both resorts (with a minimum four-night stay).