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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.

Three Nights for the Price of Two at the Hotel Negresco, Nice, France

February 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Negresco

Now is the time to discover the legendary Nice hotel, the architectural masterpiece and national historic monument that has dominated the Promenade des Anglais for over a century. Its pink dome a symbol of the French Riviera, its name evokes the essence of "art de vivre." Situated on the seafront promenade overlooking the Mediterranean, the hotel is filled with a fantastic collection of antiques, oil paintings and contemporary works of art. In this living museum, each of the 121 guestrooms and 24 suites are individually decorated in styles spanning the historic spectrum from Louis XIII to Art Deco. The award-winning restaurant The Chantecler is celebrated as one of the best in Nice. Take advantage of this special offer celebrating the first days of spring. For a limited time—from now until March 31-- when you book a three night stay, the third night is free! (Breakfast included.)

Hotel Negresco, Official Site

Hotel Negresco, Five Star Alliance


Rocco Forte’s Villa Kennedy Opens its Doors in Frankfurt

February 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Kennedy

Just in time for the World Cup Championship I've been obsessing about. Following an extensive restoration, the Villa Kennedy will be ready to dazzle (and show off that stunning neo-gothic architecture) on March 1st. Originally built in 1904, the hotel has extensive gardens and a sweet central courtyard. Located on the southside of the River Main, the Villa features luxurious rooms with state-of-the-art technology, mosaic-tiled bathrooms, pool and three-level-Spa. Book the gigantic presidential suite (300 sq meters) and enjoy a separate kitchen and turret dining room.


Fly-Fishing in Ireland at the Ashford Castle

February 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fly Fishing at Ashford

Dating back to 1228, situated on the shores of Lough Corrib on a private estate of 350 acres, Ashford is one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland. The former estate of the Guinness family, the picturesque castle was the chosen spot for the wedding of Pierce Brosnan (and 007's got the world's pick). For avid anglers, Ashford Castle has recently designed a deluxe fly-fishing package. After all, the castle is strategically located on one of the most famous fisheries in all of Ireland. (The lake is known for its wild brown trout and salmon.) Available from Feb 15-Sep 30, the package includes accommodations, guided fishing (shared guide/boat), all breakfasts, a ghillie's lunch on fishing days, and complimentary use of tennis courts, the 9-hole golf course, and walking trails throughout the 350-acre estate. All fishing gear is provided at no additional cost on fishing days. Prices start at $785 for two nights, and one day fishing. $2,241 for five nights, four days fishing. For the non-anglers in the family, the castle's got all sorts of activities—tennis, golf, equestrian, and even falconry.

Ashford Castle, Official Site

Ashford Castle, Five Star Alliance


Madrid’s First Hard Rock Hotel

February 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hard Rock Hotel Madrid

Opening in June, the next Hard Rock Hotel will debut—where else?—but Madrid. How's that for a nonsequitur. So when the lovely Prado Museum shows off its new extension later this year filled with the zillions of masterpieces that had been idly collecting dust in storerooms, you can check out the exhibits while a guest at the happening Hard Rock, located on the lively Plaza Santa Ana, surrounded by bars galore. Noteworthy features? The Tower Suite, with its terrace offering 360 degree views of the city and "chillout zone." Along with the private outdoor jacuzzi, guests get personalized concierge service (talk about rockstar treatment) and a bottle of champagne.


Hot Tables in Paris: the Canal St.-Martin

February 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Canal St Martin

Bobos in Paradise. The latest and greatest "it" neighborhood in Paris, a magnet for chic trend-setters, artsy creatives and bobos alike, recognizable to movie buffs as the setting for Audrey Tatou's stone-skipping-antics in Amelie. The 10th Arrondisement's Canal St. Martin is the place to be, and Chez Prune, the place to be seen. (Chez Prune, 71, quai de Valmy) A buzzing, convivial ambience, complete with brooding bearded artists and haute couture-clad fashionistas. The plates of charcuterie and fromage, accompanied by peche kir, are simply divine.


Announcing the Gran Hotel Son Julia, Mallorca, Spain

February 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gran Hotel Son Julia

The beautifully restored 15th century mansion makes its debut this month, the second luxury hotel on the island of Mallorca for the Stein Group. Close to Palma de Mallorca and the Mediterranean Sea, in a prime location overlooking the surrounding countryside, the Gran Hotel Son Julia offers 25 guestrooms, equipped with state-of-the-art features (marble bathrooms and giant plasma TVs) while still preserving many of the original historical details. Also on the premises: spa and wellness area, gym, indoor and outdoor pools and a choice of restaurants. Take advantage of the special opening rate of EUR 75 per person during the entire month of February, when the island is covered in flowering almond blossoms.


