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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.

Five Star Alliance Photo Submission Contest!

June 27, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We love having a relationship with our luxury travelers, hearing about your adventures, and seeing your vacation photos, so we invite you to submit your favorite vacation photo to us by August 1st, 2012 to be entered to win a free iPod shuffle! Your photo can be of your favorite hotel, a beautiful sunset, a shot of you drinking out of a coconut on the beach, etc. We certainly encourage creativity and would love to see what sort of vacation destinations you enjoy. We’ll post your photo in an album on our Facebook page, and our team of luxury travelers will choose a winner based on location, quality, style, and creativity, so hook up that digital camera and submit your favorite vacation photo to us today here!

Terms and conditions: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. You are providing information to Five Star Alliance, not Facebook. Liking or commenting on a photo on Facebook will not increase your chances of winning, but we certainly love and encourage participation! A photo must be attached to your entry to be eligible to win. The photo must be your own and free from third party copyright restrictions. Only one photo submission per person. Five Star Alliance reserves the right to delete any photos it deems inappropriate without notification. By participating in this competition, you authorize Five Star Alliance to announce your first name and use your image on our Facebook page. We will not share or sell contact details or use full names. The winner will be contacted on August 3rd, 2012 via email from an email address and will have seven (7) business days to respond or the prize will be forfeit.

Celebrate the Fourth of July in DC!

June 25, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We can’t think of a better place to celebrate our country’s Independence Day than our nation’s capital! Take advantage of the mid-week holiday by taking an extra-long weekend to explore and take in everything DC has to offer. With 37 luxury hotels located in various parts of the city, Washington DC certainly has the perfect hotel for your individual stay. Take advantage of the free Smithsonian Folk Life Festival which celebrates unique cultures with music, food, demonstrations, and more on the National Mall as well as the patriotic programs put on at the National Archives, the National Cathedral, and the Smithsonian Museums. For more information about the happenings in Washington DC, check out Explore the various hotel options and make your reservations in Washington DC to ensure you’re in on all the action this Fourth of July!

Question: Best Luxury Hotel near Tours for Families

June 20, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance

Earlier today Five Star Alliance recived the following question from one of our clients:

My husband and I are traveling with our 15 year old niece for 2 nights in August. I'm looking for a suite that will accommodate all 3 of us, but with privacy for us as well. We may need two rooms instead of one suite. If there are chateaux hotels available near Tours, that would be lovely. Thank you for your asssistance.

We did some research, especially when it comes to Tours -  known for its wines, the battle of Tours in 732, and the Paris-Tours cycling race, then reviewed our properties and came back with the following suggestions:

Chateau d'Artigny Junior Suite Duplex in Ariane PavilionChateau D'Artigny is in Montbazon, about 20 minutes South of the center of Tours. The Chateau offers the following for 2 adults and 1 teenager, or 3 adults:

JUNIOR SUITE GUEST BEDROOM - The Luxurious Junior Suites and duplex are spacious, located in main chateau, Ariane Pavilion or Fragrance House overlooking the Chateau, gardens, park or woods. Sofa bed possible for children under 12. Flat screen, Air conditioning. Sleeps up to 2 adults (or up to 3 adults with extra bed).

Located at right is the Chateau d'Artigny Junior Suite Duplex in the Ariane Pavilion. 

Currently rates for August 4, 2012 for 2 nights are starting at EUR 520 per night for 2 adults. However rates are being pulled live from the system, and are subject to change based on availability.

Chateau d'Esclimont Exclusive Suite with Park and Pond ViewChateau d'Esclimont is located in Ile, about 2 hours north of Tours. The Chateau offers 2 different room types to accommodate you, your husband your neice.

JUNIOR SUITE GUEST BEDROOM - Single floor or duplex, very spacious, comfortable and tastefully decorated. Junior suites consist of one bedroom and a private lounge with sofa bed. The bathroom has a shower and a separate bath. Fitted with, Wifi access, minibar, 42 square metres. Sleeps up to 2 adults (or 3 adults/2adults 1 child with extra bed).

Currently rates for August 4, 2012 for 2 nights are starting at EUR 545 per night for 2 adults. As mentioned before, rates are being pulled live from the system, and are subject to change based on availability.

EXCLUSIVE SUITE PARK AND POND VIEW - With its beautiful high ceiling, fireplace, stylish furniture and huge four poster bed, the Exclusive Suite emanates a true fairytale castle atmosphere (pictured at right). Overlooking the pond and the protected park. It has a delightful private lounge with sofa bed and a splendid black marble bathroom with separate shower and bath. Minibar, free wifi access. 80 square metres. Sleeps up to 2 adults (or up to 4 adults with extra bed).

Currently rates for August 4, 2 nights, are starting at EUR 895 per night for 2 adults. And again, rates are being pulled live from the system, and are subject to change based on availability.

Domain des Hauts de Loire ApartmentDomaine Des Hauts De Loire is 45 minutes NorthEast of Tours and offers 11 Carriage House Apartments. This Relais & Chateaux hotel is an old hunting lodge located along the Wine Route in Loir-et-Cher.

