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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.

Smintair: the Luxury Airline for Smokers

July 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

SMINTAIR offers every passenger refuge from daily stress and restriction, an island of tranquillity, a World of it's own in the skies... Although innovative, SMINTAIR will treat it's passengers like the guest of an international Grand Hotel. It is an obligation to SMINTAIR to bring back the exclusivity in flying encountered in the 1960s and dearly missed by so many. The classic ambience pared [sic] with today's technology will make flying SMINTAIR a unique experience.
So states Smintair on its website. A German entrepreneur has announced plans for a luxury airline that allows its passengers to smoke. Smintair (no, the name doesn't come from the little box of post-cigarette mints; it's an acronym for Smoker's International Airways) is slated to launch in March with flights from Dusseldorf to Tokyo's Narita International on two Boeing 747 aircraft. The flights will offer 30 first class and 108 business class seats, with abundant leg room.
Allowing our guests to smoke is one of the freedoms we are happily prepared to grant. Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests... As the World's first smoker's airline, SMINTAIR is entering many uncovered niches in aviation, designed to give the traveller maximum pleasure out of their flight experience. SMINTAIR spends more than three times the amount usually invested on passenger's nourishment. Signature recipes created by internationally renowned chefs will make each meal a feast. Charming and beautiful flight attendants in uniforms designed by famous couturiers are there to take the very best care of you. Every two years, a new designer will be elected to keep the uniform design a la mode.
Marketwatch is skeptical; Smintair needs to raise at least 40 million euros for an operating license from the German federal aviation authority. Time will tell if this baby will actually get off the ground. Related Articles: BBC News, German Plans Airline for Smokers Gridskipper, "Smokes on a Plane"


Family Vacation in Las Vegas at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas

July 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas

Just 17 miles from the Vegas strip, the AAA five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas is close enough to enjoy all that Vegas has to offer, and yet far enough away to experience the beautiful seclusion of the Nevada desert and surrounding mountains. The Tuscan-inspired lakeside resort has a breathtaking setting; its 349 guestrooms enjoy panoramic views of the high-desert mountains. The facilities are in a category all their own: 36 holes of championship golf designed by Nicklaus and Weiskopf, the award-winning spa and fitness center (one of the top in the country), beach and lake sports, indoor and outdoor dining, heated outdoor pool, lakeside entertainment and concerts, excellent kid's program and activities. This is the ultimate family retreat, with something to please the whole family. From now until September 4, 2006, the luxurious resort is offering an unbeatable Vegas Family Vacation Package. Starting at $249 a night, the package includes complimentary breakfast and lunch for kids under 12, 50 percent spa savings for parents, and a fourth night free of charge. (Kids under 12 can share a room with their parents with no extra cost.)


Special Offer for Business Travelers at the Conrad Chicago

June 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Chicago

In the heart of Chicago's financial district, the Conrad Chicago is one of the most prestigious addresses on the Magnificent Mile. Within walking distance of The Loop, The Merchandise Mart, and Lake Michigan, the Conrad is a perfect urban oasis, with the best restaurants and shopping experiences at its doorstep. The luxury hotel offers 311 guestrooms with incredible views over the city skyline. Decorated in a classic contemporary style, the spacious rooms feature state-of-the-art technology, such as three dual-line phones, complimentary high-speed Internet access, CD player with clock radio and premier luxury amenities. The Conrad Chicago also offers 12,000 square feet of technologically advanced meeting and conference facilities, a fitness center, stylish bar and signature restaurant. From now until the end of the year, take advantage of the luxurious "Business Retreat" package at the Conrad Chicago. From just $235 per night, enjoy a host of added amenities, including complimentary coffee with wake-up call, complimentary dry cleaning for one suit, complimentary one-hour administrative services, a choice of one book from the New York Times bestseller list, and a personal shopper to find a gift for loved ones at home.


Move Over Ritz-Carlton: Hilton Plans a Waldorf Astoria for Orlando

June 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will be the first new property under the Waldorf-Astoria Collection Brand. Hilton announced the new brand as a strategy to increase its share of the profitable luxury hotel market. The new luxury line includes the original Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The 500-room Orlando hotel will be part of a development including a 1,000-room Hilton, located next to the Walt Disney World Resort. Slated for a summer 2009 opening, the Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will feature many of the restaurants and bars as the Manhattan original: Peacock Alley, The Bull and Bear, Sir Harry's Bar, and Oscar's. Combined with the new Hilton, the two hotels will share a 25,000 sq ft spa, 145,000 sq ft of meeting and event space, and a golf course designed by Rees Jones. Via TravelWeekly


Fairmont to Manage St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa, Scotland

June 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Andrews Bay

Starting July 1, 2006, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is slated to take over management of Scotland's destination golf resort. The 209-room resort has a spectacular location in the renowned "home of golf," just two miles from the medieval town of St. Andrews and the acclaimed Old Course, and surrounded by 10 golf courses in the vicinity. Overlooking the River Tay estuary and the North Sea, the hotel and its two clifftop championship courses—The Torrance and The Devlin—boast panoramic views. St. Andrews Bay Golf Resort also features five dining outlets, a 3,500 sq ft spa and health club, and excellent conference facilities. The new management anticipates a GBP 10 million refurbishment, which will renovate the existing facilities over a few years time.


