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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.

Martini Madness at Dukes Hotel, London

April 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Bar

Shake or stir up the perfect weekend at Dukes Hotel, renowned worldwide for its marvelous Martinis, and of course the best Dry Martini in town. Located in a quiet spot on St. James's Place, Dukes is a charming, privately-owned luxury hotel set in a flowering gas-lit courtyard, just minutes from London's finest restaurants, theaters, galleries and exclusive shops. This luxurious boutique-- with its 89 rooms and suites individually decorated like a private home-- prizes its reputation for its happening Cocktail Bar. Brace yourself for the launch of the new Martini Menu, which will add clever concoctions such as a Filthy Dirty Martini, a Dukes Chocolate Martini, a Balsamic Vinegar Martini, a Saffron Martini, and a Rose Petal Martini, along with the traditional house specialties. In celebration of these libations, Dukes has introduced a special Martini Madness package, for Friday night arrivals throughout 2006. Priced at GBP 920 for three nights (double occupancy), the package includes: luxurious accommodations for two, full English breakfast daily, a private tasting with the bartender, a lesson on making the perfect Martini, and at-home presentation tips, two martinis at the happening bar, dinner for two at Dukes restaurant, and a special Recovery Massage for two. Top that off with a complimentary Dukes Martini set in a beautiful gift box that includes two Martini glasses, a bottle of gin, a miniature bottle of Vermouth, a lemon peeler, and a Dukes Martini leaflet with instructions on how to make a Martini. Cheers to that.

Dukes Hotel, Official Site

Dukes Hotel, Five Star Alliance


Easter Brunch Package at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville

April 11, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hermitage Hotel

While visiting family and friends in Nashville, head to the city's treasured landmark, the Hermitage Hotel, for its famous Easter Brunch set in the historic lobby. Located in the heart of downtown, across the street from the State Capitol and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the luxurious Hermitage has racked up numerous awards, including AAA Five Diamond status and Robb Report's Best of the Best. Take advantage of the Easter Brunch package, starting at $279, and relax in splendor in a richly-furnished guest room, with its sumptuous fine thread count fabrics and all marble bathrooms.

In addition, the hotel is offering a Mother's Day Brunch Package that is sure to delight the most discriminating of guests. Brunch for two in the historic lobby features selections from the Capitol Grille. During mother's overnight stay, she will be spoiled with the hotel's Contemporary Bath Service, prepared by the Bath Concierge, with oversized plush towels, a bottle of fresh spring water, seasonal fruit, candles, rose petals, slippers, a luxurious robe, and a selection of aromatic bath salts and bath gels. Rates start at $349.

The Hermitage, Official Site

The Hermitage, Five Star Alliance


Look Out, Four Seasons; The Magellan Residential Cruise Ship Set to Sail the Seas

April 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Magellan Residential Cruise Ship

Another luxury ship with permanent ocean residences is a good thing, as rumor has it that the Four Seasons Cruise Ship is almost sold out. The Magellan-- to be completed by the summer of 2008-- will be limited to 200 private homes, including 16 penthouses. The exclusive $650 million ship claims it will "redefine luxury for the discerning traveler":

The facilities and services of the world's finest resorts are part of everyday life aboard the Magellan. On-call housekeeping staff, a world-class spa and marketplace, a 24-hour concierge staff, indoor and outdoor pools, six restaurants, a 450-seat theatre featuring Broadway-quality entertainment, a casino worthy of Monte Carlo and a 8,000 sq.ft greenhouse with onsite horticulturists are just a few of the conveniences that make living aboard the Magellan a unique experience.

Add to that the luxury of visiting 300 unique ports of call as you circumnavigate the globe. Now that ain't too shabby.


London Boutique Hotels: Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel

March 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Brown's Hotel

After a GBP 20 million renovation, Brown's Hotel re-opened in December as one of London's most stylish boutique hotels. (Baroness Thatcher, accompanied by Sir Rocco Forte, did the honors at the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony.) The charming historic hotel is composed of 11 Georgian town houses, its 117 bedrooms individually designed with style and sophistication. Located in the heart of Mayfair just a few minutes from Bond Street shopping, Brown's has long boasted a reputation of exclusivity and elegant refinement. The notable features of the renovation include three spa treatment rooms, a fully-equipped gym, and six private meeting rooms. And of course The Grill serves up some pretty tasty cuisine, and the English Tea Room is considered a London institution.


