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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.

Are You Ready for the iPhone 5?

September 6, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The iPhone 5 will be unveiled (drumroll please) on September 12th, 2012 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. With all of the rumors buzzing about the new phone, we certainly can’t wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve. With an influx of news media, tech writers, and journalists, hotels are selling out fast. Explore the 32 luxury hotel options in the area and make your reservations to ensure you don’t miss out on Apple’s biggest product announcement of the year!


 


Never Count Sheep Again at the Hazelton Hotel

September 5, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Toronto’s International Film Festival is upon us, and with that comes an influx of movie stars and luxury hotels pulling out all the stops for its guests. The Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto received quite a bit of hype since it’s the new kid on the block that opened last January, but the Hazelton Hotel took it to a completely new level with its $99,900 bed installation. The Vividus (yes, the bed has a name), is made with Arctic Circle forest-sourced pine, hand-laid springs, and a “carefully balanced blend of hand-teased horsehair, cotton, wool and flax.” Want to experience the most comfortable bed in the world for yourself? Make your reservations at the Hazelton Hotel here!


QE2 to Become Dubai’s First Floating Luxury Hotel

July 11, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Queen Elizabeth 2, an ocean liner previously operating as a cruise ship is in development to become Dubai’s first floating hotel. Although the design of the hotel will differ from its original plan, we certainly have high hopes that it will be nothing short of fabulous. The cruiser made its last trip from New York City to Dubai in 2008, and it has been docked in Port Rashid harbor since. The Telegraph reports that the original plan was to have the QE2 feature 1,000 lavish and luxurious rooms, but now the plan is to have 300 rooms which will maintain many of its original features. We certainly can’t wait to see this floating luxury hotel’s development as it progresses. If you get seasick or like a little more room for exploration, then check out the 61 luxury hotels that are fully grounded and stationary in Dubai!


How to Use the Five Star Alliance Site to its Fullest Potential

March 6, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We get a number of inquiries about rates, availability, and amenities, and we thought it would be an excellent idea to quickly run through how our site works so you can gather all of the information you need to make your luxury hotel reservation!

To start, Five Star Alliance is a luxury online travel agency serving over 3,000 of the world’s finest hotels. We are not directly associated with, nor owners of any of the hotels on our site, so it’s easy to compare various properties at the same time without a biased slant. The information available on our site is exactly what our agents see. You’re certainly encouraged and quite able to look up the various details important to you and make your reservation through us on your own! We encourage you to read below to gain familiarity and confidence on using our website to its fullest potential.

If you're just exploring options and not sure where exactly you’d like to go, then we encourage you to click on the ‘World’s Best Hotels’ tab and explore our list of the top ski resorts, top spa resorts, top honeymoon hotels, most romantic hotels, and much more. If you are set on visiting a specific area like the Caribbean or Europe but not quite sure on the specifics, then click on the ‘Find a Hotel’ tab and enter the region you’ll be visiting and click ‘Go’ to view hotels in various cities in that region. If you are pretty set on visiting a specific island or city, then we suggest simply typing it into the search bar and clicking that city or island link to compare the various hotels in that area. Once you are on the appropriate page, ready to compare your options, simply enter your dates of travel and click ‘Go.’ You’ll easily be able to scan the list of the hotels and view their availability and rates. Once you find a hotel that interests you, click on the hotel name to view its location, highlights and amenities. If everything fits and that is the hotel you choose, simply click ‘Go’ and explore the various room types available. Select the option that best fits your needs, fill out the booking form with your personal information, and voila! Your reservation will automatically be confirmed and you’ll soon be on your way to an incredible luxury hotel!

Photo of Wheatleigh in Lenox, Massachusetts


Visiting London? Check Out the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

March 5, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is located on a quiet street in the heart of Mayfair. It is one of the few luxury hotels in London that has greenery and open spaces on all sides, allowing visitors access to the best of both worlds; nature and the city. Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James Park are all located nearby, and the hotel is just a short stroll from to the West End theatres, Bond Street, Knightsbridge, and Buckingham Palace. Aside from an incredible location, this luxury hotel has a few other distinguishing factors that make it one of the best hotels in London. It has a putting green on its terrace as well as a glass-walled rooftop spa offering 360 degree views of the treetops and the city. The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane is also a wonderful choice for families, and it certainly goes out of its way to welcome young travelers. The concierge is extremely accommodating and always available to assist with making reservations for a family dinner, a babysitter, and more.

Need more details about the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane? Be sure to explore room types, availability, and photos here!


Dance the Night Away with the Gift of Dancing Fountains

October 24, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family members and friends. This year, however, we bet you want something different, something special, something extravagant, something over the top. Did we just read your mind? For the luxury seekers, the best gift givers, and the folks who always go above and beyond what is expected, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue may be just for you.

