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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.

Countdown to Christmas: Santa, Spice and Everything Nice at Le Meurice, Paris

November 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meurice, ParisWant to spice things up for Christmas this year? Hop the pond to the most visited city on earth for some raucous merrymaking-- French-style. The Champs-Élysées will be sparkling with lights, the street markets fragrant with hot mulled wine, the department stores dazzling with over-the-top window displays. What are you waiting for? Paris awaits you with open arms. Bed down at Le Meurice- the majestic palace hotel facing the Jardin des Tuileries- and you'll be privy to some fun festivities, as the hotel decks the halls with colorful decorations and goes all out in the food department. Best part of all: Santa will be pulling up his sleigh at Le Meurice for three Wednesdays in December, starting December 7, to give gifts to the kids at teatime.

The hotel is offering a special package for Christmas, available from December 1- December 28, 2011, starting from 560 euros, which includes accommodations (upgrade guaranteed at booking time) and American breakfast for two guests, Champagne and petits fours amenities, a Christmas gift for children, and free access to the wellness centre, Sauna, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi.


Where to Stay for the Annual Dubai Shopping Festival

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Armani Hotel DubaiCalling all shopping addicts. Come winter, the Dubai Shopping Festival is where it's at. Get a tan (and soak up the balmy temps) while you're sprinting between boutiques. Indulge in some retail therapy with serious discounts on luxury brands, and you'll also be privy to the region's biggest "entertainment extravaganza"-- ie. huge fireworks displays, daily car raffles, and more. The best part of all? Shopping in Dubai is entirely tax-free. The annual month-long fest takes place from January 20- February 20, 2012 and attracts some three million visitors. Looking for a place to stay? Five Star Alliance has the skinny on a number of glamorous Dubai hotels- from the "seven-star" Burj Al Arab to Armani's very own pad (pictured). Take a gander at the full list here.


Spend 11/11/11 in Las Vegas: Extravagant $11,111 Package at the Hard Rock Hotel

October 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

Get in on the 11/11/11 hype with a jaunt to Las Vegas. It's a once-in-a-lifetime date so why not splurge at the Hard Rock? The resort and casino has orchestrated an over-the-top experience for music lovers that they're aptly calling the "Extravagant Package." This special offer, only available for two nights (Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13), includes a two-night stay in the Paradise Platinum Penthouse, a multi-course menu (lobster and steak and truffles, oh my!) at the newly-opened 35 Steaks + Martinis steakhouse, VIP tickets to watch one of Carlos Santana’s three encore performances at The Joint, signature treatments at Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa, a VIP table with bottle service at the upscale Vanity Nightclub and one-of-a-kind photography prints from the Hard Rock Store. The price tag? $11,111.


Remember, Remember, the Month of November at the Ritz Carlton Chicago

October 25, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Ritz Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel, is offering a few incredible activities and memorable events in November that are fun for the whole family. Kick off the holidays by participating in the Magnificent Mile Festival of Lights parade on November 19, 2011. The Ritz Carlton Chicago is located on the Magnificent Mile, just steps away from the upcoming parade. Your family and friends will enjoy hot chocolate, chestnuts, and other delicious snacks right outside the hotel prior to the parade, courtesy of the Candy Man from Candyality. After nibbling on treats, check out the parade, which begins with the lighting procession by none other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse at 5:30 PM. Take in the magic of seeing various Disney characters, floats, huge balloons, celebrities, marching bands, music performers, and last but not least, Santa Claus. During the parade, over 1 million lights covering 200 trees are illuminated, enlivening the spirit of the holidays, leading up to stunning fireworks along the Chicago River to conclude the parade. After the exciting parade, head back to the Ritz Carlton for a toast to the holiday season with a complimentary glass of champagne for adults and a cup of hot chocolate for children and the lighting of the hotel’s 17-foot (5 meter) tree at 7:30PM.

November is just around the corner, so get excited for some family fun and make your travel plans to Chicago today!


Winter in Venice: $149 Rates at The Venetian and The Palazzo, Las Vegas

October 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The VenetianThis holiday season, how about winter in Venice? Not Italy, but the Las Vegas Strip! The Venetian and The Palazzo are putting on a one-of-a-kind celebration that they say will be the "most majestic winter wonderland Las Vegas has ever seen." The five-diamond resorts will transform into a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink above The Venetian's outdoor Grand Canal-- complete with snowflakes, strung holiday lights, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree perched atop the Doge's Palace fountain. While you stroll around, you'll be entertained by a colorful cast of characters: magicians, carolers, puppets, jugglers, and candy cane stilt walkers. Enjoy seasonal treats like eggnog cupcakes, warm apple cider, spiced cocktails, and hot chocolate. And to cap off each day, you’ll be in for a treat: a "spectacular light show performance beyond your wildest imagination." Winter in Venice will take place from November 21, 2011- January 8, 2012. Special package rates are available for $149 per night in a luxury suite, two-night minimum required, with a bunch of add-ons included (hot chocolate for two, skate rentals, $40 off seasonal spa treatments).