The apartments (pictured at right) are located 30 meters from the main house and feature a sitting area, bathroom, mini bar, safe, wireless internet, tv, telephone, air conditioning and the option for an additional bed for a fee. They are between 50 and 60 sqm. These apartments are currently shows at EUR 480 per night for 2 nights on August 4th.

All Luxury Hotels near Tours can be found here >>

Do you have other suggestions for 3 adults or a family near Tours, France? Let us know >>

Ah, Gee, A Hotel! A'jia Is the Bosphorus Hotel of Choice

June 15, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

It's not possible to get any closer to the shores of the Bosphorus than the A'jia Hotel. It's just about literally on the water, and this jewel of the Mediterranean gleams with a particular lustre. The Ottoman mansion has only 16 rooms and you're basically guaranteed a wonderful view. The unique location of the property allows it to be both hidden away and easily accessible from the city of Istanbul, so you can tour the sites and head out on the town without skipping a beat. Of course, you might not want to head into the city for dinner, since the A'jia restaurant could go toe-to-toe with almost any in the world. And because the hotel is so small, you're sure to have an intimate dining experience. The A'jia hotel is a fusion of timeless elegance, maintaining the beauty of its original 1800s construction and merging it with all of the modern amenities. If you're looking to explore the beauty and wonder of the Mediterranean and have an experience of both an incredible luxury hotel and an amazing natural setting, the A'jia Hotel should be on your shortlist.

Impawsibly Luxurious: The Resort at Paws Up

May 31, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

If there was ever a hotel name that invited a pun, it's the Resort at Paws Up, and I'd like to pay proper tribute to that. Maybe your life has gotten a little hectic recently; things are moving a little too quickly, and it feels like everything is getting away from you. What you need is to take a step back and abandon the rat race; take a pause from your normal life. Or maybe you have a bunch of friends, and you're looking for a getaway to the Montana wilderness. Well, the Resort at Paws Up has room for your whole paws-e. Really, the pawsibilities are endless. Whew. That was exhausting. And I've even avoided making any pet jokes...

Now that we've gotten that out of our systems, we can move on to the business of describing exactly what makes the Resort at Paws Up unique besides the name. A lot of resort promise a wilderness experience, but you're really just two miles out of town and their wild forest is a five acre manicured lawn. Well, Montana is literally derived from the Spanish word for mountainous country, and the state animal is the grizzly bear. The wilderness in Montana doesn't mess around, and neither does Paws Up. The property has a number of different cabins avaiable from the meadow to the mountainside, and there's even an outdoor tent city if you want to really rough it. All this makes it sound like I'm describing something very different from the classic luxury resort, but don't let me fool you. The Resort at Paws Up constantly has luxury in mind; it just recognizes that even those who enjoy their five star dining and top-notch spa facility have come for the outdoors as much as the high thread count. In fact, I would argue that there's nothing lost on the luxury experience, but the surroundings are more real, highlighting the local freshness of cuisine homemade from local flora and fauna, like their unbelievable huckleberry toast. If you want your luxury to come with wilderness, or your wilderness to come with luxury, look no further than the Resort at Paws Up, where you'll get the best of both worlds.  

Hotels with a History: The Betsy Hotel

May 30, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Certain hotels have a story behind them, a culture that seeps through the walls and a personality that emanates from every room. Every city has an appreciated and valued history worth exploring, and certain hotels have become a part of that rich and interesting past. For this reason, we’d like to introduce you to our blog series, Hotels with a History where we’ll be featuring unique hotels that have a little more to them than a comfortable bed and superb amenities.

Opened in South Beach in 1942, the Betsy Rose Hotel stood out from the traditional style of architecture with its Florida Georgian façade in an Art Deco dominated neighborhood. This luxury hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2009 while maintaining its original design and timeless style. This boutique hotel has 63 private, beachside rooms and suites equipped with the latest technology. The Betsy Hotel offers its guests ample opportunities to relax on the white sandy beaches, play a round of golf, partake in water sports, and much more!  The Betsy Hotel has also gone green and is committed to making eco-friendly decisions without sacrificing luxury, ensuring that its guests get the most out of their stay while keeping the environment in mind. Be sure to check out this historic and beautiful luxury hotel for your next trip down to South Beach!

Sponsored Feature: Why the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's Small Size Is Just What You Want

May 21, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

When the national title association was handing out the allotment of letters to the Villa Spalletti Trivelli, there must've been a 2-for-1 deal on ls. Either that or it is secretly run by a pack of llamas. In any case, the Villa Spalletti could certainly be described as lilliputian. The tiny hotel rests in the heart of Rome and has but 12 rooms and suites to its name. Many hotels champion their large inventories as a great strength, singing the praises of the customizability that the options deliver. I find that such an experience doesn't necessarily guarantee my perfect satisfaction though. By the same token, size can lead to a kind of standardization, where while you can pick between a number of five-star restaurants all the on the property, you still succumb to a feeling of sameness. You lose a sense of the specific charm of the city you've come to see.

