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.

The Garden Restaurant at Castello del Nero


By: Madelyn Giblin

Castello del NeroThe Garden Restaurant is now open at Castello del Nero in Tuscany, Italy. Featuring a stunning terrace for outdoor breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests can enjoy views of the surrounding countryside in the heart of Tuscany outside Florence. Indoor dining features the newly reopened "La Torre" Restaurant with traditional Tuscan fireplace, and welcoming décor featuring local culinary specialties. Beginning next week the dining options will feature a twice-weekly Summer BBQ to offer guests a chance to try market fresh grilled meat and grilled fish, in addition to inviting appetizers and desserts. Guests know they can enjoy the splendor of the Tuscan countryside while still having easy access to nearby Florence. In addition Castello del Nero offers its signature ESPA Spa with 10 treatment rooms, vitality pool, relaxation areas, and special gender specific heat treatments.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Five Star Alliance guests at Castello del Nero will receive an in-room welcome with a bottle of water and sweet delight.


Hot Deals Close to Home: Ritz-Carlton New Orleans from $129


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton New OrleansIt's hard to beat a price like this at the most elegant hotel in the Big Easy. Situated on world-famous Canal Street at the edge of the French Quarter, within close proximity to the city's most popular and unique attractions, the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans has rates as low as $129 per night for the summer including weekends. (There are slightly higher rates from July 16-19 and August 1-9, 23, 31. Blackout dates are July 20-26.) You'll experience traditional Southern ambience with art and furnishings that reflect the graciousness of the mansions in the Garden District's antebellum mansions. Plus, the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans features a newly-renovated 25,000 square foot destination spa and a new signature restaurant. Needless to say, the amenities at the grande dame of New Orleans are almost impossibly luxurious; plush linens and robes and Bulgari bath products in all the rooms, fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, and five-fixture Italian marble baths in the suites.


Hotel Gritti Palace Summer in the City Promotion


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Hotel Gritti PalaceOverlooking the Grand Canal with understated Venetian Romance 16th Century Style is the Hotel Gritti Palace. Renown for discreet attentive service, elegant luxury and named 2006 Travel & Leisure Top 500 Hotels and 2008 Gold List by Conde Nast, the Hotel Gritti Palace announces their Summer in the City Promotion. Book by August 29th with stays between July 1st to August 31st, stay 2 nights and get 3rd free or book 3 nights and get the fourth free. Both options will also garner double StarPoints. Hotel Gritti PalaceThe Hotel Gritti Palace features 91 uniquely decorated luxuriously appointed rooms and suites with precious fabrics, antique furniture and murano glass light fixtures. All rooms blend the old world, elegant feel with today's modern amenities for lavish comfort. Choose the breathtaking views of the Grand Canal or enjoy overlooking the activities of Santa Maria del Giglio Square. With the Hotel Gritti Palace as an elegant base, you can then enjoy a short walk to shopping or take the private motor launch to Venice Lido for use of the use of the private beach facilities, swimming pool, tennis or golf.


The Luxury Hotel Boom in Ft. Lauderdale: Trump International and W Hotels Ready to Debut


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Fort LauderdaleNever mind that some airlines are stopping service to Ft. Lauderdale as a way to cut costs. The luxury hotel scene continues to boom on the sandy beaches of South Florida. Case in point: the brand new Trump International Hotel and Tower, Ft. Lauderdale, ready to open its doors in October 2008. Soaring 25 storeys above the sand, the 298-room hotel will boast breathtaking views of the Atlantic from the oversized windows. Jumping on the signature bed bandwagon (like Westin's Heavenly bed), the condo-hotel will feature the new Trump by Stearns & Foster Plush Pillowtop, the exclusive sleep system of Trump Hotel Collection. Other facilities include five-star dining, the 5,000 square foot Spa at Trump, state-of-the-art fitness center, and roof deck with a mosaic-tiled pool. A nice perk will be the signature services of Trump Attaché. Also slated for October? The W Fort Lauderdale, overlooking the sand and surf on one side, and the intercoastal waterway on the other.


Loews Annapolis Hotel: Farm-to-Table Dining and a Recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Breeze Restaurant, Loews AnnapolisFollowing the 100-mile diet? So is Breeze Restaurant, the signature resto at Loews Annapolis Hotel, showcasing the Chesapeake Bay region's bounty with produce, fish and meat ingredients picked straight from local farms. Chef Allison Trinkle has designed a splendid Summer 2008 menu with fresh Southern flavors. You'll enjoy lots of Chesapeake Bay blue crab, done in myriad different ways: cream of crab soup, fresh lump crab and watercress oil; crab stuffed shrimp wrapped in bacon, cheddar grits and orange barbeque sauce; and Maryland crab cakes, lemon-dill buerre blanc, buttermilk mashed potatoes and green beans with grape tomatoes. Other stand-out dishes include Southern faves like mustard crusted Chesapeake rockfish with tomato-corn relish and fried green tomatoes, and the Southern fried pork chop, with Sawmill gravy and baked applesauce, cheddar grits and spring pea succotash.

Here's a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes—perfect as a starter or side dish—that's been in the Chef's family for more than 60 years. A Tennessee native, Trinkle adds a little spice to the heirloom recipe with the red pepper aioli:

Fried Green Tomatoes with Red Pepper Aioli

Ingredients:

4 medium, firm green tomatoes

salt and pepper

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup breadcrumbs or cornmeal (or mix half and half)

1/2 bacon grease

Yield: 6 portions

Preparation:

Cut tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices, season with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. Dip tomato into beaten eggs, let excess drip off and then coat well with breadcrumbs or cornmeal. Fry, in batches in hot grease (or oil) until golden brown, turning gently (about 3 minutes per side).

