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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.

Barcelona Blow-out: New Year’s Eve Getaway at Gran Hotel La Florida


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gran Hotel La FloridaWhat could be better than bringing in the New Year in one of the world's hottest cities? Watch the fireworks from the best spot in town: the luxurious Grand Hotel La Florida, perched high on Mount Tibidabo just 25 minutes from the city center. From the roof, the views are absolutely spectacular-- mountains, sea, and city stretched out before your eyes. Book a New Year's Eve Getaway and enjoy music, festive colors, sparkling champagne, and those priceless views. Priced at EUR 1,390 (in a Deluxe Room), the getaway includes two nights of luxury, buffet breakfast served daily in the restaurant, a welcome Christmas amenity, the spectacular New Year's Eve gala dinner, and free Wireless Internet, shuttle service to the city center, and access to the ZenZone Spa (read: hammam, sauna, caldarium, and fitness center). Valid on December 30 and 31, 2007.


New Luxury Travel Destinations


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Amanresorts, BhutanA recent article in the Washington Post describes the "destination fatigue-- been there, done that, paid a big bill"-- that affects a growing number of high-end travelers. When you've vacationed in Patagonia, the BVI, and the Greek Islands, and cruised the Nile and Yangtze rivers, what's next? The answer is remote, off-the-map destinations that once only appealed to backpackers. The newest hotspots are places like Bhutan, where Amanresorts has opened a string of luxury lodges that allow travelers to discover this incredible Himalayan kingdom without having to rough it. We'd count China's Yunnan province on the list, as well as luxury safaris in Africa, and hotels in northern India. What's your next luxury travel destination?


New from Jumeirah: Take Luxury Home with You


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Burj Al ArabJumeirah already has an undeniably impressive collection of properties (including the award-winning Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab, celebrated as the world's most luxurious hotel) and the Jumeirah group has embarked on an ambitious expansion drive to include key resorts in cities the world over (London, New York, Shanghai, Doha...) But perhaps the most exciting news of all for Jumeirah fans: It's now possible to order those sumptuous Burj Al Arab bathrobes and bedding from the Jumeirah Collection, a dedicated retail Web site. The newly-launched online store features exclusive products and innovative services. And for those who like to travel light, take advantage of the "Pre-Arrival Service" and order essential vacation items online prior to staying with Jumeirah. When you arrive, you'll find all the goodies already in your room. And get this: Before the end of the year, you'll be able to order the luxurious new Burj Al Arab Dux Bed from the Web site, at the same time it debuts in the hotel.


Hot Eats in Paris: Mini Palais in the Grand Palais


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mini PalaisThis summer, a trendy new restaurant opened its doors in a wing of the Grand Palais. And it's branded MINI-- as in, like, um, the car. Sprawling under the arcade's columns, the restaurant is all about paradox, starting with the name. During the weekends, a DJ spins trendy tracks which vibrate through the classic colonnade. "Mini palais, maxi chic," the restaurant features innovative small plates and lighter fare from star chef Gilles Choukroun (of Michelin-starred Angl'Opera Restaurant). Inside, you'll find Baccarat light fixtures and a cool, loungy vibe. AdAge explains that the MINI branding is subtle: the neon sign in the lobby, the MINI logo on the menu and on the black t-shirts worn by staff, and a couple of Union Jacks emblazoned behind the bar.

Photo Via Le Blog Gourmand


The Great Winter Escape: Free Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral, Edinburgh


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The BalmoralThis January, steal away to Edinburgh and discover a winter wonderland at Scotland's most opulent hotel, The Balmoral. One of 11 gorgeous hotels in the Rocco Forte Collection, The Balmoral-- with its majestic clock tower-- is a landmark in the very heart of the ancient city. With views overlooking Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town, or the hotel's own charming courtyard, the 188 rooms and suites are simply saturated with style after a recent refurbishment. There's a Michelin-starred restaurant on the premises, along with the Balmoral Spa, voted 'Scotland's Top Urban Day Spa' in Condé Nast Traveller's 2007 Readers' Spa Awards. When you book a January stay, you'll enjoy a traditional afternoon tea-- for free! Guests go gaga over tea; it's quite the spread. Think scrumptious finger sandwiches (salmon, cucumber and crème fraiche, Scottish beef and red onion marmalade on malted brown bread...) and all sorts of delicate sweets. There's even traditional Balmoral shortbread, along with the assortment of homemade scones.

