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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.

Most Expensive Restaurants in the US (Thanks, Forbes)

October 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Inn at Little Washington

Americans will spend a record $511 billion dining out this year. And prices at the country's best restaurants are skyrocketing, in part to keep up with the rising cost of high-quality, locally-grown, artisanal ingredients. Forbes has teamed up with the Zagat Survey to determine the priciest restaurants in the US, and topping the list is Masa, the NYC sushi restaurant in the Time Warner Center where the price of dinner for one is about $446. Also on the list? Napa Valley's epic French Laundry ($254 per person), Chicago's futuristic Alinea (12 and 24 course menus are $125 and $175 respectively), Philadelphia's landmark Le Bec-Fin ($120), Alex at Steve Wynn's opulent Vegas hotel ($114), and elegant Virginia establishment The Inn at Little Washington ($141).


Bollywood New Year’s at the Hotel Martinez, Cannes, France

October 18, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Martinez

From its perch overlooking the largest private beach on the Croisette, the Hotel Martinez reigns over the glamorous French Riviera. The legendary Art Deco palace, the glitzy hotel of choice during the Cannes film festival, is home to one of the few Givenchy spas in the world (and highly-acclaimed top-floor terrace suites that offer panoramic views of the sea from teakwood decks and sunken Jacuzzis). This New Year's Eve, the Hotel Martinez celebrates its film legacy by paying tribute to Bollywood magic. On December 31, the Hotel Martinez transforms the Salon Royal Galuchat to become a fairytale palace reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. There will be a show with dancers, acrobats, singers and musicians a la Bollywood, and a superb dinner with elegant food tastings and wine pairings prepared by chefs Christian Willer and Christian Sinicropi. The "Indian Fairytale New Year's Eve Party" includes the show, gourmet dinner including a bottle of champagne for two, wines chosen by the Master Sommelier, overnight accommodation in a Superior room, buffet breakfast in the restaurant or in-room on New Year's Day, and entry to the fitness area and sauna. The package starts at EUR 915 for two. Extra nights are available from EUR 195 per night, breakfast included.


The Merrion, Dublin: Traveling with Kids in Ireland (and Spoiling Them Rotten)

October 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Merrion Hotel

Chocolate chip cookies with milk, Frette robes, "mocktails"… Dublin's luxurious five-star Merrion Hotel has unveiled the "Miss and Master Merrion" program, where young guests are welcomed with a slew of complimentary amenities (and pampered alongside their 'rents). While children are delighted by the in-room milk and cookies (note: healthier options are available), babies receive complimentary products such as baby wash, moisturizer, talcum powder, and bottles. Frette children's robes and slippers are available in-room, and also at the Tethra Spa. Special children's menus include delightful homemade options including real chicken nuggets, chicken noodle soup, homemade pizza, and pigs in a blanket. And the bartender at No. 23 or The Cellar Bar can even prepare "mocktails" for kids to enjoy alongside their parents. (There's a wealth of family entertainment in Dublin-- from the Dublin Zoo to the Lambert Puppet Theater--easily arranged by the Merrion concierge.)


Chef and Winemaker Dinner at Chateau Elan, Georgia

October 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau Elan Winery and Resort

You are invited to a special culinary event at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, Georgia's celebrated French-style Chateau with a full-production winery renowned for its award-winning premium vintages. On November 3, 2006, the Chateau will host a fun-filled evening of exquisite cuisine and fine wine in the Cask Room, with Executive Chef Marc Suennemann and Winemaker Dan Baldwin. Enjoy a beautifully-prepared Five-Course Dinner for Two, luxurious overnight accommodations, a specially labeled bottle of Chateau Elan wine, and breakfast for two the following morning at Versailles. Seating is limited and the cost of the two-person package is $469 (excluding tax). Situated just 40 minutes north of Atlanta, the Chateau Elan is surrounded by 3,500 acres of picturesque vineyards. In addition to the winery, the resort boasts a fabulous spa and dining establishments.


Fine Dining at Grouse Mountain Grill, Pines Lodge, Beaver Creek, Colorado

October 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pines Lodge

Stay slopeside at the luxurious Pines Lodge, and dine like a king at the Grouse Mountain Grill, the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant that features stunning views of Beaver Creek Resort. Zagat raves about the joint as the best in the region, and Grouse is the highlight of the annual Beaver Creek Culinary Festival. Executive Chef Ted Schneider prepares elegant game, beef, fish and fowl with a signature rustic style, served graciously in a warm, welcoming environment. For a divine taste of Grouse Mountain, try the recipe for honey & lemon venison osso buco with goat cheese risotto at home:

Honey & Lemon Venison Osso Buco

with Goat Cheese Risotto

Serves four

Venison

8 venison shanks, cut "osso buco" style

3 T vegetable oil

Flour

1 cup lemon peel, fresh

2 cups lemon juice

1 cup honey

1 cup brown sauce

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper venison shanks. Dredge in flour and fry in vegetable oil, turning to make sure both sides have browned. Place in a baking dish. Add lemon juice, honey, lemon peel and brown sauce. Bake at 350° covered for 1 to 2 hours or until "fork" tender. Skim off excess fat, and serve over the goat cheese risotto with some of the sauce.

