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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.

Weekends in Bryant Park


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May for the Editorial Advisory Board The Bryant Park Hotel Just in case you needed another reason to visit New York City this month, The Bryant Park Hotel - which is a best romantic hotel winner - has rates starting as low as $249! Visit the weekend of the 21st - 23rd and get a room for the Deanna Witkowski's Piano in the Park Performance, or maybe come the weekend of the 28th-30th and see Kuni Mikami's Piano in the Park Show. Get their early on Friday mornings and you can see the Good Morning America Concert Series in the Park - with Taylor Hicks or Huey Lewis and News. Check for rates at Bryant Park for July 21st-23rd Check for rates at Bryant Park for July 28th-30th


Dining with a view in Athens


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Rob Wilder, Food & Wine Editor and Member of the Five Star Alliance Editorial Advisory Board In the US, great views usually are accompanied by mediocre food. Fortunately in Athens a different rule applies. Three of the better restaurants in town treat you to spectacular views. The menu at Pil Pil is only marginally Greek, but the location reminds you why you came to Athens. The dramatically lit Acropolis literally soars above this romantic patio, atop a small townhouse by the ancient agora. It is an "only in the movies" kind of setting! While somewhat pricey, Pil Pil delivers with fine Greco-Mediterranean dishes and excellent service. For an equally dramatic but very different panorama, ride the funicular to the top of Mount Lycavetus to Orizondes, a highly respected modern Greek restaurant perched atop this 1,000 foot cliff. With the chaotic jumble of Athens way below you, Orizondes produces wonderful food and service. Both restaurants have good selections of high quality Greek wines... look for any by Gerovasiliou or Kyr-Yianni. Finally, for a Michelin one-star experience with an almost equal view, head to the rooftop at Varoulko. Creative interpretations of every kind of Greek seafood are excellent. Perhaps the best overall dining experience in Athens? During our meal a summer lightning storm crashed around us, and our Greek friends coolly told us not to worry, the storm would miss us. Even when a few drops started falling, not a single diner budged from their open air seats- too enthralled with their dinners. The storm miraculously passed us by - Another magical evening in Athens! On the hotel front, we have had two good experiences at the St. George Lycabetus, perched on a hill over the upscale shopping area of Kolonaki. Fine rooms, great views (and rooftop pool), and an excellent location. Friends have also loved the Grand Bretagne, but it is both more expensive and in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Syntagma Square. The shops and restaurants of Kolonaki are big draw - our favorite is Papadakis, a youthful and modern take on the Greek Taverna with wonderful food and service. 9 Luxury Hotels in Athens from Five Star Alliance


Rocco Forte to Open the New Hotel de Rome in Berlin, Germany


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Rome

In October, the prestigious Rocco Forte Hotels—considered Europe's leading luxury hotel brand—will open a new five-star hotel in the heart of Berlin. Located in Bebelplatz, in the Mitte area of Berlin close to the Brandenburg Gate, the Hotel de Rome will be housed in a historic building originally constructed in 1889. Formerly a large and distinguished bank building, the new Hotel de Rome will retain much of the architectural substance of the building. Indeed, the hotel will showcase these historic touches: the rooms leading to the banqueting hall are the former cashier's rooms of the bank; the ancient bank vault has been converted into a 15-meter swimming pool, and the grand offices of the former board members of Dresdner Bank have been transformed into suites.

The hotel will have 146 large bedrooms including 103 classic rooms, 32 junior suites, 10 one-bedroom suites and a presidential suite, measuring 120 square meters and boasting a full-length terrace overlooking Bebelplatz. The rooms will be a combination of classical design and contemporary "Berlin style" glass and steel, with all the latest cutting-edge technology, including Broadband Internet and interactive flat-screen television. Bathrooms feature mosaic marble detailing above double-ended baths, and separate walk-in showers. Other facilities include six conference rooms and banquet hall, restaurant, bar, health and fitness center with swimming pool, and Spa with five treatment rooms, steam, sauna, and plunge pool.