Serve immediately, or keep warm at 200 degrees F until ready to serve. Serve with red pepper aioli dipping sauce.

Red Pepper Aioli

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon garlic, chopped

2 cups red belle peppers, roasted, skin removed and chopped

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2/3 cup olive oil

1 lemon

salt and pepper

Tabasco, to taste

Preparation:

In food processor, combine egg yolks, garlic, red peppers and mustard. Mix thoroughly, while still running slowly add the olive oil to form an emulsion (like the consistency of mayonnaise). Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and a few drops of Tabasco. The mixture should be thick, but not stiff.


Croquet Anyone? The Parker Palm Springs: Whimsical & Fresh


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Le Parker Meridien Palm SpringsSome call it Hippie Chic, others Mod Sixties, Feel-Good Seventies, or Classic Rat Pack Vibe, but whatever you call Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs "The Parker", call it a great place to stay in Palm Springs. After a substantial rethink by lifestyle designer, Jonathan Adler, The Parker is now whimsical and fresh with offerings of golf, tennis, pools, croquet, Palm Springs Yacht Club first rate Spa, and upscale dinner at Norma's. Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs As luxurious as Givenchy days though not as pretentious and far cooler than the Merv Griffin years, staying in either the standard rooms or in the original Gene Autry House is sure to have just the right vibe to please.

Area-Daily says it best: "From the bubblegum pink of the bellhops' uniforms to the outdoor lemonade stand and the refreshingly old-school games such as croquet and pétanque alongside the clay tennis courts and the upscale diner Norma's, The Parker is whimsical and fresh."


The Cupcake Craze Comes to London: Afternoon Tea at Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s Chinoiserie


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The ChinoiserieNow you can have your cake and eat it too at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, one of the capital's most exclusive hotels, perfectly placed in the fashion district of Sloane Street. The Chinoiserie, with its luxurious feel of the Orient, is a favorite London venue for Afternoon Tea and has recently become inspired by New York's iconic Magonia Bakery to introduce a confectionary collection of cupcakes dressed to impress. These gorgeous creations-- featuring fresh strawberries and blueberries covered with lashings of brightly coloured piped butter cream, retro marshmallow swirls, rice paper flowers and silver chocolate dragees-- are a fine summer addition to the Jumeirah Carlton Tower's famous Afternoon Tea. So you can step off London's bustling streets and relax with a fashionable treat and a pot of tea. Along with finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, you can indulge (with unashamed pleasure) in a little slice of heaven. Choose from Coconut and Blueberry, Chocolate and Mint, Chocolate-Banana and Marshmallow, and Strawberry and Cream.


Four Seasons Hotel Macao Opens Its Doors


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Macao- Cotai StripThe Las Vegas of the East welcomes a brand spanking new Four Seasons Hotel. Macao, the world's biggest gaming capital, has seen a slew of new luxury hotel brands from the West staking claim to a piece of this former Portuguese capital. Hot on the heels of the Wynn Macao and the Venetian Macao, the Four Seasons is making its debut in October 2008. There's even a Cirque du Soleil Macau, the first resident show in Asia. Now accepting reservations, the Four Seasons Macao-Cotai Strip has an indulgent spa (where you can adjust to the new time zone with the Revive Jet Lag treatment), a lagoon pool, and Belcanção restaurant offering cuisine reflecting Macau's Portuguese and Chinese heritage Seasons service. You can even watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. Step out the door and you'll be seduced by the colourful fusion of culture in Macau (not to mention the duty-free designer shopping and larger-than-life entertainment).


Luxury Shopping Spree in Shanghai at the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pudong Shangri-LaSoar to the heights of the new Shanghai at the Pudong Shangri-La. The views of the Bund and the Huangpu River are unrivaled from this vantage point. (The floor-to-ceiling windows in the guest rooms capture the panorama of the historic Bund.) One of the city's preeminent luxury hotels, the Pudong Shangri-La offers world-class facilities and the warm and attentive service for which Shangri-La is known. With easy access to both Hongqiao and Pudong international airports, this is an ideal choice for business and leisure travelers. Designer restaurants and bars, ballrooms, health club and swimming pool, and Chi, The Spa... The Shangri-La's got it all. Shop til you drop when in Shanghai, discover the city's many shopping enclaves, and pamper yourself thoroughly at the Pudong Shangri-La with a lot of complimentary extras. The hotel's Luxury Shopping Spree Package, priced from RMB 2,788 per night, includes daily buffet breakfast for two persons at Yi Café, a RMB 500 credit for treatments at CHI, The Spa, free in-room Internet, one complimentary buffet dinner for two at Yi Café, one box of gourmet chocolates, and a concierge shopping guide for 3 hours.


The New Spa and Lexus LS600h Hybrid Limousines at Langham Hotel, Auckland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel AucklandIndulge in a five-star fling at the Langham Auckland, New Zealand's first hotel to achieve international Green Globe certification. Situated in the heart of the vibrant city not far from the waterfront, the 410-room Langham Hotel entices with luxurious amenities like the sweet fleet of Lexus LS600h hybrid limousines. (Retail value for each vehicle? A mere $250,000.) Get this: customers can even check-in while en-route to the hotel from the airport. Coming in October 2008: the blissfully swanky Chuan Spa, comprised of six lavish treatment rooms including two VIP dual suites with private spas, fitness center, an outdoor heated pool, his and hers saunas, steam rooms and an outdoor jacuzzi.