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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.

Announcing The Charles Hotel, Munich


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Charles Hotel, Munich Say hello to the latest Rocco Forte masterpiece: The Charles Hotel, perfectly located in the heart of Munich, close to the historic square of Konigsplatz. Opening in Summer 2007, the city's latest five-star hotel was custom built, with the interior designed by Olga Polizzi. The luxury hotel will feature 160 guest rooms, including 28 suites, with views of the surrounding Lenbach Garden, the city's oldest botanical garden. (The Presidential Suite is stunning, and measures 200 square meters.) The split-level restaurant has its own bar and terrace area for summer dining. The spa and health club includes a fully-equipped gym, 15-meter swimming pool, sauna, steam bath, and six treatment rooms. And business travelers, rest assured, this place promises to be the perfect setting for conferences and meetings. (It's decked out with seven conference rooms, a two-level ballroom, and two large dining rooms.)


Spring Fling at Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beau Rivage Palace Spring is in the air on Lake Geneva. The stunning Beau-Rivage Palace, one of the most beautiful palace hotels in the world, is celebrating the arrival of spring with two special packages. Overlooking Lake Geneva, this iconic landmark boasts the cutting-edge Cinq Mondes Spa, rated by Forbes as one of the most luxurious spas in the world. Escape to Switzerland and frolic in the spring temperatures. With the Spring Promotion, available from April 1-June 30, 2007, guests enjoy a fantastic daily room rate of CHF 450 (double occupancy) which includes breakfast. Or head across the pond for a pampered Easter break, where the kids will go gaga over the elaborate Easter egg hunt. From April 6-April 10, 2007, rates are as low as CHF 395 per night including breakfast.


The Octagon Bar at The Clarence, Dublin: World’s Hottest Hotel Bars


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Clarence Hotel The Octagon Bar has been a favorite Dublin watering hole throughout the hotel's 15 year history. After all, this joint belongs to Bono and The Edge of U2. (They purchased the hotel in 1992 and restored it into the city's premier boutique hotel. The Clarence is now on Conde Nast's Gold List. It's got the U2 stamp all over it.) The hotel's chic bar, which features an octagon-shaped dome, is adored by both locals and visitors. The award-winning cocktails are flavorful and fun, and run the gamut from Bubbly to Clarence Cocktails. (Highly-recommended: the apple strudel martini.) Of course there are plenty of tasty nibbles to accompany the libations.


Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany: Off the Beaten Path in Italy


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Castello di Vicarello As featured in Vogue magazine, the twelfth century Castello di Vicarello is a hidden gem nestled within olive groves, lavender fields, and vineyards in Maremma, the heart of Tuscany. Travel like royalty and discover this magical retreat. For the ultimate in privacy, there are only five suites, distinguished by thick stone walls and wood beams, and furnished with antiques and art from the owner's extensive travels. The property features two infinity edge pools, orchards cultivated since Roman times, and beautiful gardens from where vegetables are picked for exquisite meals. (Most of the food is grown on the grounds, following strict organic guidelines.) At Castello di Vicarello, enjoy traditional Tuscan fare with only the best and freshest ingredients.


Charleston Place: Special Business Package in Charleston, South Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Charleston Place Charleston Place, the stunning Orient-Express property located at 205 Meeting Street in historic Charleston, is easily one of the world's finest hotels. Elegant guest rooms and warm Southern hospitality evoke the ambience of a private residence straight out of the Old World. Consistently ranked in the "Top 10 Hotels in North America" by Conde Nast Traveler, Charleston Place offers the sumptuous European-style Spa, clay tennis court, heated horizon edged swimming pool, and the Charleston Grill, one of the best restaurants in the country. And now Charleston Place has devised a special value-added package for business travelers. Amenities include complimentary Continental breakfast in the Palmetto Cafe or through in-room dining, local phone calls and long-distance access, valet parking, shoe shine, daily newspaper, and business center services including faxing, copying, and use of on-site personal computers and clerical support. The package, with deluxe accommodations for Sunday through Thursday night stays, is available for $378 per night. Subject to availability.


Welcome Back Spring at the Hay-Adams (with Sake!)


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

The Hay-Adams is almost exactly a mile from the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin and on the walk over you'd get to pass 1) The White House, 2) Old Executive Office Building, 3) Washington Monument and 4) The National World War II Memorial. This year, the predicted peak bloom will be April 4th (although they start to bloom around March 30th). Hay-Adams Cherry BlossomsThe Hay-Adams "Cherry Blossom Package" includes a minimum of 2 nights, Cherry Blossom Fesitval information, a special amenity, and complimentary parking (normally $35.84 per night with the valet). Rates start at $369 for the package and will sell out quickly (check real-time availability here). Other packages available to welcome back spring to the area include "Spring Break" (low rates, breakfast and accommodations) and the "Sake Dinner Package" (five-course Asian influenced dinner, 5 different Japanese sake, breakfast, free parking, and of course the room). If you live in the area or are visiting and not staying at the Hay-Adams (shame on you) but want to partake in the "Sake Dinner" the night before the Cherry Blossom Parade and Festival, the cost for two is $150 plus tax and gratuity. Call the Lafayette Room at 202-220-4853 to make reservations - 6:30 pm Reception, 7:30 pm Dinner.


