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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 World’s Best Up and Coming Hotels

August 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James ChicagoIn its August 2010 issue, Travel + Leisure highlights "20 to Watch: 2010's Best Up-and-Coming Hotels," many of which can be found in the Five Star Alliance collection. Predicting "the next hottest hotels around the globe," Travel + Leisure scoured the globe "to pick out this year's new and refurbished, expanding, or otherwise evolving hotels." What the magazine's editors found: domestic hotels are raising the bar, with fantastic luxury hotels in the United States and Canada. So without further ado, here's the list:

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires

Amangiri, Utah

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

Four Seasons Beirut

The James Chicago

Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

The Peninsula Chicago

The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel

Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan, Paris

Ritz-Carlton Reserve Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Town Hall Hotel & Apartments, London

Trident, Bandra Kurla, Mumbai, India

Veranda Resort, Turks & Caicos

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia

Destination Spa: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu , Malibu, California


Coming in December: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

August 4, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas"See Las Vegas like never before. Luxury, sophistication and style have reached a new height in Las Vegas. 52 stories to be exact." Piqued your interest? The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas-- described as "the last major new casino-resort likely to open on the Las Vegas Strip"-- will debut in December with killer views over Sin City. To quote the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is not for acrophobes. From a 40th-floor open-air balcony overlooking the Strip, Cosmopolitan hotel guests are seemingly at eye-level with the Eiffel Tower replica across the street at Paris Las Vegas. And the Cosmopolitan has 10 stories of hotel rooms above the 40th floor. Each unit of the 2,995-room hotel has its own terrace, which is unheard of in Las Vegas.

The difference is also the experience. The Eiffel Tower viewing platform is fully enclosed by steel and mesh. At the Cosmopolitan, hotel guests can take in the Strip, gaze upon the Bellagio fountains, look down on the Planet Hollywood Resort swimming pool and oversee CityCenter from beyond their rooms outside on a patio-style setting. A steel-enforced railing bar keeps you about two feet from the terraces' edge. Still, at that height someone can get a little weak in the knees.

There's already a lot of talk about the gorgeous, residential-style rooms and amenities including a sprawling spa, three separate pools (including an adult pool), a nightclub by the Tao Group, and 100,000 square feet of gaming space. Did we mention the restaurant collection helmed by celebrity chefs? Check out the photo gallery featured on Five Star Alliance.


The Grand Opening of the Casino Club at The Greenbrier

June 21, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The GreenbrierSaved from bankruptcy, The Greenbrier will soon return to glory, hopes new owner Jim Justice, a West Virginia coal baron. Extensive renovations are underway in an attempt to regain a fifth star for the storied resort, which lost its acclaim in recent years. Justice decided to hire interior designer Carlton Varney, who owns Dorothy Draper Inc., in a nod to the designer who originally styled the resort, leaving her trademark of signature floral patterns and bold colors. The biggest change of all for The Greenbrier? The addition of a 90,000-square-foot casino. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports on The Greenbrier's new era:

With the sounds of cranes and jackhammers behind him, Justice surveyed the work and discussed the massive renovation project. "It's going to be an entertainment area. It's not going to be a casino like you think of in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. It's even going to be better than Monte Carlo. I just sent a whole team of people there, and they came back and said we think we are going to be the best place in the world." There will be a strict dress code and no-smoking policy. The area will include eight mezzanine-level shops, the Twelve Oaks lounge and the Infusion Sushi Bar.

The Grand Opening of the Casino Club will take place on July 2, 2010. From the official website: "The Greenbrier is making history again! Be there when The Greenbrier unveils the grandest casino experience in the world. This celebration of epic fashions includes an entire evening of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including a live performance by Lionel Richie."


The Nice Jazz Festival: Stay at Le Palais de La Mediterranee

June 11, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Palais de la Mediterranee, Nice, FranceTake advantage of the insanely favorable exchange rates right now and get to France for a summer on the Med. Check out the jazz greats who'll be playing the Nice Jazz Festival from July 17-24, 2010. When the festival was first launched in 1948 on the French Riviera, Louis Armstrong and his All Stars stole the show. Over the years, stars like Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, and Ella Fitzgerald have also taken the stage. (They also played at Jazz à Juan in Antibes Juan-les-Pins, the renowned festival celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.) The place to stay while in Nice is the Le Palais de la Méditerranée, situated directly on the Promenade des Anglais in a picture-perfect setting overlooking the Baie des Anges. Just a short distance from the snow-capped French Alps, the hotel sits directly at the heart of the famed Cote d'Azur. Behind the Art Deco facade, a gorgeous indoor/outdoor pool-- the pride of the hotel-- awaits. At Cedric Biron's signature restaurant, Le Padouk, you can dine on the terrace amidst the mandarin trees while savoring the panoramas of the Baie des Anges. Most of the 188 guest rooms have balconies with views over the sea and the surrounding city. There's also a casino, fitness center, sauna, and Turkish bath.


