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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.

Mauna Lani Hotel Is Pretty Great. I'm Just Sayin'

March 13, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Quiet! Do you hear that rustling? What is that there in the leaves?  Ah, ha! Got it! It's the elusive combo hotel, and I'm showing it to you now, live, on national television for the first time.  And what a beauty she is...Look at those greens, those bungalows, I've never seen anything like it.  You can tell from the way she lies there that's she cold-blooded, all that lying around in the sun.  

Now what exactly is a combo hotel? It's an incredibly descriptive term that I've just now invented to explain the incredibly elusive bungalow hotel that is also a golf resort.  Now, normally when you think of bungalows, you get lost in an afternoon of daydreaming, but then you remind yourself that you were actually trying to remember where you might find them, and then you think of the Maldives, the native habitat of the quiet and reserved bungalow hotel.  And then you imagine a golf resort, and it carries you across the world to Scotland, or any of the mainland courses from Kiawah Island to Pebble Beach. The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is a holy union of these two concepts, bungalow housing with breaktaking ocean views and a golf course that hugs the shores like it loves them more than its own mother.  

For the gender normative family, Mauna Lani's two championship golf courses give the guys a place to play while the children enjoy the Mauna Lani Camp and disinterested spouses relax at one of the "World's Best Spas" according to Travel & Leisure magazine.  A less stereotypical family might send the men to the camp, the women to golf and the children to the spa, but I'm pretty sure that violates some kind of age requirement.  Either way, you're sure to have some fun at the Mauna Lani, and I haven't even mentioned the farm-to-table dining at the Canoehouse, their signature restaurant.  I better stop now before I get carried away.  I've probably already oversold the place, and now they're going to be booked up when I try to reserve.  To get in before I do, just head on over here to check availability and learn even more about the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows.

 


What Wine Goes Best with your Favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

March 13, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

You read the title correctly. Today we’re not exploring what wine compliments Alaskan Salmon or risotto; we’re bringing you recommendations of which wine goes best with various Girl Scout Cookies. Kris Margerum, the wine director at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley has gone through the vast 17,000 bottle wine cellar to suggest the absolute best wine-cookie pairings. Check out the pairings below and enjoy the adult, edgy rendition of Girl Scout Cookies.

Savannah Smiles go best with a 2010 Dr. Loosen ‘Bernaksteler Lay’ Riesling-Kabinett. As stated by Kris Margerum and reported on HotelChatter, ““The lemon notes and powder sugar create an amazing match with this off-dry, high- acid white wine.”

Trefoils-Old Fashioned Shortbread go best with the 2007 Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine. "The creamy richness of the shortbread is balanced by the fresh lively notes of the Sparkling Wine." 

Dosidos-Peanut Butter Cremes go best with a 2009 Schloss Gobelsburg Gobelsburger Zweigelt. "The light bodied and fruity Zweigelt paired with the Do-Si-Dos brings home the flavors of peanut butter & jelly."

Samoas go best with a Graham’s 20-Year Tawny Port. "The coconut is an ideal blend with the oak-aged port, while the Noval Vintage Ruby Reserve Port is rich enough to match the chocolate and mint flavors of the popular Thin Mints." 

Tagalongs-Peanut Butter Patties go best with Rare Wine Company’s “Imperial-Old Reserve” Malmsey Maderia, “Nothing goes better with sweet Maderias than chocolate and nuts.”

We certainly encourage you to explore the room types, rates, and photos of the Auberge du Soleil here! Make your reservations today and get ready for an incredible time in phenomenal wine country, cookies and all!

This article originally appeared in HotelChatter.


Always on the Sunny Side: Sunriver Resort Oregon

March 12, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

I don't get to the Pacific Northwest as much as I should like.  The quiet beauty of the temperate forests and mountain climes is as underappreciated as it is unbelievable.  And the Sunriver Resort happens to be placed smack dab in the middle of all of this awesome (in the literal sense of the word) natural architecture.  Sun sits right in the name of this resort, and for good reason.  When dusk hits, and the light begins to diffuse across the countryside, you'll swear you've been transport to another world. The mute oranges and pinks drape themselves over the rolling hills and distant mountains like a blanket ushering in the nighttime.  

