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.

Culture Tour of Switzerland with the Victoria-Jungfrau Hotel Collection

August 18, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Palace Hotel LuzernExplore Switzerland's most exciting and attractive destinations with the exclusive Victoria-Jungfrau Hotel Collection. Defined by a luxurious ambiance and century-old tradition of hospitality, these five-star hotels are located in four top spots in a small, but delightfully diverse, country. Indeed, you can create your own itinerary and discover the dramatic Alpine scenery and crystal-clear lakes in Zurich, Lucerne, Berne and Interlaken. The Victoria-Jungfrau Collection has created a special package for guests to discover the scenic cities and cultural treasures of the country. With the "Culture Tour," you can enjoy any combination of 5 overnights at the Eden Au Lac in Zurich (with sweeping views of Lake Zurich); the Palace Luzern (a landmark of old world elegance nestled on the shores of Lake Lucerne); and the Bellevue Palace, the pearl of luxury hotels in Berne (situated directly next to the Swiss Parliament Building). Plus, you get daily buffet breakfast, free use of the Palace Spa facilities, the ZurichCard when staying in Zurich (72 hours worth of free public transport, free and reduced-price admissions), a private escorted city walk through Berne, and a private city walk through Lucerne which includes the Rosengart Collection. Valid until December 21, 2008, the "Culture Tour" is priced at CHF 1790 per person (double occupancy) for 5 nights.

The Best of Interlaken, Switzerland: Spa Cruise and More with the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa

August 15, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lake BrienzA stay at Interlaken's finest hotel, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa, is itself an unforgettable experience. The panoramic views, over the lakes of Thun and Brienz to the Alps, are breathtaking. With an outstanding spa and wellness center and impeccable service, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel embodies Old World European grandeur and is beloved by connoisseurs who appreciate the finer things in life. The best hotel in Switzerland's beautiful resort town of Interlaken, the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand is also a fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, which describes this first-class resort as follows:

Hardwood floors and bright colors create a loftlike feel in rooms, while stained glass windows in the reception area and satin-upholstered chairs pay homage to La Belle Epoque. "The old and new opulence are in great balance." The nineteenth-century lakefront property surveys a park and snowcapped mountains. Dining on Swiss food in the Jungfrau Brasserie is "like eating in an old-fashioned grand ballroom."

The Spa Cruise with Victoria-Jungfrau Grand HotelOver two weekends in September, the Victoria-Jungfrau partners with the Bernese Oberland Shipping Company to offer guests a luxurious spa cruise on the magnificent Lake Brienz (pictured). The MS Jungfrau is transformed into a "floating oasis of pleasure" so that guests can relax and take a deep breath in these majestic surroundings. Awaiting onboard: a variety of wellness and fitness activities, such as massages, masks, foot rituals, taiji, qigong and speeding bikes. Available Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st, and September 27th and 28th.

Photo of Lake Brienz Via Switzerland Traveler

Frank Gehry’s Hotel Marques de Riscal: Relaxing in Spain’s Rioja Wine Region

August 14, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Marques de RiscalThe hottest hotel opening of 2006, Hotel Marqués de Riscal is a masterpiece by Frank O. Gehry, nestled in the vineyards of Spain's Rioja wine region. We stopped by for a visit before its official opening, and noted how the architectural elements were similar to Gehry's landmark in nearby Bilbao: the Guggenheim Museum. This was Gehry's first hotel design, and it's pretty cool. A member of Starwood's Luxury Collection, the 43-room hotel offers a discreet locale for savoring the region's flavors. The setting is the best part of all, offering panoramic views over the lush vineyards from eight separate terraces. The on-site Caudalíe Vinothérapie Spa, specializing in "wine therapy" treatments, offers an indoor pool, steam room, fitness center, Jacuzzi, and 14 treatment rooms. Meetings can be arranged in an ancient wine cellar converted into a modern banqueting space. Book the "Summer Experience" package and you'll get daily breakfast included with your room rates, along with double Starpoints for SPG members. Rates from EUR 395 per night.

