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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.

Fourth Free Night in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at Casa Velas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa Velas Follow your bliss to the soft sands and roaring surf of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where Casa Velas provides a peaceful, secluded oasis. Tucked away on the beautiful Marina Vallarta golf course, Casa Velas is an adults-only boutique hotel. Relax in your private plunge pool or hit the sand at the beach club. Retreat to the spa for an indulgent massage overlooking the ocean. In the evening, enjoy live music and a fabulous meal at the gourmet restaurant, Emiliano. This is the ultimate romantic hideaway. With the One More Night promotion, stay for three nights and get the fourth for free! And since this hotel is all-inclusive, you get all your meals, premium beverages, and round-trip airport transfers for free. Rates are for a Master Suite, and start at $540 per couple per night. (Rate is pro-rated to reflect savings for the four-night stay.) Available until December 20, 2007.


What a Hotel! Intimate Country Home


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Here's a challenge to test your luxury travel savvy. Do you know this hotel? Take a guess, leave us a comment letting us know which hotel you think this photo belongs to, and check back next week for the answer and new image.

What a Hotel!

Helpful Hints: 2,500-acres, Orvis-endorsed, 4 distinct seasons ...

All 4 contestants were correct in guessing Last Week's Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The Hotel Le Meurice, Paris, France


Hot Dining in Hong Kong: Spoon by Alain Ducasse at the InterContinental


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Spoon by Alain Ducasse Savvy gourmands flock to the InterContinental Hong Kong for the best dining options in the city. The STEAK HOUSE winebar + grill lures meat lovers with prime cuts of the world's finest steaks on Hong Kong's only charcoal grill; the new Nobu restaurant was named one of the world's Hot Tables by Conde Nast Traveler. And then there's SPOON by Alain Ducasse, the high concept restaurant designed by the world's most awarded chef. This innovative hot spot gives guests the freedom to mix and match food and cooking styles, and select different sauces and side dishes. The best ingredients from around the world-- think French foie gras, lobster, the freshest fish and vegetables-- are incorporated into exciting, contemporary dishes by SPOON Executive Chef Tjaco van Eijken who moved to Hong Kong in June 2005 (from Mr. Ducasse's Il Cortile (1-Michelin star) restaurant in Paris).

Tony Chi designed the interiors to showcase the panoramic views of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong island. The leather and chrome bar area is complemented by modern French chairs with eel skin upholstery and sofas with mink cushions. 550 hand-blown Venetian Mercury glass spoons adorn the ceiling, reflecting the custom-designed open kitchen and harbor views. The huge international wine selection (4,800 bottles with 450 different vintages) is dramatically showcased within the restaurant.

SPOON offers one of the most sought-after dining experiences in the city. Hong Kong residents easily make up half of the restaurant's clientele. Open daily for dinner and Sundays for lunch. Located on the Lobby Level of the InterContinental.


Mii Amo at Enchantment Resort: Spas in Sedona, Arizona


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mii Amo Spa at Enchantment Resort Escape to Red Rock country for some serious relaxation (and inspiration). Surrounded by the majesty of towering rock formations and the pristine desert landscape, the Enchantment Resort is situated within an unbelievable setting. And at 4,600 feet, the resort experiences cooler, pleasant temperatures-- an oasis away from the hottest Arizona summers. For thousands of years, Native Americans considered this an area of sacred healing. It's no wonder that the resort’s Mii Amo spa, inspired by the magic of the setting and named after the Native American word for "Journey," was voted Number 1 Destination Spa in America by Travel and Leisure readers. The stunning adobe architecture seems to blend into the red rock cliffs of Boynton Canyon. Mii Amo offers a full menu of spa services like the High Desert Facial, Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment, Milk and Honey Bath, Sedona Clay Wrap, and massage. Other progressive spa services include Tarot card readings and Astrology.


Chillin’ by the Black Sea at the Grand Hotel Rodina, Sochi, Russia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hotel Rodina Now you can stay next door to Vladimir Putin's summer house on the Russian Riviera. When he's not hazing the new French president, Vlad hangs out here in Sochi, the historic seaside resort on the Black Sea. Stein Hotels opened Grand Hotel and Spa Rodina in May 2006 and the media's been abuzz ever since. Set within 15 hectares of gardens that lead down to a private beach club, the hotel has dramatic views of the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains, sandy beaches of the Black Sea, and Putin's official summer residence. Joseph Stalin originally created the resort in the 1950s as a retreat for the party elite. For over two centuries, the country's rich and powerful flocked to these shores, now also known for its annual film festival held in June. The subtropical climate-- the most northernmost like it in the world-- means lush terrain and lots of leafy palms. (You can swim from April through October, and hit the ski slopes from October into May.) Discover the magnificent botanical gardens, the only tea plantations in Russia, and the magnificent canyons and waterfalls of the nearby Caucasus mountains.

