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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.

Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Gramercy Park Hotel

January 19, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Instead of marveling at the furniture and décor of your room at the Gramercy Park Hotel, you can now take it all home with you! This luxury hotel in New York has rooms designed for you to shop, and everything you see from the nightstand to the bathrobe is for sale. Make your reservation, bring your checkbook, and get ready to furnish your home with all of your favorite findings at the Gramercy Park Hotel!

The Gramercy Park Hotel is located right on Gramercy Park, a short walk from Greenwich Village, Union Square, and the meat packing district. It has 184 rooms, suites, specialty suites, and a beautiful Penthouse all created by a collaboration of artists and designers. Each room has a distinguished and unique layout, embracing vivid colors and featuring distinctive art and objects. Guests enjoy rooms decorated with imported rugs, velvet drapery, custom hand-made furniture, and stunning photographs. Rooms are appointed with leather-topped desks, a mahogany English drinking cabinet, and top of the line bathroom products and amenities.

Don’t miss out on this luxury hotel mall, and make your reservation for the Gramercy Park Hotel today!


Dine at the Best for the Best Prices: Restaurant Week in Las Vegas

January 17, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Restaurant week is coming to Las Vegas' top dining establishments to help usher in springtime, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate the leap year. Courtesy of Adam Leposa at our sister publication, TravelAgentCentral:

The LA Times reports that Las Vegas is launching a new, spring iteration of its Restaurant Week 

from February 27 through March 4. Previously, the event had only run in the summer from August 27 to September 2.

The event offers diners the chance to experience fixed-price menus at top Vegas restaurants costing $20.12, $30.12 or $50.12. $4 to $6 of each meal goes to benefit Three Squares, a charity dedicated to providing food assistance to residents of southern Nevada.

Restaurants who have currently announced their participation include:
Aureole at Mandalay Bay - $50.12
Brand Steakhouse & Lounge at Monte Carlo - $50.12
Charlie Palmer Steakhouse at Four Season Las Vegas - $50.12
Diablo’s Cantina at Monte Carlo - $30.12
Fix Restaurant & Bar at Bellagio - $50.12
Stack Restaurant & Bar at Mirage - $50.12
The Steak House at Circus Circus - $50.12

More restaurants are expected to join them in the coming weeks- keep visiting the event’s website at www.helpoutdineoutlv.org/restaurants/menus for further details.

Read the LA Times’ full story here.


41 Reasons to Stay at the 41 Hotel: #1 It Could Be Free!

January 16, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The 41 Hotel in London is a little like the Radiohead of the hotel world.  Mixing contemporary electronics with classic themes, they are always pushing the boundaries of what to expect.  This English property is becoming internationally renowned, and we're not really sure why they're so good at what they do, but they consistently deliver an original and off-beat experience that leaves you wanting to return.

And like a best friend coming to offer you free concert tickets, Five Star Alliance is proud to announce that as part of expanding the way in which we interact with our fans, we're giving away a chance to stay at the 41 Hotel for three nights for free!  To enter, simply like us on Facebook, and if you win, you'll be able to stay at the 41, or two nights at The Carlyle in New York, depending on which city strikes your fancy.  

