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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.

Girls Only Getaway in South Beach at Hotel Victor


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Victor Escape to one of the swankiest boutique hotels on Ocean Drive (this sexy hotel is right next door to the famed Versace mansion) for a perfectly fabulous weekend with your girlfriends. Outfitted by Parisian design extraordinaire Jacques Garcia, Hotel Victor is a gorgeous South Beach destination. Think rich color, retro furniture, and illuminated moon jellyfish tank in the lobby. Experience the quintessential Girls Only Getaway and enjoy a luxurious single or double Very Victor room, and welcome amenity, which includes copies of the latest Life & Style and Us Weekly magazines. Refresh yourself with a poolside manicure during the day and unwind in the evening with a complimentary Mojito at Vue Terrace. Though the city's buzzing nightlife is just steps from the hotel, you may not want to leave the comfort of Hotel Victor. The infinity pool overlooks the Atlantic, the vibe manager on staff can arrange all manner of Miami outings, and the mini-bars in-room are stuffed full of "South Beach life-style essentials." The Girls Only Getaway is available thru December 28th, 2007 and starts at $350.


Seychelles Seduction: Banyan Tree Introduces Two-Bedroom Beachfront Villas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Seychelles There's a reason this place is such a honeymoon hot spot. Boasting the largest spa in the Seychelles, situated next to one of the world's most beautiful talcum powder beaches, Banyan Tree Seychelles is a rare taste of paradise. Boasting spectacular views of the Indian Ocean (framed by swaying palms and lush tropical forest), the resort's villas are a marvelous blend of contemporary, colonial, and plantation décor, with high sloping ceilings and airy verandahs. And Banyan Tree Seychelles recently got even more romantic, with the launch of the new Two-Bedroom DoublePool Beachfront villas, the first resort in the Seychelles to feature these exclusive retreats. Here you can wake up to the soft lapping waves just outside your villa. Each of the stunning villas offers two private pools, two open-air dining areas, a jet-pool, two sprawling master bedrooms, as well as a 24-hour in-villa host and in-villa chef services.

More new additions: the Club House and new restaurant Chez Lamar, offering gastronomic Creole delights with inspiration from Seychellois' vibrant culture.


Summer Splendor at The Peninsula Beverly Hills


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Beverly Hills Escape to the ultimate urban oasis for a little pampering and enjoy special value-added benefits when you book a room or suite. Choose Royal Tea for two, a one hour Swedish massage at the lavish Spa, or a one-way sedan transfer to/from LAX. In addition, enjoy a welcome beverage upon arrival, welcome fruit and flowers with daily newspaper, complimentary in-room Internet access, and complimentary access to the fitness center and swimming pool. Rates start from $675 per night, available until September 15, 2007. Situated in the heart of Beverly Hills at the intersection of Wilshire and South Santa Monica Boulevards, The Peninsula Beverly Hills is the only hotel in southern California to earn the distinction of an AAA Five-Diamond and Mobil Five-Star rating for 13 consecutive years. Each of the hotel's guest rooms and suites is equipped with a state-of-the-art electronic system that allows hotel guests to control their environment with the touch of a fingertip.


Spotlight On: The Equestrian Center at Half Moon, Jamaica


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Half Moon, Jamaica Horse folks are welcome at Half Moon, one of only three resorts in the Caribbean with its own equestrian center. Led by passionate trainers, the center offers excellent programs for all ages and skill levels. Enjoy the signature Beach Ride, which takes riders for an exhilarating swim on horseback into the sea. Budding equestrians can partake in the Jungle Jaunt, which leads riders through paths on a scenic hillside. More proficient riders can take advantage of private lessons. Plus, there are pony rides for the kiddies. Surrounded by sandy crescent beaches, the elegant Half Moon resort features an exclusive dolphin lagoon, championship golf, first-class tennis, a variety of water sports, and delectable specialty restaurants.

PS. Fall breaks at Half Moon are a steal, with nightly rates starting at $149 per night in a Superior Room. (Double occupancy; three night minimum stay required.) Available September 6 - October 31, 2007.


Enjoy Orlando in the Portofino Bay Kid’s Suite


By: Courtney W. May

Loews Portofino Bay Kids Suite Separate bedroom areas and 675 spacious square feet mean your family can enjoy a visit to the "Happiest Place on Earth" without worry. Unwind after a day at the theme park in your private living area while the kids let loose on the PlayStation. Then, get together and make it a movie night. The Kid's Suite at the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando offers a Flat-screen TV, DVD player, Sony PlayStation®, On Command® in-room movies, Video check-out, and High-speed Internet access - all in the comfort of 1 guest suite.

Being away from home has never been so comfortable.

See the layout below ...

