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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.

Vienna: Franz Joseph Liked It, So He Put a Ring on It


By: Christopher Roney

The Vienna Philharmonic just held its incredibly yearly outdoor concert in the gardens of Schloss Schoenbrunn, and it was quite the sight indeed. The concert draws out much of the city, who overflow from the sweeping promenades up onto the hill overlooking the whole of Vienna. It's a perfect showcase for the beauty of a city that still revels in its imperial past. Now that the concert's passed, it's probably a better time to see the gardens for yourself, as you might have a little bit more breathing room to explore the expansive estate. The Schloss is just west of the city center and the famous Ringstrasse where most of the luxury hotels are located, and you can get out there with just a short cab ride or metro trip. Commissioned by Leopold I and popularized by Maria Theresa, the Schloss was the centerpiece of courtly life for much of the reign of the Habsburg empire, the most famous of the ruling Austrian families. 

To see this jewel of the city, simply stay at any of our luxury hotels in the center city, on the architecturally varied Ringstrasse. Built around the Fin de Siecle as a testament to the city's opulence by Emperor Franz Joseph I, the buildings of the Ringstrasse attempt to capture the architectural style of just about ever major epoch, from neo-classical to renaissance to gothic. Taken together, they're a breathtaking experience. Vienna has to be one of your must-see destinations in a tour of Europe's hotspots.


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Villa San Michele


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 Villa San Michele is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for service. This luxury hotel was a 15th century monastery which was converted into one of Europe’s most charming luxury hotels. Its located only a few minutes from the center of Florence, and it is surrounded by its own gardens and woodlands of the Fiesole hills. The Villa San Michele goes above and beyond to ensure that its guests are comfortable and have everything they need for a lavish and enjoyable stay.

Check rates, availability, photos and more at the Villa San Michele here!


A Boutique Critique: Ballyfin


By: Christopher Roney

I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore.

There are few places in the world as storied as Ireland, and people travel there specifically for the romance of the countryside. Why then would one stay in a large city hotel when your accommodations can be as magical as the views? Ballyfin, at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, was restored in an eight year process that just finished in 2011 to allow it to open as a 5-star country house hotel with the pure Gaelic soul of the rolling hills. 600 acres of land hold just fifteen rooms, so you'll experience the greenery in perfect quiet. 

Open to children 14 and over, the all-inclusive resort maintains the original 1820s design, full of antiques and gorgeous art. Row boats are available on a nearby lake, and you can even go ice skating in the wintertime. This small boutique hotel is the perfect destination for a wedding or retreat, and, listed as a Forbes Top Life Hotel, it has the accolades to back up its reputation. If you want to experience Ireland as she's meant to be, then you should think about staying at Ballyfin.


New Luxury Hotels Opening in 2012: Swissotel Dresden


By: Oksana Balytsky

We at Five Star Alliance are all about the best and most luxurious hotels. We certainly keep up with the happenings in the luxury travel world and take pride in bringing our clients the latest luxury travel news. Keep up with our newest blog series where we’ll be featuring luxury hotels opening in 2012 to stay on top of the trends and make your reservations at the newest hotspots.

The Swissotel Dresden opened in the center of the historic old town of Dresden, Germany in April 2012. Its central location, phenomenal shopping, entertainment, and nearby historic sites such as the Residenzschloss, the Turkish Chamber, the Semper Opera, Zwinger Palace and the Frauenkirche all make this luxury hotel the perfect destination for a trip full of culture and excitement. Its 235 elegant rooms and suites incorporate historic elements with modern interior designs and the latest technology. Make your reservations at this new luxury hotel and get ready to experience the excitement Germany has to offer!


It's Business Time: Claridges Best Business Hotel London


By: Christopher Roney

There's a very interesting split in the travel industry between business and leisure travelers. And if you're one of the business types, you know well that you're on the road constantly and the things that matter to you, travel convenience, efficiency, and connectivity, are almost the opposite of what a leisure traveler might want. If the word 'secluded' ever appeared in a hotel description, you'd cross it off the list immediately. So I'm here to use some adjectives you might appreciate hearing in describing some of the world's best business hotels. Today? London.

London is a very unique city when it comes to business travel. It has such an established infrastructure compared to some of the eastern centers of business and finance that hotels are in no short supply. Whereas somewhere like Hong Kong or Singapore has a much younger financial sector that was all fabricated at the same time, London is more distributed. It makes selecting great business hotels a little more depedent upon the needs of the individual than in other cities. For general purposes, Claridges is certainly one of the top business hotels in London. Rooms and suites are properly jacked into the information age, and an impressive ballroom can play host to large conferences and receptions, up to 400 people. A full-service business center will also make sure you have everything you need to put the finishing touches on your project. Meet with clients in the renowned Gordon Ramsay and unwind at the spa facilities within the Olympus Suite. If you need to be anywhere near Mayfair for your next business trip to London, check out Claridges.


Sponsored Feature: Why the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's Small Size Is Just What You Want


By: Christopher Roney

When the national title association was handing out the allotment of letters to the Villa Spalletti Trivelli, there must've been a 2-for-1 deal on ls. Either that or it is secretly run by a pack of llamas. In any case, the Villa Spalletti could certainly be described as lilliputian. The tiny hotel rests in the heart of Rome and has but 12 rooms and suites to its name. Many hotels champion their large inventories as a great strength, singing the praises of the customizability that the options deliver. I find that such an experience doesn't necessarily guarantee my perfect satisfaction though. By the same token, size can lead to a kind of standardization, where while you can pick between a number of five-star restaurants all the on the property, you still succumb to a feeling of sameness. You lose a sense of the specific charm of the city you've come to see.

