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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.

Did You Know? Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn


By: Five Star Alliance

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is located on the former site of Boyes Hot Springs Hotel. Native Americans who were the first to discover the natural underground hot mineral waters here. This site was considered a sacred healing ground. In 1923, a disastrous fire destroyed the hotel and most of Boyes Hot Springs. However, in 1927, the current Inn rose from the ashes as an architecturally accurate replica of a California Mission. Once again, the Inn was filled with guests, and this unique hot springs resort was hailed as one of the finest in all of Northern California. In 1980, major renovation returned the Inn to its 1920's grandeur, and the Spa, added in 1981, attracted visitors from around the globe. Since then, the most recent additions and renovations, began in 1999 and completed in 2000, include the expansion of the Spa, to its 40,000 sq.ft. indoor and outdoor space, beautifully appointed, lush landscaping making this a true European Spa.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

Book a stay at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn >> 


Go Truffle Hunting at Castel Monastero


By: Five Star Alliance

Castel Monastero offers its guests an unique opportunity to get up close and personal with truffle hunting. Truffle hunting takes place in the morning, in Castel Monastero's fields and woods, an area famous in Tuscany for its black and white truffles. The excursion lasts approximately an hour and a half and the hunt will be led by an expert truffle hunter and his pack of dogs. At the end of the excursion guests can purchase the truffles they have foraged. The truffle hunt is followed by a truffle-based lunch at La Cantina restaurant. 

Castel Monastero

Get your truffle on at Castel Monastero >> 


Image of the Day: Villa Gallici


By: Five Star Alliance

Villa Gallici is located just a few minutes' walk from the town centre. It enjoys the perfect central location between the French Riviera and the Luberon.

Villi Gallici

Book a stay at Villa Gallici >> 


Belmond Charleston Place: A Unique Balance Between Historic Charm and Modern Luxury


By: Five Star Alliance

Belmond Charleston PlaceTake a step back in time, exploring centuries-old gardens and antebellum architecture while staying in the heart of one of the most romantic and vibrant cities in the world.

There are few cities in the world that have been able to preserve its past like Charleston. History abounds on every street corner with beautifully maintained architecture from houses to churches to historic sites like Fort Sumter, the famous open-air market and the gardens and plantations, which are some of the country's oldest.

While the past is still very much alive in Charleston, the city has become a vibrant, cosmopolitan destination, tempting travelers around the world to experience its rich culture, boutique shopping and arguably one of the best culinary scenes in the country. Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Charleston the Number 1 City in the US for 4 years in a row and no hotel in Charleston better represents the city's unique balance between historic charm and modern luxury than Belmond Charleston Place.Belmond Charleston Place

One of the grandest properties in the Belmond collection, Belmond Charleston Place is consistently ranked among the best hotels by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. The hotel evokes the feeling of a grand, 17th century residence, from lush personal suites to the Italian marble lobby with a signature Georgian Open Arm staircase and 12-foot crystal chandelier. More than 200 rooms at Belmond Charleston Place have recently undergone a complete revitalization, resulting in modern, luxurious accommodations with slick in-room technology. The rooms feature new furniture, distinctive pieces of artwork and Carrera marble bathrooms.

The staff of Belmond Charleston Place is dedicated to indulging its guests with the finest in Southern hospitality. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s full-service European-style spa, horizon-edge swimming pool with retractable glass roof, upscale shops and the Charleston Grill, the on-site restaurant that’s been consistently recognized with an AAA Four Diamond Award, Mobil Four Star Award and "Best of Award of Excellence" from Wine Spectator. Executive Chef Michelle Weaver presents a menu that is a unique balance of Southern, French and Contemporary cuisines highlighted by favorites like the Charleston Grill Crab Cake or Okeechobee Catfish & Fried Shrimp. The sight of local fine art and sounds of live, world-class jazz featured nightly at Charleston Grill accompany the unparalleled culinary experience.
Belmond Charleston Place
Surrounded by historic homes and buildings, strolling distance to the city's delightful shops, galleries and restaurants, and close to pristine beaches, Belmond Charleston Place is the perfect place for guests to experience the unrivaled charm of Charleston, SC in a setting unlike any other.


