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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.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


The Fasano Hotel, Sao Paulo, Brazil


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fasano

Recently featured in an excellent Financial Times article about luxury travel, The Fasano in Sao Paulo is indeed one of the world's best hotels.

The rooms so chic, chocolate and cosseting, you will find yourself revising your low opinion of so-called design hotels. Bathrooms are simply vast, the location spot-on and service conspicuously good for capricious South America.

Most importantly, this is the spot of one of the best Italian restaurants in the world. The Fasano family name is well known in São Paulo: their signature restaurant has dignified the grand avenue (Rua Vittorio Fasano) since 1990, the recipes for its grand cuisine brought from Milan a century ago. The hotel's facilities are nothing short of decadent: rooftop health club with pool, baths, sauna (and stunning views), a fleet of limousines for airport pick-ups and transfers, hip jazz bar, and swank guest rooms. A truly glamorous address with exceptional service.


Chef Alain Ducasse to Open New Restaurant at St. Regis Hotel, New York


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Alain Ducasse

The star, the legend, the superstar, the crème de la crème of Chefs-- Alain Ducasse-- will open a new restaurant at the St. Regis in Manhattan. We're talking about the only guy in the world to own and operate three signature restaurants each honored with three Michelin stars. (Starwood is pleased as pie about this new arrangement.) The restaurant will open in March 2007 and will also feature a wine bar. The St. Regis Hotel, New York isn't exactly a shabby address: the majestic property was recently named the number one hotel in the world by the readers of Institutional Investor, the first New York hotel to win the top spot in the survey's 25-year history.

Related Articles:

Alain Ducasse Scores Three Michelin Stars

Jumeirah's Luxury Hotel Expansion and the Jumeirah Essex House, New York