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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.

A Fresh Redesign: Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles Reopens

October 13, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Now this is the story all about how

my life got flipped, turned upside down

And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there

I’ll tell you how I went on vacation to a hotel called Bel-Air.

Now here’s news: The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles is reopening this month, and the property has turned things upside-down with its renovation. With a fresh new look, they’re positioning themselves to be the prince of spa services. The revitalized property offers a 4,000 sq. ft. spa by La Prairie and is the first US hotel to launch a line of in-room amenities by the same luxury Swiss company. The familiar swans still glide across the serene lake they call home, and their habitat is now maintained by an updated circulation system that saves over 1.5 million gallons of water. It’s great to see more and more hotels incorporate green engineering into their modernized design plans. Alongside the familiar Grace Kelly suite, the new presidential suite even offers a private courtyard and private pool where can guests can relax after enjoying dinner for up to ten people from their private chef’s kitchen. The main buildings preserve some of the original colonial Spanish aesthetic, while also being ‘modernized’ to include retro themes from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. This is hotel the Dorchester Collection is clearly proud to be reopening, and as well they should be.

Not only does the Hotel Bel-Air feel completely renewed, until December 29th, Hotel Bel Air will include a $100 dining credit with your reservation, so you can enjoy fresh cuisine imagined by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck the next time you stay at this lovely hotel.


InterContinental Hotels Celebrates Responsible Business Week with National Geographic

October 5, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Presidente InterContinental Cozumel ResortFrom supporting local craftsmen in Romania to clean-ups of the reefs in Cozumel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts knows responsible business. In fact, they've partnered with National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations to celebrate Responsible Business Week. Hotels around the world are "taking part in activities that ensure their location remains an appealing place to visit for future generations"- to quote the official press release. The protection and preservation of local environments is key. Examples of these geotourism initiatives include: InterContinental Boston's rooftop beehives that pollinate the flora in surrounding parks and provide local honey for the kitchen; InterContinental Bora Bora Resort's salt water air-conditioning system, the first in the world; Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort's environmental work to protect the reefs and marine life, teaching guests how to scuba dive responsibly. More details can be found here.


Eco-Friendly Travel to London: Organic Meals and a "Green" Butler with The Savoy Hotel

September 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Savoy, LondonWhen The Savoy opened its gilded gates in London last year after a staggering £220 million restoration project, London couldn't stop talking about it. (And when we dropped by for a visit earlier this year, there was an impressive line of visitors gawking at the famous bars and lobby.) A lot of ink has been spilled about the "most ambitious hotel restoration in British history"-- but did you know that it was also an eco-friendly one? (Fairmont-- who manages the hotel-- gets serious props for its green programs.) The Savoy is all about sustainable luxury, having installed the latest in green technology in the hotel, and having launched various sustainable initiatives. To show guests the green side of London, the hotel has launched "The Savoy Elements Package." Here's what it includes:

* Overnight accommodation

* Return transfers in a luxury hybrid vehicle from a London airport or station

* A “Savoy Green Butler” to assist with requests such as packing and making travel arrangements as well as advising on green initiatives within the hotel and places of interest around London

* Welcome green gift on arrival

* Choice of inspirational 3-hour walking green tour of London

* Complimentary valet car parking if arriving by hybrid vehicle

* Complimentary use of a BMW bicycle with helmet provided

* An organic, 3-course dinner in either the River Restaurant with a pre-dinner, biodynamic cocktail

* Organic breakfast with selected organic juices

* A one-day travelcard allowing free use of London's public transport network

* A donation of £10 to London charity Thames 21, on behalf of the guest

* An organic, gourmet picnic hamper and blanket can be arranged at an additional cost

* Details of outdoor activities, including heritage sites, nature walks, cycle and jogging routes, wildlife centres, conservation programmes and community projects for volunteering are available through the Concierge

Rates from £825 per night, based on double occupancy and subject to availability.


The Buzz in Paris: Rooftop Beehives at the Westin-Paris Vendôme

August 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Paris VendomeIn the very heart of the City of Light, the buzzing of urban bees makes for a particularly magical sight. The Westin-Paris Vendôme has installed six beehives on its rooftop, from where bees dart over to the nearby Jardin des Tuileries and pollinate the trees and flowers. With no pesticides and a diverse flora, Paris sets the perfect scene for bees and honey production. Executive Chef Gilles Grasteau uses the honey produced at the hotel for his own culinary creations; plus, guests get a local alternative when it comes to choosing a little souvenir from Paris to take home. Rich in minerals and vitamins, honey is a natural antibiotic also known for its therapeutic and food values, and is the ideal ingredient for a healthy pause in the heart of buzzing paris. The Westin Paris-Vendôme offers a honey menu at the restaurant Le First, as well a honey facial treatment in its Six Senses Spa. Check out the video of the first honey harvest!


10th Annual Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament at Anantara Hua Hin Resort

August 3, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

King's Cup Elephant Polo, Anantara resortThe highly popular Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament is celebrating 10 years this year. The charitable event-- always a smashing success-- is a major event on the Thai tourism calendar, raising money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang. 2011's event is extra special, marking a decade of polo excitement on and off the pitch. Save the date! The 10th anniversary event takes place from September 4 - 11 on grounds adjacent to Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa, a Thai village-style resort located on 14 acres of beachfront gardens and lagoon pools facing the Gulf of Thailand.

