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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.

Five Star Alliance Free Nights Stay Giveaway!

January 13, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We are extremely excited to offer a Five Star Alliance Giveaway! We are always looking for ways to give back to our loyal clients, and we couldn’t think of a better way to say ‘thank you’ then by giving away free nights at a few of our favorite luxury hotels. Simply ‘like’ Five Star Alliance on Facebook before March 1st and automatically be entered to win. To make it a bit more of a challenge, we’ve decided to try to hit 5,000 likes by March 1st, 2012, and the sooner we hit that target, the sooner we’ll pick our lucky winner. And the perks of getting involved with Five Star Alliance on Facebook and Twitter certainly won’t end with this contest. We will be offering special offers and promotions, more giveaways, advice from our expert agents, the latest luxury travel news, and much more!

The winner will have the option to choose either 2 free nights at The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel in New York City or 3 free nights at the 41 Hotel in London. The Carlyle prize will entitle the winner and 1 guest to 1 complimentary Deluxe Room for 2 nights. The prize expires on July 31st, 2012, and it is subject to availability. It may be used between January 1, 2012 to April 30, 2012 and July 1, 2012 to July 31, 2012. Please be aware that the expiration date regrettably cannot be extended. All other expenses (food, beverages, service charges) to be settled upon departure. Other terms and conditions may apply. The 41 Hotel prize will entitle the winner and 1 guest to a 3 night stay in a luxurious King Bedded Room, including full English Breakfast. (Any additional charges to be settled on departure). The voucher is valid until June 30th 2012, it’s subject to availability, and some black-out dates may apply. Other terms and conditions may apply. For further contest details, please click here.

To view hotel photos, descriptions, availability, and more, we encourage you to visit the following sites!

Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel >>

The 41 Hotel >>


Casa de Sierra Nevada Es Su Casa: Special Rates in the Heart of San Miguel de Allende

January 10, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Casa de Sierra NevadaA beautiful boutique hotel in a cluster of historic buildings at the heart of San Miguel de Allende, the Casa de Sierra Nevada is the paragon of the small hotel experience in Central America.  The charm of the 33-room Orient-Express property is practically dripping from the stone arches lining its courtyard space.  To preserve the interior serenity, the Casa de Sierra Nevada doesn't allow children 11 or under, so you'll never have to worry about a little tyke with a toy airplane distracting from the last chapter in that novel you've been trying to finish for the last three months.  

Each of the hotel's 33 rooms had to be carefully adapted to hotel rooms as they are designated historical homes by the National Instititute of Anthropology and History.  Meticulously restored using period furniture alongside the more modern amenities of classic luxury, there is a very homely feel to the luxury at Casa de Sierra Nevada.  While larger chain hotels can seem somewhat impersonal even as they offer the best service, in San Miguel de Allende, you'll feel as at home as you would in your own living room, only with the five-star luxury you've come to expect from an attentive and accommodating staff.

 Not only that, reserve a room now to take advantage of special Five Star Alliance rates at the Casa de Sierra Nevada. Reserving through us grants a free room upgrade if available on arrival and a welcome margherita.  I can't think of a better way to start a vacation than reclining in an extra-spacious room with a tropical cocktail.  


A Luxury Traveler’s Bucket List: Prague, Czech Republic

January 4, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions and managed to stop going to the gym or taking those cooking classes come February. This year, make a commitment to a simpler, more fulfilling resolution: travel more. Take in what the world has to offer, and do it in style. Be sure to keep up with our new blog series where we’ll be featuring an incredible destination everyone should visit in his/her lifetime. Consider this list a tool to give you a few ideas and inspiration on exciting places to go, where to stay, and what to see!

Our first feature destination today is Prague, Czech Republic.

About Prague:

Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic has a rich history and culture running through its narrow, cobblestone streets. Prague is a city of resilience, persevering through floods, fires, and invasions, making it extremely unique and captivating. This city’s breathtaking churches, Gothic-style architecture, the castle, and the Charles Bridge all make this one of the most incredible cities in Europe.

