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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.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the City of Love

January 10, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We can’t think of a better place to celebrate the most romantic holiday of the year than the City of Love, and we can’t think of a better luxury hotel to embrace the romance than the Ritz Paris. From its grand lobby and luxurious suites to its beautiful décor and charming dining rooms, this historic hotel never fails to enchant and inspire all who stay here. Decorated in classic French style and located in one of the loveliest squares in Paris, this hotel has welcome guests such as Marcel Proust, Elton John, Oscar de la Renta, and Coco Chanel.

On February 14th, 2012, the Ritz Paris is offering an unforgettable celebration. Enjoy a romantic gourmet dinner at the L’Espadon Restaurant which will have live piano music and an exquisitely romantic menu. One lucky lady will win a jewel, and every couple will receive a beautiful floral arrangement and a bottle of Ritz rose Champagne. In the evening, the Ritz Paris will offer guests a romantic ride through the Place Vendome in beautiful horse-drawn carriages. For the entire month of February, guests will be given extra attention and special treatment. Upon arrival, all guests will be offered an elegant rose and a chocolate surprise specially made by the Ritz Paris pastry chef. Each room will have all of the ingredients to make a “Miss Bonde,” the iconic cocktail from the Hemingway Bar made from Ritz Champagne and strawberry liquor. To remember the special weekend you and your special someone shared, each couple will receive pillowcases embroidered with their initials and a copy of The Ritz Paris: Mixing Drinks, a Simple Story by Colin Field, the head bartender of the Hemingway Bar.

Can’t make it to the Ritz Paris for Valentine’s Day? Then be sure to plan your trip sometime this year because this beautiful hotel will be closing down in the summer of 2012 for an extensive two year renovation.


Luxury Hotels for the 2012 Olympics in London

January 6, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will take place July 27th – August 12th, and while that seems like a ways away, fans are already making their arrangements to ensure they get to experience the thrill first hand. Don’t get left out of the fun and make your reservation at any of the 95 luxury hotels in London!

A few incredible luxury hotels in London are the Egerton House Hotel, the 41 Hotel, and the Milestone Hotel and Apartments. The Egerton House Hotel is located in the heart of Knightsbridge, and it’s a luxurious boutique with only 30 unique rooms. The 41 Hotel is a discreet, beautiful hotel overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, and it takes pride in offering an outstanding level of personal services. The Milestone Hotel and Apartments overlooks Kensington Palace, and every room is uniquely decorated with luxurious furnishings, fully equipped to fulfill the needs of every traveler.


A Luxury Traveler’s Bucket List: Prague, Czech Republic

January 4, 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 first feature destination today is Prague, Czech Republic.

About Prague:

Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic has a rich history and culture running through its narrow, cobblestone streets. Prague is a city of resilience, persevering through floods, fires, and invasions, making it extremely unique and captivating. This city’s breathtaking churches, Gothic-style architecture, the castle, and the Charles Bridge all make this one of the most incredible cities in Europe.

Must-See Attractions:

The most famous landmark is the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle complex in the world. It is open daily and is home to the Czech Crown Jewels. Witness the changing of the guard at the top of every hour and opt in for a guided tour to take in the history and beauty of the castle. Another must-see attraction is the Charles Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Prague. Both ends of the bridge are reinforced by towers, and the entrance gate is beautifully adorned with Gothic sculptures.  For other must-see attractions, we encourage you to explore the list of the Top 10 Prague Monuments, put together by PragueWelcome.com

Local Cuisine:

Be sure to try the pork or beef dumplings called ‘Knedliky,’ fried cheese, and their onion and garlic soup. And of course, be sure to try traditional, Czech beer as well!

Luxurious Accommodations:

Prague has 26 luxurious hotels. A few worth checking out are the Augustine and the Boscolo Carlo IV. The Augstine has been created from several buildings, including the 13th century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery. The hotel’s beautiful rooms all have stunning views of the courtyards, the monastery chapel, or Prague Castle. The Boscolo Carlo IV is another incredible hotel, and it offers unique amenities such as a Cigar Bar and an indoor pool with a striking Mosaic floor. This hotel encompasses a magical blend of the past and future in its architectural design and room décor.

Have you been to Prague? Where did you stay? We encourage you to get involved and tell us about your excursions on our Facebook or Twitter page!