Nightlife in San Juan, Puerto Rico: The New Moon Bar at Conrad Condado Plaza

April 28, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad San Juan Condado PlazaPuerto Rico bound? You'll find white sand beaches and sizzling nightlife in San Juan. Not to mention affordable rates at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, starting from just $199 per night. Just minutes from historic San Juan, the luxury resort recently opened a hot new bar that's "the city's newest spot to see and be seen." So after a day lounging on one of two beaches, or by one of three sparkling pools, you can head to the hotel lobby for cocktail hour at the lounge, outfitted with crystal chandeliers, stylish contemporary décor, and a bar boasting 360 degree views of the lobby. Open daily from 3 pm, the Moon Bar offers live music, to boot. For late-night fun, check out the hotel's 24-hour casino with a bettering range from $2 to $2,000.


Experience the Monaco Grand Prix with the Fairmont Monte Carlo

April 13, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Monte CarloThe Principality of Monaco calls to mind a few superlatives: home to some of the most beautiful yachts, casinos, and luxury hotels in the world. One could argue that Monte Carlo is itself synonymous with luxury. And the star event of the year in Monaco is the Grand Prix. Just a month away, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world's most renowned Formula One motor racing events, drawing quite the crowd of celebs, VIP and royalty to an unrivaled setting on the Cote d'Azur. Staged along a 77-lap circuit through the winding streets of Monte Carlo-- passing beneath the guest room balconies of the city's luxury hotels-- the Grand Prix will take place from May 13-16, 2010. The Fairmont Monte Carlo-- situated at the famous hairpin turn with the best view points for the race-- wants you to experience all the action. Starting from €5,500 for a four-night stay, the Grand Prix Formula One Experience Package includes buffet breakfast, welcome amenities, in-house activities, and access to the rooftop terrace overlooking the hair pin turn and a mega plasma screen to follow the race.


The Benefits of All-Inclusive Resorts: Check Out Paradisus Punta Cana

March 19, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paradisus Punta CanaWhen scouting out options for your next tropical vacation, sometimes "all-inclusive" is the answer. With meals and activities included in your room rates, all-inclusive resorts make it easy to take your family on vacation- without worrying about hidden costs or expenses. Case in point: Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, an all-suite Caribbean playground surrounded by tropical gardens, native mangrove forests, and the clear turquoise waters of the sea. The resort offers every sport imaginable, most of them included in your room rates, along with tennis, golf, a casino, a spa, and some 7 swimming pools. Every night, choose from an array of 12 restaurants offering contemporary world cuisine (anything you're in the mood for!) and 8 bars. What's more- there's nightly entertainment, plus an array of life-enriching activities like sushi-making, wine-tasting, and photography workshops. You'll only need to pony up extra cash if you choose to play black jack at the casino or indulge in massages at the spa.


New in Las Vegas: Wynn Resorts to Open Nightclub and Pool Complex at Encore

March 3, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn Las VegasFontainebleau Las Vegas may be in dire straights (bankrupt and unfinished), but Steve Wynn thumbs his nose at the economic crisis. His Vegas resorts are still filling up their rooms and hiring more staff. The latest? Wynn Resorts announced that they'll be opening a new entertainment complex at Encore Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend, including the Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub. Aiming to take on the best of The Strip's sizzling daytime pool parties, the Encore Beach Club will feature three pools with 30 private VIP cabanas plus outdoor gaming. [Map]


Las Vegas on Sale! Deep Discounts at Sin City’s Hotels

February 24, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palazzo Resort Las VegasViva Las Vegas! This March, Vegas is going on sale. Score 40 percent off rates at luxury hotels by booking on Five Star Alliance. Book from March 1 to March 22, 2010 for travel between March 1 and June 30, 2010. Here are some sample packages and rates:

--$159 at the Wynn Las Vegas-- Pay only $272 and get a $100 resort credit when you stay 2 nights

--$179 at the Encore-- Pay only $289 and get a $100 resort credit when you stay 2 nights

--$159 at The Venetian-- Nab a 4th night free plus $150 in resort extras

--$159 at The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino-- Get two tix to the Phantom of the Opera, plus $150 in resort extras

--$117 at the M Resort

--$205 at the Mandarin Oriental-- Get a 3rd night free, plus a spa or dining credit for $150 per night booked

--$84 at Trump International-- Get a $50 resort credit, late check-out, and 2 for 1 Mystere tickets

--$129 at The Signature at MGM Grand

--$120 at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay

--$149 at Bellagio


The Pyramids and More: The Conrad Hotel Wants to Show You Around Cairo

February 1, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad CairoGame to explore Cairo? The Conrad Hotel-- smack dab in the heart of town on the banks of the Nile River-- wants to show you the city's hidden treasures. If you can tear yourself away from the views from your guest room (private balconies overlook the river), a tour guide will drive you around town to check out the sights. Return to the hotel and relax with a snack at Felucca Café as you gaze out over the Nile. There's a heated pool and fully-equipped gym for those craving a work-out. And for those feeling lucky: an onsite casino. This special package-- called "Let Us Show You Around Cairo"-- includes two nights accommodation in a classic room with a complimentary upgrade to a deluxe room; meet & greet at the airport with transportation back to the hotel; daily breakfast buffet; tour guide, transportation and sightseeing entrance fees; choice of one of the following sightseeing attractions: Egyptian Museum and Cairo Tower; Pyramides and Sphinx; Old Cairo and Citadel; Islamic Cairo, Khan El Khalily Bazaar and Azhar Park.