In this regard, the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's small stature is precisely its strength. The hotel simply feels like Rome. You're nestled downtown, just moments from the Fontana di Trevi, Quirinale, and the Spanish Steps, and the rooms and public spaces are filled with genuine antiques. Private gardens allow for you to experience a genuine moment of quietude away from the bustle of the city; and, with only a few other guests, that silence won't be interrupted. The on-site Health Center is a source of rejuvenating and relaxing wellness therapies. Elegant dining is available at the Papier Peint Dining Room, and it is just that, an intimate experience closer to a private meal than a night out, only with the freshest traditional Italian ingredients that you could only get at the finest restaurants. The next time you're headed to Rome, think about foregoing some of the bigger brand names for the authentic experience at the Villa Spalletti Trivelli.

Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons

May 16, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for food. This luxury hotel is nestled in the beautiful Oxfordshire village of Great Milton in Oxford, United Kingdom, which is renowned as one of Britain’s best gastronomic experiences. This luxury hotel is recognized for its two Michelin Star modern French restaurant for 27 years. The manor only has 32 rooms creating an extremely personal and intimate setting for guests. Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons has a 2 acre vegetable and herb garden which adds organic produce to the kitchen and allows the chefs to create phenomenal, epicurean experiences!

Make your reservations at Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons for a culinary and luxurious journey unlike any other!

Condé Nast Traveler Hot List 2012: Amanruya

May 14, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Conde Nast Traveler, purveyor of fine hotel reviews and travel advice, has just released its 2012 edition of the Hot List, a list of hotels that are setting the hotel world aflame with fresh designs and new concepts, or maybe just a solid new look at classic luxury. 41 reporters embedded themselves anonymously in hotels across the globe to review their targets. What results is a list of 121 hotels around the world that are so on fire they should be put on your watch list, just in case they end up burning down.

Aman Resorts are world-renowned for their ability to capture a special kind of serenity and bring it to all different parts of the world. Amanruya, on the Bodrum peninsula, is no exception, and its 36 seaside cottages are precisely the kind of escape that guests coming to Turkey hope for. Not only do the waters of the Mediterranean stretch out in front of the hotel, the resort is just a short drive from nearby Göltürkbükü, a hopping town for adventurous types to explore an active nightlife. While you're there, be sure to visit the excavation of Ephesus, where you can find one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis. The flat-roofed cottages of Amanruya are the perfect place to stay for a weekend in one of the world's most historic regions.

Sponsored Feature: The Orient Express's Casa de Sierra Nevada and Observatory Hotel

May 4, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

What follows are impressions of two of our favorite Orient Express properties, the Observatory Hotel in Sydney and the Casa de Sierra Nevada, in many ways very different hotels, and in more than just their geography.  

Observatory Hotel, Sydney, Australia

I'll confess a fair bit of ignorance about why the Observatory Hotel is actually called the Observatory. Perhaps it was the site of a revolutionary astronomical discovery or it used to house the local planetarium in a forgotten back room. Maybe it just has a habit of flowering the walls at a party in order to better watch the crowd. It's a mystery as enigmatic as the stars in the sky, and we may never know. Well, it probably has something to do with the adjacent Observatory Park, but why spoil the hyperbole?

What I do know is that the Observatory Hotel is a perfect luxury hotel to use as jumping off point for exploring Sydney, a city that thrums with the heartbeat of a constantly evolving culture. Not far from the Rocks and Circular Quay, not to mention the Sydney Opera House, you're right in the middle of the action. As a break from experiencing all the city has to offer, you can retreat back to the quiet inner sanctum of the Observatory to enjoy an afternoon tea at the Globe Bar & Brasserie. For more substantial fare, head to Galileo in the evening, and you'll experience their amazing interpretation of fine French cuisine (the mystery of the name is quickly unravelling faster than the flat earth theory). If you're looking to stay in the utmost of style, make sure to book their gorgeous presidential suite, a study in aesthetics that makes extensive use of objects d'Art and features a four-poster bed. The Observatory Hotel is an extra-classy place to stay for the discerning traveler who finds themselves in Sydney.

Casa de Sierra Nevada, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Across the world from the Observatory Hotel, you'll find the Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende. Built in 1580, the Sierra Nevada is one of the smallest hotels in our collection. With just 33 rooms, the hotel is a serene escape from the bustle of everyday life. An inner courtyard is the perfect enclosure to keep the busy noise of the outside world at bay while you relax and refresh in one of the most historic towns in Mexico. Importantly, the hotel allows no children under the age of 11, so you won't be disturbed while you crack open the novel you've never gotten to or just soak up the rays of the sun. The National Institute of Anthropology and History was so enamored with the hotel's repurposed homes that they are designated historical landmarks. The surrounding mountainous landscape seems to be a backdrop that could only be dreamed up in a movie studio, but you can experience the unparalleled quietude and incredible service of the Casa de Sierra Nevada in real life. It's just one trip away.