White Nights of Summer in St. Petersburg, Russia

February 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

In the dark, dismal throes of winter it's easy to fantasize about the antithesis: St. Pete's lively White Nights of Summer, when sunlight dances over the pastels of the city's buildings, lingering late into the night and inspiring people to flood the streets in understated celebration. A journey to St. Pete's is a once-in-a-lifetime must. The time to go? During the last 10 days in June, when darkness never falls, and the White Nights festival showcases ballet and dance. The city is aesthetically marvelous and steeped in culture, history and romance. Footbridges grace winding canals, framed on either end by majestic statues, and haunted by musicians drinking beer and playing guitar under the stars (or—in the case of the summertime—the endless waning sunlight).

Sites to see: With its huge dome standing proud over the Petersburg skyline, St. Isaac's Cathedral is even more extravagant on the inside: its interior a mix of marble and mosaic. The Hermitage Museum rivals the Louvre, with its overwhelming collection of art housed in the grand imperial palace on the banks of the Neva river. The Russian Museum, located in the former Mikhailovsky Palace, offers a breathtaking collection of works by Russian artists. Or follow the steps of famed Russian novelist Dostoyevsky, or his character Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. The city is rich in the literary haunts of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy.


Franco-American Relations Redeemed: the Reconstruction of La Fayette’s Ship in Rochefort, France

February 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hermione ship

The French are supersizing it. In the small, historic seaside port of Rochefort, near La Rochelle on the country's Atlantic coast, expert craftsmen have undertaken an enorme project: the reconstruction of the 65 meter ship that carried the legendary General La Fayette to join General Washington and the American leaders in their fight for independence in 1780. When it was first constructed, the Hermione required 11 months of work by hundreds of skilled workers; its reconstruction will take 10 years, and cost $10 million. This is the ultimate symbol of Franco-American fraternity, and an emblem of France's past naval strength. And a brilliant museum to visit, off the beaten path in France.


Celebrating Cezanne’s Centenary in Aix-en-Provence, France

February 8, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Provence

That's right, the charming city of Aix is paying tribute to the great artist—this is the father of modern art we're talking about!-- all throughout 2006. Indeed, Cézanne's light-filled paintings have become inseparable symbols of the Provençal setting they depict, the landscape that helped create the artistic genius that influenced Cubism, Fauvism and abstract art. Head to the south of France for the spectacular exhibit Cézanne in Provence, which features over a hundred of the artist's works, with 80 oil paintings and 30 water colors—all associated with the region around Aix. Now at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and showing at the Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, from June 9 - September 17, 2006. Additionally, starting April 8th the Tourism office will be operating a shuttle bus service to tour special Cezanne sites, including the studio at Les Lauves, the manor at Jas de Bouffan, and the quarries at Bibemus. The Cézanne 2006 season also includes performances, concerts, exhibitions, and music and dance. To really do it right in celebrating Cézanne's Provence, shack up at the Villa Gallici, an elegant paradise (and destination hotel) just 10 minutes from the town's historical center. (Where you can sip an aperitif on the statue-flanked terrace, overlooking the pool and Florentine gardens, before indulging in the evening's gastronomic feast.)

Villa Gallici, Official Site

Villa Gallici, Five Star Alliance


Dublin’s Merrion Hotel Offers Up a Recipe for the Ultimate Irish Coffee

February 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Merrion Cellar Bar

Here it is, the key to the signature Irish Coffee served by the experts at Dublin's most luxurious hotel. What better way to kill the chill of a cold winter's night.

The Merrion Irish Coffee

Ingredients:

Jameson Irish Whiskey - 35 cl and a drop for good luck

Strong freshly brewed coffee (caffeinated or decaf)

2 Brown Sugar Cubes (depending upon required sweetness)

50 m. Heavy Cream

3 Coffee Beans

Preparation:

Fill a cafe latte glass with a handle with hot water and leave to warm. Brew a pot of coffee. Empty the water from the glass and place the sugar cubes inside. Caramelize the sugar by pouring a few drops of Whiskey over them and gently light with a long match. Only let it burn for a few seconds so that the sugar just begins to caramelize. Pour in the measure of Whiskey and fill with coffee to within one inch of the rim. Ensure you keep a teaspoon in the glass at this stage. Stir well and ensure the sugar is completely dissolved to avoid a grainy texture when drinking. Place the cream in a clean cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until whipped. Using the back of the spoon, gently pour the cream into the glass. Garnish with three coffee beans and serve.

And according to the good folks at The Merrion:

On a typical winter's evening, The Merrion might serve up about a dozen Irish Coffees to patrons. However Stephen Lynch, Assistant Manager for the Drawing Rooms and Bar No. 23, reports that about two-and-a-half years ago, he and his staff prepared 150 Irish Coffees in an hour and a half much to the pleasure of the entire French Rugby Team who had taken up residence in the hotel bar that evening.

The Merrion, Official Site

The Merrion, Five Star Alliance