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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.

Neiman Marcus Dream Folly Package in the New Christmas Book Will Make Your Dreams Come True

October 25, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

If I had three wishes, I’d use up the first two on world peace and a grilled cheese sandwich. But the third one would be tough if I got them by acquiring the new Dream Folly from Neiman Marcus.  Because I’d already be spending the night in my third wish. An 18-foot-diameter yurt, a traditional tent going back to the Mongols, who clearly sacked Rome in style, is the centerpiece of a full package built to evoke an extravagant genie’s bottle. So it’s time to stop dreaming of Jeannie, and instead make your dream a reality, for this fantasy hideaway comes with a set of literally one-of-a-kind pillows by famed designer Rebecca Vizard, who creates her works of art by meticulously preserving 18th and 19th century prints on her lush, modern pillows. Not only that, the room is adorned with a handcrafted crystal chandelier and linen wall coverings. And while you’re living your fantasy, you can help the dreams of others come true, because with the purchase of Dream Folly, $5,000 of the proceeds will go The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

The Dream Folly package, which will see this fully customizable Yurt installed on your estate grounds, is a part of Neiman Marcus’s fantasy collection in the new Christmas book. Every item is perfectly designed to help you live your very own fantasy.  Check out the full collection here.

Photo Via Neiman Marcus.


Dance the Night Away with the Gift of Dancing Fountains

October 24, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family members and friends. This year, however, we bet you want something different, something special, something extravagant, something over the top. Did we just read your mind? For the luxury seekers, the best gift givers, and the folks who always go above and beyond what is expected, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue may be just for you.

One of my personal favorite gifts offered is the Dancing Fountains from WET. WET, the company responsible for creating some of the most extravagent fountains in the world, including the Fountains of Bellagio and the Dubai Fountain is now bringing these charming creations to your home. With this fantasy gift, WET will install two underwater robotic nozzles that dance as a couple. This fountain will swirl, twirl, dip, and spin for you with the beauty of two graceful dancers. With this purchase, Neiman Marcus will donate $10,000 of the proceeds to Water.org, a nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Curious what else the Neiman Marcus catalogue has to offer? Check out the Assouline Custom-Built Library, the Dream Folly, and the rest of the Holiday Catalogue.

(Photo via Neiman Marcus)


Give the Gift of Intellect from the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue

October 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family members and friends. This year, however, we bet you want something different, something special, something extravagant, something over the top. Did we just read your mind? For the luxury seekers, the best gift givers, and the folks who always go above and beyond what is expected, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue may be just for you.

For an intellectual and mind-opening gift, consider the custom library, with its shelves filled with 250 books for $125,000. This atypical gift comes from the publishing house Assouline, and the library can be added anywhere you’d like. From a house to a boat to an airplane, the sky is the limit. This gift includes a full redesign of the space of your choice by adding custom carpets, art objects, and exquisitely framed prints. After the space redesign, 250 contemporary and vintage volumes are added to the beautiful shelves in the genre of your choice. Line the bookshelves with masterpieces from renowned writers, artists, photographers, architects, designers, and culinary and fashion virtuosos. This is a gift that keeps on giving because aside from an incredible library, Neiman Marcus will also donate $2,500 to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides children in need access to new books. For details, call 1-877-9NM-GIFT, or visit neimanmarcus.com

The Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue is for the thoughtful gift-givers, and while it offers truly lavish gifts, about half are under $250, so whatever your price range, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue has something to offer you.  Looking for something a little different?  Consider booking a trip for your family and friends and spending the holidays somewhere exotic, snowy, sunny, or simply somewhere relaxing

(Photo via Neiman Marcus)


Retail Therapy in San Francisco: Holiday Shopping with the Four Seasons Hotel

October 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel San FranciscoThe holidays are right around the corner, and the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is getting in the mood with a holiday shopping spree and some festive cocktails. To the delight of guests, the luxury hotel in downtown San Francisco has partnered with Bloomingdale's to create a luxe holiday shopping package. Guests can indulge in some retail therapy with discounts, personal shopping services, and an après-shopping spa treatment. Bloomingdale’s flagship West Coast store is just two blocks from Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, a five-level shopping mecca of 300,000 square feet. Shop 'til you drop, then unwind with a complimentary Spiked Hot Chocolate at Seasons Bar and Lounge and a post-shopping massage at The Spa at the Sports Club/LA, located within the Hotel. (The enormous Sports Club/LA is a great place to burn off those pre-holiday calories.)

The Bloomingdale’s Luxe Holiday Package is available from November 1, 2011 through January 31, 2012 and includes:

    * Luxurious accommodations
    * $100 Bloomingdale’s gift card
    * 15 percent all-day savings certificate (see in-store certificate for details)
    * Signature Bloomingdale’s gift upon arrival at Visitor Center
    * Hotel delivery service for purchases
    * One-on-one makeup consultation and deluxe sample with Dior
    * Beauty Imaging System skin analysis and Facial Treatment Mask with SK-II
    * Appointment with a Bloomingdale's “At Your Service” personal shopper
    * Two specialty cocktails at Seasons Bar and Lounge
    * A 25-minute head, neck and shoulder massage at the Spa at Sports Club/LA

 


Celebrate Fashion Season with Chic Cocktails from the Dorchester Collection

September 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize, cocktailsPop the cork, fashion season is upon us! To fete the occasion in Europe, The Dorchester Collection has unveiled some lovely libations- inspired by the five designers who have been shortlisted for the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. These sexy drinks are available exclusively from September 15- October 5, 2011 at The Dorchester Collection’s hotels in the leading fashion capitals: 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester in London, Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, and Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris. We're keen to try the “Anndra Neen Ruby,” created by Hôtel Plaza Athénée's bar manager Thierry Hernandez: a red mescal-based drink inspired by the Mexican heritage of Phoebe and Annette Stephens, the sisterly duo behind Anndra Neen.


