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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.

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 >>


Inside Paradisus Cancun

March 24, 2013
By: Meagan Drillinger

Five Star Alliance's sister publication, Travel Agent, recently wrote an article about the recently re-vamped Pardisus Cancun

Travel Agent visited Paradisus Cancun in January, following its reopening and rebranding on December 1. Before, the resort operated as a Gran Melia, but has since been repurposed as a Paradisus, Melia's luxury all-inclusive brand. 

The resort offers guests six restaurants and three bars, several pools, a YHI Spa, golf course and more. Paradisus Cancun is also home to the specialty Royal Service, a private enclave of rooms that are adults-only, and come with their own set of privileges. Those who book four nights in the Royal Service section receive an included meal at Tempo. Royal Service guests also have access to the YHI Spa's hydrotherapy suite without having a treatment scheduled. A private pool and beach section is also available for guests of Royal Service. The resort offers a selection of Life Enriching experiences to help bring guests closer to the culture of Mexico and Cancun. We participated in a tequila tasting with the resort's sommelier. Guests can also opt for experiences like massage classes, DJ lessons and more. The Paradisus Cancun

Guests will want to stay in the Deluxe Royal Service Ocean Front rooms, which are the most requested accommodations. However, if you are looking for something even more over-the-top, say for a CEO, for example, the Presidential and Government Suites are best. All rooms in the Royal Service section entitle guests to private butler service. 

Getting there: Cancun International Airport is just 25 minutes away. The concierge can arrange anything from a town car or limo to Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Mercedes Benz SLS. If guests want to land a private helicopter, Cancun's airport can accommodate. 

The YHI Spa is a great place to unwind. There are 11 treatment rooms in the 4,900-square-foot space (six regular rooms and five eco rooms; three are for couples). Reservations are taken starting a month in advance but it is best to book at least 24 hours out. Try the Ix-Chel Holistic massage. 

The resort features a 'pitch and put' golf course on the grounds. If guests want something a little more exclusive, the resort can arrange for a golf pro to come to the property for a private golf clinic.

View rates, details and more photos for The Paradisus Cancun >>

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New to Five Star Alliance

March 5, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

We're always on the lookout for the top luxury hotels to add to the Five Star Alliance collection. Here are a few we've added recently.

 


Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla
, located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is an adults-only all-inclusive resort located on a spectacular and intimate bay. Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla combines a prestigious Caribbean setting with world-class facilities, including Royal Service, the ultimate in spa treatments, a relaxed ambience, and flexible meeting spaces with state-of-the-art equipment. 

View Rates, Details, and More Photos of Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla>>

 

 

Refinery Hotel New York is located in the heart of Manhattan's garment district.  It is blocks from Bryant Park, the theater district, Times Square, and the Empire State Building. There are 197 Guest Rooms and Executive Suites throughout the hotel's 12 elegant floors, each opulently tailored and custom-furnished. The chic decor and artistic ambience have industrial accents, a nod to the building's former life as a hat factory. 

 

View Rates, Details, and More Photos of Refinery Hotel New York>>

 

 

 

Paradisus Playa del Carmen Esmeralda, also located in Playa del Carmen, is also all-inclusive, but is geared towards a fun family vacation. There is a family pool, and 11 restaurants to choose from. The oceanfront location is surrounded by a lush tropical mangrove preserve and has views of Cozumel Island.  Enjoy fun activities such as tango dance classes, sushi-making, and sensorial experiences. 

 

View Rates, Details, and More Photos of Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda>>

 

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Image of the Day: Paradisus Punta Cana

February 10, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

At Paradisus Punta Cana, twelve restaurants offer an incredible choice of contemporary world cuisine and eight bars offer fashionable Caribbean cocktails and international premium brand drinks.

Explore rates, details, photos and more at Paradisus Punta Cana >>

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The Top 30 Hotels in 2012: #18 The Westin Resort and Spa Playa Conchal

December 14, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the last month of 2012, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 30 Luxury Hotels and Resorts worldwide, as decided by you, our luxury travelers! Be sure to check in with us daily to keep up with our countdown and explore a few of the absolute best and most luxurious hotels in the world for your future travels!

Coming in the #18 spot is the Westin Resort and Spa Playa Conchal which s located in Cabo Velas, in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province. Here are a few fun facts and features about this luxury hotel:

- The exotic 4-kilometer Playa Conchal beach owes its name to its unique sand, comprising millions of finely crushed seashells

- Awarded the Blue Flag eco-label for its cleanliness

- Aquatic activities enjoyed here include fishing, snorkeling, marine life observation, deep-sea fishing, and scuba diving

- Local weather and water temperatures are enjoyable throughout the year, with sunlight lasting more than half the day in winter and spring months

- Offers both all-inclusive and room-only rates

Explore photos, availability, and rates at this stunning hotel here >>


The Top 30 Hotels in 2012: #22 Half Moon

December 10, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the last month of 2012, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 30 Luxury Hotels and Resorts worldwide, as decided by you, our luxury travelers! Be sure to check in with us daily to keep up with our countdown and explore a few of the absolute best and most luxurious hotels in the world for your future travels!

