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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.

InterContinental Concierges Provide “In the Know” Travel Tips


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Hong KongMost folks think of InterContinental Hotels as the first truly international hotel brand in the world. So it's no wonder that InterContinental-- as it continues to define glamorous global travel-- goes the extra mile to provide guests with unique experiences to enrich their lives and broaden their outlook. Case in point: the "In the Know" program that provides online destination videos and Internet communication with the hotel concierges. Today's savvy, worldly guests are pickier about what they expect from hotels, and InterContinental is on hand to point the way to authentic and local destination experiences.

At the InterContinental Grand Stafford in Hong Kong, for example, you'll find maps created by the concierge with suggestions for the best shopping and dining spots in the area. (The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus service to the Star Ferry area, to boot.) And at the Athenaeum InterContinental, the best hotel in Athens, the multi-lingual concierge can do a lot more than arrange tours of the Parthenon and the Acropolis. Local insider tips include favorite neighborhoods, new exhibits, and what's new on the city scene. Even suggestions for the best Greek gifts to take home with you. Check out this video from the concierge.


Wine Master Classes at Mount Juliet Conrad, Kilkenny County, Ireland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mount Juliet ConradLuxuriate in the grand surroundings of Ireland's grand sporting estate, Mount Juliet Conrad, and learn how to tell your Pétrus from your Penfolds. The country house hotel is offering a series of exclusive wine master class weekends with award-winning sommelier, Alain Bras. Recognized as one of Ireland's leading authorities on wine, Bras was Ireland's representative at the World Sommelier Championships in 2004. During these two-night escapes, Bras will guide guests through tastings of Champagnes, Ports, and fine wines. The wine master classes are priced from $543 per person and includes two nights accommodation with breakfast for each guest in The Hunter's Yard, a casual dinner including wine on the first evening, and a Champagne reception and dinner including wine on the second evening in the Lady Helen Dining Room at Mount Juliet House. Tuition and course materials are also included. The dates are November 5-6, 2007, November 26-27, 2007, January 14-15, 2008, and February 4-5, 2008. Set within 1,500 picturesque acres in Kilkenny county just an hour from Dublin, Mount Juliet Conrad offers an incredible range of activities-- in the grand tradition of the gracious living of the countryside-- including horseback riding, clay shooting, fishing, archery, tennis, and golf.


Spend Christmas and New Years at Le Meurice, Paris


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Hotel Le MeuriceEnjoy the lively rhythm and elegant ambiance of the chic 1st arrondissement at the legendary palace hotel that has played host to international royalty, fashion designers and countless public figures, Hotel Le Meurice. The Christmas package, starting from EUR 590 per room, per night, includes accommodations, daily American breakfast, Christmas gifts and chocolates for parents and children. Extraordinary Christmas Eve and Day dinners are available at Restaurant Le Meurice and Jardin d'Hiver. Package available from December 7- December 27, 2007.

Or if a Christmas stay isn't in the works, plan a New Year's escape to the heart of Paris. This internationally renowned five-star hotel is Paris at its most elegant and stylish. Between December 28, 2007- January 2, 2008, your family can enjoy a minimum two-night stay with accommodations, daily American breakfast, Christmas gifts and chocolates for parents and children starting at EUR 730 per room, per night.


Culinary Retreat at Chateau St. Gerlach, Maastricht, Netherlands


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau St. GerlachThe Dutch town of Maastricht has been hailed as both an historical delight (cobble stone streets framed by 17th century houses) and-- on the other side of the Maas River-- an "urban planner's dream mix of contemporary buildings." Just a ten minute drive outside of this charming European city, the luxurious Chateau St. Gerlach is a destination in and of itself. Sprawling over a number of period buildings (including a 13th century chateau, farmhouse, convent, and Baroque church), the hotel is home to the fine, Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name. Nestled on a beautiful country estate with a wildlife reserve, Chateau St. Gerlach showcases the best of the Valkenburg countryside-- the frontier region that is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Holland. Dive into some extraordinary haute cuisine with a special "Culinary Maastricht" package. This fabulous offer include two nights in a Deluxe Room, a welcome glass of champagne on arrival, daily breakfast buffet in the Winter Garden, free Marco Polo guide of Maastricht, and free use of the swimming pool, Turkish bath, and sauna. Enjoy a four-course dinner at Michelin star restaurant St. Gerlach and then on your second night, indulge in a five-course dinner at Michelin star restaurant Chateau Neercanne. Rates start from just EUR 259; available until December 31, 2007.


