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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.

Buon Appetito: Italian Cooking School in Florence at the Villa San Michele


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa San MicheleWant to know what al dente really means? Learn to cook, Italian style, in one of the most beautiful settings on earth. As described by Outside's Go Magazine, the Villa San Michele is the place to go to "whip up a Tuscan feast:"

No spot embodies Italy's impassioned gastronomic aesthetic better than the luxury hotel Villa San Michele, a 15th century monastery perched on a hill overlooking the baroque domes and red-tile roofs of Florence, with a façade designed by Michelangelo.

We are big fans of this cookery school, where both serious foodies and beginners can learn with the masters. You can try your hand at traditional Italian cuisine with an intensive 2.5 hour class offered three days a week, or dabble in other subjects, like "cooking with flowers" to a pasta seminar. It's all about hands-on instruction with the experts. Plus, we can't imagine a finer setting to sleep off a fabulous feast.


Big Treats for Little Guests at the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Jumeirah Lowndes HotelLooking for a centrally London located family oriented hotel that treat the children like VIPs - consider the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in Belgravia, that is just two minutes from Knightsbridge or an underground station. Children will enjoy a range of goodies suck as bathrobes, bubble bath, board games including Kerplunk and Hungry Hippos and Nintendo Wii, along with amenities of kiwi fruit, strawberry, pineapple and marshmallows with chocolate dip, jelly babies and skittles all guaranteed to keep smiles on all faces. The babies in your family will enjoy baby bathrobes, baby packs, cots and high chairs. The Jumeirah Juniors Package offers two rooms for the price of one, full English Breakfast for four people, welcome in-room chocolate dipped cookies, complimentary access to the Peak Health Club and Spa and complimentary newspaper. This package is valid for Friday to Sunday stays and available until December 31, 2008, based on four people sharing two rooms and excludes the 17.5% VAT and 5% discretionary service charge. Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel combines sophistication and true luxury and contemporary elements in its' 220 rooms and 59 suites.


Enjoy The Final Days of Summer in Barcelona with Gran Hotel La Florida


By: Madelyn Giblin

Gran Hotel La FloridaBask in the beauty of summer in Barcelona. The weather is perfect and Spain is calling, and why not go when Gran Hotel La Florida is offering discounted rates this summer! For only 195 Euros per night guests can enjoy a luxurious stay in a Deluxe Room with fabulous furnishings. Guests also receive a buffet breakfast in the restaurant, complimentary shuttle to the city center for sightseeing, and a 30EUR credit on Spa treatments. Enjoy vacation under the splendid Barcelona sun. Offer valid on stays in July, August and September.

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.


London at Xmas - It’s a Wonderful Life at Red Carnation Hotel’s Wonderful Hotel


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Egerton House HotelChristmas in London is truly a magical time, and the 5 Star Jewels of Red Carnation Hotels (RCH)- The Milestone, The Egerton (pictured right) and "41" are the magical places to stay. This year, RCH brings "It's a Wonderful Life" Package to you to enjoy the Holidays. With a minimum 2 night stay in luxurious accommodations you will receive a deluxe tree ornament plus the DVD of the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life", full English breakfast for 2 daily, tea for 2 with Christmas Cake one day, complementary bottles of white and red wine, Lunch or Dinner for 2 one day (with minced pies of course), mistletoe on your pillow at turndown, and if you are so lucky as to spend Christmas itself here, a stocking stuffed with seasonal goodies. A taxi to Oxford street so as to enjoy the Christmas Lights and to start your pre-Christmas or New Years shopping and gift wrapping are also included.

The Milestone"It's a Wonderful Life" is available from November 21, 2008 to January 11, 2009, and is perfect for shopping, visiting, business, or just plain relaxing. The Milestone, the 2007 Conde Nast Readers Choice and 2008 #1 for Service Travel and Leisure, overlooks Kensington Palace and is known for their excellent service. Here you will have the services of your own butler. Each of the 45 deluxe guest rooms, 12 luxurious suites and 6 long-term stay apartments are individually designed and decorated.

The Egerton, a town house residence, is located in heart of Knightsbridge and offers impeccable service with 30 individual luxurious Bedrooms. 41 Hotel London"41", recognized in 2007 as the #2 Hotel in England by Travel and Leisure Worlds Best 500 Hotels and Europe's 10th Best Hotel, is a boutique hotel overlooking Buckingham Palace Royal Mews. "41" feels like a London Club and has unforgettable luxury, 30 unique rooms and suites with striking black and white color scheme and no 2 rooms alike.

