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.

Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe Tees Up Its Golf Experience


By: Five Star Alliance

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is offering its guests a new luxury golf experience. The ultra-plush mountainside resort has a 17,000-square-foot slope-side spa, multiple fine dining options, outdoor adventures led by the Tahoe Adventure Company, and evening "Art of the S'more" fire pit experiences. Read more below about the High Sierra Golf Experience from our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, written by Bob Curley

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe is bringing back a luxury golf experience for clients who think a weekend on the links should be about more than a caddy and a cart.

High Sierra Golf Experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The High Sierra Golf Experience includes accommodations, two rounds of golf at the resort’s Gray’s Crossing or Old Greenwood courses, and the services of the resort’s Mountain Concierge, which include golf-club storage and booking tee times. The concierge can even steer golfers to other links in the area once they’ve played through the two featured courses.

Old Greenwood is an 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Jack Nicklaus, while Gray’s Crossing is a par-72 Audubon International Gold Signature Sanctuary course, designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy to blend in harmoniously with the local environment. Both are set amid mountain pine forests in North Lake Tahoe; in fact, the two courses are right across the street from each other, while the Ritz-Carlton is located at the Northstar ski area, about 15 minutes away.

Package choices at the 170-room resort include deluxe king and deluxe two-queen rooms, mountain-view kings, mountain-view two queen rooms, and one-bedroom suites. Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows to let in the summer sun, and gas fireplaces to take the chill off the mountain evenings. The resort features a 17,000-square-foot spa and five dining venues, from the Manzanita restaurant to the laid-back Backyard Bar & BBQ. In addition to golf, optional summer activities include mountain biking, private guided hikes, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Tahoe, yoga, and a winemaker dinner series. Read more below.

Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The package is good through Sept. 30 and starts at $599 per night.

Check rates at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe >>

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Relaxing Retreat At The Umstead


By: Rachael Weir

Nestled amongst the Carolina Pines just a few miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, The Umstead Hotel and Spa offers a peaceful retreat-like setting. Surrounded by 12 acres of wooded land, with gardens, fine art, and a shimmering lake encircled with a trail, the property feels worlds away from it all, yet it's just minutes away from the Triangle.

Five Star Alliance was invited to visit The Umstead Hotel and Spa to discover all the property has to offer. Read more below.

Exterior of The Umstead

Walking into the entrance, we were greeted by friendly doormen, along with a soothing lobby featuring a view of an exquisite piece of art by glass artist, Dale Chihuly, piano music, and sunshine flowing in from the hotel's expansive patio. 

Dale Chihuly Sculpture at the Umstead Hotel

Our spacious spa-inspired guest rooms offered a peaceful setting with large windows, plush beds with fluffy goosedown comforters, and a neutral color palette. The large marble bathrooms have soaking tubs complete with a bath caddy and bath salts, separate showers, and an array of Lather bath products, plus a special black towel designated for makeup removal. Continue reading below the guest room images.

Guest Room at The Umstead Hotel

Bathroom at the Umstead Hotel

Bath caddy and makeup towel at the Umstead

The Umstead Spa is an ideal setting for relaxing and melting away the stresses of daily life. Featuring a variety of massages, skin treatments, the air is filled with soothing botanical fragrances and soft music. Visitors are provided with a plush robe, along with access to separate men's and women's relaxation lounges with therapeutic whirlpools, eucalyptus saunas and steam rooms, and an outdoor meditation courtyard. There are teas and fruit-infused waters, along with cool towels and cucumber slices to add to the overall rejuvenating environment. Plus, a boutique filled with pampering products to add to one's spa experience.

Lake at the Umstead HotelSurrounded by trees and overlooking a 3-acre lake, the Umstead offers a retreat-like feel with manicured gardens and a lakeside 1/4-mile walking/jogging trail. There are bicycles, helmets, and trail maps available to explore the trails around the property leading to the William B. Umstead State Park. For added relaxation, the hotel's outdoor swimming pool is set amongst the serene setting with large sundeck, lounge chairs, cabanas, and poolside food and beverage service. 

Pool Deck at the Umstead Hotel

For an elegant dining experience, Herons, the hotel's signature Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. On select days, afternoon tea service is served in the lounge area along with a harp serenade. If you're looking for casual dining, there's an outdoor patio overlooking the gardens and lake. During the evenings, there is live music and crafted cocktails in the bar & lounge - an ideal spot to sip and reminisce about the day's events. Feeling like staying in? We recommend room service.

Tip: Be sure to inquire with the concierge about morning yoga, bike, and art tours as the property offers a variety of events for guests.

