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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.

Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Hotel Schloss Fuschl Resort and Spa

February 6, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Hotel Schloss Fuschl Resort and Spa in Salzburg, Austria is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for leisure facilities. This luxury hotel is a renovated 15th-century castle that’s located on a peninsula in Lake Fuschl, facing the Alps and surrounded by 30 acres of nature. Its 110 beautiful rooms and suites overlook either the lake or the castle’s incredible park. This luxury hotel has received recognition for its leisure facilities which include opportunities to indulge yourself in the newly built spa, go hiking, biking, swimming, and a whole lot more!

Be sure to explore the photos and room options at the Hotel Schloss Fuschl Resort and Spa for a serene and relaxing adventure.


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Hotel Imperial

February 2, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

I have a question for the peanut gallery.  Ladies and gentlemen, what could possibly be better than gold?  Turning to the record industry for our answer, there is, of course, only one choice.  Platinum.  And the Gold List's gotten a silvery sheen, and like the American Express you may pay with to get in these places, the platinum club is just for the extra exclusive hotels who are more than just a flash-in-the-pan nouveau riche kind of hotel.  They've proven consistently over the last five years that they're Gold List material, so they've gotten the VIP upgrade.

Today's platinum contender is none other than the Hotel Imperial, one of only two hotels in Vienna to get this distinction, and boy is it something else?  The hypothetical boy, in this case, would have to answer with a resounding, "yes," because the Hotel Imperial does everything right.  Vienna is a city that never quite got past its imperial heritage and still longs for the days of the empire, and the Hotel Imperial harkens back to that era with a purity of character that's unrivalled in other Austrian hotels.  If you're looking for a stay where the Sacher torte is fresh and the after-dinner liquer subtle and full of flavor, then the Hotel Imperial is the one for you.  


Incredible Deals at Claridge's in London

February 2, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Claridge's is currently offering a few incredible packages and deals that are too good to pass up! This luxury 5 star property is located in the heart of Mayfair, surrounded by ample designer shops and two of London’s finest parks. All of its 203 rooms and suites boast the latest technology and its Foyer and Reading room serves delightful breakfast, award winning afternoon tea, and dinner.

Weekend Indulgence Package

Make a reservation and stay Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night and enjoy welcome champagne and a traditional English breakfast.

This package is available until December 31st 2012. Rates are based on double occupancy per room, per night, exclude of VAT of 20% and a service charge of 5%. Special offer rates are subject to limited availability on selected dates, and the offer may not be used in conjunction with other offers or negotiated rates.

Suite Heaven Package

Make your reservation at the Claridges’ one or two bedroom suites for a luxurious and stylish stay. Enjoy personal butler service and champagne while exploring the traditional art deco of the distinctively restored suites.

Offer is available until December 31st 2012, subject to availability and exclusive of VAT at 20% and a discretionary service charge of 5%. Offer may not be used in conjunction with other offers or negotiated rates.

Family Heaven Package

This package is perfect for families traveling to London and provides 2 rooms for the price of 1! This package also includes welcome champagne and traditional English breakfast. The young travelers will enjoy smoothies and cookies upon arrival as well access to a selection of game consoles (including Nintendo Wii, subject to availability).

Valid until December 31st 2012, and rates exclusive of VAT at 20% and a discretionary service charge of 5%. This offer applies to 2 adults and 2 children up to the age of 16 only. Special offer rates are subject to limited availability on selected dates, and may not be used in conjunction with other offers or negotiated rates. Connecting rooms can be requested at time of booking but are subject to availability.

Be sure to check out Claridge's to view photos, availability, and make your reservations!


$50 Spa Credit at the Carlyle and Free Champagne at the Ritz? Yes, Please.

January 31, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

When Confucius declared the five pillars of filial piety, he hardly could have anticipated the sixth relationship that matters above all else, the one of blogger to his readers.  In honor of that lasting bond, I have come bearing gifts to solidify our friendship.  I hope you like them; I was going to make you a papier mache model of the Burj Al Arab, but my crafting abilities are on par with a baby elephant's, and I don't even have a prehensile trunk.

So instead, I'm happy to declare that Five Star Alliance have partnered with the Ritz Paris and the Carlyle in New York to bring you special amenities with reservations made under the Five Star Alliance rate. For a limited time, the Ritz Paris is offering free champagne with FSA reservations.  The saccharine taste of bubbly effervescence is the perfect way to sweeten an already great deal for a hotel in the heart of the city of bread, wine, love, and cheese.  And it's the perfect time to catch this Parisian gem before it goes off the radar for an extensive renovation.