One of my personal favorite gifts offered is the Dancing Fountains from WET. WET, the company responsible for creating some of the most extravagent fountains in the world, including the Fountains of Bellagio and the Dubai Fountain is now bringing these charming creations to your home. With this fantasy gift, WET will install two underwater robotic nozzles that dance as a couple. This fountain will swirl, twirl, dip, and spin for you with the beauty of two graceful dancers. With this purchase, Neiman Marcus will donate $10,000 of the proceeds to Water.org, a nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Curious what else the Neiman Marcus catalogue has to offer? Check out the Assouline Custom-Built Library, the Dream Folly, and the rest of the Holiday Catalogue.

(Photo via Neiman Marcus)


Four Seasons L.A. Launches ICE Technology, and It's Changing the Way We Stay

October 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles is the first Four Seasons to embrace ICE technology to digitally connect every room to all parts of the hotel. Before we dive into what that means for travelers, let’s explore what this Four Seasons has to offer. The Four Season Hotel L.A. has a tropically landscaped rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, and a pool grill, allowing you to indulge in seasonal specialties in full relaxation mode. Aside from rooftop fun, the Four Seasons L.A. also has a full-service spa where you can unwind in the steam sauna or pamper yourself with various spa treatments. After a day of exploring Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, enjoy a leisurely dinner at the award winning Gardens Restaurant.

With the launch of ICE Technology, all of the amenities available to guests remain the same, but the way you can access and utilize those amenities will change. All of the guestrooms and suites will have iPad2 devices, permitting guests to customize their stay with the push of a few buttons. Guests will be able to make restaurant reservations, order in-room dining, research nearby attractions, call valet parking, coordinate airport transportation, make beauty and spa appointments, make specific housekeeping requests, research transportation options, schedule wake up calls, check out of the hotel, and much more. Is this technology essentially eliminating the need for face-to-face customer service? Not necessarily. According to Mehdi Eftekari, the General Manger at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, “most of our guests travel with a smartphone, tablet, or both, so it made sense to provide access to the hotel’s services through the same intuitive touch interface.” How are guests reacting to this new technology? Mehdi Eftekari reports that “guests are very impressed. The interface is so intuitive and easy to use, they feel right at home.” What do you think about this new development? Check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles to experience it for yourself.

We encourage you to check out the article about ICE technology by Melanie Nayer here.


Hotel Trends: Unplug with a "Digital Detox"

July 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lake Placid LodgeCan't stop checking your email while on vacation? You're not the only one. When it comes to detaching from their cellphones, tablets, and other digital devices, some 79% of travelers expect to stay connected on their next vacay-- according to a recent survey by American Express. To help these folks help themselves, a growing number of hotels are offering "unplugged" and "digital detox" packages- reports The Wall Street Journal. From Washington D.C. to Teton Village, Wyoming, hotels are rolling out the discounts and stress-reducing amenities like spa treatments. To quote the WSJ: "Starting this month, guests at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel can book "Zen and the Art of Detox" on some summer weekends. The Hotel Monaco Chicago offers anyone who reserves its "tranquility suite" the option to add a "Technology Break." The Lake Placid Lodge (pictured) also offers a similar package.


New Hotel Amenities: Order Room Service on an iPad

June 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Pavillon des Lettres, ParisWhen we toured the new Pavillon des Lettres in Paris-- a new hotel with a literary theme-- we were thrilled to see that each of the 26 rooms, named for a different writer, comes with an iPad. This fine hotel isn't alone in the industry in offering this coveted new amenity. According to the USA Today Hotel Check-In blog, more and more hotels are distributing iPads to guests for ordering room service:

Hoping to generate more food and beverage sales and reduce the need for staffers, a growing number of hotels are providing the popular tablet computer to guests in their rooms. An app, developed by Orlando-based Intelity and downloaded on the device, allows guests to order food, browse hotel amenities and local attractions, request wake-up calls, schedule housekeeping, message hotel staffers or other guests, and arrange car service. Flight information and 5-day weather are also shown, as are targeted ads based on guests' rates and preferences information.

Upscale hotels providing iPads include The Plaza, Mondrian SoHo, and Royalton Hotel in New York.


A Look Inside The Peninsula Tokyo (and All the In-Room Gadgetry)

October 28, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula TokyoSome of the coolest in-room tech that we've seen-- hands-down-- is in The Peninsula Tokyo. If you're curious to learn more about the gadgetry (get ready to drool)- the good folks at Hotelchatter have just published a video that takes an inside look at these swanky rooms. Here's the skinny:

We're talking about a printer/copier/fax machine next to the desk (which worked with our Macbook no problem), a cell phone for use within the hotel, a plug panel at the TV for smartcards/memorysticks, USB cords and more, plus perhaps the most unexpected techy touch of all: a nail dryer next to the boudoir desk in the walk-in wardrobe.

Of course, The Peninsula is thankfully one of the few luxury brands to understand that WiFi needs to be free if you're paying in the high triple-digits each night, and they were one of the first hotels in Tokyo to come through with complimentary internet.