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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.

Grand Brand New Interiors at the Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Grand Hotel EuropeThe highly regarded Grand Hotel Europe St. Petersburg Hotel, an Orient Express Property, is pleased to announce the completion of its 3rd stage of refurbishment, that of the Mezzanine Cafe interior and the 12 unique, luxury one bedroom suites, the Belle Chambres Suites. With careful attention to detail, the new style and design showcases St. Petersburg's first atrium with a glass roof that floats over the cafe and allows natural light to illuminate the new decorative elements that bring the beauty and majestic facades of St. Petersburg's buildings inside. Not to be outshown, the newly refurbished (at $300,000 each) Belle Chambres presents Designer Monsieur Jouannet work's as a masterpiece of the synthesis of St. Petersburg classical elegance from the time of Tsar Alexander I, and the needs of modern living. These large suites are able to attain a relaxing atmosphere in luxurious surroundings with all the modern amenities carefully integrated in the original grand style without compromise.


The World’s Tallest Skyscrapers: Move Over, Sears Tower and Empire State Building


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj DubaiWe've been following the steady growth of the Burj Dubai as its spire gets higher and higher- its final height planned to be 1,000 feet higher than Taipei 101, the world's current record holder. But tall building construction is not limited to the Burj Dubai, the $1 billion anchor of a $20 billion development in downtown Dubai. There's the Mubarak al-Kabir tower in Kuwait, the Russia Tower in Moscow, and the Incheon Tower in South Korea. As the New York Times recently pointed out, supertalls are "rising at a frenetic pace around the globe," especially in Asia and the Middle East, reflecting the "expanding economies of these regions and their desire to compete for international status and business." The list of the 20 tallest buildings in 2020 will include only 2 properties from the U.S.: the Chicago Spire and the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) in New York.


Town House Galleria: Private Butlers and Montblanc Suitcases in Milan


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Town House GalleriaWe've been keeping our eyes on this gem since its buzzed-about debut at the end of 2006. Touted as Europe's first "seven star" experience, the Town House Galleria has definitely earned its reputation as a discreet, ultra-luxurious hideaway. Housed in a palazzo above the flagship Prada store in the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (the world's coolest shopping mall, pictured at right), the Town House Galleria is distinguished by hand-painted vaulted ceilings, oak floors, and stunning designer decor. The setting in the heart of Milan is magical, and the 25-suite hotel offers the highest level of service. Think dedicated butlers who can plan luxury shopping trips, make dinner reservations, prepare your wine cellar, and arrange private cocktail parties. The dedicated concierge team can even get you VIP access to view Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper (forget the six-week waiting list). To quote W magazine:

Each room has a Montblanc suitcase waiting in the closet for shoppers who can’t squeeze all their purchases into their existing luggage. The accommodations also come with a selection of rare wines in the minibars, laptops in lizard cases, cell phones with GPS, and a choice of linen, cotton or silk sheets. A Bentley ferries guests around town.


Hot Eats in Paris: Le Meurice Restaurant


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel MeuriceThe world capital of haute cuisine is home to quite a few stunning restaurants. And one of the finest is located in Hotel Meurice, the sumptuous palace hotel boasting an unbeatable location opposite the Tuileries Gardens between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. Celebrated chef Yannick Alléno takes his inspiration from the seasonal gourmet treasures locally grown in the Parisian region. Not surprisingly, Le Meurice gastronomic restaurant holds three Michelin stars. And recently, Le Meurice was singled out by the Sunday Telegraph as one of The World's 100 Best Restaurants and one of The 20 Best French Restaurants. The restaurant also ranks 33rd in The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants. And Philippe Mille, Assistant Chef of Yannick Alléno, recently triumphed in the 6th Concours National de Cuisine Artistique and will go on to represent France at the two prestigious Bocuse d'Or contests.

PS. We're also big fans of the hotel's Le Dali restaurant, a fantastic vision by Philippe Starck.


Villa La Vedetta: Fabulous Views and Michelin-Starred Dining in Florence, Italy


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa La VedettaHigh in the hills above Florence, just next to Piazzale Michelangelo in a vast garden filled with cypress and olive trees, the Villa La Vedetta offers breathtaking panoramas of the city. The Neo-classical style villa has been transformed into a refined five-star hotel with 18 rooms appointed with fine antiques, walnut floors, marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, and all the latest technology. Choose the two-level Bellavista suite and you'll be spoiled with the most exquisite views of Florence from the enormous windows. A member of Relais and Chateaux, the Villa La Vedetta is celebrated for its gourmet restaurant Onice, which received a Michelin star in 2004 just after its debut in November 2003. The menu changes seasonally, based on the freshest local ingredients available to the Executive Chef Massimiliano Blasone. With an impressive resume in hotel kitchens spanning the continents, Blasone is famous for his chocolate. Here's a menu sampling to tickle the taste buds: Duo of Lobster with paprika jus and crispy bread salad to start, a flan of of "Caciocavallo Podolico" cheese to follow, and then a main dish like Home Made Agnolotto filled with zucchini flowers, dried broad beans, sole with fine herbs and celeriac sauce, carrots and espellette pepper vinaigrette, followed by a second course of fish like Steamed John Dory marinated with almond's pesto, radishes, served with a tartare of sea scallops.