1. It's called the 41.  If it's possible for a hotel name to be cool, they've managed it.
2. Awarded Best London Hotel by TripAdvisor in the 2011 Traveler's Choice  Awards.
3. The contemporary decor mixes stark, pure hues of black and white with rich mahogany to create a feel that is both cutting edge and timeless.  Honestly one of my favorite design choices of any hotel, anywhere.
4. Located opposite Buckingham palace, the views are simply royal in quality.
5. With a ratio of 2 staff to every guest, not only is their service exceptionally personal, they beat out Harvard's student-faculty ratio by 14 times.
6. Work out or let it all out with a complimentary day pass to the nearby LA Fitness Spa and Health Club where you can enjoy the sauna, spa, swimming pool, and state-of-the-art exercise equipment and even book a personal trainer.
7. The crown jewel Master Suite allows you to gaze upward at the stars through a glass ceiling that traps in the heat as well as it lets out your imagination.
8. A romantic turndown, available on request, leaves a touch of lavender perfume on your pillows and candles floating in the bathtub.
9. A pet concierge.  That's a concierge, for your pet. I don't know why I'd need it, but now I definitely want it.
10. Most of the rooms feature working fireplaces.
11. Once the Executive Lounge shuts down for the evening, feel free to Plunder the Pantry for free snacks and drinks.
12.  New York Times Syndicate declared that "No better cocoon in England's capital exists."
13.  Executive hospitality suite allows you to separate business and pleasure in your own room, with two separate entrances and a distinct meeting space, you can keep the utmost professional atmosphere.
14. Every room brings a unique touch to the black-and-white themed decor.
15. Formerly the grand ballroom of the nearby Rubens at the Palace, 41 decided that wasn't quite opulent enough, and converted itself into an exclusive residents-only boutique hotel.  It's almost like the entire hotel is a VIP room.
16. Similarly, the Executive Lounge that features as the centerpiece of the hotel allows only residents.
17. The nearby Rubens, however, does not offer the same exclusivity and its famed restaurant, the Library serves the highest quality English food and is open to guests of 41 and can even be charged to your room.  If you were ever to try at Yorkshire pudding, this would be the place.
18. The Leopard Champagne Bar is no less than what you expect, and you can feel free to cozy up to a surprisingly tasteful leopard-print pillow will sipping on the finest champagne and cognac.
19. The sunlit glass roof of the lounge is guaranteed to brighten your morning brunch, served until 1pm on Sundays.
20. Rooms are tech-savvy, featuring iPod docking stations, LCD tvs, and just about anything else you could require.
21. Whether for business or pleasure, there's free wired internet in every bedroom and wireless throughout the hotel.
22. Choose an aromatherapy pillow from their exclusive pillow menu.  I recommend the extra-soft, which goes perfectly with the fruity overtones of a Riesling or Pinot Grigio.
23. Their pet services from the aforementioned concierge are so comprehensive, at first I thought they were pulling my leg. On check-out, you can even receive a framed photo of your pet along with a certificate of stay.
24. If you're looking to host an event, look no further than the personalized Event Coordinator, who will sort out all the personal touches to a memorable celebration.
25. Fuzzy slippers for ladies and gentlemen.
26. A welcome drink on arrival helps you settle in.
27. Split-level suites offer maximum comfort and spaciousness if you're looking to take your vacation to especially lofty heights.  
28. In-room massage for when you need to be so relaxed that you don't have to even move.
29. If you're carrying a bouncing baby, rock them to sleep in available baby cots
30. Some rooms face the Royal Mews, which is not a troop of cats but the stables for the royal family.
31. The small touches, like the fresh fruit and scented candles, add flourish to already memorable rooms.
32. If you're looking for some off-beat cuisine, the Bbar Restaurant, also at the Rubens, offers delicious South African cuisine.
33. Dine on the separate Mezzanine level of the Executive Lounge for a more exclusive experience.
34. If a longer stay is in the cards for you, the 41 even arranges for nearby 1 or 2-bedroom apartments.
35. If you'd like an escape from the city streets, miles of jogging trails are available in Green Park and St. James Park.
36. 41 supplies all of its guests with luxurious Fragonard toiletries.
37. Take out a Nintendo Wii on loan if you'd like to enjoy some quality in-room gaming.
38. Child daycare if you simply need to get away from the little one for a quiet evening.
39. A complimentary newspaper (that matches your room!) every morning.
40. And, of course, there's 24-hour room service for the midnight snackers among us.
41.  It could be free!  Simply 'like' us on Facebook and you'll be automatically entered to win three nights at the 41 Hotel in London!


Special Five Star Alliance Rates at the Pierre Hotel New York

January 12, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Hoping to get away for a weekend without breaking the bank? The Pierre Hotel New York is currently offering incredible Five Star Alliance rates, so be sure to take advantage of the deals to get the best of both worlds: luxurious accommodations at an incredible price.

Stay a Bit Longer Deal: Stay 2 nights, get the 3rd night free. This option is available for various room types including the Classic Room with 1 king bed, City View Room with 1 king or 2 twin beds, Executive Suite with 1 king or 2 twin beds, City View Suite with 1 king bed, and Premiere Suite with 1 king bed.

Suite Celebrations Deal: This promotion offers a 50% discount on the second night of your stay at this hotel’s Executive Suite, City View Suite, or Premiere Suite.

Business Edge Package: This includes wi-fi and continental breakfast, and this offer is available with the City View Room, Park View Room, and Signature Room.