Goat Cheese Risotto

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped

1 3/4 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

6 cups chicken stock, hot

4 T butter

6 oz goat cheese, room temperature

Salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and stir until translucent. Add rice, stir until coated with oil. Add wine and simmer until evaporated. Add half chicken stock, simmer until evaporated. Add remaining stock and simmer until evaporated until rice is soft on the outside with a chewy center. If rice is crunchy, add another cup of stock and allow it to evaporate. Repeat if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Christmas at Les Ambassadeurs Restaurant, Hotel de Crillon, Paris

October 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Les Ambassadeurs

It's no wonder that one of the oldest and most exclusive luxury hotels in the world also boasts one of the best restaurants. Like the opulent hotel it occupies, Les Ambassadeurs Restaurant reflects total decadence: from the crystal chandeliers to the lavish marble interior, from the first extraordinary course to the last artfully-prepared dessert. A meal at this two-star Michelin restaurant is not just memorable; it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. This Christmas, Les Ambassadeurs features a special four-course Christmas menu at EUR 415 (exclusive of drinks).


Video Guides from InterContinental Hotel Concierges

October 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Willard Intercontinental

That's right. The InterContinental Hotels Group has partnered with TurnHere to create a series of local video guides narrated by the concierges of Intercontinental Hotels across the United States. First up: the insider's guide to the nation's capital, brought to you by Robert Watson, the lovely concierge at the Willard InterContinental Washington DC, the grand historic landmark known as the "Crown Jewel of Pennsylvania Avenue." The free video is lively, informative, and a fun (and free) overview of the city's neighborhoods, sites, and restaurants. Plus you'll get the inside scoop on the locals' favorite haunts and stomping grounds. Check it out.

Related Articles:

HotelChatter, InterContinental Goes Local With Video Guides


Hot Hollywood Bars: Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel, Los Angeles

October 6, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sunset Tower Hotel

The Sunset Tower Hotel (formerly the Argyle) has been a Los Angeles landmark since the day it opened in 1929. Elegant, posh, and perfectly located on the Sunset Strip, the Sunset Tower Hotel has been the residence of countless famous actors, musicians, and even the gangster Bugsy Siegel, whose former apartment is now the setting for the Tower Bar, one of the hottest hang-outs in LA. Inspired by the glamour of early Hollywood, the chic Tower Bar was designed by internationally acclaimed decorator Paul Fortune, with walnut-paneled walls, discreet seating and a fireplace. While guests sip cocktails and listen to the playing of famed jazz pianist Paige Cavenaugh in the rose-colored light, they enjoy sweeping views of the city. It's no wonder Los Angeles magazine chose the Tower Bar as its Top City Pick, praising its handsome and rich appointments as a scene reminiscent of private men's clubs.


Berlin’s Hip Urban Delights

October 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Berlin

The uber-chic German capital has got it all: more than 170 excellent museums, happening nightlife, dreamy palaces, and exquisite fine dining (but don't rule out the beer halls and down-home sausage and sauerkraut specialties). Berlin boasts a rich cultural landscape. To quote Sherman's Travel:

If an outdated mental picture of Berlin as a once-divided city is keeping you from visiting the capital of Germany, you haven't heard that it is the hot, hip urban destination for jet-setters, beer-lovers, and culture-vultures alike. New life has been breathed into the city, and now is the time to go and experience it.

And perhaps the best part of all, Berlin's positively brimming with world-class hotels, from the elegant and utterly luxurious Regent to the world famous Kempinski Hotel Bristol, from the Schlosshotel Im Grunewald, the city's only historic castle hotel, to the Radisson SAS with its enormous lobby AquaDom (the world's largest cylindrical aquarium) stocked with 2,500 exotic fish.


The Peninsula New York Chef Creates Lufthansa Onboard Menus

October 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula New York

Say goodbye to nasty airline food. Executive Chef Gordon Maybury has designed delicious and healthy menus for First and Business Class menus of Lufthansa outbound flights from the US. Starting in November, passengers will indulge in selections inspired from the hotel's Fives restaurant, including pistachio dusted shrimp with sweet pea tarragon flan appetizer, vanilla thyme roasted halibut with baby bok choy and fondant potato, and wild berry charlotte in its own consommé with sweet cream, and a selection of international cheeses. This culinary partnership will continue throughout 2007, with Lufthansa featuring rotating menus from the chefs at the Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula Beverly Hills in addition to the Peninsula New York.