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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.

Uxua Casa Opens in Bahia, Brazil: Buzzworthy Hotel from the Creative Director of Diesel

April 27, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Uxua Casa, BrazilDiesel Creative Director Wilbert Das has opened a nine-cottage boutique hotel set in a verdant garden in Trancoso, a fishing village on Brazil's Bahia coast. Behind colorful facades, each of the cottages is uniquely decorated as Das worked in collaboration with local artisans, and requested that they use organic construction materials available locally. As recently highlighted in Vanity Fair, Das expresses fatigue with design hotels, stating the importance of embracing the locale when on vacation:

Workers made walls from mud and branches (a local Indian technique), used wooden blinds instead of windowpanes, and shingled roofs with a traditional hardwood. Now complete, the hotel is a complex of tropical gardens, a quartz-lined pool, and colorful buildings that are in sync with their historic surroundings.

Rustic, yet wholly luxurious, Uxua Casa has a spa facility and beachfront lounge with sofas. Notably, 60 percent of the property is preserved as a sea turtle sanctuary, as Uxua Casa is committed to sustainable tourism in the region. Of all the accommodations, the treehouse is the most exciting, made entirely from recycled wood. All cottages have fully-equipped kitchens, indoor/outdoor living rooms, and Wifi internet access. Some have private plunge pools, gardens, Jacuzzis, and terraces.

Eco-friendly Luxury Hotels: The Montage Beverly Hills Grabs LEED Gold Certification

April 22, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Montage Beverly HillsProof that going green does not have to sacrifice luxury, The Montage Beverly Hills has just scored LEED Gold status-- making it one of only four Gold certified hotels worldwide. The swank hotel has been turning heads since it opened in November 2008, and this new award-- recognition from the third-party benchmarking system of the hotel's eco-friendly construction-- will no doubt attract even bigger crowds.

Feast on Local, Organic Foods with Sofitel Hotels to Celebrate Earth Day

April 20, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Chicago Water TowerFor 2009 Earth Week, Sofitel's luxury hotels in North America are offering guests the chance to experience the culinary "pursuit of pleasure"-- so instead of just talking about our planet, you can "take a bite out of it!" Committed to buying foods locally from producers who are dedicated to environmentally sustainable agriculture, Sofitel crafts delicious cuisine in the French tradition. And for Earth Week-- April 19th to April 25th-- guests can partake in some fabulous culinary events at hotels in New York, Philly, D.C., Miami, Chicago (pictured), Minneapolis, Montreal, San Francisco, and L.A. Here's the skinny on the feasts:

* Sunday, April 19 – Guests can enjoy a local farmers brunch menu from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

* Wednesday, April 22 – Patrons can celebrate Earth Day by discovering a delicious 30 minute lunch made entirely from ingredients grown organically. Later the same day, guests can indulge in a 3-course dinner focused around fresh herbs and organic wine flights paired with local cheeses.

* Friday April 24 and Saturday April, 25 diners can experience Sofitel's "Art de Recevoir" by turning off the lights and joining in for a candlelit dinner in the restaurant and/or wine tasting in the bar to help raise awareness of the importance of energy conservation.

The best part of all? Sofitel is donating a percentage of the proceeds to Trees for the Future, a nonprofit dedicated to helping worldwide communities plant more trees.

The Leela Hotel Group Awarded for Environmental Initiatives

April 17, 2009
By: Alison Victor

Leela GoaThe Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts is India's most renowned luxury hotel group, seamlessly merging business hotels with luxury resorts at five beautiful locations. Each hotel manages to capture the essence of modern day India. But how many people were also aware that Leela is also at the forefront of environmental awareness and sustainability? Earlier this month, Krishnan Nair, the chairman of Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts, was the first person to be honored by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for his contribution to environmental causes and his hotel's group social responsibility. A visionary hotelier, Krishnan's environmental initiatives can be seen at each property. At The Leela Goa, for example, Nair's imprint can be seen in the 75 acres of lush gardens and foliage planted along the property. In all, there have been a total of 3,556,633 trees planted on the Leela Properties.

Sofitel Los Angeles Goes Green, Continues “Earth Hour” Event with Lights Out Ritual

April 9, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Los AngelesSofitel Los Angeles is not new to the green movement; the glamorous spot on Beverly Boulevard has incorporated environmentally-friendly practices into it's day-to-day operations. Case in point: The hotel's use of wind-generated power provided by Community Energy Inc. Sofitel Los Angeles also has an ozone laundry system to reduce water and energy use, charging stations for hybrid and hydrogen cars (and complimentary valet parking for them, too), and an acclaimed restaurant that uses local, organic ingredients. The latest step towards a greener planet? The hotel has decided to extend the practice of turning out the lights after the success of the Earth Hour event on Saturday, March 28th. So each night the hotel will partake in the "lights out" ritual for energy conservation-- lighting candles in the lobby at dusk and leaving the lights off for an hour. Viva the Earth Hour Movement!

