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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.

Up Close: The New JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa, Costa Rica

September 2, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort

There's a new luxury resort on the scene in Costa Rica: the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa. Travel expert JohnnyJet was there for the grand opening back in June for what he calls "an incredible resort." (Service= cold towels and water bottles on arrival; rooms=great balconies and lavish bathrooms; restaurants= delish plates served with a smile.) Billed as "one of the most magnificent in Latin America," the ocean-facing resort is outside Tamarindo on the country's west coast.

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort

If you can manage to pull yourself away from your spacious guest room (and luxurious bathroom), you'll find a slew of activities at your fingertips. Discover one of three beaches, surrounded by beautiful rainforest. Sip cocktails on Mansita beach and take in the sunset. There are four restaurants and bars to whet the appetite, and a world-class spa for rejuvenating treatments. Take a swim in the resort pool or hit the 18-hole championship golf course, designed by golf architect Mike Young with the 15th hole overlooking the blue Pacific.

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort

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Luxury Hotel Trends: Spa Treatments for Teens

August 31, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa

A few years ago we noticed a growing trend at five-star hotels in the U.S: spa treatments for teens. Stowe's Topnotch Resort led the pack with spa services like the Total Teen Facial and Teen Massage. Now The Tribune reports that this trend is catching on at luxe hotels around the globe-- from Trump International in Chicago to The InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Spa, the largest spa in French Polynesia (pictured above). To quote:

The teen spa area at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, designed with Pottery Barn PBTeen, offers young spa goers a chance to play video games or watch DVDs while they wait for their special acne facials, sports massages or skincare lessons.

The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, meanwhile, advertises treatments suitable for several "generations" of your family, while the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in Costa Rica has a family spa bungalow that a family can use for an entire day, scheduling alternating treatments with dips in the river.

"Teens we see are experienced spa-goers," said Pat Liberto, manager at the Cloister Spa at Sea Island, Georgia. "The younger children who have older spa-goer siblings want to try something too."

A question for our readers: Do you take your teens to spas?


Where to Stay at Iguaçu Falls: Orient-Express Re-opens Hotel Das Cataratas

August 28, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Das Cataratas

October is proving to be an exciting month, as far as hot hotel openings are concerned. Come October 1, 2009, Orient-Express will re-open the Hotel das Cataratas next to Iguaçu Falls near the Argentine border. After acquiring the property in 2007, Orient-Express has made some hefty renovations. Of the 193 guest rooms and 15 suites, the 16 Cataratas Deluxe Rooms, Tower and Cataratas Suites have views of the falls. The coolest part of all: This is the only hotel actually in the national park, so guests have access to the falls each morning before the park's daily opening hours. A spa will open at the end of October, featuring products from the Brazilian brand, Natura, which harvests ingredients from the Amazon. This is the second property for Orient-Express in Brazil, along with the iconic Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio.


Welcome to the Jungle: Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge

August 24, 2009
By: Alison Victor

Intercontinental Real Costa Rica Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural places, which conserve the environment and sustains the well being of the local people." With today's current trend towards preservation and enviromental protection there is quite a bit of interest in finding hotels that aim for sustainable tourism as well as "green luxury." A great example of this is Lapa Rios, a resort spread over 1,000 acres of Central America's last remaining lowland tropical rain forest in Costa Rica. This private nature reserve goes by the notion that "a standing rain forest is more valuable than one cut down." Some things that Lapa Rios does to make it both luxurious and earth-friendly include decking out the beautiful bungalows with locally made bamboo furniture, assisting the local community by providing basic education and job training for employment at the resort, and using locally caught fish and seasonal organic produce at the gourmet Restaurant Brisa Azul.

Guests can enjoy lots of great rain forest and ocean activities, including whale watching, interpretive hikes, and ocean-mangrove boating trips. Opened since 1993, Lapa Rios has already won many social and environmental awards, and proves to be a top destination for honeymooners looking to experience something intimate and different.

Perhaps the only draw back may be Lapa Rios's location, as getting there can prove to be an experience all its own. Guests fly into San Jose, and then take a 45 minute flight on either Nature Air or Sansa to Puerto Jimenez. At Puerto Jimenez, not only will they find the Lapa Rios office, but also a 4x4 Lapa Rios safari truck that will take them the rest of the way to the property.