Experience the Wild Beauty of Vancouver Island in Style: The Wickaninnish Inn

June 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wickaninnish Inn

Situated on Vancouver Island's rugged western shore, the Wickaninnish Inn is a prestigious getaway, an exclusive Relais and Chateaux property voted "One of the Top Ten Hotels in North America" by Travel and Leisure readers. Just minutes from the picturesque town of Tofino, the Inn is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific, nearby islands, and Chesterman Beach, not far from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Clayoquot Sound. From your guestroom's private balcony, take in the panoramic views, and fall asleep in luxury each evening, listening to the sounds of the surf. Indulge in a massage at the Ancient Cedars Spa, delight in a delicious meal at the award-winning Pointe Restaurant, and savor the countless recreational activities to discover the region's heartstopping beauty: explore the wide sandy beaches, go fishing or whale-watching, kayak or canoe the waterways, or hike through the old-growth forests.


Dole Food Company to Open California Wellbeing Institute and Four Seasons Westlake Village, California

June 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Westlake Village

In the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, adjacent to its world headquarters, Dole Food Co. has completed a $250 million project in Westlake Village that includes a 270-room Four Seasons Hotel, state-of-the-art wellness center, and 58,000 sq-ft spa and fitness center. Located just 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the landmark complex sprawls over 20 acres of waterfalls, rose gardens, and bamboo groves. This destination is all about health and well-being: the Four Seasons offers a tranquil spa retreat and the wellness center pioneers cutting-edge systems to improve quality of life with focuses on food and nutrition, fitness, recreation and emotional health. There is also a Health and Longevity Institute staffed with physicians and boasting excellent medical services and facilities. And lastly, there is a TV production facility that will be used to develop "food network" cable TV programs, instructing people about eating well and living healthier lives. Dole is playing a leading role in educating its consumers on these important health issues.

At the Four Seasons, enjoy a treatment in a private spa suite, enroll in a lifestyle program at the California Wellbeing Institute, or relax by the pool. After a healthy sushi dinner, retreat to your luxurious, and generously sized guest room, overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains. Other features of the hotel include more than 40,000 square feet of function space, including conference center with eight meeting rooms, grand ballroom (capacity of 350 guests), and business center.


Dine on the Terrace at J. Taylor’s at L’Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa, California

June 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

J. Taylor's Terrace

Saffron-Mussel Bisque, followed by Smoked Prime Filet Mignon and Diver Scallops (with truffled potato croquettes), and a delicious dessert of warm chocolate volcano cake. At J. Taylor's, the Contemporary American cuisine is as heavenly as the outdoor ambience. Acclaimed local Chef, Paul McCabe, shines with this inspired and sophisticated menu. The restaurant is casually elegant, but heavy on the romance, with fireplace, lavish displays of orchids, and cathedral ceilings. French doors open to the outdoor courtyard and patio dining area, an exquisite setting with waterfalls and herb garden. Located at L'Auberge Del Mar Resort and Spa across from the Del Mar Plaza. Valet parking is complimentary for guests. J.Taylor's is open seven days a week and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Brunch is available (and highly recommended) on weekends.

Image via CourtneyMay/Flickr


Luxury Hotel Giveaway in Washington DC

June 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hay Adams

Two nights free in Washington DC?

Are you kidding me?

Nope, this is not a joke. Enter our luxury hotel Giveaway for a chance to win a two-night stay in a sumptuous Junior Suite at the historic Hay-Adams hotel. Totally free to enter, and it’s valued at $2,400. So what are you waiting for? Time is running out-- just a few weeks time remains. Enter the contest!


Family Fun in the Sun at Esencia, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

June 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Esencia The newest chic spot on Mexico's Riviera Maya, Esencia is a small boutique hotel which was once the home of a European duchess. Located on one of the best white sand beaches on the Yucatan, Esencia has been recognized for its elegant cuisine, personalized butler service and modern amenities. The 29 rooms and suites offer exquisite views, private gardens and pools, and in-room bathtubs. The luxurious Aroma Spa prides itself on its organic focus, with plant extracts and botanical essences used in the treatments. From now through August, Esencia is offering a five-night "Family Fun in the Sun" package with discounts of more than 30 percent. The package includes a garden suite with plunge pool, daily breakfast and transfers, for two adults and one child under age 12. Starting at $1,725. (Nightly rates usually start at $475) Via Washington Post "What's the Deal?"