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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.

W Paris to open on Valentine’s Day

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

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

Suite Temptation: Mandarin Oriental Paris Opens Doors of New Suites

By: Christopher Roney

The Mandarin Oriental Paris is one of the hotels that's constantly driving things forward, looking to stay one step ahead of the competition.  And with the unveiling of 37 new suites, they're certainly prepared to bring hotel accommodations in Paris up a notch.  All of the suites offer the most modern technologies including 32"-40" LCD TVs, iPads, and even Playstation 3's, not to mention a mirror tv.  The top-floor Atelier suites overlook Paris for a romantic view of Montmartre that will be sure to inspire your love ballads.

The flagship suite is definitely the Royal Mandarin Suite, nearly 4,000 sq. ft. in size, occupying two different floors, and having a bathtub with a view of the Eiffel Tower.  I'm sure you could count on one hand the number of bathtubs in the world that could rival that vista.  

If you're in the market to try out some of the premiere new suites in Paris, make sure to check out the Mandarin Oriental.

The Cake is Not a Lie: Queen Cake at Hotel Le Meurice

By: Christopher Roney

It's cake time! The Hotel Le Meurice in Paris is offering a special cake to bring in 2012 with style.  The Galette des Reines, as the cake is called, is a rich and decadent chocolate cake with a special surprise in it.  Evoking the spirit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the slices hides a Tiffany & Co charm in the shape of a golden key.  The charm is further incentive to savor ever bite of your dessert, which comes in it an exclusive 14 euros a slice.  Only ten cakes will be made over a 20-day period, so it's worth jumping on this one early, since they could easily run out.  In our mind, it's certainly worth it after a meal by three-star Michelin Chef Yannick Alleno.

And staying in the hotel itself, opposite the Teuleries garden, is an experience in itself.  With a storied history back to 1835, the hotel has been called home by a number of greats, including Salvador Dali, whom the new restaurant, Le Dali, is named for.  If you're looking to stay in Paris this January, the Le Meurice is certainly one to look at, with its signature Queen's Cake and chance at a Tiffany Charm.  

Tip via HotelChatter

A Gifted Gondola: Hotel Cipriani Offers Massage on Venetian Canals

By: Christopher Roney

The Hotel Cipriani officially has the most atmospheric massage spa I've ever seen.  And that's because the spa is Venice!  That's right, the Hotel Cipriani offers its patented Gondola Massage, a massage spa treatment on a boat drifting through the world's most iconic canals.  It's relaxing, revitalizing, and certainly rare.  The next time I head back to Venice, I'll be sure to make my boat ride the one that works out all the tension from my flight with deft hands and a centuries-old backdrop.  The 15th century hotel itself overlooks the Piazza San Marco and the two ancient palazzos that make up the hotel offer only the finest in cuisine, not to mention a private butler.  That's service I could make a trip to the Hotel Cipriani for.

Hotel de Charme les Airelles is A Buzz-Worthy Hotel

By: Oksana Balytsky

Aside from being right on the edge of the slopes in Courchevel, France, the Hotel de Charme les Airelles provides access to the biggest skiing area in the world, Les 3 Vallées, providing guests with the luxury of leaving and returning to the resort with skis on. This luxury hotel also has a beautiful library and fireplace in its lounge, creating an inviting environment to unwind and warm up after a day on the slopes.

The Hotel de Charme les Airelles is not only a skier’s paradise. This hotel has embraced the utility of honey and has 5 beehives as a resource for the Spa Valmont. The hotel’s spa offers anti-aging solutions that have “honey, nectar, royal jelly, and Alpine bee pollen,” preserved from the resort’s beehives. For a limited time, the Spa Valmont is offering a “Bee Beautiful” treatment, which starts with a wildflower pollen exfoliator and ends with a jelly rub down. This treatment leaves skin looking vibrant, refreshed, and rejuvenated, and it is available from December 14 – mid April for 240 Euros. It’s the perfect dry skin treatment after a day in the snow!

Wannabe There: The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel

By: Christopher Roney

It can be somewhat of a rarity in the hotel world to find a hotel that focuses as much on defining an architectural niche for itself as it does the comfort of its patrons. The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel has certainly managed to do both in striking style, its stark, striking gothic exterior evoking the romanticism of early rail travel. Saved from demolition by a series of protests in the 60s by a Poet Laureate, the architectural wonder of the station has transformed from travel to hospitality, abandoning its railway roots in favor of a fresh redesign that takes advantage of its spacious interior. The red-brick exterior seems to be stretching skyward, following the sharp lines of its gothic spires.

