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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.

New for the Emiliano, Sao Paulo’s Most Fashionable Hotel

November 13, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

EmilianoSao Paulo's Emiliano offers some serious eye candy. In describing this local icon, Wallpaper* points out the design touches added during a recent renovation: "original solid wood armchairs by José Zanine Caldas and fresh custom fabrics for the Florence Knoll armchairs, as well as a captivating new centerpiece to the Emiliano Restaurant: a "living wall", featuring a range of plant species from the Brazilian rainforest." Lonely Planet describes it as "like page torn from a fashion magazine, a world of exquisite beauty, from its head-turning lobby to its designer rooms." What we're most excited about at Sao Paulo's most fashionable hotel? Two new suites which will debut during the holidays, offering the city's largest and most luxurious accommodations.


Country Club Lima Hotel: The Best Hotels in Peru

November 12, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Country Club Lima HotelLooking for a place to bunk down in Lima? Head to the hacienda-style Country Club Lima Hotel facing the golf course (hence the hotel's name) in the posh San Isidro district. Named to the Forbes Traveler 400 Best Hotels list, the Country Club Lima Hotel has surprisingly reasonable prices. With only 78 guest rooms-- all generously sized, filled with colonial artwork on loan from Museo Pedro de Osma, and equipped with contemporary technology-- the hotel has an intimate, cozy atmosphere. Customer reviews on Five Star Alliance point to the "personalized attention" and "old-world gracious service" as the winning factor for this hotel. But Forbes Traveler claims "its trump card is stunning architecture: The vintage 1927 mansion blends Spanish colonial icons like red-tile roofs and whitewashed walls with genuine antiques and artwork as well as European neoclassical touches like the stately glass-domed lobby." Honeymoon packages, including sparkling wine and a fruit basket in-room, buffet breakfast, and a late check-out, start at just $179 per night. Special offers for business travelers or families are also available.


Announcing the New Le Meridien Panama

September 29, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meridien PanamaRight in the beating heart of Panama City and all its vibrant nightlife, the new Le Meridien is the first hotel in Central America for the brand. Perched on the edge of the Bay of Panama overlooking the city's old and new quarters, the hotel was designed by Panamanian architect Mallol Ignacio and features a black-granite lobby that's a design dream-- "an overturned glass reflecting vibrant colors." Facilities include a Sensory Spa by Clarins, Latitudes restaurant, fitness center, outdoor pool overlooking the bay, meeting rooms, and ample event space. The 111 guestrooms, including 29 suites, channel a contemporary aesthetic.


The Claridge Hotel: European Charm in the Heart of South America

September 23, 2009
By: Daniel L. Moses

Buenos AiresBuenos Aires (simply B.A. to its close knit ex-pat community) has long been hailed as South America's answer to a European city. Winding streets, flavorful cuisine, and some of the world's finest wines surely echo the Old World's calling cards on the other side of the Atlantic. But with a favorable rate of exchange, Argentina's exciting metropolis can offer all of that European luxury at accessible prices.

The Claridge Hotel, situated only a half-hour's drive from Ezeiza International Airport and only steps away from the Plaza de Mayo, is the premier B.A. location for your next South American adventure, whether on business or simply indulging in the tango rich delights of Argentine culture. The Claridge’s simple calling card: a dedication to top notch service and hospitality. A simple recipe for success, and one that will make your next visit an exciting and memorable one.

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I W Santiago and So Will You

September 15, 2009
By: Daniel L. Moses

W SantiagoAs the North American summer comes to an end, the Chilean spring is just beginning, and there is no better way to take advantage of this steamy South American country than indulging in the trendy rhythms of the W Santiago. Yet trendiness doesn't have to come at a premium, as rooms start at just $299. Plus as a Starwood Preferred Guest, W Santiago visitors can receive upgrades or even free nights. Package deals include in-room brunch for two, a starter at the stellar NoSo restaurant, two Pisco Green cocktails, and hip matching "I W Santiago" t-shirts to wear out or bring back home as a souvenir. Framed by the picturesque snow-capped Andes on all sides, the W Santiago is truly a vision of both romance and fun in Chile's bustling capital city.