On a side note, we noticed the hotel is very pet-friendly, with special accommodations for canine guests and the DogWoods enclosed play area. 

Check rates and plan your relaxing retreat at The Umstead Hotel and Spa >>

The Umstead Hotel

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Explore the National Parks at Enchantment Resort


By: Five Star Alliance

In honor of the U.S. National Parks 100th Anniversary, the Enchantment Resort is offering an “Over-the-Top Grand Canyon Adventure Package”, which includes a private helicopter ride for four people from the resort to the Grand Canyon. Ideal for families, the Sedona Resort is surrounded by natural vermillion-colored rock formations, with hiking trails, Camp Coyote kid's club, Mii amo spa, outdoor swimming pool, golf, and tennis. Read more below about this special package from our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, written by Ruthanne Terrero.

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

A Southwest getaway for the family should include active experiences plus some quality downtime. We say Enchantment Resort in Sedona might just fit the bill, especially with the program it's created for the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. The “Over-the-Top Grand Canyon Adventure Package” provides for a private helicopter ride for four people to take a flight from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. When it's time to come home, a clay wrap spa treatment is included, at Enchantment's sister property, Mii amo. Which room works best for families? We're thinking it's the two-bedroom “Full Hacienda Suite,” which has a living room (think high ceilings and a fireplace) with two queen pull-down beds. If a family member likes to barbecue, a nice big deck has a built-in grill and lots of seating for the family to sit around and critique the cook. There's a kitchen inside as well and a dining room area for six. There's no arguing over who gets the best bedroom since both are masters (some with king beds, some with two queens, just ask). All told, there are plenty of private bathrooms for all, including one off the living room.

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

Enchantment, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, has a program for children ages four to 12, which provides nature walks, pottery classes, star gazing, scavenger hunts, cooking classes and yoga. Older children and teens can also participate in tennis camp clinics. They can also take a Pink Jeep tour and visit Native American ruins in the area.

Family Dining Tip: Enchantment has two restaurants. Tii Gavo has a more casual Southwestern vibe while Che-Ah-Chi is the fine-dining venue. Reservations can be made at any time for either, but do know that both have great views of the red rock canyon. We suggest making reservations at least two weeks out for a window seat or outdoor table for optimal views. 

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

Good to know: Families sometimes want to relax and not worry about disturbing guests around them, so, we suggest a private room at Che-Ah-Chi for parties of six to 12. Another fun option is to request in-room dining served on your private patio. Enchantment has plenty of other venues for larger groups.

Tip: Spring and summer are peak seasons at Enchantment Resort, so management recommends booking six to 12 months in advance.

Check rates and learn more about Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa>>

Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa

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Grande Colonial La Jolla's NINE-TEN Restaurant


By: Five Star Alliance

Sponsored Post*

NINE-TEN Restaurant at the Grande Colonial Hotel La Jolla

NINE-TEN Restaurant, located at the landmark Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, California, was recognized by the California Restaurant Association with "San Diego's Best Hotel Fine Dining Restaurant Award". This is the seventh consecutive win for NINE-TEN, recognizing the restaurant's excellence in Evolving California Cuisine. Celebrating more than a decade of service, NINE-TEN offers the perfect combination of sophistication and casual elegance. Diners enjoy the best of the harvest from local farmers, where produce is selected daily for the restaurant's farm-to-table menus.

Click here to visit the NINE-TEN Restaurant website >>

Welcoming guests since 1913, The Grande Colonial Hotel is a 93-room historic hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. One-block from the beach, the property offers can outdoor pool, meeting space, and the award-winning NINE-TEN Restaurant featuring a Wine Spectator-recognized wine list.

Check rates and learn more about the the Grande Colonial Hotel La Jolla >>

Grande Colonial Hotel

*The content of this sponsored article was provided by Grande Colonial Hotel. 

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Penthouse Suite at Fairmont San Francisco


By: Rachael Weir

Occupying the entire eighth floor of The Fairmont San Francisco, a grand historic property in the heart of the city, The Penthouse has hosted royalty and celebrities alike, including John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev, King Hussein of Jordan, Marlene Dietrich, and Mick Jagger.

The Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse Suite Living Room

The lavish suite offers three large bedrooms, a formal dining room with seating for up to 60 guests, ornately tiled billiard room, formal living room with a grand piano, and a two-story library. Plus, behind the bookshelves, there's a secret passageway adding to the allure of the fabled suite. Read more below.

