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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.

Aleenta Phuket Launches a Secret Dinner Series


By: Oksana Balytsky

The Aleenta Phuket Phang Nga Resort and Spa in North Phuket, Thailand is proud to present the NA THALANG Ancestral Siamese Cuisine Secret Dinner series every Monday until further notice. Prepare to experience traditional and authentic dishes from the kitchen of Chef Premchit Prateap Na Thalang prepared from secret recipes passed down through 12 generations. The menu will feature distinctive southern Siamese cuisine with Chinese and Indian elements and fresh ingredients from the forests and seas of the Andaman coast. The courses will feature juice, canapés, an aperitif served at 7:00pm, and an 8-course tasting dinner served at 7:30pm.

The Aleenta Phuket is a beautiful boutique hotel with only 40 rooms and 15 suites including pool villas, ocean view lofts, and private 2 and 3 bedroom beachfront villas located steps from the beach. This luxury hotel is only 20 minutes from the Phuket International Airport and a short distance from the Blue Canyon Golf Course and the beautiful Phang Nga Bay.

Be sure to explore this simply stunning hotel and make your dinner reservations to embark on a truly authentic and once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience!


Saint Barbara's Jardín: Inn of the Spanish Garden


By: Christopher Roney

In veneration of the Honorable Alex Kozinski (don't click this until the end, or you're cheating), we're going to do a little something special with this post. It's risky business when two ideas face off in a single article. On one level, I'll be talking about the wonderful Inn of the Spanish Garden. On the other, well, see if you can find the clue, or, perhaps, I've left you clueless. In any case, let's get to it.

Opening just eleven years ago in 2001, the Inn of the Spanish Garden brings a distinctly Mediterranean flavor to the West coast. It is a true American beauty, the fusion of European sensibilities with a level of relaxation only California could achieve. Staying in any of the 23 rooms at the Inn is just about as good as it gets. The small size means that the 24-hour staff is available to personalize your experience so you can have it just as you like it. With either a private balcony or patio in every room that may open up to the secret garden within their beautiful courtyard, you don't have to leave the outdoors behind. Their 30-person banquet hall is perfect for parties looking to host a small wedding or party in a small hotel that you can really make your own. The verdict? The Inn of the Spanish Garden is a great escape from the bustle of the world outside.


A Hotel Love Letter: To the One and Only Palmilla


By: Christopher Roney

Dear Palmilla,

You are the Only One for me.  The curve of your beaches, your brilliant blue skies, the way your service always comes with a smile. It's enough to make a man blush.  Your beauty is unparalleled. I would write a poem describing it, but my awkward turns of phrase would pale in comparison to the raw, unadulterated perfection you embody, and I fear I would only stumble over my words, as graceful as my inner child, still going through the uncontrollable acne of his middle school years.

When I'm trapped at work, the spreadsheets morph inexplicably into images of your pristine beaches.  I just can't stop thinking about you. I would cross the oceans, travel to the very beaches of Los Cabos itself, just to be with you.  I know a longer relationship could never be, and our time together was always destined to be fleeting, too short to blossom into its full potential. But I hope that as time goes on my memory of you will become all the more poignant for its ephemeral nature. The possibility of seeing you again keeps me going as I slog through the world of faxes and memos; it is a spark of life that I will carry with me always.  May I see you again soon. You are the One and Only, my Palmilla.

With all my heart,

Chris


The Sweet Night Sky: Peter Island Is a Perfect Honeymoon Spot


By: Christopher Roney

 The honeymoon is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, a chance to show the person ou're going to spend the rest of your life with just how much you love them and just how beautiful and amazing the coming years are going to be.  So it makes sense that you'd want to take them to a place of perfection, where the waters are blue and the sand is soft between your toes.  Peter Island Resort is just that place, and there's a reason it made our list of top Honeymoon destinations.  The resort was named one of the 20 Top Islands and Best Places to Stay in the World by Conde Nast Traveler.  Only 52 rooms means that staff outnumbers the guests, and you'll have that private, exclusive feel that a honeymoon deserves.  The sparkling Caribbean waters serves as the perfect backdrop for open-air restaurants and an elegant wine bar.  Head underwater to spy some sea turtles while snorkeling in the pristine ocean or go inland for nature hikes that are sure to delight.  Peter Island seeks to combine the privacy and comfort of your own villa with the world-class service and amenities of a resort.  And in such an idyllic location, I can't think of a better place to go for your honeymoon than The Peter Island Resort.


