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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.

Chateau Mcely, Czech Republic: Historical Grandeur Restored


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau Mcely

Welcome to the most luxurious hotel in the Czech Republic. (According to Dolce Vita magazine, anyway.) A proud member of Small Luxury Hotels, Chateau Mcely has opened as a five star hotel after an incredible renovation project. The former rural manor of the Thurn-Taxis aristocracy, the 17th century castle has a long and fascinating history. It is situated in the middle of the legendary St. George Forest above a small village, just an hour's drive from Prague. When the current owners discovered the property, it was a devastated ruin. The restoration of the chateau was close to miraculous; the sensitive attention to detail won the hotel an award for the "Best of Realty 2006 in Hotel Projects." Situated next to the lush Jabkenice Game Park (1,200 acres of forest and fish-filled lakes, with excellent walking trails), Chateau Mcely provides beautiful vistas for as far as the eye can see. The 24 guest rooms and suites are exquisitely decorated, each with its own style and name. Enjoy an aperitif at the Alchymist Bar and Plate Hall; choose from the fine selection of Czech and international wines, drinks, and single malt whiskies. Indulge in a massage at the Wellness Center. Go on a hot-air balloon ride, or marvel at the beautiful surrounding landscape on the ground, with the assistance of the Forestry Center.


Ski the Pyrenees in Cauterets, France


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cauterets

Fringed by the tall, snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees, the French village of Cauterets is a picturesque resort destination, famed for its seasonal recreational activities. In the winter, Cauterets is almost always shrouded in a thick blanket of snow, and entices skiers and snowboarders of all levels to hit the slopes carved from the surrounding mountains. This year's scant snowfall has compelled most French ski resorts in the Pyrenees to close-- with the exception of Cauterets, of course. The town's proximity to some of the best hiking trails in France (the National Park of the Pyrenees straddles the Franco-Spanish border and boasts a wealth of natural beauty) ensures plenty of summertime visitors as well. After a day on the slopes, relax fatigued muscles in Les Thermes, the Roman style bath complex fed by hot springs. (The naturally-warm water may reek of rotten eggs, but the jet pools and showers are divine.) Sip an aperitif at one of many cozy bars or hit the casino, located near the river which flows through the town. At the small covered market, foodies drool over perfect wedges of local cheese, homemade blueberry torte, and seasoned charcuterie. Note: most shops are only open in the morning and evening hours.


Valentine’s Day Retreat at Relais and Chateaux Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau de Noirieux

Savor an enchanting Valentine's Day package at some of the world's most romantic hotels and resorts. From the French Riviera to the East Coast of North America, Relais and Chateaux properties are luxurious hideaways that provide the best kind of pampering for you and a loved one. Packages include luxury accommodations and some delicious treats... like Champagne on ice in your guestroom, a romantic dinner for two, chocolate-dipped strawberries, pampering spa treatments, and more. At the Chateau de Noirieux in the Loire Valley, for example, enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day package that is also a gourmand's fantasy. The sumptuous hotel, truly fit for a king, features lavish accommodations and a superb restaurant in a grand architectural setting dating from the 12th century. The Valentine's Day package includes accommodations for two, continental breakfast, lunch or dinner with a special Valentine's menu, and a half bottle of Champagne in-room upon arrival. Priced at EUR 370, available from February 9-14, 2007. And North Carolina's elegant country inn, The Fearrington House, is offering a one-night Romance Package which includes overnight accommodations, traditional English Afternoon Tea, full breakfast, a bottle of chilled champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, gourmet dinner for two, a red rose at turndown, and luxurious robes and slippers. Starting at $560, available from February 14- 28, 2007. The full list of participating Relais and Chateaux properties can be found here.


Wine Dinners at Summer Lodge, Evershot, Dorset Downs, England


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Summer Lodge

Enjoy the tranquility of this luxurious English Country House retreat, ranked as one of Britain's top twenty hotels by Tatler magazine. Set amidst beautifully manicured English country gardens in the picturesque village of Evershot in Dorset Downs, Summer Lodge offers its guests a range of country pursuits, from horseback riding to shooting. But perhaps the most splendid part of the hotel is the 3 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant, where Chef Steven Titman's extravagant cuisine is matched by the fine wines chosen by Eric Zwiebel, UK Sommelier of the Year. (Indeed, Wine Spectator bestowed its Best of Award of Excellence in 2006 for the outstanding wine list.) The famous Summer Lodge Wine Dinners, held on the first Tuesday of every month, are memorable evenings where guests are spoiled with a four course dinner and a selection of five fine wines from a specific wine region. Guest speakers showcase the wines. The program for 2007 begins on March 6, 2007 with an evening dedicated to the best small family-owned domains in the Rhone Valley, France. (The dinner is priced at GBP 65.)


January Sales in London: Winter Heaven at the Maybourne Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maybourne Hotel Group

Post-holiday blues? Escape to London to hit the January Sales and take in the latest shows. The Maybourne Hotel Group, which manages a trio of super-luxury London hotels, has put together a tempting Winter Heaven package, starting from just GBP 239 per night. These London properties are some of the most renowned hotels in the world, each defined by a distinctive personality. The art deco jewel Claridges is the epitome of grand English style, adored by celebrities and illustrious families for over a century; The Berkeley, situated in fashionable Belgravia, is home to the Michelin star rated Petrus restaurant and trendy Blue Bar; The Connaught is located in the heart of Mayfair at one of the world's most distinguished addresses. The Winter Heaven package includes accommodations, a bottle of champagne upon arrival, and English breakfast each morning. Prices start at GBP 239 at The Connaught, GBP 249 at The Berkeley, and GBP 259 at Claridges. Available until January 14, 2007.


