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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.

Introducing the Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Intercontinental Kansas City

Bye, bye Fairmont Kansas City. Intercontinental's taking over the AAA four-diamond property. Consistently rated as KC's best hotel, the name-in-transition hotel is opening soon as the Intercontinental Kansas City at the Plaza. The team at IC hotels group has planned all sorts of marvelous upgrades to the property, including room renovations, which will take place throughout 2006 and 2007. It's got a kick-ass location in the Country Club Plaza area, just minutes away from the city's entertainment district with outdoor museum and oodles of boutiques and restaurants. Additionally, the hotel boasts a fantastic fitness center with spa treatment rooms, outdoor pool, fine dining at the Oak Room, and balconies on all 366 guestrooms.


The Brand Spanking New Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tokyo Skyline

Now open. The Mandarin Oriental scores a perfect location in downtown Tokyo, in the historical district of Nihonbashi, within walking distance of the Ginza entertainment and shopping district and the Imperial Palace. Why does this hotel rock? Let me count the ways. A 38th floor Sky Lobby with vistas of the city behind a sheer wall of glass. Guestrooms that are some of the largest in Japan. A kick-ass spa: 9,500 sq ft devoted to luxurious relaxation through Heat and Water Experiences. 9 treatment rooms, 5 luxurious private Spa suites, steam and sauna, vitality pool and bubble pool, and the Ice Fountain arctic refresher. Superb gourmet dining in several establishments. And highly sophisticated technology: widescreen TVs with surround sound, connected to multi-standard DVD players (you can output your laptop onto the LCD TVs), and 100 Mbps broadband data network that delivers high speed Internet access and high-definition digital video.


The Peninsula Chicago- Luxury Extraordinaire!


By: Guest Writer

The Peninsula Chicago

By Alex Rose

Would you like to know how royalty is treated? Then make plans to stay at The Peninsula Hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. You'll notice its distinctiveness as the doorman greets you and you enter the lobby. Once you reach the main level, you'll be welcomed to the hotel lobby by the beautiful mural commissioned to artist Gerard Coltat of Nice, France. The Magnificent Mile provides world-class shopping only minutes away, and at nighttime, you can see the beautifully-lit Chicago Water Tower. For epicureans, treat yourself to some true Chicago treasures such as Everest, Gibson's, Charlie Trotter's, and Japonais. And during your stay, treat that special person in your life to the Peninsula Essential Massage at the Spa. (Note: The internet rates offer a nice discount for online reservations.)

The Peninsula Chicago, Official Site

The Peninsula Chicago, Five Star Alliance


Roll into the Ritz in London: Centenary Celebrations


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Ritz

The Ritz in London is commemorating its centenary in 2006 with lots of celebrations. Starting with an over-the-top Grand Gala Dinner Dance on New Year's, complete with seven course gourmet dinner, Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne, fireworks and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force regimental marching band and a lone Scottish piper.

In honor of this special year, the Ritz has ordered a brand new 2006 Rolls Royce, "Ritz blue" in color with custom fitted interiors in smoke grey leather and walnut trimming. Equipped with the latest satellite navigation system, two DVD screens and crested door handles, the car will be driven by Rolls Royce trained chauffeurs and available as a guest service throughout the centennial celebrations.

Starting in January, guests can book the Centennial Celebration Package, from GBP 1,500. Includes two nights lux accommodation, airport transfers in that bad-ass Phantom, complimentary membership to The Ritz Club, theater tickets to a London production of the guests' choice, and dinner in the classic Ritz Restaurant.

Too bad the hotel couldn't go the extra mile with their new spa addition, a paltry treatment room on the hotel's seventh floor, with just one full-time therapist. Guests can choose a range of beauty treatments including massages and facials, but this isn't exactly a full-service spa.