Rosewood Hotels and Resorts Welcomes Sand Hill to the Family

April 9, 2009
By: Alison Victor

Little Dix BayRosewood Hotels and Resorts, known for such ultra-luxury properties as Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, and The Carlyle in New York City, has recently opened the doors on its newest property, Rosewood Sand Hill. Situated on 16 pristine acres in Menlo Park California, Sand Hill promises to stay true to the Rosewood concepts: Exceptional architecture, flawless service, and the integration of local culture to create an enhanced guest experience. Amenities include a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, luxury spa and spa boutique, arcaded gardens, and a fine dining restaurant that utilizes an open artisan, wood burning kitchen. To celebrate their debut, Sand Hill will be offering up one night, deluxe accommodations for 225 to 250 USD.

Hot New Spas: The Westin Riverfront’s Spa Angali Uses Organic Products

April 8, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Riverfront Resort and SpaSince it opened last year in Beaver Creek, the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa has been getting rave reviews. (Just check out what folks are sayin' on TripAdvisor!) With easy access to Beaver Creek Mountain via the Riverfront Express Gondola located outside the resort's front door, the Westin Riverfront is the ideal base to explore the incredible mountain scenery. The list of resort activities is impressive-- from fishing to downhill and cross-country skiing. But it's the 23,000-square-foot spa and fitness center that really inspires. Indulge in a mountain-inspired spa treatment with local ingredients, and enjoy a swim in the 25-meter saltwater lap pool. Try a spin class or enhance your workout with a personal trainer, then soak in one of three Jacuzzi tubs overlooking the river. The spa is environmentally-friendly, to boot. In its April issue, Conde Nast Traveler gives a shout-out to the Spa Anjali for its green practices: "The brand-new spa... has organic bamboo sheets, cups and plates made from corn, and organic products-- and guests who arrive in their hotel robe (saving the spa from using an additional robe) receive a small discount."

Voluntourism in the Everglades with Mandarin Oriental Miami

April 6, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental MiamiThough some guests may never want to leave the infinity-edge swimming pool overlooking Biscayne Bay, Mandarin Oriental Miami offers some excellent opportunities to venture farther afield in South Florida. Case in point: The hotel's voluntourism program in the Florida Everglades, which allows guests to discover an important National Park (and World Heritage site), and do something good for the community while on vacay. On an inspiring day trip, you'll help preserve the environment with tree planting, recycling projects, and exotic plant removal programs. Explore the park's walking trails to experience wildlife up close, or try the local tradition of "slogging"-- wading through shallow waters. Boxed lunches are provided by the hotel. This is sustainable tourism at its finest.

Bardessono, Napa Valley: The Greenest Luxury Hotel in America?

April 1, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BardessonoThere's a new luxury hotel on the scene in Yountville and it's causing quite the stir. Perhaps the greenest luxury hotel in the country, Bardessono has a carbon footprint of just about zero, and is thus pursuing LEED Platinum certification. Developed by Phil Shelbourne and designed by WATG, the 62-room hotel has 82 geothermal wells, 940 rooftop solar panels, motion-controlled LEDs and CFLs, dual-flush toilets and low-flow fixtures, and drought-resistant landscaping. Talk about commitment to environmental sustainability.

BardessonoThe San Francisco Chronicle has the skinny on Bardessono's spa:

Robert Redford and his lady friend were there for the February opening of this eco-luxury hotel built on five acres of a historic Yountville wine family farmstead. Perhaps its most unique feature is its sleek guest accommodations, all of which double as in-room spas. A massage table slides out of a cabinet, and a steam shower and 120-gallon bubble tub for two sit three steps away for after your treatment of choice. A spa butler sets you up for your in-room treatment, including providing the music of your choice. Plug your iPod into the docking station or opt for the hotel's music, where the choice can run from Bach to Bacharach. Treatments range from a basic massage (60 minutes/$125) and a wrap of enzyme-rich pumpkin and cranberry added on to any other treatment (30 minutes/$60). Or, after a dual massage, soak with your sweetie and a glass of bubbly in a tub filled with purifying bath salts containing essential oils of fennel, juniper, cypress, grapefruit and more (90 minutes/$195 per person).