A 3,000 seat stadium is being built for the occasion, and entrance is free for everyone. New editions include Chang Noi Children’s Day, an opening parade with army brass bands, Thailand’s last elephant spirit men, and traditional dancers to entertain the crowds. Anantara has currently launched a contest for the "Roving Elephant Reporter," aged between 7 - 15 years, who will become the star of the elephant polo circuit as they deliver news coverage from a VIP seat!

Fun fact: All the elephants playing have been rescued off the streets and enjoy a week-long holiday with free veterinary check-ups and sumptuous elephant feasts.


Snorkeling the Lagoon Sanctuary at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

August 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Resort Bora BoraThe Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora isn't just about plush, over-water bungalows. Sure, they've got those, perched on stilts over the turquoise lagoon, some even equipped with private pools. It's a spectacular snorkeling location with over 100 colorful species in the Lagoon including the octopus, eagle ray, lizardfish, Picasso trumpetfish, soldierfish, firefish, unicorn fish, spotted pufferfish, parrotfish, peacock damselfish, clownfish and butterfly fish. But more than that, the Lagoon Sanctuary is also a research facility for studying and protecting the marine eco-system. Directed by marine biologist Oliver Martin, the Lagoon Sanctuary offers activities for guests of all ages, including snorkelling, coral grafting discovery, discussions on Polynesian ecology, fish and octopus feeding and more. The Lagoon Sanctuary is maintained in partnership with the Pacific Eco-World Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to learning more about the changing marine environment and working to conserve it.


Green Hotels: Mandarin Oriental Miami Volunteers in the Everglades

July 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental MiamiIts sister hotel may be hogging the spotlight in Paris (talk about a wow-worthy debut!), but the Mandarin Oriental Miami has also been making headlines. Recently the staff of the five-star spa took a volunteer trip to Everglades National Park to work in the "Hole-in-the-Donut" Restoration area-- a 6,600-acre portion of the park that's been overrun by exotic, invasive plants. Previously farmland, the area was planted with Brazilian Pepper in order to aerate the soil around tomato plants and green beans. Alas, the Brazilian Pepper samba-ed its way across the land, quickly taking over the habitat and disrupting the natural ecosystem. The Mandarin Oriental Miami to the rescue. The spa staff-- clad in long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect against sun, insects, and poison ivy-- pulled up the weeds and replanted the landscape with native trees. Next time you hit up the spa, book the Thai Herbal Compress Ritual, and the Mandarin will donate a native tree to the Everglades.


Eco-Friendly Hotels: Four Seasons Vancouver Goes Green

May 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel VancouverThe Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver was recently awarded the Five Green Key rating for environmental and social stewardship. One of only 30 hotels worldwide to earn this honor, the Four Seasons Vancouver gets serious props for advocating corporate social responsibility. They installed a Sempa Hybrid Heating System to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20-50 percent each month; launched a comprehensive recycling program; installed energy-efficient, LED lights; created a sustainable dining menu at YEW restaurant and bar. Guests can also participate in the Eco-Luxury program and get an in-room recycling bin and daily newspaper delivered in an eco-chic reusable canvas bag. We also dig that the hotel donates food, shampoos, soaps, bedding and linens to local charities.


Green Hotels: Inkaterra's Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Approved by the Rainforest Alliance

April 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, PeruPeru is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu this July. Now the country's biggest tourist attraction, the magnificent Incan ruins lure visitors from all over the world. Planning a trip to Peru? Consider a stay with Inkaterra, a Peruvian organization that's become a model of sustainable tourism with its focus on preserving Peru's geography, nature, and cultures and sharing them with the world. Hotels include Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the "World's Best Hotels" for 2010; Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, located on the Madre de Dios River in the Southern Peruvian Amazon rainforest; Inkaterra La Casona, an 11-suite boutique hotel in the historic city of Cusco, the first and only Relais & Châteaux hotel in Peru. Notably, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica recently received Rainforest Alliance's 'seal of approval' as two properties whose sustainability practices align with the company's mission of conservation.


Celebrate Earth Day with an Eco-Massage at Kimpton Hotels (Just $50 More!)

April 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Argonaut, San FranciscoEarth Day is just around the corner (April 22) and to celebrate, Kimpton Hotels is launching EarthCare Week in 23 cities nationwide-- designed to inspire you with eco-events, amenities, earth-friendly cuisine, and more. On the menu at Kimpton restaurants? Organic dishes, showcasing local flavors specific to each Kimpton hotel location, paired with biodynamic and organic wines. You'll also find pop-up Eco Art exhibits, as Kimpton has partnered with local artists to create gorgeous artwork made from recycled materials. Here's another fun way to celebrate Earth Day: Kimpton's Pedometer Contest! Grab a pedometer from hotel reception, pound the pavement, and rack up steps to win prizes. (Pets welcome!) Kimpton's EarthCare Week runs from April 15- April 22, 2011. Take advantage of a special offer at Kimpton Hotels and get a 50-minute in-room Eco-Massage for just $50 more during EarthCare Week, valid until April 30, 2011 at participating Kimpton Hotels including the Hotel Solamar in San Diego; Hotel Monaco, Hotel Palomar, The Argonaut, and Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco; 70 Park Avenue and Eventi in New York; Hotel Palomar Philadelphia; Morrison House in Alexandria, VA; Hotel Vintage Park in Seattle; Nine Zero Hotel in Boston and Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, MA.