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.

Free Night at Mandarin Oriental Prague: Luxury for Less in Europe as the Dollar Strengthens

December 2, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental PragueIt's still possible to take a vacay during the economic downturn, Forbes points out, especially as other currencies fall against the dollar. Suddenly European holidays are looking a lot more feasible (and won't break the bank). Airfares have been slashed, and hotels are offering great incentives. Case in point: The five-star Mandarin Oriental in fashionable Prague, housed in a renovated 14th century monastery, is offering a free night from January 3- March 31, 2009 (and visitors from the U.K. get their flights flown in for free!)

What’s Hot: Boutique Hotel Sassi di Matera Fashioned Out of Neolithic Caves in Italy

December 2, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sassi de MateraFrom the Stone Age, humans have inhabited the caves in Matera (in Basilicata, Italy), recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the remarkable houses built into the rock cliffs. Now you can stay in a beautiful boutique hotel, spread out over a few of these renovated caves and comprising 18 spacious rooms. Sassi di Matera Albergo Diffuso is the result of a meticulous renovation, featuring antiques rescued from nearby historic buildings and beautiful appointments by local craftsmen. As highlighted in the New York Times Travel Magazine, the hotel is Italy's most intriguing new hotel:

The towering wood door swings open, and it's the glow that strikes me first. My hosts, Daniele Kihlgren and Michele Zasa, lead me out of the blazing afternoon heat and into a vast Neolithic cave with 20-foot-high walls that seem to be lit from within. The walls are carved out of soft tufa stone the color of honey and pockmarked with hundreds of pits and crevasses, chiseled by the shepherds who have lived here over the past 2,500 years. Zasa, a local guide, points out fossilized seashells embedded in the double-height rock ceiling and a pear-shaped cistern once used as a well. In hushed tones we admire the graceful vaulted archways that look as though they've been splattered with lumpy cake batter


Image via Hidden Travel Gems

Rest and Restore, Italian-Style, at Alpen Palace Deluxe Hotel and Spa

December 1, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

What better place to recover and restore your sanity and health than Italy? Alpen Palace Deluxe Hotel and Spa is offering a Winter Wellness Package that's sure to cure what ails you. Alpen Palace Deluxe Hotel and Spa Resort Starting at EUR 1,008, you'll get seven nights in a selected room, which includes 2/3 Wellness Pension and use of the Wellness and Spa area. You'll also get an Ahrntal Winter card that has discounts for ski passes, ski rentals, and more. Even better, the hotel has arranged some special outings for you. On Tuesday, enjoy tobogganing by moonlight on South Tyrol's longest night-time toboggan run. Wednesday it's a romantic sleigh ride through the winter wonderland that is the Italian Ahrntal. Finally indulge in the Winter Magic Comfort Program, which features a herbal foot bath, steam bath, full body vitality massage with steamed herbal stamp massage, and a head and face massage. Don't forget to take advantage of the 80 mountains with over 3,000 meters of perfect ski slopes, and take a soak in the heated outdoor pool.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Five Star Alliance guests at Alpen Palace Deluxe Hotel and Spa will receive an exclusive wellness voucher in the amount of 50 Euros for the luxurious spa.

Recipes from Chef José Andrés of The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills

November 28, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

SLS Hotel at Beverly HillsStill suffering food coma from Thanksgiving? Or did a hearty meal only whet your appetite for more culinary adventures this winter? José Andrés, the author, TV star, and celebrity chef behind the Spanish culinary revolution in the U.S., now serves at the helm of an extraordinary new restaurant in Beverly Hills at the SLS Hotel, and he's got some recipes to share. The LA Times has the skinny on his new restaurant:

It's an exuberant experiment in dining, located in the public space of the 11,500-square-foot hotel lobby, with several whimsical dining areas: a cocktail bar and raw bar, a space featuring his tapas as well as cured meats and cheeses, a "patisserie" with a display kitchen and a roving "street food" cart. "Who needs one more chef in one more building with four walls and a kitchen?" Andrés asks.

Olive Oil pancakesFor a morning-after-Thanksgiving extravaganza, try these Olive Oil pancakes, generously studded with Spanish chocolate. (Recipe after the jump.)