Grand Hotel Rodina is an exclusive property of only 42 rooms and suites, some with private terrace Jacuzzis. Soak in the oversized swimming pools (the best in the area), catch a flick at the private cinema, dine al fresco on the rooftop terrace, stake your claim to a piece of paradise at the exclusive Beach Club. The facilities are truly presidential, with tennis and basketball courts, a helicopter pad, boathouse, billiard room, and fully-equipped gym and spa. The best part of all? The cigar room located in the 50 year old bomb shelter.


Cocktails on the Terrace at Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, New York


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

View from Ritz Carlton Battery Park Rooftop bars abound in Manhattan; outdoor boozing is a favorite urban pastime when the mercury rises (and that blanket of humidity shrouds our favorite city). For the best views in New York, head downtown to the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park to cool off on the Rise Bar & Terrace, located on the 14th floor. After all, this high-energy hot spot was chosen by Zagat as the Best Rooftop Bar in NYC. Sample a cocktail and the tasty small plates while gazing out at the Statue of Libery and New York Harbor. This extraordinary location means that the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park is the only luxury waterfront hotel in the city.

Via Vagablond


Weekend Chic at The Berkeley, London


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Berkeley, London You can't beat this London location. Overlooking Hyde Park, within easy reach of Knightsbridge's famous stores, The Berkeley is mere moments from London's acclaimed museums and landmarks. For over a century, the storied hotel has retained its elegance, charm, and popularity with its distinguished clientele. The Blue Bar, the hotel's drinking spot, has made a name for itself in dozens of glossies around the globe. The rooftop pool is one of only two in London; it has a retracting roof and beautiful views over Hyde Park. Marcus Wareing's Michelin-starred Pétrus restaurant has secured The Berkeley as one of the world's leading gastronomic hotels. Stay Friday, Saturday or Sunday night between now and December 31, 2007 and enjoy a welcome bottle of chilled champagne, full English breakfast and late check-out at 4 p.m. the following day. Prices for Weekend Chic start from GBP 259 per night in a Superior King-bedded room.

PS. Don't miss the fashionista's favorite afternoon tea at The Berkeley, Prêt-à-Portea.


Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 to Become Luxury Floating Hotel in Dubai


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

QE2 The legendary QE2, launched by Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 1967, has been sold to Dubai's Istithmar company for a mere $100 million. The longest serving vessel in Cunard's history, the ocean liner crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and carried more than 2.5 million passengers. Now the ship will become a must-see tourist attraction in Dubai (where else?)-- where it will be converted into a luxurious floating hotel at the Palm Jumeirah. After an extensive refurbishment program to recreate all the original interior décor, the QE2 will reopen in 2009 in its new permanent home: a pier at the Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island.

Photo Via AP


Adventure in Style at Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Matakauri Lodge Get lost in luxury at New Zealand's Matakauri Lodge, just a short distance from the alpine wonderland of Queenstown, the "Adventure Capital of the World." Nestled on the shores of Wakatipu Lake, this luxury lodge is a serene retreat with world-class facilities, including the Spa Pavilion with sauna, hot tub, and two therapy rooms, where guests indulge in an exclusive program of tailor made Holistic therapies with organic products. Adventure-seeking explorers can go bungy jumping, white-water rafting, heli-skiing in the Remarkables mountain range, or jet-boating. Exciting thrills abound. But for those pining for a more restful holiday, there's wine tasting at the local vineyards, strolls through historic Arrowtown, and shopping and dining in Queenstown.


Stay One or Two Nights Free at Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Loews Lake Las Vegas ResortBilled as the only true "family-friendly resort in the area", the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort is offering families the opportunity to visit the new luxury hotel on the lake for some fun in the sun. With a club just for kids, two championship golf courses, a pampering poolside concierge, exhilarating water sports on a magnificent desert lake, full-service spa and exquisite dining, the entire family will never want the summer to send. Visit the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort between May 23rd and September 4th this year to take advantage of the free nights offer. Stay 2 nights and get the 3rd for free, or stay 3 nights and get the 4th and 5th nights for free. The offer is subject to availability and based on consecutive nights stay so check availability for the dates you are interested and book now.