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.

The Milestone Hotel and Suites, London: Maintain your Fitness on the Road


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Milestone HotelNow there's another reason to love The Milestone Hotel and Suites, ranked No. 1 hotel in London by both the Travel and Leisure Top 500 and the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. The Milestone Hotel has created a "Well-Being Package" for guests who like to maintain their fitness training even when they're on the road. As part of the tailor-made package, guests can organize a one-hour training session with a personal trainer to help keep those motivation levels up, and a one-hour body massage post training to aid recovery and relaxation. (After all, central London is full of good reasons to neglect your usual health routine!) But there are also plenty of ways to stay fit: miles of walks and jogging trails in the nearby parks, and the beautiful Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park right at the hotel's doorstep. On-site, the hotel offers an in-house gym with a resistance pool that guarantees a great workout. At the hotel's Cheneston's restaurant, you can choose items from a specially-created well-being menu. The "Well-being Package" also includes a non-alcoholic fruit cocktail on arrival and fresh fruit and mineral water daily. Minimum two-night stay required.


Barcelona’s Gran Hotel La Florida Celebrates Turning Five


By: K. Clare Johnson

The most sophisticated five-year-old we know is celebrating its birthday by giving you a present. Barcelona's swanky Gran Hotel La Florida is offering a host of exciting perks to guests from now until December 28, 2008. Gran Hotel La Florida

From just 370€, you and a guest can enjoy one night in a Deluxe Room, buffet breakfast for two in L'Orangerie restaurant , and a menu tasting dinner in L'Orangerie restaurant for two (beverages not included). This definitely beats cake and ice cream.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Five Star Alliance guests staying at Gran Hotel La Florida will receive a room upgrade based upon availability at check-in, late check-out at 2pm and a bottle of specially customized Gran Hotel La Florida extra virgin olive oil.


InterContinental Amstel: Top-Notch Service in Amsterdam


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental AmsterdamOf all the enticing hotels in progressive Amsterdam, the InterContinental Amstel stands out as the most sumptuous. A fixture in the city since 1867, the shimmering riverfront palace towers over the famous Amstel River in the very heart of the city. Its regal ambience is enhanced by a team of Clefs d'Or concierges who welcome guests in style. In fact, the staff can handle even the most over-the-top requests, and organizing a special boat canal tour is run of the mill (yup, even catered with champagne and canapés). The service is so sensational at the InterContinental Amstel, that the New York Times Travel magazine recently applauded the well-connected concierge for his/her ability "to book a private bike tour or help you skip the lines at the museums." Of course the InterContinental Amstel is the preferred choice of all the A-listers who visit the city.


The Best Afternoon Tea in London at The Berkeley


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley, LondonWe aren't the only ones to think The Berkeley's Afternoon Tea is tops in London (if not the world). The Washington Post recently scoped out the scene in London, seeking the quintessential English experience. The verdict? See below:

"Name a swank hotel—the Ritz, Brown's, the Dorchester—and you can count on finding a lavish tea. But for my money... The Berkeley's Pret-a-Portea, a fashionista's afternoon tea, wins hands down.

In my cup is a most delicious sip of pear-caramel tea. The waiter presents a tier of tiny canapes, identifying each: crust-less sandwiches of ham, cheese and cucumber; cherry tomatoes stuffed with couscous; salmon in a snaillike curl. Finally, the waiter offers what I'm here for: a fanciful array of cakes and sweets, whose colors and shapes replicate the creations of top fashion designers for the season. Framed photos display each item's inspiration. The pink-iced, chocolate-sashed cookie-dress is a Michael Kors; the sky-blue-iced, lemon-sponge, handbag-shaped concoction, an Anya Hindmarch; in all, nine delectable works of art. And truly, the sight of my proper Englishman at the next table biting into a pastry shaped like a Manolo Blahnik stiletto is quite worth the price of the tea on its own."


Hotel Concorde Berlin: Where to Stay in the German Capital


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Concorde BerlinThe coolest place to stay in Berlin, Germany's capital of cool, is the new Hotel Concorde. Sleek and stylish, the hotel is housed in a striking limestone building that's 17 storeys tall. Home to the most spacious guest rooms in Berlin, the Hotel Concorde is characterized by understated design and minimalist interiors graced with dazzling contemporary artwork. Located just off the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm in the heart of the City West, the Hotel Concorde mixes French style and savoir-faire (found at its brasserie Le Faubourg) with celebrated German design (renowned Berlin architect Jan Kleihues is responsible for the hotel's cutting edge look). Wait til you get a glimpse of the two-storey lobby, where the lighting is concealed in the silver-leaf covered ceiling. Guests adore the sophisticated amenities and excellent location-- just 100 meters from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and within walking distance of the Zoologischer Garten. Note: If you book your stay with Five Star Alliance, you'll receive a 15 percent discount voucher for Food & Beverage in the Brasserie Le Faubourg as a welcome gift.