Servings 4, Cook time 30 minutes.

Note: To make lemon honey, combine one-fourth cup honey with one-half teaspoon lemon zest in a small saucepan. Steep the honey for several minutes over low heat and strain before using. Spanish chocolate is available at select Ralphs stores and specialty markets.

1 3/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish, plus more for frying

1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate, preferably Spanish

1/4 cup honey, preferably lemon

Fresh mint leaves

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons olive oil until the batter is smooth, then stir in the chocolate pieces.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Ladle one-fourth cup of the pancake batter into the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the second side, 1 to 2 more minutes. Place the pancakes in a warm oven until all are cooked and ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more olive oil to the pan as needed.

3. To serve, drizzle the pancakes with honey and garnish with mint.

Tour Krug Champagne in London and France

November 28, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

If you are a connoisseur of fine champagne, then the Dorchester Collection has the ultimate experience for you. With the "Krug Escape" enjoy a two night tour of Krug Champagne across two countries, with luxury accommodations, fine dining, and exceptional champagne. The DorchesterStarting in London at The Dorchester, enjoy a Krug Champagne breakfast tailored to accent the fine flavors of Krug Grande Cuvee. Proceed on to Hotel Le Meurice in Paris, where a luxury suite awaits, along with an afternoon of relaxation at the Valmont Spa, and afternoon tea. Pre-dinner drinks of Krug Grand Cuvee precede a seven-course dinner prepared by celebrated Chef Yannick Alleno.

On the second day, following a leisurely breakfast, guests are transported to the fabulous Maison Krug for a personal tour of Krug and the Krug cellars, along with Champagne tasting and fine lunch. Return to Paris for a second night, this time in the Hotel Plaza Athenee. Enjoy another bottle of Krug champagne before dinner, and another exquisite seven course meal in the hotel's fantastic Alain Ducasse Restaurant, followed by a relaxing evening in one of the hotel's breathtaking luxury suites. The Krug Escape package starts at $20,000, and is valid weekdays from now until April 30, 2009, excluding December 19-31, 2008.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Five Star Alliance guests staying at the Hotel Plaza Athenee will receive one traveler's gift set and an international adapter set offered in two embroidered Plaza Athenee red cases.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Five Star Alliance guests staying at Hotel Le Meurice will receive a complimentary bottle of champagne in the room upon arrival.

Spa Luxury at Barcelona’s Hotel Majestic

November 28, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

MajesticSpa Essential Moments has an enviable location on the top floor of Barcelona's Hotel Majestic. The just-opened, luxurious, state-of the art spa includes four treatment cabins and an innovative hydrotherapy area. Products are by the luxury cosmetics firm Natura Bisse.

Hotel MajesticAmong the many facial and body treatments available are the Diamond Sinfonia (Diamond Symphony), a two-hour treatment that employs 30 active ingredients applied during 3 consecutive massages. There's also the Diamantes del Majestic (Majestic Diamonds) that makes use of diamond dust amongst other ingredients and is ideally suited to counterbalance electromagnetic pollution. Guests can enjoy tea on the terrace before or after treatments and take in a breathtaking view of Barcelona.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations for the Hotel Majestic through Five Star Alliance will receive treatment as a VIP during their stay.

Steals in the South of France: $100 Rooms at the Hotel Martinez, Cannes

November 26, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel MartinezNope, this is not a joke. You can score a luxurious room on the French Riviera for a mere EUR 80 in February. To celebrate its 80th anniversary, the Hotel Martinez-- situated on the largest private beach on the Croisette in Cannes-- is offering up 80 of its 412 rooms at a special EUR 80 per night. Get this: Breakfast is included. Basking in Cannes' legendary sunshine (300 days per year), this chic Art Deco hotel is where all the A-listers party during the film festival. The octagonal pool is surrounded by majestic palm trees, and 7th floor rooms all offer panoramic views of the Med from private teakwood decks with sunken jacuzzis. There's also a Givenchy Spa. You can take advantage of the special anniversary price starting on January 9, 2009.