Coming in the #22 spot is Half Moon which is located within the Rose Hall vicinity in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Here are a few fun facts and features about this luxury hotel:

- Stretches across 400 lushly landscaped acres

- Features 33 stately four- to seven-bedroom villas, each with its own personal staff and pool

- 152 luxurious suites and 46 breathtaking rooms

- A championship, 72-par Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf course, 18-hole putting green and 13-lit tennis courts

- Opportunities to take advantage of a full range of water sports and visit an exclusive natural Dolphin Lagoon

- Six gourmet restaurants and over half a dozen informal snack bars

- A world class spa and shopping village

- Children's activity centre, Hype Zone Teen Center, babysitting available

- 51 Swimming pools, including Olympic-size lap pool & swim-up pool bar.

- Offers both all-inclusive and room-only rates.

 

Explore photos, availability, and rates at Half Moon here >>


Opening in 2016: The Luxury All-Inclusive Pen Resort Hotel Curacao

June 21, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance

Avila Beach HotelThere is a new luxury hotel development in the works in Curacao, an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. Set to open in 2016, the future Pen Resort Hotel will be developed on 23,000 square meters of oceanfront property in a unique beachfront location not far from the capital Willemstad near the four star Avila Beach Hotel.

The Pen Resort Hotel will be a luxury all-inclusive resort:

- 5 restaurants and 3 bars

- Contemporary Dutch Caribbean architecture

- 313 rooms featuring the amenities of a AAA 4 Diamond rated resort hotel

- A full service spa and gym, plus many other activities and amenties for adults and children

- 30 minutes away from Curaçao’s International Airport but steps away from the capital

- The resort will include a restoration of Curaçao’s 19th century landmark Cerro Bonito Mansion which will be used as a casino and restaurant

- The resort will restore the historical Kas di Pueblo into suites that are complimented by butler service and where meeting and banquet facilities will be located

Pictured is the Avila Beach Hotel >>


A Boutique Critique: Ballyfin

May 30, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore.

There are few places in the world as storied as Ireland, and people travel there specifically for the romance of the countryside. Why then would one stay in a large city hotel when your accommodations can be as magical as the views? Ballyfin, at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, was restored in an eight year process that just finished in 2011 to allow it to open as a 5-star country house hotel with the pure Gaelic soul of the rolling hills. 600 acres of land hold just fifteen rooms, so you'll experience the greenery in perfect quiet. 

Open to children 14 and over, the all-inclusive resort maintains the original 1820s design, full of antiques and gorgeous art. Row boats are available on a nearby lake, and you can even go ice skating in the wintertime. This small boutique hotel is the perfect destination for a wedding or retreat, and, listed as a Forbes Top Life Hotel, it has the accolades to back up its reputation. If you want to experience Ireland as she's meant to be, then you should think about staying at Ballyfin.


Rent an Entire South Pacific Island in Bora Bora: The Four Seasons Bora Bora

February 17, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance

Four Seasons Bora BoraIf this isn't the perfect South Pacific getaway, we don't know what is: The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is now available for complete island buyouts, maximizing privacy and a perfectly customized experience.

"Your Own Private Island" is a seven-night exclusive buyout package, which includes use of all 107 accommodations (100 overwater bungalows and seven beachfront villas), four restaurants, the spa, the Resort's maritime fleet, pool, beach, resort activities and 250 Four Seasons employees. All meals, beverages, WiFi in all guest suites, airport and island transfers are included, as well as one spa treatment per guest.

Of course, a private island doesn't come cheap: The full seven-day package is available for $1,000,000. Other customizable buyout options are also available, with pricing from $45,000 per night for a room-only package, based on a minimum of three nights.

Contact our agents to find out more and check availability >>

This article originally appeared in our sister publication: Luxury Travel Advisor


Round Hill Hotel and Villas Hosts a Well-Rounded Cast

January 9, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

 Round Hill Hotel and VillasThe Round Hill Hotel and Villas has been playing host a panoply of stars lately, and this holiday period was so covered with them, we'd advise the use of shades for more than just the sun.  If you were down there in your post-Christmas festivities, you would've been enjoying the company of honeymooning Paul McCartney along with his daughter Stella McCartney, Ewan McGregor and wife, and if that weren't enough, the entire Ralph Lauren crew decided to come along for the ride.  So next time you're there, don't be surprised if you can't walk five feet without having to play it cool.  

And it's no wonder.  The Round Hill has always been one of, if not the top, resorts in Jamaica and the whole of the Caribbean.  Situated on Montego Bay, the cashmere sweater of luxury hotels is both soft and inviting and not showy in the least.  The 18th century great house turned luxury resort is one of the most low-key in our collection, and that's exactly as it should be.  If you're interested in the all-inclusive programs offered by the resort, simply  make sure to mention the All-Inclusive Platinum Plan to it added into your room rates.  As you're looking to shake off the winter snow and head to warmer climes, the Round Hill Hotel and Villas is definitely one to check out.