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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.

What a Hotel! Dignified Contemporary

September 21, 2007
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: Dignified, exciting, contemporary, hip Axis ...

Ante correctly guessed our Previous Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

Hotel La Perouse , Nice, France


An Interview with the General Manager: John Luckett of La Posada De Santa Fe

September 12, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

John Luckett of La Posada de Santa Fe Mr. John Luckett is the General Manager of La Posada De Santa Fe, a luxurious six-acre hotel and spa located in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mr. Luckett took some time to answer a few of our questions - before retreating back to his award-winning dining at Fuego and his RockResorts Spa.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of La Posada De Santa Fe? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Mr. John Luckett: The rich history of The Staab House and our beautifully landscaped 6 acres make La Posada the best resort in Santa Fe. We provide guests a real “indigenous” Santa Fe experience.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Mr. John Luckett: We are conveniently located two blocks from Canyon Road and Historic Downtown Plaza. My favorite thing to do in Santa Fe is enjoy the outdoors with my family… hiking, cycling and skiing.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Mr. John Luckett: Often times we have famous guests stay or dine at our great resort but out of respect and guest privacy we do not share this information.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? What would you request?

Mr. John Luckett: Every guestroom at La Posada is different which makes each special in its own right. If I were to choose, I have to say Gallery Suites are my favorite. These unique suites are appointed with original works from some of Santa Fe's most prestigious galleries.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Mr. John Luckett: I previously worked at Keystone Lodge & Spa another RockResort property and I transferred to La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa October 2006.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Mr. John Luckett: Our customers are leisure travelers enjoying the arts, culture, entertainment and outdoor activities of Santa Fe. They come from New Mexico, Colorado, California, New York and Texas.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Mr. John Luckett: In the 1930s, R.H. and Eulalia Nason constructed a series of Pueblo Revival-style adobe casitas around the existing Staab Mansion and carriage house. The Nason's called their new business La Posada, Spanish for "inn" or "resting place." In the following years, La Posada became a summer arts school with many long-term guests who were an important part of Santa Fe's flourishing arts community.

Over the years, La Posada de Santa Fe has served the world of literature and cinema by accommodating writers such as Eliot Arnold, author of "The Gringo and Oliver," and many other well-known personalities.

After an extensive renovation in the late 1990s that included the construction of additional lodging, RockResorts Spa, and the Conference Center, La Posada opened as a member of RockResorts. Through its transformation into the full-service resort that it is today, La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa has retained its traditional Southwestern charm and intimate ambience.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Mr. John Luckett: I would want to know more about Fuego Restaurant and our RockResorts Spa.

At the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Fuego, innovative foods are infused with flavors reminiscent of classical traditions, and every dish is carefully presented with exceptionally attentive service.

RockResorts Spa offers complete renewal in the traditions of the Southwest. Featuring a state-of-the-art Fitness Center and nourishing treatments with local flavor, the spa aims to refresh both body and soul with numerous overnight and day spa packages

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Mr. John Luckett: The Keystone Lodge & Spa, A RockResort because I used to be the General Manager of this property and know the staff, amenities and location are excellent.

The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort is a luxurious hotel that combines the timeless elegance of Europe’s grand resorts with the romance and world-class style of Vail’s alpine heritage.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?

Mr. John Luckett: La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa is affiliated with Leading Hotels of the World and recognized by AAA as a AAA Four Diamond.

More Information on Mr. John Luckett:

John Luckett, an 19-year veteran of the hospitality industry, and was appointed General Manager of La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, A RockResort in 2006. In his position, Mr. Luckett oversees all operations of the 157-room historic resort.

Prior to joining La Posada, Mr. Luckett spent six years as General Manager of the Keystone Lodge, A RockResort in Colorado. Under his leadership, the lodge saw a significant increase in occupancy, revenue and guest satisfaction scores.

Prior to joining RockResorts, Mr. Luckett was Executive Assistant Manager at Adam's Mark St. Louis, Adam's Mark Houston, and held operational positions with Hyatt Regency in Dallas, Lexington, and Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort. He also served on the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association Board of Directors. Mr. Luckett graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management.


What a Hotel! Hillside Retreat

September 7, 2007
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: Hillside retreat, Away from it all - with the city at your feet ...

Congrats go out to our friend Lana who is a continual winner and who correctly guessed our Previous Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa


What a Hotel! Scenic Seclusion

August 10, 2007
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:Wings, Mountain Foot ...

Congrats go out to bordan who was the first to correctly guess our Previous Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

Ksar Char-Bagh, Marrakech, Morocco

P.S. - Martin Rusteberg, we hope you get to visit!


