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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.

Suite Temptation: Mandarin Oriental Paris Opens Doors of New Suites

December 16, 2011
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

December 14, 2011
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

December 10, 2011
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

December 7, 2011
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

December 6, 2011
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

December 5, 2011
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

December 1, 2011
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

November 30, 2011
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


Where to Get a Fab Facial (with Jade Stones!) in London

November 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham London, Chuan SpaNeed to get cleaned up for your company's annual holiday party? Hot-foot it to The Langham London, where you'll get a serious pick-me-up at the swank Chuan Spa.* They've just launched a revolutionary new spa treatment... and jade stones are involved. Long prized in China by the Imperial Court (and crafted into objets d'art by skilled artisans), jade is celebrated for its healing and restorative properties. The 75-minute Chuan Yu Facial is designed for the ultimate in skin rejuvenation, using jade to stimulate and massage facial acupoints with the Ancient Gua Sha technique-- one of China’s traditional national therapies used by Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors for relieving blocked meridians. The facial eliminates toxins and improves blood circulation- meaning you'll look and free great. Starting off with a short breathing ritual to aid relaxation, the treatment also includes a nourishing face mask, a full facial hydrating ritual and ear auricular therapy to help stimulate internal organs. The Chuan Yu facial costs £100.

*The Langham's Chuan Spa opened earlier this year to much fanfare.


Private Ice Skating Rink and Winter Chalets at La Reserve Geneva

November 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La Reserve GenevaNot content with Geneva's own splendid holiday decorations, La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa has gone above and beyond the call of Christmas duty. The ultra-luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva will be installing its very own private ice rink and Christmas market-style winter chalets on the property. Starting December 13, 2011 and running until February 26, 2012, La Réserve Genève will morph into a true winter wonderland where guests can glide across the ice (or book skating lessons!), then sip hot mulled wine or Champagne in the festive winter chalets. The chic waitstaff will supply blankets to ward off the chill in the air, and serve holiday treats like crêpes, waffles, oysters, and caviar. The best part of all? This Winter Wonderland has spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the snow-capped mountains beyond.

A two-night weekend stay at La Réserve Genève starts from $1,076 (based on two sharing a double room) and includes full use of all hotel facilities including the spa, fitness center, swimming pool, indoor tennis courts, and the Winter Wonderland.