Terrace Movie Night at Conrad Chicago


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May for the Editorial Advisory Board Last week, the Conrad Chicago continued their renovations and updates with new linens in the guest rooms (500 thread count Pratesi linens) and plush Pratesi towels and bathrobes. They have also rolled out the complimentary high speed wireless internet throughout the entire hotel, comp shoe shine services and evening turndown service with comp bottled water. Other ongoing renovations include 42' flat screen HD plasma tvs and Bose home theater systems. 4 floors within the Conrad's building have been completed and the 5th floor of guest rooms should be done by the end of July - but all rooms should be upgraded with these new amenities by mid October of 2006.

Just past the fifth-floor lobby of downtown Chicago's Conrad Hotel is an alfresco escape -- The Terrace at Conrad (see image). It is a great place to unwind in a chic outdoor setting with fantastic cityscape views. This alfresco dining destination just recently opened at the end of May. Best of all, on Sunday and Monday nights you can enjoy movie night on the Terrace! The July movie line up includes: 6/2 – Guess who is coming to dinner 6/3 – Guy’s and Dolls 6/9 – Citizen Cane 6/10 – Star Wars 6/16 – Dr. Strangelove 6/17 – Rear Window 6/23 – Annie Hall 6/24 – All About Eve 6/30 – On the Water Front 6/31 – Ben Hur (but remember - movies may be subject to change so check with them first) And don't forget about the Special Offer from Five Star Alliance for the Conrad Chicago: Guests making their reservations through Five Star Alliance will receive a welcome amenity, continental breakfast for two (2) daily, and a possible upgrade upon check-in based upon availability.


Complimentary Wireless and Broadband Internet Access at The Peninsula Palace Beijing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula Palace Beijing

After a $34 million renovation, The Peninsula Palace Beijing is the premier address in the city. Perfectly located in the center of Beijing, just a short walk from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, the hotel combines traditional Chinese style with all the modern amenities expected in a five-star hotel. The 525 guest rooms are beautifully appointed, the restaurants are exquisite, and the fitness facilities are world-class (including a fully-equipped fitness center, swimming pool, steam room, saunas, and massage treatment rooms). Notably, the Peninsula Palace Beijing is the first hotel in the city to provide guests with completely free wireless and broadband Internet access in every guest room. Business and leisure travelers appreciate the hotel's sophisticated technology, inluding 42-inch plasma screen TVs, LCD TVs in the bathrooms, silent fax machines, and bedside electronic panels that control all lighting and audio-visual equipment in-room. Luxurious rooms start at an unbelievably low CNY 1,265 ($158) per night.


Smintair: the Luxury Airline for Smokers


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

SMINTAIR offers every passenger refuge from daily stress and restriction, an island of tranquillity, a World of it's own in the skies... Although innovative, SMINTAIR will treat it's passengers like the guest of an international Grand Hotel. It is an obligation to SMINTAIR to bring back the exclusivity in flying encountered in the 1960s and dearly missed by so many. The classic ambience pared [sic] with today's technology will make flying SMINTAIR a unique experience.
So states Smintair on its website. A German entrepreneur has announced plans for a luxury airline that allows its passengers to smoke. Smintair (no, the name doesn't come from the little box of post-cigarette mints; it's an acronym for Smoker's International Airways) is slated to launch in March with flights from Dusseldorf to Tokyo's Narita International on two Boeing 747 aircraft. The flights will offer 30 first class and 108 business class seats, with abundant leg room.
Allowing our guests to smoke is one of the freedoms we are happily prepared to grant. Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests... As the World's first smoker's airline, SMINTAIR is entering many uncovered niches in aviation, designed to give the traveller maximum pleasure out of their flight experience. SMINTAIR spends more than three times the amount usually invested on passenger's nourishment. Signature recipes created by internationally renowned chefs will make each meal a feast. Charming and beautiful flight attendants in uniforms designed by famous couturiers are there to take the very best care of you. Every two years, a new designer will be elected to keep the uniform design a la mode.
Marketwatch is skeptical; Smintair needs to raise at least 40 million euros for an operating license from the German federal aviation authority. Time will tell if this baby will actually get off the ground. Related Articles: BBC News, German Plans Airline for Smokers Gridskipper, "Smokes on a Plane"