An Interview with the General Manager: Scott VandenBerg of Grand Hyatt Atlanta

August 10, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Scott Vandenberg Headshot Currently, Mr. Scott VandenBerg oversees the operation of Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, a sub-city of Atlanta Georgia. In his role as General Manager, he manages 46 managers and 235 employees at the 4-diamond property. He grew up in western Michigan and started his hotel career at the age of 16 working for Holiday Inn in the Stewarding department. He has been at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta for three years and took some time to answer our questions.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: Grand Hyatt Atlanta is a sophisticated retreat with the largest guest rooms in Buckhead. Our Buckhead Atlanta luxury hotel combines relaxation with the conveniences and excitement of the city.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the Grand Hyatt Atlanta's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: The hotel’s location at the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmonth allows access to some of the best shopping and dining in the Southeast.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: The Grand Hyatt is host to many celebrities that visit the Atlanta area that include Bono from U2, Madonna, P-Diddy, Whitney Houston and Eric Clapton. It has also hosted Presidents George H. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: The hotel has one of the most successful kosher kitchens in the Atlanta area and is led by Chef Billy Skiber. The hotel is host to many of the city’s most profile events including the Susan b. Komen Pink Tie Ball, Childhood Autism Foundation Candlelight Ball and National Kidney Foundation Gift of Life Gala.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: All of the guest rooms in the hotel are wonderful; however, the Presidential Suite is a home away from home. It features a dining area with an eight-person table, a sitting area with sofas and chairs and a full kitchen. The living rooms is outfitted with such luxury items as an iPod with docking station, home theater system with DVD library and multiple flat panel plasma televisions.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: I would want to know all of the amenities that the hotel offers and what type of entertainment options are available in the area.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: I knew from the moment I joined Hyatt in 1979 that I would like to climb the corporate structure and one day become a General Manager. I joined the company as a corporate management trainee. After working at 15 different Hyatts in many different positions, I was able to obtain my first GM job at Hyatt Westlake in Westlake Village California. After 4 years there, I became GM at Hyatt Regency Islandia in San Diego, California. I was successful at that property and after 4 years there, I was offered a chance to become GM at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. The entire process took a lot of hard work, dedication and a drive to continue to succeed.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: The hotel customers are 50% group and 50% transient and come from all over the U.S. and some international as well.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: The hardest part of being a GM is trying to fit all of your obligations to community, staff, owners, guests and corporate office into a daily schedule. You are always "on the run" and meeting different people with needs for your time. If I could change one part of the hotel, it would be to add more public function space to the property. We are a very popular upscale venue and we must turn down some events due to previous bookings

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: Favorite other hotels - Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills is a classy hotel with a great clientele and a wonderful location, Grand Hyatt Kauai is a beautiful property that is very relaxing, Park Hyatt Paris is known for their excellent service and top of the world reputation.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?

Mr. Scott VandenBerg: Grand Hyatt Atlanta is located on the prime corner of Buckhead and is a leader in Atlanta's hotel industry. The hotel ranks among the top 20 hotels in Hyatt's North American portfolio on customer service, facility design and services. The location lends itself to convenience when shopping or dining at the city's finest stores and restaurants. The staff is seasoned and will take care of guests needs with ease. We welcome you to experience the Hyatt touch at this magnificent facility.

Mr. Scott VandenBerg grew up in western Michigan and graduated from Holland High School in his hometown of Holland Michigan. He started in the hospitality industry at the age of 16 working for Holiday Inn in the Stewarding department. After performing several different jobs at this Inn, he decided that he liked the hotel business and wanted to go to Michigan State University to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. He graduated from Michigan State University with honors obtaining his B/A degree in business specializing in hotel/restaurant and institutional management. After graduation, he joined Hyatt's Management training program in 1979 and relocated to San Diego California. His career has taken him all over the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Hawaii. As a 27-year veteran of Hyatt, Scott has worked at 15 different Hyatt Hotels of which 5 were new openings. Additionally, he assisted in the opening of two other Hyatt Hotels. Scott's hobbies include skiing, hiking, gardening and outdoor activities. He also enjoys his two Corvettes and loves to ride his Harley around Georgia’s back roads on weekends.


What a Hotel! Private Palace

August 3, 2007
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:The fundamental link between water and life, Centuries Old Moorish Architecture...

Congrats go out to Martin Rusteberg who was the only one to correctly guess our Previous Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The Naladhu Resort, South Male Atoll, Maldives


What a Hotel! Private Tropical Paradise

July 20, 2007
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: Private Tropical Paradise, House Style, Island Time ...

There were 3 guesses (1 correct from bordan) for Last Week's Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The Hotel De Orangerie, Bruges, Belgium


Fashionable “Back to School” Package with 3 Loews Hotels

July 18, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Madison Loews Executive Suite Between now and October, the three Mid-Atlantic Loews Hotels - the Loews Philadelphia, Loews Annapolis, and the Madison a Loews Hotel - are partnering with Nordstrom department stores to make getting ready for school fashionable and fun. Guests will stay in style and look stylish with the "Back to School" package that features overnight accommodations, a Nordstrom gift card and a "piggy" bank with a Presidential dollar coin to get a head start on education savings. The complete package includes overnight deluxe accommodations, a $25 gift card which can be used in the store or on-line, a personalized "piggy" bank with Presidential gold dollar coin, lunch for two at Cafe Nordstrom, use of a fashion stylist to assist in selecting the hottest fashion trends, and a Nordstrom catalogue.