The Ritz in London, Official Site

The Ritz in London, Five Star Alliance


Pound for Dollar Rate at the Athenaeum Hotel, London


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Athenaeum guestroom

Smack in the middle of London's fashionable Mayfair district, the Athenaeum is privately-owned and family-run, and it shows. The family atmosphere, reinforced by a long-standing staff, ensures impeccable service. Pleased guests are known to return time and time again, tickled pink by their luxurious experience at the Athenaeum (40% returning clients is pretty impressive). Easily one of the top hotels in London, featured on the CN Traveler Gold List, the Athenaeum launched a special promotional rate this past year, which has been wildly popular. The Pound for Dollar rate is a savings of more than 40% on the hotel's luxurious accommodations. The good news for us? The hotel has decided to continue this rate into the spring season and beyond.

The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Official Site

The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments, Five Star Alliance


Purrfect Pet Packages at the Madison, Washington D.C.


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Madison

Bring along your preferred pooch and favorite feline to the uber-pet-friendly Madison Hotel to experience the luxurious pampering of the capital's premiere address. The "Paw Paw" special, starting at $259 a night, includes a host of amenities along with luxurious accommodations for two: Pet Welcome Kit listing local dog-walking routes and pet-friendly restaurants, Welcome Basket with doggie treats and chew toy, doggie beds and in-room doggie dining menu available upon request. The "Purrfect" Washington Hotel Special Offer, starting at $259 a night, includes kitty treats, litter box, and a stuffed toy. How's that for VIP treatment.

The Madison, Official Site

The Madison, Five Star Alliance


Spotlight On: The Park Hyatt Seoul


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Seoul

Hot Tokyo architectural firm Super Potato has created a 24-story glass masterpiece of design in the heart of South Korea's capital. The Park Hyatt Seoul's got the largest guestrooms in the city, their entrances flanked by marvelous Korean antiques. These contemporary and stylish spaces offer floor-to-ceiling windows, custom-designed feather beds, 32-inch LCD screen television and internet access, and spa-inspired bathrooms with soaking tubs and rainwater showers. After a work-out or luxurious spa treatment, head to the top-floor infinity pool for panoramic views over the city.


Holiday Gifts for Frequent Fliers


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Washington Post has some great recs, including inflatable pillows and frequent flier kits, laptop cases on wheels, personal space ionizers, and the- um- seat-belt extension (how's that for subtle?)


Dispatch from the Luxury Travel Expo in Las Vegas: New Hotel Openings


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Welcome to Vegas

We've got the skinny on new Vegas hotel openings. There's the hotly-anticipated Las Ramblas, positively aglow with star power, which I've been prone to drool over. The Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino will squeeze onto the Strip right next door to the Bellagio, its condos and hotel ready in 2008. Steve Wynn's ambitions get more grandiose with the construction of Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, the 2,000-suite second tower which will be ready for 2008. And what a big year for Sin City! Loews is planning to open its first resort in Nevada; Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort will have 400 rooms, two outdoor pools with cabanas, restaurants galore, and a destination spa. Not to be outdone, the lovely Venetian will be dolled up with the addition of the Palazzo Casino Hotel, a new hotel and retail tower connecting to the classic Vegas hotel. Look out Wynn: Mr. Trump is developing a hotel sin casino right next door, scheduled to open next year. Lastly, W is joining the fray, opening its first hotel with casino in the Harmon Corridor in 2008. Just how big can the sprawling neon funland get?


Best New Business Hotels 2005


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Seoul

Get this. According to Forbes.com, the hotel-building biz in the US was lower than low this year, with only four new hotel openings in the luxury market. But hotel construction around the world is booming; thus seven of Forbes.com's top ten list are international. And without further ado, they are: The Intercontinental Financial Street (Beijing, China), Sofitel of Renmin Square (Xian, China), Hotel Fox (Denmark), The Four Seasons, Hong Kong, Shangri-La Hotel (New Delhi, India), Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Park Hyatt Seoul, The Setai (Miami), The Shoreham (NYC), and the St. Regis Hotel San Francisco.