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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.

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


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 >>

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Etihad Airways’ Luxury Pearl Zone


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Etihad AirlinesAbu Dhabi is emerging as a bright, thriving, cosmopolitan city with lush green parks and a bustling commercial hub and Dubai claims it is "the City built for Tourism all around the year." With these two major cities, and others, the United Arab Emirates continues to consistently top "Best of" lists for its attractions, business, and accommodations. In addition to the impressive number of super-luxury hotels, the United Arab Emirates features Etihad Airways as its National Airline. With three Guest Zones on each flight for passengers to choose from - Diamond, Pearl or Coral - there are new levels of comfort and luxury for travelers.

Etihad's Pearl Zone guests enjoy luxurious seating, extensive entertainment options, ambient mood lighting and signature cuisines. The new Pearl Zone seat (pictured) reclines 180 degrees into a fully flat 6 ft and 1-inch Business Bed. The Pearl Zone seat offers plenty of space and privacy with an 88-inch pitch and direct access to the aisle. A built-in massage facility helps passengers relax. Learn more about the Pearl Zone entertainment, communication, dining and service here.

Until July 28th, click here to enter your contact details for a chance to win 2 tickets to any Etihad destination - with over 43 international destinations across the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and North America - you're sure to find somewhere you would like to travel in comfort and style.


What a Hotel! City & River Views


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: River & City Views, Renaissance Monument ...

Lana correctly guessed Last Week's Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The Blackberry Farm Walland, TN, United States


What a Hotel! Intimate Country Home


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: 2,500-acres, Orvis-endorsed, 4 distinct seasons ...

All 4 contestants were correct in guessing Last Week's Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The Hotel Le Meurice, Paris, France


Stay One or Two Nights Free at Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Loews Lake Las Vegas ResortBilled as the only true "family-friendly resort in the area", the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort is offering families the opportunity to visit the new luxury hotel on the lake for some fun in the sun. With a club just for kids, two championship golf courses, a pampering poolside concierge, exhilarating water sports on a magnificent desert lake, full-service spa and exquisite dining, the entire family will never want the summer to send. Visit the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort between May 23rd and September 4th this year to take advantage of the free nights offer. Stay 2 nights and get the 3rd for free, or stay 3 nights and get the 4th and 5th nights for free. The offer is subject to availability and based on consecutive nights stay so check availability for the dates you are interested and book now.


What a Hotel! Restored Elegance


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: Spa Caudalie, 1st arrondissement, The Style of Individuality

Lana was the only contestant in Last Week's Hotel Contest:
What a Hotel!

The The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA


What a Hotel! City Charm


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: Sunset views, "Hotel California", Elmer Grey design ...

David and Lana both correctly guessed Last Week's Hotel:
What a Hotel!

The Casa Casuarina, Miami Beach, FL


An Interview with the General Manager: Ezio Attilio Indiani of Hotel Principe di Savoia


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Ezio Attilio IndianaEzio Attilio Indiani was appointed general manager of the Hotel Principe di Savoia Milan in July 2005. He is recognized worldwide as a leading figure in luxury hotel management and has worked at some of the most prestigious hotels in the world in the course of his 25-year career. In recognition of his management abilities, in 2002 he received the Hermes Prize as the "Best Hotel Director" in the world, the highest award given in the deluxe hotel category. He took some time to answer a few of our questions, which we can share with you below.

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

Ezio Attilio Indiani: I was appointed after the Principe di Savoia become part of the Dorchester Group and later Dorchester Collection. I have spent 25 years in luxury hotel management, previously at Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, Hotel Des Bergues of Geneva, Hyde Park Hotel, Casa de Campo complex in the Dominican Republic, Hotel Eden of Rome and Grand Hotel Palazzo della Fonte of Fiuggi to name a few.

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?

Ezio Attilio Indiani: For sure our Presidential Suite, 500 square meters with private spa in Pompeii style, an area of 100 square meters with frescoed walls and vaulted ceiling encompassing a swimming pool (20 square meters), whirlpool, sauna and Turkish bath. Table and bed linen, cutlery, crystals and china are all custom-made for the suite. Butler service and staff available 24 hours a day. Direct check-in in the suite. Limo service from and to the airport and to downtown.

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?

Ezio Attilio Indiani: George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio, Sharon Stone, H.R.H. Queen Rania of Jordan, President George H. W. Bush, Woody Allen, Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Donatella Versace, The Rolling Stones ... and more.

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

Ezio Attilio Indiani: Our main customers are businessman coming from UK, USA, Japan, Russia, France, Germany and U.A.E. Also leisure travelers from these markets are increasing especially over the week end.

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

Ezio Attilio Indiani: The Hotel is located in a strategic position. Our customers can reach the city centre very easily without being in the main crowded streets of Milan and this is very important for our VIP guests who need privacy.

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?

Ezio Attilio Indiani: In January 2006 we opened 48 new Deluxe Mosaic Rooms, all overlooking Piazza della Repubblica and they have been designed to appeal to all types of guests – business and leisure, men and women, locals and international. I think these kinds of rooms are very beautiful, especially the bathrooms. The design inspiration and key feature of every bathroom is the mosaic wall – a contemporary feature of classical Italian design.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel?

Ezio Attilio Indiani: One of our VIP guests, Sylvester Stallone, asked us to buy the beautiful chandelier of our Winter Garden Bar. Obviously we couldn’t sell it but we called our designer who made a copy of the chandelier for him.

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?

Ezio Attilio Indiani: I would like to be informed about the high level services and amenities such as the free Limousine service or the Spa with swimming pool, sauna and Turkish bath. It's also very important to be told about the business centre and the high level of technology available in every room. Moreover, I would be glad to know that the Hotel offers the best concierge service in Italy, which can actually unlock the doors of Milan to every costumer, as well as one of the best restaurants, "Acanto", which is a matter of pride for all of us.


What a Hotel! Exclusively small …


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: Exclusively small, Quintessentially helpful, Individual design ...

Maybe last week's 'contest' was a little too easy ... since part of the hotel's name was on the awning in the image, but to anyone who didn't guess correctly, Last Week's Hotel:
What a Hotel!

Hotel Plaza Athenee New York


What a Hotel! Fashionable City Center


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: City Center with Madison Views, Fashionable Boutique, Added Amenities ...

David was the only one to correctly guess Last Week's Hotel:
What a Hotel!

The Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Spa Hotel, San Diego, CA