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Drinks on the House at Sofitel Buenos Aires

September 9, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Buenos AiresRelax with a drink at La Bibliotheque, the cozy lounge at Sofitel Buenos Aires, or tuck into some flavorful Mediterranean cuisine at Le Sud. The Sofitel Buenos Aires hotel is giving away a 50$/50€ hotel credit for guests to spend as they please. Need some drycleaning done? Aching for a massage? Go ahead and indulge. Hit the hammam or indoor pool, then retreat to your elegant guest room, designed with flair by renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. (He just did the redesign of the French Riviera landmark, the Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat.) Make sure to book the "Hotel Credit Offer" to get the most out of your Sofitel stay.


An Interview with the GM: Mr. Rui Reis of The St. Regis Mexico City

September 4, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

St. Regis Mexico CityMr. Rui Reis is the General Manager of The St. Regis Mexico City-the first city-centered St. Regis property in all of Mexico and Latin America. He was previously Area Managing Director for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, overseeing The St. Regis Resort Bora Bora, The Luxury Collection's Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, The Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa, and The Sheraton Tahiti Hotel. He was also general manager at a number of high-end, luxury resorts including Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, The El Camarindo Golf Resort, and the El Careyas Beach Resort, both Starwood Luxury Collection resorts in Jalisco, Mexico. Just prior to the opening of the luxury property, Mr. Reis took some time to sit down and answer a few of our questions.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Mr. Rui Reis: I have been with Starwood Hotels & Resorts for a majority of my career and it has been one of the best honors and experiences to oversee properties such as The St. Regis Resort Bora Bora, The Sheraton Tahiti Hotel, and so many others. I have enjoyed working in several countries but have a great appreciation for Mexico, so when the opportunity to oversee this exquisite hotel became available, I knew I had to be a part of it.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Rui Reis: The most distinctive feature of The St. Regis Mexico City is the unique mixture of the rich culture of Mexico City blended with the signature amenities and legendary services of the St. Regis brand such as our white gloved butler service. The personality of the hotel would be described as timeless elegance in the new renaissance of Mexico City.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Rui Reis: Our customers exist at the intersection of traditional and contemporary luxury. They are industry leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit, contemporary epicureans, enjoy the true "art of living" and travel from all over the world.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Rui Reis: The St. Regis Mexico City is surrounded by the elegant aspects of the famed capital city such as the Fountain of Diana, Polanco, the financial district, The Frida Kahlo Museum and much more. My favorite thing to do is visit the nearby museums. What I love about Mexico City is that it displays a broad range of art- murals, paintings, statues, and performing arts- all over the city as a reflection the culture.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Rui Reis: We have not yet opened but plan to extend our welcome to all famous celebrities and guests.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Rui Reis: All of our standard rooms and suites are exquisite and captivating, each with spectacular views of the city.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Rui Reis: The St. Regis Mexico City is the first city-centered St. Regis property in all of Mexico and Latin America. There have not been any special events yet, but once we open the doors, the hotel will host signature traditions such as the St. Regis champagne toast on a weekly basis.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Rui Reis: If I were a guest, I would want to prepare for the refined and distinctive experience only offered at the St. Regis. I would also want to know that the signature St. Regis butlers will be a great resource to assist throughout my stay, from any hotel room needs to helping plan a full day of nearby activities.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Rui Reis: The hardest part about being General Manager is having all of these great amenities and fine dining nearby! I must remember to not indulge too much on a daily basis!

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Rui Reis: The original The St. Regis New York is an exquisite hotel that led the industry in bespoke services that are still appreciated today such as the signature white-gloved butler service. Also, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort is an extraordinary resort offering an uncompromising escape to the coast of Mexico unlike any of its kind.


Become a Chilean Wine Connoisseur with the San Cristobal Tower

September 3, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

San Cristobal Tower, SantiagoLeave it to Santiago's top luxury hotel to come up with a way for its guests to delve into Chilean wine-making. Getting spoiled with a bottle of wine in-room isn't enough. You'll get a private transfer to Concha y Toro Vineyard to learn every detail about the techniques applied in grape-collecting during the harvest. After an inside look behind the scenes at the prestigious winery, you'll taste the fruits of their labor-- sipping glasses of vino during a tasting session. Upon your return to San Cristobal Tower, you'll enjoy breakfast service, admission to Neptuno Pool & Fitness Center, and late check out at 4:00 PM. Also included in the "Chilean Wine Connoisseur" package: private parking and a welcome drink. Priced from $399 in a Grand Deluxe Room.


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?