If you have plenty of time allotted to visit Lapa Rios, then it may be a good idea to begin and end your trip with a stay at the Intercontinental Real Costa Rica in San Jose, (pictured) where a deluxe room will run you under 200 USD a night. Think of it as your transition from city living to green luxury, a perfect way to get in tune with your natural rhythm before your adventure begins!


Best of Brazil: Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort, Emerald Coast

August 7, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort

Imagine a place where the lush rainforest touches the surf, where sandy beaches are sheltered by a horseshoe of islands, and 25 swanky bungalows afford dazzling views of the emerald sea. Nearby fishing villages offer a fresh catch and a slice of traditional life. Such a place exists-- south of Sao Paulo near Florianopolis on Brazil's aptly named Emerald Coast. Escape to Ponta dos Ganchos-- a member of Relais & Chateaux-- and you'll experience one of the country's most exclusive beach resorts.

Ponta dos Ganchos Exclusive Resort

Lounge on the beach, take to the high seas by boat, or explore one of the best scuba diving spots in South Brazil: nearby Alvoredo Island. Sun-burned? Retreat to the resort's private cinema for a flick or get a massage at the SPA by Christian Dior. There's also a tennis court, fitness center, and pool. Note: Guests under the age of 18 are not permitted.


What’s Hot in Buenos Aires: The New Cigar Bar at Alvear Palace

July 23, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Alvear PalaceThe jetsetting clientele of Alvear Palace have another reason to adore the hotel: its brand new Cigar Bar. Puff on your choice of fine Havana cigars paired with chocolates and liqueurs in a stylish Art-Deco setting. Designed to be a "gourmand's delight," the Cigar Bar adds a new dimension to the hotel's fabulous restaurant offerings (La Bourgogne Aujourd'hui is as adored as traditional afternoon tea).


Paradisus Bring the LUXE to Your Vacation

July 23, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

 Paradisus Punta CanaIndulge in the Paradisus Experience. The four luxury all-inclusive resorts, Paradisus Punta Cana (pictured), Paradisus Riviera Cancun Royal Service, Paradisus Playa Conchal, and Paradisus Punta Cana, offer what they call LUXEclusive service. The resorts, located in Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic, are all-suites, and offer personalized service that caters to guests' every whim, wish, and desire. Whether it's arranging a special evening for your someone special, making sure the kids have a great vacation too (they have their own PoshMom Family Concierge), or indulging at the full-service spa, no request is too great for Paradisus.


Travel + Leisure Announces World’s Best Hotels Survey Winners

July 22, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Bushmans Kloof” class=

Travel + Leisure has just announced the winners of its World’s Best Hotels 2009 survey, and no surprise, many of the top hotels named can be found on Five Star Alliance. In top fifteen alone, favorites include South Africa's Bushmans Kloof (pictured), Singita Sabi Sand , and Twelve Apostles; Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia, India's Oberoi Vanyavilas and Oberoi Udaivilas; Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires, Tanzania's Kirawira Camp, and America's own Inn at Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina. Congrats to all the winners!


Let the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Set the Romance

July 3, 2009
By: Christina Vasquez

Machu Picchu Sanctuary LodgeTake a special honeymoon getaway and spend a memorable stay at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge with the Honeymoon Package. This special will allow you to indulge on your honeymoon with a full board package- which includes room accommodations as well as private dinner, and a one hour massage for two per stay. As an added gift a bottle of sparkling Peruvian wine is included to enjoy the stunning moonlight evenings of Machu Picchu's natural environment.

Package rates vary according to availability, and certain terms and restrictions apply.


Sofitel Chic Picnic Offers a Fourth Night Free in Rio and Beyond

June 25, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Sofitel Rio de JaneiroThis summer, Sofitel wants to frolic in the grass with you. The Chic Picnic Package, available at participating Sofitel locations, including the Sofitel Rio de Janeiro, is available from now until August 31, 2009. Guests enjoy elegant accommodations, a three night stay, guaranteed 4pm late checkout, and a sumptuous picnic basket filled with gastronomical goodies. (Some Asian Sofitel locations offer a $50 credit in lieu of the picnic basket). Additionally, if you book your stay before July 5, 2009, you'll receive a fourth night free, or if you book 8 nights, you'll get two nights free. Book quickly for best availability, and note that certain additional terms and restrictions apply.