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.

Festivities at the Hotel Hassler: Spend New Year’s Eve at the Top Hotel in Rome

December 16, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel HasslerIt's hard to imagine a more picture-perfect setting to celebrate New Year's Eve. Sitting atop the Spanish Steps with one of the best perches in Rome, the Hotel Hassler has been recognized as the best hotel in the city by both Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler. (In fact, the Hassler was voted Europe's best city hotel and the top hotel in Italy in T + L's "World's Best Awards 2008.) And its Michelin-starred Imago Restaurant offers panoramic views from the hotel's sixth floor. Imagine tucking into a decadent multi-course meal while gazing out over the Eternal City's sparkling lights. Here are some of the teasers from the menu: glass of Champagne with crispy finger food, Red mullet and sea scallop salad, Organic capon ravioli with black truffle, pear, and chestnut cream, Glazed venison saddle with dried fruit and Jerusalem artichoke puree... Book the "New Year's Eve Celebration" package and you'll enjoy three nights accommodation, daily breakfast in Salone Eva, New Year's Eve dinner in Salone Eva (the meal at the panoramic resto is extra), and a special gift on New Year's Day. A priceless experience, for EUR 2,300 for two people.

Spend a Day at Sea with Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

December 15, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Set sail with Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria. Guests can experience the Sorrento Peninsula by powerboat Tornado 38, steered by the skilled Skipper Maurizio. He will take you to Positano and the Amalfi coast or to the jewel island of Capri. He'll even let you swim in the gorgeous Mediterranean sea. A minimum of four guests and a maximum of 8 can take advantage of the Monday, Wednesday, or Friday excursion. Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

The cruise will take you along the coast of the Penisula Sorrentina up to Massalubrense and then across the sea to Capri. On the more civilized northern side, visit the world famous Blue Grotto. The wilder south coast has steep rocks plunging into the deep blue cobalt sea and the typical Faraglioni. Anchor in a quiet creek for a nice swim at sea or lazily lie in the sun. Alternatively you will have time to go ashore and to walk in the streets of Capri lined with famous fashion shops or to sit at one of the fashionable cafes in the praised Piazzetta.

Or, cruise to Positano via the beautiful coast line of the Amalfi Coast on the southern side of the Penisula Sorrentina. Positano, built like a crib along the side of the Amalfi coast, will welcome you with its characteristic narrow streets where thousands of colourful clothes locally made are hanging out of the shops like in an Arabian souk. Either way, traveling by boat was never so much fun.

After Floods in Venice Reach Five Feet, Life Returns to Normal

December 15, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Venice with the floodsNational Geographic documented the high floodwaters outside the Doge's Palace (pictured at right) in Venice's Piazza San Marco on December 1, 2008. Check out the submerged cafe tables, seeming to float in the currents. Venetians didn't seem to be bothered; local gondoliers sipped wine and ate a meal, despite the water lapping at the tablecloth. Tourists weren't deterred from sight-seeing, either. Life quickly returned to normal after the "Acqua Alta." In fact, there was no impact on hotel guests at properties like Hotel Gritti Palace, the Starwood Luxury Collection hotel overlooking Grand Canal. Venice under the floodwatersHotel Gritti Palace assures visitors that "despite the event that occurred in Venice on December 1st, our hotels are open for business, and the event has not impacted our guests in any way. Contrary to inaccurate media reports, life in Venice returned to normal almost as soon as the tide waters receded. We look forward to welcoming you to this wonderful city."

Check into Atlantis Bay, Check into Ancient History

December 10, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Why would you ever want to leave Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay once you have been lucky enough to check in? Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay The Italian luxury resort has a private beach and exclusive rooms, and a prime location in Taormina Mare. And don't forget about the solarium, wellness center, fitness center and the opportunity to enjoy breakfast and supper by the sea. Finally, there is the piano bar for late-night revelry. But tear yourself away for a day or so, and you can visit some amazing sites. For starters, you can take a leisurely hour-long trip to Etna to see Europe's highest volcano at a height of over 3,300 meters. If you are a duffer, hit the links at the Picciolo Golf Club; you can tee off with Etna in the background.

Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay Then, a half-hour drive takes you to Catania, the largest city in eastern Sicily. This ancient, medieval, and baroque city has been destroyed many times by nature and stubbornly rebuilt by man. Or hop over to the Aeolian Islands, with the famous Panarea, Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples, and Piazza Armerina with its Roman mosaics. And that's not even mentioning the Alcantara Gorges, Sicilian Museum of Art and Folk Traditions, The Cathedral (Church of San Nicola), Church of Saint Pancras, and the Regional Archeological Museum.

But the biggest site to see, by far, is the ancient theater. It is one of the most celebrated ruins in Sicily, and dates back to Roman times, although its structure is more Greek than Roman. The theater is still frequently used for performances. Guests can also visit the Antiquarium, a small museum located in the home of the caretaker of the ancient theater. Then, head back to Grand Hotel Atlantis Bay for another round around the piano bar.