Ever at the forefront of affluent equality, the St. Pancras offered the first Ladies Smoking Room in all of Europe and ushering a formerly sequestered activity into the public eye. And if you’re a stargazer (and I don’t mean those in the sky), it’s worth a trip for its staircase alone which has been featured in films and videos as widely known as the Spice Girls debut single, “Wannabe.”

So next time you’re passing by London, make sure to check out the St. Pancras. Whether you’re a railway enthusiast or a movie buff, or just a weary traveler looking for some extra-fluffed pillows to melt into, you’re going to love the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel.

New Mondrian Hotel to Open in London

By: Oksana Balytsky

The sixth Mondrian Hotel will be coming to the South Bank of the London Thames River in 2014. This hotel is expected to have 100 more rooms than the Mondrian in New York, and it will be the first Mondrian hotel in Europe. This swanky hotel will reportedly have a restaurant, a ground floor bar, and a rooftop bar. This hotel is expected to bring a new excitement to the already exciting city of London, so keep an eye out for its grand opening in 2014!

Don’t want to wait until 2014? Then we encourage you to check out a few other Mondrian properties including the Mondrian Soho in New York City, the Mondrian South Beach in Miami Beach, and the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.

Cities You Should See: Munich is More than Beer, But It’s That, Too

By: Christopher Roney

I’m not sure there’s a city in the world that gets stereotyped more than Munich. While it’s certainly iconic for the fine German beer that flows freely from its taps, Munich is so much more than gardens of alcohol. Long the seat of Bavarian culture, Munich is the center of German tradition. For a lot of us that means fine beer and maidens donning dirndls, the traditional Bavarian dress you’ve seen in every German tourist brochure since Gutenberg invented the printing press. But as much as Munich has been reduced to stereotype of itself by the outside world, once you get beyond that, there’s a real heart to it. The medieval town is remarkably preserved, down to the clockwork performance of the city hall’s belltower. The English garden the accompanies is the royal residence is glorious to walk around in and even boasts its own outdoor Biergarten around a Chinese tower built in the center of it.

Of course, as much as I’d like to get beyond the stereotypes of the beer maidens handing out liters like it’s nobody’s business, I would be remiss if I didn’t go into just how the beer culture pervades this uniquely German city. Munich has embraced its stereotype, and beer houses like the iconic Hofbrauhaus offer everything that you could want out of a kitschy but simultaneously authentic drinking experience. The waitresses can carry at least eight liters of alcohol at one time, and you would be hard-pressed to find a vegetable on the menu that’s not a potato. In many ways, Munich is the distilled essence of all that is traditional about Germany.

The city itself is not large and almost any hotel will give you great access to all that it has to offer. Most of the big brands have left their mark on the city and some great independent hotels like the Bayerischer Hof join them in offering luxurious beds to sleep off your hangover. Munich is a city that revels in its wholehearted kitschiness, and there’s a certain honesty to that that draws you in the ritual of the city.

Legoland Lands in March: The World’s Most Cubic Hotel

By: Christopher Roney

Now this is a hotel that understands the building blocks to success: Take a universally loved children’s toy, add just the right amount of kitsch, and make it a family-themed resort, and all of a sudden, you’ve got the perfect destination. According to HotelChatter, the Legoland in the UK is opening in March with an attendant Windsor Resort hotel. And this hotel is taking the theme of the park seriously. Making use of 1,600 different lego models assembled by their team of expert builders, more than 80 million blocks will be used in the hotel design (don’t worry none of them are structurally vital). Not only that, the rooms are themed around the traditional lego settings, including everyone’s favorite, pirates.

You might not think of Lego has a traditional luxury brand, and they certainly aren't making an attempt at super luxury; roughly 250 euros gets you a family room, park tickets for two days, free breakfast, and an early-bird pass in the low season; but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better kids-oriented destination. And if you hail from the other side of the pond, you need not worry. The California Legoland will be rolling out a similar Lego-themed hotel in 2013.

Photo via Legoland