Will You Marry Me? Hayfield Manor Will Help Her Say ‘Yes’

August 13, 2008
By: Betsy LeTourneau

Hayfield ManorWhen you propose to the one you love, you want an ultra romantic setting and Hayfield Manor in Cork, Ireland promises just that. Set in 20 acres of nature gardens and on the cusp of city centre, the Manor offers individually styled guest rooms filled with antique furnishings, exquisite fabrics and modern amenities you would expect in Cork's premier 5 star hotel. To help set the stage, Hayfield Manor now offers the "Will You Marry Me?" Package that includes you nights accommodations in a luxurious suite, candlelit gourmet dinner for 2 in the privacy of your suite, your own butler on hand to ensure your every wish becomes a reality, a bottle of chilled champagne to celebrate the moment, and a luxury breakfast for 2 in your suite. Hayfield Manor has even partnered with Keanes Jewellers, Ireland's most renowned jewellers located in the heart of Cork, to offer you a private engagement consultation. Keanes Jewellers is in return offering guests who purchase an engagement ring from them, a free Engagement Portrait Photograph Session with Pineapple Studios. This romantic and truly memorable experience at Hayfield Manor is guaranteed to ensure you get the positive answer you are hoping for!

Most Expensive Hotel Rooms: Hotel President Wilson, Geneva, and Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons New York

August 12, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel President WilsonForget "Staycations." The uber-rich continue to globe-trot on private jets and bunk down in swanky pads-- like the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson, the world's most expensive at a whopping $52,000 a night. Elite Traveler recently released their list of the "101 Top Hotel/Resort Suites of the Year" in the July/August 2008 issue. Runners-up for priciest suite include the $50,000/night Royal Villa at the Grand Resort Lagonissi in Attica, Greece, and the $21,000/night Imperial Suite at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. In the U.S., the Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons New York has a price tag of $30,000 per night, making it the most expensive suite built in the U.S. Next up? The Chairman Suite at the Palazzo in Vegas ($20,000/night) followed by the Empire Suite at the Carlyle in New York and the Grand Suite at the Grand Wailea Resort (both at $15,000/night). For the full breakdown, click here.

Economic Forecast for Luxury Hotels: Horst Schulze of Capella Hotels Believes in Upscale Demand

August 8, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Capella CastlemartyrForget the gloomy economic forecast surrounding the U.S. credit crunch. The global hotel industry will be A-OK, according to Horst Schulze, the former president and CEO of Ritz-Carlton, and founder of the new Capella brand of ultra-luxury hotels. As profiled in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Schulze believes that the boom in luxury hotels will continue worldwide. Proof? He plans to open seven more Capella hotels in the next 10 months. And from the successful booking rates of his Düsseldorf hotel, the Breidenbacher Hof, it looks like all's right in the luxury hotel business.

Pictured at right: the Capella Castlemartyr, the glorious country manor house-hotel in Cork County that sits adjacent to the ruins of a 1000-year-old-castle.

Fourth Night Free at Hayfield Manor, Cork, Ireland

August 7, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hayfield ManorSurround yourself in a cocoon of luxury at Hayfield Manor, where guest rooms are designed with beautiful antiques, sumptuous fabrics and all the modern amenities to ensure your greatest comfort. The hotel is an oasis of calm in the middle of the city, nestled in two acres of mature gardens with winding paths. The premier five-star hotel in Cork, Hayfield Manor promises exceptional service and indulgent facilities. For a limited time in August, when you stay three nights, you'll get the fourth night for free-- compliments of Hayfield Manor-- an offer priced from just EUR 220 per night in a Manor Room. Includes a bountiful Irish breakfast each morning, and access to The Beautique Health and Treatment Rooms. Plus, when you make reservations with Five Star Alliance, you'll receive complimentary tea for two, valued at EUR 25 per person.

Dispatch from France: The Demolition Party (and Renovation) of the Royal Monceau, Soon to Be a Raffles Hotel

August 5, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal MonceauQuelle soirée! The media is still abuzz about the spectacular demolition party of Le Royal Monceau, the legendary Parisian palace hotel just minutes from the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees. The historic hotel is getting a big makeover from French designer Philippe Starck, and to prep the pad for Starck's handiwork, special celebrity guests were invited to attend the Demolition Party (smashing everything in sight as DJ spun some tunes). This followed an auction, of course, of all the precious antiques, silver, porcelain and Frette linen, coveted by aficionados of style. Scheduled for a 10-month transformation which began this summer, the hotel will re-open in the Fall of 2009 as Le Royal Monceau- A Raffles Hotel. As Le Nouvel Observateur points out, the luxury hotel market in Paris is booming, regardless of the state of the global economy, as Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental are also slated to open in the next year.

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

August 4, 2008
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

August 1, 2008
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.