If New York is a little bit more your style, the Carlyle is looking to show off its exquisite Rosewood Spa by offering FSA guests a $50 spa credit. Simply select the "Welcome Offer" rate code, and you'll be well on your way to enjoy a sumptuous soak in one of New York's finest spas.  And don't forget that if you're friend of Five Star Alliance on Facebook by the beginning of March, you could win two nights at the Carlyle for free. 

 


Top 5 Romantic Valentine's Day Hotels: #3 Hotel Plaza Athenee

January 27, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Valentine's Day is coming up, and, as such, it's time to think about where you'd like to spend the day with that special someone. Whether you're enjoying a cozy night in or an adventure on the town, a night in a luxury hotel can be the perfect gift to the both of you, a chance to escape to another world where no expense will be spared in giving you the night of a lifetime. What follows is just one in a series of our favorite romantic hotels, and, we think, a great place to take him or her this February the 14th.

#3 The Hotel Plaza Athenee

For a city like Paris, its romantic image the stuff of fairy tales, it is almost impossible to pick our favorite romantic hotel.  Whether an iconic mainstay of the cityscape or a small boutique hotel tucked away in a charming neighborhood, each jewel in the Parisian crown has its sparkle. So instead of evaluating by some arbitrary metric, like roses/sqm or candles of candlelight, I just thought to myself, "Where would I take my girlfriend if I found myself in Paris just a few weeks from now?"  And once I stopped troubling myself with the details, the answer came quickly:  The Hotel Plaza Athenee. It's everything you could desire for your romantic evening, a dream of a hotel within a dream of a city. And for the girl of your dreams, how could you ask for anything less? 

Whether you're staying in the Eiffel Signature Exclusive Suite with a view onto the tower itself or a cozy room tucked away for perfect privacy, the Hotel Plaza Athenee promises to make a night you'll forget in the moment but remember forever. And with staff members outnumbering rooms nearly 3 to 1, you'll be sure that every detail is inch-perfect.

To set the evening off right, simply go downstairs to experience the cuisine world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse. The lightest brush of your lips against the bouquet of flavors in each of his dishes will create a never-before experienced synesthesia, a fusion of light and color emanating from your taste buds.  Savor each bite as time itself begins to slow to a rest. And when you pair your meal with a bottle of the finest French wine, well, I don't even have to tell you.

It's a rare hotel indeed that I can recommend without reservation, but I guarantee that the Hotel Plaza Athenee will give you the Valentine's day experience you didn't even know you were looking for.


The May Fair Hotel has Availability for London Olympics!

January 25, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The majority of luxury hotels in London have been sold out for the 2012 Summer Olympics, but a few have luckily been able to release some rooms back into the system! Check out the following 5-star hotel that currently has availability for various dates ranging from July 27th – August 12th. Be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible; these availabilities won’t last long!

The May Fair Hotel has between 5 to 10 of each room type available. These rooms are subject to 20% Government Tax, and there is a minimum of 3 nights stay required. These are full prepay rates that are non-cancellable.

The May Fair Hotel is a luxury 5-star hotel centrally located in the most fashionable area of Mayfair. It is a 1 minute walk to the Green Park Tube Station and a 3 minute walk to Piccadilly Circus. All of the rooms are a generous size with the standard king room starting at 350 square feet, making the May Fair Hotel’s rooms some of the largest in London. A few key features of this hotel are that it offers complimentary wireless internet access, a private theater, and a luxurious spa.

The May Fair Hotel currently has the following room types available:

Queen

King Superior

Twin Superior

King Deluxe

Family Room with 2 Queen Beds

Studio Suite

Please be advised that rates and availability are subject to change prior to making a reservation. Make your reservations today to ensure that you’ll be in the heart of the action for the 2012 Summer Olympics!


Top 5 Romantic Valentine's Day Hotels: #5 Bauer Il Palazzo

January 20, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Valentine's Day is coming up, and, as such, it's time to think about where you'd like to spend the day with that special someone.  Whether you're enjoying a cozy night in or an adventure on the town, a night in a luxury hotel can be the perfect gift to the both of you, a chance to escape to another world where no expense will be spared in giving you the night of a lifetime.  What follows is just one in a series of our favorite romantic hotels, and, we think, a great place to take him or her this February the 14th. 

No list of romantic hotels would be complete without an entry from perhaps the most romantic city in the world (although Paris would certainly like to dispute that fact).  The Bauer Il Palazzo is everything you'd imagine from Venice's most intimate boutique hotel.  Overlooking the Grand Canal and just steps from St. Mark's, the Palazzo is the perfect staging point to explore the winding streets and canals.  

Its 76 rooms and suites make liberal use of the finest in Venetian workmanship, including iconic Murano glass chandeliers.  A word of advice:  If you're looking to pick up a piece of this truly unique artwork, it's worth a trip on the ferry to the island of Murano itself, where the glass is made behind the very shop from which you're purchasing it.  When you're ready for a waterfront meal, make sure to return to the Palazzo's very own Settimo Cielo, where you can enjoy views as stunning as the fresh Italian cuisine.  The Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure Award-winning Bauer Il Palazzo represents the pinnacle of the opulent Venetian lifestyle, and there is, in my opinion, no better way to see one of the most romantic and cultured cities in the world.


The Church of Rock 'n' Roll: Abbey Road Access to Savoy Guests

January 17, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

As inevitably as salmon swimming upstream or the coming of the next political scandal, lovers of Rock 'n' Roll are sure to jump at the opportunity to see the ancestral home of arguably the greatest band of all time. Courtesy of HotelChatter, we're happy to report that Fairmont-owned properties, including the famed Savoy, are allowing guests to reserve behind-the-scenes tours of the iconic Abbey Road studios.

Not only that, if you fancy shredding some chords between the same panelled walls as Lennon and McCartney, they're also giving you the opportunity to set up a recording session in selfsame studio.  All this is due to the fact that the Savoy's in-house design team is heading the restoration project of the 80-year-old studio.  So come together  with Sgt. Pepper and make a club band, and, with a little help from your friends, you'll be ready to put together your own album in the very place the Beatles launched their fame.  Just steer clear of Yoko, and your stay at the Savoy in London could be one of the coolest vacations in history.


41 Reasons to Stay at the 41 Hotel: #1 It Could Be Free!

January 16, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The 41 Hotel in London is a little like the Radiohead of the hotel world.  Mixing contemporary electronics with classic themes, they are always pushing the boundaries of what to expect.  This English property is becoming internationally renowned, and we're not really sure why they're so good at what they do, but they consistently deliver an original and off-beat experience that leaves you wanting to return.

And like a best friend coming to offer you free concert tickets, Five Star Alliance is proud to announce that as part of expanding the way in which we interact with our fans, we're giving away a chance to stay at the 41 Hotel for three nights for free!  To enter, simply like us on Facebook, and if you win, you'll be able to stay at the 41, or two nights at The Carlyle in New York, depending on which city strikes your fancy.  