An Interview with the General Manager: Tony McHale of Keswick Hall


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Tony McHale of Keswick HallTony McHale is the current General Manager at Keswick Hall in Keswick, Virginia - just outside Charlottesville. He took some time out of his busy schedule (you'd be busy too if you had an Arnold Palmer golf course at your office) to answer some of our questions.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Tony McHale: I was the General Manager of the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, also an Orient Express property, and transferred to Keswick following Katrina.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Tony McHale: Keswick is like a country home. It is intimate and charming with gracious service and hospitality, in a breath taking setting, on a private 600 acre Estate.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Tony McHale: Private, yet just 15 minutes from downtown Charlottesville. Curl up with a book in front of one of the six fireplaces, or enjoy golf on our private Arnold Palmer Championship Golf course. Hot air ballooning, shooting, riding, fishing or biking are one of many pursuits.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed at Keswick Hall, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Tony McHale: Mic Jagger, James Brown, Michael J. Fox, Sissy Spacek, Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, and Paul Newman to name a few.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages?

Tony McHale: Balcony State Rooms 9 and 27: Both are corner rooms located on the 2nd floor. They have private balconies and exquisite views overlooking the Arnold Palmer Golf Course. They are requested time and time again by our regular guests.

Five Star Alliance: If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Tony McHale: A favorite Signature Room (standard) would be # 10. It has a full size balcony overlooking the Horizon Edge Pool and Arnold Palmer Golf Course.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Tony McHale: Strongest markets are New York and Washington, though people travel from all over including Europe.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Tony McHale: Check-in/out times, dining options (both on and off property), recreational activities, things to do in the area: shopping, wineries, etc, parking fee, and safety deposit box.

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Tony McHale: Villa San Michele in Florence and the Maroma Resort in Cancun.


Easter at Kiawah Island, South Carolina


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Easter at Kiawah Island Celebrate Easter traditions at Kiawah and treat your family to a memorable stay at the AAA Five Diamond-rated Sanctuary Hotel or in a spacious private home or villa. The weather is spectacular, the variety of activities is endless, not to mention the fantastic Easter Dining and fun holiday festivities. (Sand sculpting contest, fabulous food and wine bar, live music, Easter Egg Hunt, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!)

Take advantage of the Sanctuary Easter Package starting from just $639 per room, which includes one night accommodation in a garden view room, buffet breakfast for two, and the Grand Easter buffet for two adults. With the Villa Easter Package at Kiawah, enjoy buffet breakfast for two, and Easter Buffet at Osprey Point (for two), along with the luxurious accommodations in a one bedroom scenic view villa. Starting from $382 per night, seven-night minimum stay required.


Spring Skiing at The Lodge at Vail, Colorado


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Lodge at VailWarm weather, sunny skies and great conditions on the mountains. What could be finer than spring skiing at Vail? Named "Number 1 Ski Resort Hotel in North America" by the readers of Departures magazine, The Lodge at Vail boasts an unbeatable location, in the heart of Vail Village and at the base of the mountain. World-class skiing and snowboarding are right outside the front door. Book the Four-night Ski Package at The Lodge at Vail and enjoy rates as low as $229 per room. The package includes four nights accommodations, a four-day lift ticket for two to Vail and Beaver Creek, and daily breakfast for two at Cucina Rustica.

PS. Rates are so low partly because renovations are currently underway at The Lodge, including the addition of the new Avanyu Spa. Opening in late 2007, the 7,725-square-foot, state-of-the-art spa will feature 11 treatment rooms and world-class facilities.


St. Patrick’s Day at Chateau Elan, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau Elan The luxurious Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, the grand French-style Chateau surrounded by 3,500 acres of vineyards just 40 minutes from Atlanta, is also home to their very own Irish Pub. Paddy's will be hosting their 9th Annual St Patrick's Day Celebration on March 17, 2007. Sponsored by Guinness, the event will feature food stations with all your favorite Irish-fare and live music within the Winery Pavilion and within the Pub til last call. Ticket booths will be setup so all food and beverages will be sold festival-style using tickets. Starting at 12 p.m. After the festivities, retire to your lavish guest room, and cure next day's hang-over with an indulgent spa treatment in the world-renowned 33,000 square foot spa.