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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.

Skate into the Festive Season at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza AtheneeSince its inauguration in 1911, the world-famous Hôtel Plaza Athénée has symbolized Parisian glamour. This is the chic hotel of choice while staying in the French capital, ideally situated between the Avenue des Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower. Add a touch of magic to the winter season with a jaunt to the sparkling City of Light, and enjoy the private ice-skating rink opened in the hotel's courtyard. Starting from EUR 695 in a Superior Room, the Plaza Festive Offer combines the most opulent accommodations with special amenities: American breakfast for two, access to the ice rink plus skate rental, a EUR 40 gift voucher to the Plaza Athénée Red Line Gift Collection, and an in-room gift from the pastry chef. Available until January 31, 2008, two-night minimum stay required.


A Little Romance in London with Red Carnation Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Egerton HouseWhy limit the hearts and flowers to Valentines Day? Spread the love throughout the whole month of February with Red Carnation's luxury hotels in London. It's a tough choice picking just one of the fabulous boutique properties for an indulgent overnight stay. There's "41" opposite Buckingham Palace; The Milestone by Kensington Gardens; The Egerton House in Knightsbridge; The Montague in Bloomsbury; The Chesterfield Mayfair and The Rubens next door to "41." The Valentine Romance break (starting at GBP 280 per night) includes luxurious accommodations, half a dozen red roses, a box of luxury chocolates, candles around the bath and petals within, and last but not least-- a book of poems to read to each other in bed. Or choose the Valentine Indulgence package (starting from GBP 365 per night) and get all of the above and more! Extras include a bottle of Champagne, a hibiscus flower, and a "Love Hamper with fruits, love hearts, bath salts and body lotion."


Luxury Travel Trends: The Best Airport Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Radisson SAS StandstedKiss goodbye the era of lousy overnights at airport hotels. The latest trend, as detailed in Forbes Traveler, is a spectacular array of posh properties at airports around the world. In 2007, the industry pumped millions into capital investment for luxury airport hotels. Case in point: the swanky Radisson SAS which opened at London Stansted Airport, home to the business class-only airlines Eos and MaxJet. Road warriors will find four restaurants, excellently-appointed guest rooms, and full meeting and fitness facilities. The best part of all? "The 13-meter-high wine tower which holds 4,000 bottles of wine obtained each evening by 'wine angels' who fly on cables to retrieve your choice." For the full list of exciting airport hotels, check out ForbesTraveler's slide show.


For Sale: Medieval French Prison To Become Luxe Hotel, Avignon


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Saint Anne Avignon Prison-Hotel200-room property with "exceptional location next to the Papal Palace" overlooking the river Rhône. 10,280 square meters of living space, including cells and "women's detention area." Must be turned into luxury hotel. Interested? Submit your bid by January 23, 2008. And we thought Boston's Liberty Hotel was unique. The French government has decided to sell off this dilapidated state-owned property to a hotel group willing to convert it into an 110-room luxury hotel. If Sarkozy's plan works, Sainte-Anne's prison will be the first of eight unused jails to go on the market.

Image of Avignon via Le Monde


Strasbourg Christmas Market: A Day Trip from Paris with the New TGV


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Strasbourg Christmas MarketTis the season. The Strasbourg Christmas Market draws thousands of visitors each year for the biggest holiday market in France. Sprawling across the picturesque alleyways of half-timbered houses in front of the Cathedral, festive with lights and decorations, the market is straight out of a fairy tale. In its 431st year, this market is as about as merry as it gets. The scent of mulled wine and warm gingerbread fills the streets. Stalls brim with handcrafted ornaments and delightful gifts. And with the new high-speed train connecting Paris and Strasbourg, this border city in Alsace has become like a Paris suburb. In fact, the TGV has added extra trains just for the holiday season and now folks can check out the Strasbourg Christmas Market on a simple day trip from Paris.

Photo Via Times UK


Chillout This Winter in Dubai: An Ice Bar in the Desert


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chillout Ice Lounge, DubaiLeave it to Dubai-- the world's novelty capital, home to the biggest, baddest, and most outlandish-- to open an ice lounge. There are now 9 ice bars globally and of course Dubai has caught on to the trend. Chillout, the $3 million bar made entirely of ice (40,000 tons of it!), opened in the Times Square Shopping Center this past June. Enjoy nibbles from an Asian-fusion menu served on ice plates, and sip your Shirley Temple in a tumbler made of ice. (Be forewarned: alcoholic drinks are *not* served in this joint.) There are even ice sculptures depicting Dubai's skyline and a 7-foot chandelier carved from ice. Pony up the $17 cover charge and you'll get one drink and a hooded parka, wool gloves and insulated shoes for your time in the bar.

Photo Via MSNBC


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