1. It's called the 41.  If it's possible for a hotel name to be cool, they've managed it.
2. Awarded Best London Hotel by TripAdvisor in the 2011 Traveler's Choice  Awards.
3. The contemporary decor mixes stark, pure hues of black and white with rich mahogany to create a feel that is both cutting edge and timeless.  Honestly one of my favorite design choices of any hotel, anywhere.
4. Located opposite Buckingham palace, the views are simply royal in quality.
5. With a ratio of 2 staff to every guest, not only is their service exceptionally personal, they beat out Harvard's student-faculty ratio by 14 times.
6. Work out or let it all out with a complimentary day pass to the nearby LA Fitness Spa and Health Club where you can enjoy the sauna, spa, swimming pool, and state-of-the-art exercise equipment and even book a personal trainer.
7. The crown jewel Master Suite allows you to gaze upward at the stars through a glass ceiling that traps in the heat as well as it lets out your imagination.
8. A romantic turndown, available on request, leaves a touch of lavender perfume on your pillows and candles floating in the bathtub.
9. A pet concierge.  That's a concierge, for your pet. I don't know why I'd need it, but now I definitely want it.
10. Most of the rooms feature working fireplaces.
11. Once the Executive Lounge shuts down for the evening, feel free to Plunder the Pantry for free snacks and drinks.
12.  New York Times Syndicate declared that "No better cocoon in England's capital exists."
13.  Executive hospitality suite allows you to separate business and pleasure in your own room, with two separate entrances and a distinct meeting space, you can keep the utmost professional atmosphere.
14. Every room brings a unique touch to the black-and-white themed decor.
15. Formerly the grand ballroom of the nearby Rubens at the Palace, 41 decided that wasn't quite opulent enough, and converted itself into an exclusive residents-only boutique hotel.  It's almost like the entire hotel is a VIP room.
16. Similarly, the Executive Lounge that features as the centerpiece of the hotel allows only residents.
17. The nearby Rubens, however, does not offer the same exclusivity and its famed restaurant, the Library serves the highest quality English food and is open to guests of 41 and can even be charged to your room.  If you were ever to try at Yorkshire pudding, this would be the place.
18. The Leopard Champagne Bar is no less than what you expect, and you can feel free to cozy up to a surprisingly tasteful leopard-print pillow will sipping on the finest champagne and cognac.
19. The sunlit glass roof of the lounge is guaranteed to brighten your morning brunch, served until 1pm on Sundays.
20. Rooms are tech-savvy, featuring iPod docking stations, LCD tvs, and just about anything else you could require.
21. Whether for business or pleasure, there's free wired internet in every bedroom and wireless throughout the hotel.
22. Choose an aromatherapy pillow from their exclusive pillow menu.  I recommend the extra-soft, which goes perfectly with the fruity overtones of a Riesling or Pinot Grigio.
23. Their pet services from the aforementioned concierge are so comprehensive, at first I thought they were pulling my leg. On check-out, you can even receive a framed photo of your pet along with a certificate of stay.
24. If you're looking to host an event, look no further than the personalized Event Coordinator, who will sort out all the personal touches to a memorable celebration.
25. Fuzzy slippers for ladies and gentlemen.
26. A welcome drink on arrival helps you settle in.
27. Split-level suites offer maximum comfort and spaciousness if you're looking to take your vacation to especially lofty heights.  
28. In-room massage for when you need to be so relaxed that you don't have to even move.
29. If you're carrying a bouncing baby, rock them to sleep in available baby cots
30. Some rooms face the Royal Mews, which is not a troop of cats but the stables for the royal family.
31. The small touches, like the fresh fruit and scented candles, add flourish to already memorable rooms.
32. If you're looking for some off-beat cuisine, the Bbar Restaurant, also at the Rubens, offers delicious South African cuisine.
33. Dine on the separate Mezzanine level of the Executive Lounge for a more exclusive experience.
34. If a longer stay is in the cards for you, the 41 even arranges for nearby 1 or 2-bedroom apartments.
35. If you'd like an escape from the city streets, miles of jogging trails are available in Green Park and St. James Park.
36. 41 supplies all of its guests with luxurious Fragonard toiletries.
37. Take out a Nintendo Wii on loan if you'd like to enjoy some quality in-room gaming.
38. Child daycare if you simply need to get away from the little one for a quiet evening.
39. A complimentary newspaper (that matches your room!) every morning.
40. And, of course, there's 24-hour room service for the midnight snackers among us.
41.  It could be free!  Simply 'like' us on Facebook and you'll be automatically entered to win three nights at the 41 Hotel in London!


Luxury Traveler’s Bucket List: Santorini, Greece

January 11, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions and managed to stop going to the gym or taking those cooking classes come February. This year, make a commitment to a simpler, more fulfilling resolution: travel more. Take in what the world has to offer, and do it in style. Be sure to keep up with our new blog series where we’ll be featuring an incredible destination everyone should visit in his/her lifetime. Consider this list a tool to give you a few ideas and inspiration on exciting places to go, where to stay, and what to see!

Our second feature destination today is Santorini, Greece.

About Santorini:

Santorini is an incredible island in the Southern Aegean Sea, and it has been said that Santorini sunsets are some of the best in the world. With breathtaking views of the volcano and neighboring islands and miles of beaches, it’s an island worth exploring in your lifetime. The famous, cliff side white-washed houses with sky blue roofs are iconic of the Greek Islands, and they will open your eyes to beauty and awaken the intrepid spirit in you.

Things to do:

Be sure to visit the Santorini volcano, hop into the hot springs, take a donkey ride, and then watch the beautiful sunset in Oia. Explore the Boutari winery, the first winery on the island to open its doors to the public in 1989 and spend the day in Oia, where all of the beautiful white houses can be found.

Local Cuisine:

Be sure to try Fava, a puree made from Fava beans, white eggplant, the ‘national’ course in Santorini, and of course, their seafood options including octopus.

Luxurious Accommodations:

Santorini has 11 luxurious hotels. A few worth checking out are the Tsitouras Collection Hotel and Vedema Resort. The Tsitouras Collection Hotel has served as a school, post office, and private home over the centuries, and now it’s an exclusive hotel full of history and culture. It has been renovated and converted into 5 units, each with a separate theme and embrace Greek culture and tradition. The Vedema Resort is constructed in a traditional style and features an authentic look inspired by the colors of the Greek Islands. This resort boasts 10 pool suites and a luxurious Presidential Villa, and it overlooks a vineyard, which hosts nightly wine tastings.

Have you been to Santorini? Where did you stay? Be sure to keep up with our blog series and check out our first featured destination, Prague.