Sad Times at Savoy: London Hotel Suffers Russell Brand Sob Story

January 3, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

If you're the kind of person who follows celebrity gossip, you're already well aware that Russell Brand and Katy Perry have filed for divorce, and while Katy was partying it up in style, Mr. Brand decided to take the melancholy route on New Year's.  The Savoy London housed his usual ironic distance and sardonic wit for the night, and he is even reported by The Mirror to have responded to wishes for a happy new year, "Here's hoping it gets better."  The poor guy ordered room service and generally spent the night alone, while Katy Perry partied it up in West Hollywood.  At least he got some top-quality comfort food.

We hope that next time you make a trip to The Savoy, you're not in the middle of a multi-million-dollar divorce because it really is a lovely place.  And most of the celebrities who make their stay there are looking for great time: Rihanna certainly made a splash.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #1 Villa d'Este

December 31, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

Our countdown has come to an end, and it is time to announce the number one hotel as chosen by our discerning travelers and determined by sophisticated algorithms and more than a little bit of voodoo magic.  Five Star Alliance's #1 hotel for 2011 is

 Villa d'Este!


Quick facts about Villa d'Este:

- On the shore of Lake Como, one of the most secluded and breathtaking lakes in Italy, the Villa d'Este was originally the summer residence of Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and is just a short trip north of Milan, one of Italy's most romantic cities.

- Its 152 rooms, divided between two palatial residences, each offer a unique feel, a result of the meticulously maintained renaissance decor of the original residences built in 1568.  Live in true luxury, in rooms once occupied by the royal guests of the Cardinal and preserved in their original glory.

- The Villa is perfectly self-sufficient:  included in its amenities are eight tennis courts, several dining options, including sushi and classical Italian, a Turkish bath and sauna, winery tours by chaffeur, and one of the most challenging par 69s in Europe only seven miles away.

- If you want a change of scenery from your grand room, simply head outdoors to enjoy the 25-acre park, which is perfectly designed and continuously manicured in its original Renaissance style:  the entire park molds nature into a work of art.

- Its hotel pool was featured in our Ten Best Hotel Pools in the World for its floating pool, literally on the lake, not to mention an additional kids pool to keep them away from your relaxation:

"The pool at Villa d’Este on Lake Como would make Archimedes blush. Floating above the very lake that the Villa rests against, the pool features a built-in Jacuzzi and fantastic view of the surrounding mountains. It’s like swimming in the lake just inches below your feet, but it’s always the perfect temperature."

- Four reception rooms hold up to 400 people alongside another 250 in nine different meeting rooms, all to the same standards of luxury as rest of the classical Renaissance hotel.

- As if that weren't enough, it's also a Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure Award Winner.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at Villa d'Este > >

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! See below for the full list of Top Hotels for 2011!

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen  
#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore  
#18 – The Peninsula Chicago  
#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua  
#16 - Auberge du Soleil  
#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel  
#14 - The One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah  
#13 - The Hotel de Crillon  
#12 - Peninsula Hong Kong  
#11 - Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi  
#10 - Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona 
#9 - Jumeirah Essex House
#8 - Atlantis the Palm Dubai
#7 - Hotel Le St. James  
#6 - Half Moon, a Rock Resort
#5 - Charleston Place
#4 - King George Palace
#3 - La Tremoille
#2 - Don Cesar Beach Hotel
#1 - Villa d'Este


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #3 La Tremoille

December 29, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #3 spot we have La Tremoille, located near the center of Paris's Golden Triangle.

La TremoilleQuick facts about La Tremoille:

- The 93 rooms and suites are decorated in 30 different patterns and color schemes, accenting the personalized and unique stay of every guest.

- Renovated for 15 months in 2002, La Tremoille leapfrogged much of its competition as one of the traditional deluxe Paris hotels.

- Rooms feature a special "Hatch" foyer that offers ultimate privacy by separating guest rooms further from the hallway and allowing wait staff to bring room service and amenities without actually entering your room.

- Not only the hotel has been upgraded, the restaurant has been renovated even more recently than the hotel and has reopened under a new name, Le Louis2, offering wonderful French cuisine.

Charleston Place Pool

- The suites give a panoramic view of Paris rooftops and offer both living rooms and armchairs so comfortable, you find it hard to get yourself back out of them.

