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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.

Holistic Hideaway at The Standard, Miami

September 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Standard Miami

Easily one of the hottest new hotels in the world, The Standard shook things up in Miami when it opened in late 2005, created by hotelier Andre Balazs as a hydrotherapy playground with communal spa activities. The hotel represents the advanced spa-hotel concept at its finest, with its incredible and innovative spa. (Mud lounge, anyone?) Located on quiet Belle Island, a calm refuge from South Beach, The Standard, Miami is as creative with the names of its room types-- Missionary, Lush, Dry, Wet, and the Full Spread—as it is with the spa features and amenities. Guest rooms are designed in the simple Scandinavian tradition, with plush features including Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy pillows, day beds, private outdoor living rooms, mood lighting, spa showers, outdoor soaking tubs, mini bars stuffed with yummy organic stuff, Kiss My Face amenities, high speed internet, flat screen TVs, DVD library and CD players.

Now couldn't be a better time to check out this higher Standard, with a hot Autumn deal from the hotel. The Holistic Hideaway is a two-night escape for just $395, which includes Accommodations, Limitless use of indoor and outdoor baths, Turkish hammam, sauna, aroma steam room, sound pool, Roman waterfall, hot tub, arctic plunge and gymnasium, Your choice of either one in-room "Standard" massage or two "quickie" massages, An invigorating "Just Pure" herbal bath, Complimentary access to the mud lounge, Two Yoga classes in The Standard's Movement and Meditation Center, Spa breakfasts for two every morning, and a two-course wholesome dinner for two at The Lido Restaurant. Wow.

Via Daily Candy (The package is just $350 for Daily Candy readers)


Oktoberfest and Cooking Classes at Sea Island Resorts, Georgia

September 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sea Island Cooking School

The German-born executive chef of The Lodge at Sea Island will be teaching a delicious array of authentic German specialties, including sauerbraten (a savory, marinated German pot roast), spätzle (handmade German noodles), and schnitzel (crispy pan-fried veal cutlets with aromatic herbs). The next session of the Sea Island Cooking School takes place on September 18 and 19, 2006, starting with the Friday evening private reception and dinner with Chef Johannes Klapdohr in The Lodge Wine Cellar. Also includes Saturday morning cooking school with lunch prepared by the participants, Sunday brunch, and your very own monogrammed chef's jacket. The "Cook Together" package starts at $850 per night, with a two night minimum stay. (If you miss the cooking school, there's always the annual Oktoberfest celebration at Sea Island on October 10, 2006.)

"Add some sizzle with schnitzel," Chef Johannes Klapdohr says. And here's a teaser for your next Fall tailgating picnic, for Southern German Potato Salad:

Ingredients:

2 lb. Potatoes

1 lg. Onion, finely diced

2 c. Chicken stock

6 tbsp. Vinegar (mild vinegar like apple, with 5 percent acidity)

1 tbsp. Mustard

1 tsp. Salt

4 tbsp. Oil

1 tbsp. Parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp. Chives, finely cut

Pepper and Nutmeg to taste

Preparation:

Boil the potatoes in their jackets and peel while still hot.

Sweat onions with one tablespoon of oil and deglaze with chicken stock. Set aside.

Slice potatoes thinly in large bowl.

Season potatoes with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Add mustard, vinegar, parsley and chives.

Pour chicken stock over potatoes and add oil.

Mix carefully and let rest for 1 hr.

Serve warm.

