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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.

Smintair: the Luxury Airline for Smokers

July 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

SMINTAIR offers every passenger refuge from daily stress and restriction, an island of tranquillity, a World of it's own in the skies... Although innovative, SMINTAIR will treat it's passengers like the guest of an international Grand Hotel. It is an obligation to SMINTAIR to bring back the exclusivity in flying encountered in the 1960s and dearly missed by so many. The classic ambience pared [sic] with today's technology will make flying SMINTAIR a unique experience.
So states Smintair on its website. A German entrepreneur has announced plans for a luxury airline that allows its passengers to smoke. Smintair (no, the name doesn't come from the little box of post-cigarette mints; it's an acronym for Smoker's International Airways) is slated to launch in March with flights from Dusseldorf to Tokyo's Narita International on two Boeing 747 aircraft. The flights will offer 30 first class and 108 business class seats, with abundant leg room.
Allowing our guests to smoke is one of the freedoms we are happily prepared to grant. Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests... As the World's first smoker's airline, SMINTAIR is entering many uncovered niches in aviation, designed to give the traveller maximum pleasure out of their flight experience. SMINTAIR spends more than three times the amount usually invested on passenger's nourishment. Signature recipes created by internationally renowned chefs will make each meal a feast. Charming and beautiful flight attendants in uniforms designed by famous couturiers are there to take the very best care of you. Every two years, a new designer will be elected to keep the uniform design a la mode.
Marketwatch is skeptical; Smintair needs to raise at least 40 million euros for an operating license from the German federal aviation authority. Time will tell if this baby will actually get off the ground. Related Articles: BBC News, German Plans Airline for Smokers Gridskipper, "Smokes on a Plane"


Fairmont to Manage St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa, Scotland

June 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St Andrews Bay

Starting July 1, 2006, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is slated to take over management of Scotland's destination golf resort. The 209-room resort has a spectacular location in the renowned "home of golf," just two miles from the medieval town of St. Andrews and the acclaimed Old Course, and surrounded by 10 golf courses in the vicinity. Overlooking the River Tay estuary and the North Sea, the hotel and its two clifftop championship courses—The Torrance and The Devlin—boast panoramic views. St. Andrews Bay Golf Resort also features five dining outlets, a 3,500 sq ft spa and health club, and excellent conference facilities. The new management anticipates a GBP 10 million refurbishment, which will renovate the existing facilities over a few years time.


Watch the Tour de France 2006 from the Hotel de Crillon, Paris

June 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Crillon

Let the countdown begin. The Tour de France is set to kick off in July, and all eyes are on this year's post-Lance race, the exciting 93rd Tour. And for the best vantage point to view the finish of the Tour de France at the Place de la Concorde, the Hotel de Crillon is the place to be. Overlooking the finish line in the heart of Paris, the legendary Crillon is a unique historical monument offering an exceptional five-star hotel experience in the City of Light. The best views, of course, are from the posh Presidential Suites, and for this momentous occasion, the Hotel de Crillon has created an exclusive package. "Tour de France 2006" includes two nights accommodation (Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23), afternoon tea served in one of the grand Presidential Suites while watching the race on giant screen televisions, American buffet breakfast and access to the Fitness Center. The package rate is from EUR 1,210 for a Superior Room, subject to availability, inclusive of taxes and service. Other room categories are also available.


Eos: The Luxury Airline that’s like a Five-Star Hotel

June 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eos Airlines

Our adoration for Eos is hardly a secret. A recent Business Week article, "Eos Airlines, Your Airborne Concierge" applauds the airline for its "business class services with a five-star hotel twist for passengers flying from New York's JFK airport to London's Stansted." The interior is luxurious and spacious, with 48 seats in a jet originally designed for 220 people. The individual passenger seating area is like a suite, with flatbed, worktables, personal entertainment units, and business travel conveniences. And it's a staggering 21 square feet per person. Not too shabby. The airline even offers "turndown service," with high-thread-count seats, cashmere blankets and Bose noise cancellation headphones. To quote Business Week:

While mainstream carriers such as US Airways are making headlines by eliminating packets of peanuts on board, Eos takes the opposite track by promising "restaurant quality, gourmet meals" with aesthetic presentation, along with a high-end wine and beverage selection. Passengers set their own eating pace by selecting either a five-course meal to be eaten at leisure or an "express" meal served at once.

Price? $6,500 for an unrestricted fare.


Queen’s Birthday Offer at the Dukes Hotel, London

June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Hotel

The award-winning, classic Dukes Hotel, tucked in its own courtyard in a quiet corner on St. James's Place between Mayfair and Green Park, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the special exhibition in honor of the Queen's 80th birthday. On display at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace in honor of Her Majesty's birthday, the extensive exhibit showcases the Queen's evening dresses (80 of them! from the 1940's to the present) and personal jewelry, including private gifts and historic pieces, such as the Vladimir Tiara, the Cambridge Emerald Necklace, two brooches set with stones from the famous Cullinan Diamond, and a pair of Boucheron aquamarine and diamond clip brooches given to then Princess Elizabeth by her father, King George VI, for her 18th birthday. Visitors to the exhibition see the Palace's 39-acre garden, and appreciate rare views of the Palace's garden façade and the 19th-century lake. As part of Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration, Dukes Hotel is going over the top (try this for British pomp and pageantry) with a special package. "Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration" includes a two-night stay in a Classic Double room including daily breakfast and afternoon tea and two tickets to the "Special Exhibition" with entrance to Buckingham Palace. Priced at GBP 525, inclusive of VAT, available from July 26 to September 24, 2006.

(Guests will also enjoy Duke's luxurious spa and the world-famous Dukes Martini at the bar.)


