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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.

A Boutique Critique: JK Place Firenze is No Joke

February 29, 2012
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.

Starting off this series is a relatively new kid on the block, at least as far as Five Star Alliance is concerned.  The JK Place Firenze has just joined our collection, and we're more than excited to bring them on board, we're...more excited?  Weighing in at just a 20-room property, it's almost more a home than a hotel, and that, in my opinion, is what the boutique hotel is all about.  Some go the flashier, avante garde route, but the JK Place Firenze has firmly defined itself as the kind of property that immediately sets you at ease as you walk through its front doors.  The neo-classical decor is reminiscent of the collection one might build up in a home with a lot of history.  Intentionally ecclectic and always tasteful, the antique collectibles and 50s and 60s furniture lend an air of panache to the intimate setting.  

The hotel plays home to the J K Lounge, which offers some wonderful dining, and you'll be well within reach of the all the finest establishments in Florence.  It's the perfect outpost to explore the city from, a home away from home.  So be sure to check out the JK Place Firenze for the kind of personal attention that only a boutique hotel can offer.


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

October 20, 2011
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


Hotel Buzz: St. Regis Florence Completes 10-Month Restoration

October 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis FlorenceHot off the press! Starwood has unveiled a dazzling hotel in Florence, Italy. After a 10-month restoration, the property that was formerly called the Grand Hotel Florence has been reborn as a St. Regis- meaning it features the signature St. Regis Butler service and St. Regis Aficionado program, providing guests with insider access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Talk about historical grandeur! This hotel was originally designed in 1432 by Filippo Brunelleschi, the architect of the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore, and is one of the city's most culturally significant buildings. The 81 guest rooms-- including the opulent designer suite by Bottega Veneta-- are decked out with paintings, decorative antiques, frescos and crystal chandeliers-- thus paying homage to local Florentine artisans. Overlooking the Arno River, the hotel also features three Iridium Spa Suites for the ultimate in pampering. What we're most excited about? A stellar restaurant called Etichetta Pinchiorri, opened by the folks behind the Michelin three-star restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence.

Check out the photos of the St. Regis Florence.


Escaping the Heat in Florence at the Bars of Five-Star Hotels

September 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Hotel Savoy, FlorenceWhat to do when it's broiling in Florence? When battling record-setting temperatures in August, one city visitor came up with a brilliant solution: five-star cocktail hour! As Zofia Smardz recounts in an article in The Washington Post Travel section, the best way to beat the heat is to retreat to the ritzy spaces that are cool as cucumbers (air-conditioning isn't the norm in Europe). She and her husband headed to the Hotel de la Ville, "the blissfully cool bar at the posh Hotel Lungarno," Hotel Brunelleschi, and the Hotel Savoy:

“Buona sera, signora!” call out the desk clerks as we enter the Savoy lobby. Everybody’s so welcoming! In the elegantly plush modern bar, the waiters hop to and we’re soon basking in climatic comfort. We raise our martini glasses in a toast to our smarts, then sip the drinks verrrrry slooooowly as the sweat evaporates from our skin. The waiter brings a tray of treats — mini-crostini, olives, cheeses — for us to munch on. And a second when we finish that one. We relax. We feel very cool. In every sense. This is the life!

The only downside to a week-long spree? When the credit card bill arrives back home.


Open-Air Massages with Views of Florence at the Villa San Michele

September 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa San MicheleOne of our top picks for lodgings in Florence, Italy? The Villa San Michele, an Orient-Express property housed in a former monastery that boats a 15th century facade attributed to Michelangelo. The location is killer; the hotel is nestled on a hilltop amid terraced gardens with unrivaled views across the Arno Valley to Florence. From the panoramic swimming pool, you can soak up the stunning views over the Tuscan hills. And that's not all. A brand new Massage Gazebo at the Villa San Michele is the perfect place for open-air massages with a view. Special offers: The hotel is currently running the "One More Night" offer where you get a third night for free when you stay two consecutive nights. Your daily room rate is pre-discounted by 33% and includes Full American Breakfast daily. Rates are valid only during selected periods and are subject to availability.

Related Article: Buon Appetito: Italian Cooking School in Florence at the Villa San Michele


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.