Imagine being able to explore all Charleston has to offer you this season with an exceptional discount. Belmond Charleston Place's Upgrade Your Stay Offer includes a 20% discount on luxurious Club Level or Suite accommodations for a limited time. 

Book your stay at Belmond Charleston Place >>


Dining al Fresco: The Trafalgar


By: Five Star Alliance

Given the name of this hotel, we are pretty sure you know what square The Trafalgar overlooks.

The Trafalgar 

View rates, details, and more images of The Trafalgar >>


Dining al Fresco: Gray d'Albion Hotel


By: Five Star Alliance

At Gray d'Albion Hotelguests can dine against the backdrop of the resort's private beach.

Gray d'Albion Hotel

View rates, details, and more images of Gray d'Albion Hotel >>


Image of the Day: Palihouse Santa Monica


By: Five Star Alliance

Palihouse Santa Monica is a boutique beach lodge offering 37 generously appointed classic rooms as well as stunning studios, one and two-bedroom guest suites featuring fully equipped kitchens. In continuous operation since 1927, Palihouse Santa Monica (formerly The Embassy Hotel Apartments) is an outstanding example of Moorish-influenced Mediterranean Revival Architecture. The hotel dates back to a time when Santa Monica was the last Los Angeles rail stop and travelers from all over the world came for seaside vacations all year round.

Palihouse Santa Monica

Book a stay at Palihouse Santa Monica >>


Countdown to the Most Haunted Hotel: The Fairmont Banff Springs


By: K. Clare Johnson

Fairmont Banff Springs
Legend has it that a bride fell down the marble staircase at Fairmont Banff Springs and died on her wedding day. She's also rumored to have caught fire on the way down, due to the torches that lit the staircase.  The bride has been sighted dancing in the Cascade Ballroom, and cold air on the staircase is said to be her doing. 

Tip: If an elderly Scottish man offers to help with your bags, he's a ghost. Sam the Bellman was a longtime employee who has apparently made good on his threat to come back and haunt the place. The random opening and closing of the elevator doors is also attributed to Sam.

Book a spooky stay at Fairmont Banff Springs >>

 


Countdown to the Most Haunted Hotel: The Heathman Hotel


By: K. Clare Johnson

The Heathman Hotel
Long before 50 Shades of Gray made it popular, The Heathman Hotel had a reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in America. Rooms whose numbers end in 03 are rumored to be the most haunted in the hotel. The origin of this is a guest who committed suicide by jumping out of the window of room 1003. 703 is also considered haunted, but those not comfortable with the spirit world should avoid all 03 rooms. 

Guests have reported clean towels used when no one is in the room, glasses of water mysteriously emptying, and chairs moving around. Cold spots, sounds that can't be explained, and faces that appear in the dark have also been reported. Most chillingly, some guests have reported feeling a ghostly presence in bed with them. 

Shudder. Talk about double occupancy. 

Book your own ghostly stay at The Heathman Hotel >>


Countdown to the Most Haunted Hotel: Hotel del Coronado


By: K. Clare Johnson

Hotel del Coronado
According to legend, a former guest by the name of Kate Morgan took her life at the Hotel del Coronado in 1892 and has haunted the place ever since. Morgan had been at the hotel for five days waiting for a man who never arrived. She was found dead of a gunshot wound on an exterior staircase that led to the beach. 

Today, Morgan's spirit seems to have remained at The Del, where she tends to occupy her former guestroom. But her beautiful vision – and ghostly pranks – can be experienced throughout the rambling resort and grounds.

Morgan is fond of playing pranks at the hotel's gift shop. The glassware that flies off shelves and the pictures that fall off walls are attributed to her mischevious ways. Because memorabilia related to Marilyn Monroe's 1958 hotel filming of Some Like It Hot seems to be the most prone to tumbling, some speculate that The Del's resident ghost doesn't like sharing the spotlight with Hollywood’s biggest star.

Catch up with the ghostly Kate at Hotel del Coronado >>