Whether you’re hoping to visit New York City for a romantic escape, a business trip, or simply a fun weekend with friends, the rates at the Pierre Hotel New York are too good to pass up!


Casa de Sierra Nevada Es Su Casa: Special Rates in the Heart of San Miguel de Allende

January 10, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Casa de Sierra NevadaA beautiful boutique hotel in a cluster of historic buildings at the heart of San Miguel de Allende, the Casa de Sierra Nevada is the paragon of the small hotel experience in Central America.  The charm of the 33-room Orient-Express property is practically dripping from the stone arches lining its courtyard space.  To preserve the interior serenity, the Casa de Sierra Nevada doesn't allow children 11 or under, so you'll never have to worry about a little tyke with a toy airplane distracting from the last chapter in that novel you've been trying to finish for the last three months.  

Each of the hotel's 33 rooms had to be carefully adapted to hotel rooms as they are designated historical homes by the National Instititute of Anthropology and History.  Meticulously restored using period furniture alongside the more modern amenities of classic luxury, there is a very homely feel to the luxury at Casa de Sierra Nevada.  While larger chain hotels can seem somewhat impersonal even as they offer the best service, in San Miguel de Allende, you'll feel as at home as you would in your own living room, only with the five-star luxury you've come to expect from an attentive and accommodating staff.

 Not only that, reserve a room now to take advantage of special Five Star Alliance rates at the Casa de Sierra Nevada. Reserving through us grants a free room upgrade if available on arrival and a welcome margherita.  I can't think of a better way to start a vacation than reclining in an extra-spacious room with a tropical cocktail.  


Catch Me If You Can: A Legal Art Heist?

January 6, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

SubtleHere's a promotion that's got so much panache, it's making everyone in the industry stand up and take note.  The Art Series Hotels in Melbourne, The Blackman, The Cullen, and The Olsen, have been rotating two Banksy paintings, valued at a bounty of $20,000, around their hotels from Dec 15 through Jan 15.  And here's where the promotion gets cool:  They're inviting you to try to steal them without getting caught.  If you succeed, you get to keep the painting.

The first of the two Banksy paintings is "No Ball Games," one of only a few signed and authenticated Banksy works in Australia.  And it's already already fallen.  After failed attempts to hack the security cameras, place a listening device at the concierge desk, and simply to vault over the desk in plain sight of all the staff (this didn't go too well for the perpetrator), Maura Tuohy and Megan Aney pulled the heist off.

 The trick?  People listen to you if you act like you know what you're doing.  And that's just what they did.  Maura researched all of the names and brief bios of the marketing people in the hotel's PR firm and strode into the hotel in plain sight, claiming to be charged to move it to the next hotel.  

After a series of questions about her connections, which she passed with flying colors, they demanded to have her story verified.  That's when she had them call up her accomplice, who impersonating the manager, backed up her story.   The hotel staff even helped her load up the painting into her car.  Fifteen minutes later, she came back to let them know they'd let a $15,000 painting walk right out their front door, a la Frank Abagnale.

The second, "Pulp Fiction" is still up for grabs in a very literal sense, so pull on your balaclava, rent a mini-cooper, and wear down your sneakers because the next heist is going to have to be even trickier.  If you need a nearby staging area, make sure to check out some of the other top-notch luxury hotels in Melbourne.

Photos courtesy of Art Series Hotels site and Twitter


Word to the Wise: Stay and Save at the Hotel Plaza Athenee New York

January 5, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

If you're sitting at work thinking, boy it's really about time I got that promotion I deserve, you need wait no more.  The Hotel Plaza Athenee New York is offering you not just one but five promotions, all available through March 31st.  They might not come with a raise, but they might as well, since you'll be saving a good chunk of cash while staying at one of the top hotels in New York.  

First up are the straight money-saving specials.  Stay three or more nights in an executive room and save 30% off the BAR (not including amenities).  If you're looking stay just three nights, then go ahead and book two and get the third free in either Superior or Deluxe rooms. 

If you'd rather just be getting more for your investment, then the Winter Nights, City Lights promotion offers a guaranteed upgrade from Classic to Superior and Superior to Deluxe on any length stay.  Or go for Serenity in the City and wake up every morning to a delicious continental breakfast for two and receive 25% off BAR.  The Classic Suite Special is a similar 20% off BAR and free breakfast for the suite-minded folks.  It's hard to go wrong when such a great hotel, just a short stroll from Central Park and all of Midtown, is ushering in the New Year with some great specials.  I know I resolved to travel more this year, and this might just be what gets me out the door.  So maybe I'll see you at the Plaza Athenee New York!