Rates start at $244 for the "Back to School" package and will be subject to availability through October 31st, 2007.


What a Hotel! Picturesque Boutique …

July 13, 2007
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: Convent of the Sisters, Medieval City, 20 rooms ...

There were both correct and incorrect guesses for Last Week's Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The Hotel Lungarno, Florence, Italy


An Interview with the General Manager: Laurence Bloch of Hotel Plaza Athenee

July 12, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Laurence BlochLaurence Bloch is the Director of Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris and holds a master's degree in Hotel Management from the Parisian Hotel College Maxims, as well as a solid hotel management background. Her previous hotel experiences include the Mas d'Artigny on the French Riviera, Prince de Galles in Paris, Park Avenue Hotel, Hotel du Parc and others.

In her previous position as Rooms Division Manager at Plaza Athenee, she actively participated in the relaunch of the five star property and helped to undertake the redecoration of the hotels' bedrooms and major investment projects.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Laurence Bloch: Via quite a classic route; 20 years of varied experience in the business after Hotel School, I became Rooms Division Manager at the Plaza Athenee and was then promoted to Deputy General Manager.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Laurence Bloch: I would choose the top floor of the building, the 8th floor, for its Art Deco style and its natural light and its airy atmosphere. You are woken by birds singing on the top floor which is quite a unique experience in a city centre hotel!

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Laurence Bloch: Filming of the final episodes of the epic American TV series "Sex and the City" was quite an excitement for everyone, guests and staff included!

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Laurence Bloch: We are lucky to have a very equal nationality market mix: 1/3 Americas, 1/3 europe, 1/3 Asia and Middle east.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Laurence Bloch: I feel that the Plaza Athenee is quite simply the most Parisian of the city's 5 star luxury hotels. As a Parisian myself, I have always believed that the Plaza Athenee has been emblematic of a chic Parisian way of life. The hotel’s distinctive and unique location on the very fashionable avenue Montaigne has definitely added to the essence of this Parisian atmosphere. Privileged with a separate street entrance to the hotel’s Brasserie, the Relais Plaza has been witness to celebrity visits from all ranks of the fashion, cinema and political world. The famous English Bar that existed on the lower ground floor since the opening of the hotel, was always a popular meeting place both for hotel guests and Parisians alike. This tradition continues with our innovative Le Bar which mixes a traditional and modern decor. This is the main ingredient of the Plaza Athenee's personality today: the ability to combine and respect tradition with innovation. For example, the symbolic red geraniums of our façade are now offered as spring gifts as mini plants or as jams or candies. Another very important and distinctive exclusive feature of the Plaza Athenee today is the excellency of our cuisine with the privileged, Michelin star partnership with Alain Ducasse.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Laurence Bloch: As previously mentioned the greatest attribute to the hotel’s location is the local luxury shopping on offer; on the avenue alone there are 50 haute couture and fashion houses. Added to this wealth of choice are fabulous restaurants and bars in neighboring streets. The area is duly known as the "Golden Triangle" for a reason!

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Laurence Bloch: Sorry, this information is confidential!

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Laurence Bloch: I'd definitely want to know what the hotel had to offer in terms of F&B, in a gastronomic city such as Paris, why go further a-field, when the hotel has 5 different outlets under 1 roof. Also I would want to know which specialties were on offer; for example our Pastry Chef won the title of World Champion Pastry Chef, again it would be a huge shame to have missed sampling his fare.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Laurence Bloch: The risks involved are one of the hardest things of being the major decision taker; being an innovative leader in one's field of expertise, can be a lonely road.

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Laurence Bloch: The Beverly Hills Hotel is one of the greatest hotels in the world, it is truly the champion for first class service and attention to detail; when once I left a book open at the page I was reading, a thoughtful book marker was placed inside inscribed with "to save your page..." The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi is another unique property. The essence of comfort and history is omnipresent but yet astonishing touches of modernism bring you back to reality, combined with perfect discreet service.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property?

Laurence Bloch: I feel it important that readers should know how important our staff are. To be a true 5 star Luxury “Palace” hotel the personal touch is essential and this is achieved thanks to our 550 dedicated staff members for 188 rooms. We are proud of their loyalty and experience, often a lifetime’s dedication - 49 years in the case of our Head Concierge. Also, it is important that our guests are aware that we take seriously the privileged, exclusive title of being a Luxury “Palace” hotel which bears the responsibility of regular financial investments, an engagement we proudly maintain. Finally, I believe it important to underline to our guests and readers that we are where we are today thanks to the Plaza Athenee's rich and glorious past, based on much experience and effort, a total team effort.

Learn more about the Hotel Plaza Athenee >>