Nice perk: the hotel offers a shuttle service to the city center.


Get More Out of Your Vacation with Mount Juliet’s Master Classes


By: Madelyn Giblin

Conrad Mount JulietIt was such a hit last year that Conrad's Mount Juliet is once again offering you a chance to get more out of your vacation with a variety of Master classes where you can get expert training in a variety of different subjects. Hone your knowledge and skills in wine tasting, culinary arts, golf, angling, and coming soon arts and equestrian classes. Each master class is specifically designed to be as informative as possible and provide instruction to make the most out of your experience.

Wine Master classes are available the 12th and 13th of May, and the 29th and 30th of November; Angling Master classes are available the 12th and 13th of May and July 14th-16th; Food Master classes are available the 12th and 13th of May, 2nd and 3rd of June, 10th and 11th of November and 1st and 2nd of December; and Ladies Golf Master class is available the 9th and 10th of June, 7th and 8th of July, and 28th and 29th of September.


Business First at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London: Free Stuff for Business Travelers


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Carlton TowerTraveling on business to London? Book a stay at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, the exclusive address in Knightsbridge, and you can benefit from a slew of all-important business amenities thanks to the hotel's new "Business First" package. Priced from GBP 249 per night (plus VAT), the package includes overnight accommodations with full English breakfast, free local and national calls from the room, free Internet access, free movie selection in-room, daily newspaper, and complimentary access to the The Peak Health Club & Spa. Valid for stays Monday to Friday until December 31, 2008. The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is perfectly situated in one of London's hottest fashion districts, surrounded by all the designer boutiques on Sloane Street and just a hop from Harvey Nichols and Harrods. Guests appreciate the first-class service, indulgent spa and health club, and glamorous bar. What's more- the hotel is home to some drop-dead-gorgeous Luxury Suites, recently unveiled by famed interior designer Khuan Chew.


Tennis Anyone? An Ace Deal With The Cranley London


By: Lucy LeTourneau

The CranleySituated in a quiet, tree-lined street in the heart of the London Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, The Cranley is one of London's most charming townhouse hotels, comprised of 3 buildings built in 1869. More than a hotel, The Cranley is an ideal city-centre haven appealing equally to the discerning business or leisure traveller wanting a tranquil residence in the heart of London. It is within easy walking distance of most famous London museums and exclusive shops. The CranleyThe Cranley is serving up an ace deal this June for all Five Star Alliance guests! Along with the complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival, all Five Star Alliance guests can enjoy a complimentary upgrade and 20% off the price of breakfast. Wimbledon is between the 23rd June to the 6th July. (Room upgrades are subject to availability, so book early!!)


Grand Hotel Bellevue, Gstaad, Switzerland: Best of the Swiss Alps


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hotel BellevueAdventure thrill-seekers, spa enthusiasts, and nature lovers know that the Swiss Alps aren't limited to a winter sojourn. The fragrant Alpine meadows and majestic mountains allow for oodles of leisure activities in the summertime as well. Rock climbing, bike rides, hikes- the sky's the limit. And the best place to appreciate those gorgeous panoramas is the Grand Hotel Bellevue, the luxurious design hotel located in charming, traffic-free Gstaad on the language border of the German and French speaking part of Switzerland. Built in 1912, the deluxe 57-room hotel is situated in a park surrounded by centenary trees. Celebrated for its world-class spa, gourmet cuisine (and glass-enclosed wine cellar), exciting nightlife at the Porsche Club, and private hotel cinema, the resort dazzles its guests. Just check out the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor. Rooms come equipped with a laptop with wireless Internet connection and Bang & Olufsen TVs with DVD and CD-stereo system. Book the Etoiles Suite and you'll enjoy a Jacuzzi underneath a beautiful glass dome.


Summer Deals in Greece at the King George Palace, Athens


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

King George Palace, AthensSnag a deal at one of the most opulent hotels in the world, the legendary King George Palace, the hotel of choice for visiting royalty and presidents since 1936. Situated on Syntagma Constitution Square in the heart of downtown Athens, the King George II boasts views of the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill from its posh interiors. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, the King George has an impressive list of accolades. Rack rates start around $905 per night, but with the Special Summer Offer, you can get a room for as little as EUR 198 ($311 per night) in July and August. This includes free Wifi and a bottle of wine. Minimum two-night stay required.