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Alila Villas Uluwatu Indonesia


By: Christopher Roney

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.

Featured prominently on the Gold List for ambiance and design, the Alila Villas Uluwatu is everything you could hope for in an secluded all-villa property.  On the very edge of sheer limestone cliffs that overlook the Balinese ocean below, the views from the outdoor pool and gardens seem to look over the edge of the world itself.  Sky and sea meet in an endless ocean of blue that is only ever disrupted by the prismatic diffusion of the sun's rays as it falls below the skyline.  And as darkness drapes itself over the edge of the cliffs, cradling Uluwatu in its embrace, simply step inside to the Sunset Cabana for a nightcap or something more substantial. Its holistic design is minimalistic but never spartan, tranquil but never vacant.  The Alila Villas Uluwatu truly deserves its place on the Conde Nast Gold List for most ambient and well-designed hotels of 2012.


Weekend Trips from Washington D.C.: Middleburg and More


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Goodstone Inn and Estate, MiddleburgJust an hour west from Washington D.C., the rolling hills of Virginia's Piedmont make for a fantastic day trip or weekend outing from the nation's capital. A number of vineyards offer wine tastings (in Loudoun, Fauquier, and Rappahannock Counties), and for those seeking adventure, excellent hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains abound. This is horse country (read: you should dress the part) so pick up some threads in the charming stores that line Middleburg's main drag, where you'll also find all kinds of organic goodies at the Home Farm Store (Ayrshire Farm's gourmet retail shop). For a sweet treat and an excellent cup of coffee, Warrenton's Red Truck Bakery is *the* place to go.

Looking for a place to stay in the countryside? Folks make pilgrimages to The Inn at Little Washington in Rappahannock County for some of the best food you'll eat in the US of A. Another good bet: The Goodstone Inn and Estate, recently profiled by the good folks at Daily Candy. To quote: "Pretend you’re visiting a rich uncle’s estate at the welcoming Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. Book a room in the carriage house for breathtaking views or gather a weekend party group to rent an entire house (bonus: A chef can make your meals using local ingredients and freshly picked veggies from the garden). Then unwind in the spa or stroll the grounds to visit with farm animals."

For more information about visiting Virginia, check out Virginia is for Lovers, the Official Tourism Website of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Escape to Bermuda: $129 Rates at Fairmont Southampton


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Southampton BermudaHere's a deal for all you luxury lovers out there: the swank Fairmont Southampton Bermuda is currently on sale for seven days only with room rates starting at just $129 per night!* What this means: Act fast if you want to score luxury for less on a spring break trip to paradise! A palatial landmark on Bermuda’s gorgeous south shore, the Fairmont Southampton Bermuda is nestled on an 100-acre tropical estate with towering palm trees and has direct access to miles of pink sand beaches. The property is consistently voted one of the top resorts in the region by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. As for the facilities, the Fairmont Southampton is the crème de la crème. There's an 18-hole par three golf course, a 31,000-square-feet Willow Stream Spa, some of the island’s best restaurants, a sprawling oceanfront beach club with an on site PADI dive center, tennis courts and more. Most of the spacious guest rooms have sweeping views of the Atlantic from private balconies.

*For travel until April 30, 2012; some blackout dates apply. Rooms cost $299 per night when you travel between May 1, 2012 - August 31, 2012.