Beau-Rivage Palace Summer Spa Retreat at the Cinq Mondes Spa

June 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beau Rivage Palace

Switzerland's stunning Beau-Rivage Palace is easily one of the most beautiful palace hotels in the world. Overlooking Lake Geneva, the historic Beau-Rivage is a world-recognized landmark, renowned by leading travel magazines as one of the world's best places to stay. The hotel invested CHF 12 million in their new, cutting-edge Cinq Mondes Spa, where 15,000 sq feet are devoted to healing and harmony, with luxurious treatments from the world's greatest healing traditions: Japanese, Ayurvedic, North African, Taoist and Balinese. In addition to the nine treatment rooms, there is a private spa suite reserved for couples. Pamper yourself this summer with a unique package offered by the Beau-Rivage Palace. The "Summer at the Cinq Mondes Spa" package includes two nights accommodation, full buffet breakfast in "Salon Grammont" or Continental in-room breakfast, one Spa Ritual Sojourn of five treatments over two days per person, one healthy cocktail at the Spa per day, per person, one lunch at the terrace of the Spa per person and free access to the tennis courts, swimming pools and fully equipped gym. The package is priced from CHF 2000 per room double occupancy for the two nights (approximately U.S. $1,660).

Guests participating in the package can choose from the following Spa Ritual Sojourns:

Taoist Ritual From China:

20-minute Aromas and Flowers Japanese Bath

20-minute Aromatic Scrub with Spices

50-minute Taoist Massage

80-minute Taoist Face Care Massage

20-minute Plantar Reflexology

Spa Ritual Experience:

20-minute Aromas and Flowers Japanese Bath

20-minute Aromatic Scrub with Spices

50-minute Ayurvedic Massage

35-minute "Rituel Fleurs de Bali" Face Care Massage

50-minute Balinese Massage

Bliss for Two Ritual Sojourn:

20-minute Aromas and Colors Hammam

20-minute Aromatic Scrub with Spices

50-minute Ayurvedic Massage

20 minute Aromas and Flowers Japanese Bath in a double bath

Choice of 80-minute Taoist Massage or Taoist Face Care Massage


Five Star Lodgings for Cats

June 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

…including webcam pet-watch services for travelers fraught with separation-anxiety from their four legged friends. That's right. The Russians sure are savvy when it comes to their pet hotels, which are springing up with reckless abandon around Moscow. As reported by the Moscow Times:

A sheet of paper was pinned to the door of each [pet] cabin for staff to keep records of the cats' appearance, psychological state, appetite and bowel movements; owners are also encouraged to leave tips about how their pets should be treated.
And at Cat's Dream Hotel:
Luxury cabins offer such perks as heated floors in winter, toys, premium cat food and fish bowls -- either real or on a flat screen. The business is so successful that the Kivva family is building another kennel exclusively for kittens. By the end of the summer, they hope to install video cameras linked to the Internet so that pet owners will be able to see their furry friends anytime, from anywhere.
Apparently, pet hotels are so popular, New Year's reservations require booking in August. Via The Moscow Times


London’s Triple Threat - The Maybourne Group

June 19, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May for Maybourne Hotel Group

Berkeley Tea Cookies

The Maybourne Hotel Group has 3 hotels in London - The Berkeley, Claridge's and The Connaught. The Berkeley, overlooking Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, is offering a Prêt-à-Portea & Champagne Prêt-à-Portea this summer descrbed as "A Fashionista's Afternoon Tea." Eclairs, fancies and frou-frou mousses are all set for a makeover in the style of the world’s top fashion designers, such as Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren and Versace (the Autumn/Winter 2005 fashion collections are the inspiration - see photo).

Some awesome special rates at all 3 of the properties are available during the summer. Examples include 'Summer in the City' where reserving two consecutive room nights will give you a third night for no charge, or the 'Twice is Nice' offer where when you reserve one room you get a second room complimentary which is ideal for a family or two couples.

Check them all out at:

www.maybourne.com


The Best Suite in Paris: the Bernstein Suite at the Hotel de Crillon

June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bernstein living room

The views alone distinguish the Bernstein Suite: five floors above the Place de la Concorde, its two 100 sq-meter balconies offer jaw-dropping views of the City of Light and the Eiffel Tower. This was the Parisian home away from home for the famous composer, who frequently stayed in this apartment, which still showcases a grand piano in his honor. The decor is elegant and luxurious (but without pretension), and the rooms are spacious and full of light. Bathrooms are appointed with Carrara marble, towels and slippers embroidered with the hotel's crest, and Annick Goutal perfumed toiletry products. And as expected at the Crillon, the service is flawless. This world-renowned suite provides the ultimate, unforgettable stay in Paris.


Spotlight On: Pantelleria Dream

June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pantelleria Dream

Looking for an undiscovered island? In Europe, of all places? Look no farther than Pantelleria, the secret volcanic wonderland located between Sicily and Tunisia in the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean. After the June article in Vogue, the cat's out of the bag about this one. The "secret escape for Madonna, Julia Robers, and Giorgio Armani," the "virtual natural spa with thermal rock pools, crater lakes, and cave saunas," sounds too good to be true. And the recreational activities on this island are endless: diving, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, vineyard-hopping, and touring the magical Roman ruins. In this Italian paradise, a new hotel opening is causing quite a stir. Pantelleria Dream offers 46 exclusive suites situated within dammusi, which are the typical island structures comprised of black volcanic rocks which help to insulate from the heat and the sun, with Arab-influenced vaulted ceilings inside. Each dammuso boasts a panoramic terrace with sweeping ocean views. For an ultraprivate, unparalleled experience, request the Venus Suite, which is distanced from the main hotel structure in sublime isolation, and stocked with luxurious amenities. Starting from EUR 180 for a double dammuso, including breakfast.

Related articles:

Vogue, "Travel: Bathing Beauties"