You can enjoy the resplendent natural beauty of the outdoors by undertaking any of a number of activities made special by the backdrop alone.  Three championship golf courses, tennis, fly-fishing, biking: It's all available to you, and that's not even to mention the outdoor pools and rafting down the Deschutes River.  If, for you, the idea of luxury is being able to melt back into the landscape where we all came from while not sacrificing the wonders of the modern world, then Sunriver Resort is the place you should be taking a vacation.  And if you're looking for some chillier activities for the winter months, Sunriver Resort was ranked one of the Top 50 Ski Resorts in America by Conde Nast Traveler, so it's natural wonders are equally breathtaking in all weather. I might just find myself getting up on their own and taking me there soon.


Mandarin Oriental coming to Atlanta, Georgia

March 12, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Mansion on Peachtree a Rosewood Hotel is soon to be rebranded as a Mandarin Oriental. This luxury hotel is centrally located at the intersection of Peachtree and Stratford Road in Buckhead, towering high in the Atlanta skyline. The location provides easy access to phenomenal restaurants, shopping, and city attractions. The hotel and residences will be in the slender 42-story property crafted from classically inspired limestone and cast stone for dramatic effect, and the spa facility will feature 14 treatment rooms that will offer Mandarin Oriental’s signature products and therapies. The development plan includes 25 luxury homes that will occupy floors 25 – 42. Make your reservations at the Mansion on Peachtree a Rosewood Hotel soon, and then be sure to explore the new Mandarin Oriental property once it’s up and running!


Kid Friendly Fun at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

March 9, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Some kid programs simply have a few swings or a designated area where kids are encouraged to use their imaginations, but not at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. This luxury hotel now offers a Fit for Fun wellness program, perfect for folks looking for some family fun. A few activities suitable for kids ages 5 and up are yoga on the beach, surfing in the Pacific Ocean, and hiking through the Santa Monica Islands. Parents are certainly encouraged and welcome to take part in any of the activities, but the majority of them are geared to keeping kids entertained, active, and healthy. According to the hotel, “muscle beach’s newest body builders are four-feet tall and weigh in at 46 lbs.” We certainly encourage a healthy and happy lifestyle for kids, and we’re thrilled to see that the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is taking kid programs to a new and phenomenal level!


Puppies Get Love at the W Los Angeles Westwood

March 7, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Located on the foothills of Beverly Hills/Bel Air, the W Los Angeles Westwood can be found in the heart of all the glamour, in between Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica beaches. Its 258 modern and spacious bungalow-style rooms and suites feature beautiful views of Beverly Hills and lively colors to awaken your spirit. This luxury hotel not only has exceptional rooms, but its restaurant, the Backyard offers the best alfresco dining in Los Angeles. Not only can you get incredible Cal-Med fare amid a serene garden, but now your dog can enjoy his chow right along with you. The Backyard is now offering a pet-friendly ‘Fido’s Kitchen menu.’ The menu features healthy options for your puppies such as ‘Stella’s Mutt “za” Balls,’ which is organic chicken, free range eggs and brown rice, ‘Milo’s Chopped Veggie and Chicken Salad,’ and ‘Knuckle’s Frozen POP,’ an organic yogurt with a mashed banana and peanut butter. The dishes are named after the pets of hotel staff, and the executive chef, Dakota Weiss certainly expressed his creativity and love for dogs when designing the menu. The W Los Angeles Westwood also offers P.A.W. (pets are welcome) amenities which include a custom W pet bed, bowls, and a treat at turndown.

No need to leave your furry friends behind! Make a reservation for you and your puppies at the W Los Angeles Westwood today!


Tiny Diplomats: Fairfax at Embassy Row Family Rooms

March 1, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Traveling with a family can be a bit of a hassle, and we're not just talking about the toys and diapers.  Finding a good hotel room that can accommodate a whole family is about as difficult as a colicky baby on an airplane.  And among cities in the US, none is a more popular family destination than Washington, DC (no, Disneyland's not a city).  Full of historical significance and museums aplenty, you can pretend to teach your kids something while they run off to see the dinosaurs.  And don't forget the national zoo.  The red pandas are too much.

