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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.

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.


New Five Star Hotel Category in France


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Crillon, ParisIt's about time. For years, France has-- like many countries around the world-- used its own system for categorizing its hotels. As we've lamented in the past, there is no standardized international system for rating hotels, so a five-star hotel in Vietnam will not be the same as one in Dubai. For years, the hotel scale in France has maxed out at four stars, which means the opulent Parisian palace hotels like the Crillon and Hôtel Plaza Athénée-- the best the world over-- are lumped into the four-star category. Now, at long last, the French government has announced plans to create a five-star category of top lodgings.


Hyatt Launches Andaz Hotels with London Liverpool Location


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Andaz Hotel LondonAnnouncing the latest brand from Hyatt Hotels: ANdAZ. Taking its name from an Urdu word that means 'personal style', the new collection of luxury boutique hotels is hoping to attract youthful, affluent travelers. True to form, the Web site is lively, and promises a "young at heart" and "environmentally conscious" hotel experience.

Created in response to travellers' needs for an experience that blends style with uncompromised service, ANdAZ focuses on a personal attention to detail and a freedom from conventional hotel wisdom. A renewal of the highest quality standards, and the delivery of simple luxuries.

The brand's first location opens in London on Friday. Housed in the former Great Eastern Hotel, the red brick Victorian building constructed in 1884 by the Great Eastern railway company, the ANdAZ is right next to Liverpool station. The 236-room hotel is all about casual luxury. Instead of a lobby with a check-in counter and concierge desk, there's a sleek modern "living room," where guests check in with personal hosts who carry tablet PCs. Rooms are decked out with ergonomically designed furniture and iPods with locally selected playlists. Also on the premises: five restaurants and four bars. Room rates start at GBP 395 per weekday night, and GBP 120 on weekend nights, including breakfast, Internet, local calls, mini-bar, laundry and pressing, and movies. Coming soon: ANdAZ hotels in New York (75 Wall Street and 485 Fifth Avenue) and Austin, Texas.


Make it Monte Carlo: Soaking up the Views at the Fairmont


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Monte CarloThe tiny country of Monaco, the glamorous city-state nestled between Italy and France on the Côte d'Azur, is luxury incarnate. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, the Riviera is an enticing Mediterranean destination, and Monte Carlo is the prestigious choice for the globe-trotting elite. Take the six-minute helicopter ride from the Nice airport and arrive in style. (Plus, on the way you can take in all 500 acres of the Principality.) The place to stay is the Fairmont Monte Carlo, which unveiled a EUR 42 million renovation this spring. Built in the 70s, this enormous luxury hotel (619 rooms and suites) commands a remarkable location: built on piles over the water next to the Casino. It's like an island unto itself, floating over the Mediterranean, with sweeping sea views from its rooftop terrace and heated swimming pool. The Fairmont boasts three restaurants, two bars, 18 meetings rooms, a fitness center, shopping arcade, and in-house casino-- the first hotel in Monte Carlo to install its own. During the Grand Prix auto race in May, the Formula One cars rocket right under the hotel. Book the Corner Suite for the Grand Prix and you'll see why it's the most highly prized room in town for the race. On one side, views of the glittering sea, and on the other, the famous hairpin turn before the cars zoom into a tunnel beneath the hotel.