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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.

The Cupcake Craze Comes to London: Afternoon Tea at Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s Chinoiserie

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The ChinoiserieNow you can have your cake and eat it too at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, one of the capital's most exclusive hotels, perfectly placed in the fashion district of Sloane Street. The Chinoiserie, with its luxurious feel of the Orient, is a favorite London venue for Afternoon Tea and has recently become inspired by New York's iconic Magonia Bakery to introduce a confectionary collection of cupcakes dressed to impress. These gorgeous creations-- featuring fresh strawberries and blueberries covered with lashings of brightly coloured piped butter cream, retro marshmallow swirls, rice paper flowers and silver chocolate dragees-- are a fine summer addition to the Jumeirah Carlton Tower's famous Afternoon Tea. So you can step off London's bustling streets and relax with a fashionable treat and a pot of tea. Along with finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, you can indulge (with unashamed pleasure) in a little slice of heaven. Choose from Coconut and Blueberry, Chocolate and Mint, Chocolate-Banana and Marshmallow, and Strawberry and Cream.

London’s Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel - “Shop and The City” Package

By: Madelyn Giblin

Soothe the shopaholic in you with the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel's new "Shop and The City" Package. With your luxury accommodation guests receive a £50 Harvey Nichols voucher, personal shopper service and guide to the best boutiques in Knightsbridge, and a full English breakfast. Finally, soothe your weary feet after a day of glamor with a complimentary Pevonia foot care pack. Just in time for the Harvey Nichols Summer Sale, guests are sure to delight at this exclusive offer, available for Friday through Sunday stays from now until December 31, 2008. Room rates start at £276 per night.

Get a Free Night at the Best Hotel in Lisbon: Four Seasons Hotel Ritz

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel RitzFrom its hilltop location, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz-- long considered the city's finest hotel-- offers vistas of Eduardo VII Park, St. George's Moorish castle, the Old Town and the Tagus River. Now operated by Four Seasons, this Lisbon landmark is seriously swanky. The rooms are plush with gorgeous furnishings, rich fabrics, and marble bathrooms with tub/shower combos. Some guest rooms even have terraces to take advantage of those killer views. There's a fitness center on the hotel's rooftop, spacious spa with indoor pool, and beloved seafood restaurant. Check into luxury this summer and discover Lisbon's rich history and exciting seaside location, while also getting a complimentary night at this exemplary establishment. The "Stay Longer" package includes luxurious accommodations, daily American buffet breakfast for two in Varanda restaurant (or in-room dining), and a complimentary night with every three or five consecutive paid nights. Translation: Stay three nights, you'll get the fourth night free; stay five nights, and get the sixth and seventh nights free. Rates start from EUR 285 per night. Available from June 26- August 31, 2008, and from November 1- December 31, 2008.

The Draycott London’s Summer Offer

By: Betsy LeTourneau

Draycott LondonFor the perfect balance of luxury, privacy and location- poised between London's fashionable Chelsea and Knightsbridge, summer at the Draycott Hotel should not be missed. From July 26th to September 7th, 2008, you can select either a Deluxe Double with views of a private garden square or a Suite with a sitting area. Whichever you choose will having you enjoying traditional Afternoon Tea, a pre-dinner champagne, hot chocolate before bed and a full english breakfast. Draycott LondonWith 35 rooms, luxuriously furnished with typical Edwardian features of high ceilings and fireplaces, 24 hour room service, and a private garden, the Draycott Hotel makes for a lovely way to enjoy summer in London.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations at the Draycott Hotel through Five Star Alliance will receive a bottle of wine in their room upon arrival.

Sicily’s Finest: Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hotel Mazzaro Sea Palace, SicilyYou'd be hard-pressed to find a more evocative spot on the Mediterranean. On a private beach on the most beautiful bay in all of Sicily, the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace is elegant, charming... downright dreamy. Here's what we love:

*Each guest room provides sigh-inducing views of the bay. If you choose a suite, you'll get treated to your very own private pool.

*You can also get your fix of those dazzling bay views when you dine at La Terraza.

*Unlike a lot of European hotels, the fitness center at the Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace is actually a state-of-the-art facility.

*Frequent renovations over the years means the luxurious guest rooms-- outfitted with original art, wicker furniture, and wood or tile floors-- have all the latest amenities like Wifi.

*You can easily check out the lava at Mt. Etna, Europe's highest volcano. In fact, you can even play a game of golf at the 18-hole Il Picciolo course nearby on the slopes of Mt. Etna.

*Or just hang out at the resort, a self-contained oasis with surfing, sailing, water skiing and scuba diving.

