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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.

Explore the Amazon in Peru with International Expeditions

November 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amazon Expedition

For 25 years, International Expeditions travelers have been observing the natural wonders of the Amazon on riverboat expeditions in Peru. The Amazon is the mightiest river in the world, surrounded by pristine rainforest which shelters the most diverse ecosystem on the planet. On the 10-day expedition, travelers voyage along the Amazon's tributaries and see incredible wildlife: monkeys, birds, sloths, pink and gray dolphins, and more. The expedition travels deep into the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest wetland reserve in the world. Expert local naturalist guides accompany each expedition. Despite the remote rainforest locale, guests enjoy fine accommodations-- state rooms are elegant, the bathrooms, spacious-- and delicious cuisine. For a limited time, take advantage of a special offer and enjoy savings of $500 per person. Explore the Peruvian Amazon on a 10-day journey with International Expeditions departing January 5, 2007 and get a real deal (It's often hard to persuade people to travel anywhere the first week of January, and thus there are still some spots remaining for this voyage. IE is rolling back the prices as a special inducement to fill the spots.) Lower deck cabins are priced at $2,398, and upper deck cabins for $2,498. Hurry! Just a few spots left. Call 1-800-633-4734 for reservations.


Cycling and Walking Trips in Europe with Duvine Adventures

October 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Duvine Adventures

Recently the French Tourist Office recognized Duvine Adventures with a grand award (Best Special Interest Product in France) for its deluxe, personalized bicycle trips through the unspoiled villages of Europe. The French aren't the only ones who love Duvine. Time, Bicycling, and Outside have all raved about the tours, where lucky cyclists experience stunning landscapes, charming inns and chateaux, and gourmet cuisine and fine wines. It's one of the best ways to encounter the off-the-beaten-path joys of European destinations. And now Duvine has grown to include other destinations (with year round availability), including tours in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Napa and Sonoma counties in California. Beginning in 2007, Duvine will also offer walking tours in France, Italy, and Ireland. Check out their new movie.


Spotlight On: Llao Llao Hotel and Resort, Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina

October 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Llao Llao

This could be the most dramatic setting on earth: amidst deep blue lakes, snow-capped mountains, and the rivers and forests of Nauel Huapi National Park in Northwest Patagonia. Welcome to the Llao Llao Hotel and Resort, where the spectacular surroundings are only enhanced by extraordinary facilities. Recently recognized as one of the top three resorts in Central/South America by Conde Nast Traveler's 19th annual Readers' Choice Awards, Llao Llao is a luxurious mountain lodge, designed in the style of Canada's greatest ski lodges, with exposed timbers and grand stone fireplaces. No matter what season, Llao Llao's a picture-perfect destination, with numerous recreational activities: 18-hole golf course, state-of-the-art spa, spectacular heated swimming pool with mountain views, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, horse back riding, sailing. (And awesome skiing in the off-season, come next May/June.)


Luxury Eco-Resorts: Warapuru, Itacaré, Brazil

October 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Itacare

The secret's out about Itacaré. The favorite destination of Gisele and Sean Penn—a tropical paradise of white sand, lush palms, waterfalls, mangrove swamps and turquoise waters-- will witness the hottest luxury hotel opening in 2007, with the debut of the gorgeous eco-resort Warapuru. Wallpaper* hails it as a "Bond-style hideaway" that is "set to become the country's most exclusive retreat." And to quote the Fall issue of the New York Times Style Magazine:

While progressively more luxurious eco-resorts have been opening in early-adopting regions, the boom is currently spreading to more surprising destinations — like megapolluting Brazil. "Anyone with any feeling for the world is going green," says the cult interior designer Anouska Hempel, who is at work on Warapuru, a lavish eco-resort set to open next year on Brazil's north coast; made entirely of locally sourced materials, it will have customized spa treatments using native plants.

Anouska Hempel (who did Blakes in London and The Hempel in Amsterdam) has created a modern visual masterpiece, nestled within the rainforest canopy on a unique coastline. Warapuru will have 40 pavilions, beach club, restaurants, and exclusive spa. Opening set for early 2007.