Loews Portofino Bay Kids Suite Layout


Fun Back-to-School Escape at The Jefferson, Richmond


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Jefferson Hotel Treat the kids to one last adventure this summer at The Jefferson, Richmond's grandest hotel (and easily one of the finest in America). Virginia's capital offers historical sites, parks, and attractions galore, plus there's always splashing in the indoor pool and exploring the hotel's beautiful historic building-- as The Jefferson is a destination in and of itself. The Two For One Package means you can score two nights for the price of one OR two rooms for the price of one. Rates start at just $299 in a Superior Room. Valid until September 3, 2007.


The Jumeirah Hotel at Beetham Tower: London’s Major New Landmark


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Jumeirah Hotel at Beetham Tower The Jumeirah portfolio is about to get even more impressive. Regarded as among the most luxurious and innovative hotels in the world, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality group encompasses the Burj al Arab, the world's only seven star hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Madinat Jumeirah, and New York's Jumeirah Essex House (to name a few). Now Jumeirah is coming to London, with a breathtaking hotel situated in a 51-storey curving glass tower in Southwark overlooking the Thames. The Jumeirah Hotel at Beetham Tower will be 180 meters high, with a planned observation deck sitting 45 meters higher than the famed London Eye. What's in store? 261 spacious rooms and suites, a ballroom that will accommodate large-scale conference and banqueting events catering for up to 800 people, a variety of restaurants and bars and a cutting-edge spa, health and leisure facility that will be located on the 26th and 27th floors of the hotel. Slated to open in 2011, the hotel is expected to be a big attraction for visitors to the 2012 Olympics.


Shangri-La Beijing Unveils New Spa and Valley Wing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel, Beijing Let the countdown begin. There's a year to go before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and visitors are already eagerly plotting their trips to the Chinese capital. A good bet is the award-winning Shangri-La Hotel, recently renovated with a spectacular $50 million Valley Wing, contemporary restaurant Blu Lobster (with the most extensive selection of Bordeaux wines in the city), and CHI Spa, one of the most luxurious spa facilities in Beijing. Guests of the new Valley Wing enjoy an unparalleled level of service with chauffeur-driven limousines, exclusive check-in lounge, 24-hour butler service, and complimentary breakfast, snacks, wines and canapés in the grand Valley Wing Lounge. A landmark in the western part of the city close to the Summer Palace and the Beijing Exhibition hall, the Shangri-La also features a state-of-the-art health club with heated indoor pool and rooftop garden. Don't miss an excursion on the River Dragon, the exclusive touring boat moored at the hotel which offers four cruises daily to the Summer Palace, passing by old bridges, temples, and traditional Chinese courtyard houses on the riverbanks.

Pictured: The new treatment rooms at the CHI Spa. Each CHI suite features a changing area and rain shower, in addition to heat treatments, bathing and relaxation spaces. Inspired by traditional Asian healing philosophies, CHI offers treatments and therapies that combine the healing rituals and traditions of China and the Himalayas.


The Rising Tides: The New Tides Zihuatanejo from Kor Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Tides Zihuatanejo This is music to our ears. The Tides, the high design hotel brand in "chic by the shore" settings from the Kor Hotel Group, has added another gorgeous resort to its impressive collection. Formerly Villa del Sol, the award-winning Zihuatanejo resort joins The Tides South Beach in Florida and The Tides Riviera Maya on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Listed on Travel and Leisure's 500 List and named "Most Outstanding Hotel" by Condé Nast Johansens, The Tides Zihuatanejo blends the casual romance of beachfront lifestyle with the coveted seclusion of a lush garden retreat. Located above a picturesque fishing village on Mexico's Pacific Coast, the hotel boasts signature Tides amenities, exclusive butler services, infinity pools, a world-class spa, and an enhanced beach experience, with the high-noon complimentary beverage refresher service and doting Beach Butlers who provide tanning products, neck cushions, iPods, and cocktail services. Seventy guestrooms and suites, housed in two-storey adobe-inspired casitas, afford stunning jungle and ocean views across a beautiful private beach. The restaurant, one of the new brand-signature La Marea restaurants, offers the freshest seafood with a beach club ambience. Lucky couples can take advantage of the private lagoon dinner on a small island in the resort's lagoon-- for the ultimate romantic dining experience.


Summer Straight Up at Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Valley Ho Celebrate summer with handcrafted cocktails, music and massage in poolside cabanas at Scottsdale's chic urban resort, Hotel Valley Ho. With the "So Summer" package, rooms go for a paltry $149 per night, including a complimentary cocktail to toast your arrival, free appetizer at Trader Vic's, and 10 percent off your first VH Spa treatment. Paying tribute to its classic mid-century design, the original hide-away for Bogart, Bing and Marilyn re-opened in 2005 with gorgeous enhancements and impressive amenities. Signature guest rooms feature terrazzo tile baths behind translucent walls, a 32-inch HD LCD flat-screen TV and WiFi, and an all-glass wall opening onto a private patio or balcony.