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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.

Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris: The Horse-drawn Carriage is Back for Easter!


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisLocated on the prestigious Avenue Montaigne, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée is world-famous, a Paris landmark of individuality, prestige and comfort. Entirely redecorated, the Plaza Athénée has preserved its classical French style while adding an innovative touch. Chef Alain Ducasse oversees the entire dining operations of the Plaza Athénée and has also his own award-winning restaurant inside the hotel. For Easter-- from March 22-26, 2008-- the Hotel Plaza Athénée will offer its guests an elegant, horse-drawn carriage for those who wish to discover Paris in a different, more relaxed manner. Guests will enjoy a 30-minute complimentary tour and will be able to admire the famous Champs-Elysées, the avenue Montaigne and the Place de la Concorde. The itinerary can be modified upon request and the driver will be pleased to steer either Pride or Lucky, one of his magnificent horses, in that direction. Guests can stay snug and warm under cozy blankets and steaming hot chocolate will be provided for younger guests. Reservations can be made with the concierge.


Aveda Spa Spring Awakening at Mar Hall, Glasgow


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mar Hall, GlasgowEscape to one of the premier luxury hotels in Scotland and "spring ahead" with some serious r 'n r. Steeped in history, the magnificent Mar Hall has 53 individually-designed rooms and suites with breathtaking views of the Kilpatrick Hills. And Mar Hall boasts an Aveda Concept Spa, the only one of its kind in the UK, with 11 treatment rooms including a Rasul mud chamber, couples' room, and area devoted to heat and water experiences. With the Spring Awakening package, you can renew your body and mind with a stimulating and nurturing spa experience. Your treatment begins with a
foot bath
and personal wellbeing consultation, followed by a dry body exfoliation.
Then awaken your senses with the essences of an Aveda Rosemary & Peppermint
total body lotion application.
While you are cocooned in a wrap of fluffy towels and a heat preserving blanket, experience a relaxing scalp and foot massage.
Finish your Spring Awakening with a
pure focus facial. Your Spring Awakening experience includes a Soup & Sandwich Lunch served in the Spa,
use of the facilities and the use of a bathrobe and "take-home" slippers.
Total treatment time 1 hour and 30 minutes, priced at GBP110 Monday to Friday and GBP130 Saturday and Sunday.
Valid from March 1- May 31, 2008.


Stressfree in Chiang Mai at The Shangri-La Hotel


By: Madelyn Giblin

Culturally rich with a multitude of local activities as well as impressive services and amenities, the Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai is the perfect place for a relaxing vacation or business stay. Shangri-La Chiang Mai offers an outdoor pool, luxurious rooms decorated with local artifacts and rich fabrics, high speed internet, an outstanding restaurant and close proximity to both the International Airport and the town of Chiang Mai with its many theatres and museums. The surrounding country of jungles and mountains offer additional activities such as jogging and hiking.

Shangri-La Chiang MaiThe Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai also offers the exclusive Horizon Club. Occupying the top three floors of the hotels, the Horizon Club includes larger rooms with breath taking views of the surrounding country, an exclusive Club Lounge for check-in and check-out that also serves a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning. Guests staying in the Horizon Club rooms also have access to a free suit-pressing and shoe shine service, private meeting rooms, a variety of newspapers, magazines and board games, and each room is provided with fresh exotic fruits and international newspaper each morning. All of these luxuries help to make your stay more enjoyable and stress-free.


Bathing Rituals in San Francisco at Hotel Vitale


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Hotel Vitale San FranciscoThe perfect way to unwind after a day of sightseeing in San Francisco is to spend an evening in one of the Hotel Vitale's rooftop tubs, tucked away in an urban bamboo garden. Guests can step into a tub filled with aromatic elixirs made exclusively for the hotel by SumBody. You will then be treated to an herbal beverage to sip while relaxing under the stars. A 25 minute experience starts at 60 USD.

Located on the revitalized Embarcadero Waterfront and the Financial District of San Francisco, Hotel Vitale is convenient to those traveling to San Francisco for business or pleasure.


Bliss Out on Sardinina at L’Ea Bianca Luxury Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

L'Ea Bianca ResortThis summer, think Sardinia. The second largest island in the Mediterranean boasts beautiful, unspoiled coastlines and some of the best scenery in all of Italy. The new L'Ea Bianca resort, meaning literally "white water," sprawls over a gentle hillside overlooking the turquoise and emerald sea. Opposite the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago, the resort is framed by a lovely beach and groves of green juniper trees. There are only 31 bedrooms at the resort, meaning the ultimate privacy for guests. Each offers a spacious balcony, elegant furnishings, and bathrooms with both showers and whirlpool tubs. Lounge on the beach, where attendants will provide sun umbrellas and sun beds, or by the lovely pool. Not far from the Porto Cervo harbor (which houses some of the Med's most elegant yachts), L'Ea Bianca is located on one of the most prestigious areas of Sardinia's Emerald coast. Note: The spa will open this year, an excellent addition to the health and beauty center.


