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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.

Diamond Seminar in Switzerland at the Park Hotel Weggis


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hotel WeggisThe Park Hotel Weggis, the ultra-luxury hotel nestled at the edge of Lake Lucerne, is inviting guests to dive into the world of "the king of precious stones." After all, diamonds are forever! Sign up for the "Parc & Diamond" seminar on November 12-13, and you'll get expert diamond-buying tips from Carlo Mutschler, the director of the Beyer Chronometrie jewelery studio, Switzerland's oldest watch and jewelery store. You'll learn know how to distinguish between stones, assess their quality, interpret certificates of authenticity, and circumvent buying decisions you might regret later. The highlight of the seminar? A drawing for a diamond worth CHF 2000! From CHF 344 per guest including one night’s accommodation, sparkling breakfast buffet, a welcome aperitif, the two-hour diamond seminar, a diamond aperitif and a four-course dinner at the restaurant Sparks.


Hotel News Round-Up: Sleep in Buckingham Palace; Virgin Hotels Heads to Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

lebua New DelhiThere's so much fun and excitement happening the hospitality world these days (beer-themed spa treatments? Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh?) that you can't possibly be expected to keep up with it all. So we're helping out with a wrap-up of some of our favorite tidbits (and gossip) this week. First up: Rumor has it that Buckingham Palace might open as a hotel for tourists when when Prince Charles moves his home to Windsor Castle upon taking the throne. If this does indeed come to pass, expect to pay a "princely sum" to sleep there, says The Boston Globe's Melanie Nayer. Another fun news item: Sir Richard Branson has signed the first deal for his highly anticipated Virgin Hotels brand... in Chicago. The 27-storey Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash-- just a block off Michigan Avenue and the river-- will get a makeover and open as a hotel in fall 2013.

Pictured: Another newsworthy item, the lebua New Delhi, opening in December.


Rates from 101 Euros: A Winter Break in Europe with InterContinental Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental PragueEurope in winter is positively enchanting-- from November's JazzFest in Berlin to the twinkling lights on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and the rich hot chocolate served in Vienna's cafes. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is inviting you to book in advance and save on your winter escape for stays between November 1, 2011- February 29, 2012. Enjoy rates starting from €101 per night, including breakfast for two, at fab hotels like the InterContinental Vienna, the InterContinental Budapest, the InterContinental David Tel Aviv, the InterContinental Paris Le Grand, the InterContinental Geneva, the InterContinental Prague (pictured), Portugal's brand new InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas, and more. Not only will you score a discount, but also tons of insider tips shared by InterContinental's famously connected concierges! The "Winter Offer" is valid on new bookings only, subject to availability.


Special Offers in London: Free Afternoon Tea at Hotel 41


By: Five Star Alliance

Hotel 41, LondonLondon is buzzing with excitement this time of year, and almost impossibly festive when it comes time for Christmas. For those looking to experience the merriment, hop the pond for some holiday shopping, theatrical shows, and open-air ice skating on the huge rink outside the Natural History Museum (open from November 4, 2011- January 8, 2012). Shop til you drop, then tuck into a mountain of cakes, scones and pastries for Afternoon Tea. When you book a two-night stay at the Hotel 41-- a discreet five-star hotel directly opposite the Royal Mews and just behind Buckingham Palace-- you'll get an Afternoon Tea thrown in for free. The boutique hotel is known for its fine service; staff outnumber guests two-to-one, and the thoughtful touches really impress guests. At turndown, the staff puts floating candles in your bath and sprays lavender on your pillow, while the pet concierge makes sure that Fido is as pampered as you are.

The "Complimentary Afternoon Tea" offer is available on all room types and suites with a minimum two night stay. Available from now until December 23, 2011, and between January 2 and February 13, 2012. Black-out dates may apply.

Another tempting offer: Check into one of the Hotel 41's luxurious suites for two nights and stay a 3rd night free. Includes welcome drink on arrival, use of the Pantry and Butler service.


Take the Family to Rome: Homemade Gelato and More at Hotel Hassler


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Hassler RomaLeave it to the Hotel Hassler, recently voted the No. 1 hotel in Rome in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, to pull out all the stops to delight even its pint-size guests. A new "Family Escape Package," available from November 1, 2011- October 31, 2012, spoils the kids with homemade ice cream, milk and cookies before bedtime, and a special gift at check-in (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny). The Hassler's concierge can arrange all manner of family-friendly activities- like a private lunch in an ancient alley or Roman piazza, a trip to the Museo dei Bambini (Children's Museum of Rome), or a carriage or helicopter ride. Of course if you're in need of some alone time in the Eternal City, babysitters are on call to keep your kids happily entertained at the Hassler. Set atop the Spanish Steps in a postcard-perfect setting, the Hotel Hassler has dazzling views. These panoramas can also be gaped at from the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, Imàgo. Based on double occupancy for a family of four and priced from €614 - €934 per night (approximately US$845-US$1,285), the package includes:

* Three nights' accommodation in two Deluxe or Grand Deluxe rooms

* Private check-in for children with a special gift (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny)

* Daily buffet breakfast

* Milk and cookies before bedtime

* 'Ice Cream Pleasure' - a selection of the Hassler's home-made ice cream

* In-room movie for the entire family

* Optional babysitter for four hours per day


Winter in Paris: Pop-Up Champagne Bar at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hilton Arc de Triomphe ParisThe "Snow Bar" is coming back to the City of Light! Every year the Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris-- designed in a nautical Art Deco style by architects Jacques Garcia and Alexandre Danan-- gets in the holiday spirit by transforming its outdoor Andalusian Patio into a wintry wonderland. Last year there were snow-covered fir trees, a chalet bar, and cocktail waitresses wearing Santa outfits. This year the hotel has teamed up with Taittinger Champagne to create a unique concept called "Bubble in Paris"-- an exclusive all-white lounge decked out in fur and frosted glass inside an actual bubble. From December 1, 2011- January 2, 2012, the hotel welcomes guests to the "Bubble in Paris" bar with a special "Festive Period" package. Starting from 280 euros per night, the package includes luxurious accommodation, a complimentary upgrade to next room category (subject to availability), a VIP gift in room and a glass of Champagne for two in the “Bubble in Paris” bar, English breakfast served in the Safran restaurant, and access to the beautiful Mosaïc Spa.


Taste of Tuscany: Truffle Foraging and Wine Tasting at Il Salviatino


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Il SalviatinoAutumn could be the best season to visit Tuscany. The sun is shining, the tourist crowds have dispersed, and truffle foraging is in full swing. Not to mention the brilliant hues of the fall foliage. Just outside of Florence, Il Salviatino invites guests for a "Taste of Tuscany" until November 30, 2011. You'll tour a vineyard, taste local wines, go hunting for truffles, and sample the region's best seasonal delights while staying in luxury at the hotel named "Hideaway of the Year" in the 2011 Andrew Harper Grand Award Winners. Nestled in the rolling Tuscan hills, Il Salviatino is housed in a 15th century villa with original frescoes and Italian gardens-- and offers spectacular views of Florence. Starting from 1,920 euros, the "Taste of Tuscany" package includes:

* Two nights accommodation in a Deluxe Room * Breakfast for two daily * A seasonal dinner at Le Serre with a bottle of Tuscan wine * Truffle foraging for half a day * A vineyard tour and wine tasting * A spa treatment each in the award-winning Thai Devarana spa * Service and tax


Christmas Market and Skating Rink at Trianon Palace Versailles


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trianon Palace, VersaillesThe Christmas market is back at The Trianon Palace Versailles! Part of the Waldorf Astoria collection of hotels, the Trianon Palace knows how to get in the Christmas spirit. What could be better than sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine while browsing the artisanal crafts and gourmet treats on display outside one of the world's most opulent palaces? (The Trianon Palace is actually located in the heart of the Royal domain of the Chateau de Versailles.) The hotel's annual Christmas market promises good times for one and all. There's also an on-site ice skating rink- what could be merrier? The Trianon Palace Versailles has put together a "Festive Period Package" for stays between December 3, 2011 and January 2, 2012, that includes a host of amenities. Along with your luxe accommodations, you'll get a VIP gift in room and a glass of Champagne for two in the Gallery Bar; English breakfast served in La Veranda restaurant; free entrance to the ice rink; free access to the Guerlain Spa. Rates from 269 euros per room per night.


Friday Photos: A Room with a View at Nafplia Palace Hotel, Greece


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nafplia Palace Hotel and Villas, Greece

The views from the ancient Bronze Age acropolis in Nafplion are breathtaking. From your perch above this white-washed village on the Greek mainland, the Bay of Argolis sparkles turquoise far below. The Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas-- aka the "jewel of the Pelaponnese"-- occupies a prime piece of real estate, built within an archeological site dating from the 3rd century BC. Designed to blend in to its surrounding environment, this uniquely-situated hotel offers stunning views from each and every one of its chic rooms, some equipped with balconies, private swimming pools, or outdoor jacuzzis. The hotel has three restaurants, two bars, a chic spa, and beautiful pools. There's even an elevator that carries guests down through the ancient bedrock of the acropolis to access the town beneath.

Nafplia Palace Hotel and Villas, Greece


Conrad Celebrates 25 Years by Giving You Hotel Credits


By: Five Star Alliance

Conrad Rangali Island MaldivesHilton's Conrad brand of luxury hotels has been around for a quarter century. And to celebrate that milestone, they're giving away hotel credits to guests who check into their hotels around the world- from Indianapolis to the Maldives (pictured)- this fall. So whether you're craving chocolate in Brussels, doing business in Tokyo, or shopping Chicago's Magnificent Mile, choose Conrad and you'll get a nice little birthday present. Simply book the "Conrad 25th Anniversary Promotion" rate for stays through November 30th, 2011, and receive a $25 hotel credit for each night of your stay.