Hot Spots: Tallinn, Estonia and the Hotel Telegraaf


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Telegraaf, Tallinn

The secret's out about the charming city of Tallinn, long adored by touring Finns and visitors from other Baltic countries (just a quick 50 mile hop across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki). Because easyJet started flying to Tallinn in 2004, "the Estonian capital has become the Las Vegas of the Baltics," so says The New York Times, which urges getting there fast. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town is a picturesque and well-preserved historical masterpiece full of turreted castles, Gothic spires, and winding cobblestone alleyways. The place to stay is Hotel Telegraaf, the city's only member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Located in the heart of Old Town, the hotel is housed in a 19th century building which used to be the city's telephone exchange station. The facade is elegant; the interiors are luxurious. The Hotel Telegraaf joins the Three Sisters Hotel as the finest in the city (both hotels have the same owners). After an extensive refurbishment, the Hotel Telegraaf opened in November 2006 with 86 rooms, the indulgent Elemis Spa, and the Tchaikovsky restaurant, serving fine Russian cuisine. A word of caution: avoid the booming tourist trap during sultry summer weekends. It's best to travel to Tallinn in the late spring, early summer, or early fall, when the days are still warm, but the tourist droves have vanished.

Noteworthy: This beautiful city has become a tech capital for the region, so you won't have a hard time finding a WiFi spot.


Winter Escapes: Free Night on the French Riviera at Cap Estel Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap Estel Hotel

What could possibly beat the French Riviera? The French Riviera in the off-season, when you can score incredible deals like this one. At the Stein Group's luxurious Cap Estel Hotel, located between Nice and Monaco in the charming village of Eze-Bord-de-Mer, pay for two nights and get the third for free! This special seasonal offer is available January 1- January 7, 2007 and March 1- March 31, 2007. (Lovebirds, forget February!) Situated on its own four acre peninsula overlooking the Mediterranean, this renowned 19th century hotel has played host to royalty, politicians, and celebrities from all over the world. Guests have exclusive access to the private beach, the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, state-of-the-art fitness room, sauna, steam bath and the advice of a private trainer. The hotel features only eight rooms and twelve suites, for the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity. All rooms have a balcony or terrace with sea view, and are equipped with cutting-edge technology.


Eos Airlines Special Offer: Fly Free With JetBlue


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eos Airlines

Hurry! For a limited time only, when you fly Eos between New York and London, you will receive a free roundtrip ticket anywhere JetBlue flies. Eos is the swanky, all-premium class airline that has everyone talkin.' Passengers are spoiled with a highly personalized level of service, enormous suites (with fully horizontal beds and the most personal space of any commercial airline), curbside escort service through "fast-track" check-in, and complimentary, premium car service upon arrival or departure at London Stansted. Book a roundtrip on Eos by December 22, 2006 (that's tomorrow, folks!) and complete travel by April 30, 2007 and you'll receive 100 JetBlue TrueBlue points-- enough for a free roundtrip anywhere JetBlue flies. (Have your TrueBlue number ready when you make the reservation.)


What’s Hot: The Luxury Ice Bar, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ice Bar Hotel Kube

Ice hotels, ice bars, ice spas, luxury igloos... The opulent Four Seasons Hotel George V has jumped on the fashionably-freezing bandwagon. The first ice bar in Paris was opened at the trendy Kube Hotel in the 18th arrondissement. Hipsters flock to this cutting-edge design boutique. Entrance to the Ice Kube GreyGoose vodka bar is EUR 38 for 30 minutes with a limited capacity of only 20 peeps; reservations required. Now the George V has followed suit. According to the NYT:

It's official, freezing is in fashion. Last month in Paris, the Four Seasons Hotel George V opened a luxury ice bar, bringing a Gallic twist to a Nordic novelty. The bar was built entirely of ice in a refrigerated cube in the hotel’s courtyard. Guests are given a black rabbit-fur Kaufman Franco poncho for their 30-minute session inside the boudoir-style interior, which is kept at a frosty 18 degrees. While the hors d'oeuvres won't cure frostbite (ice bars and sorbet), the flavored vodkas (ginger, cinnamon and vanilla among others) served at the glacial bar just might. The bar is open daily, 6 to 11 p.m. until Jan. 15, and the entrance fee of 55 includes drinks and amuse bouches. Reservations are required.

Image Via Gridskipper

Related Articles:

Gadling, "Being Cold is, Well, Cool"

Mobiblog, "Cool Hotels: Kube Hotel Paris"


Premier Ski Destinations: Le Melezin Hotel at Courcheval, French Alps


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Melezin

It's official. Ski season has begun on the fashionable slopes of Courcheval, where the hip and fabulous flock to the world's largest ski area, situated in the heart of Les Trois Vallées. Where to stay? The ski resort of Le Mélézin, operated by Amanresorts, is an elegant bastion of exclusivity set directly on the slopes overlooking the Alpine village of Courcheval. The 31 guest rooms and suites, finished in red cedar, offer views of the ski slopes and surrounding peaks. (23 rooms feature balconies.) The main salon, with its open fireplace and cozy ambience, is a popular après-ski gathering place for cocktails and conversation (not to mention the mountain vistas). The Turkish-style hammam, spa, Jacuzzis, gym, and pool offer the ultimate in après-ski. The winter season runs until April 10, 2007.