Nuit Blanche Returns to Paris this Weekend


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paris This Saturday, October 6, 2007 Paris will remain open all night for its annual cultural extravaganza. What a way to pull an all-nighter! From sun-down to sunrise, the grand museums, churches, historical sites (and even swimming pools) of Paris will remain open and free to the public. Visitors can even enjoy the palace of Versailles under moonlight. The city obliges with free transport (shuttle buses, and there's always the cool, free bike service). Night owls will go gaga over the nocturnal contemporary art exhibitions and music concerts in these exciting venues. This year's Nuit Blanche is dedicated to Ingrid Betancourt, the politician and activist held hostage by the FARC in the Colombian jungle since 2002.


End of Summer Sale at the Westin Europa and Regina, Venice


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Europa and Regina How about a free night on the Grand Canal in Venice? In the sumptuous surroundings of a magnificently restored historic building just steps from Piazza San Marco? With the End of Summer Sale at the Westin Europa & Regina, your third night is free when you book a three night stay between now and December 28, 2007. Plus, you can arrive any day of the week. Housed in five buildings which date from the 17th to 19th centuries, the award-winning hotel offers the perfect combination of traditional beauty and contemporary conveniences-- like the signature Heavenly Bed and Westin WORKOUT room. (Rates start from EUR 330 per night. Book online before October 31, 2007. Promotion code is Z3R.)

PS. Get a bird's eye view of this magical city with a helicopter tour arranged by the hotel.


Going Green: Badrutts Palace, St. Moritz


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Badrutt's Palace The glaciers are receding in the dramatic mountain range of the Alps, and renowned resorts like Badrutt's Palace are doing something about it-- putting up a fight against global warming. With a new energy-efficient heating system in a long term cooperative effort with Zurich's "EWZ" power station, the resort has designed a heat pump that draws water directly from Lake St. Moritz without harming the area's flora and fauna. With this measure, the legendary hotel-- the very symbol of sophisticated Alpine luxury-- is saving 400,000 liters of heating oil per season, while cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tons per year. That's an 80 percent difference over the previous heating system. Bravo.


The Talk of the Town: Hotel Particulier Montmartre, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Particulier Montmartre Tucked away in the winding alleyways of Montmartre, a charming and chic new hotel made its debut this summer. From the façade, the Hotel Particulier Montmartre appears to be a 19th century country house, surrounded by leafy landscaping and secluded private gardens. Though there are only five guest rooms, this interior space is a dream of modern design. Vogue (September 2007) praises the "distinct personalities" of these magical spaces designed by a graphic designer, a Musée de la Mode et du Textile curator, and three artists. From fanciful fashion to ornate rococo style, the guest rooms embody the best of high design. Choose the top-floor miniloft for incredible Paris views.

Be forewarned: finding the entrance amidst the tiny rues of hip Montmartre is not for the faint of heart.


Dukes Hotel: Rediscover a London Classic


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes, London Say hello to the new Dukes Hotel. This beloved London establishment was recently taken over by Campbell Gray Hotels-- a collection of exquisite, individual hotels including One Aldwych in London and Carlisle Bay in Antigua-- and has undergone a complete makeover. Tucked in its own courtyard in a quiet corner on St. James's Place between Mayfair and Green Park, Dukes has been given a touch of 21st century contemporary chic. Hailed by The New York Times as "the ultimate country house hotel, only steps from Piccadilly," the award-winning Dukes Hotel is as famous for its service (the best in London, according to Travel and Leisure), as it is for its martinis. All 90 luxury rooms and suites have been upgraded by a stellar design team, along with the public areas. The world-famous Dukes Bar has been made up with blue velvet chairs and portrait paintings from the Dukes collection. Guests will find a new menu at The Dining Room, featuring classic British dishes with a comprehensive wine list (including a special reserve selection with predominantly Old World reds). There's also a Health Club with a 24 hour gym, steam room, and full range of spa treatments.


Experience Oktoberfest in Style with a Stay at The Charles Hotel, Munich


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Oktoberfest in Munich Come tomorrow, Munich's Lord Mayor will tap the barrel and thereby open Oktoberfest, the largest, beer-swigging funfair in the world. (At 12 noon, to be exact.) Join the German revelers for some serious beer-fueled fun until October 7, 2007. You don't need to go to Hofbräuhaus, the world's most famous beer hall (aka Disneyfied tourist delight), to experience traditional music, tasty Bavarian dishes, and a stein full of beer. Tents and beer gardens are set up all over the city. Don't miss the Costumes and Marksmen's Procession on Sunday, September 23, 2007. Book a room at the latest European five-star hotel from the Rocco Forte Collection, The Charles Hotel, and experience the elegant comfort and excellent service one would expect to find at a Rocco Forte property. Distinguished by its original, personalized design, the custom-built hotel boasts a top-notch health club. (Rooms are available at this brand new hotel beginning October 4, 2007.)

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