In fact, if you book a January stay at any of 11 Rocco Forte hotels in popular European destinations, you'll get a complimentary afternoon tea for two. Use code 'RFC Tea.'


Free Third Night in Dublin at Brownes


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Brownes DublinSmack bang in the middle of Dublin, Brownes is a sumptuously restored Georgian townhouse managed by Stein Hotels and Resorts. Situated on St. Stephen's Green in the heart of the historic city (an unbeatable location), the hotel offers only 11 guest rooms, tastefully furnished with comfort and character in mind. Steeped in history, oozing old school Irish elegance, the hotel is not lacking for contemporary amenities. For a limited time, enjoy three nights for the price of two at Brownes. With the "Stay Another Day" package, pay for two nights and get the third for free when you stay by December 31, 2007. Rates start at just EUR 250 per night.

Via 14Trips


Dispatch from Paris: Christian Lacroix’s Hotel Bellechasse


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel BellechasseChristian Lacroix's at it again. After creating dazzling interiors at the Petit Moulin, the fashion designer has created another high-profile boutique hotel with an exuberant style. Not far from the Musée d'Orsay in Faubourg St.-Germain, the 34-room Bellechasse reopened in July 2007 after a year of renovations. Rooms are utterly whimsical, inspired by old engravings from the surrounding museums and cultural institutions. The furnishings and fabrics are sumptuous, creating the sensory journey of "travel within travel" which was the designer's goal. Complimentary wifi Internet access and breakfast buffet (quite the spread).

PS. The rooms may be stylish, but in true Paris fashion, they are small.

Related Article:

Lacroix designed the interiors for the new TGV lines


Kristiania Lech: Ski Butlers and In-Room Massages in the Austrian Alps


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kristiania LechSteal away to the Alps this winter for an epic skiing experience with Kristiania Lech, one of the most elegant resorts in Austria. Snow enthusiasts seek out Lech for the plethora of superb ski runs, unlimited winter activities, and impossibly picturesque scenery. Nestled above this charming village is a unique luxury hotel that fuses the best alpine traditions with modern technology and a contemporary perspective. The pride of Othmar Schneider, 1952 Olympic Slalom Champion, Kristiania Lech boasts designer guest rooms, a superb art collection, children's program, cooking school, health club, and excellent personalized service. The skiing is world-famous, and there's a ski butler on standby to help ensure that guests have the best skiing experience possible. And there's plenty of off-piste pleasure in Lech. Retire to the comfort of the hotel after a day on the slopes and sample the range of fine Schnapps, Austrian Malts and ports at the convivial bar before enjoying a delicious traditional meal paired with local wines.

Kristiania Lech has designed an irresistible package with a six-day ski pass to help beat the post-Christmas blues. Valid from January 12-February 1, 2008, the January Ski Escape includes accommodations for two with guaranteed room upgrade upon check-in, a complimentary bottle of Austrian white wine and fruit tray, a six-day ski pass, daily breakfast and five-course gourmet dinner, one 30-minute massage and private return airport transfer (Zürich, Innsbruck, Friedrichshafen). Priced at EUR 460 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, minimum 7 nights stay.


Unbelievably Low Rates at Four Seasons George V, Paris with Five Star Alliance


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel George VHurry! Now's your chance to score a lavish room at one of the poshest hotels in the world. Four Seasons George V, the Parisian palace hotel that exudes luxury in every detail, is available for as little as EUR 310 a night for select dates, including January 5- January 7, 2008; January 25-27, 2008; April 16-April 25, 2008. Browse dates and rates at Five Star Alliance, the leading site for luxury hotel reservations. This is a steal, as regular rates are more than double!


Magic in Munich at the Mandarin Oriental


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental MunichSay hello to the newly renovated Mandarin Oriental, housed in a neo-renaissance building just around the corner from the rowdy Hofbräuhaus. Last summer this sophisticated hideaway was renovated from top to bottom. The facade got a facelift, and all 48 rooms and 25 suites ooze exclusivity with a sleek contemporary design and all the latest technology. Choose your own bed linens (down-feather duvet, hypoallergenic blanket...) and help yourself to the mini-bar. Like an elegant museum, this stately hotel showcases hundreds of pieces of decorative artwork and antiques from Asia. On the top floor, the heated swimming pool boasts a view that extends to the Alps. Mark's, the hotel's signature fine dining restaurant, just earned its first Michelin star.