With RCH's promise 'No request is too large, no detail is too small', these 3 properties will bring "It's a Wonderful Life" to you this Christmas.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests of Five Star Alliance visiting the Milestone will receive a glass of chilled Champagne, selection of finger sandwiches, homemade fruit scones with preserves and devonshire clotted cream, and homemade tea pastries once during their stay with time and date reserved at check-in.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations with Five Star Alliance for Egerton House will receive one complimentary martini or drink of their choice anytime during their stay in the drawing room.


Exclusive Offer in London: Weekend Indulgence at The Connaught


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The ConnaughtEager to check out that renovation you've heard so much about? After a cool GBP 70 million make-over, The Connaught is simply dazzling. Treat yourself to a weekend at this London legend where you'll be treated like royalty (and eat even better than a king, at the restaurant overseen by award-winning French chef Hélène Darroze). You'll find Mayfair Village, also in the midst of its own renaissance, at your doorstep, and some of the world's finest fashion brands and galleries a stone's throw away (eg. Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin and the Hamilton Gallery). Inside the hotel, you can indulge your taste for fine living with tantalizing afternoon tea, drinks at the chic Coburg Bar (with a cocktail list spanning three centuries), and supremely comfortable shut-eye in the newly-refurbished guest rooms. Stay Friday, Saturday or Sunday night before December 31, 2008 and enjoy a welcome bottle of chilled Grand Marque champagne and a traditional English breakfast with the "Weekend Indulgence" package, priced at GBP 389 for a Superior King-bedded room.


Design Your Own Italian Itinerary with Orient-Express Hotels in Venice, Florence, Portofino and Ravello


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel CarusoDiscover Italy's glorious destinations while staying at true gems of refined hospitality. With a new special offer, Orient-Express allows guests to customize their own itineraries with exclusive add-ons. When you reserve a minimum of 6 nights in at least two Orient-Express hotels in Italy, you gain access to your personal private capital of "Golden Coins"- a virtual currency by which you can "buy" value-added amenities of your choice. There is a tempting menu of choices, ranging from private limousine transfers to pampering spa and beauty treatments, from memorable experiences to very romantic options. For example: when you stay 3 nights, you get 9 golden coins with which you could treat yourself to a 50-minute Renew Rose Radiance Facial (1 credit), a 3-hour guided walking tour of "Secret Venice" (3 credits), a chilled bottle of French champagne with cold canapés served wherever you like on the hotel premises (2 credits), a romantic dinner for two served in the secluded privacy of your terrace (3 credits), and many more specially designed services!

With the "Italy, My Way" package, you can customize your stay exactly as you want- at no extra cost. And if this isn't enough, every day you also get full American breakfast, served at the hotel's restaurant or in the privacy of your room, as well as one à la carte meal (either lunch or dinner) with regional wines, served in the hotel's fine dining room. Pricing is as follows:

Villa San MicheleHotel Caruso (pictured, top right), the spectacular cliffside hideaway on the Amalfi Coast: Three nights for EUR 3,300

Hotel Splendido, Europe's legendary resort overlooking Portofino: Three nights for EUR 3,750

Villa San Michele (pictured bottom right), the picturesque Florentine estate housed in a converted 15th century Franciscan monastery in the hills outside Florence: Three nights for EUR 3,750

Hotel Cipriani, the splendid Venetian resort located at the tip of Giudecca Island a short boat ride from St. Mark's Square: Three nights for EUR 4,650


Anti-Jet Lag Experience and Free Nights at Le Meridien Barcelona


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meridien BarcelonaHave an early morning arrival in Barcelona? Le Meridien Barcelona, perfectly situated on the famous boulevard Las Ramblas, understands how red-eye flights to Europe require a little pampering and energy! When you arrive at Le Meridien, you'll be greeted with a freshly-brewed premium Illy coffee and a pastry of your choice to stimulate your senses and get you ready for your day. The hotel even allows early check-in at 10 a.m. so you don't have to wait around for your room! Refresh in your contemporary-style room and enjoy luxurious amenities like the blissful Rain Shower, pillow-top mattress with feather down duvet, and plasma TVs and smaller LCD TV in the bathroom. The "Arrive Early and Be Ready" package also includes a full buffet breakfast in the hotel's signature restaurant Cent Onze overlooking Las Ramblas and is priced from EUR 249 in Deluxe Room accommodations. Escape to Barcelona this summer and discover an exciting cultural mecca with Gaudi's vibrant architecture, lively cafés and bars, and sun-splashed beaches. The longer you stay, the better the discount you get at Le Meridien Barcelona. Stay 2 nights, get 20 percent off... Stay 3 nights, get the third night for free... Stay 4 nights, get the fourth night for free...