Porsche Pulls Into the Driveway at Italy’s Cristallo Palace Hotel & Spa

November 25, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Gentleman (and ladies), start your engines! Cristallo Palace Hotel & Spa has gotten into the driver's seat with none other than luxury car manufacturer Porsche Italia. Cristallo Palace The two have signed a partnership agreement for the 2008-2009 season. Now, guests of the Cristallo Palace Hotel & Spa will be able to take advantage of a most prestigious shuttle service. An elegant, sophisticated Porsche Cayenne awaits those who are checking in to Cortina's luxury five star hotel. Those booked into the King Umberto of Savoy and Vladimir Nabokov Royal Suites, or in the prestigious Presidential Suite Frank Sinatra, will be able to hire a Boxster, Cayman, 911 or Cayenne. Or, if you just have to have a Porsche 911 Turbo for your very own, purchase it from the Porsche dealerships in Rome and Milan and you'll get two nights free at the Cristallo Palace Hotel & Spa. Finally, the five star luxury hotel offers all Porsche Italia customers special corporate rates, and other exclusive offers, as a free treatment per person at the hotel's Transvital Swiss Beauty Center.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations at Cristallo Palace Hotel & Spa through Five Star Alliance will receive a complimentary 1 hour session with a Personal Trainer, per person, at the Fitwell Club and one after-dinner cocktail.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Spain’s Alva Park Resort & Spa

November 25, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau

Alva Park Resort and SpaThere could not be a more romantic way to celebrate the New Year than dinner and dancing under the stars at Alva Park Resort and Spa. The Costa Brava luxury hotel is offering a Gala New Year's Eve 5 Course Dinner, champagne toast, music and dancing under the stars. Included in the New Year's Eve package is luxurious accommodations in a 750 sq foot Junior Suite, return VIP transfer to the Barcelona International Airport, daily a la carte breakfast, free access to the Molton Brown Spa Facilities, New Year Eve Gala Dinner for 2 and dancing under the open sky.

Your suite features Bang and Olufsen TV, CD, DVD player, radio and portable phone. Bathrooms are equipped with Molton Brown amenities, hydro massage bathtub and separate shower, flat screen TV and your lounge area features an Oriental Art Gallery with Mongolian Pottery and reproductions from the Han Dynasty statues. The Molton Brown Spa at Alva Park Resort and Spa is the first Molton Brown Spa in Continental Europe. The Spa showcases the Indian Princess Bath with warm salt water, lighting that changes color and underwater music.

Alva Park Resort and Spa is an exclusive resort in Platja de Fenals, one of the most beautiful and landscaped beaches in the heart of Costa Brava. An ideal location for visits to Barcelona, Girona, the Dali Museum, local fishing villages and ancient ruins. To celebrate New Year's Eve in style, plan now for the Alva Park Resort and Spa and you can dance your way into 2009 and then relax and revive in the Molton Brown Spa.

Buzz: New Missoni Hotels in Edinburgh and Kuwait

November 24, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin


After a long, painful wait, we've finally got some more juicy details about the Missoni Hotels. A partnership between the Milan-based fashion house and the Rezidor SAS Hospitality Group, the first two Missoni Hotels will debut in 2009 in Kuwait City (situated in the Symphony Complex overlooking the Persian Gulf) and Edinburgh (located on Royal Mile at Victoria Terrace and George IV Bridge). In fact, Hotel Missoni has *just* appointed the General Managers for the two properties. We can't wait to check out the "Missoni-branded facilities" like a stylish spa, lounge bar, and cafe. Here's the official word:

Hotel Missoni represents a new standard of design hotel that combines the style of the iconic fashion and interiors label with the expertise of one of the world's leading hotel operators. Spearheaded by Hotel Missoni Creative Director, Rosita Missoni and Rezidor Executive Vice-President of Brands, Gordon McKinnon, the partnership is creating a distinctive blend of fashion, function, form and service that adds up to a new genre of genuinely luxurious hotels. The Edinburgh and Kuwait properties will become the first city-center and resort hotels within the Hotel Missoni portfolio, which will see 30 hotels open or under development within 10 years.

Image Via Business Week