A Las Vegas Record? 500 Feet of All-You-Can-Eat

March 29, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The title says it all. As CNN reports:

Even in this over-the-top town famed for all-you-can-eat spreads, nobody had ever seen one quite like this: Forty soups, 100 salads and 150 desserts perched upon a 500-foot maze of tables.
Las Vegas Hilton Executive Chef George Bargisen put together a whopping 510 different dishes to grab the title for new record buffet on Tuesday, qualifying for a Guiness record for-- drum roll please-- World's Largest Buffet. Day-um.


Malbec in Mendoza: Argentina’s Cavas Wine Lodge

March 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cavas Wine Lodge

Wine-lovers rejoice; the seasonal grape harvest in the Southern Hemisphere is only just beginning. In Mendoza, Argentina, where the rolling fields of vines are set against a magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped Andes, the award-winning malbec and torrontes varietals are divine. Indulge in copious quantities at the wine-cellar at Cavas Wine Lodge, the region's hottest new hotel. The 14 free-standing guest rooms are spacious, with fireplace, private terrace, plunge pool and al fresco shower. Top-of-the-line technology includes entertainment centers, two-line phones and high-speed internet access. Soak up the breathtaking views by the outdoor pool, indulge in the restaurant's gastronomic delights, or relax with a superb spa treatment. And of course there are (lots of) glasses to be savored, overlooking the surrounding vineyards.

Related Articles:

The New York Times, "Peel Me a Grape"

Frommer's, "Embrace the Cold Shoulder Season in Chile and Argentina"


The World’s Tele-Skiers Unite! The Live Free Heel Fest in Livigno, Italy

March 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Snow in the Alps

The globe's biggest tele-marking festival is a rip-roaring good time, a week packed full of races, treks through the Alps, a film festival, equipment expos, open-air barbecue, and lots of grub and wine. So toss those bindings and jet to Italy! Formerly known as La Skieda, the festival runs from April 1-8. $170 gets you lift tickets and entrance to all events.


Announcing the Grand Opening of the Conrad Indianapolis

March 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Indianapolis

At last, a luxury destination hotel for business travelers in the heart of Indiana's capital. The Conrad Indianapolis debuts today (and Conrad's been prepping for this opening ceremony for months!) The 241 guest rooms are loaded with technology and amenities for business travelers: 42 inch flat screen TVs with satellite, high speed wireless internet, spacious work areas, three telephones and fax. In addition, the hotel's got ample meeting space (10,000 sq ft. of it), excellent spa facilities, and fine dining. The Vitesse tapas and caviar bar may even lure East and West coasters into the depths of the Heartland's fly-over territory.


Ritzy Singles Cooking Classes at the Hotel Ritz Paris

March 24, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dining at the Hotel Ritz

That's right. The outstanding cooking school-- Ecole Ritz Escoffier-- at the legendary Parisian palace hotel is now offering the Ritzy Rendez-vous one Friday evening per month, for singles to wine and dine... and cook, of course. The setting couldn't be more perfect, opposite the great kitchen at the Ritz, where gourmands and professional chefs flock to learn the secrets to the best modern French cuisine. (EUR 90)


Four Seasons Hotel Chicago Announces Kevin Hickey as New Executive Chef

March 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Chicago restaurant

The award-winning hotel that is oft considered the best city hotel in the United States has a dining room to match. Seasons Restaurant is an opulent dining experience, both in its gorgeous seventh-floor setting overlooking Chicago's avenues, and in its creative Franco-American cuisine. The new executive chef brings with him an 11 year career with the company. A Chicago native, Hickey is a frequent shopper of neighborhood ethnic markets, incorporating local, organic products into his distinct menus of American cuisine.

As described by Chicago Magazine:

Seven months ago, four-star executive chef Robert Sulatycky left Seasons for Napa Valley to pursue his dream of becoming a winemaker. Since the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels are sister properties, that left Kevin Hickey, the executive chef of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, responsible for the entire kitchens of both hotels. The guy says he has literally been running across the street in his chef whites as many as four times a day, "writing menus, driving the creative force, being involved with events." How do you do it? Dish asked. "I don’t know," Hickey replied, "but I delegated a lot. I have great sous chefs and put a little bit more work on their shoulders." One set of those shoulders belongs to the executive sous chef at the Ritz, Mark Payne, a UK native with credentials that include nine years with the Four Seasons family from properties in Nevis (West Indies) to New York City. Clearly Payne and Hickey each performed at the top of their culinary game because Hans Willimann, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, has announced that as of April 1st, Hickey will become the executive chef of the Four Seasons Hotel and Payne will be promoted to the top toque position at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Both chefs expect to have their new dining room menus in place by mid-May.