The Fairmont San Francisco Penthouse Suite Dining Room

Hallway within the Penthouse Suite at the Fairmont San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco opened in 1907. Set atop Nob Hill, the property offers panoramic views of the city, and its located at the only spot in San Francisco where each of the cable car lines meet. Fully restored with luxurious modern comforts, the hotel features the Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar with locally sourced ingredients, plus the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar featuring a tropical setting and Pacific Rim Asian Cuisine. Close to the Financial District, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf, the property offers a centralized location for business and leisure travelers.

Learn more and check rates at The Fairmont San Francisco >>

Penthouse Suite Balcony View at The Fairmont San Francisco

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High Roller's Love the Red Rock Resort 180 Suite


By: Five Star Alliance

10 miles from the strip, The Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa offers the ultimate high roller suite - the 180 Suite - spread over 7,500 square feet of space and with views of the Strip and the mountains. Read more below from our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor.

Red Rock Resort 180 Suite Terrace

Guests will be staying in good company as the resort has hosted George Clooney, Pink and Cindy Crawford. The One-Eighty Suite has views of the Strip and the mountains. However, the suite may divert attention from the vistas with its sleek, luxurious design in a color scheme of black, rich browns and blues - very 21st-century. This top suite leaves us wanting to know what's around every corner and behind every door. Amenities at this luxury hideaway include a pool table, a 100-inch TV and a full bar (hello, Sin City).

The bathrooms in both master bedrooms are fitted with a walk-in shower and Jacuzzi tubs with fireplaces. The two bedrooms also come with private balconies. Outside, along with a stunning view of the mountains, guests will have a spa tub and a bar with a revolving sofa. With these digs, venturing over to the Strip may not be necessary.

Additional Tip: For the ultimate entrance, the hotel has luxury Cadillac Escalades and Cadillac Limos for private pick up from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. 

Check rates and availability for the 180 Suite at the Red Rock Casino Resort >>

Red Rock Resort 180 Suite Living Room


Monarch Beach Resort Completes Renovation


By: Five Star Alliance

Following a year-long $40 million renovation Southern California's Monarch Beach Resort, formerly a St. Regis property, has announced the completion of the project, which includes a new Miraval Life in Balance Spa, new pool areas, updated guest rooms, and fresh dining options. Read more below from our sister publication, Luxury Hotel Insider.

The resorts renovated arrival area now has beach house-inspired details with panoramic windows, over-sized seating, wide plank wood floors and blue and sea-glass green accents.

Monarch Beach Resort Front EntryAlso new is the Miraval Life in Balance Spa offering more than 70 treatments at its Monarch Beach Resort location. Each is designed to “awaken the senses, create balance and promote a sense of well-being” for guests throughout the spa's 24 treatment rooms. There is also a lap pool, multiple spa suites, a boutique, Drybar, Deborah Lippmann Nail Salon and relaxation and tranquility zones. Healthy menu items inspired by Miraval’s philosophy are also available at the resort's restaurants, as well as the new Miraval Spa Café inside the spa.

For dining, chef Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern continues to provide a private beachfront dining space for guests, while the resort is also debuting five new dining concepts led by executive chef Collin Thornton as part of the renovation. The new dining options focus on using fresh ingredients from local purveyors and exercising sustainable practices, and include:

- AVEO Table + Bar: A Mediterranean restaurant and bar designed by San Francisco-based hospitality firm Puccini Group.  Dishes are inspired by the cuisine of Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco, and are crafted using local ingredients. 

- 33° North: This venue includes three separate dining areas; a contemporary bar serving hand-crafted cocktails; a living room salon; and an outdoor patio with fireside seating and live music Thursday through Sunday.

- Part & Parcel Market: Also designed by Puccini Group, the all-day dining option serves small bites and healthy options for guests on-the-go.

- Club 19: A refreshed indoor-outdoor gastro pub situated near the golf course offers beers on tap, cocktails, and classic American fare. 

- Sombra: A Mexi-Cali, family-friendly poolside cantina offering a fusion of Mexican/American dishes along with salads, vegetarian options and modern Mexican comfort food. 

Dining at the Monarch Beach Resort

The resort's new pool areas include an adults-only Monarch Pool, Family Pool with splash zones and two infinity-edge spas. Private cabanas have built-in music and stocked outdoor mini-bars, while chaise lounges and an outdoor fire pit provide space for guests to gather in the evenings. The pool area’s multi-level design now has a second tier dedicated to sunning and lounging. 

Refreshed guestrooms designed by Los Angeles-based Rodrigo Vargas Design have a color palette of blues, greens and whites. All rooms and suites have balconies furnished with modern patio furniture, and all first floor balconies include fire pits. 