The Fasano Hotel, Sao Paulo, Brazil

October 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fasano

Recently featured in an excellent Financial Times article about luxury travel, The Fasano in Sao Paulo is indeed one of the world's best hotels.

The rooms so chic, chocolate and cosseting, you will find yourself revising your low opinion of so-called design hotels. Bathrooms are simply vast, the location spot-on and service conspicuously good for capricious South America.

Most importantly, this is the spot of one of the best Italian restaurants in the world. The Fasano family name is well known in São Paulo: their signature restaurant has dignified the grand avenue (Rua Vittorio Fasano) since 1990, the recipes for its grand cuisine brought from Milan a century ago. The hotel's facilities are nothing short of decadent: rooftop health club with pool, baths, sauna (and stunning views), a fleet of limousines for airport pick-ups and transfers, hip jazz bar, and swank guest rooms. A truly glamorous address with exceptional service.


Cruise the Galapagos Islands with International Expeditions

September 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Galapagos

Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, schools of colorful fish, sea lions… The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most fascinating wildlife on earth, a living study of evolutionary science since Charles Darwin first sailed through these isolated islands. A 10-day voyage with International Expeditions— the premier provider of nature travel tours and environmentally responsible expeditions for over 25 years— allows visitors the chance to see these remarkable animals up close and personal, in their natural habitat. Explore the islands' diverse terrain-- deserts, beaches, forests, and small active volcanoes-- and snorkel next to tortoises and sea lions in the clear Pacific waters. Sail aboard the Evolution, a newly-refurbished ship crafted like the European steamers of old, with comfortable accommodations for just 32 guests. During the trip, you will be accompanied by highly-trained naturalist guides extremely knowledgeable about the Galapagos wildlife. There are a few spaces available for 2006 journeys, with departures on October 6 and 20; November 3 and 24; and December 15.


Your Own Private Island in Belize: Cayo Espanto

September 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cayo Espanto

Though hardly new— the exclusive private island of Cayo Espanto has been pampering guests since 1998— the ultra-luxe resort has put Ambergris Cay, Belize on the map. Just eight minutes by boat from the town of San Pedro on Ambergris, Cayo Espanto has developed the best kind of environmentally-friendly luxury resort. The five oceanfront villas are sprawling in size and feature personal plunge pools, private docks, al fresco showers, romantic mosquito netting over the beds, and 180 degree wrap-around views of the Caribbean. Here, lucky guests enjoy the ultimate pampered relaxation: spa services are readily available, chefs prepare personalized gourmet fare with the freshest tropical ingredients, and activities include fly-fishing, boating and conching excursions, scuba diving and snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world (including the famous Blue Hole), and sailing to deserted beaches for a gourmet picnic. Though Belize is less than two hours from Miami, its sparkling waters are still largely undiscovered. Enjoy your own private island at Cayo Espanto.


What’s Hot: The Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

August 18, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

Highlighted on Travel and Leisure's "It List" of the world's hottest new hotels, the Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt is the gorgeous new sensation in the fashionable capital. And this summer, as the mag pointed out, "all of Buenos Aires eagerly anticipated the grand opening." Located in the exclusive Recoleta shopping and residential district on Avenida Alvear, the hotel much resembles the fascinating city of Buenos Aires itself, with its integration of history and innovative modern design. The luxurious hotel is appointed with ultra-modern comforts—flat screen LCD TV and CD-DVD player, high speed Internet and wi-fi access, bathrooms with separate bath and walk-in rain shower, 24-hour concierge, butler and clothes pressing service.

For the ultimate in luxury, the Duhau Suite—located on the top floor of the Palacio—features stunning views of the city from its wrap-around private terrace. The suite includes a dining area for eight people, a living area, fireplaces, a private pantry, master bedroom, and luxurious marble bathrooms with separate baths and walk-in showers, double sinks with vanity, Jacuzzi and a spacious walk-in closet. (And bulletproof windows, of course, for the max security for high profile guests.) The Spa has an indoor heated swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and five exquisite treatment suites for holistic and beauty treatments. But the real highlight at the city's most exclusive hotel is the magnificent garden, designed by Carlos Thays (who plotted the city's botanical gardens).