In this regard, the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's small stature is precisely its strength. The hotel simply feels like Rome. You're nestled downtown, just moments from the Fontana di Trevi, Quirinale, and the Spanish Steps, and the rooms and public spaces are filled with genuine antiques. Private gardens allow for you to experience a genuine moment of quietude away from the bustle of the city; and, with only a few other guests, that silence won't be interrupted. The on-site Health Center is a source of rejuvenating and relaxing wellness therapies. Elegant dining is available at the Papier Peint Dining Room, and it is just that, an intimate experience closer to a private meal than a night out, only with the freshest traditional Italian ingredients that you could only get at the finest restaurants. The next time you're headed to Rome, think about foregoing some of the bigger brand names for the authentic experience at the Villa Spalletti Trivelli.


Deals and Steals at the Mon Hotel Paris


By: Christopher Roney

We at Five Star Alliance know that our travelers are in search of luxurious accommodations at the best prices available, so we go above and beyond to find the best promotional packages and specials to ensure you get the most from your hotel experience. We’re thrilled to introduce our newest blog series where we’ll be featuring luxury hotels that offer you more than just room-only rates. Whether you’re traveling on business or pleasure, we certainly have something for you. Be sure to check in with us often to get the inside scoop on the best deals and packages available at luxury hotels all over the world!

I have a long-held fascination for the Mon Hotel Paris, so when I heard they were offering a special rate, I jumped all over the opportunity. Those who know me know that I have a special soft spot for smaller hotels. With a smaller inventory and often indepedent ownership, these hotels have the freedom to experiment in ways that larger brands cannot. Standardization is certainly valuable in the world where luxury is defined by certain expectations of service and amenities, but it is at smaller hotels like the Mon Hotel Paris where innovation can really shine. Its 37 rooms are distributed over six floors, each personalized in its own unique color and designed by Aurelia Santoni, and its contemporary take on Parisian luxury extends from its sleek, modern room design to the innovative French cuisine served at Mon Resto. 

Five Star Alliance Rate

Book the special Five Star Alliance Rate at the Mon Hotel Paris and you'll receive, for the same price as the standard rate, a glass of champagne, a special welcome card, and free upgrade based on availability. It's the perfect chance to get something a little more special than you can find anywhere else, and that's exactly what Five Star Alliance and the Mon Hotel Paris are all about.


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons


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.

Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for food. This luxury hotel is nestled in the beautiful Oxfordshire village of Great Milton in Oxford, United Kingdom, which is renowned as one of Britain’s best gastronomic experiences. This luxury hotel is recognized for its two Michelin Star modern French restaurant for 27 years. The manor only has 32 rooms creating an extremely personal and intimate setting for guests. Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons has a 2 acre vegetable and herb garden which adds organic produce to the kitchen and allows the chefs to create phenomenal, epicurean experiences!

Make your reservations at Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons for a culinary and luxurious journey unlike any other!


Cinematic Beaches: The Hotel Martinez Has the Best Private Beach in France?


By: Christopher Roney

What happens when you combine the location of perhaps the world's most famous film festival with an amazing beachfront? I could give you a bunch of illustrative analogies, but don't let me spoil the surprise. Why don't you head to the Hotel Martinez and find out for yourself? Zplage, which is both the hotel's private beach and the technical term for when your shirt gets stuck in your zipper, is one of the premiere beaches in the world. With over 400 sun lounges and a vast pontoon, you're free to enjoy the sights of the ocean and tan on the French Riviera, all without having to even dip your toes in the water unless you'd like. Dine right on the beach at the Zplage Beach Restaurant, or head indoors for a two-star Michelin experience at the Le Relais Martinez. The piano bar, heated outdoor pool, and 2500 sq ft of conference space mean that the Martinez can host whatever event you and your operating budget can dream up. It's a tragic oversight that so many people who think of France don't look past Paris because France has far more to offer. If you take a trip a little bit off the beaten path, the Hotel Martinez will make you quickly forget the way back, and you'll be so enraptured, you may even forget to return home.


The Dresden Files: Swissotel Opens New Hotel in Dresden


By: Christopher Roney

Swissotel has just announced the official opening of the new Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss. The classic Swiss brand is bringing its crisp, smooth design to old town Dresden, a city that could certainly use a few more hotels to choose from. With an emphasis on the business traveler, the hotel is looking to cater to the large numbers of businessmen who find themselves with occasion to travel to the industrious city. A conference and convention space that spans almost 1500 square feet means the Swissotel has the freedom to host a party of almost any size. VIP events, meetings, social gatherings, and even weddings, can all be amply accommodated in the flexible and stylish space. The rooftop terrace is a great secondary space for smaller cocktail parties and receptions, and it boasts a stunning view of the nearby Hofkirche and surrounding city.

In the heart of the old town, the new hotel is perfectly placed for the tourists among us to get out and see the sights of dresden. The historic buildings, from the Frauenkirche to the Semper Opera, are anchor points for any visit to the city, and once you're done exploring the city, you can return to the Swissotel for a great meal at the Wohnstube, the Sitting Room, for modern Swiss cuisine. We're happy to see a new addition to the hotel catalogue in Dresden, and we're sure the Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss won't disappoint.

Photo via Swissotel Dresden