The Mighty Dollar Roars in London at The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel


By: K. Clare Johnson

Christmas has come early at The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel. The luxury hotel has just introduced a new program for Americans visiting London during the Christmas holidays. Pay before you leave in US dollars and then you won't have to settle up in pricier pounds sterling before you leave England.

Jumeirah Lowndes HotelThe offers costs $259+VAT per guest room per night and $324 per deluxe room based on two sharing. Price is valid on stays from Thursday to Monday inclusive and is valid until the end of February 2009. The package is subject to availability and excludes 17.5 percent VAT and a discretionary 5 percent service charge. To qualify, guests must have a valid USA address. Full payment in advance is required.

Just because the exchange rate is less than ideal, doesn't mean that US travelers need to skimp on luxury.


Spotlight On: Capella Schloss Velden and the New Breed of Luxury Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Capella Schloss Velden"Could the grand hotel of yesteryear be dead?" So begins Sunday's article in the New York Times Travel magazine, describing the plethora of new hotel brands to hit the scene recently:

At a time when travelers are spoiled for choice, the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional big-hotel service is giving way to ever more tailored experiences. And hotel companies are adapting not by making themselves over but by introducing new brands: 40 in about as many months, including offshoots of major players like Hyatt, expansions from the likes of Gansevoort and the Fountainbleau, and fledgling chains like SLS and Missoni.

One of the highlights of the article? The Capella Schloss Velden-- where there is a "restaurant that will open for you in the middle of the night." Horst Schulze, visionary behind the new Capella brand, is quoted as describing the "little service processes" that represent the new paradigm of luxury hotels. Guests don't want stiff formality, but they want to be taken care of. An incredible innovation of the Capella Hotels? Doing away with check-in and check-out times, "a notion historically based on what's easy for the hotel." To quote Schulze: "Why do we force the customer to do something that's convenient for us? We should have seen this long ago."


Incredible Last Minute Offer in Rome at the Villa Spalletti Trivelli


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Spalletti TrivelliNow's your chance to luxuriate in a splendid urban villa in the heart of Rome for a fraction of the normal price. Surrounded by the world-famous sites of the Eternal City, just minutes from the Trevi Fountain, the luxurious Villa Spalletti Trivelli is centrally located, yet secluded from the city's bustle. Connoisseurs of art are entranced by this historic residence and its Italian garden. The refined interior spaces are just as elegant, furnished with antiques and sumptuous fabrics. The Villa Spalletti Trivelli offers a unique and memorable hideaway in Rome.

Villa Spalletti TrivelliBook the Last Minute Offer, valid from today until September 29, 2008, and you can get incredible savings! With a two-night minimum stay, this special offer is priced at EUR 350 per night in the "Romantic" room category, with continental breakfast included. The only catch: this offer must be prepaid and is non-refundable.


The Augustine, Prague, from the Rocco Forte Collection: The World’s Monastery Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

PragueAfter all the talk about converting old jails into luxury hotels, this trend seems rather ho-hum. From the drop-dead gorgeous Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru to the new Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, there are a whole bunch of monastery-hotels cropping up in phenomenal locations worldwide. Here's what Forbes Traveler says about Villa San Michele:

But it's doubtful there could be a view more serene than that of Florence from the Villa San Michele, a former century monastery that clings to a lush hillside in Fiesole. The monastery portion was built in the 16th century, the façade was designed by Michelangelo and the entire property is run with smooth, contemporary efficiency by General Manager Luca Finardi, an affable Florentine if ever there was one. "The Michelangelo Suite, the monastery's former library, was where Napoleon once stayed," Finardi says.

Perhaps most exciting of these hotel openings is The Augustine, slated to open in January 2009. Housed in five historic buildings around the St. Thomas Monastery in Prague, the new hotel promises abundant style and sophistication- like all the Rocco Forte Collection hotels.


Buzz: Langham Hotels Signs First India Property in Pune


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune, IndiaFrom the legendary London hotel to Hong Kong's stylish establishment, Langham has brought its stimulating hospitality concept to four continents now. Luxury hotel operator, Langham Hotels International, has doubled in size in the last year with 16 hotels open or in the pipeline. We just got word that Langham has signed a contract for Langham Place, Koregaon Park, Pune, India- as Langham expands into what's termed the "new Silk Road of China, India and the Middle East." Slated to open in 2010 in the "Silicon Valley of India," the 180-room hotel will be home to India's first Chuan Spa concept, featuring oriental hot tubs, ice caves, herbal steam rooms, singles and couples treatment suites, and an infinity edge indoor and outdoor pool. The exciting restaurants on offer will include a new hybrid concept called Portal- Work & Play. Here's the scoop from the press release: "By combining a lobby lounge, cocktail bar and business centre, Portal is where work and play seamlessly intertwine to meet the needs of today's multi-tasking world." A DJ will spin in the lobby-atrium, setting the mood.