Related Articles:

A Recipe for Romance: The Cook Together Package at The Lodge at Sea Island, Georgia


A Sexy and Chic Piece of France in the Caribbean: Le Sereno Hotel on St. Barts

August 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Sereno

On the elegant and exclusive island of St. Barts, Le Sereno is a beautiful hideaway designed by famous Parisian designer Christian Liaigre in a modern, minimalist style. Located seaside on the Grand Cul de Sac Beach, the fashionable hotel is an intimate and stylish refuge of only 37 suites. Formerly the Sereno Beach Hotel, Le Sereno reopened to much applause from discriminating travelers and press in late 2005. The makeover was exquisite: rooms are minimalist masterpieces with bare white walls and dark wood floors, and feature beautiful gardens with large daybeds, private terraces, private bars, and ocean views. As expected technology is superb: wireless Internet, plasma TV, two-line phones, personal iPods and iPod docking stations, and the amenities are luxurious: robes and towels especially made for Le Sereno by D. Porthault, Ex Voto Paris amenities, 310-Thread count linens. Enjoy the Beach Club, located on the hotel's 600 feet of palm-dotted white sand beach, and relax by the beachfront freshwater swimming pool. Or for those feeling more adventurous, numerous water sports are available, along with a fitness club. The Spa is currently under construction.


Check Out: The Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastien, Spain

August 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Maria Cristina

The beautiful Basque city of San Sebastien—situated on two sweeping beaches bathed by Atlantic surf—is a glorious combination of natural landscapes and urban treasures. Green mountaintops (one crowned by an enormous statue of Jesus, reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro) look down upon an awesome crescent of boat-dotted harbors and grand boulevards with tall art nouveau architecture. The Parte Vieja, its narrow alleys lined by packed tapas bars and beautiful boutiques – promises the liveliest and most entertaining nightlife in Basque Country (and possibly, in all of Spain.) Where to stay? The Hotel Maria Cristina—part of Westin's Luxury Collection—is a five star masterpiece overlooking the Urma River just minutes from the beach. Guest rooms boast ocean views from balconies, fine furnishings, marble, and all the modern amenities you'd expect in a world-class luxury hotel. After all, the Maria Cristina is a prominent fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List and Reader's Choice Awards. The spa is superb.


Destination Biarritz, France: The Hotel du Palais

August 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Du Palais

During the summer months, the Atlantic coastal resort town becomes a mecca for the fashionable, who flock to the casinos and trendy bars, and surfers, who catch awesome waves ranked as Europe's best surfing spot. In the mid 19th century, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie frequently vacationed in Biarritz, and the high-roller vacationers soon followed suit. Near the border of Spain in the heart of Basque Country, Biarritz is not far from the quaint riverside town of Bayonne, known for its chocolate, ham, and fascinating Basque culture and customs. Hang with the surfers on the beach, enjoy a coffee on the seaside promenade, and come dusk, hit the happening bars along the Rue du Vieux Port. Standing proud above la grande plage, the stately Hotel du Palais is the place to stay in Biarritz. Built in 1854 for Empress Eugenie, the luxury hotel delights guests with its unsurpassed elegance and tradition ofart de vivre. The gorgeous outdoor pool overlooks the sea and the hotel's many comfortable beach cabanas.


The Coolest Hotel in San Diego: Tower 23

August 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tower 23

The hottest, trendiest place on the So Cal coast, Tower 23 opened in July 2005 to much fanfare and celebration. Overlooking long stretches of golden sand, the three-storey all-glass hotel is a stylish, contemporary urban resort, taking its name from the Lifeguard Tower 23 positioned on Pacific Beach in front of the hotel. Billing itself as San Diego's "only luxury, lifestyle hotel on the beach," Tower 23 is a celebration of contemporary architecture and design. The 44 guestrooms reflect the oceanfront setting—the environment of sun, sand, surf, and sky—with minimalist design, private balconies and patios to contemplate the sea, and teak furnishings. (And with names to match; the rooms are divided into three types: Spirit, Sky and Surf Pads.) Of course the rooms are brimming with all the latest technology: LDC flat-screens, XBoxes, wifi Internet, and Tempur-Pedic beds. Hipsters flock to Jordan, the sleek restaurant and bar (pictured) where fresh California cuisine is served in a happening environment.