This Weekend: Four Seasons Hotel Miami Hosts Last Pool Party of the Year

September 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Hotel MiamiThe place to be in Miami this weekend? The Four Seasons Hotel for a happening pool party-- the last one of the summer season! What's so special about this bash? For one thing: the Leblon caipirinha cart, a very grown up version of the ice-cream cart, which will dispense made-to-order drinks chaise-side for just $7. But this isn't one last hurrah. This party marks the start of "Miami Season"- i.e. mucho revelry and merrymaking non-stop from October through March. The pool part will take place on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 11:00 am to sundown. A special party menu will feature ceviche and light snacks priced from $10- $20. Expect high energy music and lots of signature amenities (think Evian spritzes, cool towels and butler-passed frozen treats).

Entrance is available with a $25 pool pass and members of The Sports Club/LA enter free. Cabana packages are available and include use of a cabana by four people, mineral water, fruit platter and one cocktail per person for $150. Reservations are recommended as space is limited.


A Jewel-Inspired Afternoon Tea at The Langham London

August 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham LondonThe Langham London is legendary as the birthplace of Afternoon Tea, that quintessentially British institution. The luxury hotel opened in 1865 and began serving this "afternoon snack" favored by Anna Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, as a way to ward off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. The Langham continues to serve up this indulgent ritual in Palm Court, garnering multiple accolades in the process. Recently The Langham announced an exclusive new tea, created in collaboration with the renowned jewelry designer, Stephen Webster. Inspired by Webster's latest collection (called "Murder She Wrote"), Executive Pastry Chef Cherish Finden has designed some glittering pastries that are almost too beautiful to eat: the Crystal Clear Diamond, a Guinness macaroon with blackcurrant jelly; the Poison Apple, a red peppercorn and dark chocolate shortbread; and a roasted green pistachio Chantilly with airy meringue sponge inspired by Stephen Webster's Armadillo ring. The Stephen Webster Bijoux Afternoon Tea is priced at £49 per person (approx. US $79), inclusive of VAT, and is available from September 1, 2011 - March 31, 2012 in the Palm Court.


Rooftop Yoga in Florence at the Continentale Hotel

August 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Continentale Hotel, FlorenceYogis traveling to Florence will want to check into a Lungarno Collection hotel. Owned by the Ferragamo family, this group of boutique hotels-- all stylish and divinely luxurious-- has debuted a new service for guests: Tuesday and Thursday morning yoga classes on the roof of the Continentale, ideally situated in the center of Florence, next to the Ponte Vecchio, with rooms overlooking the River Arno. To quote The Globe and Mail: "Sessions in the highly meditative, energy releasing Kundalini yoga are led by Amanda May, a graduate of L.A.’s Golden Bridge centre where lithe Hollywood celebs such as Madonna, Ellen Pompeo and Cindy Crawford have practised their poses." The hotel also has a dreamy sky lounge for cocktails under the stars.

Other Lungarno Hotels include Lungarno Suites Florence and the Hotel Lungarno.


A Ritzy New Manicure at The Ritz London

July 27, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz London ManicureFor a real treat on your next trip to London, head to The Ritz Salon-- located on the seventh floor of the legendary hotel on Piccadilly-- for a signature Ritz Manicure. Created by Jeff Pink, the inventor of the French Manicure and founder of the famous Orly Professional Nail Care range, the Ritz manicure was created exclusively for the hotel. The deeply moisturizing treatment starts with a hand soak, followed by an olive grain exfoliation and massage with Orly products-- rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential oils. Next up: a skin-softening wrap, which seals in oils and revives the skin and cuticles. The finishing touch: Manicurist Anna Gardiner, who has tended to the nails of the glitterati, applies two flashes of signature Ritz gold lacquer, positioned to complement the natural nail. The Ritz Manicure is priced at GBP 75 and The Ritz gold lacquer costs GBP 11.95.


Get Photographed by an Official Royal Photographer at London's Milestone Hotel

July 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Milestone Hotel and Apartments, LondonEver since Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot, interest in the Royals has been at record highs. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are now taking North America by storm in their first public engagement as a married couple. (They've become "the toast of Canada and California.") Looking to take a jaunt to London this year to revel in the glory of the British capital? The Milestone Hotel-- the award-winning boutique property overlooking Kensington Gardens-- has put together a buzzworthy special package that will thrill royal watchers. Imagine having your photograph taken by an official royal photographer whose commissions have included Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Princes William and Harry, the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret and the late Queen Mother. Ian Pelham-Turner has also photographed all the big names in Hollywood, and now it's your turn! You'll spend 2-3 hours having a series of photographs taken, both in the hotel and in the grounds of nearby Kensington Palace:

Not only will you receive a full set of wonderful images but Ian will share with you his many stories – taking the first photographs of Prince William as a baby, how the Queen almost knighted him in Hyde Park, how the Queen Mother held the Royal train for Ian and how Princess Diana helped him at the Royal Ballet...

Priced from £430 per night and subject to availability, the "Royal Photographic Experience" package includes:

* Two nights accommodation in a luxurious room or suite

* A 2 hour photo-session in the hotel and grounds of Kensington Palace

* The opportunity to enjoy Ian’s many stories about the personalities he has worked with

* A full unlimited set of images of the photographs

* A scroll certificate authenticating that the images have been taken by a royal photographer

* Tutorial on how to use your own camera on holiday