But as for those accommodations, the Fairfax at Embassy Row has some perfect family rooms to accommodate you.  Junior suites with two queen beds can accommodate up to 2 adults and 2 kids, plus even a toddler.  Their even larger cousins, the Superior and Fairfax suites offer one king bed for you and two additional sofa beds for the kids.  It's the perfect jumping off point for an adventure in the city, and not far from the zoo.  The Fairfax at Embassy Row gets a gold star from us for keeping families in mind.

 


The Shuttered Life: Shutters on the Beach in California

February 29, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The city of Los Angeles is pretty well known for a couple of things.  There's the glitzy, glamorous side, Hollywood in all of its glory, and there's the less charming urban sprawl, full of smog and angry drivers.  However, there's a third, hidden side to the City of Angels.  Tucked away on the beaches of Santa Monica is Shutters on the Beach, a wonderful hotel that explores all that this third face of Los Angeles has to offer.  Windswept beaches and the comfortable elegance of an exclusive resort are the marks of an escape from the bustle and adventure of the city.  Shutters on the Beach is everything that Los Angeles isn't; serene, idyllic, and personal.

The Conde Nast Award Winner plays host to all of the pampering activities we've come to love from beachfront resorts.  Its spa offers Shiatsu, Deep Tissue massage, and Reflexology, and oceanfront fine dining is just steps away from your room. Twenty six miles of beaches are the perfect setting for a morning run, and you'll find unsurpassed views from the three presidential suites that make up the top floors.  Shutters on the Beach is one of my favorite properties, and simply for the reason that it's everything you wouldn't expect, and more.

 


Change in Management: Trump Takes Over the Marriott Doral Golf Resort

February 27, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The big boss and his bold hair are coming to Doral Miami. The deal on the Marriott Doral Golf Resort and Spa has been signed, sealed, and delivered, and that means that Mr. Trump will be overseeing an extensive summertime renovation to herald the change in management.  The property's facelift will ensure that it equals and then surpasses the luxury of the currently 4-star resort, and we can't wait to see what he'll do with the place.  Large-scale investment is just what a property like the Doral Golf Resort needs, and that means we'll be following closely as the restoration begins in June.  The hotel will remain open during its low season, but the updated property should be fully ready as things start to pick up in the fall.

With the renovation and refurbishment, the property should see rates rising as high as the increased expectations.  Expect to seem increase to be commensurate with rates you'll see at other Trump properties.  Be sure to keep on the lookout for updated rates and availability for the Doral Golf Resort and Spa.


Incredible Chocolate Bar at the Peninsula Chicago

February 23, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The majority of bars are dedicated to serving fancy alcoholic drinks, but the Peninsula Chicago has embraced a new bar concept! Check in to this luxury hotel in the Windy City and take advantage of its phenomenal chocolate bar. Their ‘Chocolate at the Pen’ bar is more of a buffet presented by Executive Chef Kai Lermen and Executive Pastry Chef Hsing Chen, and it can be found in the 5th floor lobby sitting area every Friday and Saturday evening. A few delectable options on the menu include chocolate tapioca, chocolate-peanut tarts, chocolate-dipped strawberries, white hot-chocolate infused with lavender, chocolate truffles, and much more! The menu options vary, so be sure to call ahead of time to inquire what will be featured. Reservations are available from 8:00 – 10:00pm, and the cost is $40 per person ($20 for children 12 and under). This price includes unlimited coffee, tea, espresso, or cappuccino, and the full selection of chocolates and desserts. For folks already dining in the Lobby, the chocolate bar is available for an additional $20 per person. At 8:30pm, the evening gets even more festive with a live jazz band and singer playing until 11:30pm, and dancing is of course encouraged. Make your reservations at the Peninsula Chicago and get ready for an evening of luxury, decadence, and a smooth good time!