Must-See Attractions:

The most famous landmark is the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle complex in the world. It is open daily and is home to the Czech Crown Jewels. Witness the changing of the guard at the top of every hour and opt in for a guided tour to take in the history and beauty of the castle. Another must-see attraction is the Charles Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Prague. Both ends of the bridge are reinforced by towers, and the entrance gate is beautifully adorned with Gothic sculptures.  For other must-see attractions, we encourage you to explore the list of the Top 10 Prague Monuments, put together by PragueWelcome.com

Local Cuisine:

Be sure to try the pork or beef dumplings called ‘Knedliky,’ fried cheese, and their onion and garlic soup. And of course, be sure to try traditional, Czech beer as well!

Luxurious Accommodations:

Prague has 26 luxurious hotels. A few worth checking out are the Augustine and the Boscolo Carlo IV. The Augstine has been created from several buildings, including the 13th century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery. The hotel’s beautiful rooms all have stunning views of the courtyards, the monastery chapel, or Prague Castle. The Boscolo Carlo IV is another incredible hotel, and it offers unique amenities such as a Cigar Bar and an indoor pool with a striking Mosaic floor. This hotel encompasses a magical blend of the past and future in its architectural design and room décor.

Have you been to Prague? Where did you stay? We encourage you to get involved and tell us about your excursions on our Facebook or Twitter page!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #2 The Don CeSar Beach Resort

December 30, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #2 spot we have the Don Cesar Beach Resorta beach front resort located on the island of St. Pete Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico.

Quick (or in this case, not so quick) facts about The Don CeSar:

Loews Don CeSar Beach Resort- Known as Florida's Legendary Pink Palace since 1928, the owner named it after Don Caesar DeBazan, the hero of William Vincent Wallace's opera Maritana

- The hotel quickly became a favorite romping ground for the rich and famous of the Jazz Age including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clarence Darrow, Al Capone, Lou Gehrig, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Pink Palace continued to attract the rich and famous throughout the Great Depression, thanks in part to a deal made with New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert to house his team during spring training for three years.

- After the sudden death of Rowe without a will, "The Don" was left to his estranged wife and began to fall into desrepair until the United States entered into World War II and the hotel was bought out by the Army for $450,000. It was converted into a military hospital and reopened in December 1942. In February 1944 the Don Ce-Sar became a U.S. Air Force convalescent center. In June 1945 it was ordered closed and was vacant by September. It was converted into a Veterans Administration Regional Office by the end of 1945.

Don CeSar Beach Resort- In November 1967 the Veterans Administration began moving out of the Don Ce-Sar. By spring 1969, the once grand hotel was vacant. The General Services Administration planned to raze the graffiti-covered hotel, but this was met with fierce opposition from local residents. In March 1972 the Don Ce-Sar was sold to Holiday Inn. The Don CeSar (now spelled without the hyphen) reopened on November 23, 1973. Multiple renovations from 1985 to 2001 have updated and added on to the hotel, including a 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) spa, a signature restaurant, and a second outdoor swimming pool. After the addition of the full-service beach club and spa, the official name of the hotel was changed to The Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa.

- References in popular culture include: The Don Cesar is featured in a full-color two-page spread in a 1982 issue of National Geographic. Parts of the 1984 crime film Once Upon a Time in America are filmed at the Don Cesar. Comedian Ron White talks about his stay at the Don Cesar in the movie Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One for the Road. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers filmed a music video at the Don Cesar in 1985. Robert Altman's film Health was largely filmed in the hotel.

- The second, fifth and sixth floors of the hotel are said to be haunted by the ghost of Thomas Rowe. His apparition has been spotted overseeing the daily operations in the hotel, smiling at incoming guests and then disappearing, and walking along the beach front, dressed in a white suit. You can read more here >>

Don CeSar Beach Resort- Lowes Loves Kids and Loews Loves Teens programs offering unique and extensive services dedicated to the principle: "the family that stays together plays together".