The No. 1 Bar in London: The Coburg Bar at The Connaught

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The ConnaughtSo we're a little obsessed with the GBP 60 million renovation of The Connaught, the world-famous London hotel situated in Mayfair. We're not the only ones. Check out what the Travel and Leisure "It List 2008" says about The Connaught's redo:

In the newly hip Mayfair district, this landmark brick Victorian has reclaimed the glory of its golden era thanks to a $140 million renovation, creating a sophisticated throwback that no soulless Modernist hotel could ever hope to emulate. Classicist designer Guy Oliver supervised the preservation of burnished mahogany paneling, gilded scrollwork, and formal Adams fireplaces; fortunately, a welcome infusion of 21st-century fun saves the 123-room Connaught from being too somber. Witness the cartoonish Julian Opie cameos in the aubergine-and-slate Coburg Bar (created by India Mahdavi), film-noir nights with buttered popcorn, and chinoiserie cocktail cabinets filled with DIY martini fixings.

Coburg Bar at The ConnaughtYes, the Coburg Bar is turning heads. It was just voted "Best Bar in London" in Time Out Magazine (May 2008). Parisian-based designer, India Mahdavi, created a masterpiece with this one. Bar aficionados appreciate the trendy décor and distinctive Connaught cocktails- sipped from the old Connaught wingback chairs (re-upholstered in velvet with black fringing) and the caramel Heppelwhite 'loveseats.'

Chic and Choc Picnic, Ice Cream Trolley, and Summer Cocktails at Hotel De Crillon, Paris

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel De CrillonThe patio has re-opened at the Hotel De Crillon, the majestic palace hotel located on the world-famous Place de la Concorde in the very heart of Paris. And the picnic baskets are once again in season. The new 2008 picnic comes in two "flavors." Choose "Chic" and you'll be delighted by dishes like a Duck confit foie gras sandwich, Bellevue salmon with sauce verte, strawberry and rhubarb charlotte-- all the flavor sensations created with Chef Jean-François Piège's composed chic. On the other hand, "Choc" will awaken flavors from your childhood: Sardine/Vache Qui Rit, the famous Egg Mimosa and Petit Lu biscuits with Nutella and rasberries. Kids will have a mini-picnic of their own, consisting of ham/Russian salad, cold chicken with mayonnaise, potato chips and an ice cream cornet. Plus, they'll get a surprise gift from the Crillon. On the Patio, you can also enjoy the summer creations of the hotel's head barman including milkshakes and tasty, fruity cocktails. During the summer months, there is also an ice cream trolley at the Hotel De Crillon, ready to satisfy your sweet cravings!

The Best of England’s Town and Country: Egerton House, London and Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Dorset

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Summer Lodge Country House HotelEnjoy the best of both worlds with a stay in cosmopolitan London where you can shop at Harrods or Savile Row, catch a show in the West End, and visit the British Museum, followed by a relaxing jaunt to the magical English countryside. Red Carnation Hotels has devised the ultimate five-night package for you to enjoy the finest English hospitality in two vibrant locations. The "Town and Country" package starts with three nights at the five-star Egerton House Hotel, the lovely 30-room property situated in the heart of Knightsbridge, where guests enjoy a full English breakfast each morning, an Egerton afternoon tea for two and a famous Antonio Martini on arrival. On the fourth day, guests are transferred by private Bentley to London's Waterloo station for first-class rail travel to Dorset in Thomas Hardy country, where the charming villages showcase thatched cottages and beautiful gardens. Guests will relish two nights in a Presidential Suite at the award-winning Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, including an English breakfast each day, a traditional English pub lunch in the historic Acorn Inn in Evershot, and a sumptuous "picnic to go" on the return journey home. Here you'll find all the best English country pursuits-- from croquet to horseback riding. Priced at GBP 1560 for two people; valid until September 30, 2008.

Guaranteed Rates for American Guests at Ashford Castle, Ireland

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ashford CastleNow's your chance to summer in your very own castle in the picturesque Irish countryside. Once the home of the Guinness family, the 13th century Ashford Castle is situated on 350 acres on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland's second largest lake. Enjoy the resort's very own 9-hole golf course, fly a hawk in the school of falconry, take a picnic in the walled garden, or go fishing for wild salmon or trout in the beautiful lake. This distinguished property is a favorite of celebrities the world over. To entice American guests who may avoid long-distance travel because of the falling dollar, Ashford Castle is offering guaranteed rates for American guests for stays of two nights or more. Available through September 30, 2008, these rates start at $595 per night- almost 50 percent savings off the normal nightly rates.

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.