Get a Golden Glow with the New 24-Karat Gold Facial at Four Seasons Mauritius


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

gold facial at Four Seasons Resort MauritiusWe've seen our fair share of over-the-top spa treatments (diamond, rubies, oh my!), but this one might just take the cake. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita has just announced a lavish spa treatment for the festive season: the new UMO 24 Karat Gold Facial. Apparently gold has natural youth-enhancing properties (who knew?) that helps beautify the skin and defy the natural ageing process. The facial uses 100% natural ingredients to give you a golden glow while you're hanging out in paradise. (Just check out the photos of the island resort.) Here's the skinny on the facial:

Derived from an ancient Japanese soybean health food, the Gamma PGA ingredient used by the UMO facial is ten times more hydrating than the skin’s own natural acids, while also having far more elasticity than collagen. The Gamma PGA absorbs the gold and when applied to the face using UMO’s ultrasonic nano mist technology – several times smaller than water droplets – both the Gamma PGA and the gold are able to pass through the surface of the skin to restore youthful benefits to the deepest layers.

Needless to say, the UMO 24 Karat Gold Facial doesn't come cheap; it costs 250 euros a pop. Available from December 15, 2011.


New Wedding Venues Added to the One and Only Cape Town Resort


By: Oksana Balytsky

Located in the heart of one of the most fascinating cities, the One and Only Cape Town is nestled between the scenic sandstone cliffs. This urban chic waterfront resort is surrounded by beauty and offers incredible views of Table Mountain and private Spa Island. Aside from being in an incredible city with incredible landscapes, this resort has recently added new wedding venues and packages, making it a perfect location to tie the knot.

The One and Only Cape Town is adding a 76-foot motor yacht and a beautiful new Ballroom to its extensive venue list for weddings and engagements. The ivory tones and 6 handmade crystal chandeliers add to the Ballroom’s sophistication and elegance. The Ballroom measures 2,314 square feet and has 648 square feet of outdoor space, making it suitable for a wedding with 50–140 guests.

If a wedding in a grand Ballroom is not quite your cup of tea, consider exploring the option of enjoying intimate moments on the Sherilyn, a luxury motor yacht. This luxurious yacht is available for sunset wedding photographs, wedding ceremonies, and even grand gesture proposals. It can accommodate up to 20 guests, and its qualified team can assist with making arrangements to create the perfect ambiance.

For those unable to choose between the Ballroom and the Sherilyn, the Ballroom Package is available, which provides exclusive access to the yacht for post-ceremony drinks.

We hope this gives you some inspiration and ideas for planning your wedding, and we hope you are able to find the perfect location with the right amenities for your special day.

This article information appeared on our sister website, luxurytraveladvisor.com.


What's Hot: Introductory Rates at Angsana's New Flagship Resort on Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Angsana Laguna PhuketCome hell or high water, the Angsana Laguna Phuket will be opening its doors on December 1, 2011. The new flagship for Angsana Hotels and Resorts, the property closed earlier this year for a multi-million dollar overhaul, and promises to dazzle after a dramatic makeover. The guest rooms and public spaces are stylish and contemporary in design, with traditional Thai touches (think steep arched roofs, waterways winding through the grounds, and vividly colored fabrics).

Nestled on Bang Tao Bay in the northwest of Phuket Island in Southern Thailand, Angsana Laguna Phuket is part of Laguna Phuket, Asia’s first integrated resort, which is comprised of five luxury hotels, six palm-fringed lagoons, 600 acres of parkland, three kilometers of pristine beach and a slew of recreational activities and dining options. We like the sound of the 323 metre free-form pool that meanders throughout the Angsana Laguna Phuket and the award-winning Angsana Spa. Did we mention the treehouse-inspired Kids Club? This resort is family friendly (and they even have a special kiddies pool called the toddler's "tub").

Hot rates: The resort is currently offering $199 introductory rates with breakfast included, and they'll throw in a resort credit of $98 when you stay in two nights or more. Stay a minimum of three nights, and you'll get a free 90-minute massage.