Catch a Concert at Madison Square Garden; Stay at Affinia Manhattan Across the Street

October 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Two for the Show package at Affinia ManhattanHoping to catch a concert at Madison Square Garden this fall? There's an impressive roster of big names coming to New York. Try Duran Duran, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Enrique Iqlesias, Taylor Swift, Josh Groban, and more... After your show, get some shut-eye at the Affinia Manhattan, located just across the street. Fresh from a $25 million redesign by the internationally acclaimed Rockwell Group, the hotel has designed a special package that's sure to delight music fans. Available through December 31, 2011, the "Two for the Show" package includes a complimentary room upgrade, two cocktails at Niles New York City Bar & Restaurant, a $10 iTunes gift card to buy your favorite songs before the show, and a late check-out at 3 pm so you can sleep in after a late night on the town. Need tickets to the show? The hotel’s resourceful concierge can be reached at 646-733-2901.


Book Your London Hotel for the Olympics & Queen's Jubilee

October 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Athenauem Hotel and Apartments, London2012 will be a big year for Britain, says Travel Agent Magazine. London is prepping for a series of blockbuster events, starting with the Queen's Jubilee in June, honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne (can we say gigantic flotilla on the Thames?) If you're eager to get in on the action, and also partake in Olympic fever, it's best to book your hotel room ASAP. The USA Today reports that "hotels are expected to fill about 92% of their rooms, which will mean many sold-out nights"-- according to a new forecast from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. "And that's despite a number of new hotels that have opened, including Dorchester Collection's tony 45 Park Lane in Mayfair and Starwood's trendy W in the heart of Leicester Square."

Looking for a hotel in London or the surrounding area? Five Star Alliance has a number of recommendations- whether you want a family-friendly boutique hotel or an opulent palace on the Thames. There are also a slew of four-star hotels available.

Pictured: The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments.


Celebrate Halloween in New York City

October 3, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Halloween is fast approaching, and we hope you’re ready to embrace all the fun that comes with this superstitious holiday. Aside from watching scary movies and carving pumpkins, consider making a trip out to New York for the NYC Village Halloween Parade on October 31st. This is the largest parade in the country, and it brings more than 50,000 costumed marchers, puppeteers, and bands to the Big Apple. This parade strongly encourages public participation, so get your costume ready and book your trip to New York City today!

Consider staying at the Pierre Hotel New York for your Halloween escapade. This luxurious hotel was recently renovated, and is located on 5th Avenue overlooking Central Park. The Pierre’s incredibly central location and legendary history make it an exceptionally elegant hotel. All of the Pierre’s guestrooms and suites have been transformed to feature an inviting, residential-style décor. During your luxurious stay, don’t forget to check out the NYC Village Halloween Parade, going from 7pm-11pm on Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 23rd Street. A crazy night out for the parade isn’t in the cards for you this year? Then be sure to watch it live on WPIZ Channel from 7pm – 10pm and on NY1 from 8pm – 9:30pm on your flat panel television in the Pierre Hotel. Let us reemphasize that this parade strongly encourages public participation, and prizes will be awarded for the best costume, so start brainstorming your outfit now and book your stay at the Pierre Hotel today!


Le Meurice in Paris Bestows 4th Annual Prize for Contemporary Art

September 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meurice, ParisIn just a few short weeks, Le Meurice in Paris will announce the winner of its 4th Annual Prize for Contemporary Art. The luxury palace hotel-- decorated with beautiful artwork and designer furniture by Philippe Starck-- created this annual art prize to highlight its commitment to young, up-and-coming artists who are shaking up the French art scene. Chosen from an exclusive group of 50 artists by a panel of acclaimed arts professionals, the winner will get to exhibit their work at Le Meurice, and they'll receive an endowment of 20,000 euros. There are now six finalists in the running, and we wish them luck!

* Nicolas Moulin (Galerie Chez Valentin), who will be exhibiting in Bratislava 2012

* Louidgi Beltrame (Galerie Jousse Entreprise), who will be exhibiting in Sao Paulo and Rio in 2010 and will also show at Zona Maco Contemporary Art Fair in Mexico in 2012

* Emilie Pitoiset (Galerie Lucile Corty), who will be exhibiting at Galerie Klemm in Berlin in 2012

* Didier Faustino (Galerie Michel Rein), who will be exhibiting at the Fine Arts Museum in Taipei in 2012

* Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (Galerie Marcelle Alix), who will be exhibiting at The Serralves Foundation in Porto in 2012

* Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni (Galerie Loevenbruck), who will be exhibiting at the International Contemporary Art Fair "Art 43" in Basel in 2012


The Zurich Film Festival Honors Actor/Director Sean Penn

September 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Baur au Lac, ZurichThe Zurich Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, and the largest city in Switzerland will be welcoming filmmakers, critics, and movie enthusiasts from around the world to a beautiful setting on Lake Zurich with the Alps as a backdrop. The annual Zurich Film Festival will run until October 2, 2011, and this year's guest of honor is actor and director Sean Penn. If you're lucky, you might still be able to grab a room at the inn. The Baur au Lac, the award-winning hotel which dates back to 1844, is offering a "Film Festival" pacage that includes accommodations, fresh fruit and chocolates in-room, a daily buffet breakfast or in-room Continental breakfast, two tickets to the film festival, a five-course dinner in the newly renovated Pavillon restaurant, and unlimited use of the rooftop fitness club. Valid through October 2, 2011, priced priced from CHF 1,042, subject to availability.