Sail the Seychelles with Banyan Tree’s Lagoon I Catamaran


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree SeychellesSet sail on the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean and discover some of the most stunning scenery on the planet: remote islands of talcum powder beaches and lush tropical forests, and underwater life equally as beautiful. The 47-foot twin-hulled catamaran Banyan Tree Lagoon I will take to the seas of the Seychelles starting in March 2008. Staffed by a personal host and skipper and stocked with all the luxurious amenities one expects of Banyan Tree, the ship will accommodate six guests for overnight cruises from the resort. Wood-paneled bedrooms are spacious, and the air-conditioned main salon provides panoramic views.


Rare and Collectible Wine Lovers’ Getaway at Meadowood Napa Valley


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Meadowood Napa ValleyThis April promises a real treat for wine lovers in Napa. Meadowood-- the premier wine country estate surrounded by 250 acres of croquet lawns, tennis courts, and hiking trails-- has put together a one-night seasonal offering to delight passionate oenophiles. Enjoy luxurious lodgings with a fireplace, a welcome glass of wine fireside in The Restaurant Bar with Restaurant Sommelier Rom Toulon, and dinner for two in The Restaurant at Meadowood featuring the Rare & Collectible Wine Lovers' Menu created by Michelin Two-Star Chef Christopher Kostow & Rom Toulon. Here's the menu (get ready to salivate):

At the Bar

Jonata, "La Flor de Jonata", Santa Ynez Valley - 2006

Lobster Carpaccio

Black River Osetra Caviar

Le Reve, Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, Napa - 2001

Cold Smoked Kampachi

Rhubarb, Beet, Spring Onion

Kongsgaard, "The Judge", Napa Valley - 2005

Sonoma Pousin

Clam, Chorizo, Lemon Verbena

Marcassin, "Blue Slide Ridge Vineyard", Russian River Valley - 2003

Roasted Sonoma Lamb

Date Carpaccio, Cinnamon, Arugula

Harlan Estate, Oakville - 2003

Strawberries

From the Garden

Château D'Yquem, Sauternes, France - 1995

Beginning at $1,540 per couple. Reservations are available Monday through Saturday nights in April.


After the Renovation Celebration at The Marshall House, Savannah


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Marshall House, SavannahSteal away to Savannah, where the city's oldest hotel, The Marshall House, just completed a sparkling $1.5 million renovation. Named one of Cosmopolian Magazine's "25 Secret Sexy Places" (2007), The Marshall House has been pampering guests with southern hospitality since 1851. The original staircases, mouldings, and doors are intact, but now the guest rooms boast pillow-top mattresses, flat-screen TVs, all new custom-made furniture, draperies and rugs, and Wifi. Take advantage of the special rate with the Renovation Celebration package, and you'll find rooms for a steal- just $149 per night. But hurry, this package is only available until the end of February 2008.


Discover Stunning European Destinations with InterContinental’s Insider Experiences


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ceylan InterContinentalPlan a getaway to Europe this spring and enjoy authentic and enriching experiences with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. We've gushed before about the "In the Know" concierge program-- destination videos and local tips galore-- and the "Insider Experience" program takes this attentive service to another level. InterContinental has designed special packages for its guests to experience what is truly special about a city or region-- local food and wine, art and music, sightseeing, local markets-- and discover the nuanced secrets of each destination.

Case in point: "Insider Experiences" at Ceylan InterContinental Istanbul (pictured), where you can "Conquer the Grand Bazaar" with a personal guide at your side to lead you through the maze of shops in the world's oldest and largest covered shopping area, or discover the "Sights of Istanbul" with a personalized tour and private driver. At Amsterdam's InterContinental Amstel, you can enjoy "Canals and Canapés," a two-hour tour of Amsterdam's historic canals aboard a private salon boat for two. As you watch the city drift by, indulge in champagne and canapés followed by a six-course dinner with wine at La Rive. The "Amsterdam Amour" experience includes private limousine service, glasses of champagne and chocolate Traditionamstel Pure in-room, and a pair of choice seats at a classical concert.

Fly to Athens and discover marvelous "Insider Experiences" at the Athenaeum InterContinental, including "City Shopper," where a personal guide will escort you in a private car to Athens' jewelry stores, designer showrooms and shops where artisans create sandals and other handmade items, and "Cultural Treasure Hunt," a private guided tour that includes a visit to a Greek artist's studio, a stop in the Central Market of Athens to sample taverna food and an introduction to ancient and contemporary architecture, composers and literature.


Four Seasons Resort Whistler: $400 Resort Credit and Complimentary Skiing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons WhistlerWhistler is, hands down, North America's top ski destination. The numbers don't lie: Whistler's got the biggest vertical rise (5,280 feet) and the most terrain (8,171 acres) in North America. Surrounded by glaciers and soaring peaks, the future site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games is also home to some of Canada's most exclusive resorts. Four Seasons Whistler guarantees a mountain vacation like no other. With endless activities indoors and out, Four Seasons is the ultimate winter getaway. Think morning lessons with the exclusive Ski Elite program, cross-country skiing on more than 28 kilometers of trails, and sleigh rides through a winter wonderland. Limited time special offer: When you stay four nights at the Four Seasons, you'll receive a CAD 400 credit with one complimentary day of skiing! Rates start at CAD 435 per room, per night, and the credit can be used toward food, beverage or spa charges. After a day on the slopes, treat yourself to a signature skier's massage in the spa and fireside meal at Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar. The one-day free ski is based upon the purchase of a minimum three-day ski pass. Available until April 12, 2008.