Yuletide Logs and a Magical Ice Rink: Skate into the Festive Season at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

December 9, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

The ice rink is back at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the chic Parisian hotel on the avenue Montaigne. Built in La Cour Jardin and surrounded by twinkling fir trees, the ice rink is available until January 31, 2009. Warm up inside the beautiful hotel by ordering an elegant treat created by Christophe Michalak, World Pastrycook Champion. His "2008 Yuletide Log" is crafted from sumptuous ingredients (crunchy praline, light-as-air milk chocolate mousse and lime-flavored banana cream) and designed in the shape of an antique chest, inspired by the hotel's decor. Book the "Festive Offer" at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée and add a touch of magic to your next holiday in Paris. Priced from EUR 695 in a Superior Room and available until January 31, 2009, the offer includes American Breakfast for two, access to the ice-rink and skate rental, a 30-minute ride in the horse carriage, and in-room gift from the Pastry Chef.

Spa Deals Abound at Prague’s Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa

December 8, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Start 2009 off relaxed, refreshed, and ready to face the year ahead. The Alchymist Grand Hotel Head to Prague and you'll get 20 percent off spa services at the luxurious Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa.

The hotel is housed in Dum u Jeziska (House at the Jesus Child), a historic building that originated from apportionment of local gardens that took place towards the end of the sixteenth century under the supervision of the notable builder Oldrich Avostalis.

The top-of-the-line Ecsotica Spa offers a range of Indonesian inspired signature treatments from deep muscular massages and relaxation aromatherapy to detoxifying cleansing wraps and Darphin's beautifying treatments that promise to pamper the senses. The Spa also features a spacious suite specially designed for couples wishing to share their romantic experience. If you want to work up a sweat on your own, Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa offers a fully equipped gym situated in a unique Gothic cellar. The discount applies to appointments made weekdays from 9am-3pm.

High Fashion Goes Deliciously High-Calorie at London’s Berkeley Hotel

December 5, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Fashion and food aren't often put together (do models even eat?), but The Berkeley has found a delicious way to be part of London's all-important fashion scene, as we've reported before on The Informed Traveler. The Berkeley Now the International Herald Tribune has a fascinating article about how high tea has gone haute cuisine at The Berkeley.

The London luxury hotel dishes up edible versions of designer collections at its fashionable high tea. The confectionery delights, which are updated every six months, include a chocolate cookie Valentino red coat, complete with gold buttons; and a yellow handbag made of banana sponge cake and adorned with a gold leaf clasp. If you'd like to indulge in some sartorial cuisine, be advised that you should book at least a month ahead of time, and expect to stay at least two hours.

Magical Christmas in Brussels at the Hotel Amigo, Rocco Forte Collection

December 4, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Amigo, BrusselsThis time of year, the European capital turns into a bright winter wonderland, dazzling with white lights and fantastic end-of-year festivities. Check into luxury at the Hotel Amigo, the newly-refurbished gem from the Rocco Forte Collection that sits adjacent to Grand Place, one of Europe's most beautiful squares. You'll find the exquisite interior design for which Rocco Forte hotels are known, along with all the latest technology. The Hotel Amigo will ensure "Magical Christmas Moments" for you and your family to immerse yourselves in a world of festivities from December 12, 2008- January 11, 2009. Experience an unforgettable holiday and magical Christmas delights:

* Enjoy the start of your day with a delicious full breakfast buffet without forgetting to order a delicious freshly baked Belgian Waffle.

* Savor the Champagne Belgian Tea Time full of local specialties, in the cozy ambiance of "Bar Amigo"

* Follow the path of "Rocco Forte's Art designer Mrs Polizzi", and discover the mystery of Brussels antiques marvels plus enjoy a coffee break at the renowned boutique "Flamant Home Interiors"

* Special Christmas gift which will await you in your room

The package is priced from EUR 166.50 per person in a classic double room.

Discover Another Side of Venice at San Clemente Palace

December 4, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Discover San Clemente Palace for less. San Clemente Palace San Clemente Island lies in the center of a lagoon, and San Clemente Palace gives you a unique view of Piazza San Marco, Giudecca island, and the Lido. Now San Clemente Palace's historic surroundings (the island dates back to 1131) can be yours for less as part of their "Venetian Flavours" offer. From EUR 495 per night (based on double occupancy) you'll get buffet breakfast served in the Gli Arazzi Lounge, Venetian cocktails for two in Bar Gli Specchi, a special 15 percent discount over one a la carte dinner in Le Maschere Restaurant, free access to sport facilities (tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool, Pitch & Putt Golf Course), and free access to Beauty & Wellness Club La Perla della Laguna with sauna, steam bath, Jacuzzi and fitness center.

Hot Deals in Italy: Rest and Recharge at Mezzatore Resort & Spa

December 3, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

From April 10 to April 24 2009, The Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is offering guests a Relaxing and Romantic Break. Mezzatore Resort & Spa The hotel, which is located on the Northwest side of Italy's Ischia island, has a package that includes four nights accommodation with a complimentary dinner at the panoramic restaurant, Thalasso therapy, water track in the thermal indoor pool, a toning massage, flowers, sparkling wine and cookies in the room upon arrival, the use of tennis court, fitness room, outdoor poll with heated sea water, and the shuttle bus from the Hotel to Lacco Ameno Centre at different times during the day. The Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is situated near the town center of Lacco Ameno, perfectly located for day trips to gorgeous sites in the Gulf of Naples. Rates for this relaxing offer start at EUR 1,040.