The Best View on the California Coast: Pacific’s Edge Restaurant at the Highlands Inn, Carmel

August 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pacific's Edge

This award winning, glass-walled restaurant is, by far, the ritziest resort restaurant in Carmel. Terraced on an ocean bluff overlooking the dramatic seascape of the Big Sur coastline, at the Highlands Inn Park Hyatt, Pacific's Edge provides incomparable ocean vistas. As guests dine on spectacular French-New American fare and savor bottles from the 1,700-label wine list (a perennial Grand Award winner from Wine Spectator), they can watch whales and sea otters playing just offshore, and the sunset dip below the Pacific's horizon at the most picturesque spot on earth. And to top it all off—the staff is elegant and attentive, ensuring a fantastic dining experience.


Welcome to Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort, Marathon, Florida Keys

August 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tranquility Bay

Halfway between Miami and Key West in the heart of the Florida Keys, Tranquility Bay is a 12-acre hideaway of palm-dotted white sand beaches overlooking the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Opened in January, the resort features 87 charming two-story cottages on the ocean, surrounded by lush landscaping and towering coconut palms. The pristine sandy beach is one of the largest in the Keys, with endless watersports and activities (including Hobie Cats for rent), and the nearby Tilden's Scuba Center outfits divers keen to explore the sunken Thunderbolt wreck. Other fantastic Keys attractions are also nearby, including Bahia Honda state park, convenient shopping, great dining, and awesome sports fishing outlets. Pamper yourself at Island Spice Private Spa, or relax by the lagoon-style pool, tropical drink in hand. In addition to the luxurious accommodations, beach houses are also available for rental and ownership.


Old Bahama Bay 4th Night Free

August 25, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Jennifer Ehrman, Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour

Old Bahama Bay Resort

Old Bahama Bay Resort and Yacht Harbour is one of only 3 luxury hotels that Five Star Alliance has chosen as the best hotel luxury in the Bahamas. The resort features all beachfront suites, a full-service marina, 3 restaurants, and a host of events and boating activities. In addition to the resort's 67 oceanfront and oceanview junior suites, they offer 6 spectacular oceanfront 2-bedroom suites.

Why You Should Go Now

1. You can make last minute reservations and be there in time for check-in because the resort and yacht harbour is located just 56 miles from the Florida coast, on the westernmost tip of Grand Bahama Island. The 228 acre resort is 26 miles from Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport which is serviced by American Eagle, Continental Connection, Bahamasair, AirTran, Delta, as well as several charter operations. Direct service to Freeport is available from Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando, the New York area, Atlanta and Charlotte, NC.

2. Fall into Old Bahama Bay for Free 4th Night Package

Between now and September 30th, 2006 - guests making brand new reservations to stay during this time period will receive a 4th night free on any type of suite or on a dock slip. (This offer cannot be combined with other packages).

Bahama Bay Banner


Golf Experience at Banyan Tree Bintan

August 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Bintan

Just 55 minutes from Singapore by high-speed catamaran, the Banyan Tree Bintan is situated on a spectacular island in the Riau archipelago, its Balinese style villas overlooking the South China Sea. Private outdoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis complement the exquisitely modeled villa-accommodations. And this world-class resort also boasts two adjacent world-class 18-hole golf courses. The Banyan Tree Bintan has just unveiled its signature Double Tee Off package for golfing enthusiasts to enjoy a weekend of relaxed island golfing. Available until December 21, 2006, the package comprises one round of 18-hole golf at Laguna Bintan Golf Course and one round of 18-hole golf at Ria Bintan Golf Course, both inclusive of green and buggy fees. Guests can enjoy attractive rates, starting from $405 for the Bayfront Villa and $485 for the Villa-On-The-Rocks. Includes return land transfers from the ferry terminal, VIP Express Clearance upon arrival and departure at the Bintan Ferry Terminal, and one complimentary Golf Massage session, located at the Laguna Bintan Clubhouse and specially tailored for every golfer's pre-game conditioning and post-game therapy. Two night minimum stay required.