- Lowes Loves Pets program featuring: Gourmet room service menus for cats and dogs, prepared by an award-winning Master Chef. Creature comforts like specialized bedding, leashes, collars, litter boxes (and litter), pooper scoopers and more. Tail-wagging amenities such as dog-walking routes, pet placemats, water bowls, treats, doggie poop bags and more. Purr-fect indulgences like rawhide bones, catnip and scratch poles. Pet-walking and pet-sitting services. Dog massages by a professional canine massage therapist, who works closely with you in the comfort of your room to design personalized treatment for your special "family member."

- The Don CeSar was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and became a founding member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America in 1989.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at The Don CeSar Beach Resort >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! In case you missed it, here are our previously featured hotels:

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen  
#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore  
#18 – The Peninsula Chicago  
#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua  
#16 - Auberge du Soleil  
#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel  
#14 - The One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah  
#13 - The Hotel de Crillon  
#12 - Peninsula Hong Kong  
#11 - Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi  
#10 - Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona 
#9 - Jumeirah Essex House
#8 - Atlantis the Palm Dubai
#7 - Hotel Le St. James  
#6 - Half Moon, a Rock Resort
#5 - Charleston Place
#4 - King George Palace
#3 - La Tremoille

Check-in tomorrow to find out which hotel got the coveted #1 spot in our countdown.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #9 Jumeirah Essex House

December 23, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Jumeirah Essex HouseWorldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #9 spot, we have the Jumeirah Essex House, a premiere Manhattan hotel.

Quick facts about the Jumeirah Essex House:

- With stunning views of Central Park, the hotel offers a uniquely quieter perspective on the bustle of New York City.  Its 509 guest rooms and suites range from 300 to 2,500 feet and newly include such features as interactive touchscreen displays to adjust lighting, mood, and temperature.

- Just north Broadway, the Essex House gives easy access to the world-class theater on display in the Big Apple.  

- The in-house spa offers personal trainers, a sauna and steambath, and full massage treatments to help you relax and enjoy the city.

One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah- The rooms, suites, and lobby were all recently renovated in an $90 million dollar project to revitalize the charming Art Deco style.

- The Essex House's storied history dates back to 1929 when construction first began just prior to the stock market crash. Opening finally in 1931, the hotel hosted a number of attendees of the 1939 World's Fair before being acquired for military use during World War II.  It is one of only 200 hotels in America recognized by the Historic Hotels of America for maintaining its historic and cultural integrity for its 80 years of operation.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Jumeirah Essex House >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown as we spotlight a new hotel every day until the New Year!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #10 Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona

December 22, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #10 spot we have the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona, located on Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona’s most exclusive shopping street.

Quick facts about the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona:

- Walking distance from Barcelona’s most exciting landmarks including Las Ramblas, the Plaza de Cataluna, the Gothic Quarter, and Gaudi’s major architectural works.

- Offers 276 rooms and 41 suits, all renovated and new in 2011.

- Rooms use the most up-to-date technology including a Satellite Newspaper kiosk to access 168 international newspapers.

- Offers Smart Roadster Convertible cars with GPS, and this service is free for one day for guests who reserve a suite.

- Business Center features 5 PCs with Windows XP, laser and ink-jet printers, photocopier, fax, scanner, shredder, and office supplies.

- Outdoor, rooftop pool offers guests incredible views of Barcelona.

- The Penthouse is the most exclusive and luxurious room option. It offers the most impressive panoramic view of the city, two private terraces, and 6 plasma screen televisions.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #11 Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

December 21, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts One & Only Maldives at Reethi RahWorldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #11 spot, we have the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, a charming Santa Fe retreat.