Escape World Cup Madness with SLH Member Hotels

June 15, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Courtney W. May and Lanny Grossman, Director of Communications for Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Chateau St Gerlach

Now that the World Cup is officially underway in Germany (my bracket has the Czech Republic walking away with it all - even though I am a huge US fan), some travelers might be looking for alternatives to dealing with the crazed soccer fans who have descended on Germany this summer. Personally, I can't imagine not wanting to be in the thick of things, but if you're one of those looking to go away during June, SLH has the following promotion "7 : 0 for Small Luxury Hotels: Best Escapes from the Soccer World Championship".

With World Cup madness hitting Germany and much of Western Europe, here are seven ways to visit the region and escape to a world of private luxury and ultimate experiences.

Wild Water Rafting in the Austrian alps: Around Kitzbuhel numerous river routes through spectacular mountain gorges are available for wild water rafting excursions, which the Hotel Tennerhof (www.slh.com/tennerhof) can arrange for its guests. A more tranquil alternative exclusiv for hotel guests: Fishing at a lake nearby where the Tennerhof holds private fishing rights.

Falconry in baroque gardens: As stylish as the ambiance of the castle hotel Chateau St. Gerlach (Netherlands) are the leisure activities of this SLH hotel: Golf, Horse-Riding, Tennis and falconry are on offer in the hotel's baroque gardens and in the wonderful nature of the Geul valley. (pictured)

Clay Pigeon shooting high above Mozart town: Salzburg lies afoot the Vitalhotel Kobenzl. On the Gaisberg mountain, high above the city, which celebrates this year Mozart's 250th anniversary, the Hotel offers attractive sporting alternatives: Clay Pigeon shooting, fishing, mountain hiking and biking as well as sailing, tennis and croquet.

Hot Air Balooning in the Black Forest: The Hotel Belle Epoque (www.slh.com/belleepoque), a neo renaissance villa from 1870, arranges sightseeing flights from Baden-Baden into the wonderful nature of the Black Forrest.

Archery in nature's paradise: Golf, Horse-riding, archery, mountain climbing and many more activities offers the Hoteldorf Gruner Baum (www.slh.com/grunerbaum) in the spectacular mountain world of Gastein. The main building of the hotel was built 1831 as hunting lodge for Duke Johann. Besides the countless leisure activities of the hotel the surroundings tempt visitors with romantic castles, dripstone caves and the national parc Hohentauern.

Formula 1 at the Hotel die Hirschgasse: The hotel offers a Formel 1-Package, which includes a three nights stay in a suite with jacuzzi, daily breakfast buffet and a bottle of champagne at arrival. Tickets and transfer to the Grand Prix at Hockenheimring can be arranged by the concierge. The package is available from 27 to 30. July 2006 and costs 1.300 Euro per room. www.slh.com/diehirschgasse

Arlberg from a bird's eye view: Many guests of the SLH Hotel Kristiania Lech in Austria (www.slh.com/kistiania) arrive by helicopter and enjoy a bird's eye view of the wonderful alpine nature: only 300 metres from the hotel, guests can also find a paragliding field .

View more Small Luxury Hotels with Five Star Alliance.


The Ultimate Eco-Retreat: Hosteria Rincon del Socorro, Corrientes Province, Argentina

June 12, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Corrientes wildlife

The former owner of North Face, Doug Tomkins, has created a 30,000 acre wildlife refuge and eco-retreat in Argentina's Corrientes province. The Conservation Land Trust has attracted a slew of nature lovers in pursuit of discovering the beauty of Argentina's vast northeast. The place to stay? Estancia Rincon del Socorro is a 12,000-hectare former cattle ranch on the edge of the Ibera wetlands that is now a nature reserve. Doug and his wife Kris restored a beautiful property, originally built in 1896, including three bungalows and the main house, El Casco, which offers spacious rooms with high ceilings, a screened verandah, well-stocked library, and terraced dining area where beautiful organic meals are served, with fruit and vegetables plucked from the kitchen garden and delicious Argentine barbecue (free range meats). Relax by the pool or take to the savannah on horseback, riding with a gaucho on one of the native horses.