Nothing Cheap About It: Cheap Sally's Top Amazing Hotel and Spa Destinations

December 12, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

It's not every day that an infographic so awesome comes around.  Over at Cheap Sally, an online discount site, their travel experts have aggregated a list of some of the wildest hotel and vacation sites in the US, and it features some of our favorite US properties.  For the whole list, check out the infographic below, but I'd like to highlight some of our favorites.

Long at the top of our list of the Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the world, The Point at Saranac Lake, NY, is so exclusive, you aren't told where exactly on the pristine Adirondack lake it is until you've confirmed your reservation.  Complete with a 3-star Michelin chef and only 11 rooms on the property, you are guaranteed to experience a personalized, secluded stay in one of the world's most elite properties.

In terms of crazy spa treatments, it's hard to top the over 250-gallon Evian bath only available in the penthouse suite of the Hotel Victor on Miami Beach.  This spa treatment costs only slightly less than the suite itself and features a bath of pure Evian water sprinkled with rose petals.

But if you're like me and you like your baths with a little more kick to them, then the Kenwood Inn and Spa vinotherapy treatment is just what you're looking for:  Bathe in wine and grape seed extract to soak your skin in the antioxidant polyphenol which powerfully slows the aging of skin.  You'll come out looking and feeling younger than even a couple glasses of the same wine would make you feel.

There's a just a few of the wonderful and crazy hotels and spas located around the US, and you can some more great examples below.  Make sure to check out Five Star Alliance to book these great destinations or if you're looking for a deal or digital coupon for any of over 11,000 retailers, Cheap Sally is your girl.  

Click for full image.

 

Infographic courtesy of Cheap Sally


Incredible Deals at the Taj Campton Place Hotel

December 7, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Taj Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco is offering a few incredible offers and promotions that are too good to pass up! This luxurious, boutique hotel offers personalized service that accommodates the needs of all travelers, and its restaurant is one of the top San Francisco restaurants, offering award-winning European cuisine. Starting now, the Taj Campton Place Hotel has the following deals that’ll be sure to inspire you to explore the Bay Area.

Shop Til You Drop Package: The Taj Campton Place Hotel is located steps from San Fran’s shopping center of Union Square and San Francisco Centre. This package is perfect for those hoping to buy all of their holiday gifts and get a little something in return. This package includes a special San Francisco cable car ornament of blown-glass and VIP treatment at Bloomingdales including: an appointment with At Your Service personal shopper, a $75 gift card, a 15% off all-day savings certificate, a signature gift, a Dior makeup consultation, and personal package delivery service to Taj Campton Place for purchases of $250 or more. This package is subject to availability, valid until January 7th, 2012, and requires a minimum two night stay. (Blackout dates may apply)

Stay a Bit Longer Package: Extend your stay and experience a little more of this exciting city. This package allows guests to stay two nights, and get the third night free! This offer is limited to a maximum of two complimentary nights available per stay. This package is subject to availability, valid until March 31st, 2012, and requires a minimum of a three night stay. (Blackout dates apply) Please be advised that the rates are adjusted at checkout. 

Suite Celebrations Package: Book a suite and enjoy a 50% discount on the second night. All of the suites at the Taj Campton Palace overlook Union Square, so you’ll get to enjoy an incredible deal along with an incredible view. This package is subject to availability, valid until March 31st, 2012, and requires a minimum of a two nights stay. Rates are subject to 14% occupancy and 1.5% tourism assessment fees, per room, per night. Please be advised that the rates are adjusted at checkout. 


Action Alert: Only a Few Suites Left in the Turks and Caicos Post-Christmas

December 1, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

The Turks and Caicos is one of our most popular destinations for Christmas break, and for good reason.  The sunny beaches and azure waters are the perfect scene for a tropical getaway.  Many of the hotels are sold out already, so I thought it would be a good time to let our loyal customers know that there's still some availability if you're looking for at least a full week stay the week after Christmas.  Both the Regent Grand Turks and Caicos and the Villa Renaissance still have suites available, so snap them up while you still can.