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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.

Green Hotels: Mandarin Oriental Miami Volunteers in the Everglades

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

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

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!)

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.

The New “Apprentice-Trips” Program from Fairmont Hotels

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Orchid HawaiiWe've just learned about the new "Apprentice-Trips" program at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a neat experience for travelers seeking out enriching and authentic adventures while on the road. Fairmont has taken this "yearning to learn" movement and created a collection of thoughtful experiences for hotel guests to learn, perfect, or acquire a new skill while on vacay. From surfing in Montreal to art immersion in Dallas, the program offers something for everyone. A smattering of these offerings are outlined below:

How to Pass a Bill in Washington D.C. (learn how to craft your agenda with a federally-registered lobbyist)

Find Your Inner Chi in Beijing (perfect the ancient art of Tai Chi)

Samuel Adams Behind the Scenes Boston Brewery Package at the Fairmont Copley Plaza

Canoes, Coffee and Culture in Hawai'i at the Fairmont Orchid

Cook with the Chef at the Fairmont Algonquin and the Fairmont Southampton

Learn about the Grizzly Bear while hiking from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotels: Shangri-La Bangkok Installs Solar Panels

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok, solar panelsYet another reason to love the riverfront Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok: the hotel has just installed solar panels on a 938-square-meter portion of the rooftop (pictured at right). The BT 13 million investment will power a solar water heating system, generating enough renewable energy to heat 25 million liters of water a year, sufficient hot water production for the 802 guestrooms of the Shangri-La Wing and the Krungthep Wing. The Shangri-La Bangkok is making waves in the industry, as this is the largest such solar system to be found in any hotel in Thailand. Talk about guilt-free luxury!

Green Hotels: Viceroy Snowmass Has Rates from $100 this Spring

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Viceroy SnowmassHow do we love the Viceroy Snowmass? Let us count the ways. There's the Ute Indian-inspired wellness spa. The all-season heated saline pool, terrace with cabanas, Nest lounge and café designed by Kelly Wearstler. The helpful ski valet with on-site ski and snowboard rental. And the kick-ass slopeside location in the heart of Snowmass' new Base Village just seven miles from downtown Aspen. But perhaps most importantly: the hotel is eco-friendly. Outside Magazine has the deets:

More and more ski resorts are going green-- meaning you can feel good about living it up. In Colorado's recently renovated Snowmass village, the year-old Snowmass Viceroy offers 173 luxe rooms and a sprawling spa complex. But thanks to smart construction (think low-flow faucets and high-efficiency heating systems) as well as gaudy extras like an electric-car charging station, the lodge is up for LEED Silver certification. Roll up in your hybrid and parking's free.

Hot deal: Viceroy Snowmass has "Linger Longer Rates" starting at $100 per night from May 26, 2011. The ski season may be over by then, but you'll be privy to fantastic weather and gorgeous Rocky Mountain views.

The Andaman’s Spa Goes Organic

By: Meagan Drillinger

AndamanOrganic is all the rage nowadays and we hear that The Andaman, A Luxury Collection Resort in the Langkawi archipelago of Malaysia is jumping on the bandwagon. Never been? We say now's the time to go.

We hear that the resort's V Botanical Spa has sharpened its image with the offering of 100 percent certified organic food grade products and treatments. Translation" all-natural goods like hair and body oils, multi-functional aromatics, nutraceutical supplements and nutritional lip balms.

V Botanical Spa is one of five pieces that makes up V Integrated Wellness. The other four elements consist of V Fitness, V Healthy Cuisine, V Retreats and V Beach Club, all of which will officially launch in March.

Seaside Villas at the Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru

By: Daniel L. Moses

Banyan Tree MaldivesFact: The Maldives is the most beautiful place on Earth. There, it’s been said. Minted and printed. For those that believe there is another place on this planet that compares, please feel free to comment below. In my opinion, you have a hard case to prove. And when you’re lying on a hammock underneath the bright canopy of the bluest heavens, staring out across the clear turquoise waters, and breathing in the sweet scent of the trade winds wafting by, I think you’ll agree.

The Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru, on the North Male atoll, is the perfect place from which to experience the world’s most beautiful place. The Banyan Tree is pure luxury, period. Guests stay in deluxe beachfront villas propped on stilts that plunge deep into white sand. The beaches are often empty, with some visitors reporting that they didn’t see another soul all day while soaking in the sun and swimming in the warm, docile waters.

The Banyan Tree also recognizes the importance of its location, as the Maldives is a unique eco-habitat with rare species abounding. The marine biology demonstrations presented for guests is a unique offering to this exotic locale. So if you want to stay in the most beautiful place in the world, reserve a villa at the Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru. Heck, in between sips of Mai Tai, you might even learn a thing or two.

Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotels: InterContinental San Francisco Awarded LEED Gold Certification

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental San FranciscoA big congratulations to the InterContinental San Francisco for its most recent honor! The luxury hotel-- a tower of translucent blue glass soaring 32 stories above the city skyline-- has just been awarded LEED Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED is USGBC’s rating system for designing, constructing and maintaining the world’s greenest and most energy efficient buildings.) It's rare to achieve this with an existing building; InterContinental San Francisco is the largest in California to get LEED EBOM certification and the third largest in the US. Since it's debut in 2008, the 550-room hotel has shown its dedication to environmental stewardship. It's not just because of the linen and towel re-use program. Here's how:

InterContinental San Francisco• Floor to ceiling windows throughout the entire property that allow for lots of natural light (read: not from light bulbs!)

• Public transportation is used by more than 95% of the hotel’s staff, reducing the carbon dioxide emitted by commuting.

• Retro-commissioning of its energy systems by bringing in a third party to evaluate and upgrade its current systems, making them more efficient.

• A comprehensive recycling and composting program, diverting 80% of the hotel’s generated waste away from landfills and utilizing solar powered compactors.

• Green cleaning methods are used throughout the hotel operations (think hepa filtered vacuums, “Green Seal Certified” chemicals and micro-fiber cleaning cloths).

• Partnering with Renewable Choice Energy to reduce its environmental impact by purchasing renewable energy credits to offset 100% of its electricity and natural gas use, making the hotel’s energy use 100% carbon neutral.