Live La Dolce Vita like a Medici at Villa La Massa, Florence


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa La Massa, FlorenceIf you could imagine savoring the artistic and cultural riches of Florence without the crowds, what comes to mind? A 16th century Medici-style villa in a tiny village in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, just a few miles outside of Florence? On the banks of the Arno River, no less? With a guest list that includes celebs like Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton? This little piece of paradise does in fact exist. Indeed David Bowie and Iman took over the Villa La Massa for their wedding. Owned by the same folks who run the magnificent Villa d'Este on Lake Como, the Villa La Massa is brimming with ancient frescoes and luxurious touches. After its major spruce-up in 1998, the New York Times raved:

Beyond the iron gates of the buttercream villa with sage window shutters, there is a four-story atrium in the main building decorated with the flags of Tuscan nobles, dark antique furniture and pots of white flowers. All 34 guest rooms are furnished with antiques, silks and brocades, and linen sheets. Many feature oversize bathrooms of a pale green Iranian marble called Verde Atlantide.

There is a majestic 22-acre park surrounding the villa, and the seasonal produce from the chef's garden is served in Il Verrocchio restaurant on a terrace overlooking the Arno River and famous Rufina hills. The breakfast buffet is sumptuous: fruit juices, fruit, cheeses, Tuscan cured meats, cereals, yogurt, organic jams and marmalade, prosecco, and fresh eggs straight from the hotel's hen-house, cooked to the clients requests.


Vienna’s Arts and Delights at the Hotel Ambassador


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ambassador Hotel ViennaFor more than 100 years, the Hotel Ambassador has been an integral part of Vienna's cultural life. Musicians have found their inspiration at this beautiful hotel, and masters like Mozart, Hadyn, and Beethoven have chosen this setting to present new compositions to the music-loving Viennese pubic. The Ambassador strives to combine arts and music, pleasure and relaxation in creating a luxurious atmosphere for its guests. And of course good food and wine are celebrated in this philosophy! The hotel's gourmet restaurant, "Mörwald im Ambassador", has an integrated open view kitchen and a winter garden overlooking the fountain by Raphael Donner, and the hotel's open-air café on the famous street Kärntner Straße is delightful in the summertime. The location can't be beat- with the State Opera, St. Stephen's Cathedral, and the Imperial Palace all within the vicinity. You can take advantage of last minute rates (within seven days of your check-in when the hotel has availability) at the Ambassador (starting at EUR 210 with Five Star Alliance), and the "Arts and Delights" package is another winner, with three nights of pure pleasure in this cosmopolitan Austrian destination. Priced from EUR 275, the package includes buffet breakfast, fresh fruit in-room upon arrival, late check-out, and admission to the Liechtenstein Museum and the Albertina. Plus, you'll enjoy complimentary champagne and finger food at the bar on the evening of your choice.


Kempinski Hotel Bristol: Celebrate 111 Years with EUR 111 Room Rates in Berlin


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kempinski Hotel BristolJump on this offer-- while it lasts! Berlin's glamorous Kempinski Hotel Bristol, the first five-star hotel to be rebuilt after the war and a symbol of the city itself, is celebrating a big birthday for the Kempinski Hotel Group. The Kempinski Bristol is the grande dame of the hotel group, the very reason for its name, and so it's marking the hotel company's major milestone with a fantastic offer. Enjoy accommodations in an elegant standard room and use of the Kempinski spa with pool, sauna, steam bath and fitness room-- for just EUR 111 per night! (The generous buffet breakfast can be purchased for EUR 25.) Valid until August 28, 2008, based on availability. Situated in the center of it all on Berlin's popular Kurfuerstendamm Boulevard, the Kempinski Hotel Bristol has hosted a slew of high-ranking guests over its distinguished history.

Via Halogen Guides Travel