Monarch Beach Resort Suite Living Room

Tip: In addition to the renovation, Monarch Beach Resort is also offering several new land and sea experiences in Dana Point. At the resort's private access beach, guests can enjoy activities like standup paddle boarding, trail hikes, bonfire communions and one-on-one surf lessons led by a resort Surf Host. 

Check rates and availability at the Monarch Beach Resort >>

Monarch Beach Resort Beachfront

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Reimagined Spa Experience at Red Rock Resort Las Vegas


By: Five Star Alliance

Located off the Las Vegas strip, with views of the Red Rock Canyons and the strip 10 miles away, the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa pays homage to the elegant mid-century modern resorts that made Las Vegas famous, but reinvented for the 21st century.

According to our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being recently underwent a multimillion dollar upgrade that brings with it 25,000 square feet of space, 23 treatment rooms, fitness classes, nutrition guidance, integrative medicine, mind-body therapies and advance skin care. Guests looking to tap into those Hollywood elite treatments will be happy to hear that Well & Being offers Lancer skin care spa services. This specialty menu includes "The Lancer Method's Interlocking Chemistry" technique, which allows the spa products to build and work together for that flawless skin look. This is the only location outside of Dr. Lancer's dermatology office in Beverly Hills where guests can receive the treatments that include an anti-aging experience and the famous Lancer Glow Facial.

(More below)

Red Rock Resort Spa

Want more than one treatment? The top requested Lancer services include the Red Carpet Ready Facial, which gives the skin a healthy glow; The Lancer Method Facial with Oxygen to immediately tighten the skin with molecular oxygen; and the Sparkle and Glow Body Polish Treatment for adjusting body's pH levels to reveal youthful skin. For those looking to increase the cardio in their lives, we suggest trying out Tai Chi or vertical wall yoga and, of course, a spinning class is available. Guests can finish their workout with nutrition counseling, which includes tips like preparing the ideal grocery store checklists.

We think this would be a posh destination for a girls' getaway as the spa aims to create a community around health with its co-ed relaxation lounge and pool deck equipped for outdoor classes. However, just lounging on the pool sofas and sunken seating areas will also lead to the perfect weekend escape. But there is something for couples too - the VIP spa suite with an oversized bathtub and two treatment tables. Guests ages 16 and older are welcomed at the spa, which also receives walk-in clients; but it’s better to book in advance. 

Check rates and availability for your getaway to The Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas >>

Red Rock Resort Salon


Glamping in NYC with W Hotels


By: Rachael Weir

If you've ever dreamed of camping without leaving the city, here's your chance...

The W New York partnered with Laurel & Wolf to temporarily transform the patio of its Extreme Wow Suite's terrace into an Outdoor Glamping Suite. 

Glamping at the W New York

Featuring a whimsical approach to urban glamping, the suite offers a 12-foot yurt decorated in colorful fabrics and textures with glowing lanterns. Finished with rattan hanging chairs for lounging, and a fire pit that ignites with the flip of a switch. Surrounded by a canopy of twinkling lights, the rustic-luxe oasis is a chic glamping option in the city.

Located in the center of Manhattan, the W New York is steps away from Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, the Theater District, and Rockefeller Center. Plus, there's a FIT Gym and Bliss 49 Spa, ideal for relaxing and pampering during your glamping getaway.

Note: this special suite will be available until fall 2016.

Check rates and learn more about the W New York >>

Glamping at the W New York

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The New Ambassador Oceanfront Suite in Bal Harbour


By: Five Star Alliance

On Florida's Gold Coast, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort Miami Beach is located on the edge of the Atlantic just 15 minutes north of South Beach. 

Clean whites lead to endless blues in the recently debuted 2,900 square foot Ambassador Oceanfront Suite. The four bedroom and four bathroom sanctuary is an ideal space for families to unwind. The spacious suite features two King bedded master bedrooms each with an ensuite private five-fixture marble bathroom, walk-in closet, and spacious balconies. Two interior bedrooms boast queen beds perfect for children. The main living room is ideal for lounging and opens to a kitchenette and glass dining table for eight. Dine al fresco on one of four 210 sf balconies with direct ocean views. A second living room boasts a pull out sofa bed, allowing up to 10 guests to comfortably make the Ambassador Suite home.

Check rates and availability for the Ambassador Suite at the St. Regis Bal Harbour >>

St regis bal harbour Ambassador Suite layout

St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort Ambassador Suite