- The spa includes a sauna, hydro-jet shower, two private massage rooms, and beauty care rooms, not to mention the much-coveted jet-lag recovery therapy.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at La Tremoille > >

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! Check back to see our top two hotels for the year!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #4 King George Palace

December 28, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #4 spot we have King George Palace, one of the most famous landmarks in Athens, Greece, ideally located on Constitution Square.

Quick facts about King George Palace:

- Distinguished as the best hotel in Greece, and is ranked among the top 20 best hotels in the Overseas Leisure Hotel Section for Europe.

- Unique, luxury boutique hotel has been home to Kings, Princes, and Presidents since the early 1930s.

- Located steps away from the Greek Parliament, near the historical center.

- Combines the exquisiteness of a historic landmark with modern amenities and personal attention.

- Certain rooms have a breathtaking view of the Acropolis, and the Royal Presidential suite has a private outdoor pool.

- The Tudor Restaurant features an impressive view of Athens and the Acropolis.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the King George Palace.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #10 Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona

December 22, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #10 spot we have the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona, located on Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona’s most exclusive shopping street.

Quick facts about the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona:

- Walking distance from Barcelona’s most exciting landmarks including Las Ramblas, the Plaza de Cataluna, the Gothic Quarter, and Gaudi’s major architectural works.

- Offers 276 rooms and 41 suits, all renovated and new in 2011.

- Rooms use the most up-to-date technology including a Satellite Newspaper kiosk to access 168 international newspapers.

- Offers Smart Roadster Convertible cars with GPS, and this service is free for one day for guests who reserve a suite.

- Business Center features 5 PCs with Windows XP, laser and ink-jet printers, photocopier, fax, scanner, shredder, and office supplies.

- Outdoor, rooftop pool offers guests incredible views of Barcelona.

- The Penthouse is the most exclusive and luxurious room option. It offers the most impressive panoramic view of the city, two private terraces, and 6 plasma screen televisions.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona.


W Paris to open on Valentine’s Day

December 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Located in the heart of the city of lights, the W Hotel Paris Opera is set to open on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2012. The W Paris will be the first W Hotel in France, and it will be more of a boutique hotel, offering only 91 guestrooms, including 22 suites. This luxury hotel is steps away from the Granier Opera House as well as a short walk from the Rue de la Paix and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, two fashionable shopping streets.

The restaurant at the W Paris provides guests with a culinary experience unlike any other. The chef prepares the menu with extreme attention to detail, highlighting the best ingredients available each season. Be amongst the first to experience the W Paris, and prepare to get swept away by the beauty and romance that comes with the city of love and Valentine’s Day!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #13 The Hotel de Crillon

December 19, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts One & Only Maldives at Reethi RahWorldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #13 spot we have the Hotel de Crillon, the exclusive and historic Parisian icon.

Quick facts about the Hotel de Crillon:

- A historical monument in its own right, the luxury hotel is steeped in the culture of 18th century Paris.  Its Louis XV design believes strongly in gold filigree and ornamentation, but never crosses the line into gaudiness.  

- The gourmet restaurant Les Ambassadeurs fills the former ballroom of the Dukes de Crillon and dinner guests can enjoy the world class cuisine in a room that has entertained kings.  

- And speaking of entertaining kings, so many famous guests have called the Hotel de Crillon home, that it almost seems an affront to the others to single any out.  Theodore Roosevelt, King George, Andrew Carnegie, Cary Grant and many more have all called the hotel home, and they even flew the flag of Texas when Lance Armstrong celebrated his Tour de France victory inside their walls.

- Its suites are unparalleled, including the Leonard Bernstein suite, named for the famous composer who frequently called it home which offers a view of the Eiffel tower from your bubblebath.  The other famed American to reside there, Edith Wharton much preferred the Hotel de Crillon to the nearby Ritz, where "the newly rich but uncultivated Americans stayed."   

One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah- One of only six palace hotels in Paris, you're guaranteed to get the royal treatment

- It houses seven palatial meeting and reception rooms that can house up to 350 people.  

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Hotel de Crillon >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! In case you missed it, here are our previously featured hotels:

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen

#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

#18 – The Peninsula Chicago

#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua

#16 - Auberge du Soleil

#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel

#14 - The One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah