Five Star Alliance
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
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.

Eos Airlines Launches Flights Between London and Dubai

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eos AirlinesFans of the luxury airline will be pleased about this one. Starting July 6, 2008, Eos will start daily service between London Stansted and Dubai's international airport. So now lucky passengers can enjoy the Eos Class experience when heading to the world's most outlandish, over-the-top destination. We've talked up the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world, but now Dubai's also getting one of the biggest malls in the world-- a gargantuan, 12-million-square-foot development complete with an indoor aquarium and an Olympic sized ice skating rink. Tickets to Dubai onboard Eos will be available starting in April.

Fourth Night Free in the South of France: Chateau Eza, Cote d’Azur

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau EzaFrom now until the end of April 2008, Chateau Eza-- the magical hideaway on the French Côte d'Azur which was the former residence of the Swedish Royal Family-- is offering a fourth night free when you pay for three consecutive nights. Spring is the perfect time to visit the South of France, not yet overrun by summer crowds. Perched on a rock cliff in the 1,000-year-old village of Eze, the award-winning hotel offers 10 guest rooms which can be reached by stone passageways over ancient stone steps. Outfitted with all the contemporary comforts, the rooms feature fireplaces and private balconies with sweeping views over the Mediterranean. The Michelin-starred restaurant is just as romantic. Experience what Town and Country Travel described as "glamorous, but cozy... straight out of a Matisse painting." With this special offer, you'll also get a half-bottle of Champagne, one tapas per person at the bar or terrace, and a basket of fresh fruit daily in the room. Starting from $280 per night.

Daiquiri Master Class at Artesian Bar at The Langham, London

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Artesian Bar at The LanghamGet your masters at London's chic, new bar, Artesian. Designed by David Collins Studio with leather seats, a lilac marble bar, and a mirrored ceiling, Artesian at the Langham has been drawing a hip crowd for its exciting drink menu, specializing in rum. So why not learn the secrets of Daiquiri-making with the experts during an hour-long class? The bar's rum collection includes more than 50 varieties, including its own private label. Eight students max per class; Priced at GBP 30.

P.S. The Langham's Landau restaurant is another top destination in London; don't miss Chef Andrew Turner's culinary creations.

An Interview with the General Manager: Luca Virgilio of the Hotel Baglioni London

By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Mr. Luca Virgilio has been the General Manager of the Hotel Baglioni London since October of 2004. Prior to his work in London, most recently Mr. Virgilio was the General Manager of the Hotel Carlton Baglioni in Milan, and the Resident Manager of the Hotel Eden in Rome.

Luca Virgilio Carlton LondonFive Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Luca Virgilio: The décor plays a very important role in determining the personality of the Hotel. So I would say décor is a unique feature that distinguish us from other Hotels in the City. It has a very glamorous and decadent feel, and a definite Italian chic appeal. It is n hotel with energy a great soul and spirit. This is given by the staff who are always there to help but the feel is relaxed and without an "attitude"… people that frequent us make the Hotel Baglioni London what it is.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Luca Virgilio: We have many A-listers in the entertainment business that are known world wide, however they one of our most treasured secrets and we do not like to divulge…..

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages?

Luca Virgilio: Definitely room 505. It is on the top floor has beautiful views over the park and in indeed a standard room. This said all our rooms are particularly spacious where the smallest is 300 square foot. My favorite rooms in the hotel are the '04 types. These are junior suites facing the park with beautiful contemporary 4 poster beds and working gas fireplaces.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel?

Luca Virgilio: Hotel Baglioni London is very well embedded in the London social scene. We have become a destination for the Londoners to meet for drinks or dinner. The restaurant and bar are very busy especially in the evening - lots of beautiful people around. We have held some of the most glamorous events and parties such as the Vanity Fair, Tatler, EMI after the Brits award party, Fashion Rocks, where many celebrities attended.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Luca Virgilio: If the style and décor would suit my desires.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Luca Virgilio: Hotel Baglioni London is in a residential area facing Hyde Park. We are in the heart of the cultural part of London with the Victoria &Albert Museum, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Hall. We are at the cross roads between the touristy part of London and the London for the locals with bars, cafes, boutiques, art galleries. We can be in any of these 2 parts in 5 minutes and Kensington itself is a beautiful area where I just enjoy walking the streets window shopping or a little walk in the park.

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Luca Virgilio: The Carlyle in New York, The Eden in Rome, The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. They all have a very strong individuality, soul and charisma. This is invaluable in the days where many go for one rule fits all.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Luca Virgilio: Age group is from 35 to 55 more or less and come from different geographic regions and background. From CEO of major international corporations, to the movie or rock star to a couple enjoying a romantic weekend, or a family traveling to enjoy quality time together. The main group of our guests come from the US, followed by England, Italy, France, Russia and Middle East.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Luca Virgilio: Is a fascinating job and I would not change it for anything in the world… indeed can be challenging, probably the hardest is to make sure you please every single guest as an individual, there is not one rule for all... change nothing add yes... a swimming pool.

Mr. Luca Virgilio is fluent in Italian, English and French, and has a fair knowledge of Spanish. He attended Cornell University, the University of Rome, Istituto Kennedy in Rome and Hotel Management School in Switzerland.

What’s Hot: The New W Hotel Istanbul

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel IstanbulNow accepting reservations beginning April 1, 2008, the new W Hotel is the hottest thing to hit the scene in Istanbul. The hotel brand known for its chic, contemporary style has opened a sexy new property in the ancient city of gilded domes, minarets, and dynamic modern towers. Crossroads between old and new, East and West, the cosmopolitan metropolis of Istanbul welcomes a hotel as dynamic as the city itself. Designed by Geomim, the hotel is the centerpiece of the historic Akaretler Row Houses. You'll find all the signature W touches like iPod docking stations and flatscreen TVs, munchie boxes and mini bars, the luxurious W bed, separate showers and tubs in the bathrooms, and the cozy Living Room for cocktails. Plus, all rooms and suites have gardens, terraces, or cabanas. Indulge in all the decadent facilities on offer: chow down on the Southeast Asian plates at Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market before getting pampered with a massage at the spa. Talk about Turkish Delight.

Suite Package Deal in Prague at the Hotel Palace Praha

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Palace PrahaDating from 1909, the Art Nouveau-style Hotel Palace Praha is smack dab in the middle of Prague, just a stone's throw from Wenceslas Square. In addition to the 114 guest rooms, combining traditional elegance with all the modern comforts, the hotel boasts some to-die-for suites with marvelous views of Prague Castle: 3 Junior Suites, 2 stylish Old Town Suites located on the 6th and 7th floors, the Opera Suites with white Carrara and Rosso Verona marble bathrooms and state-of-the-art entertainment systems (and views of the State Opera), and the 5th floor Art Nouveau Suite. Our favorite is the 6th floor Palace Suite with its private sauna and balcony. When you book the Suite Package at the Hotel Palace Praha, you'll experience pure luxury in the heart of Prague with some excellent add-ons including a 3-course candle-lit dinner in Gourmet Club Restaurant-- awarded one of "The Top 10 International Restaurants in Prague." Priced from just EUR 335 per night in a Junior Suite and available through the end of 2008, the package includes luxurious accommodation in one of the suites, daily full buffet breakfast in L'Epoque Restaurant, welcome drink upon arrival, home made chocolate pralines in-room, 3-course candle-lit dinner, free access to the hotel sauna and business center, and a voucher to the nearby Fitness center (use of fitness, indoor pool, whirpool and steam bath).

The Four Seasons $100,000 Gift Card

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Golden TriangleHow's this for some mind-blowing indulgence? Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts offers a $100,000 gift card, and as Forbes Traveler points out, why not give the gift of around-the-world travel? With some stays at seriously luxurious digs, no less. You can hit up the Four Seasons Miami for the rowdy South Beach nightlife, taking advantage of the newly-appointed nightlife concierge, before hopping across the Atlantic to the Provence property with its sexy new spa, and then heading over to Asia for some luxury camping in the Golden Triangle of Thailand. Or, as the company recommends, why not start the trip with three nights in the Beverly Wilshire penthouse, followed by two nights at the Four Seasons Resort Provence at Terre Blanche, then 11 nights in Thailand? (Two at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, three in a one-bedroom residence at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, three in a luxury tent at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle, and three in a two-bedroom estate at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui.) The grand finale? Three nights in the chairman's suite of the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi.

View and Tour the Westin Europa & Regina in Venice

By: Courtney W. May

Westin Europe & Regina VeniceSituated on the final stretch of Venice's Grand Canal where it broadens to become the Bacino di San Marco, The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice occupies a position of absolute privilege, offering views which inspired the impressionist painter Claude Monet, and facing the beautiful Italian Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute.

Click on the link below to pop open a new window, and tour through the guest rooms, restaurants, outdoor areas, and more - to get a better view and feel for the Westin Europa & Regina - then plan your visit.

Don't forget: Guests making reservations for the Westin Europa and Regina through Five Star Alliance will receive a reserved table at the Bar Tiepolo with local Venetian aperitif (one per person) and plate of Venetian "cicchetti" once during stay. Guests will also receive a one category room upgrade at check-in, based on availability.

Small Luxury Hotels Announces Photo Competition: Win Cool Trips and Prizes!

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hostellerie Les Frenes, ProvenceSmall Luxury Hotels of the World-- the exclusive brand of more than 440 independent properties in 70 countries-- recently launched its inaugural worldwide photography competition with some incredible prizes. The idea is for travelers to share their most inspired moments and experiences "caught on film" during their trips-- whether biking through the Tuscan hills or watching the sunset over a beach in the Indian Ocean. The possibilities are limitless! Running from March 17, 2008 through July 31, 2008, the contest will take place completely online via a dedicated competition website. You can register with the site and then upload up to 10 of your favorite photos that capture a sense of place and experience. All submitted photos will be viewable in an online gallery. Four overall winning photographs will be chosen by a panel of judges including celebrity photographer Andy Earl (who shot Madonna, Prince and Pink Floyd for their album covers). And get this: anybody who registers and submits at least one photo will be automatically entered into a prize draw for a five-night stay at any of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.

The top prize winners will all receive a brand new Nikon D80 SLR 10.2 Camera with an 18-135mm zoom lens, plus, choose one of four incredible prize getaways including two round-trip tickets on American Airlines. The available prize packages are:

* A six-night Costa Rican Adventure spent at both Hotel Punta Islita and Gaia Hotel and Reserve

* A five-night English Town and Country Experience spent at both The Capital Hotel in London and Luton Hoo Country Estate

* A four-night Mexican Escape at Esencia on the Riviera Maya

* A three night Big Apple Experience in New York City at The Iroquois New York

Business Travel to London: “Time for Business” at The Metropolitan

By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Metropolitan LondonFlying across the pond on business? The Metropolitan Hotel in London understands your red-eye pain. (Unless, of course, you're traveling with Eos Airlines, pampered in a private suite with lie-flat bed-- then we have less sympathy.) The chic, contemporary hotel, located on Park Lane, understands that "time is more valuable than money" and has designed the ultimate business package for road warriors seeking a sleek and efficient experience with more time to relax. A guaranteed early check-in at 10 a.m. means your room is ready with fresh seasonal fruit. So you can be up and running immediately, complimentary Wifi smooths the transition. At the end of the day, relax with a work-out in the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, and when you're ready to put your feet up, The Metropolitan will deliver a Nobu Bento Box and bottle of Isake Sake Premium to your room. In the morning, you'll get a nutritional 'Brekkie-to-Go'. Now that's service. Available from GBP 279 per night, based on singled occupancy.