Quick facts about the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi:

- Every room at the Inn of the Anasazi evokes the creative spirit of the Anasazi people, the Native American tribe that once inhabited much of New Mexico. Handcrafted doors, sculptured stairways and sandstone walls all work together to create an intimate and traditional Pueblo atmosphere.

- Ideally located on Santa Fe Plaza, the hotel is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the unique, cultured charm of the surrounding city.  

- Kiva-shaped gas fireplaces, which warm the room to a cozy temperature during the cooler desert nighttime, are featured in every room, along with great four-post beds that even come with a special stepping stool to help release you from an unendingly downy sleep.

- The hotel offers daytrips to the Rocky Mountains and closer skiing at Taos and other local mountains.  

One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah- Similarly, explore the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, and White Sands National Monument all within a few hours of the Inn.

- Take a trip through the skies and land at the Canyon de Chelly for a horseback ride led by a Navajo tour guide. 

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown as we spotlight a new hotel every day until the New Year!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #13 The Hotel de Crillon

December 19, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts One & Only Maldives at Reethi RahWorldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #13 spot we have the Hotel de Crillon, the exclusive and historic Parisian icon.

Quick facts about the Hotel de Crillon:

- A historical monument in its own right, the luxury hotel is steeped in the culture of 18th century Paris.  Its Louis XV design believes strongly in gold filigree and ornamentation, but never crosses the line into gaudiness.  

- The gourmet restaurant Les Ambassadeurs fills the former ballroom of the Dukes de Crillon and dinner guests can enjoy the world class cuisine in a room that has entertained kings.  

- And speaking of entertaining kings, so many famous guests have called the Hotel de Crillon home, that it almost seems an affront to the others to single any out.  Theodore Roosevelt, King George, Andrew Carnegie, Cary Grant and many more have all called the hotel home, and they even flew the flag of Texas when Lance Armstrong celebrated his Tour de France victory inside their walls.

- Its suites are unparalleled, including the Leonard Bernstein suite, named for the famous composer who frequently called it home which offers a view of the Eiffel tower from your bubblebath.  The other famed American to reside there, Edith Wharton much preferred the Hotel de Crillon to the nearby Ritz, where "the newly rich but uncultivated Americans stayed."   

One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah- One of only six palace hotels in Paris, you're guaranteed to get the royal treatment

- It houses seven palatial meeting and reception rooms that can house up to 350 people.  

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Hotel de Crillon >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! In case you missed it, here are our previously featured hotels:

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen

#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

#18 – The Peninsula Chicago

#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua

#16 - Auberge du Soleil

#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel

#14 - The One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: The Henry Jones Art Hotel

December 15, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania, Australia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for ambiance and design. This luxury hotel is the first and only dedicated art hotel in Australia. It presents an atmosphere that allows guests to enjoy art in a unique manner. The public areas in the hotel have 300 paintings and sculptures, many of which are for sale. There are beautiful works of art in every guest room, exposing guests to sophisticated art all the while providing them with a luxurious experience.


The Cake is Not a Lie: Queen Cake at Hotel Le Meurice

December 14, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

It's cake time! The Hotel Le Meurice in Paris is offering a special cake to bring in 2012 with style.  The Galette des Reines, as the cake is called, is a rich and decadent chocolate cake with a special surprise in it.  Evoking the spirit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the slices hides a Tiffany & Co charm in the shape of a golden key.  The charm is further incentive to savor ever bite of your dessert, which comes in it an exclusive 14 euros a slice.  Only ten cakes will be made over a 20-day period, so it's worth jumping on this one early, since they could easily run out.  In our mind, it's certainly worth it after a meal by three-star Michelin Chef Yannick Alleno.

And staying in the hotel itself, opposite the Teuleries garden, is an experience in itself.  With a storied history back to 1835, the hotel has been called home by a number of greats, including Salvador Dali, whom the new restaurant, Le Dali, is named for.  If you're looking to stay in Paris this January, the Le Meurice is certainly one to look at, with its signature Queen's Cake and chance at a Tiffany Charm.  

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