Special Offer for Business Travelers at the Conrad Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Chicago

In the heart of Chicago's financial district, the Conrad Chicago is one of the most prestigious addresses on the Magnificent Mile. Within walking distance of The Loop, The Merchandise Mart, and Lake Michigan, the Conrad is a perfect urban oasis, with the best restaurants and shopping experiences at its doorstep. The luxury hotel offers 311 guestrooms with incredible views over the city skyline. Decorated in a classic contemporary style, the spacious rooms feature state-of-the-art technology, such as three dual-line phones, complimentary high-speed Internet access, CD player with clock radio and premier luxury amenities. The Conrad Chicago also offers 12,000 square feet of technologically advanced meeting and conference facilities, a fitness center, stylish bar and signature restaurant. From now until the end of the year, take advantage of the luxurious "Business Retreat" package at the Conrad Chicago. From just $235 per night, enjoy a host of added amenities, including complimentary coffee with wake-up call, complimentary dry cleaning for one suit, complimentary one-hour administrative services, a choice of one book from the New York Times bestseller list, and a personal shopper to find a gift for loved ones at home.


Move Over Ritz-Carlton: Hilton Plans a Waldorf Astoria for Orlando


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will be the first new property under the Waldorf-Astoria Collection Brand. Hilton announced the new brand as a strategy to increase its share of the profitable luxury hotel market. The new luxury line includes the original Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The 500-room Orlando hotel will be part of a development including a 1,000-room Hilton, located next to the Walt Disney World Resort. Slated for a summer 2009 opening, the Waldorf-Astoria at Bonnet Creek will feature many of the restaurants and bars as the Manhattan original: Peacock Alley, The Bull and Bear, Sir Harry's Bar, and Oscar's. Combined with the new Hilton, the two hotels will share a 25,000 sq ft spa, 145,000 sq ft of meeting and event space, and a golf course designed by Rees Jones. Via TravelWeekly


Eos: The Luxury Airline that’s like a Five-Star Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eos Airlines

Our adoration for Eos is hardly a secret. A recent Business Week article, "Eos Airlines, Your Airborne Concierge" applauds the airline for its "business class services with a five-star hotel twist for passengers flying from New York's JFK airport to London's Stansted." The interior is luxurious and spacious, with 48 seats in a jet originally designed for 220 people. The individual passenger seating area is like a suite, with flatbed, worktables, personal entertainment units, and business travel conveniences. And it's a staggering 21 square feet per person. Not too shabby. The airline even offers "turndown service," with high-thread-count seats, cashmere blankets and Bose noise cancellation headphones. To quote Business Week:

While mainstream carriers such as US Airways are making headlines by eliminating packets of peanuts on board, Eos takes the opposite track by promising "restaurant quality, gourmet meals" with aesthetic presentation, along with a high-end wine and beverage selection. Passengers set their own eating pace by selecting either a five-course meal to be eaten at leisure or an "express" meal served at once.

Price? $6,500 for an unrestricted fare.


Summer Value Rates at the Langham Hotel, Hong Kong


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel Hong Kong

Located in the center of Kowloon's lively Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, just a hop from the Star Ferry terminal, the Langham Hotel is an elegant oasis in a popular location. The recent $35 million renovation has transformed the hotel into a stylish delight, with lavish, contemporary guestrooms oozing state-of-the-art amenities (including the signature "blissful bed") and distinguished as one of the World's Top 10 Hi Tech Hotel rooms by the Sunday Times. As to be expected, facilities are top-notch: a gorgeous rooftop swimming pool and sundeck, excellent business center, a spacious Health Club, and excellent fine dining and hip bar scene. This summer, through September 10, this five-star sanctuary is cutting their prices and promoting a Summer Value Rate that you just can't beat. Starting at just $200 a night, which is 35 percent less than rack rates, including breakfast at Sun's Cafe, complimentary local phone calls, access to the pool and gym, and discounts on all the hotel's enticing restaurants.

Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals